You don't have to catch them all, technically - if you know where to look in Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Pokemon Let's Go Eevee, you can actually get some free Pokemon given to you as gifts.
One of the most important tips for players about to jump into a journey across Kanto in Pokemon Let's Go is to talk to absolutely everybody - NPCs have items, Pokemon trades, tips and more - and some characters out in the world even have useful, rare Pokemon that they no longer need who they're looking to offload. As a responsible trainer, it only makes sense for you to oblige and take them - after all, it can help bolster your Pokemon team.
If you don't want to talk to every NPC and scroll through every piece of dialogue, look no further. On this page, we list every gift Pokemon you can get from an NPC in Pokemon Go, plus where to grab them. Let's get to it...
- Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle: the original three starting Pokemon are indeed available as gifts as well as out in the wild - but you'll have some progression gates and checks before the trainers who have them are fully willing to hand them over. These Pokemon are a thing unto themselves in a sense, so we've put them in their own page detailing how to catch the classic Kanto starter Pokemon.
- Magikarp: everybody loves a Magikarp, though that is primarily because it can evolve into the always-awesome Gyarados. Magikarp can be readily caught in some water-based areas of the game which show up a little way into your Pokemon trainer quest, but you can actually get a Magikarp super early - in the Route 4 Pokemon Center. Inside there's a man who offers to sell you a Pokemon for 500 Pokebucks, but he won't tell you what it is. It's a Magikarp. Time to work towards evolving it...
- Persian (Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu): Meowth and Persian are some of the version exclusive Pokemon for Let's Go Eevee, meaning they can't be caught in the wild in Let's Go Pikachu. You can get the evolved form for free, however! In Vermillion City, look for a karate gi clad man sitting on a bench next to the Pokemon Fan Club building (the one with the bow sign on its roof). If you've caught 5 Growlithe - which are found on the route directly north of Vermillion City - he'll give you a Persian in return. Winner!
- Arcanine (Pokemon Let's Go Eevee): it wouldn't really be fair if Let's Go Pikachu owners got a bonus exclusive to them, so here's the reverse of the point above: in Pokemon Let's Go Eevee, that same trainer in Vermillion City (next to the Pokemon Fan Club, wearing karate gear) will instead challenge you to catch 5 Meowth, Let's Go Eevee's exclusive Pokemon. Again, these spawn on the route directly north of the city. When you've done that, return to him and he'll reward you with an Arcanine.
- Lapras: Lapras is one of the best Pokemon of the already high-quality Kanto generation of creatures, for my money - it's just a cool design and it's a powerful beast. Lapras is a Pokemon that only spawns in the wild very rarely, so you're better off getting one for free from a trainer. During the course of the story you'll storm the Silph Co. building to defeat Team Rocket. Inside, you'll encounter a man who says he doesn't want Team Rocket to steal a Pokemon he has. He'll ask for you to take it - and it's a great Lapras.
- Hitmonlee OR Hitmonchan: in Saffron City you'll find a Fighting Dojo packed with trainers who are experts in fighting-type Pokemon. This is basically like a little extra Pokemon gym, and you'll want to fight through it for the experience alone. There's another bonus, however: when you beat the master, he'll let you choose between taking away a Hitmonchan or a Hitmonlee. While you can find these in the wild as a very late game rare spawn, they're ridiculously hard to come across - so choose which wisely. You can only take one!
- Porygon: Porygon can be found in the wild as a rare spawn, but Porygon is actually a creation of Silph Co. - which means as with Lapras, you'll have a chance to pick this little computer-generated critter up when you help to drive off Team Rocket's hostile takeover. Once Silph Co. is freed and Saffron City saved, find this man standing with his Porygon just to the left of the Pokemon Center out in Saffron City. He'll give you the Porygon as thanks for all you've done.
- Omanyte OR Kabuto: these pair of Pokemon are another one or the other choice, and it's one you make early in the game that won't actually blossom until much later on. When in Mt. Moon, you'll defeat a Super Nerd trainer and be given the choice of one of two fossils - the Dome Fossil (Kabuto) or the Helix Fossil (Omanyte). Later in the game, on Cinnabar Island, you'll have the chance to exchange this fossil and revive it into a living, breathing ancient Pokemon. Just remember: the Dome Fossil gives you Kabuto, and the Helix Fossil gives you Omanyte.
- Aerodactyl: just as with Omanyte and Omastar, Aerodactyl is also revived from a fossil-type item on Cinnabar Island. In this instance, you'll want to use the Chop Down Secret Technique (replacing the Cut HM) to reach the hidden back room of the Pewter City Museum. In there, a man will give you the Old Amber item - again, take this to Cinnabar Island to get your hands on Aerodactyl for free.