I didn't see any indication of the panda being a new "starter" like Pikachu... If anything it's probably going to turn out being one of the region's generic beginner route Pokemon.
I don't like it much, tbh. I'm not big into pandas like some people are though. It's cute but the Yayakoma and Gogoat are SO much better.
100% agree with Belldandy too. Yancham is just like... kinda there.