In the games
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Reason: Kabu's biography.
Kabu is designated the third Gym Leader Galar Trainers face in their Gym Challenge. However, Kabu is also known to be the first real challenge in the Gym Challenge. Often, Trainers give up due to being unable to defeat him. Kabu was originally a Trainer from Hoenn who was invited to the Galar League. He is the current Leader of the Motostoke Gym. He lost the Gym position at one point but regained back several years later in glorious fashion. He made several attempts to becoming Champion but could never reach it. He attempted a no-holds-barred approach to winning his fights but was not satisfied with the results. He even dropped to the minor division of Galar League. However, after facing off against Leon, he regained faith in his potential. He also develops a more unrelentingly positive outlook on life as a result, battling to win with every intention with his Fire-type Pokémon.
This is a transcript of the back of Kabu's League Cards in Pokémon Sword and Shield.
- Normal League Card
- "Kabu is a Pokémon Trainer who was invited from the Hoenn region. There were a few times where he was very close to becoming Champion, but victory always seemed to elude him at the last moment. Because of this, he adopted a no-holds-barred approach to battling for a time, but even that did not bring the results he wanted. He even dropped to the minor division at one point, but after a fantastic battle with Leon, he regained faith in his own potential. His motto is to keep learning and training as long as he is alive."
- Rare League Card
- "Interview with Challenger Kabu
Q: How do you see your own battle style?
Kabu: "Just, straightforward, direct. I'm still young, so I try to keep things simple. Just burn as hot as I can, you know? Still, I've hit a bit of a losing streak, so I've tried incorporating Will-O-Wisp into my Pokémon's move set. That's one thing I want to tell everyone—experiment with every possibility of your Pokémon. Moves, Abilities, items... Try everything, and there's sure to be a path forward!"
Kabu keeps his Pokémon in Ultra Balls.
Max Raid Battle partner
Kabu teams up with the player, Hop, and Piers to face a Dynamax Torkoal in a Max Raid Battle.
Galarian Star Tournament
- Galar Mine No. 2
- "Thank you for helping out with my training, Team Yell! But I must say... it's unforgivable for you to get in the way of a Carkol hard at work!"
- "Cheering is one thing, but one shouldn't get in the way of honest work! "
- "Ah, you are the Trainers endorsed by Leon! Hop and <player>, am I right? I'm just training right up until the last moment so that I can guarantee the perfect match when I face you Gym Challengers! I specialize in Fire-type Pokémon, and the Water-type Pokémon in Galar Mine No. 2 are the perfect opponents to train against!"
- "Regardless, it's getting late. Just go straight once you get out of this mine, and you'll reach Motostoke. Get a good rest at the hotel, and make sure you're both in your top condition! Come on, Carkol. Time for you to head on home, too. I'll make sure you get there safely"
- "We're going to be on fire tomorrow!"
- Motostoke Stadium
- "Welcome! I am Kabu, the Fire-type Gym Leader. The fact that you are here means you've bested both Milo's Grass-type Pokémon and Nessa's Water-types, too. That's quite an accomplishment! Every Trainer and Pokémon trains hard in pursuit of victory. But that means your opponent is also working hard to win. In the end, the match is decided by which side is able to unleash their true potential."
- Upon sending out last Pokémon
- "Light that fire and get your mind moving, Kabu! There still must be a path to victory!"
- "Burn bright, Centiskorch. Let Gigantamax change your size and your form!"
- "Flame always burn upwards, and so we'll always aim to go higher. You understand, don't you?"
- "Great Pokémon and a great Trainer! It's no surprise that you won!"
- "I'm often regarded as the first real roadblock of the Gym Challenge, and yet you defeated me! Clearly, your talent surpassed my many years of experience. I still have much to learn!"
- "I know now that you and your Pokémon will become a fantastic team. I'm glad I could battle you today! Let me give you a Fire Badge as proof that you've defeated me!"
- "Thanks to the Dynamax phenomenon, our Pokémon battles have become part of the Galar region's culture. And it's the young Trainers who are responsible for keeping our culture alive. Of course, I hope that instead of just keeping it alive, you also help it become something better. We adults will be the pillars for you to build on."
- "There are many Trainers who never manage to gather three Gym Badges, and they just give up on the Gym Challenge altogether... So I make a point to see of any Trainers who are able to defeat me."
- "So, allow me to send you off with a proper, sporty chant!"
- "Hustle, hustle, hustle, Hop! You can do it, you can do it, <player>!"
- "The Gym Leaders you will face ahead are all tough opponents. But I believe that you will prevail! Believe in your Pokémon and keep pushing on!"
- Wyndon Stadium (Champion Cup Locker Room)
- "I'll always press on and challenge myself so that I can go on as a Pokémon Trainer for as long as possible. As long as you continue to push yourself, your brilliance will never fade."
- Motostoke Stadium (Sordward and Shielbert)
- "Champion <player>! And Piers and Hop, too!"
- "Of course I do! You two were red-hot, after all! I'll never forget seeing you off after you'd completed your first leg of the Gym Challenge."
- "Right! Actually...the situation's getting pretty bad over at the stadium."
- "Ah, brilliant! The opponent's a bit much to take on single-handedly, so I was wondering what to do. But with you all at my side, my confidence in this battle is burning brighter by the minute! Let's begin!"
- "Looks like we were able to extinguish things this time. I'll let this Pokémon rest here at Motostoke Stadium until it gets its energy back. And, <player>, should you have need of my help, please do not hesitate to ask."
- "Don't worry--I know... You all have more work that needs to be done, yes? Go forward, youths! I wish you well!"
- Wyndon Stadium (Champion Cup Rematch)
- "A tournament that ends when you lose! Whoever can keep up the heat will win!"
- "Good Pokémon and a great Trainer! It's no surprise that you won!"'
- "I really enjoy battling you. It's a great way for me to feel my own growth! And I plan to keep growing and battling, until I become an old coot that nobody can beat!"
- Isle of Armor Random Encounters
- "Champion <player>! Your passion for training must burn red-hot if it's led you all the way to the Isle of Armor!"
- "I've got to keep on running so I don't get left in your dust!"
- "Centiskorch's burning body's been known to start fires in grassy fields! When that happens, I douse it with water from a bottle I bring along!"
- "In forests, one tends to meet a lot of Grass and Bug types! Having a Fire type like Centiskorch along is a big help!"
- "What better for long training runs than a nice, long staircase? I've gone and gotten a tad carried away and done 100 laps, so I'm enjoying a nice break!"
- "This place is teeming with Water types—just like Galar Mine No. 2! What a great spot for training!"
- "Training in the water is very tough for my team! So I just do enough swimming for Centiskorch and me both!"
- "I met my Torkoal in the Potbottom Desert! Since its Ability changes the weather, I suggested to Raihan that he think about catching one. Turns out he took me up on it, so now we're Tor-colleagues!"
- "This type of calm weather is ideal for training! Hup, two, three, four!"
- During overcast conditions
- "Clouds may hide the sun, but they don't keep all its ultraviolet rays from getting through! That's why I like to wear a hat or some sun cream and stay well hydrated!"
- During rain or thunderstorms
- "Rain puts a damper on the power of my blazing moves. Best to send those rain clouds packing with Sunny Day or Max Flare!"
- "If you can't overcome a sandstorm, you're in for a tough time against Raihan! This is fine weather for concocting a strategy to counter him!"
- "You can meet different Pokémon depending on the weather! I wonder what species I'd run into in this fog?"
- Wyndon Stadium (Galarian Star Tournament)
- Partnering with Kabu
- In the locker room before the first round
- "<player>! You are both my partner and my rival in this contest! I will expend my strength as much as I am able to at your side--while learning from your example!"
- In the locker room before the second round
- "That last battle raged hotter than even flame. But we can't be reduced to ash just yet. We need to burn even brighter before it's over!"
- In the locker room before the last round
- "The flames of my strength... They have been fanned by your wind, Champion <player>! Having made it this far, there is nowhere left for us to go but the very top!"
- On the field before the first round battle
- "This is the very first match, and I can already sense that sparks are going to fly! Watch out for burns!"
- On the field before the second round battle
- "Hustle, hustle, hustle, <player>! You can do it, you can do it, Kabu! ...Sorry."
- On the field before the last round battle
- "We can win this! We can reach the top! We've got this, OK?"
- "A fine performance, <player>! We've claimed victory here together! I could almost combust with joy, and I'm already looking forward to our next match together!"
- "I would certainly like to live up to your high expectations, Nessa. Let me turn up the heat!"
- "I have a trick up my sleeves for taking on dragons. Don't get caught off guard, Raihan!"
In the anime
In the manga
Kabu in Pokémon Adventures
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
Kabu debuted in PASS03. He, along with various other Gym Leaders, was first seen reacting to the news that Leon had endorsed two Trainers for the Gym Challenge.
Later, Kabu faced Marnie, Bede, Sōdo, Shirudomiria, and Hop in Gym battles, but was defeated by all of them. After Hop's victory, Kabu, Milo, and Nessa personally congratulated him and Shirudomiria for completing the first three Galar Gyms.
In the TCG
- Kabu's uniform number is "187", which can be read in Japanese as goroawase for 火花 hibana, meaning "sparks".
- Kabu is the only Gym Leader in Galar to originally be from another region.
- Kabu is the only Gym Leader in Galar to have their English name the same as their Japanese name.
|| カブ Kabu
|| From 蕪 kabu (turnip), 兜 kabuto (a type of helmet), and 火 ka (fire)
| English, German,
|| From his Japanese name
|| From nabo (turnip)
|| 순무 Sunmu
|| From 순무 sunmu (turnip)
| Chinese (Mandarin)
|| 卡蕪 / 卡芜 Kǎwú
|| From the transcription of his Japanese name and 蕪菁 / 芜菁 wújīng / mòuhjīng
| Chinese (Cantonese)
|| 卡蕪 Kāmòuh