Goodbye, Butterfree; We'll Miss You...

A picture of Ash's First Pokemon

Bye, Bye, Butterfree was one of the saddest things I saw when I was little. It still makes me sad today. Some who haven't watched the old episodes in a while, & some who weren't there when the episodes were new, have wondered why. Why do old fans find this episode so sad? Butterfree wasn't there that long, in relation to the thousand-or-so episodes of the TV show, & he didn't get much development. For that, you've got to realize a few things:

First, Butterfree actually was there a long time; he had been in the series since the third epsiode. By the time he left, he'd been part of Ash's team for about twenty episodes. Few kids shows even produce 20 episodes a season.

Second, Butterfree had more development than any other Pokemon at that time, with the possible exception of Pikachu. He had two episodes dedicated to him being caught & growing up, plus an episode where Ash traded him away, then regretted it & got him back. Bulbasaur, Charmender, & Squirtle each only had one episode dedicated to them, & none of them evolved.

Third, Butterfree had a lot of exposure. For awhile after the Indigo Saga ended Kids WB would play collections of Pokemon episodes representing parts of Ash's journey.

  • Every episode where a Pokemon evolved.
  • Every Gym Episode
  • The 1st 5 episodes of the show
  • Each episode Ash caught a Pokemon
  • Etc.

Guess which Pokemon was in almost every collection? Butterfree saw a lot of exposure. He was also the first Pokemon Ash caught, the first we got to see grow up, & the first to leave. Besides that, he did a good job whenever he did appear.

Bye, Bye Butterfree; we miss you!

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