It’s tiny, cute, and resembles a sea otter. Yes, I’m obviously talking about Oshawott, the Unova region’s water-type starter – and the one that I chose as my own starter. According to the Pokedex entries, it’s quick to respond to an attacker and use a weapon – its scallop – if need be, despite seeming to be so small and helpless. Because it is based on the Japanese samurai, it can learn moves having to do with fighting like Revenge, Retaliate, and Swords Dance. Though unlike the samurai, it lacks speed and defense, which allow it to be attacked.
While each region has had a water-type starter, Oshawott is the first to be based on a mammal (with Squirtle being based on a turtle, Totodile on a crocodile, Mudkip on a mudskipper, and Piplup on a penguin). It’s name most-likely derives from the words “ocean”, “shell”, “water”, and “otter”. It is also the first starter to ever have its English name start with a vowel (discounting the rival’s Eevee in Yellow). It is also the only water type starter not to have an ‘I’ in its name. Because it’s so cute and tiny many trainers (along with myself) have given their Oshawott an Everstone to hold so that it won’t evolve.
Eventually dear Oshawott evolves into a Dewott (unless it’s holding an Everstone, in which evolving is impossible) and will change its coloration so that it’s mostly different hues of blue. Keeping true to the samurai theme, it begins using another shell in combat and wields them like fans in Tessenjutsu – which is a type of martial arts involving Japanese war fans. Dewott’s name is suspected to come from the words “dew”, “water”, “otter”, “duel”, and “dual”. Following after its pre-evolution, Dewott has quite a high special attack and decent attack and health stats, though its speed and defenses are still quite low.
Once Dewott reaches level 36 it again evolves into a sea-lion like creature, Samurott. It’s been stated by Ken Sugimori (who did the art for the original Pokemon games and has worked on conception art for the movies) that he and the team had the hardest time designing Oshawott and its evolutions, as conceptionalizing its evolutions were difficult. Though the team eventually decided on making it samurai themed and having its final evolution, Samurott, be a sea lion after a trip to the local aquarium. Finally making up for its pre-evolutions, Samurott’s defense nearly catches up with its health stat, though its special defense and speed stats remain quite low. Samurott’s name is suspected to come from ‘samurai’ and ‘otter’ and it’s also speculated over whether or not its tail is based on a Japanese war fan.
Oshawott is depicted as a free spirited little otter that can protect itself when need be. And it’s shown that its evolutions eventually become more and more dedicated to the way it fights. With persistence like that, why wouldn’t you choose an Oshawott as your starter?