Gary Oak (in Japanese: オーキド・シゲル Shigeru Okido) is Ash Ketchum’s first major rival and a protagonist from the Pokémon anime series. He is based on Blue Oak from Pokémon Red and Blue. He appeared as the recurring antagonist in the first series, later becomes one of the supporting characters in the rest of the series.
PastGary was Ash’s neighbor and friend since they were young, but as time went by, they developed into rivals. On one occasion, they both went fishing in a river shortly before they left to become Pokémon trainers. Gary taunted Ash after a Magikarp he caught used Flail on him and mocked him for not being able to identify Magikarp’s attacks. However they both suddenly caught something and pulled it up to reveal they’d both caught the same rusty old Poke Ball. Gary and Ash both tried to take it and in the tug o’ war that ensued, they pulled it apart, each taking a half. Ash called it a tie, but Gary said that he considered the result to be a loss, since tying with Ash was just the same as losing.
Kanto JourneysEventually Gary began his journey as a Pokémon trainer, picking a Squirtle as his starter Pokémon. He ran into Ash as he was leaving to start his journey, accompanied by a gaggle of cheerleaders. Gary taunted him for being late and declared to the people of Pallet Town that he would make the town famous by becoming a Pokémon master, before he left. Gary would continue to run into Ash on their journeys, taking any chance he could to boast about one-uping Ash. During this time, Gary’s training method was to catch a lot of Pokémon, then use the strongest. This was opposite of Ash, who caught much fewer Pokémon than Gary, but focused on forming a bond with them. Eventually Gary ran into Ash in Viridian City as Ash was preparing to get his 8th and final badge to compete in the Indigo League. Gary boasted that he’d obtained 10 badges and was going to get the badge of the Viridian Gym. However this battle was finally going to cut Gary’s ego down to size. Though his Nidoking and Arcanine were easily able to defeat Giovanni’s Golem and Kingler, Giovanni called out Mewtwo. Gary’s Nidoking and Arcanine were easily swept aside by Mewtwo, who even knocked Gary to the ground. When Ash arrived, Gary told him the Pokémon he’d had to face was evil and called it unstoppable. Gary watched Ash challenge the Viridian Gym, which Giovanni had left in the hands of Jessie, James, and Meowth. As Ash found himself receiving the same pain his Pokémon were feeling, Gary yelled at him to give up, saying the Pokémon he was fighting were too strong, but Ash refused. When Meowth cheated and tried to blow up the platform Ash was on, Gary tackled him. Ash managed to win, forcing Gary to admit that he was a pretty good trainer. Later Gary went to compete in the Indigo League, where he made it to the last round of the preliminaries. However he was defeated and realized that he needed to change himself. After Ash returned to Pallet Town from the Orange Islands, Gary arrived, helping fight off Team Rocket with his Nidoqueen. He'd changed a great deal from his old self, congratulating Ash on his win in the Orange League. Gary and Ash decided to battle to see which of them had grown the most since they last saw each other. Gary chose Eevee to fight Ash’s Pikachu and managed to win, with his grandfather, Professor Oak, saying that he was impressed with the progress Gary’s training had made in him.
Time in JohtoGary continued to have a number of encounters with Ash during their journeys through Joho. He managed to win entry into the Silver Conference and made it past the preliminaries. Gary was then matched up against Ash for the first round and told him that he was going to sweep him out of the tournament, bringing up the time when they fished up the old Poke Ball. The next day, Gary watched as Ash’s Charizard arrived to help him with the upcoming match. Gary and Ash stared each other down, before Professor Oak and Delia Ketchum arrived as well with Oak giving them new data for their Pokedexes. The following day, Gary had his match with Ash and he remained on top for most of the match until it was just Ash’s Charizard against three of Gary’s Pokémon. However Charizard managed to defeat Gary’s Scizor and Golem, leaving it down to Charizard and Blastoise. Thanks to some thinking outside the box, Ash and Charizard defeated Gary and Blastoise. Later, Gary gave Ash his half of the Poke Ball they’d found, saying he wasn’t ashamed to have lost and promising to cheer Ash on next match. After the Silver Conference, Gary helped Ash, Misty, Brock, and Harrison aid a Misdreavus trapped under a tree. He then told Ash that he wanted to become a Pokémon researcher like his grandfather. Gary headed back to Pallet Town, where he left all his Pokémon except for Blastoise so that he could make a fresh start on his journey. As he was leaving, Ash caught up with Gary and asked why he was in such a rush to leave. Gary explained that he had a lot of traveling and new information on Pokémon ahead of him. He asked Ash what he planned to do and he admitted that he didn’t know. Gary told him to take his time thinking about it and Ash gave him back the half of the Poke Ball he’d given him after his defeat in the Silver Conference, before Gary set off.
Reviving a Prehistoric PokémonEventually Gary began working with Professor Dora at the Pokémon lab on Sadya Island. Using some Old Amber that contained Aerodactyl DNA Gary had obtained and a fossilized Aerodactyl egg Dora had, they were able to revive an Aerodactyl. Gary invited Professor Oak to come and see his accomplishment, though not telling him what he’d done. However Gary and Dora’s team were unable to keep the Aerodactyl under control and it broke out of the lab, running loose on Sadya Island. Gary attempted to recapture it and ran into Professor Oak and Tracey Sketchit as they were arriving. He brought them to the Sadya lab where he explained what they’d done, before they all set out to find Aerodactyl. Gary said he shouldn’t have become a researcher and realized the consequences of reviving the Aerodactyl. But Oak and Tracey encouraged him to continue his work as a researcher, saying he’d made a great accomplishment and that Ash wouldn’t get so discouraged. Gary asked about Ash, brightening upon hearing his journey in Hoenn was going well. They managed to track down the Aerodactyl, but Crystal, Dora’s little sister, woke it up and it tried to fly away. However Butch and Cassidy of Team Rocket tried to capture it, though Gary and Crystal were able to fight them off with Aerodactyl blasting them into the distance. The prehistoric Pokémon flew off again, though it didn’t leave the island and Gary realized that it was afraid, being so new to the world. He suggested that they try using food to draw it in and found the fruit that Aerodactyl liked. They managed to draw it in, but Butch and Cassidy returned and captured it. However Gary was able to destroy their helicopter with his Dodrio with Aerodactyl again blasting Butch and Cassidy away. Gary and Crystal used their Pokémon to help win Aerodactyl’s trust and as Oak prepared to leave, Gary told him he wanted to research and revive more extinct Pokémon.
Adventures in SinnohGary eventually moved to the Sinnoh region to work on his Pokémon research, but returned to Kanto to visit Pallet Town at one point, bringing his new Electivire with him. Team Rocket tried to capture Electivire, as Ash watched, but Gary’s commands led to it breaking free and sending Team Rocket flying away. He explained to Ash that Electivire was a newly discovered Pokémon from Sinnoh and Ash challenged Gary to a battle but he declined. Gary, along with Delia, Professor Oak, and Tracey were waiting in Pallet Town with a surprise party for Ash when he arrived. Ash re-challenged Gary and this time he accepted. Gary and his Electivire emerged victorious against Ash and Pikachu and Gary told him not to take his Battle Frontier victory lightly. He told Ash he was going back to Sinnoh to train his Pokémon and do more research, before leaving. Later, as Ash was journeying through Sinnoh, he, Dawn, and Brock were trying to protect a Shieldon from the henchmen of Pokémon Hunter J, but Gary and Electivire arrived. Electivire blasted the henchmen with an electric attack, before it grabbed the Shieldon and ran away with Gary and the others. Gary brought Ash and his friends to a location where some other Shieldon were living and explained that there was a plan to create a new Pokémon preserve. Gary then contacted Professor Rowan, who gave them a location to meet him. They started bringing the Shieldon to the meeting point, but were attacked by J. Gary and Ash tried to fight her Pokémon with theirs, only to be overwhelmed and the Shieldon were taken. However Gary and Ash followed her and sabotaged J’s ship, rescuing the Shieldon. Some time later, Gary ran into Ash’s Gligar, which hid behind Gary from Ash after he scolded it rather harshly. Gary had his Umbreon battle Gligar to train it, but Gligar kept getting afraid. Gary gave Ash a Razor Fang, explaining that it would case Gligar to evolve into Gliscor, but Ash didn’t want to use evolution to replace hard work. Team Rocket showed up, capturing Gligar and Ash, and Gary, Dawn, and Brock went looking for him. Ash managed to escape with his Gligar evolving into Gliscor as Gary, Dawn, and Brock arrived on the scene. After driving off Team Rocket, Gary wished Ash goodbye, apparently impressed with him, and Ash thanked him for his help. Later, Gary was working with Professor Rowan at the Valor Lakefront. He spotted J arriving, hunting for Azelf, and contacted Rowan. Gary tried to take down the ship but Saturn and Toxicroak took him on, allowing J to capture Azelf and the rest of Team Galactic to capture Mesprit and Uxie. Later Gary and Rowan picked up the disturbances caused by Dialga and Palkia’s emergence. They went to meet Ash and the others after they stopped Cyrus’ plans and saved Sinnoh, with Gary taking the Adamant and Lustrous Orbs to return them to Professor Carolina.
PokémonGary has demonstrated that he is a very skilled Pokémon trainer, rarely losing Pokémon battles and it was stated that he had no preference for a certain type and constantly rotated the Pokémon he used. Gary has a large collection of Pokémon: just before the Indigo League, it was stated that he had captured 200 Pokémon with more than one of some species and he has certainly caught many more since then. These are the Pokémon seen in his possession.
NidokingGary’s Nidoking was used frequently during his time in Kanto, being used in his Gym Battle in Viridian City and in the Indigo League. He beat Golem, but lost to Mewtwo on the first occasion and was defeated by another Trainer’s Golem in the Indigo League. Gary left Nidoking at Professor Oak’s lab and his known moves are Tackle and Horn Attack.
ArcanineGary’s Arcanine is very strong and was first seen in his Viridian Gym battle, easily defeating Kingler despite being at a type disadvantage. However it was defeated by Mewtwo, even while battling along with Nidoking. Gary later used Arcanine during the Extreme Pokémon Race, where they were up against Ash and his Bayleef. When Team Rocket tried to steal Pokémon eggs from a Daycare Center, Gary and Arcanine drove them off before resuming the race, but lost to Ash and Bayleef. Gary eventually used Arcanine during his fight with Ash in the Silver Conference, sending it out against Snorlax, but it was beaten. Gary later left Arcanine at Professor Oak’s lab and its known moves are Fire Spin, Take Down, Fire Wheel, and Fire Blast.
DodrioDodrio is the evolved form of Gary’s Doduo, which was first seen at Professor Oak’s lab when Gary arrived to find out the location of the Pokémon League. At one point, Doduo evolved into Dodrio and Gary used it to stop Butch and Cassidy from capturing Aerodactyl. Dodrio’s only known move is Drill Peck.
NidoqueenGary’s Nidoqueen has demonstrated herself to be quite the powerhouse, first appearing when Gary stopped Team Rocket as they attacked Professor Oak’s lab. Nidoqueen was later used by Gary in his battle with Ash at the Silver Conference, where she managed to easily subdue Ash’s Tauros and take it out with one Hyper Beam. However Nidoqueen was defeated by Ash’s Snorlax and Gary later left her at Professor Oak’s lab. Her known moves are Rock Smash, Strength, Hyper Beam, Mega Punch, and Double Kick.
MagmarGary’s Magmar appeared during his fight with Ash at the Silver Conference, using it to fight Ash’s Heracross. Though it succeeded in hitting Heracross with a number of fire attacks, it managed to resist the attacks and take Magmar down with its Megahorn. Gary later left Magmar at Professor Oak’s Lab and its known moves are Flamethrower and Fire Blast.
ScizorGary’s Scizor appeared in Gary and Ash’s fight in the Silver Conference, facing off against Ash’s Snorlax. Its speed gave it the advantage, allowing it to wear Snorlax down with Quick Attacks and take it down with a final strike. Scizor also managed to take down Ash’s Muk, but was finally defeated by Charizard. Gary later left it at Professor Oak’s lab and its known moves are Metal Claw, Swift, Quick Attack, and Steel Wing.
GolemGary’s Golem was used during his fight with Ash in the Silver Conference against Charizard. It was able to stop Charizard from using Seismic Toss on it, due to its high weight. Golem then stunned its opponent with Magnitude, but Charizard managed to defeat it with Dragon Rage. Gary later left it at Professor Oak’s lab and its known moves are Magnitude and Rollout.
KrabbyGary's Krabby is very large compared to a common Krabby and was seen when Ash checked on the Krabby he'd just captured, only to see Gray's much larger one. Gary later compared his Krabby to Ash's again just before the Indigo League. None of Krabby's moves are known.
Pokémon Not Seen in Person
When Ash looked up Gary on the website for the Silver Conference and checked out his Pokémon, there are a number of Pokémon listed that Gary was never actually seen using. These are Alakazam, Skarmory, Houndoom, Fearow, Pinsir, and Kingdra.
- Gary was one of the very few characters to retain the same voice actor after 4Kids stopped doing the dub of the Pokémon anime, Jimmy Zoppi.
- During Gary’s time in Kanto and Johto, he dressed like his game counterpart, Blue, in Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow. But after that, he started wearing Blue’s outfit from FireRed and LeafGreen.
- Gary is the only one of Ash’s rivals to appear in a Pokémon movie, appearing in the first movie when his defeat against Mewtwo was shown.
- Four of Gary’s Pokémon, Arcanine, Dodrio, Nidoking, and Nidoqueen are the final evolutions of Pokémon that appear in Route 201 in the games with use of dual-slot mode, swarming, or the Poke Radar.
- In Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold and SoulSilver, Gary's game counterpart, Blue Oak, tells the player that he was defeated by Red three years earlier when he was the champion of the Indigo Plateau.