From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
At the beginning of their quest, Trainers are given a starter Pokémon (Japanese: はじめてのポケモン first Pokémon or さいしょのポケモン beginning Pokémon; known as 御三家 the big three among Japanese fans). This Pokémon will be used to battle the first wild Pokémon that the Trainer encounters. Once another Pokémon is caught, the starter may be retired, but it is often with this Pokémon that Trainers learn friendship and trust. As such, even advanced Trainers may still use their starters.
In the games
In the main games, each starter Pokémon is at level 5, armed with one damage-dealing move and another that affects stats. Trainers can choose between a Fire, Water, or Template:Type2 Pokémon (with one exception). The Trainer that will be designated as the player's rival will always choose or have the Pokémon of the starter trio that has a type advantage over the one the player chooses, though it may not be the case that they remain the true rival.
The following is a list of starters by region:
In Pokémon Red, Green, Blue, FireRed, and LeafGreen, Professor Oak will bring Trainers to his lab to give them one of the following to begin their journey:
The player's rival will then pick the type-advantageous starter, and the remaining Pokémon will sit in its Poké Ball on Oak's desk for the rest of the game.
Professor Oak offers one of this trio of Pokémon to the player in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver as well after the player has defeated Red, making reference to the fact that he gives them out as starters in Kanto-based games, suggesting the player will be able to make it to the next town with one of these Pokémon by his or her side.
In Pokémon Yellow, Oak instead gives out:
This Pikachu is the same one that attacked the player when they ventured onto Route 1 that Oak caught, which will be the only choice the player gets. Another notable change here involves the player's rival receiving an Eevee from Oak, which will evolve into one of its three Generation I evolutions, depending on the outcome of the battles between the player and the rival.
It should be noted that during the adventure, the player will be able to get the original three Kanto starters through special events not present in the earlier games. It remains to be the only main series game to allow the player to obtain all three starter Pokémon from a previous game legitimately, without trading. The Pikachu received from Oak will also refuse to evolve into Raichu by use of a Thunderstone unless it is traded away to do so.
In Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold, and SoulSilver, Professor Elm will have an errand for the player to run, and will give them one of the following for protection on this errand, which they will then keep after completion:
After the player meets with Mr. Pokémon and receives a Pokédex from Professor Oak, Professor Elm will call the player to tell them that a thief has taken a Pokémon. As the player returns to New Bark Town, he or she will encounter the thief, who will have the stolen Pokémon with the type advantage over the player's own. From this point onward, the thief will be the player's rival, while Professor Elm keeps the Pokémon that was left behind by the thief on his desk for the remainder of the game (in HeartGold and SoulSilver, the last Pokémon mysteriously disappears at some point).
In Generation II, the Pokémon will be holding a Berry when received from Elm, though the rival's stolen starter will not.
In Pokémon Emerald, after the player has caught all Pokémon in the Hoenn Pokédex with the exception of Jirachi and Deoxys, Professor Birch will offer one of these Pokémon as a reward.
In Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, after Professor Birch is rescued from a PoochyenaRS or ZigzagoonE, he allows the player to keep the Pokémon they chose to rescue him with, either:
The player's neighbor, Brendan or May, already has his or her starter, which is always the one with the type advantage. Wally starts with Ralts; he seeks Norman's and the player's assistance in catching his first Pokémon. By the end of the game, it seems that the player's nominal rival, the son/daughter of Professor Birch, has stopped being a Trainer, and Wally is actually the true rival, facing the player before he or she can leave Victory Road and staying there to rebattle the player later.
In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, Steven Stone offers one of these Pokémon to the player after he or she has defeated Red.
In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, when two Starly attack the player and rival at Lake Verity, to which they travel upon hearing reports of a red Gyarados, they will choose one of the following from Professor Rowan's briefcase, which he left at the lake:
The player's friend and rival Barry will choose the starter that has a type advantage against the player's choice, and the NPC who is the other-gender choice (Lucas/Dawn) will have the Pokémon weak to the player's choice. After fighting off the two Starly at the lake and returning the briefcase to Rowan, the professor will allow the player and Barry to keep the Pokémon they used. Compared to previous games, NPC Trainers use their own starter Pokémon more than before, with notable figures such as the Gym Leader Gardenia and Elite Four member Flint using them, as do several other Trainers.
In Pokémon Platinum, the player and the rival are stopped by Professor Rowan just as they are about to run through tall grass to get to Sandgem Town to ask the Professor for Pokémon. After some questions about the player and the rival's love for Pokémon, he decides to entrust them with one starter Pokémon each.
In Pokémon Black and White, the regional professor, Araragi, will offer the player a choice of the Template:Type2 Tsutarja, the Template:Type2 Pokabu, or the Template:Type2 Mijumaru.
In Pokémon Colosseum:
A first for the Pokémon games, these starter Pokémon come as a pair as to represent the double-battle system, and are also different in that they are in the player's possession right at start of play. Umbreon is at level 26, knowing the TM moves Taunt and Snatch, as well as Bite which is otherwise only available through breeding at such a level. Espeon is at level 25, knowing the TM moves Return and Reflect. Both are always male.
In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness:
This starter Pokémon is also in the player's possession right at the beginning. It is at level 10, knowing Bite which is again unique for this level. At an early point in the game, the player is offered one of five evolutionary items, Water Stone, Thunderstone, Fire Stone, Moon Shard and Sun Shard, to make the Eevee evolve into any of its evolutions (then).
In Pokémon XD, if the player completes the Mt. Battle challenge and beats all 100 trainers without quitting or switching Pokémon, Battlus will give him/her one of the Johto starters.
In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team:
In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness:
In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky:
In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Keep Going! Blazing Adventure Squad!:
In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Let's Go! Stormy Adventure Squad!:
In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Go For It! Light Adventure Squad!:
In Pokémon Rumble, the player starts out with a Rattata.
In the anime
A postcard that Dawn received from Professor Rowan, depicting the Sinnoh starter Pokémon
Upon their tenth birthday, youth can register for a Pokédex and pick up a starter Pokémon from the local Pokémon professor or Pokémon Center free of charge. Starters are usually raised specifically to be easy to train.
Like in the games, the specific starter Pokémon available vary from region to region, but are the same in each region as the games. That is, Kanto Trainers can only choose Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle, Johto Trainers can only choose Chikorita, Cyndaquil, or Totodile, and so on.
In A Mudkip Mission, it was shown where starter Pokémon come from. Each region has special breeding grounds for starter Pokémon. The Pokémon League sends these breeders the Pokémon eggs for them to hatch at secret breeding grounds. The breeders then hatch, care for, and raise the young Pokémon until they are ready to be proper starters for new Trainers. As these young ones are virtually defenseless, the locations of breeding grounds (or even the knowledge of their existence) is a secret unknown to most in the Pokémon world. This is likely to guard against unscrupulous individuals or groups (such as Team Rocket) from poaching the young Pokémon.
Other rookie Trainers may receive their first Pokémon from a friend or relative instead; this means that Trainers can, in fact, start with any Pokémon, provided that their first Pokémon is received from someone that is not sanctioned by the Pokémon League.
List of starter Pokémon in the anime
Several characters have also captured Pokémon in the wild that are, in the games, only available as starter Pokémon.
- Ash Ketchum captured a Bulbasaur, a Charmander, and a Squirtle in quick succession in the Kanto region. Of the three, only Charmander evolved, becoming a Charmeleon, and later a Charizard, both of which were very disobedient to Ash until an incident in the Orange Archipelago, after which it served Ash as it had when it was a Charmander. Bulbasaur was also going to evolve, but decided itself against becoming an Ivysaur in Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden.
- Ash also captured the three Johto region starters, Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile, of which Cyndaquil and Chikorita evolved, into Quilava and Bayleef, respectively.
- Ash captured as well a Treecko in Hoenn, while Brock captured a Mudkip. Treecko evolved twice, becoming Sceptile before Ash left it at Professor Oak's lab, while Brock's Mudkip evolved into Marshtomp. Along with May's Torchic, the traveling trio had the three starters of Hoenn.
- May captured a Bulbasaur midway through her journey in Hoenn, and was given a Squirtle by Professor Oak when she journeyed to Kanto. Bulbasaur evolved all the way into Venusaur during May's travels through Johto. Squirtle also evolved into Wartortle during May's travels through Johto.
- In Sinnoh, Ash repeated himself by capturing Turtwig, which has since evolved into a Torterra. His rival, Paul owned a Chimchar that was confirmed to be caught in the wild. It was released, recaught by Ash, and is now an Infernape.
- Dawn hatched a Cyndaquil during her journey in Sinnoh.
- Gary Oak had an Eevee at least since Ash was traveling in the Orange Islands. As it was revealed to be under his ownership before his Blastoise, it caused many to hearken back to Pokémon Yellow, where the player starts with Pikachu, like Ash, and the rival starts with Eevee. Either way, it was disproven that this was the case when Gary finally revealed his Blastoise to Ash. His Eevee eventually evolved into Umbreon.
In the manga
In Pokémon Adventures
In Pokémon Adventures, the Starter Pokémon featured in the games are reserved for the few people who hold a Pokédex. Professor Oak produces three Pokédex for each region, and gives out the three starter Pokémon in each region along with the Pokédex to Trainers he thinks are talented. He has colleagues and friends like Professor Birch do this for him in regions in which he isn't present.
Most characters in the manga do not start out with one of the Pokédex-related starter Pokémon. Instead, they usually have a Pokémon they were given by their parents when they were infants that they use as their starter Pokémon. Occasionally, it is not directly stated which Pokémon were their starter Pokémon in the manga, but in profiles of their teams, their starter Pokémon is marked with a star and is among the highest level in the party, even if they acquired more than one Pokémon at first.
List of starter Pokémon in Pokémon Adventures
- Red's starter was his Poliwag. Later, Professor Oak gave him a Bulbasaur, which became a Venusaur in his travels.
- Blue's starter was his Scyther. His grandfather later gave him a Charmander, which evolved twice into a Charizard before Red's had.
- Green's starter was her Jigglypuff. She stole a Squirtle from Professor Oak and later obtained the third Pokédex after breaking down in tears in front of Professor Oak, who then recognized her a true Pokédex Holder and forgave her theft. By the time this happened, it had already evolved to a Blastoise.
- Yellow's starter a Rattata that Red caught for her. Later, she borrowed Red's Pikachu, and after Red took him back, caught a female Pikachu for herself. She originally borrowed Red's Pokédex for her journey to find and save Red, which she received permanently in the end of the FireRed & LeafGreen chapter after the three Pallet Town trainers received National Pokédexes (and the other two copies of the original Pokédex were destroyed dangerously close to the data transfer's finish). Like the Pikachu in Yellow, neither evolved.
- Gold's starter was his Aipom that his mother gave him. Professor Elm allows him to keep a Cyndaquil, which becomes a Typhlosion alongside the other two starters.
- Silver's starter was the Sneasel that Giovanni gave him as a child. He later stole a Totodile from Professor Elm, as well as the first Pokédex of Johto. His starter evolved twice into a Feraligatr.
- Crystal's starter is officially her Smoochum, although she acquired many wild Pokémon that lived as a family while she was in the wild. Chikorita later ran away from Professor Elm to go with her, and became a Meganium midway into their journey.
- Ruby's starter was his Poochyena that he received from his father, though he also received his Skitty and Ralts at the same time. Later, he got Professor Birch's Mudkip. It evolved into a Swampert from the concussive battles it underwent. He was never formally given the Pokédex, it ended up in his hands, and he was allowed to keep it.
- Sapphire's first Pokémon was the Aron her father gave her. Later, he gave her a Torchic along with her Pokédex, which evolved twice under her care into Blaziken.
- Wally's first Pokémon was a Kecleon that Ruby helped him capture. However, he also borrowed Ruby's Ralts and rescued the Treecko intended for Emerald, but they ended up returned to their rightful owners, and the third Pokédex was returned to Birch, which was then finally given to Emerald.
- Emerald's first battle Pokémon was the Sceptile he rescued from the Battle Frontier, which was supposed to be his in the first place. It evolved from its Grovyle stage in the wild, after evolving once in Wally's care.
- Diamond's first was his Munchlax, and later he received a Turtwig from Professor Rowan because of a misunderstanding. It has since evolved to Torterra alongside the others.
- Pearl's first was his Chatot, and later he received a Chimchar from Professor Rowan with Diamond. The Chimchar has since evolved twice into an Infernape.
- Platinum's first Pokémon was her Ponyta, and later she received a Piplup from Professor Rowan. It has since become an Empoleon under her care.
- For DP001, Professor Oak's lecture is about the starter Pokémon of Sinnoh. He writes this Pokémon senryū about them: シンオウで たびがはじまる ポケモンと Shin'ō de tabi ga hajimaru Pokémon to. "In Sinnoh, a journey begins with Pokémon."
- All starters in the main series besides Pikachu have a 7:1 ratio of males to females.
- Due to this, as well as the way in which gender and shininess were determined, it was impossible to have a shiny female starter Pokémon, as the lowest Attack IV a shiny Pokémon can have was 2, while the highest Attack IV a female Pokémon in that gender group can have is 1.
- Each of the Template:Type2 starters is based on a reptilian creature, with Bulbasaur and Chikorita being based on prehistoric reptiles, Treecko on geckos, Turtwig on turtles, and Tsutarja on a lizard/snake.
- All of the Generation I starters are based on reptilian creatures. Bulbasaur's family resemble dinosaurs, Charmander's family is based on lizards, and Squirtle's is based on turtles.
- When gender differences were introduced in Generation IV, none of the Template:Type2 starters received gender differences. Also, the Sinnoh region's starters were the only set not to have any gender differences, despite being introduced in the same generation as that feature.
- Starting in Generation III, all of the fully-evolved starters could learn Earthquake; this set a precedent for all later fully-evolved starters.
- The Hoenn starters all evolve for the first time at level 16, then again at level 36. Others have differences in either one or both evolutionary levels.
- Other than Pikachu in the main series, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle are the only starter Pokémon to appear in more than one Regional Pokédex.
- The starter Pokémon of Generation III each had their own signature moves: Leaf Blade (Sceptile), Blaze Kick (Blaziken), and Muddy Water (Swampert). However once Generation IV came around, other Pokémon were capable of learning these moves.
- Only the Johto starters' final forms can be legitimately obtained in a type of Poké Ball other than the standard one. This is due to the ability to snag the starters' middle forms in Pokémon Colosseum.
- In interviews with Junichi Masuda during 2009, he stated that starter Pokémon are the Pokémon from each game that the most work goes into, and usually take significantly more time than other Pokémon in each generation.
- Mudkip and Squirtle are the only starter Pokémon that can't learn Cut.
- All starter Pokémon in the main series besides Pikachu knows a Physical move and a Status move when the player first obtains it.
- Other than the Mystery Dungeon series, Pokémon Colosseum is the only Pokémon game that the player starts out with 2 Pokémon. They are also the highest leveled.
- In Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum and later in HeartGold and SoulSilver, all of the starter Pokémon are taken, instead of one being left at the lab.
- All of the Grass-type starters have the ability Overgrow, the Fire-type ones Blaze, and the Water-type ones Torrent. The exception to this are the evolutions of the Eevee obtained in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness.
- In the National Pokédex and the Regional Pokédexes, the Grass-type starter comes numerically before the others. The Water-type ones always come last numerically.
- Espeon and Umbreon are the only starters that are received fully evolved. Also, these two are the only starters which are received together.
- Ash has owned all four Grass-type starters: Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Treecko, and Turtwig. All of them except Bulbasaur have evolved since then.
- Charmander and Treecko are both based on lizards (salamander, gecko). Ash had the final forms of them: Charizard and Sceptile. It should be noted, however, that a real life salamander is an amphibian, not a lizard; however, Charmander is based upon the legendary creature known as the Salamander.
- Squirtle and Turtwig are both based on turtles and were the starters of two of Ash's rivals, Gary and Paul.
- Torchic and Piplup are both based on birds (chicken, penguin). They were also both owned by the anime's resident Pokémon Coordinators.
- Both May and Dawn have a second starter Pokémon from a previous generation with a type disadvantage to their first.