|Pokémon series character|
|First game||Pokémon Red and Blue|
|Designed by||Ken Sugimori|
|Voiced by (English)||Eric Stuart (TV)
Michele Knotz (SSBB)
Jamie Peacock (Pokémon Mystery Dungeon special)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Rikako Aikawa (Ash's)
Tomoe Hanba (May's)
Shin-ichiro Miki and Unshō Ishizuka (Squirtle Squad)
Sanae Kobayashi (PMD special)
Squirtle, known as Zenigame (ゼニガメ?) in Japan, is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. It was originally conceived by Game Freak's character development team and finalized by Ken Sugimori. Its name was changed from Zenigame to Squirtle during the English localization of the series in order to give it a "clever and descriptive name." In animated appearances, Squirtle is voiced in Japanese by Rikako Aikawa and in English localizations by Eric Stuart. Squirtle, in the anime, never evolved for reasons never truly explained by the creators.
Design and characteristics
Squirtle was one of 151 different designs conceived by Game Freak's character development team and finalised by Ken Sugimori for the first generation of Pocket Monsters games Red and Green, which were localized outside Japan as Pokémon Red and Blue. Originally called "Zenigame" 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. Squirtle's English name comes from a combination of the words squirrel and "turtle."
Squirtle, known as the Tiny Turtle Pokémon, are cute-looking turtle Pokémon, capable of moving either on two feet or on all fours. Their skin is a light blue, and they possess a long, curled tail. When feeling threatened, Squirtle withdraw their limbs into their brown-orange shells and spray water from their mouth with great force, either to attack their opponent or merely to intimidate it. If attacked anyway, their shells are resilient, and provide excellent protection. It shelters itself in its shell, then strikes back with spouts of water at every opportunity. Squirtle's shell is not merely used for protection. The shell's rounded shape and the grooves on its surface help minimize resistance in water, enabling this Pokémon to swim at high speeds. The idea to feature Squirtle 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
The first video game appearance of Squirtle was in Pokémon Red and Blue. Squirtle is a starter Pokémon the player can choose from at the beginning of Pokémon Red and Blue, and their remakes, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. Squirtle 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, and obtaining the first gym badge.
Aside from the main games, Squirtle appears in Hey You, Pikachu!, Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Puzzle League, the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, the Pokémon Ranger games, and PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure and its sequel, PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond. Squirtle appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee as one of many Pokémon balloon floats in the stage Poké Floats; it is the first Poké Float to appear. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Squirtle is now playable, under the command of the Pokémon Trainer. The Trainer also has an Ivysaur and a Charizard, all three of which can be switched between; unlike the other fighters, these Pokémon become fatigued and consequently weaker, and must be switched out long enough to recover.
In the animated series, Ash Ketchum, Brock, and Misty encounter a gang of five Squirtle known as the Squirtle Squad in his debut episode "Here Comes the Squirtle Squad!". They first appear as delinquents, but their interactions with Ash and Co. result in them becoming honorary firefighters of their town. The leader of the gang, however, chooses to go with Ash and battle for him; throughout Ash's journey through the Kanto region, it is an invaluable member of Ash's team, and proves its strength without ever evolving. Eventually, the Squirtle parts ways with Ash in order to lead its old gang, who were suffering a lack of proper guidance. Despite returning to its hometown, Squirtle will happily aid Ash whenever he requests it.Whenever Squirtle appears he puts on a pair of black pointed sunglasses. Some think he does this because his Pokédex number is 007 which relates to the movie James Bond. Ash's second female companion, May received her own Squirtle from Professor Oak. May's Squirtle was very young and timid until evolving, despite being recently born, it quickly grows accustomed to the Pokémon Contests May participates in, even helping May win some, earning Ribbons as rewards. After May leaves Ash's group, she temporarily reunites with him in Sinnoh, revealing that many of her Pokémon had now evolved; Squirtle has since evolved into Wartortle. Eric Stuart does the voice of Squirtle up until late in Ash's Hoenn adventure; Michelle Knotz takes over his role afterwards.
Squirtle is also the main protagonist of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Team Go-Getters Out Of The Gate!; this Squirtle actually happens to be a young boy, transformed and sent to a world completely inhabited by Pokémon.
In other media
Green, the original female protagonist in the Pokémon Adventures, stole a Squirtle from Professor Oak's laboratory. It was not seen until Chapter 15, "Wartortle Wars", by which point it had evolved into a Wartortle, nicknamed Turtley, which she used to try and escape from another trainer, Red, chasing her.
In the Pokémon: Pikachu Shocks Back manga, when Pikachu is separated from Ash temporarily it meets a cynical Squirtle, who believes Ash has abandoned Pikachu. Later, Ash has caught a Squirtle of his own, which accompanies Ash throughout his journeys in the Orange Islands.
Since it appeared in the Pokémon series, Squirtle has received generally positive reception. It has been featured in several forms of merchandise, including figurines, plush toys, and the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Squirtle was featured among other Pokémon as part of Burger King kids' meal cards. Analysts predicted that Squirtle, along with Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Charmander, would lead the merchandising of the Pokémon series.
According to Time magazine, Squirtle was considered one of the "more popular" in the original series. Boys' Life named Squirtle one of the five "coolest" Pokémon from Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, placing second on their list. The Richmond Times-Dispatch editor Douglas Durden commented that Squirtle was a favourite Pokémon of the series. Author Patrick Drazen discussed the anime incarnation and commented that Squirtle asserted its alpha male status by wearing an "even more outrageous pair of sunglasses" than the other Squirtles in its gang. San Antonio Express-News editor Susan Yerkes called Squirtle "disgustingly cute".
An editor for IGN called Squirtle the best between Bulbasaur and Charmander, citing how many Pokémon are disadvantageous to Squirtle. IGN editor "Pokémon of the Day Chick" preferred Squirtle as well, citing how it is the only one of the three that is only one type when it reaches its final form. However, she commented that Squirtle seems boring due to there being many pure Water types. IGN stated "Leave it to Nintendo to have a cute turtle", further calling it cuter than the Mario series Koopa Troopas. GamesRadar editor Brett Elston noted that while Charizard and Bulbasaur get "big props" from Pokémon players, Squirtle appears to be more popular from people who are not fans of the series, suggesting that its appearance may be a part of it. GamesRadar editor Carolyn Gudmundson commented that Squirtle was the coolest of the three starting Pokémon in the anime. Author Maria S. Jones called Squirtle "cute and cuddly". IGN ranked it the 46th best Pokémon ever. An author noted that it was "instantly recognisable to anyone who has been around a an eight year-old at some point in the last 15 years." Game Informer also included it in its list of the best Pokémon at #03 (along with Charmander and Squirtle). Author O'Dell Harmon noted the choice between these three Pokémon as the most important one in the series' history. Official Nintendo Magazine's readers voted it the second best Water-type Pokémon. Author Thomas East called it "one of the cutest" and "one of the most popular."
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