Red (French: Red, German: Rot, Italian: Rosso, Spanish: Rojo, Chinese 小紅Xiao Hong, Korean 레드Redeu, Hangul phonetic of Red) is the main playable character in the Generation I games and is the male choice in their Generation III remakes. In Generation III, his female counterpart is Leaf.
Red is a curious 11-year-old boy from Pallet Town in the beginning of his adventure. The Generation I instruction booklets explain that Red became interested in Pokémon after his best friend, Blue, stopped playing with him and became a bully. His adventure begins one day when Professor Oak calls the two of them to his lab and gives them a choice of Pokémon. Blue, of course, eager to outdo Red, challenges him to a match as soon as they get them. Later, Professor Oak calls the boys back and gives them a mission: to fulfil his dream of completing the Pokédex. Blue arrogantly states that Red isn't necessary, then the two each start their own adventure.
Red travels the whole of Kanto, filling in the Pokédex and defeating Gym Leaders to get the skills he needs to continue, though his rival Blue is constantly one step ahead, and shows up quite a few times to impede his progress. When Red eventually reaches the Elite Four, he finds that Blue has beaten him there yet again and has become the leaguechampion. Red defeats Blue in their final conflict, and becomes the champion himself, though he doesn't stay.
Red's main conflict in the games, aside from Blue, is Team Rocket, an infamous group of Pokémon thieves. Red clashes with Team Rocket at many times in his quest. He defeats a group of grunts at Mt. Moon who are attempting to steal rare Pokémon fossils, and defeats another group ahead at a bridge in Cerulean City. Red protects the Pokémon Tower and Mr. Fuji in Lavender Town and destroys their hold on the Game Corner. After he foils their plot to take over Silph Co., Red encounters Giovanni as the final Gym Leader back in Viridian City. Upon defeating him, Red stops the group's world domination plots once and for all, though a few remaining grunts, many who appeared and were defeated by Red on Chrono Island in Generation III, would try to band together in Johto to try and revive the group.
By the Generation II games, he is no longer the Champion and Lance has become one. Red is titled just Pokémon Trainer in this Generation, and it is debated whether or not he qualifies as a Pokémon Master. He trains constantly on Mt. Silver and doesn't say anything to any trainers he may come across. When Gold or Kris meets Red in Mt. Silver, Red has the highest leveled team an opponent has ever had in the series.
Ash Ketchum from the anime and The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga was designed based on Red. Furthermore, Ash's name comes from one of the optional names for Red. This has caused many fans to mistake Red for his anime counterpart. However, they are not the same and using one's name for the other is always a big mistake. There are also many fans that believe that the main hero from Pokémon Yellow game is Ash. This is also untrue. Yellow's protagonist is still Red but slightly redesigned to look more similar to Ash, much like the storyline was designed to be closer to the anime.
Another anime counterpart could be Ritchie, another character with a Pikachu, who some see as a "perfect" manifestation of Ash, and a more closely-designed character to the original Red.