BAYLEEF, THE QUIET POKEMON-FRANCHISE VETERANAuthor: Joseph Reilly
Since the very beginning in 1996 with the release of Pokemon Red and Green in Japan, The Pokemon Company has done far more than just produce a line of popular video games. It has become a mainstay in mainstream culture worldwide for the past twenty-years. Aside from virtual media there's been literature, a super popular trading card game, anime, manga, a plethora of other merchandise, and hundreds of Pokemon, the company's bread and butter.
The Pokemon Company has never failed to create new and interesting Pokemon for their avid fans. And within those vast hundreds over the last two decades, some Pokemon have exhibited lightning abilities, others have water powers; the list goes on with some Pokemon even being able to summon rocks as a one of their special abilities. But then there's another type of Pokemon, and at first glance you may think this one is some sort of leafy dinosaur, with its mustard yellow and green tree-like characteristics. But upon closer look at this four- legged, long necked, smiling, red-eyed creature you see a Pokemon named Bayleef, who was once Chikorita before evolution. From a shooting ability that leaves people Peppy, some evolutionary chain statistics, origins and more, today we take a look at Pokemon's resident tree lover Bayleef, and just what makes this Pokemon so special.
Introduced in generation two, which is pretty much season two in Pokemon talk, Bayleef has been around since the relative beginnings of the Pokemon world debuting in the Pokemon Games Gold and Silver in 1999 and then in the anime series as the second ever catch of series protagonist Ash Ketchum (Not as Bayleef but as Chikorita). In the episode titled The Chikorita Rescue, Bayleef appears as his first evolution Pokemon Chikorita.
The episode sets the Pokemon's personality straight away by showing viewers how strong minded Chikorita is, facing off against Ash's Charizard, an oversized fire breathing Pokemon that had been obviously way more powerful than Chikorita. Bayleef as Chikorita was then used in episodes Once in a Blue moon, Fighting Flyer with Fire, Chikorita's Big Upset, and numerous other episodes. Finally, in the episode titled Current Events Chikorita evolves into Bayleef, the cause being that Ash needed to be saved from series villains Team Rocket.
Since the end of the first generation series, Bayleef has appeared in some form or another in the ones that followed. Bayleef as Chikorita also made an appearance in the Pokemon movie Emperor of The Crystal Tower: Entei. From getting roots in the earliest Pokemon series, the history of Bayleef stacks up well against other long time resident Pokemon.
Bayleef throughout all the evolutionary stages remains a Grass type Pokemon which means that he is weak towards other specific types of Pokemon. Bayleef stands weak against four types: bug, flying, ice, fire, and poison. When matched up against these five types Bayleef has a lower success rate in battle, which doesn't explain why there wasn't much fear in Chikorita when he came up against Ash's Charizard in the series.
Bayleef throughout most of the Pokemon games and series has been known to keep a consistent move set over the years. A list of basic moves that Bayleef usually starts off with is Tackle, Growl, Razor Leaf, Reflect, Poison Powder, Synthesis, Body Slam, Light Screen, Safeguard, and Solar Beam.
In the mainline games there is an equip item that can teach Pokemon new moves. It is known as a TM. These items are numbered and act as a bit of an upgrade for the player's Pokemon throughout the games. Bayleef's TM's are Headbutt, Curse, Toxic, Rock Smash, Hidden Power, Sunny Day, Sweet Scent, Snore, Protect, Endure, Frustration, Mud Slap, Double Team, and Solar Beam. These moves can often vary from game to game.
Thirdly and lastly, there's a moveset called Hereditary Moves which are unique to Bayleef and his line of evolution. The list of Hereditary moves are Ancient Power, Counter, Flail, Grasswhistle, Ingrain, Leech Seed, Nature Power, Vine Whip, and Swords Dance. Bayleef stands at 3"11 tall while usually weighing in at 34.8 lbs. Bayleef can be both Male and female and the evolutionary chain goes from Chikorita to Bayleef to Meganium.
In terms of general appearances over time, as mentioned before Bayleef first appeared in the Gold and Silver games and then the earliest version of the Pokemon Anime series in 1997. Since then Bayleef has been a recurring character with major scenes and storylines meaning that it's safe to say Bayleef has been an integral part of the show.
Bayleef has also had a prominent role in the Pokemon games over the years appearing in Pokemon Gold, Silver, Crystal, Sapphire, Emerald, FireRed, Leafgreen, Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, SoulSilver, Black, White, Black 2, White 2, X, Y, Omega, and Ruby.
Outside of the games, anime, and manga, there isn't many other solid appearance for Bayleef as he's not a minor Pokemon but he's also not at the exact same level of fame as say a Pikachu or Squirtle. But, in his own right Bayleef has appeared on other merchandise like the trading card game, school bookbags, stickers, toys and more.
From humble beginnings in some of the first Pokemon games in existence all the way down to being on Nintendo's Handheld console the Nintendo DS, Bayleef has earned a rightful spot in the history books of Pokemon. For twenty-years Bayleef has helped move along stories with Ash, Pikachu, and all the stars of the franchise. There are few characters in the history of entertainment around the world that have graced the fronts of trading cards and a TV screen. But through it all, Bayleef has endured. Once being a Chikorita and then one day becoming Meganium, with a green, leafy dinosaur features, it's safe to say that Bayleef is a very unique and important Pokemon within the long running franchise.
Will Bayleef be in the new games coming out for the Nintendo Switch later this year? Given Bayleef's track record of being in nearly all the previous games, it certainly looks that way!