10 Pokémon with surprising off-screen evolutions

Pokémon evolution in the games comes in many forms. Some evolve through old-fashioned leveling, others through trade or elemental bricks, among other gimmicks. In any case, the lore makes the process a great fascination. On the other hand, evolution in Pokémon anime usually happens at random times.


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Known aspects such as level or friendship are suggested, but never stated exactly. Like the games, the trainer tends to evolve along with its Pokémon. At times, the Pokémon or trainer’s progress may not be visible, and while their journey is understandable, the revelation may shock audiences and characters alike.

10 The ax of Iris became a Haxorus

The Pokémon: Travel series saw Ash reunited with his travel companion from the Unova region, Iris, for a fight as part of the World Coronation Series. Ash discovers that she has risen to become Unova’s champion (just like in the Generation V games).

Her team is seemingly unchanged until she reveals that her once sweet Axew has grown into a ferocious Haxorus. While most expected Iris to have stronger Pokémon due to her caliber, few expected the Haxorus to be the same Axew, especially considering it has few pre-evolution traits.

9 Paul’s Magmortar appeared three episodes after seeing it as a Magmar

In Sinnoh, Ash’s rival, Paul, caught a Magmar to replace his Chimchar. Though it debuted in a flashback, it appeared in Paul’s battle against frontier brain, Brandon, where it sadly lost.

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Three episodes later, Ash and Paul have a six-on-six battle. The first part of the episode ends with both trainers, each shooting a Pokémon, but Paul continues to pressure with his strategies. It culminates in Paul revealing that he has evolved his Magmar, which is shocking given the evolution requirement to trade Magmar with a Magmarizer.

8 Clemont’s Diggersby Goes Against Its Specialty

One of Ash’s traveling companions in Kalos was Lumiose City gym leader Clemont. He specialized in Electric Pokémon, but had a normal Bunnelby. Nevertheless, it wasn’t completely unheard of for anime gym leaders to have standout things that had nothing to do with their type.

Ash and Clemont reunited in Pokémon: Travel, where the latter helped train the former for an upcoming fight and revealed that his Bunnelby was evolving into a Diggersby. The Diggersby was surprising as Electric types are disadvantageous to Ground types, and he would use Bunnelby in important battles.

7 Ash’s Naganadel was a first for him

While traveling in the Alola region, Ash caught a Poipole that escaped from another dimension. However, Ash let it go to its native world in the 89th episode of the Sun & Moon series after helping to save his homeland.

Ash became Alola’s first-ever champion 51 episodes later by defeating his rival Gladion. However, a wormhole with an enraged Guzzlord appears, interrupting the ceremony. A Naganadel that Ash recognizes as his now-evolved Poipole also appears and fights by his side during a demonstration match. It was also the first Pokémon owned by Ash to evolve off-screen.

6 May’s Eevee had a surprising evolution

Ash’s traveling companion from the Hoenn region, May, received an egg that would later hatch in an Eevee. May was a competitive fighter as opposed to a regular trainer, but her Eevee managed to win most of her battles.

May briefly returned during Ash’s Sinnoh travels, revealing that her Eevee had become a Glaceon. Glaceon’s only way to evolve into Sinnoh was to level up near an icy rock near Snowpoint City. May confirmed that she had performed this method well before Ash almost arrived in town.

5 Brock’s bliss was unnecessary but welcome

After winning a match in Sinnoh, Ash’s longest-traveling ally, Brock, received a Pokémon egg that later hatched into a Happiny. It evolved into a Chansey to help Brock rescue sick Pokémon towards the end of the series when he considered becoming a Pokémon Doctor.

Pokémon: Travel revealed that Brock’s Chansey evolved into a Blissey that aided him in his PhD duties. It wasn’t necessary, as Chansey is equally known as medical assistants in the anime. However, it indicated Brock’s general compassion for Pokémon, as Chansey evolves into Blissey through high friendships.

4 Gary’s Eevee could have evolved into anything

Returning home from the Orange Islands, before heading to the Johto region, Ash renews his rivalry with Professor Oak’s grandson, Gary. The two engage in a one-on-one battle, which Gary wins with the aid of an Eevee that Ash’s friends suggest is nearing evolution.

A later episode in Johto showed Gary evolving his Eevee into an Umbreon. While it was an acceptable way to present the Pokémon in its debut generation, Gary was a trainer with a diverse arsenal and could have chosen any of the other four existing Eevee evolutions.

3 The final leg of Paul’s Electivire’s journey remains unseen

Paul was notorious for catching and releasing various Pokémon, but one of his regular team members was the first Pokémon fans to see him with, and his ace, Elekid. It embodied Paul’s ruthless abilities and evolved into an Electabuzz during a tag battle with Ash.

However, Paul showed that it had reached its final off-screen form during the Sinnoh competition. While viewers knew that Paul would eventually develop his Electabuzz, it was somewhat astonishing to see it off-screen, especially since his rival Pokémon, Ash’s (formerly Paul’s Chimchar) Infernape, showed his journey in its entirety.

2 May’s Venusaur is just a cameo

On an episode in the Hoenn region, May got lost in a forest and befriended a female Bulbasaur. The Bulbasaur decided to go with her at the end of the episode. Before the Battle Frontier arc, he befriended Ash’s Bulbasaur.

RELATED: Pokémon: Each Generation, Ranked by Ash Ketchum’s Travel Companions

When May reunited with the gang in Sinnoh, she took part in a local competition called the Wallace Cup. May was in command as Venusaur during the second round of the competition, but his appearance is short and it is not known if it possesses any of his former passionate traits.

1 Sawyer proved he was worthy of a pseudo-legend

One of Ash’s rivals in Kalos was a timid but intelligent boy named Sawyer. Despite his efforts to train and apply knowledge, Ash was almost always in charge. One of his team members was a Bagon who eventually grew into Shelgon, but never won a fight.

Sawyer revealed during the Kalos competition that he had developed it into a Salamence. Despite his meticulous demeanor, he proved himself a skilled combatant with it by remembering and countering Ash’s strategies, resulting in the battle with Ash’s Noivern being a draw.

UP NEXT: 10 Pokémon That Get More Fun As They Evolve

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