The Pokémon series has delivered a number of iconic female characters in its time on the market. Every fan probably has their own personal favorite, since there are dozens. However, one of the early favorites is May from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. Her unique design and hairstyle helped set her apart from Pokémon Crystal's Kris, and her character in the anime is certainly beloved. She's upbeat and fun, the first generation of the "friend rival" popular in recent titles.

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However, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl have a character that easily rivals May in popularity: Cynthia. The champion of the Sinnoh League has an energy that's equal parts friendly and intimidating. She's a powerful trainer and one of the most dangerous champions in the series as a whole. There's a debate on which region is better, but which fan-favorite trainer is better?

10 Cynthia: Sinnoh League Champion

Cynthia very clearly has an easy one-up over May from the start: her status. Cynthia is the champion of the Sinnoh League, and she's no push-over. While other champions may flake under pressure, Cynthia is a challenge in every version. While previous champions like Steven, Wallace, and Lance all had a type gimmick, Cynthia boasts a varied and powerful team. And she hardly uses any dead-weight Pokémon either; they're all threats in their own right. Cynthia absolutely deserves her spot at the top.


9 May: Research Expertise

May, the friend-rival version at least, is the daughter of Professor Burch. She spends most of the game helping him with his research and is clearly knowledgeable about Pokémon. Her knowledge allows her to use any Pokémon and battle any Pokémon with ease. On top of that, access to her father's research may give her access to multiples of the rare starter Pokémon, even if she only uses one in the games. There's a wealth of resources at May's disposal, and that makes her a worthy adversary.

8 Cynthia: One Team, One Mind

One of Cynthia's strengths is that she rarely deviates from her trademark set of six Pokémon. Between Pokémon Platinum and her appearance in Ultra Sun and Moon, the only change she makes is dropping one Pokémon from her rotation.

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It's clear that Cynthia has found a team and a strategy that works for her, and will use that knowledge to run anyone over. While being a one-trick pony may be a detriment for some, it gives Cynthia a competitive edge. The only way to defeat her is to be prepared and counter her strengths.

7 May: A Variety Of Pokemon

May, both the friend-rival and protagonist versions, have access to a huge catalog of Pokémon. While she does focus on the primary types of fire, water, and grass, she also brings in some extra power to shore up her weaknesses. Her team is also not nearly as strong as Cynthia's on an individual power level, but that's not a bad thing. May has the advantage of knowing exactly what Cynthia will bring to the table and will answer accordingly. If the levels were even, May would have plenty of room to out-strategize Cynthia.

6 Cynthia: Battled Team Galactic

Cynthia played a major role in defeating the villains of Diamond and Pearl, Team Galactic. Galactic's plan involved summoning the two legendaries of Space and Time to essentially rewrite the universe. This kind of plan is absolutely insane, but Cynthia is able to match it. Her knowledge of said legendary Pokémon is only matched by maybe Cyrus himself. If Pokemon Generations is considered canon, she absolutely was battling Cyrus atop Spear Pillar to save Sinnoh. While the protagonist did most of the heavy lifting, Cynthia's role in taking down Galactic should not be understated.

5 May: Helped Defeat Team Magma/Aqua

May definitely played more of a supportive role in defeating the villains of Ruby and Sapphire. In the remakes, particularly in the special demo, she plays a direct role in helping to combat Team Magma and Team Aqua. It's even explicitly stated in a conversation in Sootopolis City that she flew in to help anyone she could. It's not quite the frontline role that Cynthia played, but fighting back against nature can't be easy. The willingness to help despite her weaknesses gives May a special edge.

4 Cynthia: Multi-Region Threat

Cynthia is a world-traveler, to put it simply. She has made appearances in Unova, Alola, and Pasio to meet new trainers and face stronger challengers. May hasn't quite had the worldwide experience Cynthia has had.

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While Cynthia doesn't change up her team, she's definitely familiar with all kinds of different battle styles. She's also played with both Z-Moves and Mega Evolution, giving her access to both of those gimmicks. It would take either a galaxy-brain plan or some strange cheese to surprise her. She's not just a threat at home, she's a threat around the world.

3 May: Goes Toe-To-Toe With Her Rival

May may not be the best of rivals, but she still is able to match up against her own rival in Brendan. Her second rival battle is considered one of the most challenging battles for speedrunners, and she will end dozens of runs without remorse. In the originals, she's more of a pushover, but in the remakes she does keep up with her rival. She even has access to Mega Evolution, which is considered a special trait few trainers have. Even though she quits being a trainer formally, she still has the heart of one.

2 Cynthia: The Powerful Mega-Garchomp

In Ultra Sun and Moon, Cynthia appears in the post-game Battle Tree with a familiar party of Pokémon. Her party has a variety of strategies, including access to two Mega Evolutions: Mega-Lucario and Mega-Garchomp. However, from a lore perspective, it makes more sense for her to prefer evolving her signature Pokémon, Garchomp. Mega-Garchomp trades some speed for an astronomically high attack, and can destroy any unprepared trainer. Throw in a Sandstorm, and Mega-Garchomp has the capability to sweep an entire team. She's already strong without a Mega Evolution; with it, she's nearly unstoppable.

1 May: The Uber-tier Mega-Blaziken

Pokemon Mega Blaziken

While May has a variety of Pokémon at her disposal, probably her best would be Blaziken. Blaziken alone is already an uber-tier Pokémon, utilizing Speed Boost to its fullest. However, making it go big arguably makes it more powerful, with higher stats all around. Sure, it would be more effective to have a Life Orb on Blaziken, but it still gives May a serious edge. Mega-Evolved, it will outspeed Garchomp and potentially even defeat it. May isn't the strongest of trainers, but her signature Pokémon is absolutely one of the strongest.

NEXT: Pokémon: Blue Vs Silver: Who Wins In A Fight?

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