The Pokémon series is home to a whole host of beloved and iconic critters, to the extent that you’d be hard-pressed not to find a single monster without a dedicated fanbase. One of these creatures has the distinction of being both one of the most beloved and resented by the players: this is none other than the Fire/Flying type Charizard. Debuting as the mascot of the very first set of games, Charizard was likely a massive number of players’ first-ever Pokémon and has become synonymous with the franchise for better and for worse. But does it really get that much special treatment?
In the main games
Being one of the original 3 choices for a fledging trainer to start their journey with means that Charizard is always destined to be looked at with a rose-tinted Sylph Scope, as is the case with its fellow starters. All three have had Mega Evolutions, Gigantamax forms, and are usually involved with celebrations involving Pokémon Day and franchise anniversaries due to their status as original starter Pokémon. However, Charizard has received some special treatment over its contemporaries: it had two Mega Evolutions (the only Pokémon to receive this treatment besides Mewtwo), and its Gigantamax form was included in the base game of Sword and Shield, whereas Blastoise and Venusaur had to wait until the Expansion Pass to be included.
There are also several important trainers that utilise Charizard on their team; Leon the Galar champion and Lance the Johto champion are two notable trainers that use them at the climax of the journey as well as Red on Mt. Silver. Charizard also shows up as one of the featured Ride Pokémon for the Alola region in which he is used as a fly substitute, which is fairly special I suppose.
In the anime
The anime is a totally different beast for Charizard, he is one of the most iconic members of Ash’s team, growing from a disobedient and cocky oaf to a powerhouse and necessary part of Ash’s team during the ‘Adventures in Unova’ arc of the show. Notably, he is not Ash’s best Pokémon if you consider win/lose ratios but it is definitely the most memorable part of Ash’s early team. Another notable Charizard belonged to Kiawe in the Sun and Moon series in which he was used as a ride Pokémon and team member for Ash’s primary rival battles during the series run but was a lot less utilised than his ace Turtonator. Recently in the Coronation series Alain, Lance, and Leon all have Charizard as their ace so he is seeing a lot more screen time than most Pokémon due to the frequency of trainers utilising him and his many forms.
In other media
Charizard has countless toys, plushies, collectables, and even an amiibo figurine (one of very few), as well as having the most valuable TCG (trading card game) cards known with recently nearly every set containing a rare highly sought after Charizard card being quickly thrusted onto the internet for thousands. Charizard is also notably a Super Smash Bros. character and the only one to appear upon the splitting of Pokémon trainer for the 3DS release, which is essentially the hall of fame for gaming characters.
Although an argument could be made that Pikachu and Meowth get just as many, if not more, forms and special treatments, it is undeniable that Charizard is Game Freak’s ace. He is there to be cool, appeal to nostalgia, and to serve as a wall that the developers can throw new ideas at to see what works. And who can blame them? It works! Charizard is one of the most beloved characters Nintendo has and they’d be silly not to capitalise on that — despite the fact that hardcore fans may be sick of the sight of the old orange lizard.
Video game completionist and 3D platformer connoisseur, Riley is a fan of the whimsical frenzy of bright and colourful characters to bless us in the late 90's. Their favourite game's are Spyro, Persona 5 and Super Mario Sunshine.