Venusaur Wins The Participation Trophy


There’s a popular Tumblr post from a few years back that shows images of Charizard, Blastoise and Venusaur from the first opening of the anime. Charizard is shooting fire at nothing in particular, and Blastoise is doing the same with water. Venusaur, though, hasn’t gotten the memo that he’s supposed to be doing anything, and so he just sits there, unaware that there’s an anime opening going on around him. The comment below these pictures is “what the fuck venasaur doing?”


And the reply to that comment? “his best”

While Venusaur appeared on Pokemon Green in Japan, he’d have to wait about eight years to get his spotlight in America. Long story short: Pokemon Blue was originally released in Japan to fix the glitches in Pokemon Red and Green. When the games were released internationally, Red and Blue used the engine from the Japanese Blue, and the Pokemon distribution from Red and Green. And so Green was left behind as a trivia question, a tidbit for the “Fun facts!” section of a Pokemon Red/Blue fan site. And I can kind of see why. Charizard looks like a dragon, Blastoise is definitely a giant turtle, and Venusaur is some kind of a weird, vegan wombat.

Venusaur would show up on the cover of Leaf Green, one half of the remake pair Fire Red and Leaf Green. According to Junichi Masuda, this was apparently done because a leaf is a symbol of peace, and is an easy concept to translate into other languages and cultures. But for those that don’t know this, it kind of seems like a participation trophy. An “I know that kids didn’t like you as much as Charizard or Blastoise, but you’re still important, buddy” award. Hell, Venusaur was so lackluster that they devoted a whole episode to the fact that Bulbasaur didn’t want to evolve into one.

On the flip side, Charmander was so dead set on becoming Charizard that he barely spent three episodes as Charmeleon. Charmander evolved once and the writers apparently had a panic attack over what to do with him, opting to immediately turn him into a Charizard rather than spend any more time pulling out their hair over the Charmeleon Conundrum.

Venusaur always got the short stick. He’s a Pokemon that no one wanted to be, stuck on the cover of a game that most Americans would never even hear about. He deserved better.

For Charmander, click here!

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