Bulbasaur is a primary reptilian creature, but it also shares several traits with amphibians. It has a blue-green body, with several spots in a darker shade of the same color. The most prominent feature is the big flower bulb on its back, apparently originating from a seed planted there at birth. The bulb is vital for Bulbasaur's growth, by providing it with the nutrients needed, and it also grows along with Bulbasaur by using the energy from the rays of the sun. Because of this, it enjoys laying in the sunlight. Bulbasaurs have red eyes and are often seen smiling, revealing two small fangs, one on each side of the mouth. There is no noticeable differences between male and female Bulbasaurs.
Bulbasaurs appear very scarce in the wild, at least in regions inhabited by Pokémon Trainers, where they are regarded as rare and coveted. The few Bulbasaurs that appear here are breed to be given to new trainers as their first Pokémon. In other regions however, such as the Pokémon Ranger inhabited regions, they are more common. Here Bulbasaurs live in areas such as forests and plains, or along fresh rivers.
Main Pokémon games
Bulbasaur is one of the three starter Pokémon in the Kanto region. It thus appears rarely outside of the games taking place there. In Pokémon Red and Blue, as well as Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Bulbasaur can be received as the player's first Pokémon. It can also be gotten in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, where Kanto can be visited in the later half of the game. Here Professor Oak lets the player choose one of the three Kanto starters after having defeated the strongest trainer. In Pokémon Yellow, a game based on the anime, Bulbasaur can be received in a slightly different way. As the player starts with a Pikachu, similar to Ash Ketchum, the protagonist in the anime, Bulbasaur is instead given to the player by a girl in Cerulean City. She does however require the player's Pikachu to be happy enough.
Bulbasaur has only appeared in the Super Smash Bros. series as a trophy, though both in Melee and Brawl.
"Bulbasaur is a cute Pokémon born with a large seed firmly affixed to its back; the seed grows in size as the Pokémon does. Along with Squirtle and Charmander, Bulbasaur is one of three Pokémon available at the beginning of Pokémon Red & Blue. It evolves first into Ivysaur and ultimately into Venusaur."
"A Seed Pokémon. From birth, Bulbasaur carries a large plant seed on its back. It uses the nutrients from the seed to grow bigger and bigger. Extended exposure to the sun will cause its body and seed to grow in size. Some say that once, when the seed was much lighter, Bulbasaur was able to get around on two legs. Bulbasaur evolves into Ivysaur."
In the anime
Bulbasaur has appeared and continues to appear frequently in the anime, most importantly it has owned by two main characters. Ash Ketchum caught one early in the series, and it remained an important member of his team until late in his Johto adventures. This Bulbasaur was raised in a village which cared for abandoned Pokémon, and grew up to become their protector. After joining Ash, he continued to be a responsible leader, and would eventually leave Ash's team to help out at Professor Oak's laboratory. Bulbasaur is, next to Pikachu, the Pokémon that has stayed with him the longest, and they have a close bond. Interestingly, Bulbasaur refused to evolve even though the process had begun.
May would eventually catch a Bulbasaur as well. This female Bulbasaur had a gentler personality than Ash's, and was a bit clumsy. It would eventually evolve all the way into Venusaur during her travels without Ash.
Origin and inspiration
Bulbasaur does not seem to have any single specific source of inspiration. The relationship between Bulbasaur and the bulb on its back might however be based on the concept of symbiosis. The seed supplies Bulbasaur with nutrients when young, and acts as en energy reserve for its host. In turn Bulbasaur acts a mean of protection. Based on its habit of napping in the sunlight, it may thus also guarantee the plant to be in the direct sunlight, so that it can store energy and grow. Bulbasaur's appearance seems to be inspired by several different types of animals. It shares traits with reptiles, amphibians as well as mammals.
Bulbasaur was the first unevolved dual type starter Pokémon. The second was Rowlet.
Niue released a one-dollar coin featuring Bulbasaur as part of a commemorative promotion for the Pokémon franchise, with Bulbasaur on one side and the nation's coat of arms on the other.
Due to the censor that prevents Pokémon with offensive nicknames being traded on the GTS, a Bulbasaur with an English name cannot be traded on the GTS without a nickname in Pokémon Black and White.
In Pokémon Gold and Silver, Bulbasaur is programmed to be able to learn Charm through breeding, but no other Pokémon in the Grass or Monster Groups can legitimately learn it to pass down as an Egg move in those games.
In Brazil, Bulbasaur is sometimes called Bulbassauro by the fans.