Whether you’re a gamer, an anime fan or the clueless parent of one (or both), chances are you know what Pokemon are.

They’re those colorful, adorable creatures on which countless games and episodes of bad Japanese cartoons are based. They’re basically fighting dogs, genetically bred solely for the purpose of beating each other unconscious while their trainers talk endlessly about how important it is to befriend and love these tortured creatures.

I’m not blaming anyone; I do the same thing.

With the release of “Pokemon Sun” and “Pokemon Moon” last year, the total number of unique Pokemon species has officially passed 800. Yes, there are literally hundreds of these little monsters, and they resemble everything from real animals to household objects such as keys.

I’ve recently taken on the daunting task of capturing one of every type of Pokemon. It’s likely going to take years, but as I started my quest, I was reminded not all Pokemon are created equal. Some stand head and shoulders above their brethren.

Whether you’re playing “Pokemon Go,” “Sun” or “Moon,” the trading card game or watching the anime, here are some of the best Pokemon out there.

(Oh, and I’m skipping default entries such as Charizard and Pikachu. Get over it.)

1. Gengar

Gengar is a staple when it comes to competitive Pokemon battling. He’s a glass cannon of sorts; he has incredibly powerful attacks and is pretty fast, but he can’t take much of a hit. His design is nothing special (his first evolution form, Haunter, looks way more awesome than Gengar, in my opinion), but Gengar’s strength and the fact he’s become my go-to Pokemon when battling make him one of the best pocket monsters out there.

2. Oddish

I don’t know why, but Oddish is my personal favorite Pokemon. It’s probably because he’s so cute. Imagine a blue turnip with goofy feet and a cartoon face, and you’ve basically pictured Oddish. I don’t know how Pikachu became the official Pokemon mascot considering this plant dude is far more adorable.

3. Rayquaza

Rayquaza is, hands down, the best legendary Pokemon. He’s a giant, green, space snake-dragon. What more could you want? His shiny version is black, which is even more menacing, and I’m the proud owner of both versions. Rayquaza is a generation 3 legendary, and his compatriots such as Kyogre and Deoxys are just as cool.

4. Eevee

Eevee is a special Pokemon considering it’s the only ‘mon to have anywhere close to the eight evolutions it has. Cleverly dubbed “Eeveelutions,” each of Eevee’s alternate forms is just as great as the original Pokemon they’re based on. I’m a little biased about Eevee, though. Not only does she resemble a fox, my favorite animal, but she was the very first Pokemon card I ever owned when some kid gave me one in fifth grade.

5. Mega Scizor

Scizor is a fast, hard-hitting Pokemon that resembles some sort of metal, crab-like bug. He’s fast, strong and has decent defensive capabilities. Scizor’s mega evolution, however, features an even more intimidating design and even more ridiculous stats. If you’re going up against a Mega Scizor, pray to Arceus you can outspeed him before he singlehandedly sweeps your team.

6. Milotic

Milotic is a gorgeous water snake Pokemon with a pretty tail and pink eyebrow fins—or whatever those are. I love her simply because she evolves from the ugly, gross fish Pokemon Feebas. Milotic is a gentle remember that there’s beauty in all of us.

7. Litwick

Ghost Pokemon are my favorite, fire’s pretty cool and purple is the best color, so the Ghost/Fire-type Pokemon Litwick, which resembles a cute candle with a purple flame, is naturally going to be awesome. Not only is Litwick cute, but he evolves into Lampent, which looks like a gas lamp, and then Chandelure, which resembles a chandelier. It’s a clever Pokemon evolution line.

8. Doublade

I’m normally opposed to Pokemon that resemble real-world items such as ice cream and eggs, but darn it, Doublade is just too cool. If the name didn’t tip you off, Doublade resembles two swords and evolves from Honedge, which looks like a single sword. It’s another Ghost type, which is a bonus, but the real kicker is this Pokemon’s shiny version, which features red blades instead of gray ones. I loved the design so much I literally spent days in college hatching hundreds of eggs just to find a shiny Doublade I could call my own.

9. Mantyke

If there’s any threat to Oddish as cutest Pokemon, it’s Mantyke, which looks like an adorable, chubby manta ray. I know nothing about Mantyke’s fighting capabilities, but sometimes being cute is enough, you know?

10. Buzzwole

Buzzwole is literally a muscly bug. I’m talking a totally jacked insect, complete with humanoid arms bulging with mass. It’s beyond ridiculous, but for some Pokemon, that just works.

Video game columnist Jake Magee has been with GazetteXtra since 2014. His opinion is not necessarily that of Gazette management. Let him know what you think by emailing jmagee@gazettextra.com, leaving a comment below, or following @jakemmagee on Twitter.