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A little mystery about the starter Pokémon...

Discussion in 'Pokémon Chat' started by Poe, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. Poe


    Me and my sister have had a furious discussion about the rules concerning the starter pokemon, and before things ends violently, I thought I would post the issue here and see what you guys think. :8B:

    The question is basically this: Does the Pokemon professors ONLY give away three starters each season for three very lucky trainers to obtain, OR can more than three trainers pick out their starters and every time one is picked it gets replaced by another starter, so there's always three different starters to chose from for every trainer?
    I know that the answer may seem obvious for some of you, but after checking several episodes, I'm still confused about this process.

    In the very first episode, Ash is late and misses the “give away” at Prof. Oak's lab, so he is left with no starter and has to settle with a disobedient Pikachu instead. It seems like there is no way for Oak to “restock” the starters, or he probably would have mentioned that before Ash took off on his journey with such a troublesome pokemon.
    This makes it look like there's only three pokemon available, and that if a trainer wants a certain kind, they need to make sure to get there before the other trainers.

    But in the most recent season when Ash arrives in Kalos, this rule doesn't seem to apply at all. After the events of the first episodes, the Froakie at Prof. Sycamore's lab decides to go with Ash. But when Serena arrives, shortly after Ash has left, there are another Froakie in its place. So she still gets to chose one of the three Kalos-starters.

    It's mainly these two occasions that makes it hard for me and my sister to agree on an answer to this argument. I also realize that the pokemon-anime got LOTS of plotholes of alls kinds, and that there probably isn't a certain answer. But I'd still like to find an acceptable explanation to this mystery, even if we have to come up with one for ourselves. How many starters does the professors give away every pokemon league season? Does the starter give-away vary between regions? Has the rules changed from when Ash got his first pokemon to when Serena picked out hers? Why does even Nurse Joy give away starter pokemon in one episode?! :-O

    Please, if you have any theories at all, share them with me in this thread. Your opinions would help greatly in order to settle this argument. :)
  2. The thing with Ash receiving Pikachu is that Professor Oak had literally no time to restock Starter Pokemon between the final one being given away and Ash showing up. Even with the technology of the Pokemon World to be able to send Pokemon anywhere almost instantly, Professor Oak would have had to order in some new Starter Pokemon, which are a bit rare and require special breeding grounds in the PokeWorld. As luck would have it, Oak would have a spare, low-level Pokemon hanging around and Ash doesn't really care what Pokemon he starts with so long as he can start his journey.

    While I haven't watched any of the XY anime, I'd wager enough time passed for Sycamore to order a new Froakie, and with him also being quite a busy person, it would make sense for him to have reliable people(such as Nurse Joys) to be able to distribute Starter Pokemon in his place.
  3. Poe


    I'm taking it that you're for the idea that they do give away more than just three starters every season? I think you're right about Oak. It makes sense that he couldn't get new starters immediately after the first ones were picked (and I can imagine that Ash was way too impatient to wait another day or two for new ones and thus giving Gary a headstart).

    But does this mean that the professors basically give out an unlimited amount of starter Pokémon and Pokédexes to any trainer that wants them?

    Also, it seems to me that most trainers makes an appointment with their region's professor before coming to the lab. Which I suppose makes sense, if they want to make sure that there are three starters to chose from once they arrive... Though, that doesn't explain why Oak would only have one set of starter Pokémon even though he obviously knew there would be more than three trainers who wanted to start their journey that very same day. 0_o

    I'm still not entirely sure about this... I'd love to hear more opinons. Maybe there actually are an episode out there that explains this more thoroughly than bulbapedia does.
  4. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    Pretty much what Sho said. They probably have stocks of the things for starting trainers but these stocks do run out and new ones need brought in. Also note that in the anime, unlike the games, Pokemon don't quite get stored in a digital buffer for a prolonged period of time - they are usually shown as either kept by the professor who started one off in their journey or mostly kept in their balls in special storage units. I'd imagine that they still need to be released from these balls every once in a while and fed and whatever, making it probably impossible to have an unlimited supply in stasis.

    But re: the appointment thing and Ash being MUSTHAVESTARTERNOWORGARYBEATSMEBLUHBLUHBLUH, I'd say the simplest answer to that question is that is that the anime changes its rules every five minutes because of the sheer amount of bullshit that it generates on a per-episode basis - and it needed an excuse as for why this dumb-ass kid gets a superspecialawesome marketable mascot character instead of one of your typical starters. <<;
  5. :o So um... this explains a lot (How did I not notice that before!?). Think back to season 1:?. There was an episode with the Squirtle Squad if you think about this supports your option cause Gary had a Squirtle to start off with too! However the Bulbasaur and Charmander that Ash obtained could have belonged to the other trainers the calmed the Bulbasaur and Charmander from Professor Oak even though there is no evidence to proof it. 8)
  6. Linkachu

    Linkachu Hero of Pizza
    Staff Member Administrator

    Nah, that one isn't plausible. It's fairly clear that the Charmander's previous owner wasn't one of the children who left on their journey at the same time that Ash and Gary did. While I don't believe it's ever directly stated where the jerk is from, Ash would have at least recognized him if he'd been from Pallet Town (the place isn't that big) and Oak would more than likely be aware if any of his hometown trainers had abandoned their starter. Apply that same mentality to Bulbasaur's previous trainer.

    As for Poe's original question, my thoughts match Sho's and Stel's. I wouldn't go as far to say that the amount of starter Pokemon and Pokedexes distributed is wholly unlimited - that every single random young person in the area can acquire one at any given time - but it's likely an ongoing process on a somewhat first come, first serve basis. As you yourself mentioned, Poe, the series has shown on multiple occasions that new trainers are generally expected; they're not just dropping in out of the blue. I'm sure that any professor would be happy to assist a random newbie in obtaining their first Pokemon if the default starter stocks had currently run dry (with something extra that they had on-hand, like with Pikachu, or a wild Pokemon that they assisted the newbie in capturing) but they may not always have spare Pokedexes handy.
  7. In the anime we've seen starter pokemon in the wild countless times, so I'm not really sure why this is an issue. Personally I hate it when Ash gets all the starters outside of Kanto because they usually wind up being his worst teams. Would anyone deny that Ash's Johto team and Unova team were his worst two pokemon teams in the entire series? It's probably why both sagas were painful to watch aside from the fillers and lack of development for the main cast,.

    It's usually when Ash only gets one or two starters that he actually bothers evolving them and most of his pokemon, like he did in AG and DP...and probably XY too.

    Of course there are times the starter doesn't evolve because of marketing, such as the writers making us suffer through Dawn's Piplup for the entirety of DP. I think Piplup is the only pokemon on the cast people did a complete 180 on, because I remember people liking it a lot when DP first started and then absolutely hating it as the saga progressed. Looking back May's Torchic evolving was probably the best thing to ever happen to her because I remember people doubting it would evolve for a long time too.
  8. The whole professor passing out starters thing is a game mechanic and not worth following slavishly, similar to the game mechanic of the pokedex versus its function in the anime/hypothetical "real" pokemon world. In reality, caring for even six pokemon would be a full-time occupation of feeding, exercising, entertaining, training and battling with adult elemental monsters with minds of their own-- no one could ever catch all 721 and "complete the pokedex". Completing the pokedex is a game mechanic; the pokedex as a common electronic device accessing a cloud of reference information about known pokemon species is how it would play out in "reality".

    The function of the starter in the game is to give the player a decently strong core pokemon for their team with elemental attacks that are over and above what other low level pokemon are capable of. In a story or an RP, the starter thing is a useful framing or starting point for the rest of a story, so I don't blame anyone for starting there, but I think that in a "real" pokemon world there would be many different places for people to get their first pokemon.

    For instance, let's say that professors do pass out the grass/water/fire starters to 10 year olds. How many do they pass out? Just three? Do they give them to anyone who shows up? Who is breeding these pokemon? Are they giving them away for free? This wouldn't be like breeding in the games, this would be someone's full time job that they would expect to receive compensation for. And think of the ethical issues of passing out intelligent or semi-intelligent child monsters to random kids who haven't been vetted for good behavior.

    It also depends on what extent pokemon are like real animals-- do they need constant engagement and care like a lot of captive animals, or can you drop them in stasis and forget about them? Are pokemon somewhat mechanical and forget about their eggs instantly, or do baby pokemon bond with their parents and require a lot of parental care? Can you keep starters in a cage or a PC waiting for a trainer, or is their delivery carefully scheduled with the breeder? Do kids just show up, or is there a long process of vetting potential trainer candidates and testing them for their knowledge and ability to care for a potentially dangerous elemental?

    Are there enough starters for every kid who comes along? Plainly, in the games, the main character and their rival(s) are special. Normal kids are Lasses or Bug Catchers with pokemon that you can often find wild in their vicinity-- this suggests that most kids get their pokemon from catching them locally. Maybe they get a friend or older sibling to catch the pokemon for them, or maybe they adopt them after someone finds a hurt pokemon and brings it to the pokemon center but doesn't want to capture it. Maybe they chuck pokeballs at a pokemon until they get lucky-- maybe they deliberately trap or hurt the pokemon to weaken it!

    There could be some class issues in the pokemon world-- maybe rich kids register with a professor years in advance and pay a deposit to get that starter. Maybe other rich kids get a specially bred eevee or something, or their family has a pet pokemon that they've kept for years. The ace trainers could be kids who got a head start with a cool pokemon like the player, while poorer kids have to struggle along with metapod.

    tl;dr The professor-passes-out-starter model is a game mechanic and doesn't translate well to mass distribution of pokemon for all prospective trainers, and plainly from the games and anime, most regular non-hero trainers don't have a starter on their team. Regular trainers probably adopt, buy, or are gifted their first pokemon.
  9. I have a theory that maybe all starter pokemon come from they're own region.Or,more plausibly,in the region where they're giving out,they come from secret places that are well hidden that only certain trainers are told of.

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