Many Pokemon fans regard Gen 1 as the best in the series. Not only was it where most people began their journeys with the franchise, but it also gave us characters that are iconic to this day, most notably of which is the mascot Pikachu. Even Game Freak has caught on to the love for this generation, as Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee were solely focused on them.
With 151 beloved creatures to catch in the Kanto Region, we're looking at the 10 best from Gen 1. This has little to do with their viability, but more to do with their designs and overall significance to the franchise.
Pikachu was guaranteed to be on this list. It's adorable, yellow, and just plain cool. There was a reason it was chosen to be the series' mascot. Just about everyone in the world knows who Pikachu is, and it's easy to see why it's so popular. Pikachu's design is one of the best from the generation, being simple yet different enough to communicate what the world of Pokemon is all about.
Pikachu has since been used in the anime, all sorts of games, and was featured in plenty of spin-offs like Pokken Tournament and Super Smash Bros Ultimate. The love for Pikachu will never die.
Arguably the most popular choice out of the three Kanto starters was Charmander. The reason for this is that people were rewarded for training a Charmander with a gnarly Charizard, representing a menacing dragon. Charizard has since remained one of the most popular Pokemon in the series.
Not only was it the only evolved Kanto starter that Ash had in the anime (and the only one to consistently reappear), but it was also chosen to get two Mega Evolutions and appeared in three entries in Super Smash Bros. as a playable fighter. Even when Pokemon Trainer was gone, Charizard stayed in the game.
Eevee is an interesting Pokemon. While most evolution paths in Gen 1 were linear, players had three choices with Eevee in the form of Flareon, Vaporeon, and Jolteon. This versatility made it a desired Pokemon. On top of that, Eevee also had a cute design that made it a favorite among fans and the prime choice to serve as a counterpart to Pikachu, helping set new records for the Switch.
Eevee has only been gifted more evolutions as the series has expanded, having a total of eight different evolutions as of Gen VI. Eevee might not be quite as popular as Pikachu, but there's no denying that it has made its own impact on the franchise.
When it comes to the unevolved starter forms, it's difficult to argue with the charm of Squirtle. This adorable turtle has everything you'd want in a basic Pokemon. It's cute without being too funny-looking, it's cool without feeling overdesigned, and it will evolve into one of the best Pokemon in the generation.
Squirtle was often chosen the second most out of the three starters, but that's not to say that it hasn't left its own impact on the franchise. When it comes to water Pokemon, Squirtle is still one of the most popular. This is helped by the fact that Squirtle and its evolutions made it into a few spin-off titles as playable characters.
No one caught a Magikarp because they loved it. Everyone caught a Magikarp because they wanted to raise it to level 20 and use a Gyarados. Gyarados is a fiersome and powerful Pokemon, but the fact that it evolves from something so potentially useless is why it remains so memorable.
Gyarados didn't become competitively viable until receiving a Mega Evolution in Gen VI, but it remained a popular Pokemon nonetheless. Its sheer size and angry appearance were more than enough for people to become familiar with it. It was also the only Pokemon to resemble a sea monster so vividly, making it stand out.
The first ghost-type in the Pokemon franchise certainly deserved a spot on the list. Gengar is just about as iconic as a ghost Pokemon can get without stepping on Pikachu's toes. Created as a direct answer to the powerful psychic types, Gengar was a powerful and speedy Pokemon who would later have a serious impact on the meta when it received a Mega Evolution in Gen VI.
Gengar's design is simple yet effective. A bonus is that it somehow mirrors Clefable's design, which led to a lot of interesting theories about a connection between the two species. There's a lot to Gengar.
It's difficult to separate these three birds because of how connected they are in the Kanto Region. Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres were the original legendary trio in the franchise, and they get a lot of love for that. These three would appear in numerous other games that took place outside of the Kanto Region, like Pokemon X and Y.
They were often the first legendary Pokemon that players would go after, searching in icy caves and old power plants just to get their hands on a powerful Pokemon for their team. They were all based on mythical birds, and they featured some of the best designs from that generation.
There was no denying Mewtwo was getting a spot on this list. Of all the legendary Pokemon ever made, Mewtwo remains one of the most popular and remembered. Partially due to its antagonistic role in the first movie as well as its status as the strongest Pokemon in Red/Blue.
Mewtwo fought and looked like no other Pokemon from Gen I, and people went nuts trying to add it to their team. Mewtwo has since appeared in many other Pokemon games and was the only other Pokemon to be rewarded with two Mega Evolutions that are both competitively viable.
Scyther didn't have a big impact on the Pokemon series, but its design alone made it worth a spot on the list. Scyther was loosely based on a praying mantis, and Game Freak took a lot of creative liberty with the design. It's imposing, cool, and looks surprisingly threatening.
Considering most of the bug-type Pokemon at the time were either cute or just anime versions of real-world insects, Scyther was a welcome change of pace. Scyther would later gain an evolution in Gen II in the form of Scizor, who would later be given a Mega Evolution in Gen VI.
We have to give the only dragon-type Pokemon species from Gen I a spot on this list too. While Dragonite is the one that most often appears in battle, Dragonair benefits from having a much more interesting design. While it's based on a serpent similar to Gyarados, Dragonair is much more slender and elegant.
It shows off the mythical nature of dragons while not being so overdesigned (it's also hard to catch). It's simple, sleek, and beautiful. It's unfortunate that its evolution didn't reflect any of that. Dragonite is cool in its own way, but something closer to Dragonair would've been preferred.