|Game series||Pokémon series|
|First game||Pokémon Red and Blue|
|Designed by||Ken Sugimori|
|Voiced by (English)||Tara Jayne (1st season-8th season, movies and video games), Michelle Knotz (9th season-11th season)|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Megumi Hayashibara (Ash Ketchum's), Miyako Itō (May's)|
Bulbasaur (フシギダネ Fushigidane ) is one of the fictional species of Pokémon creatures from the multi-billion-dollar Pokémon media franchise—a collection of video games, anime, manga, books, trading cards, and other media created by Satoshi Tajiri. As all Pokémon, Bulbasaur fight other Pokémon in battles central to the anime, manga, and games of the series. They are numbered one in the 493 fictional species of creatures, and are a first generation Pokémon.
Bulbasaur first appeared in 1996 among the first Pokémon video games, as one of three starter Pokémon the player can choose from at the beginning of the games. In the Pokémon franchise, Bulbasaur can often be seen napping in bright sunlight. By soaking up the sun's rays, the seed on their backs grow progressively larger. As they undergo Pokémon evolution, the seed starts to flower.
Conception and creationEdit
The design and art direction for Bulbasaur was provided by Ken Sugimori, a friend of the creator of the Pokémon games, Satoshi Tajiri. The species first appeared as one of three starter Pokémon the player could choose from at the beginning of the initial Game Boy games, Pokémon Red and Blue, released in Japan in 1996. The species in the early Pokémon video games was portrayed by a two-dimensional sprite, although in later releases the Bulbasaur appearance has been conveyed by 3D computer graphics. Throughout, the species has been portrayed with no spoken dialogue. In the Pokémon anime, they use facial expressions, body language and makes noises that repeat syllables of their name, using different pitches and tones.
Its Japanese name, Fushigidane, is a combination of the Japanese words for mystery or miracle ( fushigi) and seed ( tane). In translating the game for English speaking audiences, Nintendo gave the Pokémon "cleverly descriptive names" related to their appearance or features as a means to make the characters more relatable to American children; thus Bulbasaur, relating to both its dinosaur appearance and the large garlic-shaped bulb on its back. French, Korean, Taiwan and Chinese language counterparts used names relating closer to the original name: Bulbizarre, Isanghaessi (이상해씨 "Strange Seed"), Mìao Wa Chóng Zí (妙蛙種子 "Strange Frog Seed") and Qí Yì Chóng Zí (奇異種子 "Very Strange Seed"), respectively. German versions used a name closer to the American counterpart, Bisasam; a combination of bisamratte (musk rat) and samen (seed).
In the Pokémon franchise, Bulbasaur are small, squat, vaguely reptilian Pokémon that move on all four legs, and have light blue-green bodies with darker blue-green spots. As a Bulbasaur undergoes evolution into Ivysaur and then later into Venusaur, the bulb on its back blossoms into a flower. In the Pokémon video game series, the Pokédex, a fictional Pokémon encyclopedia, says that the seed on a Bulbasaur's back is planted at birth , and then sprouts and grows larger as the Bulbasaur grows. The Pokédex also states that the bulb absorbs sunlight which makes it grow. For this reason, Bulbasaur enjoy soaking up the sun's rays, and can survive for days without eating because the bulb stores energy. Bulbasaur is considered to be in better shape than the other starter Pokémon of its generation, making it more difficult to "defeat and capture."  In the Pokémon anime, the character Ash Ketchum has a Bulbasaur who is portrayed as being brave but also stubborn. The distinctive differences of Bulbasaur from other Pokemon such as Diglet are well understood by children and so motivate their play and trading of the creature.
In the video gamesEdit
Bulbasaur made its video game debut on February 27, 1996, in the Japanese-language games Pocket Monsters Aka (ポケットモンスター 赤 Poketto Monsutā Aka , "Pocket Monsters Red") and Pocket Monsters Midori (ポケットモンスター 緑 Poketto Monsutā Midori , "Pocket Monsters Green") (which was replaced in other countries by Pokémon Blue). Along with a Charmander and a Squirtle, Bulbasaur is a starter Pokémon the player can choose from at the beginning of the two games. Bulbasaur's grass type is in contrast to Charmander's fire type and Squirtle's water type.
Bulbasaur and the other starters from Red and Blue are replaced by Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow, the only starter available in it. Instead, they are obtained throughout the game from several trainers. In Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal, Bulbasaur cannot be obtained without in-game trading. In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, Bulbasaur is nonexistent unless traded to the games. In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, remakes of Red and Blue, Bulbasaur is selectable as a starter Pokémon once again, along with Charmander and Squirtle. In Pokémon Emerald and Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Bulbasaur is unobtainable, but can be fought in the Battle Frontier and the Battle Tower respectively. The Nintendo 64 spin-off Pokémon Stadium, and other spin-offs such as Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, give the player a choice of a Bulbasaur (among fifteen other Pokémon), and in Pokémon Snap, Bulbasaur are one of the Pokémon that the player can photograph. Bulbasaur also appears in Hey You, Pikachu! as a supporting character who lives in the Ochre Woods and makes the five recipes with Pikachu's help. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, a Bulbasaur appears as one of the trophies in a playable lottery. A Bulbasaur trophy is also obtainable in the sequel, Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
In the animeEdit
Scenes from the Pokémon anime have depicted both the characters Ash and May training a Bulbasaur at different times, with Ash's Bulbasaur garnering more prominence within the storylines. Ash’s Bulbasaur has remained with Ash longer than all of his other Pokémon, with the exception of his Pikachu. Before joining Ash's team, it lived with a girl named Melanie, who took care of abandoned Pokémon. Bulbasaur was given to Ash, but it was pessimistic about him. However, its loyalties began to improve and it eventually became one of Ash's most faithful Pokémon. May catches a Bulbasaur while traveling in a grass-type Pokémon nature reserve during her journey in Hoenn. Bulbasaur defends her from the other grass Pokémon in the forest, who see her as a threat, and when May leaves, Bulbasaur decides to go with her. She later makes a guest appearance on the series and it is revealed that her Bulbasaur has fully evolved into a Venusaur.
In the original Japanese version the two Bulbasaur are each played by separate seiyū, Ash's Bulbasaur by Megumi Hayashibara and May's by Miyako Itō. In the English dub, they are both voiced by Tara Jayne until Michelle Knotz took over the job for the 9th season.
In other Pokémon mediaEdit
Bulbasaur is also featured in an eclectic range of different Pokémon manga series. In Pokémon: Pikachu Shocks Back, Electric Pikachu Boogaloo, and Surf’s Up, Pikachu!, which loosely parallel the storyline of the anime, Pikachu is separated from Ash temporarily, and travels with a Bulbasaur to a secret Pokémon village in the mountains. Later, Ash finds Pikachu and catches the Bulbasaur. Bulbasaur accompanies Ash throughout his journeys in the Orange Islands, and eventually fights in the final showdown with Drake, the Orange Crew Supreme Gym Leader. In Magical Pokémon Journey, a character named Pistachio has a female Bulbasaur (nicknamed Danerina in the Japanese version), who is infatuated by him.
In Pokémon Adventures, a manga based on the plot of the Pokémon Red and Blue games, the character Red receives a Bulbasaur from Professor Oak, which he nicknames Saur. In Chapter 15, "Wartortle Wars", it evolves into an Ivysaur after battling a wild Mankey. In Chapter 30, "Zap, Zap, Zapdos!", Red uses Saur to defeat Lt. Surge's Zapdos. In Chapter 33, "The Winged Legends", Red's Ivysaur evolves into a Venusaur to team up with Blue's Charizard and Green's Blastoise, to defeat Sabrina's Zapmolcuno (a merged form of Zapdos, Moltres and Articuno) and destroy Team Rocket's control on Saffron City, splitting the three birds in the process.
Collectible cards featuring Bulbasaur have appeared since the initial Pokémon Trading Card Game was released in October 1996. Bulbasaur cards have appeared in many different sets, including the Base Set, Base Set 2, Legendary Collection, Gym Challenge (as Erika's Bulbasaur), Expedition (two cards), EX Team Magma vs. Team Aqua, and EX FireRed & LeafGreen (two cards). They are generally to be found with relative ease.
Bulbasaur is the main character of two Pokémon children's books, Pokémon Tales Volume 3: Bulbasaur’s Trouble and Bulbasaur’s Bad Day, published in 1999 and 2000 respectively by Sagebrush. In Pokémon Tales Volume 3: Bulbasaur’s Trouble, Bulbasaur resolves an argument between two other Pokémon. In Bulbasaur’s Bad Day, Meowth traps Bulbasaur in a pit and it has to outwit Team Rocket (the antagonists of the Pokémon anime) to escape.
Promotion and merchandisingEdit
Bulbasaur has been featured in varying pieces of merchandise, including toys and plush dolls. Bulbasaur has been depicted in action figures sold by Hasbro in the United States, while Tomy in Japan sold extensive merchandise of the character, including vinyl dolls, wind-up model kits, and terry cloth bean bags. It has also been used in promotional merchandising at fast-food chains such as McDonald's and Burger King. Bulbasaur has also been featured in various versions of the Pokémon painting on ANA Boeing 747s. The island nation of Niue issued a commemorative coin with a legal tender value of one crown which has a Bulbasaur on the reverse side. Bulbasaur was the inspiration for a charitable fund-raising drive in Norristown for a children's community center. The majority of the funds raised came from the sale of Pokemon buttons which include Bulbasaur along with other popular Pokemon like Pikachu and Charmander. The successful initiative was covered on television.
Reception and legacyEdit
CNN reporter Dennis Michael described Bulbasaur as one of the "lead critters" of the games and "perhaps the Carmen Miranda of Pokémon figures." Bulbasaur was selected as one of the top ten Pokémon by fans who voted at Pokemon.com. A writer for the University of Notre Dame's The Observer noted that Bulbasaur was the third most popular Pokemon to pick after Charizard, who was "was sleek, powerful, and utterly destructive", and Squirtle, who "would evolve into Blastoise, a tank of a turtle with huge water cannons on its back." Next was Bulbasaur, "which would become Venusaur, a clumsy-looking lout with a giant flower growing on its back." He speculated that the people who chose Bulbasaur were ones who "knew how it felt to be picked last in gym class."
In an Ohio State Sentinel point-counterpoint, Matthew Thomas Gross felt that Charmander is superior to Bulbasaur, saying Bulbasaur has "shown evidence of sloth and laziness," and has lower speed rating than Charmander. In contrast, Clark Helmsley feels that Bulbasaur is superior, noting that it is higher in four of the six main Pokemon statistics (HP, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense). Helmsley also feels that Bulbasaur's loyalty is more important than Charmander's ability to evolve into the powerful Charizard. In an IGN biography page, Bulbasaur is described as "the odd man out" in the Pokémon Red and Blue game, saying "it was the one that wasn’t red or blue. Instead, it’s perhaps the best-known grass-type Pokémon, even though it’s a little bit more animal than vegetable." It continues that "Bulbasaurs are very popular starter monsters for young Pokémon trainers", and details the meaning of its Japanese name Fushigidane.
IGN editor "Pokémon of the Day Chick" stated that while Charizard "slightly surpassed" Venusaur in popularity, she called Bulbasuar a "VERY popular choice as far as the starting Pokemon of Red and Blue go". She also praised the anime incarnation, citing its attitude. GamesRadar editor Brett Elston described Bulbasaur as being popular for more than just being the first Pokémon numerically, citing its moveset and evolutions. Fellow GamesRadar editor Carolyn Gudmundson, in an article on the "top 7 gut-wrenching choices", listed the choice between fire, grass, or water. She states that Bulbasaur was a frontrunner, due to being a dinosaur as well as being grass type. However, she found fault in his evolution, Ivysaur and Venusaur, calling Ivysaur ugly and Venusaur charmless. Joyce Millman's impression of a Bulbasaur was that it looked like "a dinosaur thingy with what looks like a large garlic bulb growing out of its back."
According to a panel of 5 - 8 year olds assembled by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 1999, Bulbasaur was one of the children's three favorite Pokémon. One child in a study by Dafna Lemish and Linda Renee-Bloch identified with Bulbasaur's attributes of being "strong and also cute".
- ↑ Kalbfleisch, Pamela. Communication Yearbook 27. International Communication Association. p. 173. ISBN 0805848193. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=IGrbK6_3KeEC. Retrieved 2009-04-20.
- ↑ "Pokémon Franchise Approaches 150 Million Games Sold". PR Newswire. Archived from the original on 2006-09-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20060927112201/http://sev.prnewswire.com/entertainment/20051004/LATU06404102005-1.html. Retrieved 2006-02-28.
- ↑ "Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire Review (page 1)". IGN. http://uk.gameboy.ign.com/articles/389/389660p1.html. Retrieved 2006-06-01.
- ↑ Augustyn, Frederick (2004). Dictionary of Toys and Games in American Popular Culture. Haworth Press. ISBN 0789015048. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=syVQ9wjPnYIC. Retrieved 2009-04-20.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 "Pokémon.com Pokédex". Nintendo/Gamefreak. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. http://web.archive.org/web/20080730180144/http://www.pokemon.com/Pokedex/flash.asp. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 MacDonald, Mark; Brokaw, Brian; Arnold; J. Douglas; Elies, Mark. Pokémon Trainer's Guide. Sandwich Islands Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0-439-15404-9. (pg 192–195)
- ↑ Stuart Bishop (2003-05-30). "Game Freak on Pokémon!". CVG. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. http://www.webcitation.org/5VSJaR6xT. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- ↑ Drazen, Patrick (2003). Anime Explosion!: The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation. St. Paul, MN: Stone Bridge Press, LLC. p. 321. ISBN 1880656728.
- ↑ Chua-Euan, Howard (November 22, 1999). "PokéMania". TIME. Archived from the original on 2001-02-20. http://web.archive.org/web/20010220055311/http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/99/1122/cover2.html. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- ↑ Liste des trophées -- Smash Bros. DOJO, Nintendo, 2008-05-13.
- ↑ Liste aller Trophäen -- Smash Bros. DOJO, Nintendo, 2008-05-13.
- ↑ Pokédex: A strange seed was planted on its back at birth. The plant sprouts and grows with this Pokémon. Game Freak. Pokémon Red and Blue. Nintendo. Game Boy. (in English). 1996.
- ↑ Pokédex: Bulbasaur can be seen napping in bright sunlight. There is a seed on its back. By soaking up the sun's rays, the seed grows progressively larger. Game Freak. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. Nintendo. Game Boy. (in English). 2002.
- ↑ Pokédex: It can go for days without a single morsel. In the bulb on its back, it stores energy. Game Freak. Pokémon Yellow. Nintendo. Game Boy. (in English). 1998.
- ↑ (Barbo, 20)
- ↑ Helen Bromley (2004), "ch 10. Localizing Pokémon Through Narrative Play", Pikachu's global adventure, ISBN 9780822332879, http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=U7hthImoc5AC&oi=fnd&pg=PA211
- ↑ "Official Japanese Pokémon website". http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pokemon.co.jp&sl=ja&tl=en&history_state0=. Retrieved 2007-05-24.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 Allison, Anne (2006). Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination. University of California Press. pp. 294–295. ISBN 0520221486. "A player must first find Professor Oak—the world's foremost expert on Pokémonology—who offers three choices for starter Pokémon: Bulbasaur (grass type), Charmander (fire type), or Squirtle (water type)."
- ↑ Parents Video Game Reviews for Families- Hey You, Pikachu!
- ↑ “Guides:Super Smash Bros. Melee,” IGN.com. Retrieved 2005-12-29.
- ↑ "Super Smash Bros. Trophy List," smashbros.com'.' Retrieved July 12, 2009.
- ↑ Pokémon - Seaside Pikachu! Viz Video., 1999-07-20. ISBN 6305466858.
- ↑ Pokémon - Pikachu Party (Vol. 12) Viz Video., 1999-11-23. ASIN B000021Y6R.
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 Pokemon - Seaside Pikachu! Viz Video., July 20, 1999. ASIN 6305466866.
- ↑ Pokemon - Pikachu Party (Vol. 12) Viz Video., November 23, 1999. ASIN B000021Y6R.
- ↑ "Grass Hysteria!". Atsuhiro Tomioka (writer). Pokémon. Various. April 9, 2005. No. 73, season Advanced Challenge.
- ↑ "Pruning a Passel of Pals!". Shinzō Fujita (writer). Pokémon. Various. September 27, 2008. No. 78, season Diamond and Pearl: Battle Dimension.
- ↑ "Pokémon (TV)". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=270. Retrieved 2007-07-31.
- The following games and their instruction manuals: Pokémon Red and Blue; Pokémon Yellow; Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal; Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald; Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen; Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Stadium 2; Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness and Hey You, Pikachu!.
- Pokémon, Vol. 15: Charizard!!, Viz Video., February 2000. ASIN B00004DS9J
- Pokémon, Vol. 18: Water Blast!, Viz Video., May 2000. ASIN 6305844674
- Pokémon - The First Movie, Warner Home Video., October 2000. ASIN B00004WIB2
- Pokémon, Vol. 26: Friends and Rivals!, Viz Video., January 2001. ASIN B0000541UG
- Pokémon The Movie 2000, Warner Home Video., May 2001. ASIN B00005A3O6
- Pokémon 3: The Movie , Warner Home Video., October 2001. ASIN B00005NMW3
- Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns, Warner Home Video., December 2001. ASIN B00005OW0I
- Pokémon Master Quest 2: Quest 2, Viz Video., February 2005. ASIN B0002IQD2Y
- Pokémon 10th Anniversary, Vol. 7 - Bulbasaur, Viz Video., October 2006. ASIN B000HDR8D2
- Barbo, Maria. The Official Pokémon Handbook. Scholastic Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0-439-15404-9
- Loe, Casey, ed. Pokémon Special Pikachu Edition Official Perfect Guide. Sunnydale, CA: Empire 21 Publishing, 1999. ISBN 1-930206-15-1
- Nintendo, et al. Official Nintendo Pokémon Snap Player’s Guide. Nintendo of America Inc., 1999. ASIN B000CDZP9G
- Nintendo Power. Official Nintendo Pokémon FireRed Version & Pokémon LeafGreen Version Player’s Guide. Nintendo of America Inc., August 2004. ISBN 1-930206-50-X
- Manga volumes
- Ono, Toshihiro. Pokémon: Pikachu Shocks Back Graphic Novel. VIZ Media LLC, December 6, 1999. ISBN 1-56931-411-X
- Ono, Toshihiro. Pokémon: Electric Pikachu Boogaloo Graphic Novel. VIZ Media LLC, April 5, 2000. ISBN 1-56931-436-5
- Ono, Toshihiro. Pokémon: Surf’s Up, Pikachu Graphic Novel. VIZ Media LLC, June 2000. ISBN 1-56931-494-2
- Kusaka, Hidenori, & Mato. Pokémon Adventures, Volume 1: Desperado Pikachu. VIZ Media LLC, July 6, 2000. ISBN 1-56931-507-8
- Kusaka, Hidenori, & Mato. Pokémon Adventures, Volume 2: Legendary Pokémon. VIZ Media LLC, December 6, 2000. ISBN 1-56931-508-6
- Kusaka, Hidenori, & Mato. Pokémon Adventures, Volume 3: Saffron City Siege. VIZ Media LLC, August 5, 2001. ISBN 1-56931-560-4
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