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Pokémon character
Pokémon official artwork of Greninja.png
First gamePokémon X and Y (2013)
Designed byYusuke Ohmura
Voiced byYūji Ueda (Japanese)
Billy Bob Thompson (English)

Greninja (ゲッコウガ, Gekkōga, /ɡrɛˈnɪnə/ greh-NIN-jə) is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise, introduced in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, that has since appeared across a wide variety of Pokemon media. It is the final evolution of Froakie, the Water-type starter Pokemon of X and Y, with either the ability 'Torrent' or Protean', with 'Battle Bond' as an event ability, enabling it to become Ash-Greninja, and the immediate evolution of Frogadier. Categorized as the "Ninja Pokémon", Greninja is a frog-like master of swiftness and stealth and is a Water and Dark-type.

It appeared prominently in the XY series of the Pokémon anime as one of Ash Ketchum's primary Pokemon, voiced by Yūji Ueda in Japanese and Billy Bob Thompson in English. This Greninja used its bond with Ash to transform into a unique form, Ash-Greninja, which was later released to the games as an empowered form of Greninja accessible to players of the Pokemon Sun and Moon Special Demo Version. Greninja was introduced as a playable fighter to the Super Smash Bros. franchise with Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U as one of the Pokemon series' five representatives, and was integrated into manga such as Pokémon Adventures.

Greninja has been met with a very positive reception, quickly becoming one of the most popular Pokémon of the sixth generation because of its endearing design and strength in competitive play. Its popularity has resulted in its integration into various merchandising and promotions of the Pokémon franchise.[1]

Concept and characteristics[edit]

Greninja is a streamlined frog-like creature with dark blue skin and a beige underbelly, with long limbs and thin body particularly reminiscent of tree frogs. What resembles a pink scarf is actually its prehensile tongue wrapped around its head. Two long, ear-like protrusions extend from both sides of its head and connect with a smaller horn-like structure in the middle by azure blue-colored webbing. Spots of the same azure coloring can be found on each thigh, arguably resembling ninja stars or battle scars. Much like a frog, Greninja has webbed feet, wall-clinging suction cups on each digit, and powerful hind legs. It shoots streams of compressed patterns from its palms. A large bubble can be found on each limb. A bipedal creature, Greninja can comfortably stand on its hind legs, but leans on one of its front limbs in a crouching stance when in battle. When at rest its eyes are white with hyphen-shaped pupils, but when engaged they gain red, oval-shapes irises, white pupils, and a narrow gaze. It only weighs 88.2 lbs. (40 kg), but is still quite tall at 4' 11" (1.5 m).[2]

It shares a motif of role-playing game classes with its Grass-type (Chesnaught) and Fire-type (Delphox) counterparts; while the former resemble a knight and witch respectively, Greninja draws heavy inspiration from ninja. In Japan, frogs and toads have long been associated with ninjutsu through the folk story "The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya" (児雷也豪傑物語 Jiraiya Gōketsu Monogatari), a story about a ninja who can shapeshift into a large toad.

Greninja is able to move with "a ninja's grace",[3] and has a design and set of abilities associated with Ninjutsu. Among its attacks are the formerly exclusive Water Shuriken, which lets it quickly fire throwing stars made from compressed water,[3] Shadow Sneak, and Double Team.[4] It is also the only Pokemon to learn Mat Block, which shields the user's side with a flipped-up mat. The Protean ability, which lets the user camouflage to the type of the attack it uses, is exclusive to Greninja and the chameleon Pokemon Kecleon (as well as the former's pre-evolutions). Capable of vanishing and reappearing quickly, it enjoys toying with enemies in such a manner.[3] It is very adaptable, learning many moves such as Bounce, Extrasensory, and Low Kick from different types.[4]

Greninja's stealth and swiftness are unique among Water-type starters, contrasting with previous designs like Blastoise and Swampert. It shoots jets of compressed water from its hands, as opposed to many other Water-types that shoot water from their mouths. It was created by Yusuke Ohmura, who designed the Water-type starters of the previous two generations as well as the mascot creatures for X and Y, Xerneas and Yveltal.[5][6] Greninja's design was finalized by Ken Sugimori, Game Freak's art director.

As Pokemon X and Y take place in Kalos, a fictional region inspired by France, Greninja's name combines the French word for frog (grenouille) and "ninja".[7] It is used for the English, Spanish, and Italian localizations of X and Y. Ironically, a completely different name is used in the French localization, with "Amphinobi" combining the French word for amphibian (amphibie) and "shinobi". Its Japanese name is "Gekkouga", combining the Japanese word for croak (げこっ geko) and the Koga ninjutsu school (甲賀流 Kōga ryū).[8]


In video games[edit]

Pokémon game series[edit]

Greninja debuted in Pokémon X and Y, which was released internationally on October 12, 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS. As is the case for most Pokemon evolved from starters, Greninja is rare except from choosing Froakie at the game's beginning and fully training it. It can only be obtained otherwise by evolving a Friend Safari Frogadier, by fully evolving the Froakie named "Froabble" in-game rival Shauna trades to the player after the game's completion, or through trading with another player. It can be transferred to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire through trade, or into Sun and Moon and their Ultra sequels through the online storage system Pokémon Bank. Though very rare, Greninja has a Shiny variant obtainable in the games that is jet black with a red tongue.

In X and Y, if the player chooses the Fire-type Fennekin as their starter, primary rival Serena/Calem will choose Froakie and eventually raise it into Greninja. If they choose the Grass-type Chespin, Shauna will do so instead.

Greninja has been incorporated in spin-off Pokémon games as well. In the action game Pokémon Rumble World, Greninja is the back boss of Dewdrop Bay's Castle Moat, and can be recruited as a playable character. It is the boss of Area 03's fifth stage in Pokémon Picross, of Renegade Meadow in puzzle game Pokémon Battle Trozei, and of Expert Stage 24 in Pokémon Shuffle. Through evolving the player character of Froakie, Greninja is playable in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, and is even included on the game's box art.

Other Nintendo games[edit]

Outside of the Pokémon series, Greninja also appears in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series. Greninja was included as a new fighter in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U in 2014,[9] returning in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in 2018.[10] Greninja's inclusion was revealed during the Super Smash Bros. Direct on April 8, 2014, alongside returning characters Zero Suit Samus, Sheik, Yoshi, and fellow Pokémon Charizard. The game's director, Masahiro Sakurai, stated that he decided to include Greninja prior to Pokémon X and Y finishing development, and he working very closely with Game Freak's conceptual illustrations and making his own interpretations of the character. Its characteristics in the Pokémon games are reflected in Smash, being an agile fighter with ninja-like stealth capable of attacking opponents with water from its palms. Its final smash, Secret Ninja Attack, incorporates Greninja's signature move Mat Block. Its home stages include Prism Tower, the Pokémon Gym of Kalos' capital city, on the 3DS version and Kalos Pokémon League on the Wii U version. As Greninja had not yet been introduced in the English dub of the XY anime yet, Smash's English release was the first time Billy Bob Thompson voiced the character.[11][9] Ultimate granted Greninja its anime debuted Battle Bond form, “Ash-Greninja” as part of its Final Smash move, confirming the playable Greninja in this game series as a male.

Through completing the challenge modes of Super Mario Maker, the player can unlock a Mystery Mushroom for Greninja that can be used in the player's customizable levels. When Mario makes contact with the Mushroom, he takes on Greninja's likeness and animations until he finishes the level, makes contact with an enemy, or loses a life. Greninja has the same sound bits as Mario, instead of those from Pokémon games; this is also true for Pikachu, Charizard, Jigglypuff, Mewtwo and Lucario but not for Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle.

In the anime[edit]

Multiple Greninja have made appearances in the XY series of the Pokémon anime. While the Pokémon was first alluded to in the episode "A Rush of Ninja Wisdom!", it made its formal debut in the 17th Pokémon movie, Diancie and the Cacoon of Destruction, under the ownership of a thieving ninja named Riot. Ippei and Sanpei, two reoccurring brothers in the anime, both have a Greninja. They both chose Froakie as their starter in tribute to a folkloric Greninja that saved their home village. Series protagonist Ash Ketchum's Greninja is the most prominent; he first appeared as a Froakie in the first episode "Kalos, Where Dreams and Adventures Begin!", was caught by Ash in the following episode "Lumiose City Pursuit!", and evolved from Frogadier into Greninja in "A Festival of Decisions!". Uniquely, Greninja and Ash are able to temporarily link their respective consciousnesses during battle. When such an exchange occurs, the former physically morphs to somewhat resemble Ash, a form called "Ash-Greninja". In “Facing in the Needs of Many!”, Ash released Greninja back in the wild so that he could protect Kalos with Squishy and Z-2 of the two Zygarde from the evil roots which Team Flare left behind after their defeat.

In live-action films[edit]

A band of Greninja appears in the live-action film Pokémon Detective Pikachu, but as minor antagonists working as hired guns for Clifford Enterprises against the main protagonists, since they've been victims of illegal experimentation on by their mastermind Howard Clifford, but with help from any of his evil scientists, possibly like Dr. Laurent.[12]

In printed adaptations[edit]

In the Pokémon Adventures literary adaptation of Pokémon X and Y, Yvonne has a Greninja named "Croaky". She chose it as her starter in "Fast-Thinking Froakie" from Professor Sycamore, her rival X chose Chespin, and Fennekin had its Poké Ball misplaced after an accidental encounter with Xerneas and Yveltal. As a Greninja, Croaky is shown to be a very serious and efficient Pokémon, which is an accurate portrayal of ninja-like discipline but contrasts with its implied mischievous nature in the video games.

Other media[edit]

Since its introduction, Greninja has regularly been featured in Pokémon merchandise. In the Pokémon Trading Card Game, Greninja-EX is one of the flagship cards associated with the Kalos Power Tin set[13] and in promotion for BREAKpoint Wave Slasher Theme Deck.[14] Ash-Greninja has also been incorporated into the trading card game[14] and lineup of plushies. Key chains, soft toys, and figures of the Pokémon are all available on the online Pokémon Center store as well as in local toy store chains. Greninja was introduced among the fourth wave of amiibo, Nintendo's lineup of collectible toys-to-life figures. The figure is based on its appearance in Super Smash Bros. and is compatible with many different video games for the Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo Switch. Initially released on April 3, 2015 as a Toys "R" Us exclusive, Greninja proved to be so desirable that the figure sold out within just 30 minutes.[15]


Greninja has proven to be one of the most popular Pokémon introduced in X and Y, if not of the franchise as a whole. Once revealed, it was praised as "great and... likely to be popular just off its design alone."[16] A 2016 Japan election held by The Pokémon Company determined that Greninja was the most popular Pokémon species in the country.[17][18] Ash-Greninja has been described as "a stylish addition" and a "huge asset" to the player's team.[19]

Reception to its inclusion in Super Smash Bros. has been mostly positive, with many online reviewers appreciating the uniqueness of the character and being genuinely surprised by its unveiling.[9] The inclusion of Greninja in the Detective Pikachu film also received praise for staying true to its ninja-like portrayal in the video games and anime, though some reviewers criticized the species' "slimy tongue scarf" as "super disgusting" when rendered in CGI.[12]

Anime controversy[edit]

On August 18, 2016, the XYZ episode Kalos League Victory! Satoshi's Greatest Decisive Battle (カロスリーグ優勝!サトシ頂上決戦, Karosurīgu yūshō! Satoshi chōjō kessen) (Down to the Fiery Finish! in the English dub) faced criticism from fans when Ash and his Greninja lost the Kalos League against Alain. The fans specifically criticized the episode due to misleading trailers that suggested that Ash would win the battle and because Ash had lost all of the Pokémon Leagues in past seasons.[20][21][22] Fans also disliked the outcome because they believed Ash's Greninja had many advantages over Alain's Charizard, including the fact that water-type Pokémon resist fire-type Pokémon attacks,[23] and that the rare Bond Phenomenon Ash's Greninja was subject to was said to be far more powerful than a conventional Mega Evolution. Several animators of the series also expressed disappointment that Ash had lost.[24] TV Tokyo's YouTube upload of the teaser of the next episode received an overwhelming number of dislikes as a result of the outcome.[23] On IMDb, the episode became one of the lowest-rated episodes of the entire anime.[25][better source needed] A petition asking that an alternate ending be created in which Ash wins received more than 3,900 signatures.


  1. ^ "Greninja Takes The Top Spot Of 720 Pokémon In A Recent Japanese Popularity Contest". Siliconera. 2016-06-08. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  2. ^ "Greninja". Pokémon/Nintendo. 2013-10-12.
  3. ^ a b c "Greninja | Pokédex | More at". Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  4. ^ a b "Greninja - #658 - Pokédex". Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  5. ^ Dixon, Scott (2014-05-09). "Champagne, macarons and Pikachu? Paris plays host to Europe's first Pokémon Center". Rocket News/SOCIO CORPORATION.
  6. ^ Luffy, Monkey (2013-10-24). "Pokémon X & Y Artist Struggled With Xerneas And Yveltal Designs". WordPress.
  7. ^ Campbell, Colin (2013-07-05). "How France inspired Junichi Masuda in making Pokémon X and Y". Polygon.
  8. ^ Dolly, Cure (2014-01-30). "658 Gekkouga (Greninja)". WordPress.
  9. ^ a b c Hernandez, Patricia. "The Internet Reacts To New Smash Bros. Reveals". Kotaku. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  10. ^ Minor, Jordan (2019-01-03). "The Ultimate Super Smash Bros. Character Guide: Greninja". Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  11. ^ "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters – #50: Greninja". Nintendo. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  12. ^ a b Hoffer, Christian (2018-11-12). "'Detective Pikachu': Who is Greninja?". WWG. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  13. ^ "Pokémon TCG: Kalos Power Tin |". Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  14. ^ a b "Ash-Greninja-EX | XY—Promo | TCG Card Database |". Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  15. ^ Makuch, Eddie (2015-04-03). "Greninja Amiibo Sells Out in Under an Hour". GameSpot. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  16. ^ "Taking A Look At The Pokémon X & Y Starters Final Evolution (spoilers) - Hardcore Gamer". Hardcore Gamer. 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  17. ^ "ポケモン映画公式サイト「劇場版ポケットモンスター みんなの物語」". ポケモン映画公式サイト「劇場版ポケットモンスター みんなの物語」 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  18. ^ "Japan's 100 most popular Pokémon have been crowned". Polygon. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  19. ^ "'Pokémon Sun and Moon' Team Builder: The ultimate guide to planning your Pokémon team". Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  20. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (August 18, 2016). "Ash From Pokémon Just Had The Battle Of His Life". Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  21. ^ Parungo, Nico (August 19, 2016). "Pokemon XYZ: Internet Goes Crazy Over Ash's Pokemon League Result". Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  22. ^ "【ネタバレ注意】アニメ「ポケモン」、サトシの勝敗のゆくえに視聴者ざわざわ 「いいかげんしろ」との声も" (in Japanese). August 19, 2016. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  23. ^ a b Ashcraft, Brian (August 19, 2016). "The Internet Reacts To Pokémon's Biggest Loser". Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  24. ^ "「騙された感(涙)」『ポケットモンスターXY&Z』第38話のまさかすぎる展開に、世界中のアニポケファンが激怒!!" (in Japanese). January 3, 2018. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  25. ^ ""Pokemon the Series: XY" Kalos League Victory! Satoshi's Greatest Decisive Battle! (TV Episode 2016)". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-02-25.

External links[edit]