You don’t have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of every single Pokémon creature to enjoy watching Detective Pikachu when it hits theaters on May 10. In fact, you don’t really have to know a single thing about Pokémon — the Japanese franchise that started as a video game in 1995 before expanding to the card game, toy brand, animated TV series, films, and now an app (Pokémon Go) — to understand what’s going on in Ryan Reynolds’ new movie.
It's a fun, sci-fi romp that mixes live-action with CGI, heart, humor, and non-stop action. But it wouldn't hurt to know a little bit more about the Pokémon creatures in Detective Pikachu (other than how cute they are). Whether you're brand new to the franchise, or a casual fan who doesn't quite remember everything about the universe, we’ve got your back. Here’s your official guide to all the important Pokemon, aka Pocket Monsters, that appear in Detective Pikachu for the first time in live-action. Gotta catch ‘em all!
The Hero: Pikachu
His name’s in the title, so he’s obviously the most important Pokémon in the entire movie. This little yellow ball of fur may look like an adorable teddy bear, but watch out. This mouse-like creature is full of electricity and can zap opponents with more energy than you'd think a tiny fuzzball could hold in his adorable little cheeks.
The Villain: Mewtwo
The most powerful Pokémon of them all appears in the Detective Pikachu trailers, and while we’re not going to spoil the plot, we can tell you that Mewtwo is not a naturally occurring Pokémon; it was created through genetic manipulation and does not feel empathy for humans. It’s incredibly powerful and psychic, which could be a problem for the movie's dynamic duo.
The Adorable Plant Creature: Bulbasaur
A pack of Bulbasaurs in the wild help our heroes, Tim (Justice Smith) and Pikachu (Reynolds), at a crucial moment in the movie. They’re really gentle and are like a cross between a turtle and a dinosaur with a giant seed on its back that grows in sunlight.
The Fire-Breathing Dragon Dude: Charizard
During an illegal Pokémon battle (where two Pokémon face off against each other for the title of champion), Pikachu finds himself going up against a Charizard. He’s big, he’s powerful, and yes, he breathes fire. But a Charizard never uses his fire against an opponent weaker than himself, so he clearly must see Pikachu as a powerful threat.
The Anxiety Duck: Psyduck
Tim and Pikachu meet a young reporter (Kathryn Newton) and her Pokémon partner, Psyduck. This little duck may seem harmless, but he’s the personification of anxiety, and that’s nothing to mess with. The more stressed Psyduck gets, the closer his brain gets to exploding with a psychic energy that destroys anything around it. Gotta keep him calm!
The Goofy Mime: Mr. Mime
One of the best parts of the trailers for Detective Pikachu featured most of Mr. Mime’s scenes in the movie, and for good reason. He’s hilarious. He’s like if a clown mixed with a mime and then became Pokémon-ized. He can’t talk or make any sound, but his pantomimes can actually generate real, invisible walls and effects.
The Giant Land Turtles: Torterra
These mountain-y Pokémon look like turtles with land growing on their backs. They can grow pretty big, and provide one of the coolest scenes in the movie. They’re usually pretty peaceful and ancient people used to believe a giant Torterra lived beneath the ground.
The Angry Purple Monkeys: Aipom
A pack of really angry Aipom attack Tim early in the movie. They’re like tiny purple monkeys with giant hands at the end of their tails. They’re fast and nimble. You definitely don’t want to be attacked by a pack of these guys. Sorry, Tim!
The Giant Pandas In The City: Pancham or Pangoro
Throughout the movie, there are a lot of black and white panda-looking Pokémon. The little cubs are Pancham and the massive ones are Pangoro, the evolved form of Pancham. Pancham are cute and try their best to be taken seriously by others, but they’re not all that intimidating. Pangoro, on the other hand, possess a violent temperament and won't put up with bullying. A Pangoro will use the leaf in its mouth to sense the movements of its enemies.
The Pink Lounge Singer Pokémon: Jigglypuff
There’s a scene in a seedy bar wherein a pink ball of fluff sings into a microphone and then glares at Tim with such malice and disdain that it becomes one of the best moments of the movie. Jigglypuffs are great singers, but you definitely don’t want to interrupt them while they’re performing. They use their voice to make others drowsy, which is why Jigglypuff's human partner is passed out next to it at the bar.
The Blue Ninja Lizards: Greninja
A pack of these lizard-like ninjas become aggressors late in the movie. They can create throwing stars out of water and their long tongues are incredibly powerful. One is hard enough to defeat; a pack is nearly impossible.
The Cute Pokémon That Licks Tim On The Train: Lickitung
Early in the movie, Tim encounters a Lickitung on the train heading to Rym City. It licks his face slowly and leaves behind a lot of drool. It’s weirdly endearing and totally gross, but licking is just how Lickitungs discover new things! Fun fact: they don’t like anything sour. With a tongue that large, can you blame them?
The Detective Dog At The Police Station: Snubbull
This Pokémon works with the police in the movie. It’s like a giant, fuzzy, grumpy, pink bulldog but it’s actually... a fairy. Its mean temperament sends smaller Pokémon running away, but it actually can get sad when it’s lonely.
The Pokémon Bartender: Ludicolo
Another hilarious cameo in Detective Pikachu is when a Ludicolo serves Pikachu coffee at the bar. This bartender/barista makes the wildest noise when shouting its name (because Pokémon usually only communicate by saying their name over and over). In regular Pokémon lore, however, Ludicolo are found out in nature and appear whenever singing or festive music is heard because they love to dance.
The Dubstep Speaker Pokémon: Loudred
Those weird dubstep Pokemon are called, appropriately, Loudreds! Of course they can be found DJ-ing an illegal Pokémon fight ring with Diplo. That just makes sense. Their bellowing can completely decimate buildings, and they use their voices to punish foes. And yeah, their ears are basically loudspeakers. They’re the perfect party machines.
The Skull-Headed Pokémon Tim Tries To Catch: Cubone
The little teddy bear-looking dude wearing a skull on its face and carrying around a bone is Cubone. It may look cute and cuddly, but this little thing has quite the temper. Maybe that’s because it’s wearing the skull of its mother: Cubone pines for the mother it will never see again.
Of course, you don't really need the backstory of any of these creatures to enjoy the movie. But it never hurts to be prepared!