- Cosplay redirects here. For the Pikachu that can be dressed in different costumes, see Cosplay Pikachu.
In the games
In Red and Blue, cosplay is referenced by a PokéManiac in Rock Tunnel. The PokéManiac asks if Red has heard of costume players. After defeat, he explains that costume players dress up as Pokémon for fun.
Since their introduction in Generation II, male Pokéfans have been accompanied with their children who are dressed up like Pikachu or Pichu. In Generation IV, these cosplaying children can also be found on their own, called Poké Kids.
The Colosseum Leaders in Pokémon Battle Revolution all cosplay as Pokémon. Taylor is dressed as Pachirisu, Marina is dressed as Kyogre, Rosie is dressed as Roserade, Voldon is dressed as Electivire, Terrell is dressed as Groudon, and Dusty is dressed as Lucario. All of these costumes can be Shiny and both forms are available for players as well.
In Pokémon Conquest, most of the outfits worn by Warlords, and some of those worn by regular Warriors, incorporate elements of Pokémon designs. Many Rank II Warlord designs could qualify as cosplay, such as those of Aya, Kotarō, and Muneshige.
In the anime
In the Who's That Pokémon? for the Japanese version of The Bug Stops Here, Jessie turns out to be the subject, cosplaying as a Venomoth. In the Japanese episodes, Who's That Pokémon? is called Dare da?, or Who is it?, so when the "Pokémon" is revealed and the narrator says "Venomoth", the children shout "Wrong!"
Nicholai is well-known for his cosplaying. He wears the costume of any Pokémon he sends out into battle or of whatever Pokémon he might be trying to catch. He has been seen wearing costumes of Mudkip, Zigzagoon, Gligar, Tentacruel, Bellossom, and Zangoose.
Harley wore clothing that is based on his Cacturne.
Ash, Dawn, and Brock entered the Pokémon Dress-Up Contest in All Dressed Up with Somewhere to Go. In this contest, however, it was their Pokémon which cosplayed, not themselves, though Rhonda, Officer Jenny, and Nurse Joy were respectively dressed up as Cherrim, Growlithe, and Chansey. Ash entered Pikachu, who did many impressions of other Pokémon. Dawn entered her Piplup as a Weedle, but lost when he broke character and used a Bubble Beam. The winner of the contest was Brock and his Croagunk, who dressed up as a Politoed and continued his impression of one throughout the entire episode.
In The Mighty Accelguard to the Rescue!, Charles (as the Mighty Accelguard) has a costume based on Accelgor, Dr. Ferrara (as Cryogonal Man) wears a Cryogonal mask, and Dr. Ferrara's henchmen both wear costumes based on Vanillite.
In Climbing the Tower of Success!, a portion of the Wishing Bell Festival contest required those who made it through to the round to dress up. The Trainer had to dress up as important Unova figure while their Pokémon dressed up as the Pokémon used by the figure. Ash, Iris, and Stephan dressed up as Alder, Professor Juniper, and Nurse Joy, respectively. Ash's Pikachu, Iris's Axew, and Stephan's Sawk in turn dressed up as Bouffalant, Darumaka, and Audino, respectively. Ricky was to dress up as Officer Jenny while his Elgyem was to dress up as Herdier but Elgyem used its Psychic powers to manipulate Miles's mind into thinking they were dressed up. Lastly, Cilan dressed up as Elesa and Pansage dressed up as Emolga. However, they did not pass to the next round because Cilan could not remember his lines.
There were multiple cosplays during the Gourgeist Festival in A Festival Trade! A Festival Farewell?, including: Ash as a Snorlax, Ash's Pikachu as a Psyduck, Serena as a Red Flower Florges, Clemont as a Watchog, Bonnie as a Ludicolo, Clemont's Dedenne as a Corphish, Clemont's Chespin as a Pikachu, Jessie as a Mismagius, James as a Gourgeist, Meowth as a Banette, Jessie's Wobbuffet as a Sawk and James's Inkay as a Pikachu.
James in a Moltres costume
In the manga
While cosplay doesn't officially appear in most Pokémon manga, there is a technique based on Pokémon cosplay in the Pokémon RéBURST manga called Burst. Unlike usual Pokémon cosplay, the Burst techniques are used for battle purposes.
Pokémon Newspaper Strip
In the fandom
Like most anime, manga, and video game fandoms, cosplay is common within the Pokémon fandom. Most fans will dress up as human characters from the games and anime such as Ash, Team Rocket, female generational protagonists Misty, May, or Dawn, Officer Jenny, or Nurse Joy. Many females crossplay as either Ash or James because of their youthful male looks, commonly known in Japan as bishōnen, or "bishie" for short in English. Still, it is far from unheard of for fans to dress up in costumes of their favorite Pokémon species, especially if it is in the kigurumi or gijinka style of cosplay. Kigurumi is basically a hooded coverall pajama jumpsuit disguise of a character like Pikachu, while a gijinka (also called "moe anthropomorphism") is a human form of a species. Because of the popularity of Pikachu as the mascot of the Pokémon franchise, many young women dress in a Sweet Lolita style of dress at conventions.