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 Hajimete no Pokémon or さいしょのポケモン saisho no Pokémon). 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. Generally, trainers can choose between a Fire, Water, or Grass Pokémon, with a few exceptions. The trainer that will be designated as the player's rival will always choose or have the Pokémon of the starter trio that weakens the player's, 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, Blue, Green, and 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 the Poké Ball on Oak's desk for the rest of the game.
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.
In Poké Gold, Silver and Crystal, 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, the one 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 Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, after Professor Birch is rescued from a Poochyena (R/S) or Zigzagoon, (E) 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. Strangely enough, 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.
In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, when a Starly attacks the player 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 in-game neighbor will choose the one 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 Starly and returning the briefcase to Rowan, the professor will allow the player and Pearl to keep their choices. Rowan also allow Lucas/Dawn to keep the remaining Pokémon.
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.
In Pokémon XD:
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, Template:I, Template:I, Template:I, Template:I and Template:I, to make the Eevee evolve into any of its (then) five evolutions.
This is the only Pokémon that the player will keep throughout Pokémon Ranger. Instead of being a choice based on which Pokémon is more appealing, it is dependent on the player's gender choice, Plusle belonging to Solana and Minun belonging to Lunick.
In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon:
In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon 2:
In these games, instead of the player choosing a Pokémon to train at start, depending on choices made on a test, the player becomes one of these Pokémon.
In the anime
A poster on Ash Ketchum's bedroom wall, depicting the Kanto 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.
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
- Ash Ketchum received a Pikachu from Professor Oak.
- Gary Oak received a Squirtle from Professor Oak that evolved into a Blastoise.
- Brock received an Onix from his father that now belongs to his brother, Forrest, with whom it evolved into a Steelix.
- James's first Pokémon is his pet Growlithe named Growlie. However, he left it at home when he ran away.
- Ritchie may have started with a Charmander, now a Charmeleon, as it is the only Pokémon on his team that is a starter Pokémon in any of the standard regions, excepting his Pikachu.
- Sammy Oak started with a Charmander, which is a Charmeleon as of Pokémon 4Ever.
- 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 also received a Chikorita from Professor Elm, which is as well now a Meganium.
- May received a Torchic from Professor Birch that evolved into a Blaziken.
- Harrison also received a Torchic from Professor Birch, which is as well now a Blaziken.
- Gilbert (H014) received a Bulbasaur from Professor Oak.
- Dawn received a Piplup from Professor Rowan.
- Paul has a Chimchar the first time he is seen. However, his starter Pokémon was in fact a Turtwig.
- Max intends to begin his journey with a Ralts that he met in AG109. This is possibly a reference to Wally's starter Pokémon in the games.
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 EP051.
- Ash also captured the three Johto region starters, Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile, of which only Chikorita evolved, into Bayleef.
- 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.
- In Sinnoh, Ash repeated himself by capturing Turtwig, while his rival Paul owns a Chimchar and a Torterra, and Dawn herself has the third, Piplup. This is an imitation of the games: the rival (Paul) has the starter strong against the main character's (Ash) while the second rival (Dawn) has the starter weak against the main character's.
- Gary Oak has had his 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 evolved into Umbreon.
- Of the four Template:Type2 starters, three of their Romanized Japanese names start with H, Hitokage, Hinoarashi, and Hikozaru. Those same three have names starting with a C in the English language versions, Charmander, Cyndaquil, and Chimchar, respectively.
- All starters in the normal series of games start off having only their native type - Grass, Water, or Fire. Only one of them starts off with a second type: Bulbasaur, who is part Poison.
- Usually upon evolution, the starter Pokémon gain another type. However, Blastoise, the three Johto starters' final forms (Meganium, Typhlosion, and Feraligatr), and Sceptile never gain a second type.
- The final forms of the starters also vary in type based on their region. All three of the Johto region's starters never gain a second type, while all three of the Sinnoh region's starters do have a second type. It should be noted that the Sinnoh starters' secondary types are configured so that each is theoretically a perfect match for each other. Kanto and Hoenn both have two of their starters' final forms having two types, while the third has only one.
- All of the Kanto starters, excepting Pikachu, can interbreed, being in the Monster egg group. The Chikorita and Totodile families join them, however, Cyndaquil's family is instead in the Ground group, a pattern that would continue into Generation III where both Treecko and Mudkip were in the Monster group while Torchic was in the Ground group. Finally, in Generation IV, only Turtwig is in the Monster group, leaving both Piplup and Chimchar in the Ground group.
- 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."
- Each of the Template:Type2 starters is based on a reptilian creature, with Bulbasaur and Chikorita being based on dinosaurs, Treecko on geckos, and Turtwig on turtles.