|Pokémon series character|
|First game||Pokémon Red and Blue|
|Designed by||Ken Sugimori|
|Voiced by (English)||Michael Haigney
Emily Williams (Pokémon Mystery Dungeon special)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Shin-ichiro Miki (Ash's)
Yūji Ueda (Ritchie's)
Daisuke Sakaguchi (PMD special)
Charmander, known as Hitokage (ヒトカゲ?) in Japan, is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. Created by Ken Sugimori, Charmander first appeared in the video games Pokémon Red and Blue and subsequent sequels, later appearing in various merchandise, spinoff titles and animated and printed adaptations of the franchise. The end of a Charmander's tail is alight with a flame, and the flame's size reflects both the physical health and the emotions of the individual.
Charmander is a starter Pokémon the player can choose from at the beginning of Pokémon Red and Blue, and their remakes, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. In the anime, Ash acquires a Charmander early in the series, and it became one of his most used Pokémon. In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Blue receives a Charmander from his grandfather Professor Oak. Since it appeared in the Pokémon series, Charmander has received generally positive reception.
Design and characteristics
Charmander was one of several different designs conceived by Game Freak's character development team and finalized by Ken Sugimori for the first generation of Pocket Monsters games Red and Green, which were localized outside of Japan as Pokémon Red and Blue. Originally called "Hitokage" in Japanese, Nintendo decided to give the various Pokémon species "clever and descriptive names" related to their appearance or features when translating the game for western audiences as a means to make the characters more relatable to American children. As a result, the species was renamed "Charmander", a combination of "char", meaning burnt, and "salamander".
Charmander is known as the Lizard Pokémon. Charmander are small, bipedal lizard-like Pokémon native to Kanto. Most have blue eyes, orange skin, three-clawed toes, yellow bellies, and yellow soles under its feet. The end of a Charmander's tail is alight with a flame, and the flame's size reflects both the physical health and the emotions of the individual. When it rains, steam is said to spout from the tip of its tail. If the flame were to ever go out, the Charmander would die. When Charmander receives enough experience from battles, it evolves into Charmeleon, and later Charizard. The idea to feature Charmander and the other Red and Blue starters in a significant role in Pokémon X and Y came about a year and a half into the development of the games. The Mega Evolutions for the three Pokémon's final forms were created, and the designers decided that they should give players an opportunity to find on of these Pokémon in order to see their Mega Evolved form.
In the video games
Charmander is a starter Pokémon the player can choose from at the beginning of Pokémon Red and Blue, and their remakes, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. Charmander and the other starters from Red and Blue are replaced by Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow, the only starter available in it. Instead, they are each obtained from certain NPCs. In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, as a reward from Professor Oak after defeating the final boss, Red, the player can choose from Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. In Pokémon X and Y, players can also choose between Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle near the start of the game shortly after having chosen the games' new starter Pokémon. Outside of the main series, Charmander has appeared in Hey You, Pikachu!, Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Puzzle League, the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, the Pokémon Ranger games, and PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure. A Pokémon stage in Super Smash Bros. called "Saffron City" features an area where various Pokémon pop out to attack players; one such Pokémon is a Charmander that sometimes uses Flamethrower.
In the anime, Ash acquires a Charmander early in the series. Ash's Charmander originally belonged to a trainer named Damien, who believed it was weak and cruelly abandoned it, telling it to stay in one spot until he "returned." The Pokémon was very loyal to its trainer and risked its life sitting in the rain, waiting for a trainer who'd never come back to it. Ash, Brock, and Misty had to rush it to a Pokémon Center to keep it alive. Upon seeing Damien's true colors, Charmander joined Ash. It was immediately one of Ash's most used Pokémon, defeating such opponents as Koga's Golbat, Erika's Weepinbell, and helped capture Ash's Primeape. Charmander evolved into Charmeleon during a battle against an army of Exeggutor. His personality temporarily changed, disobeying Ash and fighting only when and how he pleased.
In an anime adaption of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team, a Charmander and a female Chikorita work alongside a young boy who transformed into a Squirtle in helping fellow Pokémon.
In other media
In the Electric Tale of Pikachu manga, the circumstances in which Ash captures a Charmander appear to be different. While Damian appears, he was separated from his Charmander because he was injured, not because he abandoned it. At the end of the chapter, the two reunite. Despite this difference, Ash is still seen owning a Charmander, whose capture is not shown. Later in the manga, Ash's Charmander reappears as a Charizard. In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Blue receives a Charmander from his grandfather Professor Oak. Blue tried using it against Mew but failed and withdrew his Pokémon. It is later shown to have evolved into a Charmeleon. In the Pokémon Pocket Monsters manga series, Isamu Akai's rival Kai Midorikawa, chose Charmander as his starter Pokémon. Kai's Charmander is mischievous and has a rivalry with Isamu Akai's Clefairy.
Since it appeared in the Pokémon series, Charmander has received generally positive reception. It has appeared in several pieces of merchandise, including figures, plush toys, and the Pokémon Trading Card Game. It has been noted as a popular Halloween costume for the year of 1999. Also in 1999, it was speculated by analysts that Pokémon species, in particular Charmander and others, would become sought-after toys.
IGN readers ranked Charmander at #37 among the best Pokémon ever. Game Informer's O'Dell Harmon ranked Charmander - along with Bulbasaur and Squirtle - as the third best Pokémon. He noted that the choice between the three was "one of the most important decisions to ever be made in Pokémon history." GamesTM noted that Charmander was the worst starting Pokémon in Red and Blue. In the book Dragonlore: From the Archives of the Grey School of Wizardry, author Ash Dekirk described Charmander as a "fire-breathing dragon". Author Loredana Lipperini cited Charmander as a popular Pokémon, suggesting that its popularity comes from its fiery tail. Author Mark Jacobson found the transition from Charmander to Charizard to be odd, questioning how a "baby" Pokémon can grow into a "two-hundred-pound monster whose breath can melt boulders." GamesRadar commented that while Charmander seems pitiful due to its flame tail, which burn more brightly depending on his mood/health, it grows into the cool-looking Charizard. GamesRadar editor Brett Elston stated that while it lacks the nuances of later similar starting Pokémon, it has "cutesy appeal" to it. The Escapist editor John Funk described Charmander as "cute", using its evolution into Charizard as an example of an extreme evolutionary change in the series. Chicago Tribune editor Darryl E. Owens described Charmander as "adorable". San Antonio-Express News editor Susan Yerkes described Charmander as "disgustingly cute". Teen Ink editor Kathryn J. called Charmander her favorite Pokémon.
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- Pokédex: The flame that burns at the tip of its tail is an indication of its emotions. The flame wavers when CHARMANDER is enjoying itself. If the POKéMON becomes enraged, the flame burns fiercely. Game Freak (2003-03-17). Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. Game Boy. Nintendo.
- Pokédex: Obviously prefers hot places. When it rains, steam is said to spout from the tip of its tail. Game Freak (1998-09-30). Pokémon Red and Blue. Game Boy. Nintendo.
- Pokédex: From the time it is born, a flame burns at the tip of its tail. Its life would end if the flame were to go out. Game Freak (2004-09-09). Pokémon Fire Red. Game Boy. Nintendo.
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