Early in the series when Charmander evolves to Charmeleon, almost right away it begins to disobey Ash and refuse to listen to him. this continued to Charizard who would lounge around and blast Ash with a fire breath until he was frozen in ice during Ash's travels though the Orange Islands and Ash stayed up all night trying to melt the ice.

from what i remember Charmander willingly went with Ash when it's trainer abandoned it and he was about to die from the rain. if i followed the game logic i could assume that it was because Charmander's Level went too high in comparison to what badges Ash had however....

  • there was no signs of disobedience until after the evolution
  • the 8th badge of any region allows full control no matter the level however Charizard was still disobedient even after Ash got Kanto's Earth Badge.
    • not to mention that the level control ability of another regions badges would be made obsolete for someone like Ash who gets badges from other areas

So what caused Charmeleon to become so disobedient to Ash?


7 Answers 7


I found this interesting and helpful tidbit of info from an old PokeCommunity forum thread. It's not conclusive, but it is explanatory:

I think of it as like Charmeleon was like a teenager. It had paid attention to Ash when it was young and naive, because it Ash showed it caring and love. However, when it got older, and learned more, it became cocky and saw Ash for what he was-- a rookie trainer that was still learning many of the basics. I think Charmeleon felt as if he didn't have any respect for Ash. When he started listening to Ash in the Orange Islands, it was after he saw how dedicated and serious Ash could be, even to something that was repeatedly rude and menacing to him. I think that when Charizard saw Ash doing that, he began to have some respect and admiration for the boy.

Charizard may have been a 'plot device' to show pokemon that disobey, but it was important because it showed that not even Ash could 'wow' every pokemon with a couple days of friendship. It also was an indication of Ash maturing.

And here's another interesting viewpoint from an old question on Quora:

Since Charmander was once rejected as weak he had gained an inferiority complex. He was always trying to prove himself. When he evolve into Charmeleon, he lost his fear and considering itself as proud. He gained self-pride and was considering itself as strong pokemon. Thus he was arrogant, and didn't listened Ash's orders. Later it evolved into a Charizard to prove its strength in front of a Aerodactyl. Charizard retained his disobedience to Ash as of Charmeleon. However, when Ash saved him after being frozen by Tad's Poliwrath's Ice Beam, Charizard's loyalty to Ash returned in full force; the best part of Charmander's pre-evolved personality was back. So the arrogance and disobedience that Charizard (or Charmeleon) was beacause he was boastful of his immense power.


Charmander was Damien's Pokemon first. Ash didn't catch a wild Charmander. True, Charmander was abandoned by Damien, but it was still loyal to him.

Also, Ash didn't earn all of his badges fair and square. He got some because he defended gyms from Team Rocket. The anime badges don't make Pokemon obey, unlike the games.

  • I didn't want to mention the possibility that Pokeballs brainwash Pokemon. Even if they did, Ash did not use his own ball.
    – user35971
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 20:27

In the episode "The Problem With Paras", Ash is trying to help Cassandra train up her weak Paras. When Charmeleon was called out, and Ash told it to go easy on Paras. Charmeleon didn't want to be weak, and that's when it stopped listening to Ash. It got even worse as it evolved into a Charizard.

Finally, in the Orange Islands, Ash helped thaw it out. While everyone was asleep, only Ash stayed up to warm up Charizard. Charizard seeing how much Ash cared for it, even it always disrespected him, finally decided to listen to him.

The writers obviously made Charmeleon disobedient, to show how training pokemon isn't easy.


As explained in the anime episode 44, Charmeleon became disobedient to Ash because he was too low leveled (the old lady in that episode told Ash this herself). At the time, he didn't have all the gym badges, only a few.

In episode 46, Charmeleon evolved but still doesn't listen to Ash because Charizard is now even higher leveled. At the last gym where it was Charizard vs Magmar, Charizard found Magmar to be a worthy opponent and that's when Charizard listened to Ash but stops listening to him afterward.

Then they went to the Charizard mountain where Ash left Charizard there to train and that's the story of Charizard.

  • 1
    Ash leaves Charizard at the mountain after the events of the Orange Islands though. Charizard remained disobedient after the Magmar fight for a good while afterwards. And he only listened to Ash in this fight because he genuinely wanted to fight Magmar. After it was done he treated Ash with the same disrespect.
    – M Davies
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 12:36

You have to look at this from a certain point of view, especially when taking the badges and their obedience into account.

The first thing to note is to look at badges that come with an obedience effect, the Cascade, Rainbow, Marsh, and Earth Badges, none of them were won under their rightful means.

  • Misty's sisters were just giving badges away and when Ash actually battled Misty for it, the battle didn't finish but Ash got the badge for blowing up Team Rocket.

  • Then the Marsh Badge (which came before Rainbow in the anime), Ash was defeated by the gym leader fair and square and in his 3rd attempt, the battle was more of a forfeit due to Kadabra laughing with Sabrina so that wasn't a victory that showed prowess as a trainer.

  • Then the Rainbow badge, that battle also did not finish as Team Rocket stopped that battle mid-way and then Ash goes into the flaming gym and saves Gloom and thus receives the badge so again Ash didn't defeat the gym leader and earn it.

  • Then the Earth badge, Ash didn't even battle the true gym leader, he battled Team Rocket who were more of stand-ins than the actual leaders. Yeah, they used some of Giovanni's pokemon but they were not actual leaders and thus Ash didn't even win the Earth badge under its rightful means.

This can show that the badges go beyond just receiving them. Like a leader can just say "here you go" and drop it in your pocket, that doesn't mean you showed your ability as a trainer.

I believe Ash had one shot to show Charmeleon he was capable in the episode "Problem With Paris". Ash sends out Charmeleon and thinks of Charmeleon's mindset, he's thinking "I'm evolved, I'm powerful, let's do this" he even looks ready to battle. But what's the first thing Ash tells him? "Go east on it" that was probably it. ANY chance Ash had at controlling Charmeleon was gone right there. Charmeleon looks ready but once Ash tells it to lose, that's when Charmeleon looks pissed and glares at Ash then goes on a rampage. Even further in the episode, Ash shows no control, he just shows weakness and does nothing to stop or control Charmeleon. Pikachu is the one who has to step in and stop him.

The final thing to note is that Charmander had a previous owner, Damian so technically it's a "traded" pokemon which have a higher rate of disobedience.


You've gotta remember, that in Generation 1, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle were the Original Starter Pokémon. As such, when they evolve, they can and will, become more stubborn and unwilling to listen, to instructions, that their Trainer gives them.

Now, as far as Charmeleon and Charizard, are concerned, you have to remember, that, as Charmander, he, originally, belonged to Damian, who left him out in the rain, to die. Therefore, Ash's Charmander did suffer, from abandonment issues and probably didn't, initially, trust Ash and, when he later evolved, into Charmeleon and Charizard, he knew Ash was inexperienced, as a Trainer and lack of Gym Badges and is, therefore, why he disobeyed him. Also, it's a possibility, that, Charmander was a Traded Pokémon, which tend to be even more stubborn, than Trainer Caught Pokémon. Pikachu, initially, didn't respect or trust Ash, probably because it was his first day, as a Pokémon Trainer and Ash didn't really know, what he was doing or getting himself involved in and Pikachu nearly died, by a flock of Spearow, who Ash was willing to protect Pikachu from, which is why he leapt into the air and used Thundershock. The ONLY REASON, why Charizard FINALLY started listening to Ash, is because of Team Rocket AND despite his lack of experience as a Trainer or Gym Badges, Ash still had heart and cared for his Pokémon, as if they were family.


In the Pokemon game Red and FireRed, when the player is asked to choose his pokemon, Prof. Oak saying about Charmander: you should raise him patiently.

In other words, the game states it's not easy to raise Charmander and needs a lot of patience to raise it well (of course that in the game mechanics, it's less effective than in the anime).

In the anime, Ash's Charmander is found abandoned by Damien, saying that "but that puny thing was so weak it couldn't even beat the weakest opponent." Brock immediately says "Charmander may be weak against water Pokemon, but if their trainers work hard they can be strong." points to the words of Prof. Oak in the game.

So since Charmander was abandoned, it may cause a terrific change in his attitude with humans at the evolution with the next material, since not raised properly from the beginning.

And the reason for that, since the anime introduces a different approach to evolution, as in Advanced Challenge season ep26 "Exploud And Clear", a boy named Guy has a Loudred, and once evolved to Exploud, his entire behavior changed by not taking orders from Guy. When Guy asked the gang about the evolution changing personality, Brock tells him confidently "Absolutely, when a pokemon evolves, it goes through a lot of changes. You'll not only notice a personality change but also in its abilities too."

Strange enough, in the first season when Ash's Charmander evolved, Brock didn't say that, but probably his claiming is directly from Charmeleon behavior changes.

In that episode, eventually, Guy is protecting Exploud from Team Rocket, and then gain his Exploud trust again, with a less than half episode, Ash's Charmeleon and Charizard though, had been a lot of time together from the half of Indigo League through the Orange Islands, taking much more time than Guy and his Exploud, probably not only because Charmeleon's fast evolution but because of the above, making himself less trust in Ash's orders 'til see himself as equal with him.

  • "Usually, he has a Rash nature." -> Pretty sure nature is randomized when you pick your starter in the games. So it wouldn't have been a guarantee to have the Rash nature Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 19:17
  • 1. One for 5 times for playing the nature of Charmander is rush, from my experience in the game. and the other times it was quirky. 2. anyway it isn't the must factor for my answer, it's just support for the rest of my answer.
    – USerNAme
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 20:46
  • Pokémon natures aren't relevant to the Gen 1 anime because that mechanic didn't exist back then.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jan 17, 2020 at 9:57
  • @ F1Krazy you right, edited my answer.
    – USerNAme
    Commented Jan 17, 2020 at 11:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .