From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Artwork featuring the starter Pokémon up to Generation IV
At the beginning of their quest, Trainers are given a starter Pokémon (Japanese: はじめてのポケモン Beginning Pokémon or さいしょのポケモン first 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 Pokémon 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 starter Pokémon, and they will often be the most powerful Pokémon on their respective teams.
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 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 starter Pokémon 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 Pokémon, 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 after the player has defeated Red, making reference to the fact that he gives them out as starter Pokémon 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. During the adventure, the player will be able to get the original three Kanto starter Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon, 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 Pokémon 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.
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, Professor Juniper leaves a gift with the player's mother in Nuvema Town to give to him or her, containing the following three Pokémon:
The player's friend Cheren will choose the Pokémon that is strong against the player's choice, while the player's other friend Bianca will choose the one weak to the player's choice. The choice of starter Pokémon affects which of the Gym Leaders of Striaton City will be battled; players who chose Snivy will face Chili, a Template:Type2 specialist, players who chose Tepig will face Cress, a Template:Type2 specialist, and players who chose Oshawott will face Cilan, a Template:Type2 specialist. Also, the choice affects the Pokémon given to the player in the Dreamyard. Choosing Snivy gives the player a Panpour, Tepig a Pansage and Oshawott a Pansear.
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 appears to start with maximum Happiness) 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 (then) evolutions.
In Pokémon XD, if the player completes the Mt. Battle challenge and beats all 100 Trainers without quitting or switching Pokémon, Battlus will give one of the Johto starter Pokémon as a reward.
While not actually starter Pokémon, these are the first Pokémon obtained in each of these games.
In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, the player starts with a two-Pokémon team, with one Pokémon representing them as the player character, and the other being their partner. The species available are based mostly starter Pokémon, and vary slightly with each game. Some of them are exclusive to the player (including their given gender), while others are exclusive to the partner.
Pokémon Ranger series
In Pokémon Ranger, the player starts with either Plusle or Minun as the partner Pokémon. The one which the player gets depends on their chosen gender, with males receiving Minun and females receiving Plusle.
Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia
In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, the player chooses to start with either Pachirisu, Starly, or Munchlax as the partner Pokémon.
Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs
In Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, the player's partner Pokémon is ukulele Pichu.
Pokémon Rumble series
In Pokédex 3D, all players begin with these Pokémon.
In the anime
Upon their tenth birthday, youths can register for a Pokédex and pick up a starter Pokémon from the local Pokémon professor or Pokémon Center free of charge. Starter Pokémon 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 starter Pokémon 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. Others, on the other hand, may befriend a Pokémon in the wild. These mean that Trainers can, in fact, start with any Pokémon.
A poster on Ash Ketchum's bedroom wall, depicting the Kanto starter Pokémon
The Hoenn starter Pokémon; owned by Brock, Ash, and May from left to right
A postcard that Dawn received from Professor Rowan, depicting the Sinnoh starter Pokémon
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 starter Pokémon, 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 starter Pokémon 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.
- Ash reused his pattern from the original series of capturing all starter Pokémon in Unova, Oshawott, Tepig and Snivy. However this time around he caught them in reverse of the Pokédex order rather than following it as he did in the original series, and Oshawott was in fact a starter Pokémon that Professor Juniper allowed Ash to have after it ran away to be with him.
- 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 the Pokémon Adventures manga
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 Pokémon was his Poliwag. Later, Professor Oak gave him a Bulbasaur, which became a Venusaur in his travels.
- Blue's starter Pokémon was his Scyther. His grandfather later gave him a Charmander, which evolved twice into a Charizard before Red's had.
- Green's starter Pokémon 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 Pokémon was 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 Pokémon was his Aipom that his mother gave him. Professor Elm allows him to keep a Cyndaquil, which becomes a Typhlosion alongside the other two starter Pokémon.
- Silver's starter Pokémon 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 Pokémon evolved twice into a Feraligatr.
- Crystal's starter Pokémon 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 Pokémon was his Ralts that he received from his father, though he also received his Skitty and Poochyena 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.
- Black started with a Rufflet and a Munna and later acquired a Tepig from Professor Juniper.
- 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."
- For BW003, Professor Oak's lecture is about the starter Pokémon of Unova. He writes this Pokémon senryū about them: パートナー みず・くさ・ほのお まよっちゃう Pātonā, mizu kusa honō, mayocchau. "Partner, Water, Grass, Fire, I can't decide."
- All starter Pokémon 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 in Generation II, as the lowest Attack IV a Shiny Pokémon could have was 2, while the highest Attack IV a female Pokémon in that gender group could have was 1.
- Each of the Template:Type2 starter Pokémon is based on a reptilian creature, with Bulbasaur and Chikorita being based on prehistoric reptiles, Treecko on geckos, Turtwig on turtles, and Snivy on a lizard/snake.
- The Hoenn starter Pokémon all evolve for the first time at level 16, then again at level 36. The Unova starter Pokémon all evolve for the first time at level 17, and then again at level 36. Other trios have differences among the three in either one or both evolutionary levels.
- The starter Pokémon from Generation I are the only ones to appear in more than one regional Pokédex.
- 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.
- When a starter Pokémon is first obtained, all are at level 5. Each knows one Template:Type2 physical move and a stat-altering status move at this level, except for Pikachu, which has ThunderShock instead of a Normal-type move.
- Other than the Mystery Dungeon series, Pokémon Colosseum is the only Pokémon game that the player starts out with two Pokémon. They are also the highest leveled.
- In Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, Black, and White, all of the starter Pokémon are taken, instead of one being left at the lab.
- All of the Grass-type starter Pokémon 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.
- However, through the Dream World, it is possible to find starter Pokémon with other abilities.
- In the National Pokédex and the regional Pokédexes, the Grass-type starter Pokémon comes numerically before the others. The Water-type ones always come last numerically.
- Espeon and Umbreon are the only starter Pokémon that are received fully evolved. Also, these two are the only starter Pokémon which are received together.
- Neither of the main series starter Pokémon that are based on birds (Torchic and Piplup) are Template:Type2 nor are able to fly.
- Bulbasaur is the only starter Pokémon in the main series to have a secondary type in its unevolved stage.
- All three Johto starter Pokémon stay a single type throughout their evolutionary lines, while all three Sinnoh starter Pokémon have dual-types by their last evolutionary stage.
- All three starter Pokémon types in the main series (with the exception of Electric) has had one Pokémon in its final-stage of evolution to have a double weakness; Charizard is doubly weak to Template:Type2, Swampert is doubly weak to Template:Type2 and Torterra is doubly weak to Template:Type2.
- Two of the three Johto fully evolved starter Pokémon, Typhlosion and Feraligatr, share the position of the fully evolved starter Pokémon to have the longest name. However, they tie with the not fully evolved starter Pokémon Charmander and Charmeleon. Also, two of the three Unova starter Pokémon, Snivy and Tepig, share the position of the starter Pokémon or its evolutions with the shortest name.
- All three of the Unova starters start out with the ability to use Tackle as part of their movesets. They also start out with the ability to learn a status move that lowers the opponent's defense by one level, with Snivy knowing Leer and Tepig and Oshawott knowing Tail Whip.
- All evolved Fire-type starter Pokémon introduced since Generation III have had a secondary type of Fighting.
- Eevee is the only starter Pokémon belonging to a rival in the main series of games that does not have a type advantage over the player's starter Pokémon.
- Ash has owned all five Grass-type starter Pokémon: Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Treecko, Turtwig and Snivy. All of them except Bulbasaur and Snivy have evolved since then.
- Each Template:Type2 starter Pokémon obtained by a main character was not battled: Ash's Squirtle and Oshawott chose to join his team, while Ash fought and won against Misty for his Totodile. Brock did not battle Mudkip to obtain it. May received her Squirtle from Professor Oak, and Dawn received her Piplup from Professor Rowan.
- Charmander and Treecko are both based on lizards (salamander, gecko). Ash had the final forms of them: Charizard and Sceptile. 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 starter Pokémon 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. These starter Pokémon are both from two generations prior to their owner's introduction, and featured in the anime likely due to the same-generation remakes.