Pokémon (ポケモン Pokemon), abbreviated from the Japanese title of Pocket Monsters (ポケットモンスター Poketto Monsutā) and currently advertised in English as Pokémon: The Series, is a Japanese anime television series, which has been adapted for the international television markets, concurrently airing in 98 countries worldwide. It is based on Nintendo's Pokémon video game series and is a part of the Pokémon franchise.
The Pokémon animated series is split up into six chronologically sequential series in Japan, split up by the version of the video game series the anime takes inspiration from: the original series, the Advanced Generation series, the Diamond & Pearl series, the Best Wishes! series, the XY series, and the newest, the Sun & Moon series. In the international broadcasts, these six series are split into 20 separate seasons.
These anime series are accompanied by spin-off programming, consisting of Pokémon Chronicles, a series of side stories featuring characters in the anime that are not its current cast of main characters, and the live action variety and Pokémon-related news shows of Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station, Pokémon Sunday, Pokémon Smash!, and Pokémon Get TV, premiering in late 2013.
The Pokémon anime series is largely credited to having allowed for anime to become more popular and familiar around the world, especially in the United States, where the two highest grossing anime films are both Pokémon films. It is also considered to be one of the first anime that has been able to reach this level of mainstream success with Western audiences, as well as being credited with allowing the game series to reach such a degree of popularity, and vice versa.
In a 2018 interview, the creators of Detective Pikachu, which features a talking Pikachu, revealed that the original intention for the anime was to have the Pokémon talk, but OLM, Inc. were unable to come up with a concept that Game Freak were accepting of.
After he turns 10 years old, Ash Ketchum (Satoshi in Japan), is allowed to start his journey in the world of Pokémon and dreams of becoming a Pokémon master. On the day he is to receive his first Pokémon, Ash wakes in a panic, having overslept. Professor Oak, the local Pokémon researcher, has already given away the three Pokémon (Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle) he entrusts to new Pokémon Trainers when Ash finally reaches Oak's Lab. The only Pokémon that he has left is a Pikachu, that he gives to Ash. Determined to make it on his journey, Ash does his best to befriend Pikachu, but it does not trust him and will not even return to its PokéBall, even attacking Ash with its unique electric powers. It is only after Ash protects Pikachu from a group of angry Spearow that Pikachu realizes how much Ash cares, leading it to save Ash. Afterwards, they both see a mysterious and unidentifiable Pokémon that spurs both of them to work towards Ash's goal.
Along the way, Ash makes many human and Pokémon friends as he works his way through the ranks of the world's many Pokémon Leagues. Through the Kanto Region, Ash befriends Water Pokémon trainer and erstwhile Cerulean City Gym Leader Misty (Kasumi) and Pewter City Gym Leader and Pokémon Breeder Brock (Takeshi), and all the while thwarting the plans of the Team Rocket trio Jessie, James, and Meowth, who want to steal Ash's Pikachu and any other rare Pokémon they come across. When the group travels to the Orange Islands, Brock decides to stay with the local professor, leaving Ash and Misty to continue travelling together. After a while, they meet and begin traveling with Pokémon Watcher and artist Tracey Sketchit (Kenji). Once the trip is completed, Brock rejoins the group as they travel back to Kanto. Once they reach Pallet Town, Tracey decides to stay with Professor Oak. With this news, the trio continues on their way to the Johto region.
When Ash heads for the Hoenn Region in the Advanced Generation series, Misty stays behind to become the full-time Cerulean City Gym Leader. However, Brock follows him to Hoenn and he gains new companions in Pokémon Coordinator May (Haruka) and her younger brother Max (Masato), and together they face off against the rival teams, Team Magma and Team Aqua.
After returning to Kanto and participating in the Battle Frontier challenge, Ash battles with his rival, Gary. After seeing a Pokémon he has never seen before, Ash decides to travel to the Sinnoh region. At the beginning of the next season, Ash travels with Brock, one final time, to the Sinnoh Region, with May and Max going on their own paths. Ash and Brock meet Dawn (Hikari), another Pokémon Coordinator, who travels with them as they go through Sinnoh where they must defeat Cyrus and his Team Galactic.
In the Best Wishes! series, Ash, his mother and Professor Oak take a holiday to the far-off Unova Region, where he meets and travels with would-be Dragon Master Iris and Striaton City Gym Leader, Pokémon Connoisseur, and sometimes detective Cilan (Dent). During their journey, they discover the evil plans of Team Plasma, a criminal organization that wants to free Pokémon from people's ownership so that they can rule the world unopposed. After winning all eight Unova badges, Ash, Iris, and Cilan travel throughout the eastern side of Unova to prepare for the Unova Pokémon League Tournament, after which they meet N, who is instrumental in defeating Team Plasma. After this, Ash, Iris, and Cilan travel through the Decolore Islands before Ash makes his way back to Pallet Town and the meet the investigative reporter Alexa (Pansy) who is from the distant Kalos Region. Having arrived back in Kanto, Iris and Cilan travel to Johto whilst Ash and Alexa head to Kalos soon after Ash reunites with his mother and receiving a new outfit from her.
In the XY series, Ash and Alexa arrive in the Kalos region and Ash is itching to get started in earning his Gym badges. But after Alexa informs Ash that her sister, a Gym Leader, is currently absent, Ash travels to Lumiose City where he meets boy-genius Clemont (Citron) and his younger sister Bonnie (Eureka), unaware that Clemont is, in fact, Lumiose City's Gym Leader - a fact he tries his best to hide. Ash also reunites with Serena, a girl from Vaniville Town whom Ash had met in his childhood at Professor Oak's Summer Camp in Pallet Town. During that time he helped her during a predicament, and she has had feelings for him since that time. After traveling with them to prepare for the Kalos Pokémon League Tournament, Ash competes and advances all the way to the final, where he loses to Alain (Alan), a member of Team Flare due to them misleading him. Once he discovers their true intentions, however, Alain reforms and joins Ash and his friends to stop Team Flare's plans. Bidding farewell to his friends in Kalos, Ash once again returns to Pallet.
In the Sun & Moon series, Ash, his mother and Mimey, their Mr. Mime, are on vacation in the Alola region when Ash has an encounter with one of the local guardian Pokémon, who presents him with the Z-Ring, a device that, when paired with a special crystal, allows a Pokémon to unleash a powerful move when synchronized with its trainer. This leads him to stay in Alola and enroll at the local Pokémon school. When he decides to undertake the trials necessary to master the power of the Z-Ring, Ash's new classmates Lana (Suiren), Mallow (Mao), Lillie (Lilie), Sophocles (Māmane) and Kiawe (Kaki) decide to assist him; and also battle with Alola's Team Skull. Team Rocket, with James being more decisive and leader-like than in the previous series, is also in the Alolan Islands, and a running gag is that they have become "adopted" by a Bewear (Kiteruguma) that appears and carries them off back to its cave just as they are being defeated, instead of the traditional "blasting off" conclusion.
In Japan, Pocket Monsters has been broadcast under its original title and under four subtitled titles, with the subtitled versions denoting a change in the setting matching the different versions of the video games, rather than being divided into distinct seasons (a change in season is usually denoted by a change in the theme songs, but the title never changes). The current series being broadcast is Pokémon: Sun & Moon (ポケットモンスター サン&ムーン Poketto Monsutā San Ando Mūn). In its international broadcasts, Pokémon's episodes have been split up into smaller seasons for the international releases, running a fixed number of episodes, using a specific opening sequence for each new season, and a new subtitle. The current international season airing is Pokémon the Series: Sun and Moon.
|Pocket Monsters Series||Pokémon Season||No. of Episodes|
|Original||Kanto Chapter||Indigo League||276||80|
|Orange Islands Chapter||Adventures on the Orange Islands||36|
|Johto Chapter||The Johto Journeys||41|
|Johto League Champions||52|
|Advanced Generation||Hoenn Chapter||Advanced||191||40|
|Battle Frontier Chapter||Battle Frontier||47|
|Diamond & Pearl||Diamond and Pearl||193||51|
|DP: Battle Dimension||52|
|DP: Galactic Battles||52|
|DP: Sinnoh League Victors||34|
|Best Wishes!||Best Wishes!||Black & White||84||48|
|BW: Rival Destinies||49|
|Best Wishes! Season 2||24|
|BW: Adventures in Unova||25|
|BW!S2: Episode N||14|
|BW!S2: Decolora Adventure||BW: Adventures in Unova and Beyond||20||20|
|XY: Kalos Quest||45|
|XY & Z||XYZ||47|
|Sun and Moon||Sun and Moon||ongoing||43|
During each season of the main series, a Pokémon Feature Film (劇場版ポケットモンスター Gekijōban Poketto Monsutā, Pocket Monsters Movie) starring the main characters from the TV series has been released. There have been 21 movies and two feature-length TV broadcasts (the first of which was released outside Japan as a direct-to-video movie titled Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns, the second titled Pokémon: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon). The plot of every movie has involved an encounter with a Legendary Pokémon, although some may not conform to a strict definition of the word. The movies are also used to promote new Pokémon that appear in new versions of the game and series.
|Movie #||Japanese title||English title||Released||Featured Pokémon|
|1||Mewtwo Strikes Back
(ミュウツーの逆襲 Myūtsū no Gyakushū)
|Mewtwo Strikes Back||July 18, 1998||Mewtwo, Mew|
(幻のポケモン ルギア爆誕 Maboroshi no Pokemon Rugia Bakutan,
Mirage Pokémon: Lugia's Explosive Birth)
|The Power of One||July 17, 1999||Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Lugia|
|3||Lord of the 'UNKNOWN' Tower: Entei
(結晶塔の帝王 ENTEI Kesshōtō no Teiō ENTEI,
Emperor of The Crystal Tower: ENTEI)
|Spell of the Unown||July 8, 2000||Entei, Unown|
|4||Celebi: A Timeless Encounter
(セレビィ 時を超えた遭遇（であい） Serebyi Toki o Koeta Deai,
Celebi: The Meeting that Traversed Time)
|Celebi: Voice of the Forest||July 7, 2001||Suicune, Celebi|
|5||The Guardians of Altomare
(水の都の護神 ラティアスとラティオス Mizu no Miyako no Mamorigami Ratiasu to Ratiosu,
Guardian Gods of the Capital of Water: Latias and Latios)
|Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias||July 13, 2002||Latias, Latios|
|6||Wishing Star of the Seven Nights
(七夜の願い星 ジラーチ Nanayo no Negaiboshi Jirāchi,
Wishing Star of the Seven Nights: Jirachi)
|Jirachi Wish Maker||July 19, 2003||Groudon, Jirachi|
|7||Deoxys The Visitor
(裂空の訪問者 デオキシス Rekkū no Hōmonsha Deokishisu,
Visitor from the Sky-Splitting: Deoxys)
|Destiny Deoxys||July 17, 2004||Rayquaza, Deoxys|
|8||Mew and the Wave Hero
(ミュウと波導（はどう）の勇者 ルカリオ Myū to Hadō no Yūsha Rukario,
Mew and the Aura Hero: Lucario)
|Lucario and the Mystery of Mew||July 16, 2005||Mew, Regirock, Regice, Registeel, Lucario|
|9||The Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea
(ポケモンレンジャーと蒼海（うみ）の王子 マナフィ Pokemon Renjā to Umi no Ōji Manafi,
The Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea: Manaphy)
|Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea||July 15, 2006||Kyogre, Manaphy|
|10||Dialga VS Palkia VS Darkrai
(ディアルガVSパルキアVSダークライ Diaruga Tai Parukia Tai Dākurai)
|The Rise of Darkrai||July 14, 2007||Dialga, Palkia, Darkrai|
|11||Giratina and the Bouquet of the Frozen Sky: Shaymin
(ギラティナと氷空（そら）の花束 シェイミ Giratina to Sora no Hanataba Sheimi)
|Giratina and the Sky Warrior||July 19, 2008||Regigigas, Giratina, Shaymin, Dialga|
|12||Arceus: To Conquering Space-Time
(アルセウス 超克の時空へ Aruseusu Chōkoku no Jikū e)
|Arceus and the Jewel of Life||July 18, 2009||Heatran, Dialga, Palkia, Giratina, Arceus|
|13||Phantom Ruler: Zoroark
(幻影の覇者 ゾロアーク Gen'ei no Hasha Zoroāku)
|Zoroark: Master of Illusions||July 10, 2010||Raikou, Entei, Suicune, Celebi, Zorua, Zoroark|
|14||Victini and the Black Hero: Zekrom
(ビクティニと黒き英雄ゼクロム Bikutini to Kuroki Eiyū Zekuromu)
|White: Victini and Zekrom||July 16, 2011||Victini, Zekrom, Reshiram|
|Victini and the White Hero: Reshiram
(ビクティニと白き英雄 レシラム Bikutini to Shiroki Eiyū Reshiramu)
|Black: Victini and Reshiram||July 16, 2011||Victini, Reshiram, Zekrom|
|15||Kyurem vs. the Sacred Swordsman: Keldeo
(キュレムVS聖剣士 ケルディオ Kyuremu tai Seikenshi Kerudio)
|Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice||July 14, 2012||Kyurem, Cobalion, Terrakion, Virizion, Keldeo|
|16||ExtremeSpeed Genesect: Mewtwo Awakens
(神速のゲノセクト ミュウツー覚醒 Shinsoku no Genosekuto: Myūtsū Kakusei)
|Genesect and the Legend Awakened||July 13, 2013||Mewtwo, Genesect|
|17||Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction
(破壊の繭とディアンシー Hakai no Mayu to Dianshī)
|Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction||July 19, 2014||Xerneas, Yveltal, Diancie|
|18||The Archdjinni of the Rings: Hoopa
(光輪の超魔神 フーパ Ring no chōmajin Hoopa)
|Hoopa and the Clash of Ages||July 18, 2015||Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza, Lugia, Latios, Latias, Kyurem, Palkia, Dialga, Giratina, Regigigas, Arceus, Hoopa|
|19||Volcanion and the Ingenious Magearna (ボルケニオンと機巧のマギアナ Volcanion to karakuri no Magiana)||Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel||July 16, 2016||Volcanion, Magearna, Zygarde|
|20||Pocket Monsters the Movie: I Choose You!
(キミにきめた！ Kimi ni kimeta!)
|I Choose You!||July 15, 2017||Ho-Oh, Entei, Lucario, Raikou, Suicune, Marshadow|
|21||Pocket Monsters the Movie: 2018
(劇場版ポケットモンスター２０１８ Gekijōban Pocket Monsters 2018)
|TBA||July 13, 2018||Lugia|
In addition to the main series and the movies, the anime has also shown various specials and TV shorts. In English-language broadcast, these have been played or are playing as the Pokémon Chronicles or Pokémon Sunday series, alongside The Legend of Thunder! special and several Pikachu shorts, Many of these specials centered around legendary Pokémon or one or more of the main characters that is separate from the main cast during its corresponding series, while the sporadically-made later side story episodes typically air as special episodes. Another eight additional OVAs were broadcast on numbered All Nippon Flights, as well as sold by DVD exclusively. In addition, two 3D shorts were shown during the tour of Japanese theme park Poképark.
Pikachu's Winter Vacation (ピカチュウのふゆやすみ Pikachū no Fuyuyasumi) is a series of winter themed Pikachu-centered shorts that went directly to video from 1999 (the end of '98) to 2001 (the end of 2000). The first two were part of the Pokémon Chronicles series. This was the only Pokémon DVD not released by Viz Video but rather 4Kids' normal way of releasing DVDs, being released by 4Kids and Funimation.
We Are Pichu Brothers (ぼくたちピチューブラザーズ Boku-tachi Pichūburazāzu) is a series extending from the short movie "Pikachu and Pichu", and it has two units. The first story included in "Pikachu's Winter Vacation 2001", and the second story included in the game "Pokémon Channel".
Pokémon Chronicles is a label created by 4Kids which is used for a collection of several as yet undubbed specials, which were first broadcast in English between May and October 2005 in the UK, and in the US between June and November 2006. The vast majority of the episodes making up Chronicles were taken from what was known in Japan as Pocket Monsters Side Stories (ポケットモンスターサイドストーリー Poketto Monsutā Saido Sutōrī), which aired as part of Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station. The remaining portions of Chronicles consisted of the Pocket Monsters Crystal TV special, and installments from the Pikachu's Winter Vacation OVA series.
Pokémon Origins is a television special that aired on TV Tokyo on October 2, 2013, and presented a story directly lifted from the original Pocket Monsters Red and Green video games (Red and Blue internationally).
Pokémon Generations is an eighteen episode series of shorts highlighting every generation of Pokémon games up until X & Y. The first two shorts were released on September 16, 2016, on the official Pokémon YouTube channel, with subsequent shorts releasing through December 23, 2016. The series is considered to be more mature and action driven than the other Pokémon series. The creators indicated that Pokémon Generations is targeted to young adults who grew up with Pokémon as children in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station (週刊ポケモン放送局 Shūkan Pokemon Hōsōkyoku) was a closely related spin-off series that aired with the beginning part of Pokémon: Advanced Generation. The show was presented as an animated variety show, and showed clip shows, reruns of Pokémon episodes, television airings of the Pokémon movies, cast interviews, and live action footage, in addition to the previously mentioned Pokémon Side Story episodes. The hosts were Mayumi Iizuka as Kasumi (Misty) and Yūji Ueda as Takeshi (Brock). They were regularly joined by Kaba-chan, Manami Aihara, Bernard Ackah and Rex Jones as the comedy team "Shio Koshō", Megumi Hayashibara as Musashi (Jessie), Shin-ichiro Miki as Kojirō (James), and Inuko Inuyama as Nyarth (Meowth). The show ran from October 15, 2002, to September 28, 2004, when it was replaced by Pokémon Sunday.
Pokémon Sunday (ポケモン☆サンデー Pokemon Sandē) was broadcast on TV Tokyo from October 3, 2004, to September 26, 2010. The show is the successor to the Pocket Monsters Encore and the Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station. Like the shows before it, Pokémon Sunday is a sort of variety which featuring reruns of old episodes as well as a number of 'Research' episodes involving live-action elements. Regular guests include Golgo Matsumoto and Red Yoshida of TIM; Hiroshi Yamamoto, Ryūji Akiyama, and Hiroyuki Baba of Robert; Becky (through September 2006), and Shoko Nakagawa (starting October 2006).
Pokémon Smash! (ポケモンスマッシュ! Pokemon Sumasshu!) is the successor to the Pokémon Sunday series. It aired from October 3, 2010, to September 28, 2013. Like its predecessors, Pokémon Smash! is a variety show that features live-action segments and reruns of old anime episodes. The theme song is "Endless Fighters" by AAA. Regular guests include Golgo Matsumoto and Red Yoshida of TIM; Shoko Nakagawa; and Hiroshi Yamamoto, Ryūji Akiyama, and Hiroyuki Baba of Robert.
Pokémon Get TV (ポケモンゲット☆TV Pokemon Getto Terebi) is the successor to Pokémon Smash!, which premiered on October 6, 2013. Shoko Nakagawa remains as a host, and is joined by Yukito Nishii and comedy team Taka and Toshi. Just like its predecessors, it is a variety show featuring reruns of previous anime episodes and special live-action segments.
Pokémon is broadcast in Japan on the TX Network family of stations first on Thursday evenings; it is then syndicated throughout the rest of Japan's major broadcasters (All-Nippon News Network, Fuji Network System, Nippon Television Network System) on their local affiliates as well as on private satellite and cable networks on various delays. Production in Japan is handled by TV Tokyo, Medianet (formerly Softx), and ShoPro. Kunihiko Yuyama has served as the series' chief director since the original series. The latest series, Pokémon: Sun and Moon, began broadcast in Japan on November 17, 2016, with Tetsuo Yajima serving as director and Atsuhiro Tomioka as head screenwriter.
Internationally, The Pokémon Company International handles production and distribution of the anime, with DuArt Film and Video. The anime currently airs in 98 different countries. New episodes are first broadcast on American cable channel Disney XD, to which the channel also has the airing rights to the previous episodes and the films in the US. The Disney XD channels for the UK and Ireland (also handled by CITV Channel, and ITV4) and continental Europe handle broadcasting throughout Europe. Besides Disney XD, it also airs in Germany on Nickelodeon and ProSieben Maxx, in Belgium on vtmKzoom and Kadet. In Canada, the series has aired on YTV for over 16 years. Partway through XY, in 2014, it moved to Teletoon.
In Australia, The show is currently broadcast on 9Go!, which began on 4 December 2016 airing Pokémon XY and 9 February 2017 of a repeat episodes of the show from the very beginning and all new episodes of Pokémon: Sun and Moon premiered on 17 July 2017 to onwards. This show was formerly shown on Network Ten from 5 October 1998 until 22 February 2012, and was later moved to a digital channel Eleven on 27 February 2012 and will air until early 2018, On Pay TV This show was shown on Cartoon Network in 2000 until early 2016 later moved to Boomerang for only aired Pokémon XY: Kalos Quest and In 2017 it will move to Disney Channel or Disney XD. It is licensed by Beyond Home Entertainment.
When the series started its broadcast in the United States, it was licensed by 4Kids Entertainment, produced by 4Kids Productions and syndicated by The Summit Media Group  The show was syndicated until being moved to the Kids' WB block on The WB in February 1999. In the ninth season, after The WB branding went defunct, Pokémon's production was taken over by The Pokémon Company and TAJ Productions. After the tenth and eleventh films were released, DuArt took over. American channel Cartoon Network aired the series until the end of the XY series. Since then, the Sun and Moon anime series and repeats of the series and movies air on Disney XD and the network's app has most seasons.
The Pokémon anime is available on Netflix in 216 regions and countries with different dubs and subtitles, all countries have at least English audio. It is also available on Hulu in the United States and Japan, and Amazon Video in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, and Austria. It is also available through the Pokémon TV app for iOS, Android, and Amazon Kindle Fire.
Pokémon has had several anime episodes removed from the rotation in Japan or the rest of the world. The most infamous of these episodes was Cyber Soldier Porygon (でんのうせんしポリゴン Dennō Senshi Porygon, commonly Electric Soldier Porygon). The episode made headlines worldwide when it caused 685 children to experience seizures and seizure-like symptoms caused by a repetitive flash of light. Although the offending sequence was caused by Pikachu's actions, the episode's featured Pokémon, Porygon, has rarely been seen in future episodes, with appearances limited to one brief cameo appearance in the movie Pokémon Heroes and in one scene-bumper later in season 1. Its evolutions Porygon2 and Porygon-Z have only appeared in a brief part of the opening sequence of Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice. Several other episodes have been removed from broadcast in Japan due to contemporary disasters that resemble events in the program; the 2004 Chūetsu earthquake, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and the 2014 Sinking of the MV Sewol all have caused cancellations or indefinite postponements of episode broadcasts. In the United States, the September 11 attacks in 2001 as well as 2005's Hurricane Katrina led to the temporary removal of two episodes from syndication.
On September 1, 2006, China banned the series from prime time broadcasting (from 17:00 to 20:00), as it did Western animated series such as The Simpsons, to protect its struggling animation studios. The ban was later extended by one hour.
On August 18, 2016, the XYZ episode Kalos League Victory! Satoshi's Greatest Decisive Battle (カロスリーグ優勝！サトシ頂上決戦 Karosurīgu yūshō! Satoshi chōjō kessen) (Down to the Fiery Finish! in the English dub) faced criticism from fans when Ash lost the Kalos League against Alain. The fans specifically criticized the episode due to misleading trailers that suggested that Ash would win the battle and because Ash had lost all of the Pokémon Leagues in past seasons. Fans also disliked the outcome because they believed Ash's Greninja had many advantages over Alain's Charizard, including the fact that water-type Pokémon resist fire-type Pokémon attacks, and that the rare Bond Phenomenon Ash's Greninja was subject to was said to be far more powerful than a conventional Mega Evolution. Several animators of the series also expressed disappointment that Ash had lost. TV Tokyo's YouTube upload of the teaser of the next episode received an overwhelming number of dislikes as a result of the outcome. On IMDb, the episode became one of the lowest-rated episodes of the entire anime.[better source needed] A petition asking that an alternate ending be created in which Ash wins received about 4,000 signatures.