Pokémon is a media franchise published and owned by the video game company Nintendo and created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1996. Originally released as a pair of interlinkable Game Boy role-playing video games, Pokémon has since become the second most successful and lucrative video game-based media franchise in the world, behind only Nintendo's own Mario series. Pokémon properties have since been merchandised into anime, manga, trading cards, toys, books, and other media. The franchise celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2006, and as of 23 April 2008, cumulative sales of the video games (including home console versions, such as the "Pikachu" Nintendo 64) have reached more than 186 million copies.
One of the consistent aspects of the Pokémon games spanning from Pokémon Red and Blue on the Nintendo Game Boy to the Nintendo DS game Pokémon Platinum is the choice of one of three different Pokémon at the start of the player's adventures; these three are often labeled "starter Pokémon". Players can choose a Grass-type, a Fire-type, or a Water-type. For example, in Pokémon Red and Blue (and their respective reworks, Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon LeafGreen), the player has the choice of starting with Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle. The exception to this rule is Pokémon Yellow (a remake of the original games that follows the story of the Pokémon anime), where players are given a Pikachu, an Electric-type mouse Pokémon, famous for being the mascot of the Pokémon media franchise; in this game, however, the three starter Pokémon from Red and Blue can be obtained during the quest by a single player, something that is not possible in any other installment of the franchise.
The Pokémon anime series and films are a meta-series of adventures separate from the canon that most of the Pokémon video games follow (with the exception of Pokémon Yellow, a game based loosely on the anime storyline). The anime follows the quest of the main character, Ash Ketchum (known as Satoshi in Japan) a Pokémon Master in training, as he and a small group of friends travel around the fictitious world of Pokémon along with their Pokémon partners. The original series, titled Pocket Monsters, or simply Pokémon in western countries (often referred to as Pokémon: Gotta Catch 'Em All to distinguish it from the later series), begins with Ash's first day as a Pokémon trainer. His first (and signature) Pokémon is a Pikachu, differing from the games, where only Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle could be chosen. The series follows the storyline of the original games, Pokémon Red and Blue, in the region of Kanto. Accompanying Ash on his journeys are Brock, the Pewter City Gym Leader, and Misty, the youngest of the Gym Leader sisters from Cerulean City.