Dear little subjects, tuesdays mean we get to rank some stuff in the right way. That is right you get another fully factual correct list. That is right, I am princess Pinkie and I am right! Isn’t that right Iamwright, my dear shiny aipom jester? ‘Bi bi’! See he agrees! Today we will look at the best starter pokémon. In this top five we will not only take battle prowess into account , their designs, evolutions, usability versatility and their appeal are all taken into consideration. While the strongest starters will be a thing on its own.. these are factual best starters… I princess Pinkie declare it.
Starter 5: Oshawott
Oshawott should not really be on this list because I don’t care that much for the evolutions. Yet it is so freaking cute! It’s the most adorable Pokémon asides from maybe Cyndaquil. I had a blast watching the anime seasons of black and white because of Ash’s Oshawott. It had such a strong personality. While Ash had several strong personalities on his team before , Oshawott really made me smile. Treecko was great, the original starter trio was classic but Oshawott for me stole every scene it was in. I hoped it would never evolve and lucky for me it never did. Oshawott’s journey was great, it was a pokémon Ash had that did not grow into a ridiculous powerhouse despite being unevolved. It was a klutz and it had to grow into a capable pokemon actually learning it moves. Thus as a viewer we actually bonded with it.
While it’s evolutions are not the greatest I do think he is the most original starter of the Unova region. An otter that uses the scallop on its belly as a blade to attack with. Snivy and Tepig , the other Unova starters have a bit lackluster evolutions as well and are much more just a an arrogant snake and a jolly pig. All of the starters are semi competitively viable though, I encounter them a few times in Pokémon Showdown , with Serperior being the best of the three. However no matter how powerful Oshawott’s rival is.. it is not that memorable. I bonded with Oshawott during my Unova journeys. So why Oshawott is not the best designed, nor the strongest but of it’s generation it is the most memorable. Since the generation had two games a bond was formed and it made Oshawott something that all the starters on this list have in common. He is unforgettable.
Starter 4: Charmander
Now this pick will make me a bit unpopular amongst the fanboys because in the eyes of the many Charmander is definitely the best starter. Yet the sheeple are wrong. I am right.. and it’s not even the best starter of its generation. Charmander is a great starter that definitely should be on this list , but over the years it’s popularity has diminished how great it is in my eyes. Charizard is REALLY overused. Especially when it comes to the pokémon TCG. He is the Marilyn Monroe, the Jennifer Lawrence or Tom Hiddleston of its generation. Everyone is into it, which means we get more and more stuff with it featured stuffed down our throat. Each set in the trading card game gets a special charizard. Each line of of toys or gimmicks comes with the first fire starter. It makes loving it very easy and shows it it must be really well designed to earn such love.
Yet the big issue is that that love is a very biassed one. If you did not think Marilyn Monroe was sexy, something was off with you if you don’t like Loki from Avengers as a woman .. you must be a lesbian or insane. We get influenced to love these symbols and Charmander is the same. Do you love it because you really love it or do you love it because WE love it? Charmander gets cool features in new games because so many people love it, which makes it cooler. Emotionally it feels like that creates some distance between me and the pokémon. True love for a pokémon is shown when you have to defend it against those who hate it. In sickness and in health. Charmander is so loved there is no real ‘in sickness’ So my love for it is there , it could never really deepen. It is competitively viable, well designed, has a cute depiction in the anime, even though the charizard not obeying skit gets old fast, it basically does everything right. It’s a ten out of 10 pokémon that falter I simply can’t love as much as the others because it is so easy to love.
Starter 3: Cyndaquil
The little fire mole from the second generation was my trust companion on most of my Johto journeys. It felt like a bit of an underdog, starting of very frail looking and growing up into the ferocious typhlosion. Of all the starters it feels like it goes through a journey along the trainer. A theme we don’t really ever see return which is a shame. The from zero to hero thing fits pokémon so well. Once more it forms a bond. While Cyndaquil is mostly well liked it pales in comparison to popularity of pokémon like Greninja and Charizard. It has become a bit forgotten. There hasn’t been any Typhlosion pokémon cards in a good while, there are barely any toys of plushies themed around the mon circling around, it hasn’t really featured in a pokémon game in a long while and in the anime the second generation seems mostly forgotten as well. Which is an incredible shame.. but also a testminoy of this pokémons impact of me. There is little for me to collect about the pokémon and aside from the main game, it basically has gone extinct. Cyndaquil however has enough charm and personality to linger in our minds..but you and it have to work a bit for that love.
Competitively Typhlosion is solid you can play it in a few different ways running it choice scarfed or choice specced to run either an Eruption or Lava Plume set. You can play around with it though, having a great move pool you can tinker this little starter into a killing machine of your own that truly feels like your own. Cyndaquil has the charm and power to stand its ground. Doing something what non of the other fire starters really do… look weak and frail. It makes me want to protect it and raise it… and since that is the point of the games those are pretty good qualities for a starter pokémon.
Starter 2: Rowlett
The symbol of OWLS makes it appearance once again, this time on my favorite starters list. Rowlett is the grass and flying type starter of the Alola region, which has quite a strong story behind it. Growing from a pest to a legend but drawing closer to extinction, it has quite a deep message behind it , which I discuss in this earlier post, what makes it a great starter is EVERYTHING. Again super adorable in the tv series, but also starting out so harmless to REALLY evolve. There is a journey there. Charmander ,while having a great evolution still, just goes from lizard to angrier lizard. Totodile goes from alligator, to bigger alligator. Rowlet evolves from somewhat dandy prey, to a hunter who learned to toss vanity aside. It has a story and journey. It starts out as just a little ball and the cutscene where you first pick it up and look in its eyes is great. Having access to a unique z-move the Alola starters have something unique going for them. Sinister Arrow Raid is probably my favorite of the three. Sparkling Aria is nice too but Rowlett’s line definitely has the most unique feeling one.
Rowlett also feels more tied to hawaii (or Alola) than the other two. I know the type of cat is very common there but the whole wrestler or opera singer thing just feel less pokémon to me compared to the hunter. Again its story is conveyed so much stronger. Rowlett has one of the cutest cries those little koo’s it makes makes me want to slap an Everstone on it and keep it that cute little ball forever. Much like how it stays in the Sun and Moon anime, where it is a delightful little orb of chaos and comedy. So charming! The Alola Pokémon in the anime are all kinda charming but Rowlett is like Oshawott a show stealer. Rowlett however with it’s sleeping is more dependent on Ash making them feel more like a pair. Something you can project on your virtual Rowlett making bonds even stronger. In the series it goes through a series of emotions, it is a lot more stressed can be dumbfounded at it makes silly mistakes. As such it becomes much more relatable. Greninja was brave and lost a few battles.. but he always tried it’s hardest there wasn’t much to blame, so we end up with something that does feel much more like a battle pet. With Rowlett we can relate to both the trainer caring for it as well as the pokémon itself, which allows us to form a whole different kind of battle bond.
Starter 1: Bulbasaur
Bulbasaur has the unfair advantage of being my first starter, but it is also ..sort of the starter Gamefreak wanted you to start the adventure with.. it was basically the “easy mode, the difficulty where you begin’ for generation 1. Does that make it the best? No.. I played all the Kanto starters several times over, each one at least twice in the original game, then all of them once in Fire Red, plus all the times I traveled with some of them in Rom Hacks. The last category I nearly always pick Bulbasaur though. Competitively viable both in regular as mega form (mostly mega though) it’s sheer bulk and versatility makes it stand out. Having by far the most unique design of the original three you do not just love a lizard, or a turtle with a squirrel tail (which later just disappears). Bulbasaur is a bullfrog with a seed on it’s back that slowly begins to blossom as it evolves. Once more telling a tale, albeit a much simpler one.. it is the flower that goes from seed to fully grown plant. Charmander and Squirtle respectively just grow bigger and more awesome. I love all of them to but getting Bulbasaur to evolve feels so right. Rewarding in a way, it’s journey feeling more right.
The first two gyms are easy and the third gym can’t really hurt you either. Then you begin to have a bit of a harder time around the mid way point facing Erica , Koga, Sabrina and Blaine. The last two being able to hit you super effectively and the Koga en Erica shrug off all your attacks. Finally you overcome your limits and are super effective against the final boss again, to show you are ready for the big leagues. A perfect metaphor for your journey as a trainer and a perfect narrative.
The anime has also shown us that it is loyal to a fault,choosing to not evolve because it wants to be who he is. Two values that are very important to me. The episode that charmander evolves into charmeleon and becomes disobedient is one of my least favorite episodes. The bond between Ash and Charmander was ruined to adhere to a mechanic of the games. Sure he wasn’t charmanders original trainer so it can happen… but that little guy loved Ash.. they destroyed that love. Bulbasaur chose not to evolve.. maybe even not to disobey Ash or at least to stay true to itself. Ash ended up saying goodbye to Squirtle .. saying goodbye to Charizard and yet Bulbasaur lingered, while not in his party he became a sort of leader of Ash’s left behind pokémon.. still loyal still itself. The greatest starter of them all.
Question to my readers
Who is your favorite starter?
Now that we factually have established the best starters it is time to lay down and get Iamwright to wave a palm leaf to me and feed me grapes Well or at least I am going to imagine doing that while thinking up a new top five for you next week. If you wanna help and make a suggestion feel free to do so in the comments. Untill I am right again my little loyal subjects.
The Pinkest Poké Blogger is blasting off again