Iris (Japanese: アイリス Iris) is an aspiring Dragon Master and a former traveling companion of Ash who debuted in In the Shadow of Zekrom!.
Iris was born and raised in the Village of Dragons and would spend her time as a little girl playing with the wild Pokémon that lived in the forest just outside the village. She had learned to be quite skilled in tree climbing, as well as tending and caring to different Pokémon. One day she met a wild Drilbur that had injured a Patrat and had stolen its food. Angered, she sought justice for what the Drilbur had done and challenged him. After countless defeats, she finally managed to outmaneuver the Mole Pokémon and get him caught in some vines dangling just over a cliff. After coming to his rescue, the two became good friends and began training together. After many victories against different types of Trainers, Drilbur evolved into an Excadrill. The two then got the opportunity to meet Drayden, a Dragon Master, who praised Iris for her skill in battle. When he asked who was teaching her how to battle she responded that she was teaching herself with the help of the Pokémon she had befriended in the village. Brimming with confidence, she then challenged Drayden to a battle. However, Drayden's Haxorus was more powerful than Iris had anticipated and Excadrill was easily defeated. After suffering defeat and becoming distrustful of his Trainer, Excadrill then closed himself off to Iris, rarely opening up, and never showing emotion.
Not long after those events, Iris left for Opelucid City to attend school at the Opelucid Academy. When she was not in school, she stayed with Marthain a dorm. These were very difficult times for Iris, though. She struggled in school, and failed to make any friends or interact with any of the other students at the academy. Iris also didn't feel compatible with the urban city life. She tried to take her mind off the city by climbing the radio tower for a view of the mountains, but always got into trouble with Officer Jenny. All of these hardships in the city made her homesick, so she often spent her spare time writing to her friend Shannon. Eventually, after losing a battle at school, Iris could not stand this life anymore and dropped out, returning to the Village of Dragons.
Years passed, and Iris was called upon by the village elder. She was to start a journey with a newly hatched Axew and raise him to become a full-fledged Haxorus. She accepted this trial, and set off on her journey, hoping to someday become a Dragon Master herself. Some time after these events, she witnessed a storm caused by Zekrom during the events of In The Shadow of Zekrom!. She missed actually encountering the Deep Black Pokémon, and continued on her journey, eventually meeting Ash Ketchum the very next day when he accidentally tried to catch her, thinking she was a Pokémon. The two had a rocky start, often finding reasons to argue and occasionally calling each other names. However they kept each other company and Iris even stayed to watch his first Gym battle in Triple Leaders! Team Threats!. After the battle one of the Gym Leaders, Cilan, had decided to travel alongside Ash, and noted that the three of them make a good team. So Iris decided to officially become their traveling companion.
In The Bloom Is on Axew! Iris decided she would begin using her new friends to help train her Axew, so she asked Cilan to battle her to help get her started. It was then that she revealed her Axew knew Dragon Rage but hadn't yet mastered how to use it. She later opened up to Cilan and Ash and told them about her hometown, and how she got Axew in the first place. After she finished her story, the group realized Axew had gone missing, and found him stuck in the horns of a Scolipede. They failed to calm the raging Pokémon, so Iris called upon her Excadrill for help. Unfortunately, Excadrill was still closing himself off from Iris, but Excadrill still took care of the Scolipede after Iris had saved Axew herself, when the Scolipede kicked him into a boulder. With everything calmed down, Cilan approached Iris and reassured her to do things at her own pace and not worry too much, and that someday Axew and Excadrill will become even more powerful and loyal to her.
In A Home for Dwebble! she revealed that she knows how to make herbal remedies to heal sick Pokémon when Cilan's Pansage got hit with a rock and caught a fever. This skill became quite handy throughout her journey whenever the group was low on medication and too far from a Pokémon Center. In A Night in the Nacrene Museum! she claimed that she has an acute "sixth sense" when she felt the presence of a spirit haunting the museum. It later turned out to be a Yamask who merely wanted its mask returned to it. However, she was still sure in her abilities in Sewaddle and Burgh in Pinwheel Forest! when the group got lost in Pinwheel Forest.
Iris got separated from the group in Emolga the Irresistible! after Axew tried to befriend a wild Emolga who had narrowly avoided being smothered by Bianca who had been accompanying the group after Ash won his third Badge. The three of them end up being attacked by a swarm of Swoobat and eventually rescued by Ash and Pikachu. The Emolga had grown fond of Iris and accepted her as her Trainer, earning Iris another Pokémon. In Emolga and the New Volt Switch!, Bianca offered to battle the newly caught Emolga, however things didn't go as planned when they found out that Emolga was fairly lazy and used Volt Switch to avoid battles. This did not discourage Iris too much as she accepted the challenge of raising Emolga to hopefully become a skilled battler.
In The Dragon Master's Path!, the group met a young girl named Emmy who was having trouble with her Druddigon. Iris noticed the cause of the Pokémon's rage was a wire wrapped around its ankle, and managed to calm it down by removing it. Impressed with her knowledge of Dragon-type Pokémon, Emmy formally introduced herself and admitted to being a novice. Iris then offered to train her in the ways of Dragon-type Pokémon, and revealed her dream of becoming a Dragon Master some day.
In Iris and Excadrill Against the Dragon Buster!, Iris was challenged by Georgia, a Dragon Buster. Her Axew was easily defeated by Georgia's Beartic. Georgia criticized her for not owning more Dragon types and Iris decided to call on her Excadrill who still wouldn't obey her. Again, the battle resulted in a loss for Iris. She later explained that the resulting loss to Drayden when she was younger was what caused Excadrill to disobey her. But after a night of bonding with Excadrill, he regained his confidence and learned Focus Blast. Iris re-challenged Georgia with Excadrill and the battle resulted in a draw.
Iris competed in the Club Battle along with multiple other Trainers, including her rival, Georgia. Her first battle was against Jimmy Ray and his Watchog in Cilan Versus Trip, Ash Versus Georgia!!, which Iris easily won with her Emolga. She then battled against Stephan and his Sawk in The Club Battle Hearts of Fury: Emolga Versus Sawk!, which she also managed to win with Emolga. She then went up against Luke and his Golett in the next episode, using Axew. In the battle Axew learned Outrage, which he used to defeat Golett. In the final round, Iris went up against Ash and his Pikachu, while Iris used her Excadrill. After a long fight, Excadrill managed to defeat Pikachu, allowing Iris to win the tournament, along with a full set of Wings.
Her fear of the Ice type has been put to the test in some episodes, like in Caution: Icy Battle Conditions!, where she entered the cold Icirrus Gym and saw Ash facing Brycen's Ice-type Pokémon. Some time later, in Crisis at Ferroseed Research!, she had to command Georgia's Vanilluxe in order to escape the Ferroseed Research Institute as her Pokémon were unable to help.
After hearing a story of a Dragon type intentionally damaging a local power plant causing a blackout in Undella Town, she decided to investigate this herself. Later she encountered a unusually grumpy and hostile Dragonite that was just resting to recover from a injury. Upon seeing a mob of Trainers ready to take the Dragonite down, she decided to shield him until her friends found the footage proving that the whole situation was a misunderstanding. Iris happily accepted when the Dragonite offered joining her party.
In the Pokémon World Tournament Junior Cup, she decided to settle things with Georgia fighting her newly-obtained Dragonite against the latter's Beartic. However, the Pokémon didn't take any of his Trainer's orders, continuing Iris's streak of disobedient Pokémon. Despite knowing the risks, Iris kept using Dragonite in all of the rounds. However, her over-confidence when Dragonite finally began obeying her was later her downfall when a single powerful attack put Dragonite in a rampage, leaving him vulnerable to defeat and eliminating her.
After a long time away, Iris returned to the Village of Dragons in A Village Homecoming!. After having several flashbacks of her times in before traveling with Ash, she was given the chance to battle Drayden again, this time in a Gym battle. When they arrived in Opelucid City in Drayden Versus Iris: Past, Present, and Future!, Iris revealed her bad experience there. Once again, she got in trouble with Officer Jenny for climbing the radio tower. While Officer Jenny was questioning her, she met up with Martha again. After that she and Ash and Cilan went to the Opelucid Gym to battle Drayden. Although she did improve, managing to defeat his Haxorus, she lost again. This time however, her Pokémon didn't appear sad despite their defeat and after the battle she promised to get stronger. As a result, Drayden told the village elder to consider Iris as Opelucid City Gym Leader.
Iris said goodbye to Ash in Best Wishes Until We Meet Again! when the group arrived in Kanto. She decided to head for Johto to have a battle with Clair at Blackthorn Gym. She and Cilan took the Magnet Train to Johto where they also split up so that Cilan could participate in Mr. Briney's Old Rod Fishing Rally.
She reappeared in SS028, where she battled Clair's Shiny Druddigon with her Dragonite but lost. During the battle, she demonstrated her ability to read Dragon Pokémon's mind. She encountered a rampaging Gible in the city and saved it from falling from a clock tower. Thus gaining its trust, she read its mind to understand the reason behind its rampaging despite failing earlier. She later caught the Gible and decided to head towards the way they saw a Rayquaza flying.
In SS037, she briefly appeared in a flashback of Cilan.
Iris is said to be a wild girl who likes to swing on vines and eat berries. Her Pokémon friend Axew travels with her in her hair instead of inside a Poké Ball. She seems to be very hyper on occasions such as climbing up trees very quickly. Iris is very adventurous and bold, often times being the first to suggest something and not being afraid to speak her mind. She is shown to be a quick thinker, such as seen in A Sandile Gusher of Change! when she was able to quickly save Ash from falling into boiling hot water when he lost his grip. This becomes a running theme and is again shown in Here Comes the Trubbish Squad! and Minccino-Neat and Tidy! where she is quickly able to evade oncoming dangers when Ash and Cilan can't. She is very in tune with nature and claims to have a "sixth sense" and follows her instincts often. Despite this she also seems to have a poor sense of direction, occasionally getting the group lost.
She was also a little shy and nervous at times towards others, as seen by her evasive and distinct relationship towards Ash after their first meeting. After their initial encounter Iris would occasionally leave Ash's company for a while before unexpectedly reappearing later, usually surprising Ash in the process. She would continue to follow Ash and this pattern would continue until she was formally asked by him and Cilan to join them on their journey. Also, she wasn't entirely trusting of Ash when it came to the safety of her Pokémon during battles and often kept secrets from him and Cilan. However, as their time together expanded, she slowly began to open up and trust the two of them in battles as well as revealing her dreams and ambitions. She seems to get along easier with Pokémon, often preferring their company. This was especially true in the past, where her only real friends (besides Shannon) were the Pokémon that lived nearby. This is again made apparent during her time at Opelucid City's academy, where she had a tough time making friends with her classmates.
Iris is an experienced Trainer and has been in many battles in the past. She has been portrayed as a sort of prodigy in the Village of Dragons, and while there she had built up a 99-win streak with her Excadrill before losing to Dragon Master Drayden. These experiences seem to have affected her, as she has a high view of herself and her abilities. Perhaps because of this, Iris typically seems to think of Ash as a little kid and often treats him like a rookie Trainer when he makes simple mistakes, despite that he too has had many adventures and accomplishments in the past. She is also shown to be slightly hypocritical since despite how commonly she refers to Ash's mistakes when she is usually known to make similar mistakes as well. However this critical view of Ash seems to stem from their first meeting, whereupon Ash not only mistook her for her Pokémon Axew, but attempted to try to catch one without battling it first. Her habit of calling out his immaturity and trying to show herself off as more mature also stems from the tough time she had in Opelucid City as a child, where her own childish and immature behavior had kept her from making friends and fitting in. Despite this, she is not above cheering Ash on during Gym and normal Trainer battles. Also, her calling Ash a kid has shifted from a critical tone to harmless teasing between the two of them, particularly as Iris comes more to term with her own immaturity.
Iris adores most Pokémon, often hugging them upon first meeting. On some occasions this is shown to be a bit invasive, which normally causes the Pokémon to attack her (such as with Ash's Pikachu). She has a particularly strong understanding of Dragon types and tends to be very excitable around them in particular, not showing fear even against a rampaging Druddigon. Because of this strong passion, she aims to become a Dragon Master like so many others from her hometown. The one type she doesn't like is the Ice type, due to the fact that Ice-type attacks are super effective against Dragon-type Pokémon. Trip mentions that her fear of Ice types based on that is irrational, as Dragon-type moves are super effective against Dragon-type Pokémon as well. Iris shrugged this off, however, and mentions that she also doesn't like the cold. Iris is willing to overcome this fear, however, as shown when challenged by Georgia's Beartic and Dawn's Mamoswine.
Despite Iris aiming to be a Dragon Master, only a little more than half of her party are Dragon-type Pokémon, and her first one is not. Like Ash, she tends to catch Pokémon she befriends or want to travel with her regardless of their type as shown when she wanted to add a Tepig and an Oshawott on her team before both wanting to stay with Ash.
Iris has competed in the following Pokémon competitions:
- Club Battle - Winner (Club Battle Finale: A Hero's Outcome!)
- Wishing Bell Festival - 4th (Climbing the Tower of Success!)
- Clubsplosion - Top 8 (A Clubsplosion of Excitement!)
- Pokémon World Tournament Junior Cup - Top 4 (Ash, Iris and Trip: Then There Were Three!)
- Marine Cup Tournament - Top 16 (Cilan and the Case of the Purrloin Witness!)
- Grand Harvest Festival Pokémon Sumo Tournament - Top 16 (The Journalist from Another Region!)
In the manga
In the White—Victini and Zekrom manga
In White—Victini and Zekrom, Iris does not compete in the Eindoak Town Harvest Festival Tournament but instead watches Ash as he is in the tournament. She becomes friends with Carlita due to the fact that she owns a Dragon type.
- Iris is the first main character to keep her Japanese name in the English dub of the anime.
- Iris is Ash's first female traveling companion to not have owned a bike and have it destroyed by Pikachu; she gets shocked instead.
- Iris is also the first of Ash's female traveling companions who did not temporarily return in the series after their departure.
- Silhouettes of Iris and Cilan were shown after DP183 aired on July 1, 2010. The two were officially revealed during a trailer for the anime shown on Pokémon Sunday exactly one month later.
- All of the Pokémon that Iris owns joined her willingly rather than being caught in a battle.
- Iris is the first of Ash's friends to battle a champion; she had a battle with Cynthia in All for the Love of Meloetta!.