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. 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?! 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.