The Red Gyarados (Japanese: あかいギャラドスRed Gyarados) is a term used to refer to a Gyarados that is Shiny, which is red rather than its usual blue. According to the anime, this is due to the forced evolution; the Magikarp it evolves from retains its red color, having no time to change its scale color to blue. Unlike most Shiny Pokémon, the red Gyarados's existence is canon in that it is encountered as part of an event in the Generation II games and their remakes.
In the games
Encountering the Red Gyarados in HeartGold and SoulSilver
While the easiest and most common way to obtain a red Gyarados is at the Lake of Rage in Generations II or IV, any Shiny Gyarados will be red, no matter how it is encountered, through evolution of a gold Magikarp or by encountering it with the normal 1/8192 odds. This is the only possible way to get a red Gyarados outside of the Johto-based games without trading.
The red Gyarados debuted in Talkin' 'Bout an Evolution, where it leaped out of the Lake of Rage and fired a Hydro Pump at Ash and his friends. However, the attack did not hit them. Later, during a Team Rocket plot, Tyson assigned Jessie, James and Meowth to capture the red Gyarados. They successfully found the Gyarados and lured it to the surface where the other Team Rocket members caught it in a net. Ash and the group came by and unsuccessfully stopped Team Rocket from getting away with Gyarados, and they too got captured by Team Rocket. Professor Sebastian explained to them that the red Gyarados was forcibly evolved from a normal-colored Magikarp. Since it didn't have time to officially complete the evolution, the coloration of the Pokémon ended up staying red instead of turning blue.
During Rage of Innocence, after Team Rocket's success in catching the red Gyarados, they decided to do some research on it. Meanwhile, Lance found out that the Evolution Inducement Ray was the cause of all the unevolved Pokémon growing tired. He then destroyed its source with the help of his Dragonite's Hyper Beam. After the machine was destroyed, all of the side effects it caused disappeared. No longer affected by the ray, the red Gyarados began to go on a rampage. It then escaped from the helicopters Team Rocket was carrying it in and dove into the water below. The red Gyarados continued its rampage, destroying everything in sight with Hyper Beam. Ash tried to stop it from going berserk, but it had no effect, making Gyarados retaliate with Hydro Pump. The Team Rocket grunts tried catching it with another net. This time, Ash sent out Bayleef to cut the net with Razor Leaf. Just when the grunts were defeated, the Team Rocket trio arrived and shot a different net at the red Gyarados. Gyarados broke free from the net and went on another rampage, moving towards the river in Mahogany Town. Pryce stopped the Atrocious Pokémon from going any further by having his Dewgong use Ice Beam on the river. Lance, after defeating Tyson, battled the red Gyarados with his Dragonite in order for it to calm down. Lance successfully did so and caught the red Gyarados.
The Red Gyarados reappeared in a flashback in Beauty is Skin Deep, when Ash and his friends told Clair about what happened in Mahogany Town.
The Red Gyarados appeared in Marina's scrapbook and fantasy, along with its Trainer and his Dragonite. However, instead of red, the color of the Pokémon in The Legend of Thunder! was the regular blue. This may have been because the original airing of Talkin' 'Bout an Evolution in Japan was after The Legend of Thunder! had already aired. This may also mean that Lance also possesses another, normally-colored Gyarados.
Prior to Lance capturing the red Gyarados, the red Gyarados had a bad temper towards people. It became worse after the machine forcing Pokémon to evolve got destroyed. Because of the increased rage, the Gyarados easily broke out of the prisons Team Rocket held it in. After Lance caught the red Gyarados, it calmed down. During the Advanced Generation series, the red Gyarados got along with people and worked with Ash's friends to help them out during the fight with Groudon and Kyogre.
The red Gyarados made two brief appearances in The Lake of Rage. It was first shown being battled by Lance and his Dragonite in a flashback, its appearance being what inspired Lance to investigate the Team Rocket HQ. Later, after Team Rocket's radio wave generator had been destroyed, Lance witnessed the red Gyarados calming down and diving back into the depths of the lake.
This red Gyarados was shown to be the leader of a group of Gyarados. When Team Rocket used the Goldenrod City Radio Tower to disturb Pokémon with their evolution-inducing waves, these Gyarados went crazy. At the end he was caught by Silver with Gold's aid. After a battle with the Masked Man where even his Hyper Beam attack was futile, this Gyarados was frozen and remained at the bottom of Lake of Rage until Lt. Surge discovered him. Gyarados was able to free himself and Lt. Surge acquired and returned him to Silver following a brief battle between the former Team Rocket triad and himself.
In the Pocket Monsters HGSS Jō's Big Adventure manga
The Red Gyarados in Jō's Big Adventure
Ariana and Petrel were responsible for the appearance of the red Gyarados, which went on a rampage; Jō attempted to stop it by battling it with his Totodile. When Gyarados got tired, Jō tried feeding it some Berries, but Gyarados was still angry. Later, when Jō and Lance were in a Double Battle against Ariana and Petrel, the red Gyarados returned to assist them. Jō fed it another berry and managed to win it over. It joined Jō's side and took over for Totodile. During the battle, it finished Ariana's Gloom off with Twister.
The red Gyarados has served as the basis for three cards in the TCG, each known by different names. The following is a list of cards based on the red Gyarados.
Red Gyarados Cards listed with a blue background are only legal to use in the current Expanded format. Cards listed with a silver background are legal to use in both the current Standard and Expanded formats.