Character EditDawn is notable for her confidence, since she is always looking towards the future rather than dwelling on her mistakes, although she has learned that this is not always enough. In the Japanese version, her catchphrase is, "" Although not consistently translated in the English dub at first, she began to regularly use "No need to worry!" In stark contrast to May's inexperience and self-doubt at the start of the Advanced Generation series, Dawn was overly confident and assured in her own strength in the beginning.She began her journey with her Piplup. Unlike May, she knew from the beginning that she wanted to be a Coordinator. After meeting Ash and Brock, she decided to journey with them, as their experience would likely be helpful to her. Like Ash, she is lucky enough to have seen a legendary Pokémon at the start of her journey, the projected soul of Mesprit in Following a Maiden's Voyage!. She lost her first Contest in Arrival of a Rival! and ended up getting support from her mother who told her to rely on her friends. Eventually, in her second official Contest, Dawn narrowly beat her childhood rival Kenny to gain her first ribbon. In Dawn's Early Night!, when she competed in the Hearthome City Contest, she lost in the Appeal Round, making her the first of the main characters to lose a Contest by losing the appeal round. In Team Shocker!, she lost the Appeal Round for second time in a row. This marked a notable change in Dawn's character. Previously, she had only occasionally been seen training for Contests. After the second blow to her self-esteem, she didn't know what to do and was still very upset throughout Tanks for the Memories!. After this, she began to become more focused and regained her confidence after battling Maylene in Crossing the Battle Line!. Dawn began to practice in earnest and eventually was able to break her losing streak in Strategy With a Smile! and was able to win the Wallace Cup after narrowly defeating May in the final round. Dawn has since maintained her newfound focus and humility. After learning of the next Contest in Celestic Town, she became very dedicated in her training, and actually overworked her Pokémon in A Lean Mean Team Rocket Machine!. Due to her hardwork, she managed to win the Contest in Battling the Generation Gap. In A Breed Stampede!, her Mamoswine began to disobey her after evolving. Despite this, she is still eager to train it well.
While she is the only female main character not to have a sibling, she has two childhood friends that appeared in the anime, Kenny and Leona, both of whom call her Dee Dee (Japanese: ピカリ Pikari) sometimes. Dawn has prevented them from telling Ash and Brock about the reason why she has this nickname, which is because she has a fear of Plusle and Minun, as revealed in EP161. She seems to be closer to Leona than to Kenny. Kenny functions as a rival for Dawn alongside Zoey. Zoey also functions as a semi-mentor to Dawn and helped her recover from her second loss. All three are competing for their first time in the regional Contests. Leona, however, challenges Gyms. She also seemed to be childhood friends with Barry when she was little, and was very upset that he didn't remember who she was.
Dawn is much more different than any of Ash's other friends. Dawn has more concern about her appearance, as she will not show herself to Ash or Brock until she feels that her appearance is perfect. That may be a reason why she decides to sleep inside a tent while the others sleep outside. However, she has recently been seen sleeping outside with the others, such as in Tears for Fears! Every time she's going to be on camera, she needs to take a moment to brush her hair before going on. In The Bells are Singing!, Dawn revealed that she was the one to design Buneary's vest (but also admitted that her mother was the one to sew it). In Arriving in Style!, she demonstrated her talent for designing again, sketching many different dresses for the Hearthome Collection, though she rejected all of them.
Also unlike Ash's other friends, Dawn has already crossed a lot of boundaries that have previously only been held by Ash. She saw the aforementioned legendary Pokémon prior to meeting Ash, and is the first main character to own an Electric-type Pokémon besides Ash. Having caught Buneary, Pachirisu, and Buizel, Dawn has captured more Pokémon in her first 35 episodes that any of the other main characters, aside from Ash. She is also the first main character besides Ash to have battled a member of the Elite Four, and the first of Ash's friends to have defeated a legendary Pokémon.
She had a bicycle, but like Misty's and May's bikes, Ash's Pikachu destroyed it with its Thunderbolt. However, she did not mention this to Ash until over 30 episodes after it happened. Johanna gave Dawn one of her old ribbons from her days as a Coordinator as a gift for luck. She also had a large suitcase full of dresses, but her mother made her leave it at home due to its impracticality. She also has a Contest Pass for the Sinnoh region, and her Contest cry is "Spotlight!" (U.S.), or "Charm up!" (Japan).