First appearance: Pokémon Red & Blue (Game Freak/Nintendo, Game Boy, 1998)
Catchphrase: “Smell ya later!”
Known grievances: Surfeit of ambition and pride; being an unusually talented pokémon trainer
Nature of defeat: Rigged match in favor of a certain electric rodent

Profile by Kat Bailey? | February 12, 2011

“Hey! I was looking forward to seeing you! My rival should be strong to keep me sharp! While working on my Pokédex, I looked all over for powerful pokémon! Not only that, I assembled teams that would beat any pokémon type! And now! I am the Pokémon League Champion! Do you know what that means? I’ll tell you! I am the most powerful Trainer in the world!” -- Blue, 1998

The Viridian City Gym is mostly empty these days; a few Geodudes serving as a distant reminder of the great battles that took place here. A former champion leads this gym, but his neighbors rarely see him. Has he departed forever; or is he out there somewhere, training for another chance at glory?

Blue’s journey began just one town away, alongside the trainer who would one day be his greatest rival. Professor Oak remembers his nephew for both his ambition and his affectionate, “Smell you later,” which became a popular catchphrase during his brief reign as champion. He was present when Red and Blue received their very first pokémon, as well as for their first battle.

“He was a very competitive young man; moreso than most, I think,” Oak says as he places three pokéballs containing a Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle on a nearby stand. Nearly a decade later, the world famous professor is still handing out pokémon to prospective trainers. “Red brought out the best and the worst in him. Most people forget though that they were equally matched during that battle, and that at the time he was the youngest trainer ever to become a regional champion.”

Like his rival, Blue is an unconventional trainer in that he favors many types instead of focusing on just one. His repertoire has been known to include everything from Alakazam to Charizard, all of which he used to great effect against mono-typed gym teams. His adherence to type diversity allowed him to make rapid progress through the Kanto League, periodically pausing to duel with his rival.

By the time he had reached the Indigo Plateau, Blue had assembled a team that was more than a match for any of the Elite Four.

“There was just no getting around that Blastoise,” current champion Drake admits. “Blizzard wiped out my entire team in one hit. He was ready for anything.”

“NO! That can’t be! You beat my best! After all that work to become League champ? My reign is over already? It’s not fair! Why? Why did I lose? I never made any mistakes raising my pokémon... Darn it! You’re the new pokémon League Champion! Although I don’t like to admit it.” -- Blue, 1998

The clash between Red and Blue would go down in history as one of the finest battles ever fought in the Pokémon league. Red’s trump card was ultimately his Pikachu, which he used to take out Blue’s powerful Blastoise. In the end, Blue was the fastest trainer to ever become a champion, but his reign was also the shortest-lived.

“It was a huge blow. He disappeared for weeks after that battle,” Oak says wistfully. “I was probably a little hard on him.”

Observers recall Oak chastising his nephew for not building a proper relationship with his pokémon, and treating them more like tools than friends. But many league observers still consider Blue one of the best trainers of the past decade, comparing him favorably to Stephen Stone of the Hoenn league and other champions.

Blue disappeared after that battle, finally resurfacing after more than a year at the vacated Viridian City Gym. Those who know him say that he’s changed a great deal since his brief stint as champion; he’s consideradly more humble, though still driven by a powerful desire to succeed. He can still be difficult to find though.

“He really likes Cinnabar Island,” one Viridian City resident said. “I don’t know why exactly. Maybe he’s seen Rocky III?”

When we look for Blue at Cinnabar Island though, we can only find the ruins of the Cinnabar Gym; long since destroyed by a volcanic eruption. But in the distance, we hear the howl of Arcanine, and maybe -- just maybe -- a “Smell ya later.”

Maybe one of the most underrated trainers of our time is still out there, waiting for a chance to return to the spotlight.

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