May (Japanese: ハルカ Haruka) is a 10-year-old Pokémon Coordinator from the anime. She is Ash's former traveling companion in the Hoenn region.
May's goal is to compete in Pokémon Contests and win ribbons, win the Grand Festivals of the different regions, and become a top Coordinator. She traveled through Hoenn and Kanto with Ash, Brock, and her little brother Max. She is the tomboy daughter of Norman and Caroline, and her starter Pokémon was a Torchic given to her by Professor Birch. She is based off the same-named playable character from the Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald games. Her manga counterpart is Sapphire Birch.
She is voiced by KAORI in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Veronica Taylor and Michele Knotz in the English version of the anime.
May in the Advanced Generation series May is a young Coordinator who loves shopping and eating treats. She has a particular fondness for food, especially noodles. When someone steals her food, she gets angered, to the point of yelling at people. May is generally very sweet and optimistic, though she shows a tougher side sometimes, such as when she argues with her little brother, Max. Even though they argue often, she has shown that she deeply cares for her brother.
Pokémon, dazzling techniques, and has a tendency to rely on luck, often using her Skitty's Assist or her Munchlax's Metronome. She sometimes takes an interest in helping other people with their romantic problems. She loves making her own Pokéblocks with recipes that she thinks up, including ones called "May's Purple Surprise" and "May's Pink Surprise" (Japanese: Haruka's Delicious and Haruka's Delicious 2). The only ones who liked her Purple Surprise were her Munchlax and Jessie. "May's Pink Surprise" came from the recipe for food Professor Oak uses to feed Ash's Snorlax. Thus, after May first fed it to her Munchlax, it was automatically made full. This was subsequently used to feed Munchlax to prevent it from eating the food of others. It was revealed by Max in "A Cacturne for the Worse" that as a small child, May was afraid of Pokémon. There was one instance in particular that truly embarrassed May. One day she was swimming in the ocean and was suddenly surrounded by a school of Tentacool. May got scared and called her parents. She was wearing a blue swimsuit and a matching blue swimmer's cap, leading her mother to believe she was a Tentacool. Her mother tried to catch her with one of her Poké Balls. One of May's opponents in a contest recorded Max telling him this to embarrass May into losing.
When May debuted in the anime, she did not like Pokémon at all and was only interested in becoming a Pokémon Trainer so she could travel. Everyone expected her to become a Trainer, to follow in her Gym Leader father's footsteps. However, after seeing a Contest in "All Things Bright and Beautifly!", she decided to become a Pokémon Coordinator. Though she was initially shown to not know much about Pokémon or attacks, she gradually gained experience through her journey and soon became a talented coordinator, with her skill being displayed in her Grand Festival rankings in the Hoenn and Kanto regions. Dawn once referred to her as the "Princess of Hoenn" when they met. As a Coordinator, May was able to learn more about Pokémon. For her Contests, she was able to come up with different attack combinations. She was able to use these combinations in battle. An example of this would be using her Combusken's Fire Spin and her Squirtle's Bubble to create a combination of fire and water, dubbed Fire and Water Whirlwind by Lilian. This even got a Harley rival of hers mad, thinking she thought he was not worthy of the move so May did not use it against him.
During her journey, she finds a rival in Drew, a skilled and sometimes arrogant Coordinator who was one of her main inspirations to try harder to further her skills. Another rival of hers, Harley, is a flamboyant man who goes to extremes to beat May. At the Kanto Grand Festival, May competed against Solidad, an experienced Coordinator to whom she lost to in the semi-finals. At the end of the Advanced Generation series, she left to compete with Drew, Harley and Solidad in the Johto region, aiming to find her own style. May has Contest Passes to compete in Hoenn, Kanto and Johto.
May reappeared from "Our Cup Runneth Over!" to "Strategy With a Smile!" to participate in the Wallace Cup alongside Ash, Dawn and Zoey. During this period, she wore the Emerald Version of her outfit. May made it to the finals of the Wallace Cup but narrowly lost to Dawn in the end.
May has a personal ending theme song, I Won't Lose! ~Haruka's Theme~, performed by KAORI. It was first used as background music in the episode "Curbing the Crimson Tide" and again in next episode, "What I Did for Love". The theme was also used in the Appeals Round at the Wallace Cup for May's performance.
In both the Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire video games and Advanced Generation anime series, May is shown to be beautiful, and wearing a red t-shirt with a dark blue circle around her neck, dark blue bike shorts, white miniskirt, red and yellow sneakers, a red bandanna with a white PokéBall print, a yellow waist-pack, and dark-blue and white gloves.
Pokemon Emerald/Diamond and Pearl anime series
In both the Pokémon Emerald video game and Diamond and Pearl anime series, May is shown wearing a green bandanna, a sleeveless and short orange tunic with a black collar, black bike shorts, black socks, and red and white sneakers. She also carries a green waist-pack.
May is shown to wear different swimwear throughout her appearance in the anime:
- In "The Lotad Lowdown" and "Sharpedo Attack!", May's swimwear is a yellow hearts two-piece swimsuit with shorts.
- In "Sharpedo Attack!", May also wore a pink polka-dotted one-piece swimsuit.
- In the movies, May wore a pink bikini.
- In Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, when the characters dress up in formal medieval-themed outfits, May wears a white, pink and red ball gown decorated with tiny bows and with decoration similar to Beautifly wings on the back. She wears her hair in two different ways in this outfit, with different accessories for each: in one way, she wears a large red bow styled to look like her regular bandanna, and another, she has little pink pom-poms in her hair.
- In "From Cradle to Save!", May wore sleeveless pink colored ninja clothing.
- In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, May wears a scarlet tank top with a black undershirt, white short shorts with black lycra mini-leggings underneath, yellow and black ankle boots with orange soles, a red and white bandanna/kerchief, a yellow-and-green fanny pack, and the Mega Bracelet on her left wrist.
In the games
May is the female player in Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Her male counterpart is Brendan.
As the player
May is the daughter of Norman, the fifth Gym Leader in Hoenn and the Gym Leader in Petalburg City. She was born in Olivine City in the Johto Region and moved to Littleroot Town in the Hoenn Region, where she met and befriended Brendan, the son of Professor Birch who becomes her rival.
In Pokemon Ruby & OmegaRuby, she has to stop Team Magma's evil plans of drying the entire ocean by powerful sunlight, while in Sapphire & AlphaSapphire, she has to stop Team Aqua's evil plans of drowning all the land by heavy rain.
In Emerald, she has to stop both Team Aqua and Team Magma from destroying Hoenn and the world.
If she is not selected by the player, she is the daughter of Prof. Birch (thus her full name is May Birch) and the rival of Brendan, the player. She first battles him in Route 103 and occasionally gives him something good. She always chooses the starter with the type advantage on the player's (Torchic if the player chose Treecko, Mudkip if the player chose Torchic and Treecko if the player chose Mudkip). During the final battle (which takes place right after either version's end credits when the male player character defeats the Pokemon League for the first time), May Mega Evolves her now completely-evolved starter.
In the Manga
As stated above, May's counterpart in the manga is Sapphire Birch, who is the daughter of Prof. Birch. She is friends with Ruby (Brendan's Counterpart). She serves as the female protagonist of the Ruby & Sapphire arc. She had an 80-day record of obtaining all Badges of one region, which was broken later by Platinum.
Sapphire, with Ruby, later appears in the Emerald arc, and later in the OmegaRuby & AlphaSapphire arc.