In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.
Pokémon and Genders
Discounting the Nidoran♂ and Nidoran♀ lines from generation 1 (which are considered separate species anyway), genders weren't introduced to Pokémon until the generation 2 games, Gold and Silver. With the exception of most legendaries and a few special cases like Magnemite and Ditto, Pokémon can now be either male or female.
But other than adding a bit more detail to the Pokémon world, will your team's sex affect their battle stats or any other gameplay elements? Are males stronger than females, or vice versa? Find out as we review everything you need to know about Pokémon genders!
Do Pokemon Genders Affect Stats?
Quite the opposite in generation 2's Gold and Silver—a Pokemon's Attack IV (Individual Value) determined whether it was male or female. Individual values are fixed scores the games randomly assign Pokémon when they're generated and are basically luck of the draw; for each stat, your companion could either veer higher or lower than average depending on the IV for that stat. For this generation only, male Pokémon had higher Attack IVs, meaning they tended to be very slightly stronger than their female counterparts. Score one for the guys (don't worry girls, your revenge is coming).
However, in all subsequent games, genders are determined independently of stats and have no correlation with IVs, a nice alteration that prevents us from having to hound out a specific gender when hunting for the strongest new allies.
Gender's Relation to Moves, Abilities, and Catching Pokémon
Although Pokémon genders don't affect your creature's growth, they can still play a significant role in battle. Gold and Silver fans likely remember the Attract move made famous by Gym Leader Whitney's Miltank. Attract only works on targets of the opposite gender, but it inflicts a devastating infatuation condition that makes each of your attacks have a 50% chance to fail! As a volatile status, you can remove Attract by switching your Pokémon out, but multiple volatile conditions can stack; you can be confused, infatuated, and Leech Seeded, and more all at once if you're not careful!
Gender can also determine the effectiveness of certain abilities. For instance, Cute Charm may inflict infatuation when an opposite-gendered opponent strikes with a direct-contact move, and the Rivalry ability increases or decreases a Pokémon's power based on whether it faces a same or different-gendered opponent.
The Love Ball, introduced in generation 2, heavily boosts the chances of capturing wild Pokémon of the opposite gender to your active Pokémon . . . or at least it was supposed to. Due to a bug, it actually boosted the chances of catching the same gender until the glitch was fixed in HeartGold/SoulSilver and following games.
Gender and Breeding
While a Pokémon Day Care existed in Red and Blue, the mechanic was expanded in Gold and Silver. Leaving Pokémon at the Day Care has them gain levels as you traverse the world, but leaving two Pokémon of related Egg Groups (not necessarily of the same specific species) can have the two produce an egg—if they're of opposite genders.
The mother's species will determine the baby's species, and the father can potentially pass down learned TM and HM moves, but the exact mechanics on breeding changes between each generation; click here for an in-depth Bulbapedia explanation. A helpful tip: Ditto can substitute for a Pokémon of either gender and for any Egg Group, making it a useful breeding tool.
Meowstic and Gender
The infamously-apathetic looking Espurr evolves into Meowstic at level 25. Like other Pokémon we'll soon see, Meowstic's appearances changes based on its gender, but unlike most creatures, this is more than an aesthetic difference. Meowstic learns vastly different moves based on sex, and while both genders can have the Keen Eye or Infiltrator abilities, only males can possess the Prankster trait and only females can bear Competitive. Check the list below to see Meowstic's gender-reliant attacks.
Meowstic's Gender-Dependent Moves
Quick Guard (2nd chance)
Stored Power (2nd chance)
Nidoking and Nidoqueen's Family Lines
Nidoran♂ and Nidoran♀ are a unique pair of Pokémon who are technically considered separate species and carry different movesets and stats. However, they're clearly intended to belong to the same family, and only have different types because they were introduced before the gender mechanic was fully implemented.
While they're technically two different species, both Nidoran pairs share the same evolution charts (evolving first at level 16, then with a Moon Stone), Poison-Ground typing, and possible abilities. Final forms Nidoking and Nidoqueen also reverse the typical color-pairing of genders, with Nidoking being pink and Nidoqueen being blue. However, a shiny Nidoking becomes mostly blue and a shiny Nidoqueen (while mostly green) gains a pink undertone; either way, gender seems to play a significant part in their hues.
Evolution-Based Gender Differences
Several Pokémon can start out as either sex, but will follow different evolutionary forms based on their gender. Consult the table below for a full list.
|Pre-Evolution||Male Evolution||Female Evolution|
Many Pokémon can only be obtained as a single-gender, like Mr. Mime—wait, you can have female Mr. Mimes? The Pokémon world is a strange place indeed. Craziness aside, the monsters detailed below (excluding the entries we've already covered above) only come in one gender.
Tyrogue, Hitmochan, Hitmonlee, Hitmontop
Happiny, Chansey, Blissey
Flabébé, Floette, Florges
Bounsweet, Steenee, Tsareena
Notable Gender Appearance Changes
Several Pokémon have minuscule changes to their form based on their gender, but some visual gender phenotypes are more prominent, although these differences won't affect stats, abilities, or other attributes. Pokémon with pronounced alterations include Pyroar, Hippowdon, Unfezant, and Frillish/Jellicent, which you can view in the thumbnails above.
Pokémon Gender Fun Facts
- Mr. Mime's odd name is simply a result of a poor translation from its original Japenese name, which doesn't imply a gender, explaining why it can be both male and female.
- Most Pokémon have different male-to-female appearance rates; for instance, only one in eight Pyroars will be male, while only one in eight starter Pokémon (like Charmander) will be female.
- Prior to generation 6, one-third of female Azurill become male upon evolving since they had different male-to-female ratios than their evolutions.
- Despite having no gender, Lugia has been shown to raise its young in the anime.
- Text in the Diamond and Pearl video games reveals that people and Pokémon used to marry each other, and some Pokémon in the anime (like Ash's female Chikorita) become infatuated with their trainers.
- The Japanese text of a trainer in the Battle Maison of X and Y heavily implies she used to be male and transitioned "due to the powers of medical science".
- A popular fan theory states that Elite Four Members Lorelei (supposedly female) and Will (supposedly male) are in fact the same cross-dressing individual.
Gender's Place in Pokémon
Even though it's long stopped affecting stats, we can see how gender still plays a role in our Pokémon adventures, from impacting moves in battle to controlling evolutionary lines to simple aesthetic differences. Gender remains yet another detail to bear in mind when raising your ultimate team, and when you consider chromosomes, gives a whole new meaning to the titles Pokémon X and Y. However, casual fans shouldn't fuss too much over Pokémon gender, because on the surface, it has no bearing in your squad's base abilities and rarely comes into play for battles.
But for now, as we await Nintendo's next batch of gender-specific monsters, vote for your preferred gender and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill