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 Template:Type2 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, 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. The Pikachu received from Oak will also refuse to evolve into Raichu by use of a Template:Stone unless it is traded away to do so.
In Pokémon 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 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 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 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 allows Lucas/Dawn to keep the remaining Pokémon. Compared to previous games more NPC Trainers use starter Pokémon than before, with notable figures such as the Gym Leader Gardenia and Elite Four member Flint using them as well as several other Trainers.
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: 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) 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. Strangely, unlike other regions and their own starter Pokémon, neither Plusle nor Minun appear at the start of the Browser's listing.
In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, players accumulate 17 Partner Pokémon, one for each elemental type. The first partner is selected by capturing one of the above three during a mission at Vientown Beach. The two not selected can be obtained through quests later in the game.
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.
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.
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.
- Brock received an Onix from his father that now belongs to his brother, Forrest, with whom it evolved into a Steelix.
- Misty is one of the few main characters whose first Pokémon has not been revealed. Before capturing Horsea, who was the first Pokémon Misty was shown capturing, she had Goldeen, Staryu, and Starmie, though none of the three were ever mentioned as her first.
- Gary Oak received a Squirtle from Professor Oak that evolved into a Blastoise.
- Jessie's first known Pokémon was an Ekans that she received as a gift. It evolved into an Arbok, that she eventually released. Arbok is the only starter Pokémon to be released so far in the anime.
- 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, excluding his Pikachu.
- Similar to Misty, Tracey's starter is unknown. He was first seen having already captured both Venonat and Marill, and his only on-screen capture was Scyther.
- Sammy Oak likely started with a Charmander, which is a Charmeleon as of Pokémon 4Ever.
- Delia's only known Pokémon is Mimey.
- 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 all the way into a Blaziken.
- Nicholai's first Pokémon was most likely his Mudkip which has evolved into a Marshtomp
- Tommy's first Pokémon was also a Mudkip, that he evolved into a Marshtomp. He lost it on the Abandoned Ship, where it evolved into Swampert. They were soon reunited.
- Stephanie (Having a Wailord of a Time) received a Mudkip from Nurse Joy at the Slateport City Pokémon Center. Her father received a Treecko at the same time.
- Drew's signature Pokémon usually is his Roserade, making it possibly his starter.
- Harley also uses his Cacturne similar to Drew's Roserade, making it possibly his starter.
- Gilbert (Journey to the Starting Line) received a Bulbasaur from Professor Oak.
- Dawn received a Piplup from Professor Rowan.
- Paul's starter Pokémon was a Turtwig, now a Torterra.
- Nando's first Pokémon was most likley his Budew, that he evolved into a Roselia.
- Zoey's signature Pokémon is her Glameow, possibly being her starter.
- Kenny's first Pokémon was a Piplup that has evolved into a Prinplup.
- Tyler (Thief That Keeps on Thieving!) received a Piplup named Pippy from an unknown location in East Sinnoh.
- Max intends to begin his journey with a Ralts that he met in Do I Hear a Ralts?. 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 Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden.
- 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.
- May captured a Bulbasaur midway through her journey in Hoenn, and was given a Squirtle by Professor Oak when she journeyed to Kanto.
- In Sinnoh, Ash repeated himself by capturing Turtwig, while his rival Paul owned a Chimchar and a Torterra, and Dawn herself has the third of Sinnoh's starters, Piplup. This is an imitation of the games: the rival (Paul) has the starter strong against the main character's (Ash) while the partner (Dawn) has the starter weak against the main character's. In Smells LIke Team Spirit!, however, Paul releases Chimchar, and Ash captures it, making it the first time since the Johto saga that Ash has had more than one of a region's starters.
- Gary Oak had had 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.
- All starters in the main series besides Pikachu have a 7:1 ratio of males to females. The reason for this is likely to make sure that starter Pokémon are more difficult to breed, as species is passed down by the female. There is an exception when using Ditto, however.
- Of the four Template:Type2 starters, three of them have a Japanese name beginning with ヒ hi: Hitokage, Hinoarashi, and Hikozaru. Those same three have names starting with a C in the English language versions: Charmander, Cyndaquil, and Chimchar, respectively. Ash also has captured all three.
- Bulbasaur is the only starter that starts off having a secondary type, Poison. However, this doesn't affect the flow of weakness and resistance that exists within the starters; The Template:Type2 starter is weak against the Template:Type2 starter, which is weak against the Template:Type2 starter, which in turn is weak against the Grass-type starter.
- As of Generation IV, there are more fully evolved starters from the main series that are dual-typed than there are single-typed, 7:5. During Generations II and III, there were fewer dual-typed than single-typed fully evolved starters, 2:4 and 4:5 respectively. None of Johto's starters 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 final forms 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.
- Kanto's group of three main starters is the only group of starters that can all interbreed, with all three evolutionary lines being in the Monster Group. Even so, the Squirtle line is the only one that has an egg move that it can pass on to the other two; Skull Bash to the Bulbasaur line and Bite to the Charmander line.
- In the anime, the three main characters that were shown in an episode choosing their starter all chose Pokémon in the Ground Egg Group (Pikachu, Torchic, Piplup).
- 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.
- None of the Template:Type2 starters have any gender differences at any evolutionary level.
- None of the Sinnoh region's starters have any gender differences, despite this feature having been introduced in Generation IV.
- A new character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl based on a Trainer uses a team of Squirtle, Ivysaur and Charizard—one member from each of the Kanto starters' evolutionary lines.
- Charmander and Treecko are both based off of 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 off of turtles and were the starters of two of Ash's rivals, Gary and Paul.
- Torchic and Piplup are both based off of birds (chicken, penguin). They were also both owned by the anime's resident Pokémon Coordinators.
- Cyndaquil, Pikachu, and Chimchar are the only main series starters based off of mammals, an echidna, a mouse, and a chimpanzee, respectively.
- Ash has owned all four Grass-type starters, two of which have evolved: Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Treecko, and Turtwig.
- In the Pokédex, all the normal starters and their evolutions are in the same order for each region: Grass, Fire, and Water.
- In each generation, except for Generation IV, the final form of one of the three starters is capable of learning Dragon Claw. Also, each of these Pokémon are of a different type. Fire in Generation I, Water in Generation II, and Grass in Generation III.
- All the fully-evolved starters can learn Earthquake.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Incedentally, they all learn them at different points in their evolution: Sceptile learns Leaf Blade before being fully evolved. Blaziken learns Blaze Kick right when its at its final form. And Swampert learns Muddy Water after it reaches its final evolved form. However (Marshtomp) can learn Muddy Water if one delays its evolution till level 37.
- Chimchar and Cyndaquil both evolve the earliest of any of the starters at level 14.
- 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.