How do you go about introducing yourself?

I suppose you start with your name, except I don't really have one. My trainer just calls me "Charmander", so I guess you'll have to call me that too. I know there are some trainers who give their Pokemon nicknames (I once met a Glameow whose trainer called her Rosie) but a lot of them don't. Don't ask me why - I don't know the answer myself.

Anyway, I'm Charmander, a Charmander in case it wasn't already obvious. I'm a Fire Type Pokemon, an orange-red lizard with a flame burning on the tip of my tail. I've been travelling around Kanto with Mike (my trainer) since he came to the lab in Pallet Town a month ago. I remember being let out of my Poke Ball to find myself face-to-face with two humans, one of whom was Professor Oak, the man in charge of the laboratory. I didn't know who the other human was then, but I guessed he was a lot younger than the Professor.

In any case, this young human (whose name, I soon learned, was Mike) was there to pick his first Pokemon. And I was going to be it. I was going to leave the lab where I had lived all my life and travel with Mike on his Pokemon journey. I remember puffing up my chest with pride when Mike decided that I was going to be his starter, determined to do my best. Just for a moment, I allowed the flame on my tail to burn just a little brighter.

I guess you could say I'm a pretty determined fighter; before each battle, I get "fired up", if you'll pardon the pun. But I do enjoy use Fire Type moves and I'll never forget the day I used Ember for the first time. It was during a battle against another trainer's Sunkern, early in my travels with Mike; I'd just given the Grass Pokemon a good Scratch when I suddenly felt energy building up inside me. For some reason, there was a warm sensation in my mouth and throat. I didn't say "burning" because Fire Type Pokemon don't burn and we also have a high level of tolerance when it comes to heat; to me, it just felt pleasently warm. And, when I opened my mouth, a flame shot out. Just a small one, but, because the Sunkern was weak against Fire, it was enough to finish her off. I had learned Ember.

I'm not Mike's only Pokemon, of course. One of the first things we did together was battle and catch a Rattata; the purple rat and I are now close friends and, whenever Mike lets us out of our Poke Balls, we like to have practice battles against each other. Then there's Buizel (Rattata helped Mike with that capture because of my weakness to Water) and Hoothoot. There was Weedle, but he evolved and he's now a Beedrill.

Do I want to evolve? I've thought about it a lot lately, especially since I've gained almost enough experience to evolve into a Charmeleon. On the one hand, it would mean I would become stronger and more powerful. But, on the other hand, I have heard of Pokemon who evolved too quickly and then couldn't control the extra power they gained; fortunately, that doesn't happen often. Evolution is not a decision to be made lightly because, once a Pokemon evolves, they can never revert to their previous form. That would be like turning an adult human back into a child.

So, in answer to the question of whether I want to evolve, my answer is maybe, but not just yet. I'm happy being a Charmander for a little while longer and Mike seems content to wait, so I'll remain in my current evolutionary form for the time being.

I like to battle, especially if the opponent puts up a good fight. The toughest opponent I've faced so far was a Vespiquen, the first evolved Pokemon I ever battled. She was extremely agile in the air, so much so that several of my attempts to hit her with an Ember failed. And, to further complicate matters, she knew a move called Defend Order, which meant she could summon dozens of Combees to act as a sort of barrier against my attacks. Of course, they weren't real and could easily be neutralised, but doing so took time. In any case, I ended up losing that battle (even though I had the Type advantage) because the Vespiquen was too fast for me and, when she fired a Hyper Beam at me, I couldn't dodge it in time.

I wasn't bitter, though; I like to win battles, but I knew I'd been defeated by a strong opponent. Better than being creamed by a Caterpie - I don't think I'd live it down if that happened. And Mike told me it didn't matter that I hadn't won, that all I had to do was train a little more so I would become stronger and faster. So, the next time I faced an evolved Pokemon, I might stand a better chance against it.

Mike's like that with all his Pokemon. If we lose a battle, he doesn't get angry with us; instead, he looks at what went wrong and tries to make sure we learn from the experience as well. Unlike some Pokemon trainers, who blame every defeat on "weak Pokemon". To be honest, though, I get really annoyed by such trainers and I feel like yelling: "There's no such thing as a weak Pokemon, only weak trainers!" But it would be waste of time because all these humans would hear would be something along the lines of: "Charmander char char charmander . . ." I know Mike understands me because he's my trainer and he's spent a lot of time with me, but strangers are another matter.

How do I feel about Poke Balls? To be honest, I've never given it much thought. But, then again, I am used to Poke Balls since they've been a fact of life for me from the moment I was hatched. I was never a wild Pokemon, so I can't tell you how it feels to be caught in one of these Balls. What I can say, though, is that I have spoken to other Pokemon on the subject and found that their opinions vary widely. Some actually like being in their Poke Balls, while others only tolerate it. And, then, there are those who absolutely hate it, who think it's a means for humans to control Pokemon.

Anyway, though I don't mind being in my Poke Ball, I enjoy being let out from time to time. Mike always makes sure my team-mates and I spend at least part of each day out of our Balls, so we can get some exercise and practice our battle techniques. Sometimes, he'll even let Rattata, Buizel or myself out so we can walk with him. And, of course, Hoothoot and Beedrill can fly, so they're useful as scouts. I'll be able to fly as well when I'm a Charizard, but, like I said before, I don't think that will be for a while yet; besides, I'd have to go through the Charmeleon stage first.

There are so many things I'd like to tell you about myself, but I don't have time to tell you my entire life story, my hopes for the future and stuff like that. So I'll just tell you a few snippets of information, a few details about myself. My favourite colour is green. Bet you didn't expect that from a Fire Pokemon; you were probably expecting me to say "orange" or "red". My favourite food is flame-grilled pizza with a cheese-and-tomato topping; Mike shared some with me once and I developed something of a liking for it. But Pokemon food isn't too bad - just as well, really, because that's what we Pokemon get fed most of the time. It might all look alike to you humans, but it comes in different recipes for different Types of Pokemon. Fire Pokemon food for Fire Types, Water Pokemon food for Water Types . . . and so on.

So there you have it. I'm Charmander, a Fire Type Pokemon, and these are some of my thoughts on life as a Pokemon on the road with a human trainer. Of course, everything I've said here reflects my personal experiences and should not be taken as typical of all Pokemon.

I guess the only thing left for me to say is that I hope I'll have a chance to meet you some day.