Pokémon-X is a sprite-based webcomic by Recon Dye that follows the adventures of Brendan, May and Wally around the region of Hoenn. The comic was based on the storyline of Ruby and Sapphire up until the appearance of Scott after the events in Slateport City's Oceanic Museum, when it set Pokémon Emerald as its base.
The first issue was published on June 2, 2003, and the most recent page was published in December 2013 (dated May 2010). Over this nine-year period, over 1000 pages have been published. The date of the most recent comic published does not match the actual date of publication; Recon Dye has stated that this is because he lists the date as the date he intended the comic to be published. The comic originally updated three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but school and other activities have lately caused Recon to update far more slowly than he intended. Pokémon-X is now over two years behind schedule, but the author is attempting to catch up as quickly as possible. Recon suffered an injury that slowed the catching up, and that injury makes it hard to sit at his computer. The comic itself had a long period between its last April 2011 update and the first comic published in May 2011 of no updates, but slowly Recon has been catching up. Currently the most recent update has been published between December 2015 to February 2016.
The comic is aimed at mature audiences due to its use of moderate language and mature situations. Recon Dye uses sprites from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald to make character sprites and wild Pokémon battles, and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team sprites for Pokémon during trainer battles (though he started off using the regular sprites from Ruby and Sapphire, along with a few custom sprites). He also uses custom sprites in rare instances.
It has been hinted that the titular "Pokémon-X" is a creature or an item.
The plot is largely the same as that of Emerald: a new boy in town saves a Pokémon professor from a wild Pokémon and is given a Pokémon as a reward. He meets the professor's child, strikes up a friendly rivalry, and travels around the region battling Gym Leaders. Along the way, a third child is met, and two rival, villainous teams battle for control of the region.
The main trio of characters travel to each location in the same order as in the games and with the same intents and purposes (deliver letter for Steven, take Wally to Verdanturf, etc.). The most recent chapter of the comic depicts the characters returning home after their latest encounter with Monty Zuma, who left the comic permanently to return to his home world.
There are, naturally, some key differences from the games. Each of the characters has a unique personality -- for example, Brendan seems dull and dim-witted at many points. Brendan and May travel together instead of separately as in the games, and Wally is also part of the group for much longer than he is during the games.
Brendan is based on the male playable character of Ruby and Sapphire. He has recently moved to Littleroot Town from Ecruteak, Johto. As such, he is familiar with the Pokémon native to his region, but not the species that inhabit his new home. However, neither May nor Wally are familiar with Pokémon from Johto, so they generally treat any mention of these as something that Brendan made up. After he uses Torchic to rescue Professor Birch from an angry Poochyena, Birch deems him worthy enough to travel the land and complete the Pokédex.
Brendan often acts fairly dim-witted, although he has knowledge about certain sciences like thermodynamics and can often say things of very high intelligence.
Brendan travels through Hoenn with Birch's daughter, May, and the sickly Wally. He competes for Badges at various Gyms along the way. While he is the hero of the story, he is driven by selfish desires and the promise of meager rewards. His primary motivation is to become rich and famous (with a couple of chicks on the side). However, he does seem to care about his Pokémon and has proven himself capable of devising useful strategies in battle. Brendan has been smitten with May since first seeing her topless in an early comic.
At the beginning of the comic, Brendan had developed a fear of tall grass due to the frequency of encounters with wild Pokémon. He usually traveled through patches of tall grass by running through it while screaming. During his travels, Brendan seems to have gotten over his fears somewhat, and he no longer has any problems with walking in tall grass. However, his old habit of running and screaming through tall grass was later adopted by Monty on his journey to get revenge on the group.
His Pokémon include, Rocky, a Poochyena (later Mightyena) that was infected with two strains of the Pokérus, making him shiny and giving him the ability to speak; and his starter, Torchic, which evolved into Combusken in the Dewford Town Gym. While Torchic was Brendan's first Pokémon, Rocky is his strongest Pokémon and best friend.
Brendan has developed a hatred for Geodude ever since he challenged the Rustboro City Gym, where every Trainer had at least one Geodude. He became angry with May when she caught a Geodude in Granite Cave and later battled him with it.
Brendan's surname is not given in any canon media; as such, "Richards" is an invention of Recon Dye's. He stated in a news post that he chose it because it is a fairly common name.
Of all the main characters, Brendan has owned the most Pokémon. Aside from Rocky (see below), these include:
Rotated on team
- Combusken: Received from Professor Birch as his starter Pokémon while still a Torchic. It evolved after battling a Trainer in the Dewford Gym. It sometimes acts as Brendan's HM slave, knowing both Cut and Rock Smash.
- Dustox: Captured as a Wurmple in the Petalburg Woods. It evolved into Cascoon after Brendan's first Double Battle. It evolved again after being given a Rare Candy.
- Hariyama (Makit): Received in a trade for his Slakoth while still a Makuhita. It evolved after defeating both of Victor Winstrate's Pokémon. As Brendan received Makit in a trade, it frequently disobeyed him until Brendan won his second badge. It is one of Brendan's strongest Pokémon, and has been used in every Gym battle.
- Golbat: Captured as a Zubat in the Granite Cave. It evolved after battling a rival Trainer's Wingull.
- Nosepass: Given by Steven Stone after protecting him from a pair of Team Magma grunts.
- Mawile: Captured by Wally in the Granite Cave. Received in a trade for his Oddish. It is notable for not having won a Single Battle against an opposing trainer.
- Torkoal: Captured on the Fiery Path. It used to be part of the same clan as Flannery's Torkoal.
- Machop: Caught by May on Route 112. Received in a trade for his Wingull. He says he wants to evolve it and give it to his mom because of an event early in the comic. Unfortunately for Brendan, this Machop is a female, and his mom wants a male.
- Pokémon Egg: Given by an old lady in Lavaridge Town.
- Illumise: Captured on Route 117.
- Ninjask: Evolved from Wally's Nincada. Received in a trade for his Roselia.
- Skitty: Captured on Route 116.
- Trapinch: Captured on Route 111.
- Abra: Captured in the Granite Cave after two failed attempts, due to Abra's Teleport.
- Magikarp: Captured while traveling on Mr. Briney's ship.
- Slakoth: Captured in the Petalburg Woods. Traded for Makit.
These are the Pokémon that Brendan owned in a dream he had shortly after defeating Flannery:
- Beefy: A blue mold Tauros found in Brendan's dream as a living Pokémon. Known as Brendan's little friend. Was the first object to disappear in Brendan's dream.
- Mr. Quackers: An oddly colored Psyduck that helped Brendan capture MissingNo.
- MissingNo.: A regular MissingNo. Caught by Brendan with the help of Mr. Quackers.
The fourth member of the traveling party is Rocky, Brendan's Mightyena.
Rocky was the Poochyena that terrorized Professor Birch at Route 101, and was later saved by Brendan at the top of Route 103. While recovering at a Pokémon Center, he was infected with two strains of the Pokérus thanks to Team Magma and Team Aqua. This gave him the ability to talk, above-average strength, and the ability to use Random, a move that behaves like a combination of Metronome and Mimic (it turns into a random move chosen from the entire move pool, until switched out, and changes again afterwards). Rocky also gained the coloration he would have had if he were shiny.
Like Ash's Pikachu, Rocky has an irrational fear of being inside a Poké Ball and would rather be covered in vomit than return to his Ball. Rocky also hates Wingull because of Peeko barfing on him on the way back from Dewford; he didn't like it much when Brendan caught a Wingull on Mr. Briney's ship after using him to battle it.
Rocky has even participated in battles while away from his Trainer. The first time this occurred was when he battled the Magma Grunts in Granite cave, but he also battled Vicki Winstrate on his own when she mistook him for a Trainer due to her poor eyesight. On both these occasions, Rocky compensated for the lack of his Trainer's commands by taking orders from an imaginary version of Brendan. However, the imaginary Brendan's orders often did not reflect reality, as he kept saying a different Pokémon's name, calling out moves Rocky didn't know, and even speaking in a different language. Despite these mishaps, Rocky managed to win both of these battles.
May is the daughter of Professor Birch, and she travels with Brendan so they can complete their Pokédexes. She is shown to be handy with technology, and manages to link the three Pokédexes of the traveling party so that they can achieve their goal easily. While doing so, May also hacked Brendan's and Wally's Pokédexes so that she gets the money they earn after winning battles with other Trainers. She dislikes Brendan's immaturity, and can be seen as the sensible leader of the group.
May usually tries to keep Brendan from challenging Gyms, but this usually fails since Gym Badges are generally required for what the group has to do. For example, when Brendan and May were headed back to Littleroot, they needed the Mauville Gym Badge in order to use Rock Smash to break the rocks in Rusturf Tunnel.
May's Pokémon include:
Rotated on team
- Marshtomp: Received from Professor Birch as her starter Pokémon while still a Mudkip. It evolved after battling a pair of Team Aqua grunts.
- Linoone: Given by Nurse Wrath while still a Zigzagoon. It evolved after battling another Zigzagoon in a double battle.
- Beautifly: Captured as a Wurmple in the Petalburg Woods. It evolved into Silcoon after May's first double battle. It later evolved again after battling a rival trainer's Makuhita.
- Aron: Captured in the Granite Cave.
- Geodude: Captured in the Granite Cave, much to Brendan's dismay.
- Sableye: Captured by Wally in the Granite Cave. Received in a trade for her Electrike.
- Pokémon Egg: Given by an old lady in Lavaridge Town. Wanted by Wally as it was a green egg, and as such, May promised to trade it to Wally if it hatched into a green Pokémon.
- Whismur: Captured after saving it from the Rusturf Tunnel because it was seriously injured.
- Oddish: Captured on Route 110.
- Volbeat: Captured on Route 117.
- Skitty: Captured on Route 116.
- Wingull: Captured by Brendan while traveling on Mr. Briney's ship, after it attacked Rocky. He caught it much to Rocky's dismay. It was used in his Gym battle against Wattson, but was quickly defeated due to its type disadvantage. Received in a trade for her Machop.
- Cacnea: Captured on Route 111.
- Spinda: Captured on Route 113. However, it was revealed to be the queen of the other Spinda on Route 113, so May released it soon afterwards.
Wally was first encountered in Petalburg City similar to events in the games. While he is frail and sickly, this is mostly because his mother constantly believes he is sick and/or dying. He travels with May and Brendan so that he can get to Verdanturf Town where the air is clearer and healthier (and his mother isn't around).
After finally arriving in Verdanturf, Brendan, May, and Rocky left him there with his relatives. They later met up with him again in Mauville City, at which point he decided to continue traveling with them.
In one of Wally's flashbacks (which May and Brendan didn't really listen to), he revealed that he had almost drowned after falling overboard while on Mr. Briney's ship; he was apparently rescued by a green Pokémon. The incident has left him prone to extreme bouts of seasickness.
Wally has an obsession with the color green and any Pokémon that have green on them, such as Nincada. This leads to considerable frustration should one of his Pokémon evolve into something that does not have green on it (as was the case with his Nincada).
At some points, Wally acts like he is possessed. His eyes glow and refers to other people as if they where not even the same species as himself, calling them mere mortals, etc.
His starter Pokémon, given to him by May, was a Treecko that was originally meant for Monty. It later evolved into Grovyle while he was searching for Oddish on Route 110. However, the first Pokémon Wally caught was a Ralts (which, like in the games, Brendan helped him catch); it has since evolved into Kirlia.
Wally's Pokémon include:
Rotated on team
- Kirlia: His first Pokémon, captured with the help of Norman's Zigzagoon. It evolved after battling Vivi Winstrate's Numel.
- Grovyle: Given by May as his starter Pokémon while still a Treecko. It evolved after battling a wild Zigzagoon.
- Shroomish: Captured in the Petalburg Woods. It was taught Flash by Wally so it could help navigate through the Granite Cave.
- Shedinja: Captured as a Nincada on Route 116. It evolved after battling a rival trainer's Doduo.
- Gulpin: Captured on Route 110.
- Electrike: Captured by May on Route 110. Received in a trade for his Sableye.
- Pokémon Egg: Given by an old lady in Lavaridge Town.
- Oddish: Captured by Brendan on Route 110. Received in a trade for his Mawile.
- Roselia: Captured by Brendan on Route 117. Received in a trade for his Ninjask.
- Lombre: Captured on Route 114.
- Numel: Captured on the Fiery Path.
- Grimer: Captured on the Fiery Path. He caught it in case he want to trade with Brendan or May for their green Pokémon.
- Slugma: Captured on the Fiery Path. He caught it in case he want to trade with Brendan or May for their green Pokémon.
- Koffing: Captured on the Fiery Path. He caught it in case he want to trade with Brendan or May for their green Pokémon.
- Sandshrew: Captured on Route 113.
Recon claims he is the author in human form. As the author, he has god-like powers within the comic strip, which he will occasionally use at the expense of others. He is usually the main character of special event strips and has many jobs, such as a truck driver and a repairman. He is also Wally's doctor, and when he told Wally's mom that Wally had an underdeveloped nervous system, she started overreacting and saying that Wally was going to die, no matter how many times Recon told her it wasn't fatal. When Wally grew sicker, Recon knew that it was because of his psychotic mother and developed a plan to get Wally far away from Littleroot Town.
An original character named Monty Zuma was originally intended to be the Trainer of the third starter Pokémon. He has a somewhat stalker-esque relationship with May, which is why she gave Treecko to Wally and manipulated Monty into becoming Professor Birch's assistant. Monty learned about this when he watched a TV reporter's interview with Brendan, which caused him to set out from Littleroot Town to seek revenge on both May and Brendan. May also attempted to turn Wally against Monty by telling him that Monty hates green, which is not the case. However, Monty's favorite shade of green is different enough from Wally's favorite that Wally dislikes him anyways.
While preparing to exact revenge on Brendan and May, Monty stole four Pokémon from Professor Birch and registered them under his own Trainer ID. However, he mistook Brendan's fear of tall grass for an intense training technique; since Monty inadvertently avoided participating in many battles on his travels, all four of his Pokémon (Zigzagoon, Wurmple, Poochyena, and Taillow) are extremely weak.
When he finally caught up to the main characters, Monty began engaging them in battle one by one while healing at the Pokémon Center between fights. However, both Wally's Grovyle and May's Marshtomp were able to single-handedly defeat Monty's entire team. Despite these losses, Monty still acted as if he had won the battles; presumably, he had lost his grip on reality. When Monty sought to continue his actions, Brendan declined his challenge by punching him in the face, which momentarily stunned him.
Soon after Monty's introduction, Recon Dye expressed regrets over the character's creation. As a result, the 999th comic revealed that Monty is actually from another planet. After this revelation, Monty warped away to return to his home planet; Recon Dye later stated that he died on the way back and will not be appearing in Pokémon-X again.
Professor Birch, his assistants (specifically one named Igor), Mr. Briney, Steven Stone, Scott, Brendan's parents, and Wally's family have all appeared in the comic. The first five Gym Leaders have also appeared in their traditional roles. Team Aqua and Team Magma take antagonistic roles similar to their appearances in the Emerald Version.
A character named Jim Gui is based on the unnamed character seen in every Gym that gives advice to the player. He prefers to be called "Gym Guy".
Much of the humor in Pokémon-X is derived from discrepancies or otherwise unexplained events in Ruby and Sapphire, and other Pokémon games. Most of the time when Brendan mentions Johto or any of its native Pokémon that aren't in the Hoenn Pokédex, May, Wally, and most other characters seem confused and appear to have not have heard of them (emphasizing the incompatibility between Generations II and III). Pokémon-X also explains what happens to fainted Pokémon and who places the hidden items on routes, both times at Brendan's expense. Brendan is also known to hold a newly obtained item in the air while it glows brightly (much to the dismay of anyone looking in his direction at the time); a mysterious, disembodied voice then states the name of the item, much like in The Legend of Zelda. Brendan is completely oblivious of these events.
The humor also seems to highlight things within the game, such as the misspelling of Mawile's name in its Ruby Pokédex entry. This was shown after Wally's encounter with a Mawile in Granite Cave, when Brendan checks out the Pokémon's entry with his own Pokédex.
- Recon Dye's ex-girlfriend, BAM, would sometimes draw guest strips.
- On November 3, 2006, Recon published a comic where, using different environments and overworld people sprites from Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, he recreated several scenes of the TV series Lost, which he described as "a show [he] like[s] to watch".
- While Brendan and May were bidding farewell to Wally upon arriving in Verdanturf Town, an unknown character sang The Time Has Come (Pikachu's Goodbye) in the background.
- The ending of the storyline "Monty Zuma's Revenge" is a reference to episode 14 of The Simpsons season 8, where the makers of Itchy and Scratchy find a quick way to get rid of Poochie.