Of all the TV shows and franchises of my childhood, the one I’d consider myself to have ‘gown up on’ is Pokemon. I was in second grade when the craze hit and was obsessed with it by my eight birthday when I had the biggest Charizard cake you’ve ever seen and received a Game Boy Color with my copies of Pokemon Red and Blue. Somehow, I can’t remember who my first ever favorite Pokemon was, though the cake leads me to believe it was Charizard. However, the first truly important one came to me that Christmas.
Meet Charmander. For my eighth Christmas, I was given this large Charmander stuffed (…animal?) that was made for use as a pillow. My 6-year-old brother received Squirtle, and my 2-year-old younger brother was given Pikachu. That Christmas I also received Pokemon Yellow, and since my brother didn’t have any Pokemon games, I gave him Pokemon Blue (solidifying his destiny~). These elements came together to give my brother and I our alltime favorite Pokemon; Squirtle and Charmander respectively.
Oddly, I’m not sure if I ever raised a Charizard in Pokemon Red, and if I did, I must not have gotten it to a very high level. By the time I became a big Charmander fan, I’d already long been playing through Red with a Bulbasaur, and I raised that Venusaur to level 98 before I messed up my save with a Gameshark Pro. And then Silver came out.
However, the games aside, Charmander was of immense importance to me. He was cute and yet cool, and he could evolve into Charizard whom everyone knew was THE most legendary and badass Pokemon. And I had that pillow, and it was alive. He had a personality and a family! My brothers and I collectively bought a METRIC. FUCKTON. of Pokemon merchandise. I had Charmander slippers (the Char-Char twins, Charmander’s little brothers) which I wore out and kept using long after outgrowing them. I also had this ugly-ass bootleg Charmander plush filled with those little foam bead things, who was the older brother. And then I had a three-foot-tall stuffed Charizard made from the same crap whom we won at an amusement park and was, of course, the father. (He developed massive holes and lost most of his stuffing. I think he’s in a closet in a trash bag, lol.)
My brother considered pretty much any random turtle plush he found to be a brother or sister of Squirtle. He also had a cheap Blastoise plush that was hilariously just smaller than Squirtle, but still his father. They never did make plush toys of Wartortle or Charmeleon, but that’s because they (and the mothers) were back on Pokeworld where we communicated with them through imaginary letters. They were apparently fighting in some epic war, too, but I don’t remember anything about that.
The original Charmander pillow was long my most cherished possession. For a long time, the whole family was on my bed, but eventually, all of them either totally wore out or became hand-me-downs. Charmander, though, had staying power. For many, many years I made a point to take Charmander with me whenever I went to spend a night at a friends house. (I think I stopped that when I was 14 because I stopped spending the night at peoples’ houses, lol) And he’s still on my bed! He’s right there! He’s got some massive holes and a lot less fluff, but he’s still there. Still my most cherished memory and possession from my childhood.
However, he is no longer my favorite Pokemon. Just as Pokemon is no longer my favorite franchise, some things do change eventually (uncommon in my world lol.) (I do, though, consider myself a ‘Pokemon lifer’ like Ghostlightning is a ‘Macross lifer‘) For a long time, I had no reason to change my favorite because each successive ‘wave’ of Pokemon has sucked just a bit more than the last. Probably the biggest reason that I could never get into Ruby/Sapphire was that I didn’t care for the Pokemon in it, and I just never even bothered with Diamond and Pearl when I saw what they had to offer, and went back to the old games instead.
However, one Pokemon came out with the new wave who I absolutely adore. They call him Munchlax. Back in the Gold and Silver age, the ‘baby’ Pokemon was created so that some of the badass Pokemon who didn’t evolve could have pre-evolutions without loosing their ‘heymaker’ status (Meaning they were very strong without needing to evolve. I love heymaker decks in both the Pokemon and Yugioh card games.) Then, the Diamond and Pearl series came along and had a bad habit of creating level-three evolutions for former heymakers, such as Electabuzz and Magmar, that are utterly fucking horrid.
Thankfully, the classic big fat mysterious Pokemon, Snorlax, never got an evolution, probably on the virtue that there was no point in making an even bigger Snorlax. However, they did give him a baby version – Munchlax. Nintendo must have known that Munchlax was a success because he appears in the show and movies before the games came out (much like Merill from the Gold and Silver series) and they made him one of those exclusive tie-in Pokemon that you can only get through buying one of the retarded Pokemon side-games. Being as I haven’t even played Diamond or Pearl, much less given a damn about any of the Pokemon from the games, you’d think I’d never even have found out about Munchlax. Which is probably why they gave him a part in the movie Pokemon Destiny Deoxys.
It was through this movie that I learned about how Munchlax was massive levels of fuckwin. Munchlax is a bastard little fat guy. He shows up out of nowhere and eats everyone’s food unapologetically, and they can’t do anything about it. In spite of being heavy, Munch can jump a good 30 feet in the air and has a lot of elemental resistance, making him a total tank. I love Munch’s totally chill attitude in all situations, and how when the time comes, he evolves to save the day (since we all know Snorlax rescues all the Pokamons). After this movie, I became a huge Munchlax fan and am proud to proclaim him my favorite Pokemon.
So now I have to ask who was/is your favorite Pokemon? I’ve seen many different peoples’ favorites and how they can reflect the person’s personality or their age at the time of favoritism. (For instance, Funeral, being a big and powerful dude, loved Blastoise. My mom and Zerodyme are both Psyduck fans, and my youngest brother is just backs the legendaries, especially Darkrai.) So I’m always interested in hearing what someone’s favorite is and why. In addition, has your favorite changed over the years? Get into the bones of it!