Type: Fire/Flying (Fire/Dragon w/Charizardite X)
Realm: Kanto Region (Pokémon World)
Featured in: Pokémon Game Series
Voiced By: Non-Applicable
Now before anyone raises a hand against my inclusion of Charizard amongst my top ten favorite dragons, let me first point out that due to the effects of the Mega Stone, Charizardite X, Charizards can become dragon-types. Even excluding that, it is a common enough misconception that the species might as well just be included amongst the dragon-types at this point. Now as far as actual character is concerned, I’ll be reviewing Ash’s Charizard from the anime series but first, allow me a long moment of nostalgia.
Charizard was my first pick as a Pokémon. Not as a starter but quite literally as a Pokémon. He (and yes I’m aware of gender equality but the ratio is 87.5% being male so there) was literally the first Pokémon I had ever seen and immediately sold me to the series as a whole. There was no question that I wanted him on my team and I worked tirelessly to get him to evolve from the cute Charmander into the dragon I knew him to be. Charizard was the first, and thus far only, Pokémon that I actively worked hard at reaching level 100 and with whom helped me win the Pokémon 2000 Tournament tour when it came by my nick of the woods. Even now, so many generations and so many countless Pokémon later, if the option becomes available to me, I’ll see a roster on my team filled with a Charizard.
As a species, Charizards are predominately fire-types with enough flying attributes to make them weak against electric and ice attacks though the latter not so much. Especially when one takes into account that a Charizard’s breath can melt a glacier weighing over 10,000 tons and has been noted as being able to burn boulders in an instant. This means that a Charizard’s fiery breath can reach up to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit. Charizards can also fly in excess of 4,600 feet and has been noted to reach even greater heights with the aid of Charizardite Y, which greatly enhances its wing strength several times over.
As to Ash’s Charizard… It must first be noted that he was an abused Pokémon from the start and, quite likely, the runt of his litter given his initial low attack prowess and his size whence compared to other Charizards, particularly those of the Charicific Valley. Damien, Charizard’s original owner, didn’t care for the fact that his young starter was so weak and made him sit on top of a rock to wait for him. Charizard, then a cute and loveable Charmander, nearly died multiple times over.
He was starved, weakened from exposure to the elements, and his tail flame was nearly out due to the harsh rainfall before Ash found and rescued him. Though the young Charmander willingly went with Ash once Damien proved his true colors, the little fellow’s attitude took a turn for the worst upon evolving to his secondary stage, Charmeleon.
In a way, Charmeleon, and later on Charizard, became a mirror copy of his original trainer, caring only for his power and his reputation, refusing to fight any opponent that he deemed as weak or beneath him to fight and outright ignoring any order Ash sent his way. If the opponent was of suitable strength, or more than likely ticked Charizard off in some manner, than Charizard would gladly fight tooth and claw against them and would perhaps allow a command or two by Ash to be acknowledged.
It wasn’t until Charizard was nearly a rival trainer’s Poliwrath using Ice Beam that Charizard finally realized the kind trainer he had. Ash worked tirelessly throughout the night to thaw out Charizard from the ice and rubbed his hands raw keeping the fire-type’s body temperature up. By morning, Charizard woke up a new Pokémon, with the love and respect for his trainer that he had so carelessly thrown away back where it belong in his heart.
Yet all was not always well for Ash’s Charizard for though it was easily one of the strongest of his team at the time, Charizard was not so amongst his own kind, particularly those of the Charicific Valley. Realizing his Pokémon’s ambitions to become strong enough to earn the respect of its own kin, Ash left Charizard at the Valley and took off running without a word of goodbye with tears in his eyes, knowing for certain that if he stopped and looked back, he wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to one of his dearest Pokémon.
I won’t lie. I cried like a baby at the end of that episode. I spent weeks afterward playing Pokémon Red and outright refused to watch the anime series since then save for the movies. It wasn’t until some time later in the Johto centered seasons that I learned that Ash hadn’t set Charizard free but had, essentially, put him in the anime’s equivalent of the daycare center and could, and would, call on Charizard again if the need ever arose. Though I should also say that Charizard had willingly left the Valley to come to Ash’s uncalled aid during the whole Unown debacle of the third movie. Out of the many Pokémon films to be released, that is the only one that truly felt like a film to me and one that any die-hard Pokémon fan should try to watch if only to see Charizard come swooping in to save the day yet again.