Dear Elizabeth – Charmeleon Edition

I decided to run an agony aunt column. Image Credit: Braintechinc

At one point in my career, I was receiving so many letters from people asking for help with their Pokémon, I decided to run an agony aunt column. Here a couple of my Charmeleon-related questions and answers:

Dear Elizabeth,

I have a Charmeleon called Andy that I raised from a Charmander. He was my first Pokémon and he was so well behaved when he was a Charmander. He’d sleep at the end of my bed, walk me to school with my mum and even help out with the chores while I was at school. However, ever since he evolved, he just hasn’t been himself. We made him his own little outhouse in the yard but he slashed at it with his claws in a rage like I’ve never seen before. He has also ruined mum’s garden and he stands outside my window all night yowling at me. Funny thing is, though, that he is absolutely fine at behaviour classes. The teacher is astounded when I tell him about what a terror he is at night. Please can you help, as my mum is near giving up and I really don’t want to get rid of him.


Dear Edna,

This sounds like a classic case of anxiety disorder. You obviously love your Pokémon very much and very rightly gave your Charmander plenty of attention. You slept together, played together, and in the day he had your mum to help out. However, when he evolved, he was moved to an outhouse. Outhouses can be great ideas for some Pokémon that evolve to be too large for living in the house. However, Charmeleon is very much a pack animal. To you and your mum, the outhouse was both a loving gesture – building him a special place just for him to stay. However, to your Charmeleon, it feels as if he is being cast outside, away from his pack.

My advice would be to make every attempt to move Charmeleon’s living quarters indoors. Do you have a spare room? Or a large storage cupboard that you could repurpose? Once he has a space within the emotional safety of the family home, you can set some boundaries such as when he should stay in there and when he can come out. Set specific slots where you spend time together – preferably make this a few hours of training or exercise. Remind him that someone is always nearby – if everyone needs to leave the house, it’d be best to take him with you rather than leave him alone.

If there is no way for Charmeleon to live indoors, I would suggest finding a partner for your Pokémon. It doesn’t really matter what type of Pokémon, but preferably someone that is his level and someone he can get along with. Camp outside with your Charmeleon and his new pal for at least two weeks. Next, step this down to three nights a week for a further two weeks, and finally one night per week for a final two weeks. By this end of this gradual adjustment period, your Charmeleon’s confidence in his space should grow.

Best of luck,


Dear Elizabeth,

I have had my Charmeleon for five years now. He was a rescue from an abandoned Pokémon shelter; I think he is about 30 years old but we’re not sure. We used to train together, but he started to get less and less energy as he got older – this is normal, right?! – so I don’t particularly train him anymore. He is more of a family member and spends his days hunting rabbits in our field and his nights guarding the grain store – this was Pappa’s idea of ways to keep him active and give him a purpose. We haven’t got a room for him, but Pappa lets him sleep on the couch.

We got a new couch not too long ago and ever since, Charmeleon has been scratching it. Its made Pappa really mad, as it cost a fair bit and it is in tatters now. Why is Charmeleon scratching the new couch?


Hi George!

Thanks for writing in, I’m glad you decided to give Charmeleon such a loving home. Have you considered taking Charmeleon to the Pokémon Centre just to get him a check over? Charmeleon can be quite lazy, but 30-35 isn’t too old for a Charmeleon, so I’d be surprised if his fatigue was age related. If he is getting tired a lot, he may be being overworked (hunting at night then guarding in the day would be strenuous on anyone!). The destructive behaviour you described seems like a reaction to frustration. His tiredness might be causing him some stress. This may also be exacerbated by only having the couch to sleep on – he would have to wait until everyone went to bed before he could get complete peace for deep sleep. Space is often an issue for Pokémon owners, but it would be best if you could find a quiet place such as a cupboard where he can get some alone time.

Keep me posted,

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10)

Charmeleon (#4)

When you’re not begging him to get off the couch, you’ll be screaming at him to stop tearing your training dummies apart. Image Credit: CamilaLópez

I’ve only ever seen a Charmeleon in one of two moods: lazy or vicious. Even well-trained ones, where their trainers have guided them to only target frenzied attacks at opponents in battle, have such a powerful inner kill-drive that they are very difficult to control. Many Charmeleon terrorise farmers and ranchers living near Char-territory, which have to install hefty defence systems in order to keep the Pokémon at bay.

Very much a grumpy teenager, a Charmeleon that is not at work is going to be sleeping. This can make training quite a challenge, and you’ll need to make sure you keep a strict reward system to make sure Charmeleon is motivated to better himself.

Where to find one

In the wild, Charmeleon are considered the main hunters of the Charmander family. They are lethal predators, with a single Charmeleon able to massacre a herd of sheep in just a few hours. When not hunting, they are thought to sleep deep inside the volcanic caves or mountains that the Charmander line calls home.

If you are still interested in attempting to catch a Charmeleon, your best bet is on one of its hunts – as no one has successfully got inside a Charmander-Charmeleon-Charizard nest and returned. However, expect a difficult and relentless battle, not only with the Charmeleon you are intending to fight but also his pack mates. I’m not exaggerating when I say that these Pokémon are relentless. They have strong fire-based attacks and will readily use their claws to slash. Only attempt an approach if you are a highly experienced trainer, and preferably go with a friend or two as backup.

The best way to get a Charmeleon is by raising a Charmander. This will help you maintain control, as it will be more comfortable with you and more ready to listen to you. I’d even recommend delaying evolution of your Charmander until you have enough experience with high-power Pokémon to handle this one’s tenacity.

Raising for battle

Charmander’s flame attacks get a big boost when he evolves, almost doubling in power. He also has a good range of fire attack types – using both the intensity of the flame to cause burns as well as using the heat to increase the impact of his bites and slashes.

In the wild, Charmeleon relies less on his flame than he does his teeth and claws. When raising your Charmeleon for battle, it would be wise to encourage him to be more balanced with his attacks, as the flames can provide a big advantage.

Charmeleon is a pack Pokémon and, therefore, works well in groups. He will do his best when teamed with a pal of similar size and strength, as research has found that the these aspects donates a Charmeleon’s rank within the hunting party. Partner your Charmeleon with someone who is too small or weak and he will become bossy and mistrustful; partner him with someone who is too powerful or too big and he will overwork himself and become distracted with a vie for power.

While it is good to train Charmander in teams, he does not always do too well in team battles where things are more intense – unless with other Charmeleon. Two Charmeleon have a specific way of communicating as to avoid each others attacks. Pair Charmeleon up with any other Pokémon and he can easily get over-excited and his partner can get caught up in a frenzied attack.

Keeping Charmeleon happy and healthy

It is essential that you learn to read your Charmeleon’s body language. This is another reason to raise your Charmeleon from a Charmander, as this will give you the time required to thoroughly understand your Pokémon. Some good founding knowledge of a Charmander’s body language will act as a good starting point.

Getting your Charmeleon enough exercise is another important point, as he can be quite lazy. It is inadvisable to own a Charmeleon that you do not intend to battle, as the regular motivation that training provides is one of the only ways of getting him to move.

As counter-intuitive to safety as it may sound, you should make sure Charmeleon keeps his claws sharp. He may end up making a lot of marks on your hardwood floor, but it will give him an additional edge in battle. To ensure the correct levels are maintained, you will need to make regular visits to a Pokécentre or Pokémon chiropodist with the necessary sharpening tools. In addition, make sure Charmeleon goes to the dentist often as he is prone to tooth rot.


Overall, Charmeleon is a tough character that is more than a handful. When you’re not begging him to get off the couch, you’ll be screaming at him to stop tearing your training dummies apart. His bipolar personality may be hard to handle, but the time and effort it will take to master this Pokémon will be greatly rewarded by the pure power he can hold.

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

Rivalry – Part II (A Charmander Story)

A story by Christian Brumwell

Like a demon ascending from hell, it starts to rise. Image credit: MistyPoison

This is part II of this story. If you haven’t checked it out yet, see part I first!


Charmander slowly moves to her feet and takes a step forward, craning her head. She tries to focus some energy on her tail, forcing the flame to increase in size. A hot ember sparks from it, and she flexes her claws.


The unknown entity is slowly slithering, getting unmistakably closer. The female Charmander growls and starts to extend the claws on both her arms into Metal Claw attacks.

The slithering stops. Fthe ground, like a demon ascending from hell, it starts to rise. Twice as tall as she is, and with more than half its body trailing behind it, the hiss turns into a snarl. The glare of two yellow eyes peers through the smoke. She growls again. The eyes do not move. They almost seem dead; there’s no expression, and the creature has gone silent.

Confused, Charmander starts to move forwards, edging very slowly keeping her metallic claws extended and her flame held high. A slight glint of green twinkles just above the creature, and Charmander looks up. The glint immediately turns to red, and now she freezes in her tracks.

Now she sees the real eyes of the monster. For a split second they changed green, and then to red, piercing into her mind and now little Charmander can’t move. Stuck in her tracks, a bead of sweat travels slowly down the back of her neck as her metallic claws retreat back into her arms.


The creature has disappeared again, but within seconds it’s alongside her. At least three metres long and purple, it turns to look at her. It’s unforgiving eyes a deathly back, it runs its tongue over her arm, hissing as it does so. Arbok rears up, showing her its hood again. Ever so slowly, Arbok begins to coil itself around her golden, shiny body. Taking great care to flatten her tail to the ground, while avoiding the flame. Every breath she takes is getting more and more difficult. Closing her eyes, she tries to force something; anything!

Just as it becomes impossible to take in any more air, her flame reacts. A shockingly critical ember bursts out of the tip, lighting up the monster’s hood. Snarling, Arbok pulls away, shaking in agony; it’s hood completely ablaze with the golden flames. Arbok freezes and then dives down, bursting into the ground.

Little Charmander collapses to the ground, her breathing heavy. She can move her arms, but barely. She cries out for help.

‘Chaaarrrrrrrr…. Chaarrrrrrrr’.

The ground starts to rumble again; once again with the force of a miniature earthquake, even worse than it was before. She closes her eyes and, once again, covers her head with her arms. The great snake bursts out of the ground, right above her, snarling with the rage of a dragon. Its hood is almost black; but not as black as its eyes. Its fangs extend, as a green venom drenches them. Arbok hangs in the air for a second, taunting poor Charmander before going to plunge in the Poison Fang.

Just before the deadly fangs can make contact, the Arbok is blasted with a powerful flamethrower. The snake snarls again, and pulls away, dropping down for cover. Charmander lifts her head from the floor.  Her heart almost stops. The male, orange Charmander is there, standing tall with his flame held firmly, burning with courage.

Arbok rears up again, not alight this time but still badly burnt. Arbok snarls, while Charmander almost seems to roar.


Adrenaline pumps into the female’s body faster than a Scyther draws swords. Jumping to her feet, the female screams in anger.


Arbok turns to face her again, event taller than before. The female Charmander looks it dead in the eyes, growling. Arbok almost seems to pull away for a split second; then the familiar tint of green flashes from the cold, black eyes. Charmander quickly closes her eyes. A quick tremor passes through her body: she’s seized up for a split second, but is still able to blast out a red-hot flamethrower, keeping her eyes closed she does.

She opens her eyes to see the green dripping fangs lunging towards her. The Poison Fang catches her straight in the midriff, pushing her into the ground. Arbok had dropped to avoid the Flamethrower and countered with devastating effect. Crying out, the female quickly extends her metal claws, and starts slashing randomly at the great snake’s hood. The beast doesn’t let up.


The snake lets go. Charmander looks up to see the male is on the back of the snake’s hood, with his burning fangs embedded deep in the back of the snake’s neck. Grinning, the female extends her own Fire Fang and jumps back into the fray, biting deep into the front of the neck. The snake thrashes its head around violently, but the two Charmander have extended their claws into the snake and are hooked on.

The male keeps his fangs rooted into Arbok, pressing deeper in with every passing second, while the female keeps releasing and then biting down with fresh attacks. The snake writhes furiously, before finally dropping to the floor and rolling ferociously sideways. Both Charmander are caught in the gravel and ripped from the skin of the screaming snake.

The snake continues to roll, as both Charmander jump to their feet. The snake uncoils, and starts to once again rise from the floor, its fangs extending once again.


Before Arbok can move, two jets of fire blast towards it. One jet is perfectly orange, the other, a bright shimmering gold. Both flames engulf the snake: hood, coils and tail; combining into a gold and orange display. Sparks of both colours fly from the top of the blaze, exploding into the sky.

The Charmander cease fire. Arbok is lying motionless on the floor, with light grey smoke hissing out of the charred, black body. The male Charmander looks to the female. She turns to meet his eyes. He nods. Together, they turn from the beast and start to head off into the sunset.

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

Al (A Charmander Story) – Part II

This is part II of this story. If you’ve not yet read part I, head there now!

Al woke up feeling like he had never felt before. The blanket underneath him was soft, the temperature toasty and the air cool. But despite all of the pleasant sensations, he felt an ingrained sense of panic. Where was his pack?

The room of the Pokécentre buzzed with a hum of working nurses as they seemed to glide from bed to bed. Al pushed himself further under the blanket and away from the glare of the lights. He felt like he had fallen through the window of Al’s Chicken Shack and landed slap bang in the middle of it all, except the cooks and smells of food had been replaced with a clinical odour. Alongside that was the smell of a wide range of different Pokémon.

Al grumbled to himself. He thought of Elvis and Scarface. He thought of the sound of their breathing and the smell of their home. He nibbled and sucked on part of the blanket as he imagined his mother finally returning to the nest and taking his brothers into her arms. In his imaginings, they mistook him for dead and ventured off as a family, leaving him alone.


Camille had to wait three days before the nurses would let her in to see the Charmander. He had been placed on the wild Pokémon ward, so it had taken a lot of persuading. She followed a nurse, watching the bow on the back of her pinny bounce as she walked. Next to her, a Chansey bounded holding a big pile of towels. It kept glancing back at Camille every couple of steps.

“We have good news and bad news”, said the nurse, “the Charmander has recovered from his injuries but , unfortunately, he isn’t stabilising. He won’t eat and his flame is staying low.”

Camille peered at the hospital cart and saw two eyes peeking out from under a blanket, huddled over a small wavering flame. She went to reach towards it, but Chansey tapped her hand.

“We’re going to try him on an IV, but its difficult with such a young Pokémon. He needs his mother, really. You said you didn’t see her around?”

The eyes under the blanket closed.

“No”, said Camille.


Al didn’t like the nurses. The tall human pricked him with a needle, which Al managed to carefully pull out with his teeth later, while the large, dumpy Pokémon kept watching him all the time. He tried moving his legs, but his muscles were stiff and sore. The blanket now felt itchy on his back.

He flipped between dosing and slowly flicking his tail. The methodical flicking soothed him. When he slept, he dreamt of rain, of nests and of mothers. He had vague memories of his egg; the moving shadows dancing on the outside of the shell. While he hadn’t yet had the capacity for thought, sometimes he remembered a guttural purring vibration as his mother cared for the eggs. Like a hum, like singing.

Somewhere in-between sleep and living, he felt his body being lifted and was only gasped back to full consciousness with a breath of fresh night-time air. He looked up with blurred eyes and scented with his nose. The oily smell of car engines and the harried breath of Camille filled his nostrils, yet it felt glorious to be outside.


Camille couldn’t leave the Charmander there to die. Sneaking him out was actually much easier than she thought it’d be, but she felt bad for locking Chansey in the supply cupboard. It was only a matter of time before the centre found out so she ran, Al clutched to her chest still wrapped in the hospital blanket, back towards the alley.

She’d just turned the corner by the restaurant when she heard the whine of a police bike. It may not have been coming for her, but her heart hammered anyway. She knelt down on the wet cobbles, not quite sure what to do. Charmander never wandered far from their nest, so there must be a mother around here somewhere.

She unwrapped Al, who still looked a little dozy from the medication. She rubbed his back gently to stir him, “Come on fella, make a sound for your mummy to hear”.

The Charmander looked up at her sadly, but made a noise anyway. Camille was shocked to hear a little chirrup in response, followed by a thick growl. She span towards the drainpipe, where a crash of lightening revealed the shining eyes of two more small Charmander, Scarface and Elvis – though, of course, she didn’t know their names.

Moving very slowly as to not startle the scared babies, Camille lowered the blanketed Al towards the disused drainpipe. Scarface and Elvis backed further in, allowing enough room for her to put him down out of the rain. Surrounded my familiar smells, Al seemed to perk up a bit and he murmured weakly to his brothers. Camille backed away and watched as Elvis and Scarface cuddled around him. Three babies on a rainy night, yet no mother in sight.

To be continued….


Rivalry – Part I (A Charmander Story)

A story by Christian Brumwell

Tears start to form at his eyes. He closes them and, for a second, almost seems to stop struggling. Image credit: @lebgar

Both lizards are hunched over, heads extended, eyes locked with each other. The brilliantly burning flames on the tips of the tails are angled in front of the body. The male lizard is mostly bright orange; the cream on his torso is covered in scratch marks and mild burns. The electric blue eyes are narrowed, fixed on the other lizard.

She’s different; her eyes are more focused with a tint of green, and her scaly skin from head to toe is a dazzling gold. There is a slight sparkle to her: even her flame seems brighter. Like her opponent, her eyes are unmoving. She flexes her feet; her claws crunch into the hot, dusty gravel.

He draws himself up to his full height, pulling back his tail. His eyes stretch out into a leer. Her arm twitches and her head drops for a split second. He moves to take a step forward just as she brings her head back up and utters a growl; he now takes a step back. The two Charmander are still locked at the eyes, about ten metres apart.

The silence presses in. The lizards remain motionless. The female’s arm twitches again: she lifts her other arm to scratch her neck and, finally, turns to move away from her orange opponent. Just as he starts to step forward again, she strikes. Turning with the speed of a Weavile, she spits a jet of golden flame. He drops his head again and allows the flame to hit him, keeping his eyes fixed forwards. As he absorbs the oncoming flames, the claws on her right arm extend, transforming from gold into a light, shiny grey.

As she readies her metal claw, his fangs start to extend with bright orange flames erupting from his gums. With the solid white daggers now fully extended from his mouth, entirely layered with orange fire, he flexes his claws and waits. As quickly as she fired her flamethrower, she lets up: they both charge at once.

Both Charmander are sprinting at each other the ferocity of Rhyhorn; metal claw and fire fang at the ready. They get to about five metres apart before they leap. Her arm is extended out above her head, while his head is reared forward, with his mouth wide open.


Her metallic arm is caught in his mouth, while his fangs have pierced deep beneath her skin. She spasms; flinching from the depth of his bite. Pressing his advantage, he lets go, then extends his fangs again. This time the fire around them seems even more fierce. He bites again. Grey smoke starts to seep out of her twice bitten arm. She wails in pain and tries desperately to pull herself free. This time, he doesn’t stop biting, and his own claws on both arms extend into a scratch attack. He uses his claws to hook her arm into her place and continues to sink the fire fang deeper beneath her skin.

She continues to cry in pain, but the orange Charmander still keeps his jaws firmly on her arm. Her own fangs start to extend, layering themselves with the same type of golden flame that she spat at him earlier. His right eye travels up to see a fully formed fire fang.


This one is more sickening than the first. He has taken a critical hit from a fire fang to the back of the neck and, like she did after his first attack, he has spasmed into a flinch. Unlike him, she does not let go and bite again: instead, she pulls her arm out of his mouth, while forming her claws into a scratch attack. She hooks one arm onto his head, and another over his back to hold him, while continuing to press her fire fang into the back of his neck. His mouth is wide open, and his eyes are wide, yet he is not making a sound. He’s on all fours, desperately trying to pull away, but her fangs have got him locked into place.

Tears start to form at his eyes. He closes them and, for a second, almost seems to stop struggling. She slightly loosens her grip on his neck. Then the smoke erupts from his mouth, travelling up, engulfing the pair. Instinctively, she closes her eyes and pulls away.

She attempts to jog away from the brawl, but her left foot catches the back of her right foot, and she falls to the ground. Her throat is burning. She coughs hard, but more thick billowing smoke creeps in. For a while, all she can do is lie there, spluttering to try and work the smoke out of her system. Her right arm that took the fire fang from the male Charmander is twitching.

The ground beneath her seems to rumble. She lifts her head up, but keeps her mouth and eyes closed. Almost silence: there is only the light licks of her golden, shimmering flame, whispering to the humid, clouded air. She goes to stand, gingerly pushing herself up, but the rumble comes back. This time it’s more intense; like a mild earthquake. She starts to feel queasy and drops back to the floor, covering her head with her arms. She lies there cowering, but still the rumble continues, increasing with intensity with every passing second. She opens her mouth to cry out, still keeping her eyes firmly shut, with her arms covering her head.

The rumbling stops. Several small pebbles seem to have gone flying, not too far from where she lies. A couple of them bounce of the top of her head. Slowly, she lifts her head up and finally opens her eyes.

The smoke is a lot less thick; it now more resembles a thin cloud of dust. Something is moving along the ground.

This is part I, see part II here!

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Makes and Fun Spots

Signs of the Flame: How to Read Your Charmander’s Tail

Pokémon communication specialists have long researched these methods to try and find out how we can best talk to our Pokémon to support their well-being . Image Credit: Scottish LebUwU

Being social Pokémon in the wild, Charmander have developed a complex communication method using their tails. Two Charmander can speak effectively with each other when hunting without making a sound – though verbal communication is also a big part of Charmander life on the whole. Pokémon communication specialists have long researched these methods to try and find out how we can best talk to our Pokémon to support their well-being. This guide introduces nine of the ways you can read your Charmander’s tail to see his mood and health.

A relaxed tail with a medium flame (Top Left)

This is a happy/content tail. A healthy Charmander should be like this most of the time. However, remember that Pokémon have feelings – just like you and me – so just like you’re not always happy and content, neither is he. A happy Charmander may also play with their tails, either chasing them, dancing them or sometimes just giving them a gentle sway. They don’t call it a ‘happy medium’ for nothing – and this is the same for your Charmander’s flame. Not too large, not too small is just right.

To help make your Charmander happier, try encouraging him to partake in his favourite activities. Sometimes Charmander get depressed if they don’t have enough opportunities to hunt, for example. Or, perhaps your Charmander enjoys nightly strolls with you. Quality time is the perfect way to help cheer up your friend.

A relaxed tail with a large, roaring flame (Top Middle)

This is a very angry/I’m showing off my power tail. The two types should be easy to tell between.

A very angry Charmander may accompany tail movements with biting, snarling, a furrowed brow, scratching and crouching. Mature Charmander rarely get to this level of anger without cause, so make sure you stop whatever you are doing and have a time out. If it is an external factor that is causing the problem, remove your Charmander from the situation and perhaps talk it out with him when he begins to calm down.

If your Charmander is very young, he may not have received the right guidance from his pack as to the right and wrong times to get angry. In these cases, strong and sure guidance is essential so that your friend doesn’t develop behaviour problems later on. Get him to a Pokémon Breeder as soon as possible for advice as to whether he needs anger management or simple behaviour classes.

A Charmander who has boosted his flame to show off his power may be trying to look tough in front of an adversary or trying to look good in front of its mates (or you, its trainer). If this is infrequent, don’t worry about it, as it can be part of your Charmander’s everyday socialisation. If it happens too often, or if your Charmander starts ‘facing off’ against you, he may be feeling insecure in his ranking in a social group or unhappy with the intensiveness of your training.

A tail flicking from side to side (Top Right)

This is an annoyed tail, and one of the easiest ways to tell if your Charmander is uncomfortable with something. Don’t be confused with the happy-go-lucky dancing where the tail will flick around in different directions – the angry flicking will be flat and consistent: almost like a metronome. He could use this tail for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from not getting fed at his usual time to bickering with his siblings or frustrated after losing a battle. He may also use this movement to show he is hungry or tired.

This level of anger can usually be averted with a quick distraction. Try rubbing his head, having a chat, or suggesting he take a break.

A tail in front of the body with a medium to large flame (Middle Left)

This is a typical prepared-to-battle tail. You’ll get to know this very well if you are training your Charmander for the Pokémon league. It will usually be paired with a standing stance, a slightly bent knee and a toothy grin. This isn’t the only battle stance – your Charmander may adopt a unique one of his own – but it is the most common one I have seen. Your Charmander shouldn’t really be using this stance outside of battle, but sometimes it is incorporated into play between friends.

A tail arched over the back with a low flame (Middle Middle)

This is a crouching or hunting tail. You will see this when your Charmander is hunting prey such as rodents or small lizards. Charmander will often hunt in packs, so your Charmander may try to encourage you to hunt with him and get very frustrated when you scare away the prey. Perhaps team up with a Pokémon friend who can be a better hunting buddy.

An erect tail with a low flame (Middle Right)

This is a surprised or afraid tail. Ever seen your Charmander watching a scary movie and the monster jumps at the screen? When Charmander feels sudden fear, his muscles stiffen as part of the ‘fight or flight’ response. His tail follows suit, straightening along the length, while the flame dips so that the Charmander can either run without the flame getting in the way or he can flash the flame up in an intimidation display.

If your Charmander is slowly becoming more afraid (for example when watching a slow-burn horror film), you can sometimes notice the tail getting progressively straighter and the flame smaller.

A relaxed tail with a very large flame with specks of white at the core (Bottom Left)

This is an overpowered tail and a sign that Charmander is getting too many nutrients or too much food. A Charmander’s diet can be a little tough to manage as they have a tendency towards gluttony. Always portion your Charmander’s meals and never give in if he begs, as a Charmander’s belly is never full.

Getting too much food can increase your Charmander’s risk factor of diseases such as obesity and diabetes. The enlarged flame that comes as a response to these conditions can also be difficult to manage, increasing fire risks around the home. In addition, the possibility of being accidentally burned by your Charmander increases when his flame is harder to control.

A relaxed but dirty tail with a medium to low flame that has specks of blue in it (Bottom Middle)

This means Charmander has not been taking care of himself. This may be a result of a wide array of different physical and mental problems, as well as a simple hygiene issue. Watch out for other signs of illness such as pale gums, retracted pupils, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and lethargy.

If you don’t see any of these symptoms but your Charmander is still dirty or smelly, you may need to teach him the importance of keeping clean. Take him to a Pokémon Centre (or general health centre) to speak with a specialist who can help set up a hygiene routine. Encourage your Charmander to get involved, perhaps including a sticker reward chart. Eventually, he should learn to do things by himself without the need for a reward.

A weak, floppy tail with a low (but still red) flame (Bottom Right)

This is a sick/injured/very sad tail. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell between a Charmander under a sad spell and those that are depressed and sick. However, if you see your Charmander in this condition and the tail does not change position for around half an hour, get him to the Pokémon centre right away, as it could be a medical emergency. Being predators, Charmander usually hide their illness quite well, so he may still look energetic, despite his illness.

If you have been to a health centre and your Charmander has been given a full bill of health, yet you are still seeing a sad tail, perhaps speak with a Pokémon therapist to see if they can work out what the issue is.

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

Al (A Charmander Story)

Sometimes he’d get caught up watching and smelling, and his stomach would gurgle painfully. Image Credit: The Char Boy

Al had been dreaming of working as a chef ever since he was a hatchling. One of the first things he saw after breaking out of his egg was the shiny neon lights of Al’s Chicken Shack, after which he’d named himself. The hot air from the restaurant’s ventilation duct brought with it smells of exotic spices, smoke and grease. The young Charmander wondered what created those magical fragrances as he took shelter from the rainy nights with his siblings.

After a few days of waiting for their mother, the pack of three brothers were hungry enough that they started to risk taking turns running out to find food. Typical pickings had been discarded pots with some residual sauce smears to lick, or the remains of dead birds.

Whenever it was his turn to go out, Al would sneak up to Al’s Chicken Shack’s windows to peer inside. He watched in awe as the people wearing little white clouds on their heads cooked. Pans flashed, salads tossed and water boiled. Rain pattered around Al, making the bricks of the alley thick and sooty. The longer he sat there, though, the less the real world seemed to matter. Sometimes he’d get caught up watching and smelling, and his stomach would gurgle painfully.

One night, Scarface (so named after a cool-looking poster that hung in the alley) carried in some strips of meat from the trash. Al and the third brother, Elvis (named after a little keychain they found that said “We ❤ Elvis”), ran over salivating. This wasn’t the usual pickings of stringy, fatty leftovers. This was prime cut.

Despite his aching belly, Al paused before gobbling it up, chittering at his siblings so they’d do the same. He took a deep breath to let the scent run deep into his snout. He’d first started doing this a few weeks ago, copying some diners at Al’s Chicken Shack. Doing it thrilled him. It made eating (which was pretty awesome anyway) into a real treat, and he had been practicing it at his window seat above the kitchens.

As he smelled, he expected the tang of onion or the smooth jazz of gravy. Meat that looked this good ought to smell of sizzling pan juices and a faint hint of char from the grill. But what hit him was none of that. It was in fact a stark contrast to what he was seeing. The scent was sharp and sickly. It rang in his nose like a loud bell. He pulled back his teeth and sneezed, backing away from the garlic-like chemical odour.

At Al’s reaction, Scarface’s flame intensified, reflecting angrily in his eyes. He flicked it from side to side, and his shoulders haunched as he let out a little growl. As Al continued to sneeze and shake his head to get rid of the smell, Scarface nipped at Elvis, who had been standing to the side with his head cocked. Scarface’s body language was speaking loud and clear: “How dare you turn your nose up at my catch?”.

Once he was done sneezing, Al puffed up in warning to make himself as big as possible. He wasn’t sure what, but something about that smell was just not right. He needed to take charge of this situation and quickly. A wiser Charmander may have taken a softer approach, chittered softly at his brother and convinced him to ignore his hunger and really consider the meat. But neither hatchling had gained their mother’s guidance, and both were just too young to not bicker.

Al eyed his eldest brother as he pushed passed Elvis and towards the meat. This forced Scarface to back off a little, but his tail flicked faster. The closer Al got to the food, the more his brother lowered his stance, tensed his muscles and intensified his growl. Defying all these warnings, Al continued on and disposed of the meat by flicking it into the gutter by the vent entrance. As the food dropped into the abyss, Scarface’s growls became a shrill hiss, “How dare you, how dare you? How DARE you?!” The sound echoed in the duct work, creating a deafening cacophony that finally triggered Scarface into action. He pounced, claws extended, right into Al’s belly.

The two tumbled together, swiping painfully at reach other’s faces. Al was pushed back, out of the drainpipe, and hit the curb hard in the back of his neck. Al brought his own claws round in a sweep, just missing Scarface, who jumped back a step. The two Charmander faced each other off once more. Al felt a white burning rise from the bleeding cut on his belly. His head felt woozy and he shook it. The water pooling on the alleyway turned red. He tried to muster the strength to puff himself up and show dominance, but both Charmander were stopped in their tracks as the alleyway flooded with light.

* *

Camille tossed some garlic, onion and butter in a pan. She breathed in deeply, enjoying the well-known fragrances. The busy hum of the kitchen gave her a beat to move to. She used the rhythm in her cooking. Cha – a pinch of salt; Cha Cha – a dash of pepper; FWAAH – the fizzle of boiling water as it was poured into the pot. She lived for that music. If six months of working as a commis chef in Al’s Chicken Shack hadn’t killed her dreams, nothing would.

“Camille!”, came the bark of sous chef Louis, “Baguettes. Where?”
The dirty scent of charred hobs and built-up grease emerged again like dirt being kicked up in a wind.
“Store #2, chef”, Camille watched as Louis marched round the back, his pointy chin leading the way. He wasn’t gone two seconds before a great shriek came from the store room.
Despite being short and stubby, Louis could be intimidating when he wanted to be. When he was dragging you curtly by the arm to a messy store room was one of those times.
“Get this mess cleaned up at once!”
He thrust a mob and bucket into her arms, sloshing some leftover water laced with a thin film of chicken grease onto her shirt. Trying not to balk, she set down the bucket, topped it off with some fresh soapy water, and began to clean the room.

The bucket quickly turned black, the soap dancing delicately around a blanket of scum. Camille grimaced, trying desperately not to breathe through her nose, as she picked up the bucket and headed to the alley.

The door was usually stiff, so, with her hands planted firmly on the mop bucket, she barged it hard with her shoulder. Too hard, it turns out, as the door gave easily and she tripped over the step and tumbled mop bucket forward into the alley.

* *

Al’s eyes and the cuts on his belly stung curtly as a torrent of soapy water washed over him. He yelled out in a series of pained yips, and he slipped on the sudsy pebbles as he tried to run away. Through the blur, he heard the patter of Scarface’s feet as he slipped back into the air duct and back to the nest. For a moment came Elvis’s panicked cries, but this was soon hushed by Scarface.

Camille dropped the bucket with a clang on the alley floor. She nearly tripped right over Al but managed to keep her balance.
“Oh my, you poor thing”.
He looked a sorry sight, he tried to stand back up but a mixture of the slick pebbles and his dwindling energy wouldn’t let him. Camille looked around for something to catch him with, and had to make do with a torn piece of tarp from the dumpster. She scooped him up, avoiding his weak attempts to bite her, and didn’t even take a glance behind her before running to find the nearest Pokémon centre.

Continue to part II!