From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Artwork featuring the starter Pokémon through Generation IV, not including Eevee
Generation V starters, as seen in the anime
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 Grass-type 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, due to being based on the anime, Oak instead gives out:
The rival will be given:
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's Eevee 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:
In HeartGold and SoulSilver, the player character not chosen will have:
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:
Wally, with the help of the player, will catch:
The player's neighbor, Brendan or May, already has his or her starter Pokémon, which is always the one with the type advantage. What happens to the starter not selected is unknown. 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, and therefore strong against Barry's. 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 Fire-type specialist, players who chose Tepig will face Cress, a Water-type specialist, and players who chose Oshawott will face Cilan, a Grass-type 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 Black 2 and White 2, Bianca takes three starter Pokémon to Aspertia City on Professor Juniper's behalf and offers one of them to the player. The player's friend, Hugh, will have the Pokémon that is strong against the player's choice, having raised it from an Egg. The player character not chosen will have the starter that is weak to the player's choice, but in its second form.
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 friendship) 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.
In Pokémon Battle Revolution, the player's starter Pokémon are determined by the gender specified on their Rental Pass or Custom Pass. They are all at level 50.
Male players start out with the following Pokémon:
Female players start out with the following Pokémon:
While not actually starter Pokémon, these are the first Pokémon available in each of these games.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series
- Main article: Player character → Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series
Pokémon Ranger series
- Main article: Partner Pokémon
Pokémon Rumble series
- Main article: Player character → Pokémon Rumble series
- Main article: Player character → PokéPark 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 from Professor Rowan, depicting the Sinnoh starter Pokémon
List of starter Pokémon in the anime
- Ash received a Pikachu from Professor Oak.
- Brock received an Onix from his father that now belongs to his brother, Forrest, with whom it evolved into a Steelix.
- Misty began her journey with Goldeen, Staryu and Starmie, however it's unknown how she got them or which one she acquired first.
- Gary received a Squirtle from Professor Oak that evolved into a Blastoise.
- James's first Pokémon is his pet Growlithe named Growlie. However, he left it at home when he ran away.
- Through her life Jessie had many temporary Pokémon belonging to her former partners, she even befriended one prior to joining Team Rocket, but her first oficially is a Ekans she received as a birthday gift.
- Casey received a Chikorita from Professor Elm that evolved into a Meganium.
- Jimmy received a Cyndaquil from Professor Elm that evolved into a Typhlosion.
- Marina received a Totodile from Professor Elm that evolved into a Feraligatr.
- Vincent received a Chikorita from Professor Elm that evolved into a Meganium.
- Harrison received a Torchic from Professor Birch that evolved into a Blaziken.
- May received a Torchic from Professor Birch that evolved into a Blaziken.
- Nicholai started with a Mudkip.
- Tommy's first Pokémon was a Mudkip, that he evolved into a Marshtomp. He lost it on the Abandoned Ship, where it evolved again into Swampert. They were later reunited.
- Stephanie (Having a Wailord of a Time) received a Mudkip from Nurse Joy at the Slateport City Pokémon Center.
- Xander's (Caterpie's Big Dilemma) Caterpie was implied to be his starter Pokémon in the episode, as he mentioned that his Caterpie was his first Pokémon, albeit it was "not caught".
- Gilbert (Journey to the Starting Line) received a Bulbasaur from Professor Oak.
- Dawn received a Piplup from Professor Rowan.
- Yuzo said that he started his Pokémon journey with a Starly.
- Paul's starter Pokémon was a Turtwig, now a Torterra.
- Kenny's first Pokémon was a Piplup that evolved into an Empoleon.
- Tyler (Thief That Keeps on Thieving!) received a Piplup named Pippy from an unknown location in East Sinnoh.
- Zoey's first Pokémon was a Glameow that she raised after it was abandoned. It is her signature Pokémon.
- Max intends to begin his journey with the Ralts that he met in Do I Hear a Ralts?.
- Lyra probably received a Chikorita from Professor Elm, given that she is from New Bark Town.
- Khoury probably received a Totodile from Professor Elm that evolved into a Croconaw.
- Barry's starter Pokémon is currently unknown, but it was hinted in Stopped in the Name of Love! that his starter might be his Empoleon he received as a Piplup.
- Trip received a Snivy from Professor Juniper in In The Shadow of Zekrom!.
- Iris's first Pokémon was a Drilbur that she saved from falling off a cliff when she was a little girl.
- Bianca started with her Pignite which she likely had since a Tepig.
- Emmy was given her Druddigon from her father when she started her journey.
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 first Pokémon was a Poliwag he had since his childhood, which has evolved into a Poliwrath. Later, Professor Oak gave him a Bulbasaur, which became a Venusaur in his travels.
- Blue's first Pokémon was a Scyther, now a Scizor, he took to the training with Chuck. His grandfather later gave him a Charmander, which evolved twice into a Charizard.
- Green's first Pokémon was a Jigglypuff, now a Wigglytuff, she received from the Masked Man. She stole a Squirtle from Professor Oak, which later evolved into a Blastoise.
- Yellow's first Pokémon was a Rattata that Red caught for her, which has evolved into a Raticate. Later, she borrowed Red's Pikachu, and after Red took him back, caught a female Pikachu for herself. Like the Pikachu in Yellow, neither evolved.
- Gold's first Pokémon was his Aipom, now a Ambipom, 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 first Pokémon was the Sneasel, now a Weavile, 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 first 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.
and his first Pokémon from the left to the right: Ruru, Coco
- Ruby's first Pokémon were the Ralts, Skitty and Poochyena that he received from his father, all of them evolved into Kirlia, Delcatty and Mightyena respectively. 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, now a Aggron 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 after seeing how much Wally wanted a Pokémon. 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.
- When Emerald arrived in the Battle Frontier he had no Pokémon on hand. Then he challenged the Battle Factory using only Rental Pokémon, nearly at the end of the challenge, he noticed something suspicious about a Sceptile so he decided to steal it from the facility and kept him afterwards, it is later is revealed that the Sceptile 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 Platinum 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 Platinum. The Chimchar has since evolved twice into an Infernape.
- Platinum's first Pokémon was her Ponyta, now a Rapidash, and later she took a Piplup from Professor Rowan. It has since become an Empoleon under her care.
- Black started with a Rufflet that he captured with the help of a wild Munna he had befriended, and later acquired a Tepig from Professor Juniper.
- Cheren's first Pokémon was a Snivy that belonged to Professor Juniper, that was chosen for him by Bianca after she choose an Oshawott.
- Bianca's first Pokémon was a Petilil that she befriended as a child but was released under her father's command; years later she got an Oshawott from Professor Juniper.
- White's first Pokémon was a Servine, which later evolved into a Serperior. This Servine was with N until Gigi, the Tepig that White employed, went to his side.
- Hugh's first Pokémon is a Trapinch.
- Each of the Grass-type 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.
- 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.
- 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.
In the games
- All starter Pokémon in the main series besides Pikachu have a gender ratio of seven males to one female.
- 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.
- 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 the main series, when a starter Pokémon is first obtained, all are at level 5. Each knows one Normal-type physical move and a stat-altering status move at this level, except for Pikachu, which has ThunderShock instead of a Normal-type move.
- Pokémon Colosseum is the only Pokémon game that the player starts out with more than one starter Pokémon. They are also the highest leveled. Other games such as the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series and Pokédex 3D have the player start with multiple Pokémon, but these are not true starter Pokémon.
- 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.
- Neither of the main series starter Pokémon that are based on birds (Torchic and Piplup) are Flying-type nor are able to fly.
In the anime
- 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."
- 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 Water-type 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.