Ash Ketchum has been on his journey to be a Pokémon Master for a while now. New companions with unique stories join the mix with every new region. Now, every character in Pokémon has their presence and charm, but the best character for me will always be Serena. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to see Brock return, and Misty is always a joy to watch. Still, the growth and journey of Serena were one of the best character arcs the anime has ever displayed.
I loved the Pokémon X and Y series, Mega Evolutions were terrific, and the animation was in a classic style but in a modernized way. Serena’s journey showcased throughout the anime is one that many can relate to.
The highlighting feature is Serena’s internal struggle to find a goal worth pursuing and sticking to it, which is to become the Kalos Queen. I will also talk about her adventure, growth, and criticisms in detail. Hopefully, you will see why I find her to be the best-written Pokémon companion.
She is tall, fair-skinned, and petite, with long blonde hair almost reaching her waist. She has blue eyes and wears a dark pink pork pie hat with white sunglasses resting on top. She wears a black tank top with a red skirt, thigh-high stockings, and black shoes with a red outline of a poke ball.
After the First Showcase
She cut her hair to a shoulder-length bob cut with layers and started wearing a pink fedora. Her attire changed as well; on top of her black tank top, Serena wears a white collared light pink dress with a blue ribbon on the chest and a red waistcoat on top. Her stockings are the same, but she wears brown over-ankle boots.
Her eyes in the games and manga are gray instead of blue, which seems to be a stylistic choice. Still, other than that and a few minor changes, Serena’s appearance is the same throughout the anime. The only times she changes her default attire is during showcases where she is always dressed up to dazzle.
The true essence of her character shines in her growth and how she changes her outlook on life to find a goal that she tries to achieve. Serena gets a lot of criticism for her early days, but that showcased the lack of purpose she possessed.
She did not want to follow in her mother’s footsteps, who was a famous Ryhorn racer. Still, whatever task she undertook, she gave up after failing once. This makes her unique since her personality throughout the show changes from someone unable to hold their own to someone persevering to achieve their goal along with their Pokémon.
Serena has a very caring personality and is attentive to others — helping her friends and Pokémon at a moment’s notice. When her Pokémon were insecure about the techniques, and she was unable to coordinate them, Serena lashed out but quickly realized her own mistakes and apologized.
Serena is always the first to ask Bonnie what’s wrong or Ash about how he’s feeling before challenging events. Even though her insecurities might back her into a corner, she always manages to get back into the game. The most significant endeavor she faced like this was when she lost her first showcase, but instead of quitting, she got back up and decided to train harder. Initially, she lacked drive but slowly cemented her resolve to never give up in the face of adversity.
The only person she shows some rebellion towards is her mother, but this shows the spark of energy she has and her strong relationship of trust with her mother. When selecting a beret, she couldn’t decide, so Serena asked her mother which was the cuter. She picked the one her mother didn’t choose because she was confident it would be more appealing.
Serena is fashionable, her clothing and accessories are always on point. She visited the boutiques in Lumiose City and made her Poké Vision video very stylish and colorful with a hint of elegance. Serena enjoys cute things and loves doing them with her Pokémon and friends.
In The Anime
Serena is great with Pokémon; not only is she a fantastic trainer, but she trained with her mother to be a Ryhorn racer.
This experience helped Serena gain control over and handle Pokémon under challenging terrains and during difficult situations like managing her Mamoswine through the Frost Cavern or using Ryhorn many times, for example, when chasing after team rocket or escaping thieves. Despite her excellent skills, Serena keeps her Pokémon team compact and filled with Pokémon. They have a passion for performing and want to help Serena achieve her goal.
Serena’s Delphox started her Kalos journey with her as a Fennekin, given to her by Professor Sycamore. She went through thick and thin with Serena participating in every event and helping Serena throughout her Journey. As Fennekin evolved, it started mimicking Serena’s personality and took pride in its appearance. Delphox is very protective of Serena and her friends and wishes to aid Serena in becoming the Kalos Queen.
- Hidden Power
- Mystical Fire
The first Pokémon Serena caught on her journey, her Pancham always had red sunglasses over its head. He was introduced as strong-willed, mischievous, and proud, crashing a Pokémon performance to get his own time in the spotlight.
Serena noticed that deep down; all Pancham wanted was to perform, allowing her to catch him. This led the way to both Pokémon and the trainer using each other to achieve their goal while strengthening the bond of friendship along the way.
- Stone Edge
- Dark Pulse
- Arm Thrust
- Ice Punch
Serena first caught an Eevee, who she found in the wild, a shy Pokémon who loved dancing without an audience. Anytime Serena tried to approach her, it ran away. Serena dazzled Evee with a fantastic performance, and she decided to join Serena in her journey.
While at the dance party hosted by Monsieur Pierre, Serena had to engage in a double battle during which her Eevee evolved into a Sylveon. The wins from competitions and battles gave it the much-needed confidence it required to perform better.
- Fairy Wind
- Double Team
- Quick Attack
In The Game
Serena in the Pokémon games is the alternate playable character; She functions as a good friend and rival to the main protagonist. Like in typical Pokémon fashion, Serena can be encountered at various junctions where she serves as a partner and an opponent as well.
- Type: Psychic
- Level: 66
- Moves: Fake Out, Psychic, Shadow Ball, and Disarming Voice
- Ability: Keen Eye
- Type: Fairy
- Level: 68
- Moves: Moonblast, Focus Blast, Meteor Mash, and Sing
- Ability: Magic Guard
- Type: Electric
- Level: 66
- Moves: Thunder, Double Kick, and Quick Attack.
- Ability: Volt Absorb
- Type: Dark
- Level: 68
- Moves: Night Slash, Swords Dance, Slash, and Quick Attack
- Ability: Super Luck
- Item: Absolute
Note: Starter Pokémon and Eveeloution change according to the player’s chosen starter.
- Type: Fire Blast
- Level: 70
- Moves: Fire Blast, Psychic, and Shadow Ball
- Ability: Blaze
- Type: Dragon and Flying
- Level: 67
- Moves: Dragon Pulse, Dazzling Gleam, and Confide
- Ability: Natural Cure
How to Defeat Serena in the Games
You will encounter your rival quite a few times in Pokémon X, and Y and her Pokémon will scale according to your progress in classic Pokémon fashion. The Pokémon she has will have a variety of types and moves. Her Pokémon are strong, and they can easily take you out if you’re careless. Not to mention, her Absol is capable of Mega Evolution.
I would recommend keeping a dragon and a fairy-type Pokémon since her Pokémon will have trouble against them. The Pokémon team is well balanced but isn’t protected against status-type moves, so Toxic might be a great move against Clefable, who can sing you to sleep. If you’re careful, defeating Serena shouldn’t be a problem, and you’ll be ready for the Elite four in no time.
Serena’s Story So Far
I know I haven’t touched on her relationship with Ash just yet, which is the talk of the town, but that is for good reason. I believe that her feelings for Ash are just a tiny part of what makes her who she is, and it’s not just a crush; the feelings go towards appreciating Ash’s unwavering attitude towards adversity and admiration for his resolve.
She met Ash for the first time at Professor Oak’s camp, where she was lost in the nearby forest with a knee injury. Ash helped her out and told her to never give up while using his handkerchief to cover her knee. I will talk about her relationship with Ash and the others but first, let’s see how she became such a well-loved character in the Pokémon anime.
Serena is the daughter of a famous Rhyhorn racer, Grace. She gives her lessons on the sport every day but doesn’t know what she wishes to accomplish in the future. Serena notices Ash on television trying to calm down a rampaging Garchomp. After setting out on her journey, Serena reaches Professor Sycamore’s lab, chooses her starter, and goes off on her journey.
She encounters Ash, Bonnie, and Clemont, and she tells Ash about their first encounter at Professor Oak’s camp. Still, Ash can’t recall it well, much to Serena’s disappointment. When Serena hands Ash his Handkerchief back, he recalls her to be the girl with the straw hat, and they begin their journey together. Serena sets out to try many things during this time because she is unsure of the path she will take in the future.
A Passion for the Arts
It all started with a Poke Vision video. Serena tried many things, but none of them seemed to stick; the Poke Vision – A video about showcasing Pokémon – was the first thing she took seriously and completed with her starter Pokémon Fennekin.
Serena encountered Shauna and her friends Tierno and Trevor, who had seen her video. After speaking with them, Serena decided she wished to participate in the Pokémon showcase and also caught a Pancham. She raced her mother on Skiddo to receive her blessing to become a performer and started getting ready for her debut.
Serena made her debut in Coumarine City. Although her technique and hard work showed her growth, it wasn’t good enough, and Serena lost her first showcase.
Change and Growth
The loss hit hard since this was the first time Serena worked hard and stuck to something in her life but still faced defeat. She didn’t let it keep her down.
Serena cut her hair, changed her look, and went off to train even harder. Thus began the point where she finally found a goal to pursue, to become the Kalos Queen. She worked hard, learned from her mistakes, overcame her anxiety, and won the next contest she entered, receiving a Princess Key.
She won the other contests she entered due to her hard work and determination. On her journey, she met a shy dancing Evee, and by captivating her with her performance, she managed to get her to join the team as well.
The Master Class begins, and Serena shows the culmination of what she strived for. She gives her all against her rivals Shauna and Jessie but gets her hand injured in the process. Instead of giving up, Serena decides to continue in the event seeing it to the very end, and this is one of the things she admires Ash for, never giving up. Even though she lost the final bout, her growth is undeniable.
The Journey Continues
We see a glimpse of Serena in “Pokémon Journey’s” that shows Serena is becoming a rising star in the Hoenn Region. She tied for first place with Lisia in a Master Rank competition and saw Ash while he was leaving, where they promised to keep cheering for each other.
Serena in the Manga
Serena is named Yvonne Gabena or Y in the typical Pokémon naming style in the manga series, and she’s being trained as a Sky Trainer instead of a Rhyhorn racer. Her mother is still Grace, who is a famous Rhyhorn racer. Y decided to take up Sky training because she did not want to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
The characters introduced in the manga are similar, but the journey is different; with all said and done, the personality of Serena or Y remains the same. Ash doesn’t exist in the manga series, but Y displays excellent acts of kindness and care throughout the story.
Y and her friends, in a turn of events, get stuck in a plot connected to the evil Team Flare and now it is up to them to stop them from rampaging across the region. She, along with her friends, manages to foil the plot set up by Team Flare and defeat Zygarde. After which, they all return to their lives, and Y continues her semester at the Sky Trainer School.
Her rebellious attitude and strong willpower are always appreciated, and she does her best to support her friends while following her dreams to become a Sky Trainer.
Notable Relationships (Mainly Anime)
Her Mother, Grace
Grace is a famous Rhyhorn rider and someone who used to force Serena out of her comfort zone. They have a very loving mother-daughter relationship. Serena acts rebellious towards her mother but cherishes her support. Her strong will can be seen as something she got from her mother.
Bonnie is Clemont’s sister and one of Ash’s companions. Her relationship with Bonnie is that of an older sister. Serena cares for Bonnie and looks after her. She cheers her up, looks after her, and even asks for her help when doing fun activities.
Clemont and Serena are good friends. They help set the meal table and take care of their Pokémon. Serena is constantly in awe when seeing Clemont’s creations but is always quick to back away before they inevitably explode.
This might be the most notable topic regarding Serena, the first official romantic interest of Ash Ketchum. Now I have discussed how she’s much more than that, but her feelings for Ash are a part of her character. Ash is Serena’s crush, and we can trace her feelings to when they first met at Professor Oak’s summer camp, where Ash rescued her as a kid.
She would stare in awe whenever Ash displayed strong emotion, but this wasn’t just because of her feelings; it was her admiration for Ash’s tenacity to keep moving forward. Her love for Ash can be seen frequently; she is the first to ask whenever something is up with Ash. Some people dislike these characteristics; others believe this is her only defining feature. TO THAT, I SAY, “NAY!”
Serena supports Ash and his endeavors; he is a big part of Serena’s growth, and she learned a lot on this journey with Ash. During her departure, she told Ash that she would be a fantastic lady for him when they meet again and kissed him.
Yes, the infamous kiss; I know I was shocked too, but I love sauce like this, so I am all for it. She went on her way to Hoenn, knowing that she and Ash would see each other again and they would always remain friends.
- Serena’s main catchphrase, which doesn’t get overwhelming like Dawn’s, is “Ta-Da!”
- Serena strongly fears the supernatural, including tricks done by ghost-type Pokémon. She would easily be spooked by anything scary.
- Serena is a skilled baker who bakes things frequently for her friends and Pokémon.
- She didn’t get her bike or herself electrocuted like Ash’s other female companions during their first encounter.
- She is the only companion to change their entire look in the mid-series.
Question: Why do so many fans criticize Serena?
Answer: As the Redditors in the community call it, ’tis the curse of being a Poke Girl. Every female companion has both supporters and criticizers; the most logical ones were those who called Serena a bit fluff, some call her a ratings pump (because of her crush on Ash), and others just call her generic. Of course, I’m afraid I have to disagree.
To get into details, Serena didn’t battle, differentiating between Pokémon contests and Pokémon performances showcasing her separate journey. The crush felt very natural, and as I’ve mentioned above, it’s not just the crush; it is admiration. She was the most relatable companion, even more than Misty, she didn’t have an intense personality nor a decisive goal, but that makes her so relatable and human.
Most Poke girls usually get criticized initially, but everyone slowly warms up to them. It’s the same with Serena as well, she gets a lot less flak now than she did originally, and I’m glad because I love her character.
Question: Will Serena ever join Ash again?
Answer: While the resurgence of Poke Girls as travel companions is unlikely, “Pokémon Journeys” did show a glimpse of Ash and Serena’s encounter. It was a treat to behold, even if it was very brief. I believe that the writers did an excellent job showing her relationship with Ash and their unspoken bond.
They didn’t make it awkward and dramatic; they kept it short and sweet, which is best for Pokémon. I hope that Serena returns for the Pokémon series, but, I’ll be honest, it’s unlikely that she’d ever travel with Ash again since her character has undergone extraordinary growth. I don’t know what the next steps for her will be, but I’m aching to find out and eagerly waiting to know what she does next.
Question: Why doesn’t Serena catch more Pokémon?
Answer: This has everything to do with Serena’s goals and motivation. Serena realized her passion for performing through hard work and failure. It was a long, harrowing journey for her to find her inspiration.
As such, she wants her Pokémon to be as passionate as she is about performance. Serena is a very caring girl, and she only caught the Pokémon she was sure loved to perform. She shares her motivations and goals with her Pokémon, who travel as a team. These leadership skills and loving attitude allow her to keep a small yet highly motivated Pokémon team for her performances.
Serena is the best-written travel companion of the Pokémon anime because her journey throughout the anime is constant.
Her personality is well written and does not stagnate. Now I understand that many criticize her development as slow in the early parts of the anime, but that’s because she was shown to be trying various things and then giving up on them until she finally finds a goal she wishes to achieve.
Slowly breaking away from her shell, moving away from her comfort zone, and fighting hard toward her goals are the things that make Serena who she is. Her character never shows any dullness, she stays true to who she is, and this is why I believe that she is the best-written companion in the anime.