Who is the first Pokémon?

Pikachu screenshot - Pokémon Let's Go
Image via The Pokémon Company

Every Pokémon player has their own first Pokémon. That can be the first one you ever caught in your first game, the first card you ever got from the TCG, or even the first one you saw on the anime. It is, however, natural for many players to wonder what is the actual first Pokémon, especially if they are newcomers. And the real answer to that is: it actually depends on what you are looking for.

Depending on who you ask or what exactly you want to know, the question “who is the first Pokémon” can have four different answers, or even more than that. Don’t worry, though — we will answer all of them, just to make sure.

Who is the first Pokémon… in the Pokédex?

Bulbasaur

Pokémon #001 on the first Pokédex — which is Kanto’s, from the original Pokémon games and the first season of the anime — is Bulbasaur. This classic Seed Pokémon is a First Generation starter of the Grass and Poison types, and is well-known even to the more casual fans of the series. It is also one of Ash Ketchum’s Pokémon in the anime.

Bulbasaur evolves to Ivysaur, who then evolves to Venusaur. In the most recent games, Venusaur can Mega Evolve and has a Gigantamax form.

But, if you want to get specific, some fans argue that Bulbasaur may not be the only answer for this question.

Victini

Those who have played the Generation V Pokémon games could argue that Victini is in fact the first Pokémon on the Pokédex, because its number on the Unova Pokédex is actually #000. This Mythical Psychic/Fire-type appeared for the first time in the Pokémon Black and White games and movies.

Not many would say that the Victory Pokémon wins this one, but it is still up for debate.

Who is the first Pokémon… ever created?

Rhydon

It has been acknowledged among fans for years that Rhydon is the answer to that question. Although it may not be entirely true, it is the closest we can get to the real answer. But the real answer requires a bit more context.

In a 2000 interview in Nintendo Online Magazine (in Japanese), Ken Sugimori, the art director for the series and person responsible for many of the original Pokémon designs, mentioned Rhydon, Clefairy, and Lapras as some of the first Pokémon he created. This Lava Cut Content translation with commentary by DidYouKnowGaming’s Dr Lava also mentions another interview in which Sugimori said that the first batch of Pokémon were based on kaiju. Rhydon and Nidoking are examples of species that fit that early concept.

Rhydon seems to be the most likely answer, and the translation by Dr Lava mentions a few other reasons why, like the fact that it was the one that appeared the most frequently in Game Freak’s original Pokémon pitch to Nintendo.

An intermediate evolution of the Drill Pokémon species, Rhydon — #112 in the Kanto Pokédex — evolves from Rhyhorn (#111). In Generation IV, the classic Ground/Rock-types got a third-level evolution called Rhyperior.

Who is the first Pokémon… in the Pokémon lore and world?

Mew

A Psychic-type Mythical Pokémon from the first generation, Mew is considered the “ancestor of all Pokémon.” It is said to hold the DNA of all Pokémon, and its DNA was used to create Mewtwo. For years, the place of the New Species Pokémon remained untouched. But since Generation IV, a new contender has threatened to take that mantle.

Arceus

Story-wise, Arceus — the Alpha Pokémon — is a kind of deity in the world of Pokémon. It is said to have been alone when it was born, and to have created all other Pokémon. A Normal-type with the ability to change its type to any others in the game, Arceus is said to have created Legendary Pokémon like the Creation Trio — Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina — and the Lake Guardian Trio –Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf.

Arceus is also the mascot of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, released in 2022, where players find themselves in the ancient Hisui region and must help create the first Pokédex in history, with Arceus being a final boss of sorts for doing so.

But, if Mew is the ancestor to all Pokémon and Arceus created all Pokémon, you can see why fans might be confused. Some theories suggest that Mew would be the ancestor of all regular Pokémon, while Arceus originated the Legendaries and Mythicals. At this point, most of it is speculation and different interpretations of the lore from across over two decades of games, so our best guess is that both answers are valid.