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Our ranking of Pokémon’s hottest professors

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Pokémon Scarlet and Violet introduced us to the newest professors in the Pokémon franchise, Professor Sada and Professor Turo. For the first time, which copy of the game you choose will dictate which professor you meet in the game: Sada in Scarlet and Turo in Violet. It’s a difficult choice, and to mark the occasion we’ve decided to reopen our own age-old debate — especially as so many new professors have been introduced over the years. Which of these professors is the hottest? While Professor Willow is still the apple of our eye, how do the other 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 newest Professors Sada and Turo, the franchise’s academics are some of the most important figures.

In order to pay tribute to these characters, Polygon’s staff 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 Willow

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The salt and pepper hair. The stubble. The smirk. The strong brows. Which of these things makes Professor Willow so dang hot? The answer is NONE — it’s actually the gloves and goggles combo, complete with a slick leather jacket. (JK… mostly.) Technically, that leather look only popped up in a recent update, but even before the outfit glow-up, he was still serving. We love an active man! He can Pokémon Go to dinner with me anytime he wants. — Petrana Radulovic


2. Professor Burnet

Professor Burnet is nothing but relatable; she’s not afraid to be publicly thirsty for her crush, as we saw in the Pokémon anime. Burnet is hot because she knows what she wants and is unfettered in her passion to go after it, even if it makes her face go red. That’s on top of her cool, beach vibes and eye-catching white hair. Professor Burnet is a total babe. Unfortunately, according to lore, she’s already married to Professor Kukui. But maybe they’re the kind of couple who saw you across the room and like your vibe. Who knows? — Nicole Carpenter


3. Professor Sycamore

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I grew up in an era when skinny boys in skinny jeans, Victorian-style jackets, and too much hair gel were 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 was 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 Pokémon scholar. He’s got a Brooklyn style to him that screams “begged his suburban parents to drive him to the coolest indie rock concert of the month when he was 16.” Plus, that stubble and hairstyle? Sold! — Julia Alexander


4. Professor Juniper

Aurea Juniper stands apart on our list as the first 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 Frank


5. Professor Kukui

Professor Kukui, who is shirtless and wearing cropped sweats. He is holding a hand up, and pointing a finger.

Image: The Pokémon Company/Bulbapedia

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. — JA


6. Professor Sada

Professor Sada’s art for Pokémon Scarlet. She is wearing a Flinstones-looking shirt and top, and a long coat.

Image: The Pokémon Company/Bulbapedia

Professor Sada is one of the two new professors debuting in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Sada seems to represent the past, so she appears to be wearing animal skin and bones, in a hot Flintstones kind of look. We’re into it! While she has a bit of a sexy stepmom vibe, I’d just prefer if she would just put those grippers away for the sake of us all. — Ana Diaz


7. Professor Birch

Professor Birch, a man in cargo shorts and blue T-shirt, running to the left.

Image: The Pokémon Company/Bulbapedia

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 who would spend his romantic evenings in with you reading the latest Pokémon journals. If that’s not aww-worthy, what is? — JA


8. Professor Magnolia

Professor Magnolia is wearing a yellow shift dress and a lab coat fully buttoned. She is holding a cane with a bird’s head handle, with both hands.

Image: The Pokémon Company/Bulbapedia

Professor Magnolia has kind eyes and incredibly cool glasses. Everything about her look is so nicely put together, from her bird cane to her matching headband and necklace. She’s a capable, intelligent woman, and while she may look stern, when she smiles at you, you know you did something right. It’s nice to see an older lady who knows a thing or two about the world of Pokémon. She probably has some great tips for Pokémon care. — PR


9. Professor Elm

Professor Elm, who is wearing green trousers and a teal button down shirt. He has papers falling out of his pocket.

Image: The Pokémon Company/Bulbapedia

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 who 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. — AF


10. Professor Turo

Professor Turo’s art for Pokémon Violet. He is wearing a futuristic looking full body suit in black and dark purple.

Image: The Pokémon Company/Bulbapedia

OK, objectively this guy is good-looking. He has a chiseled jaw and clearly works out. But he looks… too handsome. Like he was generated in a lab or something. He looks masculine in a way that certain unsavory subcultures of the internet might aspire to look like. It’s the undercut, probably, and maybe the fact that he looks like he’s going to make a really insensitive comment and say it’s just a joke. If any of these Pokémon professors had a callout post made about them based on something they said on a podcast, it would be Turo. — PR


11. Professor Rowan

Professor Rowan, a man in trousers, blue button down vest, is standing. He is holding a briefcase. His mutton chops are wilding.

Image: The Pokémon Company/Bulbapedia

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. — AF


12. Professor Oak

Professor Oak, a man in trousers and a purple polo, is standing with one hand up in a “stop” motion.

Image: The Pokémon Company/Bulbapedia

Professor Oak isn’t unattractive, and being near the end of 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. — JA


13. Professor Laventon

Pokemon’s Professor Laventon is wearing pin striped trousers, a buttoned vest, and a bowtie.

Image: The Pokémon Company/Bulbapedia

It’s a shame to put anyone at the bottom of the list, but we did have to settle on one — and it was Professor Laventon. For me, a sense of style is a part of finding someone attractive, and his signature beanie unfortunately really gets in the way. (This is a bummer, since he looks quite charming without the hat and lab coat!) While Pokémon Legends: Arceus is wonderfully fun, it’s recent enough that Laventon doesn’t carry the same nostalgia as his compatriots. — Nicole Clark


Honorable mention for hottest: Sonia

Sonia, granddaughter to professor Magnolia. She is wearing cute heeled boots, and a double breasted beige coat. Her cute red hair is in a high ponytail.

Image: The Pokémon Company/Bulbapedia

Technically, Sonia’s grandmother is the one with the title: Professor Magnolia. But scene-stealing granddaughter Sonia is the kind of person you want to be and date. She’s cute, smart, stylish, and loves dogs — or, rather, Pokémon that are basically dogs. Plus, she loves and supports her grandmother, Professor Magnolia, and we love a family woman. Sonia is the classic girl-next-door. She makes even the white coat look cute. — Nicole Carpenter


Honorable mention for least hot: Holly

Professor Holly is wearing a blue shirt, orange skirt, and blue glasses. She is holding a clip board and pencil. Her art style is simplistic.

Image: The Pokémon Company/Bulbapedia

You probably don’t know who this is. This is Professor Holly from the official Pokémon Trading Card game, which you can go and download now. She’s got the most Microsoft clipart-ass design I’ve ever seen, which is why she’s not even technically on the formal list. — AD

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