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Character ages in Pokémon Games

RK9

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So this is something that I thought could maybe be an interesting discussion at how other people look at this after it was discussed shortly in the speculation thread.

As we know, in anime and game-related works, it's pretty hard to pinpoint someone's age. For PCs, it tends to be left ambiguous for you to fill in yourself, but we also have NPCs who's ages don't always get specified, unless stated in say interviews. Besides all of that, looking at artwork for example and the facial expressions it's also hard to say, since a lot of the times, it all looks the same, depending on the artstyle.

Which leaves in-game dialogue, events and achievements or word of god to decide, but ages of the characters, protagonists in particular, has always been something I've seen many discussion about on the internet, so I thought it would be fun what other people think of the ages and how they think or what clues they use to get to that age.

Starting off with the protagonists, I kind of think this:
Red: 11
Gold/Ethan: 12
May and Brendan: 12
Dawn and Lucas: 12
Hilda and Hilbert: Late 15, early 16
Nate and Rosa: Late 14, early 15
Serena and Calem: 17
Elio and Selene: 11

But then there's also stuff like the Gym Leaders, Champions and other important characters like Zinnia and recurring characters like Looker.

So what do you guys think the ages of certain characters are? Love to see how the opinions go beyond the ages of the protagonists.
 
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Brock is canonically fifteen in the anime, so that's how old I imagine him to be in Generation I.

Misty is harder to pinpoint, being canonically ten in the anime but twelve in The Electric Tale of Pikachu. Judging by her status as a Gym Leader, the way she speaks to Red on their first meeting (which is not indicative of recognizing him as her elder), and the fact that she's on a proper date with a boyfriend in Generation II three years later, I'd say twelve is the safer bet.

Lt. Surge states that Electric-type Pokémon saved his life during "the war". Which war is not specified—by 1996, the most recent one that the US would have participated in would have been the Gulf War five or six years earlier, if I'm not mistaken. He is also stated to have been a pilot, which requires around ten years of training according to a cursory Google search. The youngest age at which he could have joined the military would have been seventeen. With all that in mind, I estimate him to be no younger than thirty-two or thirty-three as of Generation I.

Daisy Oak is an odd case. Without going into excessive detail, given Professor Oak's stated age as of Generation IV, there's no realistic way Daisy could or should be more than two years older than Blue—and even that's pushing it. This would presumably make her thirteen as of Generation I, if Blue is the same age as Red.
 
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Well, it's been confirmed that Red was 11 in Gen 1, May and Brendan are 12, and the Alola protags are 11. As for the others, I'd say Ethan/Kris/Lyra are 11, Dawn and Lucas are 11-12, the Unova protags are 14-16 (the latter especially for Hilbert and Hilda, since 2 years passed when Nate and Rosa became trainers), and Calem and Serena are 14-16. At least that's how I see it.
 
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Well, it's been confirmed that Red was 11 in Gen 1, May and Brendan are 12, and the Alola protags are 11. As for the others, I'd say Ethan/Kris/Lyra are 11, Dawn and Lucas are 11-12, the Unova protags are 14-16 (the latter especially for Hilbert and Hilda, since 2 years passed when Nate and Rosa became trainers), and Calem and Serena are 14-16. At least that's how I see it.
Based on their heights, Ethan and Lyra (and presumably Kris as well) should be about eleven or twelve, Lucas should be ten or eleven, and Dawn should be ten. Don't take that as gospel, though.
I believe that N is around 16-17
N is confirmed to be eighteen-to-twenty in Black and White.
 

RK9

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I thought Serena and Calem were 16?
They are actually implied to be older.

Emma is 16 but at one point she adresses you in such a way that implies you are older than her.

Can't see it being much older tho so probably like 18-19-ish.
 
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I assume that Drayden is somewhere in the ballpark of 85-90. He's supposed to be extraordinarily fit for his age, and in B2W2, he tells Iris that Poké Balls didn't exist when he was a child. But I've always gotten the impression that crafting Apricorn Balls is a tradition that dates back at least a century, probably more. So in order to avoid Drayden being hundreds of years old (not that it isn't an interesting thought; I'm not strictly against characters having abnormal longevity, I just don't think his character really reflects that of a centuries-old man), I rationalize it this way: Apricorn Ball crafting was a little-known practice that remained pretty exclusively contained within the Johto region for the bulk of its existence. Circa the Pokémon world equivalent of 1925 - the date that the Daisuki Club apparently gives for the initial creation of Poké Balls - a Silph researcher studies the Apricorn Balls with his team and develops a modernized method of mass-producing them, albeit without the characteristic effects that the Apricorns provide. After about 10 years, this production method starts spreading to other regions, like Kalos (where it induces industrial melanism in the region's Foongus population - this also occurs in Unova, which receives shipments of Poké Balls via boat and plane, with excess from those shipments becoming scattered around the Mistralton/Driftveil area). By that point, Drayden is a young adult.
 
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Professor Oak isn't 50, I think of it as an in-universe typo and he is 60.

The PCs' age in my headcanon is 10 + their debut generation, except for the Alola kids who have 11, and the SWSH ones who would take the 17 spot.

The youngest gym leaders would be Tate & Liza at 14, and Iris at 15 but that's because they are some kind of geniuses or prodigies. I'd put the earliest age to be a gym leader at 16, with Blue and Cheren being the youngest followed by Brock, Misty, Bugsy and Clemont at 17. The anime forces us to see them as 10-12 year olds, but in real life they could pass as that age.

The requirement would be the same for the Elite Four, except in Alola.
 
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My personal calculations for Mina and the Kanto protagonists in LGPE:

According to Mina's LGPE concept art, she is between the ages of 13 and 15 in those games. We also know from a scene in Moon that Trial Captains must abdicate their positions when they turn 20, so Mina, being an active-duty Trial Captain, can be no older than 19 in the Alola games. (While we're at it, since we also know that you must complete the island challenge to become a Captain, and that you can embark on the challenge once you turn 11, that gives us a firm 11-19 ballpark for all active Trial Captain characters. I would imagine that Mallow and Kiawe are on the older end of that, as they both maintain other professions alongside their Captainship duties, while Sophocles is clearly younger, as I would say are Acerola and Lana. Ilima is probably somewhere in between.)

Considering how Mina is rendered in LGPE, being as tall as Chase/Elaine, and that the original Kanto protagonists are all taller than you and her, the implication I think is clear is that they are meant to be a little older than you, especially as they have all already gone on their respective journeys. And Red, at least, we know to have been 11 when he became a Pokémon Trainer.

The tricky part when it comes down to pinpointing the age of Red/Blue/Green in LGPE and the age of Mina in SM is figuring out where, relative to the conventional Pokémon timeline, LGPE fits in. We have always known that the Kanto and Hoenn narratives occur in close proximity, and then 3 years pass (by which point Red has turned 14) in time before the Johto and Sinnoh narratives. After that is a dubious gap until the events of Black & White, which are in turn followed by two consecutive 2-year passages between the events of B2W2/XY and the events of SM or USUM. I do not think it is necessary to squeeze LGPE into the 3-year gap between the original Kanto events and the original Johto events, since everything clearly unfolded a bit differently in the LGPE timeline. Red and Blue already went on a journey, but the Pokédex has only just now been invented as of Chase/Elaine's beginning, and they are the ones who go on to bust Team Rocket, which implies that Red and Blue had no significant prior dealings with the Rockets.

I think the simplest way to square this is to say that Red becomes a Pokémon Trainer in the same calendar year regardless of which timeline we're looking at - let's say 1996 as a pure hypothetical. In one timeline, he comes up against Team Rocket. And 3 years after that, in 1999, he battles Ethan at Mt. Silver. But in another timeline's 1996, he and Team Rocket never cross paths for whatever cosmic variable reason. This is the LGPE timeline, and in it, Team Rocket will only become more active later on down the line, well after Red has defeated the Indigo League and battled with Ethan, if Ethan existed. Ergo, Red will be older than 14 when that time comes. Similarly, Blue will take up control of the Viridian Gym at an older age than he did in the original timeline, because the impetus for him doing so simply didn't even occur until later in this timeline.

So the events of LGPE, in relation to the overall Pokémon timeline, probably take place closer to those of Black & White than to those of the Johto and Sinnoh games. Now, I tend to assume that the gap between Johto and BW is about 5 years (based on the manner of the foreign Rocket Grunt's child, although I do sometimes entertain the idea of longer stretches). But sticking with a 5-year estimation, and knowing that Mina can be no older than 19 in the Alola games, we can deduce that a 19-year-old Mina in SM would be 15 at the time of BW (as there are four cumulative years between that story and SM), about 10 at the time of Johto/Sinnoh, and 7 at the time of Kanto/Hoenn.

Meanwhile, Red, who was 11 during the Kanto story and 14 during the Johto story, would be approximately 19 during the first Unova story, 21 during the Kalos story and the second Unova story, and finally 23 during the Alola story. So now we can establish a cap - the only points at which Mina could be between 13-15 without being over 19 in SM would be as follows:

Kanto/Hoenn (1996) = Red 11, Mina 5/6/7
Interim Year 1 (1997) = Red 12, Mina 6/7/8
Interim Year 2 (1998) = Red 13, Mina 7/8/9
Johto/Sinnoh (1999) = Red 14, Mina 8/9/10
Interim Year 1 (2000) = Red 15, Mina 9/10/11
Interim Year 2 (2001) = Red 16, Mina 10/11/12
Interim Year 3 (2002) = Red 17, Mina 11/12/13
Interim Year 4 (2003) = Red 18, Mina 12/13/14
Unova 1 (2004) = Red 19, Mina 13/14/15
Interim Year 1 (2005) = Red 20, Mina 14/15/16
Unova 2/Kalos (2006) = Red 21, Mina 15/16/17
Interim Year 1 (2007) = Red 22, Mina 16/17/18
Alola (2008) = Red 23, Mina 17/18/19

Based on that timeline, the earliest point at which LGPE can take place would be two years prior to (2004), the calendar year of BW. Any earlier, and she would not be at least 13 as her concept art indicates. And without injecting more years into the Johto/Unova gap (which you could do, but for the sake of simplicity, I will not), the latest point at which it could take place would be in (2006), the calendar year of B2W2/XY. Any later than that, and she would be over 19 by the time of the Alola story and therefore no longer eligible to serve as a Captain.

Now, some particulars. We don't know when exactly Mina became a Trial Captain. It is possible (albeit less likely in my opinion) that she already is one by the time of LGPE. As I established in my first paragraph, you only need to be at least 11 in order to take on the island challenge, and once you have completed it, you can be appointed to serve as a Captain. However, I think it would be odd for her to take leave of her official post in order to go on a casual trip to Kanto. Sure - it is not completely out of the question, but still, it inclines me to think that she becomes a Captain after her stay in Kanto.

That being said, since she is already older than 11 in LGPE, I find it probable that she has already started (and maybe even completed) her island challenge, as she is clearly a skilled Pokémon Trainer even at that point. I would just assume that there is a gap in between her finishing her trial and her appointment as a Captain.

Something else potentially worth noting is that Poni Island, where Mina's home and eventual trial site are located, was without a kahuna for a few years, because the previous kahuna, Hapu's grandfather, died unexpectedly. We know from USUM that Nanu took up those responsibilities until Hapu was chosen by Tapu Fini to assume the role, but this does cause me to wonder if Mina was appointed by Hapu's grandfather and has been serving since then, or if she was chosen by Nanu acting in lieu of an actual Poni Island kahuna. A detail that I would point out is that in SM, Mina has not even decided what she wants her trial to be like yet. This suggests to me that she is a relatively new appointee, and also that she is very much not on the cusp of retirement, which makes her being 19 at that time seem a lot less likely to me. Therefore, the 17-18 range strikes me as being a lot more favorable for her age in SM. Looking at the timeline above, that really only leaves us with two options - either LGPE takes place during BW's calendar year (2004), or in the year before that (2003). Without inserting more years into the Johto/Unova gap, those are the only times are which she can match the age from her LGPE concept artwork while also being younger than 19 in SM. Of the two, I find it a little more comfortable to say that LGPE takes place in the year before the events of Black & White, because 19 feels just a touch too old to me for the Red and Blue that we meet in LGPE. It doesn't make a huge difference, but them being 18 feels more a little more fitting to me for some reason.
 
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Steven & Cynthia are probably both in their late twenties, judging by the fact that Stephen's father has not yet retired from the Devon Corporation & Cynthia's grandmother is still alive.

Victor & Gloria look to be around 16, while Chase & Elaine are nominally 10.
 
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Steven & Cynthia are probably both in their late twenties, judging by the fact that Stephen's father has not yet retired from the Devon Corporation & Cynthia's grandmother is still alive.
That is correct, at least as far as Steven goes. At one point in ORAS, the DexNav's news app says that he is 25.
 
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Steven & Cynthia are probably both in their late twenties, judging by the fact that Stephen's father has not yet retired from the Devon Corporation & Cynthia's grandmother is still alive.

Victor & Gloria look to be around 16, while Chase & Elaine are nominally 10.
I think that Victor and Gloria are younger than that, around about 12-14. I highly doubt Hop is any older than that.
 

RK9

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Steven & Cynthia are probably both in their late twenties, judging by the fact that Stephen's father has not yet retired from the Devon Corporation & Cynthia's grandmother is still alive.

Victor & Gloria look to be around 16, while Chase & Elaine are nominally 10.
Cynthia strikes me a bit more as early-mid twenties-ish.
 
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I'm not sure if I'm the only one but Norman always came off to me as being a fairly young dad? Given how kids go out around the age of 10 years old, I can see Norman being at least in his late twenties or at least early thirties especially with is revamped ORAS design and how youthful it is give credit towards that.
 
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I'm not sure if I'm the only one but Norman always came off to me as being a fairly young dad? Given how kids go out around the age of 10 years old, I can see Norman being at least in his late twenties or at least early thirties especially with is revamped ORAS design and how youthful it is give credit towards that.
According to the news channel in ORAS, Professor Birch is 35. Since he and Norman apparently knew each other from their school days, I'd assume Norman is around the same age. Early thirties makes sense.

Anime artstyles are always super vague with ages. I can't even accurately guess ages in real life either,

Also, a list of some other canon ages from ORAS:
  • Briney is 72 (Drake is apparently longtime friends with Briney, according to Masters, so we can probably assume the two are around the same age?)
  • Steven is 25, and his father is 52
  • Wally is 10
And off the top of my head, the only other time I've heard anything about age mentioned was in Platinum where Looker mentions that Cyrus is 27. Some Villa dialogue also implies Riley is older than he looks.
 
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And off the top of my head, the only other time I've heard anything about age mentioned was in Platinum where Looker mentions that Cyrus is 27. Some Villa dialogue also implies Riley is older than he looks.
Indeed, and off the top of my head, I remember Rowan saying he was 60. And Lusamine definitely said that she was over 40 in SM.

Oh and of course, AZ is over 3000. :p
 

RK9

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Indeed, and off the top of my head, I remember Rowan saying he was 60. And Lusamine definitely said that she was over 40 in SM.

Oh and of course, AZ is over 3000. :p
Well, to be fair, AZ got hit with immortality so I just assume/headcanon that the immortality also slows down the physical aging a lot.

Cause you know, at that age AZ should be a walking corpse, basically.
 
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