In a previous Trainer Spotlight, we discussed Blue, the first “rival” character in the world of Pokémon. Now, we're going to take a look at one of the more recent rivals, Hau, who made his debut in Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. Despite having similar roles, Hau and Blue couldn't be more different. Hau is more of a friendly rival, who is kind and encouraging despite also working toward the goal of becoming a Pokémon League Champion.
So, grab a malasada (Hau's favorite food) and dive into the history of this cheerful Alola region Pokémon Trainer.
In the Video Games
Hau is one of the first characters you'll meet in Alola in Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, where he is introduced as the grandson of Hala, the kahuna of Melemele Island. Not surprisingly, he also plays a major role in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon. At the start of these games, you're given a clear example of how Hau differs from Blue—Blue's first partner Pokémon always has a type advantage over the player's, putting the player at an immediate disadvantage. Hau, on the other hand, always chooses a first partner Pokémon of the type that is weak against the player's. Hau isn't overly competitive—he just wants to have a fun adventure!
Even when he loses a match, the enthusiastic Hau never has a bad word to say. He's always positive and quick to compliment his opponent's skills in battle. As you embark on your journey, Hau heads off on his own, but he'll occasionally cross paths with you to share a bit of advice, engage in a Pokémon battle, or simply provide a bit of levity. He'll even sometimes join you for long stretches, such as the visit to Aether Paradise (the way Hau's positive energy grates on the brooding Gladion is especially amusing).
Don't mistake Hau's cheerful attitude for weakness, though. Throughout Hau's quest, we start to see a more courageous side emerge. He grows tired of having to be rescued by his friends and becomes determined to improve the skills of both himself and his Pokémon partners. He even expresses a desire to become an island kahuna one day. His bravery manifests itself when he's called upon to battle against Team Skull, and he's quick to offer to help rescue Lillie from the Aether Foundation. He even takes on an Ultra Beast with the encouragement of his grandfather.
Amusingly, in Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, Hau decides not to compete in the Pokémon League challenge, expressing his desire to grow stronger before doing so. However, in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon, he is ready to compete on Mount Lanakila to determine who will be the Alola region's first Pokémon League Champion.
More recently, Hau appears in Pokémon Masters in a sync pair with his partner Pokémon, Alolan Raichu. The pair has teamed up with fellow Alolan sync pair Sophocles and Togedemaru. Hau is very supportive of his friend Sophocles, and his enthusiasm for friendly battles continues to shine through. While he's on Pasio, Hau hopes to challenge strong Trainers in order to boost his skills enough to defeat his rival. We believe in you, Hau!
In Pokémon the Series
Despite his major role in the video games, two seasons' worth of adventures in the Alola region went by before Hau made an appearance in the animated Pokémon the Series. He finally pops up in “No Stone Unturned!”, the fifth episode of Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon—Ultra Legends.
In the episode, Hau and his partner Dartrix are training to take on Kahuna Hala in the island challenge. He soon crosses paths with Ash, who is very impressed that the young Trainer is related to an island kahuna. Hau and Ash bond right away, and just like his video game persona, Hau loves engaging in Pokémon battles just for the fun of it. The two Trainers battle, and despite putting up a good fight, Ash's perpetually sleepy Rowlet can't compete with Dartrix's experience.
After Rowlet receives a bit of training, Ash engages in a rematch against Hau. Ash and Rowlet win this time, but the loss just serves to renew Hau's fighting spirit. He vows to finally defeat Hala and challenge Ash again!
Hau has yet to return to Pokémon the Series after this episode, but as the Alola Pokémon League inches ever closer to becoming a reality, we might just see Hau make a return appearance. Keep watching to see what's in store for Hau and his Pokémon partner!
In the Pokémon: Sun & Moon Manga
Hau has played only a small role in the Pokémon: Sun & Moon manga series so far, but he bursts onto the scene as only he can. He's one of six Trainers competing in the Full Power Tournament in Iki Town, and the first thing we see him do is greedily lunge at Olivia to snag one of her malasadas as she's trying to determine the order of the matches. Of course.
The luck of the draw has Hau and his Pichu facing off against Gladion and Porygon. Gladion questions Hau's reasons for battling in the tournament. He seems almost insulted when Hau admits that he only entered because he thought it would be fun. Gladion chastises Hau, then proceeds to handily win the match. Despite his loss, Hau maintains his trademark positive attitude, complimenting Gladion on his battling technique.
After the tournament, Hau's journey branches away from that of the manga's two main characters, Sun and Moon. He does reappear later when he joins forces with some of the Alola region's trial captains as they travel to Po Town to confront Guzma, the boss of Team Skull. To test the heroes' skills, Guzma pits them against a group of fearsome Ultra Beasts that prove to be too much for Hau and the trial captains to handle. Despite these circumstances, though, we're sure Hau will show up in subsequent adventures in this story.
In the Pokémon TCG
As a relatively new entry in the lineup of Pokémon Trainers, Hau hasn't had a lot of representation in the Pokémon Trading Card Game—but his one card has proven useful enough that it's appeared in four different expansions since the release of Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon in February 2017. Hau simply allows the player to draw 3 cards. It's essentially an updated version of the classic Bill, which allowed the player to draw 2 cards.
Hau's card received a fantastic-looking full-art version in the Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising expansion that shows Hau hanging out with his partner Alolan Raichu. The original card was reprinted in the Shining Legends expansion, and we saw it once more in the Sun & Moon—Celestial Storm expansion with some new artwork.
It's a nice card for casual play that provides a quick, easy way to get a few more cards into your hand, giving you more options as you set up your attack. Yeah…straightforward and pretty helpful. That sounds like our Hau!
How can you not love the good-natured Hau? He's just so excited to be a Pokémon Trainer, and we must admit that his enthusiasm rubs off on us. Even when he doesn't come out on top, his cheerfulness and determination to do better next time reminds us exactly what we love about the world of Pokémon. Maybe—just maybe—we could all learn a little something from our boy Hau.