The Pokémon anime, often referred to as just "the anime" by Pokémon fans, is a collective term referring to currently 1,117 main series episodes, 23 movies, and a number of side stories, all focusing on Pokémon. The great majority of these focus on Ash Ketchum, a Pokémon Trainer from Pallet Town, and his journey toward his ultimate goal of being a Pokémon Master, his many friends, and most especially his Pokémon, whom he considers his partners and friends.
Though the anime is ultimately based upon the games and draws heavily from them, many concepts which are only touched on the games are spun in a unique way, and expanded on.
The anime has aired in 169 different countries and regions in over 30 languages. It is available on Netflix in 217 countries with different dubs and subtitles, and all countries except Japan and South Korea have at least English audio. The Pokémon Company International usually refers to the anime as the "Pokémon animated series" or "Pokémon television series", while some event Pokémon based on Pokémon from the anime have their location set as "the Pokémon cartoon" in the English version of the games. It is also referred to formally as Pokémon the Series (Japanese: テレビアニメ「ポケットモンスター」シリーズ TV Anime "Pocket Monsters" Series).
From the very first episode, Ash has been the central character, making his goal of becoming a Pokémon Master known to all he meets. Though initially, he only became a Pokémon Trainer with the goal of beating his rival, Gary Oak, the many Pokémon Ash has met over his journey have shown him what being a Pokémon Master really is. Unlike most Trainers from Pallet, and indeed, unlike players of Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue and Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Ash did not start his journey with Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle, as he arrived late to Professor Oak's lab to receive his starter Pokémon. Instead, Ash was given the only Pokémon Oak had left to give, a Pikachu that did not enjoy being inside his Poké Ball, and from there Ash learned to treat his Pokémon as partners, earning Pikachu's trust by keeping him safe from a flock of Spearow he angered.
Since then, Ash has journeyed across all seven of the regions that appear in the core series Pokémon games, as well as the Orange Archipelago, a region he visited before beginning his journey in Johto until it was closer in time to the real-world release of Pokémon Gold and Silver. In the regions outside of Galar, he battles against the local Gym Leaders for their Badges, as do Trainers in the core series games, to compete in the regional Pokémon League, a championship tournament, rather than five battles straight against the Elite Four and Champion. While his initial strategy was to continue using the same party over the course of his journey, letting some Pokémon go when they were required to do something or wanted to train, he has, since his journey in Hoenn, changed strategy, and now uses only those Pokémon which he has caught in the region, alongside Pikachu, to battle against Gym Leaders, with his explanation to Dawn being that he wants to prove to the young, unevolved Pokémon he meets in each new region that they can win if they try.
Over the course of the series, Ash has had several friends who travel with him, typically across one region, who assist him in his journey as much as he assists in theirs. Misty, the Gym Leader from Cerulean City in the games, joins him in the original series, as does Brock, Pewter City's Gym Leader, in Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh. Tracey Sketchit, an amateur Pokémon watcher, joins Ash during his Orange Archipelago journey, but leaves him on Ash's return to Pallet to become an assistant to Professor Oak, his hero. May and Dawn, rookie Coordinators, join Ash for the duration of Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire and Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl, respectively; in these he mentors them much as Brock and Misty did him, while Max, May's brother, who is too young to own Pokémon, looks up to Ash for the duration of Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire. Iris and Cilan travel with Ash in Pokémon the Series: Black & White. Inventor Clemont, his sister Bonnie, and Ash's childhood friend Serena travel with Ash in Pokémon the Series: XY. Like Max, Bonnie is too young to own Pokémon, but cares for her brother's Dedenne. In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, Ash attends the Pokémon School instead of traveling around the Alola region. As such, his new friends—Lillie, Mallow, Kiawe, Lana, and Sophocles—are not traveling companions but classmates. In Pokémon Journeys: The Series, Ash's sole new traveling companion is Goh, a Trainer who aims to catch every Pokémon species in the world, with his ultimate goal being to catch the Mythical Pokémon Mew.
The anime is produced in Japan by OLM in association with ShoPro and JR Kikaku and airs on TV Tokyo nearly every week, with the exception of a four-month hiatus after the Porygon incident and a seven-week hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Until the Porygon incident, the show aired every Tuesday at 7 PM. The show returned afterwards at the same time on Thursdays. From April 7, 2016, to September 13, 2018, it instead began five minutes earlier at 6:55 PM on Thursdays. Since October 7, 2018, the show airs each Sunday at 6 PM. Many fans consider the dialogue and events mentioned in the Japanese version to be the "true canon", while the various dubs are regarded to be overridden if something stated in them differs from something said in a Japanese episode.
In Japan, the anime is divided into seven series: Pocket Monsters, Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation, Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl, Pocket Monsters Best Wishes, Pocket Monsters XY, Pocket Monsters Sun & Moon, and Pocket Monsters. Outside of it, it has been divided into eight series: Pokémon the Series: The Beginning, Pokémon the Series: Gold & Silver, Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire, Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl, Pokémon the Series: Black & White, Pokémon the Series: XY, Pokémon the Series: Sun and Moon, and Pokémon Journeys: The Series. The episodes are also further divided into seasons spanning roughly 52 episodes, and currently numbering 23. This concept of a television season was first embraced by the Japanese source with the inclusion of an explicitly second season to Best Wishes.
The show is mainly aimed at children, and as such, mature topics such as death are not often brought up, though sometimes they appear in some episodes, and most notably in movies. Many Pokémon that are implied to be violent or sinister in the games are also made to be less aggressive. There are generally some references meant for adults, though these are kept to a minimum especially outside of Japan.
Pokémon the Series
|Japanese name||English name||Episodes|
ポケットモンスター THE ORIGIN
Pocket Monsters: The Origin
|PO01 — PO04|
|PG01 — PG18|
Pokémon: Twilight Wings
|TW01 — Ongoing|
Other shows and shorts
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon
Team Go-Getters Out of the Gate!
Explorers of Time & Darkness
Explorers of Sky -
Beyond Time & Darkness
Gates to Infinity
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Animated Shorts
- Main article: Pokémon movie
Since 1998 in Japan, and since 1999 in the US, a Pokémon movie has been released annually, most often focusing on a Legendary or Mythical Pokémon. These films are almost always a large success in Japan, and remain at least somewhat successful in the United States and other countries, having been aired on television as a special since the ninth movie, with the first five movies receiving wide releases and later films occasionally receiving limited releases.
The movies are not considered by all people to be canon to the show, with some preferring to think of them occurring in an alternate timeline. This theory comes from the fact that Ash and his friends do not seem to be profoundly affected in the show by the events of the movies, which tend to have a lot of peril and drama. Others, however, see the movies as being akin to filler episodes, as none of their parties change, and no Gym Leaders are defeated nor Pokémon Contests won. This is presumably the correct interpretation, as not only have most of the events of the movies been referenced at least peripherally in the show, but also, several of the events of even major episodes have been forgotten by the writers of later episodes.
These are Pokémon variety shows that air on Japanese television.
Pocket Monsters Encore
|October 19, 1999 — September 17, 2002|
Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station
|October 15, 2002 — September 28, 2004|
|October 3, 2004 — September 26, 2010|
|October 3, 2010 — September 29, 2013|
|October 6, 2013 — September 27, 2015|
Meet Up at the Pokémon House?
|October 4, 2015 — present|
- Animator Masāki Iwane 岩根正明 once stated that the series was originally slated for a 1½-year run, which corresponds approximately to the length of the Kanto region saga (had it not been delayed due to the Porygon incident). Due to its popularity during the run, however, the show was extended and continues to be one of the longest running video game-based anime series.
- During the early episodes of the original series, Japanese text was seen quite frequently on signs and buildings as well as objects. This usually resulted in the English dubbed version (and thus, foreign dubs based on it) painting out the text or converting it to English.
- During the Johto saga, the animators acknowledged the practice of painting out the Japanese text in the English dub. As a result, they used made-up symbols slightly similar to the Latin script instead of Japanese text, so it would be universal to all languages and would not have to be edited for the English localization.
- During Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire and Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl, the animators used a new style of symbols that appear to be blocky letters without a resemblance to any alphabet. However, most of these were still edited out for the English dub until Pokémon: Battle Frontier.
- From Pokémon the Series: Black & White and onward, a full writing system was specifically created for the anime. This language consists of three different fonts: a font used for titles, big signboards, etc.; other font used as less remarkable text accompanying the title font; and other font used only occasionally as a minor text filler. Each font has 26 unique symbols, and each one of those symbols represents a letter from the modern Latin script.
- This text usually has meanings, as the symbols converted from the Latin script are written as romanized Japanese; sometimes its meanings are related to the context in which it is used, but sometimes the text contains hidden messages, like mentioning Wobbuffet in a magazine seen in BW001.
- This writing system would start being used occasionally in the games as part of the scenario, starting from Pokémon Sun and Moon.
- Fingernails are not consistently drawn on characters, with the exception of Pokémon the Series: XY. Some characters have fingernails in Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon.
In other languages
- Pokémon TV Tokyo website (Japanese)
- Official Pokémon website (Japanese)
- Official Pokémon website (English)
On Bulbagarden forums
- Pokémon in Figures - The Pokémon Company (retrieved June 2, 2020)
- Pokémon the Series - Unofficial Netflix Online Global Search (retrieved June 2, 2020)
|This article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.|