If you have any remote interest in Pokemon, probably even if you don’t, you probably have heard Nintendo dedicated an entire Nintendo Direct to unveiling Pokemon X and Y. Along with the game announcement, the three starter Pokemon that will grace the 3DS this Fall were unveiled. We know very little about the generation 6 starter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t rank them among the past starters.
DISCLAIMER: This list is compiled on a completely aesthetic basis. Accounting for abilities and the overall games would be a much longer list.
6. Generation 2
Starting off with a choice that may be controversial, from talking to fellow writers on the site. Totodile, Cyndaquil and Chikorita share some of the nostalgia of their GameBoy predecessors. But lets be real here, Chikorita is a seed with eyes, and Cyndaquil is a mouse with his back on fire. Totodile is the only one of the three with some distinct details. I chose Totodile, and as any Pokemon trainer knows, you only see the starter for several hours. Unfortunately Totodile doesn’t age well, as he evolves he loses any semblance of cuteness it might have had and cashes it in to become a character out of the Flintstones. At least Feraligator has a semblance of difference from Totodile. Typhlosion is just the result of Cyndaquil’s body catching up to its head, and Chikorita just grows a slightly longer neck.
5. Generation 5
Tired and old are two words among a plethora of words that can be used to describe these three starters in a not so kindly fashion. You could tell that Ken Sugimori, the artist behind Pokemon, was running short on ideas, which is inevitable when creating hundreds on monsters over a ten year period. However, the starters at the very least should be unique. Tepig isn’t so bad, but Emboar is literally just a Snorlax on fire. Oshawott is a mess, Dewott is actually a saving grace of all the starters evolutions, but then Samurott looks like a horned Lapras. Beside Dewott, Snivy is the only redeeming quality of this generation. Snivy unlike the other two actualy looks better when evolved. Serperior doesn’t look half bad if you ignore the fact that the whole “Regal” theme is a rip off of Pinlup’s “Emperor” theme.
4. Generation 3
Moving forward in time, Ken Sugimori made some big leaps for the GameBoy Advance. For the first time the Grass starter, Treecko, is not a walking seed or flower, but rather an actual animal. Also a first and last (so far) the water starter, Mudkip, is a fish and not a reptile. This is also the first generation that the starter’s 1st and 2nd evolution began to establish a theme on top of just growing larger. This is also the first generation that some of the starter’s evolutions had a second type. For clarity’s sake I used all three starters this generation (thank you brother). Now for the reasons why this generation isn’t higher: Treecko’s evolution consist of just his tail turning into a fern. Regardless Sceptile still is a pretty solid addition to the Pokédex. Blaziken is the end all be all for this generation, a flaming fighting chicken, what more could you ask for? Next to Charizard, Blaziken was probably one of the biggest departures from the starter. Because of this Torchic single handedly puts this above gen 2, however for all the good Torchic does Mudkip is there to put out the fire. Mudkip is an axolotl, Swampert is a bigger axolotl; enough said.
3. Generation 4
Enter the Nintendo DS, and with that an even better generation. Admittedly it rips a lot of stuff the previous generation, but just because it’s a ripoff doesn’t mean it can’t be better. This is the first generation all the final evolutions are dual type. This is also the first time I genuinely had a hard time picking between two starters, I’m looking at you Pinlup and Chimchar. Even though I never fancied Turtwig, he admittedly is way better looking than Treecko and Chikorita. Recalling that this list is purely aesthetic based, Gen 4 is the first time all three are cute, and as this is a Japanese game, 可愛い(kawaii) is the end all be all. The other thing that makes this generation stand out in my mind are the second evolutions. Infernape, Torterra and Empoleon all look pretty badass, and strike the balance between just being a bigger version of the starter and maintaining a unique identity. Plus Water-Steel dual type for the win!
2. Generation 6
The moment of truth is nigh. We arrive with the newcomers. Hands down Fenneken and Chespin are the best looking in a long while. Even if Fennekin looks like a firey Eevee, so what Eevee was awesome. Chespin is the first time a mammal is the front man for the grass. Unfortunately as good as Chespin and Fenneken are Froakie out right sucks. So why then is this generation so high up on the list you might ask. That is for one reason: Potential. Froakie might suck now, but so what, you’ll only see him for a matter of hours. There are so many things that aren’t included in the starter pokemon. Are they going to evolve into dual types? Will they have a theme around their evolution (you’d hardly guess Oshawott’s samurai theme by looking at him)? Unfortunately If Froakie doesn’t pan out to anything good we could be facing another generation 5, with the stale, boring, predictable evolutions. The suggestion that the dual types might be Fighting, Psychic and Dark have been tossed around, and subsequently denied by Nintendo, but I hope that if those are the case that fighting is not paired with fire again. Fourth time is not the charm.
1. Kanto Starter Pokemon
One word nostalgia, but that’s just the beginning. Bringing up the rear in the esteemed group Bulbasaur and subsequently Venusaur might just be a dinosaur-esque monster with a giant flower on his back. But Bulbasaur is the dinosaur with a flower on his back. Bulbasaur, even though retroactively done, is also the only dual-type starter pokemon. Moving on Squirtle may just look like an ordinary turtle who can blow bubbles, but so what. That little turtle is going to grow up to have shoulder mounted water cannons. That’s right. Thile Samurott might have a sword-like horn, and Empoleon steel tipped wings, Blastoise has shoulder mounted cannons. Much in the same manner that Squirtle, the little turtle that was, could become a gun toting behemoth, the unassuming Charmander wraps up the greatest generation of starter pokemon. Charmander is the first random animal to have fire appended to it in some fashion and would stand as a template for hundreds of other fire pokemon to follow. Charmander is just a fragile lizard who can’t walk around in the rain, but he aspires to be more, and more is what he becomes. Much in the majestic mannerr of his companions Charmander doesn’t just become a bigger lizard with more flames appended to him, he becomes a dragon. Charizard is the Flame pokemon, a dragon, who you can control, and in later editions of the game fly on his back.
With that my ranking of each generation’s starter pokemon and their evolutions comes to an end. Thanks for reading, and toss all your comments directed about how wrong I am to the comment section below.