Giovanni is the primary antagonist of the games taking place in Kanto.
In the first games Giovanni appeared in, he served a dual role: one that was well known to the residents of Kanto, and one that was more secret. He was first shown as the leader of the villainous Team Rocket, the first of many criminal organizations to grace the Pokémon games. After the player defeated him and his team of Grunts at Silph Co., Giovanni fled to a hideout that the player is unaware of. Once the player returned to Viridian City, one of the major plot twists of these games revealed that Giovanni, in addition to his role as a criminal, was the final Gym Leader to be fought before the Elite Four—albeit one without a formal title. Here, he specializes in the Ground type. Once defeated, he disbanded Team Rocket and left the player with the Earth Badge and TM27 (Fissure). If talked to again, he then vanishes and is not seen again for the rest of the game.
Giovanni's role in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen is much the same; the one difference is that defeating him in the Gym battle will earn the player TM26 (Earthquake), instead of TM27 (Fissure). He also implies that he intends to return to power one day rather than being moved to dedicate his life to the study of Pokémon. There is a side-plot in the Sevii Islands that revolves around Giovanni; a group of Team Rocket members are trying to continue the aims of Team Rocket, but they abandon this when they realize that their leader has been defeated once and for all.
In Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold, and SoulSilver, a group of Team Rocket members tries to relaunch the old team. They take over Goldenrod Radio Tower, and broadcast a radio announcement intended for Giovanni. Only in HeartGold and SoulSilver is it revealed that Giovanni does hear the broadcast, from his hideout in Tohjo Falls - an event in the remakes involving a time-traveling Celebi allows Ethan and Lyra to travel back in time and defeat Giovanni at the same time the rest of Team Rocket is being defeated. Upon defeat he will begin ranting about how he keeps losing to children and, like before, Giovanni will leave the room and disappear. Later, in Kanto, it is revealed that Blue took over the Viridian Gym after his disappearance.
The Celebi event also reveals some of Giovanni's background from the three years between Generation I/III and Generation II/IV. While it was mentioned in FireRed and LeafGreen that Giovanni has a son with red hair, the son's identity wasn't revealed until the time-travel event in HeartGold and SoulSilver. As many fans speculated (and as was mentioned in the Pokémon Adventures manga series), this son is the rival of the Johto player character, Silver. Much of Silver's personality is a result of the treatment he received from Giovanni, which includes abandonment. Like many of Giovanni's other actions throughout the games, this reflects on his selfishness.
Giovanni reappears in Black 2 and White 2 in the Pokémon World Tournament, replacing Blue, who instead participates in the Champions Tournament. Giovanni returns to using Ground types exclusively. While the announcer usually introduces Gym Leaders by their title, Giovanni, who does not have a title, is introduced as "The Self-Proclaimed Strongest Trainer" (Japanese: さいきょうの トレーナーと なのるSelf-Proclaimed Strongest Trainer).
Giovanni appears again in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon as the Boss of the new Team Rainbow Rocket, featured in Episode RR. He is first seen during the Aether Foundation's broadcast from Aether Paradise, where he seizes control of the organization from Lusamine. He fortifies himself inside Team Rocket's Castle and stations versions of Archie, Maxie, Cyrus, Lysandre, and Ghetsis from other worlds as his guards, along with an army of Team Rainbow Rocket Grunts. After battling through his army, the player and Lillie find Giovanni holding an unconscious Lusamine inside his control center deep within the castle. He introduces himself and reveals that he plans to create an army of Ultra Beasts in order to conquer all worlds. For that purpose, he needs the Aether Foundation's resources, and intends to brainwash Lusamine into serving him. Feeling nostalgic that a child would challenge him, Giovanni battles the player with a party that includes Mewtwo, and is ultimately defeated. Accepting his loss, Giovanni abandons his plans for the Aether Foundation but swears that Team Rainbow Rocket will never fall. He leaves as Colress begins working to revert Team Rocket's Castle back into Lusamine's mansion, and is last seen reflecting on what he will do next before being warped away.
"Fwahahaha! This is my hideout! I planned to resurrect Team Rocket here! But, you have caught me again! So be it! This time, I'm not holding back! Once more, you shall face Giovanni, the greatest trainer!"
"Ha! That was a truly intense fight! You have won! As proof, here is the EarthBadge!"
After being defeated
"The EarthBadge makes Pokémon of any level obey! It is evidence of your mastery as a Pokémon trainer! With it, you can enter the Pokémon League! It is my gift for your Pokémon League challenge!"
"TM27 is Fissure! It will take out Pokémon with just one hit! I made it when I ran the Gym here, too long ago..."
"Having lost, I cannot face my underlings! Team Rocket is finished forever! I will dedicate my life to the study of Pokémon! Let us meet again some dayRB/somedayY! Farewell!"
"So! I must say, I am impressed you got here. Team Rocket captures Pokémon from around the world. They're important tools for keeping our criminal enterprise going. I am the leader, Giovanni! For your insolence, you will feel a world of pain!"
"WHAT! This can't be!"
After being defeated
"I see that you raise Pokémon with utmost care. A child like you would never understand what I hope to achieve. I shall step aside this time! I hope we meet again..."
"Fwahahaha! Welcome to my hideout! It shall be so until I can restore Team Rocket to its former glory. But, you have found me again. So be it. This time, I'm not holding back! Once more, you shall face Giovanni, the greatest Trainer!"
"Ha! That was a truly intense fight. You have won! As proof, here is the EarthBadge!"
After being defeated
"The EarthBadge makes Pokémon of any level obey without question. It is evidence of your mastery as a Pokémon Trainer. With it, you can challenge the Pokémon League. Also, take this TM. Consider it a gift for your Pokémon League challenge."
"TM26 contains Earthquake. It is a powerful attack that causes a massive tremor. I made it when I ran the Gym here, far too long ago..."
"Having lost in this fashion, I can't face my followers. I have betrayed their trust. As of today, Team Rocket is finished forever! As for myself, I shall dedicate my life to training again. Let us meet again someday! Farewell!"
".................. One must acknowledge one's defeat before he can move on... I will go solo...for now... So that one day I will form a stronger organization!"
"Putting together the potential of many is how you produce a huge power... That's what an organization is... That's the strength of an organization! I failed...to make the best use of my subordinates' potential...! But you shall witness one day the revival of me and my Team Rocket!"
".................. One day, you will understand."
"My old associates need me... We will not repeat the failure of three years ago! Team Rocket will be born again, and I will rule the world!"
After sending out last Pokémon
"What in the world was that? Don't tell me some inexperienced kid can possibly be that strong!"
During battle, last Pokémon low on health
"What was that?"
"What in the world are you?"
After being defeated
"How this is possible...? The past three years have been a waste...? How can a kid like you manage to destroy my dream once again? The precious dream of Team Rocket has become little more than an illusion..."
If the player is defeated
"Mark my words. Not being able to measure your own strength shows that you are still but a child."
"Well, well... I had been informed of the intruders, but not that they were kids like you!"
"I had allowed the other bosses to do as they wished, hoping they would be of use... But it seems you have defeated all of them. I am impressed you got here."
"Indeed! Team Rocket's goal was to use all the Pokémon and control the world. But now, I have a bigger, better organization. Team Rainbow Rocket!"
"And I, Giovanni, am its leader!"
"The president will not awaken for some time. I have used the power of that Ultra Beast to make her sleep... And when she awakens next, she will be a loyal servant to my will!"
"Team Rainbow Rocket will conquer all worlds! We will build an army of UBs! But in order for this precious dream to be realized, we need the technology of the Aether Foundation—the technology of other worlds!"
"But I also appreciate the skill it took you to get this far."
"I like those who show strength! Why not put that strength to good use, in my Team Rainbow Rocket?"
Yes: "Hah! You are calm enough to joke, I see."
No: "Hah! Of course that would be your answer."
"Having a kid stand in front of me like this... Such a thing should never happen. But for some reason, it also makes me feel nostalgic."
"If you insist on disrupting my plans, I will make you feel a world of pain!"
"Ha! That was a truly intense fight!"
After being defeated
"...I see you have raised your Pokémon with utmost care. It would be foolish to fight such a kid with all my might. Ha, very well. I will leave Aether Paradise in your hands."
"But remember, my Team Rainbow Rocket will never fail! Never forget that!"
"I shall step aside this time! I hope we meet again..."
"Hah... That boy/girl had quite some talent..."
"Now...what new world shall I unleash my evil schemes upon...?"
"Hmph... A machine that lets you see what otherwise cannot be seen... It's nothing but a useless toy. Still... Yes, this could do. Carry on, Archer, with your plans to take over Silph Co. for Team Rocket."
"So! You defeated Archer... I must say—I am impressed you got here. Team Rocket captures Pokémon from around the world. They're important tools for keeping our criminal enterprise going. And I am the leader of this enterprise...Giovanni! ...What? You want me to release the Cubone?"
"Fwahahahaha! You came barging into our hideout just for that? What an amusing child. But... For your insolence, you will feel a world of pain!"
"What?! This can't be!"
After being defeated
"So I too am defeated by a child... Do as you wish with that Cubone."
"And take this. As my apology for mocking you as a child."
"...I can see you raise Pokémon with utmost care. But you would never understand what I hope to achieve. ... ... ... I shall step aside this time! But I hope we will meet and battle again!"
"Now, now, Mr. President. I hope you're not thinking of lying to me. The Master Ball... You successfully created one, didn't you!"
"How dare you?!"
"We had a deal! You agreed to this! ...You're a smart man. I'm sure you can imagine what will happen to your people if you say no to me now."
"Ah. Young <player>. So we meet again! The president of Silph and I are discussing a vital business proposition. Keep your nose out of grown-up matters... Or experience a world of pain!"
"Argh! I lost again?!"
After being defeated
"Blast... I have little choice, it seems. I will relinquish Silph for now. But Team Rocket will never fall! <player>! Never forget... All Pokémon exist for Team Rocket's use! I may leave you now, but we will meet again!"
"Fwahahaha! Welcome to my hideout! It shall be so until I can restore Team Rocket to its former glory. But you have found me again. So be it. This time, I'm not holding back! Once more, then! You shall face Giovanni, the greatest Trainer!"
"*pant pant* That was a truly intense fight."
After being defeated
"Yet again, I am defeated... As proof of your victory... here is your Earth Badge!"
"An Earth Badge makes all Pokémon obey you... regardless of how high their level is or who originally caught them. It is proof of your mastery as a Pokémon Trainer. With it, you can challenge the Pokémon League. And this TM... A gift for a Trainer who dares take on the challenge of the Pokémon League."
"TM41 contains Earthquake. It's a powerful attack that causes a massive tremor to deal damage to opponents. I made it...a very long time ago. Back when I ran this Gym, far too long ago."
"I can't face my followers after being defeated like this. Team Rocket is... As of today, Team Rocket is finished!"
Giovanni appears in the anime as the head of Team Rocket. Unlike members of other criminal organizations, he is a recurring character in all of the series so far, usually keeping in contact with the Team Rocket trio.
Giovanni appeared in File 3: Giovanni. Red first recalled meeting him at the Rocket Hideout. They later encountered again at Silph Co. after Team Rocket had taken over the building. Seeing Red's arrogant and determined attitude to stop Team Rocket every time, Giovanni decided to put him in his place, and battled Red's Charizard with his Nidoqueen, winning easily before escaping with a helicopter, declaring that Red could never understand what he was hoping to achieve.
Giovanni as a child
Giovanni appeared once more as the Viridian Gym Leader. Giovanni accepted his Gym challenge, but Red claimed that he would battle him as the enemy of all Pokémon, instead of a Gym Leader. Hearing this, Giovanni put aside his usual Gym Leader battling team and took out his strongest pair of Pokémon, contained within Ultra Balls. The first one was Rhyhorn, which single-handedly was able to defeat four of Red's Pokémon before drawing with his Hitmonlee. During the battle, Giovanni started actually feeling excited, and wondered why he was feeling that way. When he saw the pose Red took while sending out his Charizard, he finally remembered his childhood passion for Pokémon and battling, and wondered how he could have ever turned into a person who only treated Pokémon as tools for business. After Red's Charizard had defeated Giovanni's last Pokémon, Rhydon, Giovanni offered him the Earth Badge as a proof of his victory. Red, however, refused to take a Badge from the Boss of Team Rocket. Seeing this, Giovanni turned to his minions, informing them that from that moment onwards, Team Rocket would be officially disbanded. He then turned back to Red, now offering the Badge to him not as the Boss of Team Rocket but as the Viridian City Gym Leader. Red accepted the Earth Badge and left, heading for the Pokémon League.
As his battle with Red had reminded Giovanni of how Pokémon could be taken as fun rather than business, he decided that he wanted to find a new path for himself and his Pokémon, without being the Boss of Team Rocket any longer.
This article is missing information on this character's Japanese voice actor and English voice actor. You can help by adding this information.
Giovanni first appeared in The Chase. After the International Police had failed to find him during a raid at the Viridian Gym, he was seen standing on a hill near Viridian City, declaring that Team Rocket would never fall, before walking away. Along with his disapparance, rumors about Team Rocket's disbandment began circling around.
He appeared again in a flashback in The Legacy. Looker approached Giovanni's son, Silver, hoping to find information on him as he had not been seen since his disappearance three years prior. However, all Silver could describe was his own last encounter with Giovanni three years ago, in which the two had a falling out that fractured their relationship.
In Pokémon Adventures, Giovanni serves much the same role as he does in the games, although he now has Lt. Surge, Sabrina, and Koga as subordinates. However, Giovanni is much more ruthless than his other counterparts.
Giovanni as a kid in How I Became a Pokémon Card
An older Giovanni in How I Became a Pokémon Card
In the How I Became a Pokémon Card manga
Giovanni and Persian were revealed to have been together for a long time, as he rescued the Pokémon when he was a child.
Giovanni is the boss of Team Rocket in Pokémon Pocket Monsters.
In the Pokémon Zensho manga
Giovanni in Pokémon Zensho
Giovanni appears in Celadon City watching Satoshi from the hidden cameras within the Silph Co. building. He has one of his minions to try to stop Satoshi from reaching him. Two chapters later, he has taken the boss of Silph Co. hostage and threatens to harm him if he refuses to tell Giovanni where the Master Ball was. However, he is interrupted when Satoshi and Sabrina teleport their way to the top floor. Lapras uses Mist to blind Nidoqueen, but she launches a Poison Sting attack. One of the needles from the attacks hits Giovanni. Satoshi and the others manage to escape afterwards. In Viridian City, Giovanni was revealed to be the final Gym Leader that Satoshi challenges. Satoshi manages to defeat him and earns the Earth Badge.
While taking over the Silph Co., Giovanni used Nidoqueen to hold the Silph co. boss hostage.
Giovanni has owned this Machamp ever since he was a child. When it passed away, it turned him into a bitter person. The spirit of Machamp was called out by one of the Team Rocket grunts to deal with Satoshi. However, it was defeated by Gastly as physical attacks had no effect on the Ghost-type Pokémon.
Giovanni has owned this Nidoking ever since his childhood. He first appeared in Satoshi's flashback while Satoshi was in his house. At the Viridian Gym, Nidoking appeared in Giovanni's imagination where it was revealed that his passing during Giovanni's childhood turned him into a bitter person.
Giovanni's Pokémon Cards listed with a blue background are only legal to use in the current Expanded format. Cards listed with a silver background are legal to use in both the current Standard and Expanded formats.
Giovanni is the only Gym Leader in the games to appear outside of his Gym in Generation I, a feature that would become more and more common up to Generation IV, during and after which all Gym Leaders in the featured regions appear outside of their Gym in one way or another.
He is also the only Gym Leader not to use the A Trainer Appears (Boy Version) song.
Giovanni is the only Gym Leader who is also the boss of a villainous team and vice versa.
In the English version of Pokémon Stadium, his name is misspelled "Giovani" (with one n). This is because the space for Trainer names only allows seven characters, whilst Giovanni's name has eight.
In the official Red and Blue guide from Nintendo Power, Giovanni was labelled to be a regional boss of Team Rocket (implying he's not the absolute leader). This was invalidated in Gold, Silver, and Crystal, where it was made clear that Giovanni was the absolute leader of Team Rocket (even having an office in Johto).
Giovanni is likely based on the boss of a Yakuza faction, possibly more on the bakuto factions than others, considering Team Rocket's former ownership of the Celadon Game Corner. Outside of Japan, this reference is localized, making him more akin to a Mafia boss (especially considering his English name being Italian in origin).
Giovanni is the only in-game Gym Leader that cannot be rematched an indefinite amount of times. However, he can be battled multiple times via an event at Tohjo Falls, if the player has multiple Celebi. Koga, the other former Kanto Gym Leader, can be rematched indefinitely ever since Generation II, where he was an Elite Four member.
Artwork made by Ken Sugimori suggests that Giovanni was not originally going to be the Gym Leader of Viridian City.
From Italian Giovanni, equivalent to John, gift from God; gio is also a homophone of geo, from Greek γῆ gē, earth. The Italian origin of his name may also be a play on his resemblance to a Mafia boss in control of his mob.
From 비쭈기나무 bijjuginamu (sakaki)
From the Japanese name 坂木 / 阪木 Sakaki. The characters 坂 and 阪 both means "slope," with the former containing the radical 土 tǔ (earth).
Similar to his other names. May be taken from 老板 lǎobǎn (boss).
From the Japanese name 阪木 / 坂木 Sakaki. The characters 阪 and 坂 both means "slope," with the latter containing the radical 土 tóu (earth).
Partial transliteration of Sakaki. Also contains 沙 sā (sand).