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). 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 the player's starter is weakest to, 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. 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 Template:Stone 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 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. 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 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 Pearl 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 Pearl 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 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 evolutions (then).
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 the starter Pokémon of other regions, 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 Nabiki Beach. The two not selected can be obtained through quests later in the game.
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 Melee! Pokémon Scramble, the player starts out with a Rattata.
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
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. 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, 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 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 evolved into Umbreon.
In the manga
In Pokémon Special
In Pokémon Special, 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 the highest level, even if they acquired more than one Pokémon at first.
List of starter Pokémon in Pokémon Special
- Red's starter was his Poliwag. Later, Professor Oak gave him a Bulbasaur.
- Green's starter was his Scyther. His grandfather later gave him a Charmander.
- Blue's starter was her Jigglypuff. She stole a Squirtle from Professor Oak along with the third Pokédex.
- 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.
- Gold's starter was his Aipom that his mother gave him. Professor Elm later gave him a Cyndaquil.
- Silver's starter was the Sneasel that Giovanni gave him as a child. He later stole a Totodile from Professor Elm.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sapphire's first Pokémon was the Aron her father gave her. Later, he gave her a Torchic along with her Pokédex.
- Wally's first Pokémon was a Kecleon that Ruby helped him capture. However, he also borrowed Ruby's Ralts and the Treecko intended for Emerald, but they ended up returned to their rightful owners.
- Emerald's first Pokémon was the Sceptile he rescued from the Battle Frontier, which was supposed to be his in the first place.
- Diamond's first was his Munchlax, and later he received a Turtwig from Professor Rowan.
- Pearl's first was his Chatot, and later he received a Chimchar from Professor Rowan.
- Platinum's first Pokémon was her Ponyta, and later she received a Piplup from Professor Rowan.
- 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.
- 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, and in the games, all have the same base stat total: 309.
- Each of the Template:Type2 starters is based on a reptilian creature, with Bulbasaur and Chikorita being based on prehistoric reptiles, Treecko on geckos, and Turtwig 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.
- Cyndaquil, Pikachu, and Chimchar are the only main series starters based off of mammals, an echidna, a mouse, and a chimpanzee, respectively.
- Starting in Generation II, all of the fully-evolved starters could learn Earthquake, (except for Venusaur, who could learn it from Generation III onwards), and this set 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.
- 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.
- 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 pokemon that can't learn Cut.
- 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 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.