The Pokémon franchise has recently celebrated its 25th birthday, and the hype and love for Pokémon don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. No matter if you have been around since the first generation or if you have just recently started paying attention to Ash and his friends, cosplaying them is a lot of fun.
In this cosplay idea guide, I am going to tell you what I think are the most fun characters in Pokémon to cosplay! I am going to talk about the classics and the villains you can cosplay. I will give some tips on what you can do to make your cosplay complete. Of course, I will tell you how hard it is to cosplay something or if it is going to be cheap or expensive.
Cosplaying the classics
No matter if you are a boy or a girl, Ash Ketchum is one of those characters anyone can dress up like. The fact that Veronica Taylor, a girl, is his voice actor should speak volumes. Thanks to how popular Ash is around the world, no one is ever going to mistake who exactly you are cosplaying. You will, however, need a few things to make sure you cosplay him perfectly for the maximum amount of fun (and to have people stop asking questions on why you didn’t include something in your costume).
You will need the following to do a great Ash Ketchum cosplay:
Ash has a distinct cap that everyone recognizes. In every episode, he wears it, and it is an essential part of the dramatization of the Pokémon battles he fights.
A pair of classic jeans:
Luckily for us, Ash wears a pair of jeans, so that is going to make cosplaying him a lot cheaper since you do not need to go out of your way to get any special kind of pants. Regular jeans are all you need!
I would recommend you get yourself a pair of white sneakers with some red. If you don’t have those, that is no problem; just make sure the shoes don’t draw attention from the rest of the costume.
Try to find a pair of fingerless gloves. The best ones are those made out of wool or polyester. I would go for polyester if you care about cosplaying in the summer; it is a bit cooler than wool.
You should try to find either a dark green or a gray backpack. Ash wears both of those in the show, so it won’t fall out of place. Another option is a red (with some white) backpack. Those are the Pokémon colors, so it won’t look odd.
Any black t-shirt will do. Ash wears one every episode, so It is a pretty important aspect of the costume. You can also wear a dark green shirt. There are a couple of episodes where he wears one.
You are going to need a blue vest! There is just no way around it. It is one of the essential parts of the costume. I would even say it is make-or-break for the Ash Ketchum cosplay.
A poke ball:
You can not be a Pokémon trainer and not have some poke balls on you! No matter if you opt for a plastic one or a plush, poke balls are an important part of any Ash Cosplay.
A Pikachu doll:
The ultimate final touch for an Ash costume! Any plush is fine, and I am sure you will find one that fits perfectly for you.
Here you go! Everything you need for an amazing Ash costume.
As for the ash costume, I think you should strongly consider it. Ash has a lot of props, and buying them all separately or making them yourself is not worth it. A problem with this is that a lot of people are going to have a similar or even the same costume.
You can fix this problem by bringing a unique Pokémon plush. Ash has a lot of Pokémon, so I am sure you will be able to find a great plush no one else is going to have!
The Ash costume that I suggest you get is this one. It has everything you need, has great reviews, the quality is fantastic, and I think it is well within most budget. I do suggest you pick a size above your regular clothing.
One of the most cosplayed Pokémon characters in the entire Pokémon franchise is Nurse Joy. This has a couple of good reasons. First of all, she is iconic. She is featured in every Pokémon season, every Pokémon game, and she is very recognizable.
To make this iconic costume work, you are going to need a couple of things:
White nurse apron:
This might be pretty hard to find, so a light gray is fine too. If you do not have a nurse apron, you can use a white apron and just use your art and crafts talents to fix it up a bit.
Try to find a pink wig with straight hair. The longer, the better, as nurse joy has a pretty distinct hairstyle. If you have a wig with long hair, it is a lot easier to recreate the hairstyle and make your costume perfect.
You don’t need to buy a special Nurse Joy nurse hat. Any nurse headwear will do it if you are on a budget. There are a lot of nurse hats you can choose from. The most important thing is that the hat is white and has a red cross. You can always add the cross yourself.
This is completely optional. It does add a bit more flair to your costume but can be quite expensive to get. You might be able to find a deal or just get one that is a little smaller. Those are often a bit cheaper.
You can use any white dress; try to find one that is about knee height. You can use a longer one too if you can’t find one. If you are not sure what color pink works best, try to go with a softer pink that doesn’t stand out too much. The Chansey plush color can be a good reference point.
You don’t need a special kind of white shoes. You can just wear white sneakers if you don’t have special shoes that resemble those of nurse joy. If you do want to go out, you should get a white pair of Mary Jane shoes; those will make your cosplay just perfect.
There is only one Nurse Joy costume that is premade that I can fully endorse. That is this one:
While the other costumes are high quality, look great, and are within most people’s budget, they aren’t accurate. The only other costume that comes close to this one has a blue cross instead of a pink one. So if you want an accurate costume, you should buy the one I am recommending.
Getting a Nurse Joy costume is going to save you a lot of money and time. A few mouse clicks and opening your door in a day or two is all you have to do. If you think the costume looks too bland, I recommend you to bring a (large) Chansey plush to make it perfect!
You can’t talk about Pokémon without mentioning Pikachu. There is no Pokémon that even comes close to the popularity of Pikachu. Cosplaying as Pikachu is going to make sure you won’t have anyone ask, “so who are you cosplaying as?”.
This is what you are going to need to cosplay as Pikachu:
Well, you are going to need to wear a lot of yellow. Pikachu is pretty yellow, after all. You can also wear a yellow tank top or a sweater.
Yellow skirt or pants:
A yellow skirt is going to be pretty easy to find. The yellow pants, in the right kind of yellow, are going to be a bit harder. You could always opt for white shorts or white pants and just dye them yellow.
A Pikachu costume is going to need Pikachu ears. This is going to be pretty hard to find if you are going to shop locally, so you will probably need to find it online. You can also make them yourself by using felt and some do-it-yourself skills.
Same here as the ears; this one is a bit more optional since people will only see it when you turn around. The tail can be made yourself, but you can also get it online.
Makeup or paint:
Depending on how far you want to go, you could also use makeup to do some finishing touches to your costume. If you want to go light on makeup, you can just paint your cheeks red. Another thing you can do, if you want to go all out, you can paint your face (and more) yellow.
I do think Pikachu is the easiest one to make yourself. However, even easy costumes are going to take you quite a bit of time to make it. You will also need to apply makeup or paint. That is also a bit of an issue, as makeup and paint can make quite a mess when it is hot and you are sweating.
I found one great basic costume for adults. What I like about it is, is that everyone right away knows it is Pikachu. You don’t need to carry stuff around, and it is really budget-friendly!
A classic but not often cosplayed character in Pokémon is Brock. The kind-hearted, lady-loving gym leader is not hard to cosplay, but his costume just doesn’t stand out like Misty and Ash their look does. Brock is a perfect character to cosplay if you want to do a subtle-looking costume. However, you will have to prepare yourself to answer the question “Who are you cosplaying as” quite often if the crowd is not so familiar with the Pokémon franchise.
Let us start with the details of this costume. These are items everyone has but forgets about. You need to have a plain leather belt, get a dark brown belt. It does not need to be real leather; of course, faux leather is going to be more than enough.
You can wear normal sneakers in a brown color. However, the shoes don’t make the man in this case. Try to go for a neutral color. If you have no idea what one to pick from your wardrobe, find the one that resembles the ground the most. Brock is the ground and rock gym leader, after all.
Odds are you have an orange shirt lying around somewhere in your wardrobe. If you don’t, you can easily find a cheap one online, or you can go to a local clothing or thrift store, and you will easily find one that fits. The shirt can be bright orange or more dark orange; it does not matter that much.
Time to break out those dust-covered khakis! Brock has been rocking this style for 25 years, so you are going to need these pants to cosplay him. If you do not have khaki pants, you can also wear cargo shorts. If you have multiple pairs, you need to pick the one that resembles the khaki color the most or go for a ground-like color.
Green Safari vest:
You probably are not going to have this one lying around. However, if you are planning on cosplaying Brock from Pokémon, you will need to have this piece of clothing. Brock already is pretty hard to recognize if you aren’t big into Pokémon, so wear this essential piece!
If you like to bring your lunch and spare clothes or are planning to have a picnic, Brock is the perfect character from Pokémon to cosplay in this case. The gym leader, Pokémon breeder, playboy is also a great cook and camping expert. That means he carries a pretty big backpack around anywhere he goes.
Blue yoga mat:
Going further on the fact that Brock is perfect if you want to be able to have a picnic or just take a rest, he also carries a blue yoga mat wherever he goes. Which makes Brock a perfect character if you are planning on cosplaying outside.
There are three different Pokémon that the classic Brock cosplay is known for. First is Geodude; this is a pretty easy plush to find. It doesn’t need to be big, and you can probably find a real life-size. Another Pokémon you can use is a Vulpix. While Pokémon has not been with Brock from the very start of the show, it has played a very prominent role in the anime.
The most iconic – I am using this word a lot, I know, but come on, it is Pokémon, everything is full of nostalgia – ‘Brock’ is Onix. This is going to be a pretty hard plush to find. If you find one, I bet it won’t be a real-life size. An Onix is at least 20 feet long, so you are going to be just fine with a regular-sized plush.
Suppose you are a beginner, then yes. You really should get the pre-made Brock costume. While you can get the yoga mat and such separately, this has a lot of other props that are hard to find or much more expensive to buy as regular clothes.
You have two options here if you do not want to start making clothing yourself. You can buy the entire outfit in a single order. Then I would advise you to get this one. You will, however, still need to get the backpack yourself.
You could also buy items online that are similar to Brock’s costume. For example, Khaki pants and a regular green fishing vest.
Be the antagonist!
Sometimes we don’t want to play the good guys and take another approach. Pokémon has some of the best and most likable villains. Nobody is going to ask who you are cosplaying as if you can find a friend to cosplay with you. I am going to discuss the two most well-known and most loved villains in television history – well, at least in my opinion – the one and only Jesse and James!
Let us start with Jesse, who is probably the most recognizable of the two when you are cosplaying. You will need to have quite some stuff to cosplay her if you want her to be perfect. However, that is the strength of cosplaying Jesse and James with someone else. If you are with two, the cosplay is much easier to recognize, and you will need a lot less stuff to make it work. Of course, nobody is stopping you from going all out anyway when you have found your partner in crime!
The first thing you need to make your Jesse cosplay work is a magenta wig. You could also go all out and just dye your hair magenta! However, you are going to need some pretty long and voluminous hair to pull it off.
White long-sleeve shirt:
You need to have a white long-sleeved shirt for both of the Team Rocket cosplay. Jesse wears one that shows her belly, but that is optional. A lot of cosplayers just wear a normal white long-sleeved shirt. The tricky thing here is going to be the red Rocket R on the shirt. You can add that to your shirt by using paint or just a marker.
The undershirt should be a little bigger than the white long-sleeved shirt. Just the ends of the shirt should be visible.
Jesse wears a white skirt. If you don’t know where to find one, you can wear a regular white tennis skirt. This is going to be pretty easy to find, and you do not need to overthink the shirt.
Black gloves (the longer, the better):
Ideally, your black gloves come to your elbows. However, if you can’t find gloves like that, just regular gloves are going to be fine too. Painting your arms black is not a good idea, so don’t do it. If you want long gloves, you can wear a combination of black socks and your gloves.
Black knee-high boots:
Jesse wears classic 2000s leather black boots. You can get those pretty easily anywhere. If you have gone to college in the 2000s, you might have multiple pairs lying around you can use.
A Pokémon plush:
Jesse has a couple of Pokémon you can get as a plush toy to add a finishing touch to the costume. A very easy one to find will be Meowth, and let’s face it, if you are going to cosplay as Jesse and James, you are going to need a Meowth! An alternative will be the Ekans stuffed animal. It is a pretty easy one to bring when you are going somewhere.
White long-sleeve shirt:
Just like Jesse, you will need to have a white long-sleeve shirt if you are going to cosplay like James. You can wear a regular long-sleeve shirt. To finish this cosplay off, you will need to have red felt or a high-quality marker. This is to put a red R (for Rocket) on the white shirt.
A normal black shirt is going to be fine here, make sure it is a bit bigger than the white shirt, so it can stick out a bit to finish your look.
You can use any kind of long white pants if you are playing as James. White jogging here is best, in my opinion. However, regular white pants will be just fine too.
You can use any kind of black boots you can get your hands on. If you do not have black boots, you can also wear black shoes.
A team rocket cosplay has a lot of black and white, and the gloves are no exception. James wears regular black gloves.
If you already have a Meowth plush with you, then the only other options for James – in my opinion – is a Koffing, a Muk, or a Victoribell. All of these are pretty hard to find, and they are optional and not crucial to making your cosplay complete. However, it is a lot more fun if you have one.
I am going to discuss these two in the same chapter since they are very similar, and you will often do these as a couple or group’s cosplay. This is the costume I recommend you to get. You can buy it twice and make some minor adjustments to get a great Jesse costume, too.
I recommend this premade costume because it is high quality, is really decent for the price, and has almost everything you need. You will only need to have a wig, and everyone will know who you are cosplaying as.
If you want to be Jesse, you can still use this costume and not wear the black undershirt and use one of your own black crop tops. You can also make some small cuts in the costume to make it more like Jesse.
Frequently asked questions about the best Pokémon cosplay ideas
Question: Is Pokémon cosplaying difficult?
Answer: The Pokémon universe is huge. You can make your costume as complex or as easy as you want it to be. There are over 800 Pokémon to choose from and just as many (side)characters. You don’t have to pick one from the series; you can also choose from the games or the trading card game.
You can do a rather easy cosplay like James, which requires very little additional props, or you can go for a harder, very recognizable one like Ash. Cosplaying Pokémon is the hardest, and I would only recommend very recognizable Pokémon that don’t need too many additional props to work.
Question: What is the most recognizable Pokémon character cosplay?
Answer: If you want to cosplay as a boy, then Ash Ketchum is going to be your best choice. With just the blue vest, iconic hat, black shirt, and a poke ball, you are going to get a lot of people guessing correctly if you ask them who you are. The rest of the cosplay is also very easy. Just jeans and sneakers will make it complete. If you want to make sure everyone knows who you are immediately by bringing a Pikachu doll.
If you want to dress up as a girl character from Pokémon, then you have two great choices. Nurse Joy and Misty. They are a bit less recognizable than Ash, but people will still know who you are most of the time. Misty would be the best pick here, as you can bring a Pokémon ball with you to make it more obvious that you are a character from Pokémon. Nurse Joy will have the problem of being mistaken for a regular nurse.
Question: What are some great Pokémon cosplays that aren’t Pikachu?
Answer: If you have a Pokémon theme party, the chances are that there are going to be a lot of people dressed up as a Pikachu. Here are some ideas you use when you want to cosplay a Pokémon that isn’t Pikachu.
• Machoke: If you go to the gym regularly, this is your chance to shine. All you need is a WWE belt, shorts, and body paint to make a very convincing Machoke cosplay.
• Togepi: You barely need anything for a Togepi costume. Get yourself some cardboard to make the triangles on top, wear a white shirt or tank top and white pants or skirt with some blue triangles and red squares on it, and you are done! People might have a bit of a problem recognizing you.
• Magikarp: Get your orange sweater out of the closest and get some foam and felt to make your costume complete. Personally, this is my favorite Pokémon out of them all, and it always gets some pretty decent laughs when you show up in an unexpected costume.
Conclusion: Pokémon cosplaying is quite easy!
The main characters from Pokémon aren’t too flashy. They are pretty easy to cosplay, and they are very recognizable. This makes them perfect for both beginners and veterans to cosplay.
The great thing about the costumes is that since they aren’t so flashy, you can use a lot of things you normally have lying around in your wardrobe. At most, you will need to buy a wig or a Pokémon Plush to add some extra flair to your cosplay.
Cosplaying as a Pokémon is a lot harder than it looks and is something I would only recommend if you have a lot of experience cosplaying and making costumes or the money to buy a decent pre-made costume. Otherwise, you are going to be pretty disappointed when it doesn’t come out as you want it to be.