Wobbuffet is a tall, cyan Pokémon with a soft body. Its eyes usually appear scrunched, and it has a jagged upper lip. The female Wobbuffet has a red marking on its mouth that resembles lipstick, while the male does not. It has flat arms that are wider towards the tip and four stubby legs at the base of its body. There are two eyespots on its black tail. Its eyespots are revealed to be capable of blinking and looking around using its tail in the Pokémon Stadium series. Wobbuffet is very protective of its tail, to the point where it will suddenly turn uncharacteristically aggressive if the tail is attacked.
Wobbuffet is usually a docile Pokémon that will never attack first. However, when it is attacked, it will inflate its body and initiate a counter-strike. When two or more of this Pokémon meet, they will attempt to outlast each other in a battle of endurance. However, since neither is able to attack, they may compete to see which can last without food. Because of its overprotective nature regarding its tail and hatred of light, Wobbuffet lives in dark caves.
Jessie has a Wobbuffet that frequently emerges from his Poké Ball to shout his name or cause what Jessie considers to be trouble. Ever since she accidentally traded her Lickitung for him in Tricks of the Trade, he has appeared in almost every episode in the overall anime, excluding most of Pokémon the Series: Black & White. She rarely uses Wobbuffet in battle, but when she does, the results are generally good. On the other hand, Jessie's few attempts at using Wobbuffet in Contests have all had negative results.
During Pokémon the Series: Black & White, Wobbuffet was left at Team Rocket's headquarters prior to Jessie, James and Meowth's departure to the Unovaregion. He was later reunited with Jessie when the trio returned to Kanto, and he was the only one of Jessie's Pokémon to accompany her to the Kalos and Alola regions, as well as her worldwide travels in Pokémon Journeys: The Series.
When released from a Poké Ball, Wobbuffet will stand on the stage in one place. Anyone attacking or running into it will be damaged by its Counter, apart from the player who threw the Poké Ball, who will only be knocked back.
Wobbuffet is also a Poké Float in Melee. It appears on its side and never fully reveals itself. When it first appears, it will quickly return off-screen but will then come back and remain to allow for fighting to take place on top of it.
Melee trophy information
A Patient Pokémon, Wobbuffet lives in darkness to hide its mismatched black tail. Even for a stoic Pokémon, this creature is a testament to self-control; it will not actively attack an opponent. Its Counter and Mirror Coat moves are solely used for reflecting attacks directly back at its antagonist.
Brawl trophy information
"A Patient Pokémon. A nocturnal, cave-dwelling creature, Wobbuffet is calm and collected, but it will fight back viciously if its black tail is attacked--this hints at something secretive about its tail. If Wobbuffet is put into battle, the opponent cannot run away or switch. Females have lipsticklike markings around their mouths."
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team: Wobbuffet and Wynaut send the player on a mission into the Uproar Forest. As thanks for completing it, they help to remodel the rescue base. Notably, the Wobbuffet is the only Pokémon in the entire game that doesn't speak in a way the player can understand; it only says its own name. However, this may be an oversight by the translators, since in Explorers of Sky (as mentioned below) it does not speak this way.
If two or more Wobbuffet meet, they will turn competitive and try to outdo the other's endurance. However, they may try to see which one can endure the longest without food. Trainers need to beware of this habit.
Wobbuffet does nothing but endure attacks - it won't attack on its own. However, it won't endure an attack on its tail. When that happens, the Pokémon will try to take the foe with it using Destiny Bond.
If two or more Wobbuffet meet, they will turn competitive and try to outdo each other's endurance. However, they may try to see which one can endure the longest without food. Trainers need to beware of this habit.
Wobbuffet does nothing but endure attacks—it won't attack on its own. However, it won't endure an attack on its tail. When that happens, the Pokémon will try to take the foe with it using Destiny Bond.
If the opponent does not attack Wobbuffet, Wobbuffet cannot harm the opponent except with Struggle (itself unusable unless Wobbuffet has run out of moves) or through the use of a Z-Move or a Dynamax move.
Wobbuffet was banned from many unofficial tournaments until Generation V, due to its unique moveset and Ability, Shadow Tag, making it somewhat difficult to counter.
In Generation III, if two Wobbuffet with Leftovers are facing each other in a Single Battle, the battle will become endless as all of Wobbuffet's moves do not directly damage the opponent, and the player cannot switch to their other Pokémon due to Shadow Tag. Even if the Wobbuffet use Struggle, the damage will be healed quickly by Leftovers. Shadow Tag and Struggle were both changed in Generation IV, likely as a direct response to this scenario.
Wobbuffet is likely based on a punching bag; that is, when it is hit, it bounces back. Alternatively, it may be based on the concept of Karma as it can only cause damage if it is attacked first. Wobbuffet may also be based on an Okiagari-koboshi doll, a Japanese traditional doll with squinted eyes that stands back upright when pushed over.
Given that Wobbuffet often touches its hand to its forehead, it may also be based on the late Japanese comedian 林家三平 Sanpei Hayashiya, who was famous for repeatedly touching his hand to his forehead while saying one of his trademark lines, そうなんす、奥さん sō nansu, okusan, "That's the way it is, ma'am."
Wobbuffet is a combination of wobble and buffet (to strike repeatedly), referring to its punching-bag shape.
Sonans is homophonous with the interjection そうなんす sō na-n-su, which roughly means, "That's the way it is." It is played off by its pre-evolution, Wynaut, whose Japanese name, Sohnano, is nearly homophonous with the phrase そうなの sō na no, meaning, "Really?" Together, they make for a potential perpetual conversation of, "Really?" followed by, "That's the way it is," and so on, as seen in Camp Pikachu.
Other languages' names for the Pokémon in this family, due to the fact that they were introduced in different generations, do not feature this pun.