|Pokémon series character|
|First game||Pokémon Red and Blue|
|Designed by||Ken Sugimori|
|Voiced by (English)||Ted Lewis|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Kōichi Sakaguchi|
For the Norwegian dance form, see Gangar (dance)
Gengar, known in Japan as Gangar (ゲンガー Gengā ), is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. It is a Ghost/Poison type Pokémon. Designed by Game Freak, their name is both the singular and plural name of the species. First appearing in Pokémon Red and Blue, they later appeared in subsequent sequels, spin-off games, related merchandise, and animated and printed adaptations of the franchise. In animated appearances, Gengar are voiced in Japanese by Kōichi Sakaguchi and in English localizations by Ted Lewis.
Gengar has been well received by the media, noted as popular with older male children and praised for its appearance. Groups such as IGN and Official Nintendo Magazine have praised its abilities and style, with both naming it one of the series' best characters.
Design and characteristics
Unlike other Pokémon in the series, Gengar originally appeared in the manga Capsule Monsters, an early concept by Satoshi Tajiri which evolved into the basis for the Pokémon franchise. During development of Pocket Monsters games Red and Green, which were localized outside of Japan as Pokémon Red and Blue, Game Freak illustrator Ken Sugimori adapted the character concept for the games. Called "Gangar" in Japanese, Nintendo decided to give the various Pokémon species "clever and descriptive names" related to their appearance or features when translating the game for western audiences as a means to make the characters more relatable to American children. Originally intending to call the species "Phantom", due to an existing trademark for a character with the same name they adapted its Japanese name for the English language instead.
Known as the Shadow Pokémon, Gengar is a dark-purple Pokémon with a roundish body. Gengar is the first of its evolutions to have hands and legs connected to its body. Gengar also has a spike-covered back, and its eyes are a sinister red. Its mouth is usually curled into a wicked grin. Gengar steals the heat from the area around it; its presence cools the temperature of the surrounding area by nearly 10°F.
Gengar, very mischievous and sometime malicious creatures, live in shadows of rooms, caves, and dark places where shadows form, especially in urban areas such as cities and back alleys but only during the night. They enjoy playing practical jokes, such as pretending to be one's shadow and then behaving erratically. When the quarry notices, the Gengar takes delight in its victim's terror. Gengar have the ability to lay curses on their foe, and it is said to steal the lives of those who become lost in mountains by overtaking the prey's shadow and silently waiting for an opportunity.
In video games
Gengar's Pokémon series debut was in Pokémon Red and Blue, where it is only obtainable by evolving Haunter by trading it. Haunter later appeared in several sequels, including Pokémon Gold and Silver, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, and Pokémon Black and White. Notable trainers that use Gengar are Agatha of the Kanto Elite Four, Morty, Gym Leader of Ecruteak City Gym, and Fantina, Gym Leader of Hearthome City Gym. Outside of the main series, Gengar has appeared in the Pokémon Ranger games. In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Gengar is the main antagonist, and the leader of Team Meanies, which includes an Ekans and Medicham. Gengar spends much of the game causing trouble, even convincing the village to exile the hero, blaming him or her for the natural disasters. However, it is later revealed that Gengar is the cursed human that the plot mentions. In Pokémon X and Y, Gengar can become Mega Gengar, with its new unblinking third eye able to peer into other dimensions.
In the anime, Gengar made its first appearance in the opening of the first episode, "Pokémon, I Choose You!", where it and a Nidorino battled in a Colosseum on television, a scene that mimicked the intro of Pokémon Blue. Ash first saw a Gengar in person in Lavender Town in "The Tower of Terror" while searching for a Ghost-type Pokémon to with which fight Sabrina, the Saffron City gym leader specializing in Psychic-types. Due to a close call, Ash spent some unexpected time with the ghostly trio, Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar. It, along with Haunter, seemed to have a fondness for Japanese stand-up, and unsuccessfully attempted to amuse Ash by acting as a pair of performers. In "The Ancient Puzzle of Pokémopolis", a giant Gengar was awakened where it battled an equally large Alakazam. Drake of the Orange Islands used a Gengar in his battle with Ash in "Hello, Pummelo!" and "Enter The Dragonite." A Gengar appeared under the ownership of Ecruteak City Gym Leader Morty in "A Ghost Of A Chance", "From Ghost to Ghost", and "For Ho-Oh the Bells Toll!". Agatha used a Gengar to battle Ash's Pikachu in "The Scheme Team"; her Gengar actually defeated the electric mouse Pokémon.
In other media
In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Agatha has two Gengar on her team. One of them was used to attack Blue and Koga from the shadows, draining the latter's life force as it possessed his shadow. Another Gengar was seen at the beginning of the FireRed and LeafGreen saga in Volume 23. It was used by a kid from Pallet Town in an attempt to capture a Nidorino, replicating the opening sequence of Pokémon Red and Blue.
Promotion and reception
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The book Pikachu's Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon cited Gengar as popular with older male children who tend to be drawn to "tough or scary" characters. It was described by Time as having a "devilishly cute smile, horns to match and a crocodile spine". GamesRadar described the species along with its two pre-evolutions as the "most famous" of Ghost-type Pokémon, calling all three "highly useful". They further stated that Gengar's own combined with its overall design made it "extremely desirable". Official Nintendo Magazine named Gengar one of the ten best Pokémon in the game as of 2010, stating that people "either love Gengar or hate it" and that with the proper abilities could be very effective. In a later reader-based poll, it placed ninth as one of the best ghost characters in a Nintendo game, which the magazine attributed to its appearance and design. IGN called Gengar the best Ghost type Pokémon in Red and Blue, and also praised its appearance, citing a resemblance to Nekobus from My Neighbor Totoro.
- Tomisawa, Akihito (August 2000). ゲームフリーク 遊びの世界標準を塗り替えるクリエイティブ集団 (in Japanese). ISBN 4-8401-0118-3.
- Staff. "2. 一新されたポケモンの世界". Nintendo.com (in Japanese). Nintendo. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- Chua-Euan, Howard (November 22, 1999). "PokéMania". TIME. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- Staff. "#094 Gengar". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
- Game Freak. Pokémon Gold. (Nintendo). Game Boy Color. (2000-10-15) It steals heat from its surroundings. If you feel a sudden chill, it is certain that a Gengar appeared.
- Game Freak. Pokémon Diamond. (Nintendo). Nintendo DS. (2007-04-22) It hides in shadows. It is said that if Gengar is hiding, it cools the area by nearly 10 degrees F.
- Game Freak. Pokémon Ruby. (Nintendo). Game Boy Advance. (2003-03-17) Sometimes, on a dark night, your shadow thrown by a streetlight will suddenly and startlingly overtake you. It is actually a Gengar running past you, pretending to be your shadow.
- Game Freak. Pokémon Red and Blue. (Nintendo). Game Boy. (1998-09-30) Under a full moon, this Pokémon likes to mimic the shadows of people and laugh at their fright.
- Game Freak. Pokémon Yellow. (Nintendo). Game Boy. (1999-10-19) A Gengar is close by if you feel a sudden chill. It may be trying to lay a curse on you.
- Game Freak. Pokémon FireRed. (Nintendo). Game Boy Advance. (2004-09-07) It is said to emerge from darkness to steal the lives of those who become lost in mountains.
- Game Freak. Pokémon Silver. (Nintendo). Game Boy Color. (2000-10-15) To steal the life of its target, it slips into the prey's shadow and silently waits for an opportunity.
- Game Freak. Pokémon Red and Blue. (Nintendo). Game Boy. (1998-09-30)
- Game Freak. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen (in English). (Nintendo). Game Boy Advance. (September 9, 2004)
- Game Freak. Pokémon Gold and Silver (in English). (Nintendo). Game Boy. (November 15, 2000)
- Game Freak. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (in English). (Nintendo). Nintendo DS. (April 22, 2007)
- Chunsoft. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team. (Nintendo). Nintendo DS. (September 18, 2006)
- Takeshi Shudō (writer) (September 8, 1998). "Pokémon - I Choose You!". Pokémon. Season Indigo League. Episode 1. Various.
- Hideki Sonoda (writer) (October 7, 1998). "The Tower of Terror". Pokémon. Season Indigo League. Episode 23. Various.
- Atsuhiro Tomioka (writer) (October 14, 1999). "The Ancient Puzzle of Pokémopolis". Pokémon. Season Indigo League. Episode 72. Various.
- Atsuhiro Tomioka (writer) (September 23, 2000). "Hello, Pummelo!". Pokémon. Season Adventures on the Orange Islands. Episode 111. Various.
- Atsuhiro Tomioka (writer) (September 23, 2000). "Enter The Dragonite". Pokémon. Season Adventures on the Orange Islands. Episode 112. Various.
- Atsuhiro Tomioka (writer) (November 10, 2001). "A Ghost of a Chance". Pokémon. Season Johto League Champions. Episode 181. Various.
- Atsuhiro Tomioka (writer) (November 10, 2001). "From Ghost to Ghost". Pokémon. Season Johto League Champions. Episode 182. Various.
- Atsuhiro Tomioka (writer) (September 25, 2002). "For Ho-Oh the Bells Toll!". Pokémon. Season Master Quest. Episode 132. Various.
- Yukiyoshi Ōhashi (writer) (April 8, 2006). "The Scheme Team". Pokémon. Season Advanced Battle. Episode 227. Various.
- Tobin, Joseph Jay (2004). Pikachu's Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon. Duke University Press. p. 283. ISBN 0-8223-3287-6.
- Larimer, Tim and Howard Chua-Eoan (1999-11-14). "Beware of the Pokemania". Time. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
- Elston, Brett. "The complete Pokemon RBY pokedex, part 9". GamesRadar. Future Publishing. p. 4. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
- Elston, Brett. "The complete Pokemon RBY pokedex, part 9". GamesRadar. Future Publishing. p. 6. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
- Chris Scullion (24-Apr-2010). "Nintendo Feature: 10 Best Pokémon - Official Nintendo Magazine". Official Nintendo Magazine. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
- Tom East (31-Oct-2009). "Nintendo Feature: Best Nintendo Ghosts: Your Say - Official Nintendo Magazine". Official Nintendo Magazine. Retrieved 2010-09-23.