Hello, my dear PUCLonians, and welcome to a trilogy of special reports from yours truly! I may have run out of actual Pokémon types, but I feel there are a few special categories of Pokémon you might still want to see researched. So of course we’ll start from the very beginning of any Trainer’s journey… that’s right: this week’s Topical Type is Starters!
Section 1 – Introduction
Of course, “Starter” is not a Pokémon type, but it is a well-recognized category: Starters are rare Pokémon that humans have selected as ideal partners for young Trainers starting out on their journey. Humans breed these Pokémon especially for this purpose, and they are now pretty much impossible to find in the wild. Every region has its own set of Starters, but they all follow a pattern: a Grass type, a Fire type and a Water type, all with three evolutionary stages. I guess humans find that adequately propedeutic; I find it a tad boring, but I guess giving kids Pokémon who need to be held upside-down to evolve would be kind of cruel… to the Pokémon, I mean: from what I know of certain human kids, it would only encourage them to hold any Pokémon upside-down all the time, just to see if they evolve or do other interesting stuff. (If that were me, I know what interesting stuff I’d do… but apparently Stun Sporing humans is quite frowned upon in most communities.)
A little human’s choice of Starter Pokémon is not really limited to Starters; many kids receive a Pokémon from their relatives or friends to start their journey, and sometimes Pokémon Professors give out Starters of different species. But the “official” Starters hold a special place in many Trainers’ hearts and minds, and that’s why they’re my subjects this week.
Section 2 – Battling Behavior
Obviously Starters don’t have too much in common with each other, battling-wise, since they are of different types, but they all tend to fare at least decently on the battle field. Some Starter Pokémon are able to Mega Evolve, and they often have different secondary types, making them quite a varied bunch.
For example, Infernape is also a Fighting type… which is actually quite common among Fire-type Starters, but let’s move on from that. Infernape has the rare attribute of perfectly balanced Stats: his Physical ones are exactly equal to his Special ones. In general, he’s fast and frail, but very versatile; not only thanks to the equilibrium I mentioned, but because he has a rather wide movepool, which includes options for annoyance, team support and priority. I really can’t list all the useful moves he can have, but I will mention that his Hidden Ability, Iron Fist, makes him quite adept at punching stuff in the face. Make of that what you will.
Speaking of Hidden Abilities, the recent discovery of a branch of the Snivy family possessing theirs has made Trainers fall all over themselves (and each other) to procure a precious Contrary Serperior. See, Serperior is very speedy and has decent resilience, but his offensive side… well, his Special Attack is lower than mine, and I’m not exactly known for my power, you know? How fortunate, then, that Serperior’s strongest move, Leaf Storm, causes a harsh drop in Special Attack… which becomes a sharp raise on a Contrary Pokémon! And of course any opponent with Stat-lowering moves will be left wondering at their own utility if faced with Serperior’s leafy elegance.
An elegance which is certainly not shared by our last Starter, Swampert… but do not let his bulky appearance fool you; Mega Evolve your Swampert, and at the first Drizzle you’ll have a speedster on your hands! Mega Swampert’s Swift Swim allows him to dash at his opponents as quick as lightning… quite the feat, for someone who obviously, as some humans would say, skips leg day every day. (I’m not even sure how he’s not falling over… his tail must be extremely dense.) Anyway, it’s probably not a good idea for me to continue on this note, because Mega Swampert’s Attack Stat is extremely high… and he can know Ice Punch.
As for moves, there are actually a few Starter-exclusive moves… and my favorite ones are obviously the Pledge moves! I love the idea of combining attacks with another Pokémon, and the rainbow that results from using Water Pledge and Fire Pledge together is so pretty! The other Starter-exclusive moves (Blast Burn, Frenzy Plant and Hydro Cannon) are incredibly powerful… but they require a turn of rest after being used, so I wouldn’t really recommend them if not as a last resort.
Section 3 – Classification
Humans, as I said, have a special place in their hearts for Starter Pokémon… but I have to say, I am not insensitive to the stories humans tell, and they have probably increased my fondness for some Starters. Let’s find out who they are in The Fluffiest Whimsicott’s Top 5 Starter Pokémon!
Number 5 – Charmander
You already know I want to hug Charmander and rub his little cream belly. Those huge, sweet eyes just melt my heart (no Fire-type moves needed). And I guess I was affected by some stories, here, because Charmander gives me a vague, unexplained sense of… nostalgia. Almost as if I knew one in another life, a long time ago. But that’s kind of weird, isn’t it?
Number 4 – Empoleon
See, my Empoleon would scold me if I put him in first place just because he’s, well, my Empoleon. After all, this is about all Empoleon, and not just the one I happen to appreciate above all other Pokémon. So by putting him here I’m making both of us happy, I guess. That said, I do think the traits that most Empoleon share, such as loyalty and protectiveness, are very admirable, so here he is.
Number 3 – Treecko, Torchic and Mudkip
Of this little trio, Treecko is obviously my favorite… not just because he’s a Grass type, mind you: he’s just awesome. But I find the Starters in the Hoenn region just shine even more when you see them all together: they’re such a cute, colorful bunch! I just think their looks and personalities match each other’s perfectly.
Number 2 – Snivy
How this guy managed to be left out of my Grass-type Top 5, I’ll never know (and if I don’t know, no one else ever will, I guess, since the decision process was entirely in my fluffy head). Snivy just looks down on the world (yes, he’s no bigger than I am, but he can totally pull that off) with a clear awareness of how fantastic Grass types are. Preach it, my leafy brother, preach it.
Number 1 – Greninja
And for the third time, Greninja tops my Classification section! I guess there’s no end to my admiration for this agile blue ninja. I think a lot of that comes from the fact that he actually looks like a shy, quiet guy, then in a flash he’s pulling off all sorts of cool moves, and then he’s back to adjusting his tongue-scarf like he’s no big deal. I do appreciate modesty, especially when it’s so evidently genuine. It just adds to Greninja’s already abundant coolness.
Section 4 – Interview
Since Professor Juniper has a trio of Starters currently residing in her lab, awaiting the next Trainer who wishes to pick one of them, I decided to be practical and interview one of them. Here’s the transcript of that intervew.
Snivy: Yes? Who knocked on my Poké Ball?
The Fluffiest Whimsicott: That was me. Good morning, Snivy.
S: Oh, you. Good morning. Did you need anything?
TFW: Yes. How would you like to be the subject of my interview this week? I am researching Starter Pokémon.
S: That is quite fitting, yes. I do think I’ll be an excellent subject for that.
TFW: Thank you. My first question is: what hopes and expectations do you have about your future Trainer?
S: Well, they’ll obviously be someone with at least decent taste and intelligence, since they picked me. I do hope they will fully appreciate me, and that together we will be able to show my qualities to the world.
TFW: Would you rather be picked by a boy or a girl?
S: By anyone with a sense of style an an attention to my needs. I believe on average a young human female might be more likely to care about keeping my leaves clean and glossy, so maybe I’ll go with that.
TFW: Are you looking forward to becoming a human’s first Pokémon?
S: Yes. No one can admire me until I’m stuck here, can they?
TFW: Uhm… aren’t you afraid this attitude will make your future teammates dislike you? I mean, no offense, but you’re coming off as rather… full of yourself.
S: What? I am just acting the way someone as awesome as me should.
TFW: Listen, kid, you’re level 5, so I’ll give you a little advice. It’s true that Grass types are great, and Snivy are pretty cool, but… do you know which Starter Pokémon has the lowest Base Stats?
S: What? That can’t be possible!
TFW: Yes, it is. So maybe you should try being a bit more modest, you’ll make more friends that way.
S: Pffft! You’re just jealous because I’ll be way better than you when I grow up. In fact, I’m better than you now!
TFW: What? Where would you get that idea, pipsqueak?
S: Look at you! All that lumpy fluff, and your body is such a dull brown! And chubby!
TFW: How dare you! My fluff is the opposite of lumpy! It’s as soft as Ariados silk! And I am NOT chubby!
S: Yes, you are! It’s a wonder the wind can lift you even an inch!
TFW: Why, you little… well, you should be aware that a Sassy Nature is terrible for a Serperior! So take that!
Empoleon: What’s all this noise? Whimsicott? Are you seriously fighting with a level 5?
TFW: No, I’m not!
S: Yes, she is! She’s horrible! Look, she’s making me cry! Boo hoo!
TFW: Oh, shut up, you’re not fooling anyone! Snivy can’t learn Fake Tears!
TFW: Oh, fine, fine. I’m sorry… but you were really rude, Snivy! You know what, I’ll give you a good example. To make peace, I’ll offer you a Berry.
S: Not that gross stuff you eat, right? Do you want to make me sick, as well?
TFW: Of course. Sassy Nature. Here, you should like this one.
S: Rawst? Yum! I mean… that is… acceptable. Barely.
TFW: Shut up and eat your Berry, kid.
Section 5 – Facts and conclusions
Aaand I suddenly remembered why Snivy was not in my Top 5 Grass-type Pokémon. I swear, if he had any other Nature, he’d be such a cool guy. Anyway, as usual, have five interesting facts about Starter Pokémon!
- All Starter Pokémon have the same three Abilities (differing from type to type), but different Hidden Abilities.
- There is at least one Starter Pokémon that can learn each HM move.
- Fighting is by far the most common secondary type among Starter Pokémon: four of them gain this type upon evolving.
- The smallest Starter is Froakie, who is 30 cm tall, but the lightest is Torchic, who weighs 2.5 kg. The longest is Serperior, who’s 3.3 m long (who’s large now, little Snivy?), but the heaviest is Torterra, at 310 kg.
- Starter Pokémon are cute. Even the Sassy ones.
And with this, the first of our three special reports is concluded. As usual, I hope you enjoyed it, but this time, I’d like to conduct one little bit of extra statistical research… PUCLonians, you’re humans, so tell me: who was your Starter?
Until next time,
The Fluffiest Whimsicott
This article was lovingly translated from Pokémon speech by Mr. Natural Harmonia Gropius. If you wish to enlist his services as a Pokémon-Human translator, you may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. All income will go towards feeding and sheltering abandoned Pokémon and covering the cost of Mr. N’s therapy sessions.