At the beginning of their quest, Trainers are given a starter Pokémon or first partner Pokémon (Japanese: はじめてのポケモンBeginning Pokémon or 最初のポケモンfirst Pokémon; known as 御三家the big three among Japanese fans). This Pokémon will be used to battle the first wild Pokémon that the Trainer encounters.
Once another Pokémon is caught, the starter Pokémon 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 starter Pokémon, and they will often be the most powerful Pokémon on their respective teams.
In the core series games, it is said that the starter Pokémon are extremely rare in the wild, giving the player a reason why the Pokémon not chosen can't be found in the wild.
In the core series games (with twoexceptions), the player can choose a Fire-, Water-, or Grass-type starter Pokémon at level 5. At least one of the player's rivals will also always choose or have a starter Pokémon, typically the one that has a type advantage over the player's.
The player's rival will then pick the type-advantageous starter Pokémon, and the remaining Pokémon will sit in its Poké Ball on Oak's desk for the rest of the game.
In FireRed and LeafGreen, the choice of starter Pokémon also determines which of the Legendary beasts will roam the Kanto region after defeating Team Rocket in the Sevii Islands—if the player chooses Bulbasaur, Entei will appear, Suicune will appear to those who chose Charmander, and Raikou will appear to those that went with Squirtle.
Professor Oak offers one of this trio of Pokémon to the player in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver after the player has defeated Red, making reference to the fact that he gives them out as starter Pokémon in Kanto-based games, suggesting the player will be able to make it to the next town with one of these Pokémon by their side.
In The Isle of Armor, Honey will let the player choose either Bulbasaur or Squirtle after completing the Master Dojo's first trial. Once fully evolved, these Pokémon will be capable of Gigantamaxing. Honey will keep the Pokémon not chosen by the player, and use it on her team.
In The Crown Tundra, Ivysaur, Charmeleon, and Wartortle can be found in Dynamax Adventures.
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, they 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 HeartGold and SoulSilver, the last Pokémon mysteriously disappears at some point).
In Generation II, the Pokémon will be holding a Berry when received from Elm, though the rival's stolen starter Pokémon will not.
In Pokémon Colosseum, the middle stages of the Johto starters are caught as Shadow Pokémon from a Mystery Troop member. Only one is available for the player to obtain during the main game, while the other two are only available during the post-game. The color of the outfit for the corresponding Mystery Troop member is the same as the type for the Johto starter they have.
In Pokémon XD, after the player has cleared the entirety of Mt. Battle without touching a PC or retiring, Battlus will offer one of these Pokémon as a reward. The player can obtain all three Pokémon with consecutive challenges.
The player's neighbor, Brendan or May, already has their starter Pokémon, which is always the one with the type advantage. What happens to the starter not selected is unknown. By the end of Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, 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 they can leave Victory Road and staying there to have rematches with the player later. In Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Brendan or May's role as an NPC is slightly expanded, acting as a post-credits battle in which they gain access to Mega Evolution for their starter Pokémon.
The player's friend and rival Barry will choose the starter Pokémon 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, and therefore strong against Barry's. After fighting off the two Starly at the lake and returning the briefcase to Rowan, the professor will allow the player and Barry to keep the Pokémon they used.
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.
The player's friend Cheren will choose the Pokémon that is strong against the player's choice, while the player's other friend Bianca will choose the one weak to the player's choice. The choice of starter Pokémon affects which of the Gym Leaders of Striaton City will be battled; players who chose Snivy will face Chili, a Fire-type specialist, players who chose Tepig will face Cress, a Water-type specialist, and players who chose Oshawott will face Cilan, a Grass-type specialist. Also, the choice affects the Pokémon given to the player in the Dreamyard. Choosing Snivy gives the player a Panpour, Tepig a Pansage, and Oshawott a Pansear.
In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, Bianca takes three starter Pokémon to Aspertia City on Professor Juniper's behalf and offers one of them to the player. The player's friend, Hugh, will have the Pokémon that is strong against the player's choice, having raised it from an Egg. The player character not chosen will have the starter that is weak to the player's choice, but only seen in its second form.
The player's friend Shauna will choose the Pokémon with a type disadvantage to the player's choice, while the player's other friend Serena/Calem will choose the one with a type advantage to the player's choice. The choice of starter Pokémon affects which Pokémon Shauna will trade with the player after the player enters in the Hall of Fame. Shauna will trade the unevolved form of her starter Pokémon, having received it as an Egg. The choice of starter Pokémon also determines which of the Legendary birds will roam the Kalos region after defeating the Pokémon League—if the player chooses Chespin, Articuno will appear, Zapdos will appear to those who chose Fennekin, and Moltres will appear to those that went with Froakie. The middle stages of the starters can be found in the Friend Safari.
During the player's battles first battle against Ilima, his Smeargle will know a basic move with a type advantage against their starter; Ember, Water Gun, or Leafage. During the player's ChampionSM and Title Defense battles, Professor Kukui will use the final evolution of the starter Pokémon with the type advantage to the player's choice. Gladion's Silvally will also be holding the memory of the type the player's starter is weak to. Hau's Eevee will evolve into the Eeveelution whose type has the advantage to the player's choice. Gladion, in his Title Defense battle in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, will have a fully evolved Kanto Starter whose type is the same as the player's starter.
The player's friend Hop will choose the Pokémon with a type disadvantage to the player's choice. Leon takes the remaining Pokémon into his care, eventually using its final form in the Championship Match against the player.
The rival of Pokémon Yellow, Blue, starts with an Eevee originally intended for the player. The Eevee will evolve into a Vaporeon if the player loses against the rival at the lab and either loses or skips the battle on Route 22, Jolteon if the player wins against the rival at both locations, and Flareon if the player wins against the rival once at either location, and loses or skips the other battle.
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 the 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 (while also starting with maximum friendship) and Reflect. Both are always male.
Upon their tenth birthday, youths can register for a Pokédex and pick up a starter Pokémon from the local Pokémon Professor or Pokémon Center free of charge. Starter Pokémon 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.
In A Mudkip Mission, it was shown where starter Pokémon come from. Each region has special, secret breeding grounds run by a Pokémon Breeder for starter 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 starter 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 starter Pokémon are raised at these special breeding grounds, with Professor Birch said to catch and raise his own starter 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.
A poster on Ash Ketchum's bedroom wall, depicting the Kanto starter Pokémon
Goh initially wanted his starter Pokémon to be a Mew like the one he met when he was six, but he changed his mind after befriending a wild Scorbunny in Galar, choosing it as his partner instead. It has since evolved into a Cinderace.
Chloe caught an Eevee that can't evolve as her very first Pokémon and partner.
Ash caught 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 starter Pokémon of Hoenn.
May caught 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 and Squirtle evolved into Wartortle during May's travels through Johto.
In Sinnoh, Ash repeated himself by catching Turtwig, which has since evolved into a Torterra. His rival, Paul, owned a Chimchar that was confirmed to be caught in the wild. It was released, recaught by Ash, and is now an Infernape.
Like in the original series, Ash caught all of Unova's starter Pokémon, Oshawott, Tepig, and Snivy. However, this time around, he caught them in reverse of the Pokédex order, and Oshawott was in fact a starter Pokémon that Professor Juniper allowed Ash to have after it ran away to be with him. Of the three, only Tepig has evolved, becoming a Pignite.
Gary Oak had an Eevee at least since Ash was traveling in the Orange Archipelago. 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 eventually evolved into Umbreon.
Ash caught a Froakie in Kalos, which used to belong to several other Trainers before being abandoned or abandoning the Trainer. It has since evolved into a Greninja.
Clemont obtained a Chespin in Kalos. It originally belonged to Professor Sycamore as a starting Pokémon for new Trainers.
While Ash was in Alola, he caught a Rowlet who was living in a flock of Pikipek, a Trumbeak, and a Toucannon. Ash also encountered a Litten a few times before finally earning its trust and capturing it. Litten has since evolved into an Incineroar.
During his second visit to Wyndon, Goh caught a Sobble.
I Choose You!, a movie that started a continutity separate from the main anime series, focused on the developing friendship between Ash and the Pikachu he received from Professor Oak. In this continuity, Gary also started with a Squirtle, while the Oak's Bulbasaur and Charmander were revealed to have been picked by alternate versions of Marina and Tierno, respectively.
The third episode of PokétoonA Budding Dream focuses on Tsubomi, who tries to find her Starter Pokémon, at the end of the episode she ends up starting her journey with a Nidoran♂.
In the manga
Be the Best! Pokémon B+W
The fully evolved Unova starter Pokémon in Be the Best! Pokémon B+W
Monta, Bianca, and Cheren received a Snivy, Oshawott, and Tepig respectively as their first Pokémon. They ended up evolving into their final stages later on.
The Electric Tale of Pikachu
In The Electric Tale of Pikachu, unlike the anime from which the manga was based on, new Pokémon Trainers do not appear to be given any sort of starter Pokémon. Professor Oak is not shown residing at his laboratory handing out starter Pokémon to new Trainers, as in the anime, 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.
In Pokémon Adventures, the starter 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 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. In the Unova region, two sets of starter Pokémon are given out to six Trainers, but still with only three Pokédexes. Professor Oak also gave Red's Pikachu as a special starter to Yellow.
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 was their starter Pokémon in the manga, but in profiles of their teams, their starter Pokémon is marked with a star and is among the highest level in the party, even if they acquired more than one Pokémon at first.
List of starter Pokémon in Pokémon Adventures
Red's first Pokémon was a Poliwag he had since his childhood, which has evolved into a Poliwrath. His "starter Pokémon" was a Bulbasaur given to him by Professor Oak, which he nicknamed "Saur". He became a Venusaur in his travels.
Yellow's first Pokémon was a Rattata that Red taught her to catch, which has evolved into a Raticate. Later, she borrowed Red's Pikachu, and after Red took him back, caught her "starter Pokémon", a female Pikachu for herself which she nicknamed "Chuchu". Like the Pikachu in Yellow, neither evolved.
Gold's first Pokémon was his Aipom, now an Ambipom, that his mother gave him. He borrowed his "starter Pokémon", a Cyndaquil, from Professor Elm, and was later allowed to keep the Cyndaquil which he nicknamed "Exbo". He later becomes a Typhlosion alongside the other two Johto starter Pokémon.
Crystal's first Pokémon 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, and became her "starter Pokémon" nicknamed "Megaree". He became a Meganium midway into their journey.
Ruby's first Pokémon were the Poochyena, Skitty and Ralts that he received from his father, all of them having evolved into Mightyena, Delcatty and Gardevoir respectively. Later, he got his "starter Pokémon" from Professor Birch; a Mudkip which he nicknamed "Mumu". He evolved into a Swampert from the battles he underwent.
Sapphire's first Pokémon was the Aron, now an Aggron her father gave her. Later, he gave her her "starter Pokémon", a Torchic, which she nicknamed "Chic". She has since evolved twice under her Trainer's care into a Blaziken.
When Emerald arrived in the Battle Frontier, he had no Pokémon on hand. Then he challenged the Battle Factory using only rental Pokémon, nearly at the end of the challenge, he noticed something suspicious about a Sceptile so he decided to steal him from the facility and kept him afterward, it is later is revealed that the Sceptile was supposed to be his in the first place, making him his "starter Pokémon". He evolved from his Grovyle stage in the wild, after evolving once in Wally's care. Except for Sceptile, the first Pokémon he captured were Sudowoodo and Dusclops.
Diamond's first was his Munchlax, and later he received his "starter Pokémon", a Turtwig from Platinum because of a misunderstanding. He has since evolved to Torterra alongside the others.
Pearl's first was his Chatot, and later he received his "starter Pokémon", a Chimchar from Platinum. The Chimchar has since evolved twice into an Infernape.
Platinum's first Pokémon was her Ponyta, now a Rapidash, and later she received her "starter Pokémon", a Piplup from Professor Rowan. She has since become an Empoleon under her care.
Black started with a Rufflet that he captured with the help of a wild Munna he had befriended, and later acquired his "starter Pokémon", a Tepig from Professor Juniper which later evolved into an Emboar. Initially, he was nicknamed "Tep", but the nickname was changed to "Nite" and eventually "Bo", making Black the only main character so far to change his Pokémon's nickname.
White's first Pokémon was a Tepig named Gigi. She later acquires her "starter Pokémon", a Servine, which later evolved into a Serperior. This Servine, which White nicknamed "Amanda", was with N until Gigi decided to leave White to follow N. It was later revealed that Amanda was a Snivy that was going to be given out to new Trainers by Professor Cedric Juniper but was liberated by N. Except for Gigi and Amanda, her first Pokémon she captured was Deerling.
X's first known Pokémon is a Kangaskhan. He later got a Chespin, nicknamed "Marisso", as his "starter Pokémon" after he accepted him as a member of his team. He has since become a Chesnaught under his care.
Y's first known Pokémon is a Fletchling. She later got a Froakie, nicknamed "Croaky", as her "starter Pokémon" after she accepted him as a member of her team. He has since become a Greninja under her care.
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.
All starter Pokémon in the core series besides Pikachu have a gender ratio of seven males to one female.
Due to this, as well as the way in which gender and Shininess were determined, it was impossible to have a Shiny female starter Pokémon in Generation II, as the lowest Attack IV a Shiny Pokémon could have was 2, while the highest Attack IV a female Pokémon in that gender group could have was 1.
In the core series, when a starter Pokémon is first obtained, all are at level 5. Each knows one Normal-typephysical move (either Tackle, Scratch, or Pound) and a stat-altering status move at this level, except for Pikachu, which has Thunder Shock instead of a Normal-type move. In Generation VI and VII, the starters also have an attacking move of their type at level 5.
All Grass-type starter Pokémon have the Ability Overgrow, the Fire-type starters have Blaze, and the Water-type starters have Torrent. Starter Pokémon may have differing Hidden Abilities.
Fennekin is the only unevolved starter Pokémon with a unique base stat total.
The lowest base stat of a non-Mega Evolved fully-evolved starter Pokémon is Torterra's Speed, at 56. The highest base stat of a non-Mega Evolved fully-evolved starter 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 starter Pokémon that cannot evolve in the game in which they are starter Pokémon.
Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!'s respective starters are also the only ones that cannot be traded to other games.
The Kalos starter Pokémon's secondary types in their final forms (Fighting, Psychic, and Dark) almost form another type-advantage triangle (where one type deals 2× damage to and receives ½× damage from another type), only being broken by the Dark-type being completely immune to rather than resistant to the Psychic-type.
Both the primary and secondary types, however, fit a more generally defined triangle that only requires one type to be offensively and defensively advantaged against another. For example, just as Water has the offensive and defensive advantage against Fire, so does Dark against Psychic.
Both May and Dawn have a second starter Pokémon from a previous generation with a type disadvantage to their first. These starter Pokémon are both from two generations prior to their owner's introduction and featured in the anime likely due to the same-generation remakes.
In the Diamond and Pearl series, there have been two major appearances of each fully-evolved starter introduced in Generation IV: Ash and Paul's Torterra, Ash and Flint's Infernape, and Barry and Kenny's Empoleon.
Every Fire-type starter obtained by a main character has evolved at least once.
Froakie is the only Water-type starter that has ever evolved under Ash's ownership.
The Kanto starters 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 Starter set is the only full starter set that Ash has obtained where none of the members were previously owned by another Trainer or a Pokémon Professor.
Conversely, the Kanto Starter set is the only full starter set that Ash has obtained where every member was owned by a previous Trainer (excluding Professors).