Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is an entry with a ton of new characters, due to multiple storylines, but one man stands out: Larry. He’s a person people first encounter at the Medali gym. However, while he isn’t as immediately flashy or memorable at a glance, the character development surrounding him is extraordinary. There’s so much personality there, even with as few interactions as a person gets, and it makes him one of the best characters in the game.
Editor’s Note: There will be spoilers for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s normal type Medali gym leader Larry below.
His entire demeanor feels so similar to everything people deal with in everyday lives. He’s got a boss who wears him down. We do too! He not only notes that being beaten by us is “still better than getting cornered by my boss.” In order to get by, he has to basically work two jobs. (In his words, “Unfortunately for me.”) We have to do that too. Like Larry, we also have to follow instructions at work, even if we know of an easier or more efficient way. Again, at his Elite Four fight Larry says, “…Well, the boss told me to use a different type here.” But we also get times to still be ourselves, even while working. During his Elite Four speech, he suggests he got to choose his gym type by saying, “…I use normal-type Pokemon, since I feel they have a lot in common with me.”
Also, I think he’s trying to be funny? Like Larry is a Pokemon Scarlet and Violet player with a complete poker face. So there are times when what he’s saying could be serious. But I get the feeling he’s being sarcastic when delivering some of his lines. Or maybe he’s trying to be wry? For example, when you beat him at the Medali gym, he says, “You’re rather strong, aren’t you? Enough to bring out my poker face, even.” Also, when he gives us his Facade TM, he says, “Though hopefully a child like you has no need to put on its namesake.” Yes, he could be completely serious. That suits his personality too. But a part of me feels like he’s trying to make a joke, albeit one someone might not “catch.” I’d even say his “This is still better than getting cornered by my boss” is an attempt at humor, given we meet the Pokémon League Chairwoman Geeta multiple times and she seems rather kind and polite.
Not to mention that whole “normal” thing really resonated with me. Larry is an everyday person with a job. He isn’t dressed intricately or glamorously, like some gym leaders. He doesn’t have a catchy “gimmick.” There’s something comforting in that. In knowing that someone wouldn’t also need to be a famous artist, charismatic enough to be a streamer, or gorgeous to be a major and influential character in the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet world, as you can just be a Larry.
And honestly? I love Larry’s versatility too in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. He’s not just acting as the normal-type gym leader in Medali. He’s an Elite Four member specializing in flying types. His Staraptor even pulls double duty on both teams. Which is great, because we see how versatile dual-type Pokemon can be with that.
Pokemon is a series that can often rely on tropes for its characters, and it is refreshing to see someone like Larry in Scarlet and Violet. He’s just so different and relatable. In fact, I’d even say a year ago, my life made me feel like I was in the same sort of position. It is heartening to see someone like him, and to see a “normal” guy be so compelling.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is available for the Nintendo Switch.