With Pokémon Go finally out, we've been introduced to the newest professor in the franchise, Professor Willow. Widely regarded as the sexiest professor in the Pokémon franchise — by some of the staff at Polygon and the internet at large — his addition to the game was pretty noteworthy. So noteworthy, in fact, that it got us talking about all of the other professors in previous Pokémon games. It's obvious Professor Willow is by far the most attractive the series has ever seen, but how do the other seven researchers in the main titles rank in comparison?
One of the best and most underrated aspects to the Pokémon franchise is the professors that inspire, educate and push trainers to be the very best. Some would even say the very best there ever was. From the original Professor Oak to the newer Professor Kukui, the franchise's academics are some of the most important figures.
In order to pay tribute to these characters, Polygon's Julia Alexander and Allegra Frank sat down to discuss which professors were the sexiest and which ones were not. All rankings are based on their looks, their personalities, their smarts and a little je ne sais quoi.
1. Professor Sycamore
I grew up in an era when skinny boys in skinny jeans, Victorian style jackets and too much hair gel was the definition of sexy. These were the type of dudes you'd see at Warped Tour and pretend not to be interested in because appearing interested in anything wast just so lame. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Professor Augustine Sycamore — of the Kalos region — is my pick for the hottest Pokemon scholar. He's got a Brooklyn style to him that screams he begged his suburban parents to drive him to the coolest indie rock concert of the month when he was 16. Plus, that stubble and hair style? Sold! — Julia
2. Professor Juniper
Aurea Juniper stands apart on our list as the only woman put in charge of a Pokémon lab. She's a perfect example of why that lack of diversity is so disheartening. She's classy and brainy, but she also is aware of something most other professors are not: Getting to work around Pokémon all day is fun, man. She's exciting and excitable, an approachable genius. That's what makes her a certified babe. — Allegra
3. Professor Birch
Professor Birch has a special place in my heart for a few reasons, but one being that he looks like someone I dated who had the same messenger bag as Birch that I coveted for the entirety of our relationship. He's also a man that reeks of confidence — just check out those flip flops — and probably enjoys going to the local pub for a pint after work. Not as straight-up gorgeous as Professor Sycamore, Birch looks like he'd be incredibly charming and sweet. He's someone who's in it for the long haul, and would spend his romantic evenings in with you reading the latest Pokémon journals. If that's not aww-worthy, what is? — Julia
4. Professor Kukui
The newest professor in the Pokémon franchise, Professor Kukui is one of the youngest looking of the bunch. Rocking a snapback, baggy sweats and what appear to be surfing shoes, there is a good chance that Kukui is a backup dancer for a local troupe — but that's also what endears me to him. Kukui looks like a large portion of the people that live in my neighborhood, and so there's a sense of familiarity with him that I don't get from the other professors. In traditional millennial fashion, he's rocking a man bun, and I have to take a moment to appreciate his dedication to keeping up with the kids, too. — Julia
5. Professor Elm
Perhaps by traditional measures of attractiveness, Professor Elm isn't the hottest Pokémon scholar around. But the smartest man in the Johto region has won a space in my heart for several reasons. He's approachable, charming, friendly, polite; he's a little bit of a schlub, and he's definitely a klutz. Elm is like your childhood best friend that you could never imagine having a crush on growing up, until you realize that he's the one who cared the most about you all along. Nice guys often finish last — but not Elm. Not with me. — Allegra
6. Professor Rowan
I’m admittedly not as turned on by Rowan as Julia is. You know how kids keep calling hot guys "daddy" these days? Rowan is the same age as my literal father. That’s not hot. Sorry. Not into that. Now, I’m not saying that’s something Julia is into, but she did have a compelling counterargument. Rowan’s hot because he’s an authority figure, she explained. He’s got power that he can lord over you, and there’s something kind of appealing about that. I mean, that power amounts to him being the guy to go to if you want a starter Pokémon in the Sinnoh region, but still. That’s not nothing. Rowan is a little out of my age range, but maybe I’d give him my number. Maybe. — Allegra
7. Professor Oak
Professor Oak isn't unattractive, and by being last on the list should in no way make him feel any less handsome, but the fact remains that Professor Oak reminds us of our grandfather. Professor Oak will always remain the best professor because he was the first professor we were ever introduced to, but he'll never inspire that spark of electricity in us the same way Professor Sycamore does. — Julia