Pokemon: Why Giovanni Hardly Uses His Beloved Persian in Battle

Giovanni is hardly ever seen without his prized Persian. By why doesn't he use this Pokémon in battle?

In the world of Pokémon, there are many iconic pairings. And while Ash and Pikachu sit at the top of the list, Giovanni and Persian come a close second. The imposing duo is one of the most iconic sights in the entire franchise. However, despite this fame, Giovanni’s Persian rarely gets used in battle. Giovanni’s Persian holds a strange franchise record. While the creature was first introduced in the 15th episode of the anime, “Battle Aboard the St. Anne,” it wasn’t seen performing moves until “Meloetta and the Undersea Temple!” This was the 753rd episode, meaning that Persian didn’t use an ability for 738 episodes. But why does Giovanni so rarely battle with this Pokémon?

From a production standpoint, the answer is obvious. As the leader of Team Rocket, Giovanni rarely gets into on-screen battles, preferring to work from the shadows, ordering his minions to do the actual dirty work. Thus, Persian exists less as an active Pokémon and more as a pet that allows the writers to reference popular James Bond villain Ernst Blofeld, who was often seen stroking a white cat in his various big-screen appearances. It also allows Giovanni and Persian to act as a dark counterpoint to Ash and Pikachu.

However, the in-universe answer gives us a deeper look at Giovanni’s character. How I Became A Pokémon Card manga, a series that told the backstory behind the artwork on Pokémon trading cards explains how the pair met. One of the manga’s stories follows a young boy who rescues and befriends a Persian. The end of the story features a flash forward to the boy as a teen, revealing that he is Giovanni. This means that Giovanni has a deep, long-term connection with Persian, which explains why he rarely, if ever, uses it in battle.

This is further explored in the Pokémon Zensho manga, which shows that Giovanni had other Pokémon as a child. These Pokémon included a Machamp and a Nidoking that Giovanni apparently loved dearly. However, these Pokémon died, and this loss turned Giovanni into the bitter and evil person he is. Because of this, it makes sense why Giovanni wouldn’t send Persian into battle, as he doesn’t want to risk losing his last childhood Pokémon, unable to handle the thought of going through that type of loss again.

Also, while the anime focuses on Pokémon used in battle, the franchise regularly shows that many people use their Pokémon for other things. Pokémon are seen working in the construction and farming industries, and every Pokémon center has a Chansey working as a medical assistant. This suggests that most Pokémon are used in this way. And, while Pokémon battles are a common and popular thing, outside of the trainer subculture, most people simply get a Pokémon for companionship and general help, rather than keeping it exclusively for battle.

Giovanni’s relationship with his Persian is fascinating as it adds depth to the character, setting him apart from other evil villains. Giovanni’s connection with Persian shows that he’s not pure evil and that, like any other person, he has human emotions and relationships, even if these emotions are slightly warped. It also shows that Pokémon can mean many things to many people, and they are not just weapons that can be mindlessly thrown at an opponent.

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