First partner Pokémon

292Shedinja.png The contents of this article have been suggested to be split into "Kanto first partner Pokémon", "Johto first partner Pokémon", "Hoenn first partner Pokémon", "Sinnoh first partner Pokémon", and so on.
Please discuss it on the talk page for this article.

A first partner Pokémon, also referred to informally as a starter Pokémon, is the first Pokémon that a Trainer owns at the start of their Pokémon journey. This primarily refers to Grass-, Fire-, or Water-type Pokémon given to players by a Pokémon Professor or other mentor at the beginning of the core series Pokémon games, as well as Pikachu or Eevee in Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, but can otherwise be any Pokémon outside of this context.

Red picking his first partner Pokémon

In the games, the player's first partner will be used to battle the first wild Pokémon they encounter. Once another Pokémon is caught, their first partner 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 first partner Pokémon, and they will often be the most powerful Pokémon on their respective teams.

It is said that the first partner Pokémon are extremely rare in the wild, accounting for their uniqueness in each game.

In the creative process, first partner 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.[1]

Terminology

 
Promotional image for The Indigo Disk using the term "first partner Pokémon"[2]
Main article: Terminology of first partner Pokémon

First partner Pokémon

Since Generation VI, "first partner Pokémon" is the main term officially used to refer to these Pokémon in the Pokémon games, animation, TCG, and other media. It is sometimes shortened to simply "first partner".

Occasionally, other Pokémon have been referred to as first partner Pokémon, such as Poipole in its Ultra Sun Pokédex entry, as well as various Pokémon in Pokémon Masters EX.

Krysta Yang, a former public relations manager at Nintendo of America, has claimed that the phrase "partner Pokémon" is preferred in official communication due to "starter Pokémon" implying that the player will "be rid of them" later in the game.[3]

Starter Pokémon

Historically, these Pokémon have been referred to as "starter Pokémon", sometimes shortened as "starters", though these terms were rarely used in the games, and used occasionally during the second through fourth series of Pokémon the Series.

Starting in Pokémon the Series: XY, the term "starter Pokémon" fell out of use entirely in the animated series. At a panel at PokéCon 2015, then-voice director of the English dub of Pokémon the Series, Tom Wayland, stated that "starter Pokémon" is "an unofficial term now".[4]

In 2019, Sonja Hammes, then a social media associate at The Pokémon Company International,[5] stated that official social media accounts had been given authorization to use the phrase "starter Pokémon" with specific formatting restrictions.[6][7]

Japanese terminology

In contrast to the English terminology, Japanese does not have a particular term that is consistently used to refer to first partner Pokémon. The most common Japanese term is 「パートナー」 (partner), but occasionally 相棒 (partner) may also be used. These terms, as well as just ポケモン (Pokémon), are usually paired with 最初の (first) or 初めての (first), but other terms such as 最初に選んだ (that was chosen first) or はじめに選んだ (that was chosen first) are also used. Among Japanese fans, 御三家 (the big three) is commonly used to refer to the Grass, Fire, and Water trios.

Grass, Fire, and Water trios

Most marketing refers exclusively to the standard trios of Grass-, Fire-, and Water-type Pokémon that can be chosen at the start of most core series games.

The Grass, Fire, and Water types handily illustrate the type effectiveness mechanics of Pokémon battles: Fire "beats" Grass (a Fire-type move deals double damage when attacking a Grass-type Pokémon, but a Fire-type Pokémon takes half damage from a Grass-type move), Water beats Fire, and Grass beats Water. This "rock, paper, scissors" relationship was illustrated in the instruction booklet of the original games.[8]

The 27 Grass-, Fire-, and Water-type first partner Pokémon are listed below. In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott return as first partners that can be chosen by the player shortly after they first land in Hisui.

Kanto first partner Pokémon
Johto first partner Pokémon
Hoenn first partner Pokémon
Sinnoh first partner Pokémon
Unova first partner Pokémon
Kalos first partner Pokémon
Alola first partner Pokémon
Galar first partner Pokémon
Paldea first partner Pokémon

The Kalos first partners also have a more broadly defined triangle in the secondary types of their final evolutions. They all still deal 2× damage offensively, and most still receive ½× damage defensively, but while Dark does not technically resist Psychic, it is still defensively advantaged since it is immune.

Other first partners

Aside from the regional trios, a few other Pokémon have been explicitly referred to as first partner Pokémon.

For a list of other Pokémon who are Trainers' first Pokémon, see list of characters' first Pokémon.

Player's first Pokémon

Pikachu and Eevee are given out as first partner Pokémon in Kanto by Professor Oak in some media. Pikachu is the first Pokémon given to the player in Pokémon Yellow, while Blue gets an Eevee. The partner Pikachu and Eevee are the first Pokémon caught by the player in Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, respectively, while Oak gives Trace a standard Eevee in Let's Go, Pikachu! and a standard Pikachu in Let's Go, Eevee!

These Pokémon are never referred to as first partner Pokémon in-game; they are typically referred to as partner Pokémon instead. However, in one instance on the official website for the games, and on the Pokémon.com page for the games, they are referred to as first partner Pokémon.[9][10]

Other references

Alolan Meowth is given out by Nanu as a first partner on Ula'ula Island in Alola. It is implied that kahunas are responsible for giving out first partners on their respective islands, so it is possible the other kahunas give out different Pokémon to the standard Alolan first partner Pokémon given by Hala.

Poipole's Pokédex entry in Pokémon Ultra Sun refers to it as a popular first partner in its world.

In the games

Core series games

 
The Sinnoh first partner trio wallpaper in Pokémon HOME

In the core series games, a rival character often picks the Pokémon that is strong against the one the player chose, nominally setting them up for challenging battles going forward.

The Pokémon in the regional first partner trios have several common characteristics, both among each other and between generations. The most obvious commonality is their reliable typing. They all have an Ability that boosts their main type when their HP becomes low: the Grass types have Overgrow, Fire types have Blaze, and Water types have Torrent. They also all have a gender ratio of seven males to one female, generally making breeding them slightly inconvenient. When obtained at the start of a game, they are always level 5 and they start out knowing a Normal-type physical move (Pound, Scratch, or Tackle) and a stat-altering status move (Growl, Leer, or Tail Whip); since Generation VI (with the exception of Generation VIII), they also have an attacking move that matches their main type.

The table below shows the Pokémon that are selectable at the start of each core series game, and which other games they can also be obtained in. A G, F, or W above the game's title indicates that only the first partner Pokémon in the trio that corresponds to that type is obtainable in that game. For availability in games outside of the core series, refer to the "Game locations" heading of the Pokémon's respective page for its species.

Game(s) First partners Also obtainable in
RGB/RB, FRLG       Y, HGSS, XY, USUM, PE, SwShF (IA)GW, BDSP, SV (ID)
Y   Regular Pikachu are obtainable in all games except BW and B2W2
GSC, HGSS       E, ORAS, SM, BDSP, SV (ID)
RSE, ORAS       HGSS, USUM, SwSh (IA), BDSP, SV (ID)
DPPt, BDSP       ORAS, USUM, BDSP, LA, SV (ID)
BW, B2W2       ORAS, SM, SV (ID)
XY       USUM, SV (ID)
SMUSUM       SwSh (IA), SV (ID)
P   None
E   None
SwSh       SV (ID)
LA       EF, ORASFW, SM, USUMG, SwSh (IA)G, BDSPF, SV (ID)
SV       None

Other games

Main article: List of the player's first Pokémon

Other games may use one of the classic first partner Pokémon, with Pikachu being fairly common; but many games give the player other Pokémon as their first Pokémon.

In the anime

Main series

 
Ash with his Kanto first partner Pokémon and Pikachu

In Pokémon the Series, upon their tenth birthday, youths can register for a Pokédex and pick up a first partner Pokémon from the local Pokémon Professor or Pokémon Center free of charge. First partner Pokémon are usually raised specifically to be easy to train.

Like in the games, the specific first partner 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 first partner Pokémon come from. Each region has special, secret breeding grounds run by a Pokémon Breeder for first partner Pokémon. The Pokémon League sends these Breeders the Pokémon Eggs for them to hatch at the breeding grounds. The breeders then hatch, care for, and raise the young Pokémon until they are ready to be proper first partner 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.

However, not all first partner Pokémon are raised at these special breeding grounds, with Professor Birch said to catch and raise his own first partner Pokémon for Trainers.

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.

Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 Animated Trailer

 
Rosa and Serperior in the Black 2 and White 2 Animated Trailer

The Black 2 and White 2 Animated Trailer's extended cut features all three of Unova's first partner Pokémon: Nate is shown with an Emboar, Hugh is seen with a Samurott (having picked the opposing type, like most rivals do in the games), and Rosa uses a Serperior to battle Cheren's Stoutland.

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Animated Trailer

The Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Animated Trailer also features all three of Hoenn's first partner Pokémon, in all forms including their Mega Evolutions. Brendan is shown to have picked a Treecko, while May has both a Torchic and Mudkip.

In the manga

The Electric Tale of Pikachu

In The Electric Tale of Pikachu, unlike the animated series from which the manga was based on, new Pokémon Trainers do not appear to be given any sort of first partner Pokémon. Professor Oak is not shown residing at his laboratory handing out first partner Pokémon to new Trainers, as in the animated series, rather, he travels the Kanto region conducting research, often accompanied by Bill. Trainers in The Electric Tale of Pikachu must obtain a license before they can purchase Poké Balls or otherwise capture and train Pokémon. Ash found Pikachu under the floorboards of his home, keeping it as his first Pokémon. It is not currently known what Gary Oak's first Pokémon was in the manga, although he is at one point seen owning a Venusaur.

Pokémon Adventures

In Pokémon Adventures, the first partner Pokémon featured in the games are reserved for the few people who hold a Pokédex. Professor Oak produces three Pokédexes for each region, and gives out the three first partner 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. In the Unova region, two sets of first partner Pokémon are given out to six Trainers, but still with only three Pokédexes. Professor Oak also gave Red's Pikachu as a special first partner to Yellow.

Trivia

  • The only two first partner Pokémon that are dual-type in their initial form, Bulbasaur and Rowlet, are both Grass-type.
  • Each one of the Alola first partners' final evolutions has an immunity. Decidueye's Ghost type is immune to Normal and Fighting; Incineroar's Dark type is immune to Psychic; and Primarina's Fairy type is immune to Dragon.
    • Coincidentally, this also gives them advantages against Necrozma's Ultra form: Decidueye and Incineroar are super effective against Ultra Necrozma's Psychic typing, while Primarina is strong against Ultra Necrozma's Dragon typing.
  • As of Generation IX, the only sets of first partners without secondary types in any of their final evolutions are the Johto first partners and the Galar first partners.
    • By contrast, the first partners of Sinnoh (including Hisui), Kalos, Alola, and Paldea all have a secondary type present in their final evolutions.
  • Both Kanto and Hoenn first partners are the only set of first partners capable of Mega Evolution.
    • Additionally, both Kanto and Galar first partners are the only set of first partners capable of Gigantamaxing.
      • This makes the Kanto first partners the only set of first partners that can both Mega Evolve and Gigantamax.

In the games

  • In Generation II, it was not possible to have a Shiny female first partner Pokémon, due to the mechanics of how gender and Shininess were determined. The lowest Attack IV a Shiny Pokémon could have was 2, while the highest Attack IV that a female Pokémon in their gender group could have was 1.
  • Kanto's first partner Pokémon are the only partner Pokémon where all of the members appear in more than one regional Pokédex: Kanto's, Johto's, and Kalos's.
  • Fennekin is the only unevolved first partner Pokémon with a unique base stat total.
  • The lowest base stat of a non-Mega Evolved fully evolved first partner Pokémon is Torterra's Speed, at 56. The highest base stat of a non-Mega Evolved fully evolved first partner Pokémon is Primarina's Special Attack, at 126.
  • The Pikachu featured in Pokémon Yellow & Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and the Eevee in Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! are the only first partner Pokémon that cannot evolve in the game in which they are first partner Pokémon.
    • Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!'s respective first partners are also the only ones that cannot be traded to other games.
  • Charmander is the only Fire-type first partner Pokémon that is not a member of the Field Egg Group.
  • Oshawott is the only Water-type first partner Pokémon that is not a member of the Water 1 Egg Group.
  • With the exception of Hisuian Decidueye having a higher base stat total than Hisuian Samurott, no fully evolved Grass-type first partner Pokémon has a higher base stat total than either of its two counterparts.
    • By contrast, with the exception of Blaziken having a lower base stat total than Swampert, no fully evolved Fire-type first partner Pokémon has a lower base stat total than either of its two counterparts.
    • Contrarily, no unevolved Grass-type first partner Pokémon besides Chespin has a lower base stat total than either of its two counterparts.
    • Similarly, no unevolved Fire-type first partner has a higher base stat total than either its counterparts and no fully evolved Fire-type first partner besides Blaziken has a lower one.
  • As of Generation IX, all fully evolved Water-type first partners can learn the HM move Surf.
  • In all games with a trio of first partner Pokémon, the Pokémon Professors and the player's rivals and friends (if any) are the only non-player characters known to have the first partner Pokémon of the current region or their evolutions.

In the anime

  • For DP001, Professor Oak's Big Pokémon Encyclopedia is about the first partner Pokémon of Sinnoh. He writes this senryū about them: 「シンオウで たびがはじまる ポケモンと」 "In Sinnoh, a journey begins with Pokémon."
  • For BW003, Professor Oak's Pokémon Holo Caster is about the first partner Pokémon of Unova. He writes this senryū about them: 「パートナー みず・くさ・ほのお まよっちゃう」 "Partner, Water, Grass, Fire, I can't decide."
  • Ash has owned all but two of the Grass-type first partner Pokémon: Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Treecko, Turtwig, Snivy, and Rowlet. The Grass-type first partner from Kalos, Chespin, is instead owned by Clemont, and the Grass-type first partner from Galar, Grookey, is instead owned by Goh.
  • Each Water-type first partner Pokémon obtained by a main character was not battled: Ash's Squirtle, Oshawott, and Froakie chose to join his team, while Ash fought and won against Misty for his Totodile. Brock's Mudkip chose to join him. May received her Squirtle from Professor Oak, Dawn received her Piplup from Professor Rowan, Lana rescued her Popplio from Team Skull, and Goh caught his Sobble without battling it. In Pokémon Horizons: The Series, Dot’s Quaxly chose to join her team as her first Pokémon, although she is not a main character.
  • The Hoenn first partner set is the first set in which all three Pokémon evolve under the care of the main characters who own them.
  • Squirtle and Turtwig are both based on turtles and were the first partner Pokémon of two of Ash's rivals, Gary and Paul.
  • Torchic and Piplup are both based on birds. They were also both owned by the resident Pokémon Coordinators in Pokémon the Series.
  • Both May and Dawn have a second first partner Pokémon from a previous generation with a type disadvantage to their first. These first partner Pokémon are both from two generations prior to their owner's introduction and featured in Pokémon the Series likely due to the same-generation remakes.
  • In the Diamond and Pearl series, there have been two major appearances of each fully evolved first partner introduced in Generation IV: Ash and Paul's Torterra, Ash and Flint's Infernape, and Barry and Kenny's Empoleon.
  • Every Fire-type first partner obtained by a main character has evolved at least once.
  • Froakie is the only Water-type first partner that has ever evolved under Ash's ownership.
  • The Kanto first partners are the only ones to have all been owned by both Ash and one of his friends at some point in their evolutionary lines: May owns a Venusaur and a Wartortle, while Kiawe owns a Charizard.
  • The Johto first partner set is the only full first partner set that Ash has obtained where none of the members were previously owned by another Trainer or a Pokémon Professor, as all of them were caught in the wild.
    • Conversely, the Kanto first partner set is the only full first partner set that Ash has obtained where every member was owned by a previous Trainer.
  • The Galar first partner set is the only full first partner set from which Ash owns none of its members.

In other languages

First partner Pokémon
Language Title
Chinese Cantonese 搭檔寶可夢 Daapdong Bóuhómuhng *
最初的夥伴 Jeuichō dīk fóbuhn *
Mandarin 搭檔寶可夢 / 搭档宝可梦 Dādàng Bǎokěmèng *
最初的夥伴 / 最初的伙伴 Zuìchū de huǒbàn *
  Danish første Pokémon-partner (JN001)
første Pokémon-makker (JN049–)
  Finnish Ensikumppani-Pokémon
  French Pokémon de départ*
Premier Pokémon*
Premier partenaire*
  German Erstes Partner-Pokémon
  Italian Primo compagno d'avventura*
Pokémon iniziale*
  Korean 파트너 포켓몬 Partner Pokémon *
첫 파트너 Cheot partner*
  Spanish Pokémon inicial*
Primer compañero*
Starter Pokémon
Language Title
  Czech Startovní Pokémon
  Danish Begynder-Pokémon
  Dutch Starter Pokémon
  Finnish Aloitus-Pokémon
  French Pokémon de départ
  German Starter-Pokémon
  Hungarian Kezdő Pokémon
  Italian Pokémon iniziale
  Norwegian Førstegangs-Pokémon
  Polish Pokémon Starter
Portuguese   Brazil Pokémon inicial
Pokémon iniciante (BW116)
  Portugal Pokémon inicial
  Russian Стартовый покемон Startovy Pokémon
  Spanish Pokémon inicial
  Swedish Nybörjar-Pokémon
  Thai โปเกมอนเริ่มต้น Pokémon Roemton
  Turkish Başlangıç Pokémon'u
  Vietnamese Pokémon khởi đầu
Pokémon khởi hành

See also

References

  1. How Pokemon are born | GamesRadar+, by Michael Grimm, published 20 March 2009
  2. Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet | Familiar First Partner Pokémon.
  3. Nintendo's Big Announcement Season EXPLAINED - EP81 Kit & Krysta Podcast | Kit & Krysta on YouTube — Krysta Yang: "They did start using 'partner Pokémon' a couple of years back, but it's been hard for them to get people to catch on to this official terminology because people like to say 'starter Pokémon.' ... I think there was something about how, if you call it a 'starter Pokémon,' you're basically saying that you will be rid of them. ...That was one of the reasons, I believe, is that if you call it a 'starter Pokémon,' it's like, oh, you're only just going to start the game with it, and then you ditch it for your, like, shinies and your legendaries. ... So then the 'partner Pokémon' became the phrasing that they liked better because it's like, 'this is your partner for your whole adventure,' like you really want to get attached to this character, this Pokémon that you start your game with, but it's not just who you start your game with..."
  4. PokéCon 2015 - Tom Wayland on How He Creates Pokémon Voices: Wayland: "Chespin is the... your Grass-type starter in XY. Even though "starter" is an unofficial term now."
    Audience: "I think it's always been an unofficial term."
    Wayland: "Nope. They used to say it in the show, now they don't."
  5. Sonja Hammes on LinkedIn
  6. Sonja Hammes on Twitter: "P.S. We can call them starter on social now"
  7. Sonja Hammes on Twitter: "Of course, there are RULES. It’s “starter Pokémon”. No capital S. No “starters”. Gotta keep the standards!"
  8. Pokémon Red Version instruction booklet, pg. 32, archived on Internet Archive
  9. Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! | Experience the World of Pokémon: "Of course, your first partner Pokémon will be either Pikachu or Eevee, depending on which version you get, but the types and rarities of the wild Pokémon that you encounter also differ between the two games."
  10. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! | Video Games & Apps: "In addition to determining your first partner Pokémon, your choice of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! or Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! also affects the species of Pokémon you encounter and the rate at which you encounter them."