Kanto Starters and Evolutions: The Charmander Line

By Jo

It’s orange, lizard-like, and obnoxiously cute! Charmander, the Lizard Pokemon, is the first fire-type in the National Pokedex and is also the Kanto region’s fire-type starter. Charmander is the tallest of all fire-type starters and a fan favorite for its evolutionary line. It also has the longest name of any unevolved Pokemon.

According to its pokedex entries, Charmander’s flame at the tip of its tail makes a slight crackling sound that can only be heard in quiet places. That flame is said to burn in reaction to its emotions; if it’s content its flame wavers, while that flame will burn brightly if it becomes enraged. Its pokédex entries also state that if the Charmander is healthy, it will burn vigorously even when becoming wet. It will die if the flame ever burns out, as the flame is a measure of its life force. Charmander is based off from a salamander, though it also has features of lizards too. Its name most likely comes from the words ‘char’, which means “to burn”, and ‘salamander’, an amphibian found in Japan (which is where the games are made). Charmander may also be inspired by fire-spirits who are said to be able to inhabit the hottest temperatures. Those fire-spirits are often depicted to be lizard-like.

Once Charmander reaches level 16, it evolves into Charmeleon. Charmeleon, Charizard, Flareon, Moltres, and Infernape all share the same species name – they’re called the Flame Pokemon. Though Charmeleon’s name seems to be a combination of the words ‘chameleon’ and ‘char’, it doesn’t have many chameleon-like features other than the head crest and short snout. Physically, it resembles a small dinosaur. Its pokedex entries say that it is very hotheaded, so it’s constantly looking for opponents to battle with. During battle it will swing its tail to elevate the temperature surrounding them to an unbearable heat. It uses its tail and claws to attack its foes, striking without mercy. When agitated, it will spout flames and scorch its surroundings and its tail flame will flare with a bluish color.

Lastly, when Charmeleon reaches level 36 it evolves into a Charizard and gains the secondary type of Flying. Charizard is the only Flying-type Pokemon related to a starter. It is also the only starter evolution that can learn the HM Fly (it was, however, unable to learn the move until Pokemon Yellow). Charizard is also the first Pokemon in the National Pokedex to gain a type through evolution. It is also the only dual type fire-type starter that isn’t part fighting-type. Like Charmeleon, if it becomes infuriated the tip of its tail will flare blue with its rage. Charizard’s name comes from the words ‘char’ and ‘lizard’. Appearance-wise, Charizard seems to be based off from the European interpretation of dragons, as it literally breaths fire.

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