Bulbasaur was a Pokémon Ash always wanted to catch, as explained in Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village. When Misty tried to capture a wild Oddish, Bulbasaur rushed to Oddish's aid, easily defeating both Starmie with Tackle and Butterfree by blowing his own Sleep Powder back onto him. Later, it was revealed that Bulbasaur was raised in the Hidden Village by Melanie, who cared for sick, injured, and abandoned Pokémon. It acted as the village's bodyguard, and was blatantly hostile to all Trainers, going so far as to physically attack Misty.
Later, Team Rocket attacked the Village and attempted to steal all of the Pokémon with an enormous vacuum. Bulbasaur managed to save Oddish at the last second, and was touched when Ash dashed out to help him get to safety. It then used Vine Whip to deflect the vacuum and Pidgeotto drove Team Rocket away. Melanie encouraged Bulbasaur to join Ash, explaining that its growth was being stunted by staying too long in the village. Bulbasaur agreed to join him once Ash defeated it in battle. Bulbasaur put up an excellent fight against Pikachu, using its vines to seize and smash Pikachu onto the ground repeatedly. However, a powerful Thunderbolt fried Bulbasaur and stunned it long enough for Ash to capture it.
It was first used in a battle to repel Team Rocket Grunts aboard the St. Anne, joining a group of other Bulbasaur to use Vine Whip on the Grunts. Its vines were also used to help the gang and Team Rocket escape from the ship. In Tentacool & Tentacruel, Butterfree carried Bulbasaur into battle with the giant Tentacruel, but it was easily swatted aside by a giant tentacle.
Its Gym battle debut occurred in Pokémon Scent-sation!, where it fought Erika's Tangela. It attempted to use Vine Whip, but Tangela used Constrict to pull it in close and defeated it with Stun Spore. It then fought Koga's sister, Aya in The Ninja Poké-Showdown, defeating her Venonat by blowing away Stun Spore and then striking it with a newly learned Leech Seed. In Ditto's Mysterious Mansion, Bulbasaur was called out by Ash to defeat Duplica's Ditto by using Razor Leaf, however, it was defeated by Ditto after it transformed into Bulbasaur and used Vine Whip on Bulbasaur, knocking it out.
In Who Gets To Keep Togepi?, it fought for Ash in the tournament to decide who gets to keep Togepi, easily defeating Misty's unintentional entrant Psyduck by licking and tickling it. However, the win meant nothing as Togepi chose Misty anyway.
Ash's Bulbasaur resisting evolution
Bulbasaur had the opportunity to evolve after battling a powerful Rhyhorn with a very strong Take Down attack in Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden, but refused to do so despite facing a mass of Ivysaur as well as a Venusaur who were angry at it for ruining the Bulbasaur evolutionary festival. This allowed it to learn the powerful Solar Beam technique earlier than if it had evolved. It used the new attack on Team Rocket after they invaded the ceremony on their rocket balloon and freed the Ivysaur that had been captured by the villainous trio. After being told by its trainer that it had done great, Venusaur agreed with Ash and extended a vine to Bulbasaur as a gesture of respect. It would follow in the footsteps set by Venusaur and do the same before leaving the garden with Ash and the others, having made amends with the Ivysaur and Venusaur.
In Princess vs Princess, Bulbasaur, along with Pikachu and Brock's Vulpix, was briefly lent to Misty to allow her to compete in the Queen of the Princess Festival contest with a more balanced team, Bulbasaur single-handedly let Misty have her first win by defeating a Kingler, Pinsir, Cubone and Raticate on its own. It was called out in the final to battle Jessie on advice from Ash, but its ranged vines were tied by Lickitung's huge tongue and defeated with Lick.
In Battle for the Badge!, Bulbasaur was sent out to fight Team Rocket, who were fighting in Giovanni's stead in the Viridian Gym. Despite the type advantage, Bulbasaur was hit hard by Kingler, who blocked Vine Whip with Harden and then hit back with Bubble.
In Mewtwo Strikes Back, Bulbasaur was used to battle Raymond's Donphan. It was hit by two successive Rollouts, but when launched into the air, it was able to flatten Donphan with Solar Beam. On New Island, Bulbasaur and Squirtle attempted to resist capture by Mewtwo, using its vines to keep the Balls at bay. Ash recalled both Pokémon to safety, but both were cloned when Bulbasaur's Ball was captured itself. Bulbasaur fought viciously against its clone, but was the underdog, its clone able to headbutt it over and over. It wept when Ash was petrified by Mewtwo and Mew, its tears helping in his restoration.
It had only one battle in the Indigo League, in The Fourth Round Rumble against Jeanette Fisher. After an initial trouble with Beedrill's speed, Bulbasaur crippled the Poison Bee Pokémon with Leech Seed and then defeating it with Tackle. Scyther's speed and Double Team produces similar trouble for Ash, until Bulbasaur uses Vine Whip to hit every single clone until it knocks out the real Scyther. Looking set to sweep the match with just Bulbasaur, Ash then took on her Bellsprout. Bulbasaur used Tackle, but Bellsprout flexed its body and absorbed the blow, before seizing Bulbasaur and slamming it onto the ground until it fainted.
Its bond with Ash's Pikachu was shown for real in A Friend in Deed, where Pikachu was able to detect Bulbasaur's Poké Ball amongst hundreds of stolen Balls.
It accompanied Ash to the Orange Islands and was used in Ash's second Gym challenge against Danny in Navel Maneuvers. It attempted to help Pikachu carve a frozen geyser into an ice sled, but was unable to keep up with Danny's team until Charizard completed it in a few short Flamethrowers. It then helped Ash, Pikachu and Squirtle in the race down the cliff, using its vines to steer.
In The Mystery Menace, Bulbasaur was kidnapped by a giant vined creature in the sewers of Trovitopolis. Ash was so upset by this that Misty and Tracey had to both physically restrain him from diving into the water after it and then tie him up so that Officer Jenny could rescue them. Ash kicked and screamed the entire time. With help from Muk, he rescued Bulbasaur and its captor, a mutated giant Bulbasaur that had been abandoned by the town's mayor.
In Misty Meets Her Match, Bulbasaur is used in the Grass-type round of the Gym battle for the Spike Shell Badge. It fought against Rudy's Exeggutor, who dodged Razor Leaf and knocked Bulbasaur down with Egg Bomb. Bulbasaur quickly saved the battle by putting Exeggutor to sleep with Sleep Powder. Bulbasaur was on Ash's team to fight Drake for the Orange League championship in Enter the Dragonite. It managed to land a few blows on Drake's Electabuzz, but was defeated by a ThunderPunch. Drake was eventually defeated and Bulbasaur joined the rest of the team in the Hall of Fame.
Bulbasaur joined Ash in Johto, where it first met Heracross in A Sappy Ending. This began the recurring joke of Heracross wanting to suck the pollen from Bulbasaur's bulb. Throughout the Johto journeys, Bulbasaur's oldest team members Charizard and Squirtle both went into training with others, leaving Bulbasaur as Ash's only remaining Kanto starter. In The Chikorita Rescue, Bulbasaur was used to battle against a Chikorita that Ash had interest in catching. It was recalled after being hurt by the small Grass-type Pokémon and was congratulated by Ash for its effort. Bulbasaur was used in Chikorita's Big Upset, where Ash ordered it to find Chikorita. It would again be irritated by Heracross, who after getting deployed by Ash against Team Rocket, wasted no time in trying to suck the pollen out of Bulbasaur's bulb. Bulbasaur scolded it's teammate and hit Heracross with it's vines.
It bid a solemn farewell to Squirtle in The Fire-ing Squad!. Bulbasaur fought for Ash against Misty for the second time in The Totodile Duel. It seemingly defeated Poliwag with a Razor Leaf, but Poliwag evolved into Poliwhirl and fought back with a powerful Body Slam. After taking damage from Bubble, Bulbasaur flattened Poliwhirl with Solar Beam, winning the match for Ash. It also had a rematch with Aya in Ariados, Amigos!, using Tackle to defeat Venonat from above. In The Grass Route, Bulbasaur was entered in the 45th annual Grass Tournament, reaching the finals after Team Rocket was disqualified for dressing Meowth up as a Sunflora. Bulbasaur looked set to win the final, but Ephraim's Skiploom learned Solar Beam and won the tournament.
In Spell of the Unown: Entei, he was defeated by Lisa's Butterfree's Sleep Powder, despite having been able to resist Ash's Butterfree using the same tactic in its debut. It helped Ash and his friends break into the mansion by using its vines as ropes for climbing.
Bulbasaur remained with Ash until Bulbasaur... the Ambassador!, when it was sent back to Professor Oak's lab to keep the Pokémon there from quarreling with each other. It proved to be a natural leader, first solving the territorial disputes between the warring Bellossom and Jumpluff factions, and the Grass-type and Water-type Pokémon by ordering and leading the construction of a new lake. It came very close to peril when it saved an Oddish from an enormous falling boulder, but revealed that it had learned Dig just in time to save itself. Oak remarked to Tracey that Bulbasaur was a perfect example of a Pokémon being able to call on powers unheard of in extreme situations. After resolving this dispute, Ash and Oak agreed to allow Bulbasaur to reside at Oak's lab for an indefinite period, finally rotating it out of his team.
It was called on in Tie One On!, where it fought in the Silver Conference against Jackson's Shiny Magneton. It quickly learned from Pikachu and Cyndaquil's mistakes, instead using a spinning Vine Whip to mow through the afterimages from Double Team. It blocked Magneton's attacks with Razor Leaf and Vine Whip, before taking it down with Leech Seed and Vine Whip. It then took on his Meganium, with whom it had a bitter rivalry after the Herb Pokémon had mocked it earlier. Neither Pokémon attempted to dodge the other's attacks, both willing to be able to take as much as the other. It came down to a battle of Vine Whips and a double Solar Beam, which knocked out both Pokémon.
Advanced Generation series
Bulbasaur later returned in Hokey Poké Balls! to meet May's Bulbasaur. The two struck up a good friendship, eventually resulting in May choosing to leave her Bulbasaur at Oak's lab in The Right Place and the Right Mime so she could learn from Ash's.
Bulbasaur was seen in Showdown at the Oak Corral, and was one of the first Pokémon to realize there was something wrong. It later defeated Butch's Hitmontop and used a Solar Beam on the whole group.
Kanto Battle Frontier
In Gathering the Gang of Four!, Ash brought it to his team alongside Charizard and Squirtle to battle Brandon at the Battle Pyramid. After Brandon's Dusclops took down Charizard, Ash's Bulbasaur was sent out to fight in the next episode. It took damage from the powerful Dusclops, including a Confuse Ray which sent the vines out of control and caused them to attack Bulbasaur and Ash. Bulbasaur responded to Ash's cries and broke out of confusion, leaping into the air and taking down Dusclops with Solar Beam. After Solrock took down Squirtle, Bulbasaur was sent back out. After taking damage from Psychic-type moves and responding with Razor Leaf and Vine Whip, a double Solar Beam knocked both Pokémon out. After Ash won, Bulbasaur returned to Professor Oak's Laboratory.
Diamond & Pearl series
Bulbasaur made a cameo in An Old Family Blend! at Professor Oak's Laboratory, where Heracross was sucking sap from its bulb, much to Bulbasaur's annoyance. It used Vine Whip to shove Heracross away. Bulbasaur was not called upon for the Lily of the Valley Conference.
Best Wishes series
Bulbasaur appeared in a flashback in The Fires of a Red-Hot Reunion!.
Bulbasaur later appeared in The Dream Continues! at Professor Oak's corral, where it was being filmed by Alexa. It later had a happy reunion with Ash and Pikachu, before signalling to Ash's Unova Pokémon with its Solar Beam. It later posed with the rest of Ash's Pokémon in a group photo with him.
Heracross eating Bulbasaur's sap
Ash's Bulbasaur terrified of a giant illusionary Venusaur
Bulbasaur is one of Ash's most mature Pokémon, and is frequently viewed as the responsible leader of Ash's Pokémon, especially due to its actions at both Melanie's Hidden Village and Professor Oak's lab. In Sick Daze, it showed that it had learned from its experiences by recognizing a trap that Ash's Johto starters could not.
Unlike its closest friend, the boisterous and immature Squirtle, Bulbasaur was cautious bordering on cynical of all Trainers when it joined Ash's team, going so far as to physically attack Misty when it thought she was trying to take an Oddish away. In Island of Giant Pokémon, it alone assumed that Ash had abandoned them. Its views on Trainers were presumably colored by all the abandoned Pokémon in the Hidden Village. Over time, Bulbasaur grew to trust its new Trainer, but it retained a stubborn, surly, and eager-to-battle demeanor. For example, in Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden, it dodged Ash's call to return and insisted on finishing the battle. This hard personality was briefly softened during a visit to a garden full of exotic plants run by Florinda Showers, where Bulbasaur developed a certain affection for her Gloom, but nothing apparently came of it.
Although Bulbasaur is one of Ash's most mature Pokémon, it has succumb to fits of immaturity when Squirtle is involved. This is seen multiple times in disagreements or quarrels between the two. In Christmas Night, after Squirtle accidentally eats Bulbasaur's Bulbasaur-shaped cookie, despite being apologetic, Bulbasaur still chases and attacks Squirtle. In Kanga Games, Pikachu, Togepi and a baby Kangaskhan ride past Bulbasaur and Squirtle on a sled. Eager to join in, Bulbasaur flips Squirtle onto its back and uses Squirtle as an involuntary makeshift sled.
Its biggest fear appears to be of its fully evolved form, Venusaur, demonstrated in Island of the Giant Pokémon and The Ghost of Maiden's Peak, both times where it was paralyzed in fear by fake Venusaur. Interestingly enough, it defied the wishes of the first real Venusaur it encountered, demonstrating that Bulbasaur is a courageous Pokémon when standing up for something it believes in.
Ash's Bulbasaur in the Ash and Pikachu manga.
In the Ash and Pikachu manga
Ash's Bulbasaur appears in Do Your Best Bulbasaur!! of the Ash and Pikachu manga. Ash sent it over to Professor Oak when the Pokémon in his lab were getting into a fight. With Bulbasaur's help, the Pokémon learned to work together.
In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga
Ash's Bulbasaur makes an appearance in the manga series The Electric Tale of Pikachu. It first appears in the eighth chapter, You Gotta Have Friends. Bulbasaur's capture is not depicted in the manga; it is simply stated when Bulbasaur appears out of its Poké Ball that "Ash has been busy since the last comic."
When on a walk with Pikachu in I'm Your Venusaur, Bulbasaur meets many other Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, and Venusaur. It learns of a local legend stating that a tree in the town was made from the guardian spirit of a 300-year-old Venusaur. Disbelieving the legend, Bulbasaur, Pikachu and a wild Ivysaur climb the tree and search for it. In this chapter, when the Pokémon dialogue is translated for readers, Bulbasaur states that Ash "uses me in battle all the time".
In Clefairy in Space, Bulbasaur is used against Team Rocket and ties up Jessie with its Vine Whip.
In Welcome to the Big Leagues, Bulbasaur faced off against Jeanette Fisher's Beedrill and Bellsprout. After defeating Beedrill, Bulbasaur was defeated by a powerful Slam attack from Bellsprout.
In Attack of the Demon Stomach, Bulbasaur was used to stop a hungry Snorlax from eating all of the fruit on the Seven Grapefruit Islands. Its first few attacks had no effect; later, Bulbasaur saved Ash from being eaten with its Vine Whip.
Bulbasaur appeared again in You Bet Your Wife where Ash decided to use it in a dance competition in his Gym battle against Rudy. Bulbasaur wiggled a little while swinging its vines around to dance. Later, it was used to battle Rudy's Exeggutor in the second round of their three-on-three battle. Due to Exeggutor's terrifying face, Bulbasaur was paralyzed with fear, unable to attack. Luckily it managed to use Sleep Powder to put Exeggutor to sleep, allowing Bulbasaur to win the match; afterwards, Bulbasaur cried in Ash's arms.
| Using Sleep Powder
| A † shows that the move was used recently, unless all moves fit this case or there are fewer than five known moves.
In the movie adaptations
Bulbasaur first appeared in Mewtwo Strikes Back! where it fought Raymond's Donphan and won easily. In Mirage Pokémon Lugia's Explosive Birth, Ash sent out Bulbasaur to free the prisons that were set up by Lawrence III.
| A † shows that the move was used recently, unless all moves fit this case or there are fewer than five known moves.