Pokémon anime

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Cel from EP093

The Pokémon anime, often referred to as just "the anime" by many Pokémon fans, is a collective term referring to currently 1,233 main series episodes, 23 movies, and a number of side stories, all focusing on Pokémon. The anime debuted on April 1, 1997 in Japan; the English dub debuted on September 7, 1998 in North America.

The anime until Pokémon Journeys: The Series focused on the story of 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 following series, Pokémon Horizons: The Series, features an all-new cast of characters and focuses on the story of two young Trainers named Liko and Roy.

As of the end of March 2022, the anime has aired in 192[1] 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.[2]

The Pokémon Company International usually refers to the anime as the "Pokémon animated series" or "Pokémon television series". Some event Pokémon based on Pokémon from the anime have their location set as "the Pokémon cartoon" in the English version of the games. The television series is referred to 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), although this typically does not include the Pokémon movies.


For the first 26 years of the anime, Ash was 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 met over his journey showed 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. 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.

During his time as a protagonist, Ash journeyed across all eight 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 battled against the local Gym Leaders for their Badges, just like the players of 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, beginning with his journey in Hoenn, he changed his strategy, and used 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 wanted to prove to the young, unevolved Pokémon he meets in each new region that they can win if they try.

Over the course of his run as the protagonist of the series, Ash had several friends who traveled with him, typically across one region, and assisted him in his journey as much as he assisted in theirs. Misty, the Gym Leader from Cerulean City in the games, joined him in the original series, as did Brock, Pewter City's Gym Leader, in Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh. Tracey Sketchit, an amateur Pokémon watcher, joined Ash during his Orange Archipelago journey, but left him on Ash's return to Pallet to become an assistant to Professor Oak, his hero. May and Dawn, rookie Coordinators, joined Ash for the duration of Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire and Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl, respectively; in these series, he mentored them much as Brock and Misty did him, while Max, May's brother, who is too young to own Pokémon, looked up to Ash for the duration of Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire. Iris and Cilan traveled with Ash in Pokémon the Series: Black & White. Inventor Clemont, his sister Bonnie, and Ash's childhood friend Serena travelrd with Ash in Pokémon the Series: XY. Like Max, Bonnie is too young to own Pokémon, but cared for her brother's Dedenne. In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, Ash attended the Pokémon School instead of traveling around the Alola region. As such, his new friends—Lillie, Mallow, Kiawe, Lana, and Sophocles—were not traveling companions but classmates. In his last series as the protagonist, Pokémon Journeys: The Series, Ash's sole new traveling companion was Goh, a Trainer aiming to catch every Pokémon species in the world, with his ultimate goal being to catch the Mythical Pokémon Mew.

Pokémon Horizons: The Series does not feature Ash as the protagonist, unlike the previous series, instead focusing on new protagonists named Liko and Roy.

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 6:30 PM. The show returned afterwards at 7 PM 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 to September 29, 2020, the show aired each Sunday at 6 PM. From October 9, 2020, the show airs each Friday at 6:55 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 eight series: Pocket Monsters, Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation, Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl, Pocket Monsters Best Wishes, Pocket Monsters XY, Pocket Monsters Sun & Moon, Pocket Monsters, and Pocket Monsters. Outside of it, it has been divided into nine 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, Pokémon Journeys: The Series, and Pokémon Horizons: The Series. The episodes are also further divided into seasons spanning roughly 52 episodes, and currently numbering 25. 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.

Television series

Original series

Japan United States
Season Theme song First episode Season Theme song First episode
Pocket Monsters
Aim to Be a Pokémon Master
Indigo League
Pokémon Theme
Pocket Monsters:
Episode Orange Archipelago
The Rivals
Adventures in the Orange Islands
Pokémon World
Pocket Monsters:
Episode Gold & Silver
The Johto Journeys
Pokémon Johto
Aim to Be a Pokémon Master
Johto League Champions
Born to Be a Winner
Ready Go!
Master Quest
Believe in Me

Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire

Japan United States
Season Theme song First episode Season Theme song First episode
Pocket Monsters
Advanced Generation
Advance Adventure
I Wanna Be a Hero
Advanced Challenge
This Dream
Pokémon Symphonic Medley
Advanced Battle
Battle Frontier
Battle Frontier
Battle Frontier

Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl

Japan United States
Season Theme song First episode Season Theme song First episode
Pocket Monsters
Diamond & Pearl
Diamond and Pearl
Diamond and Pearl
Pokémon: DP
Battle Dimension
We Will Be Heroes
High Touch!
Pokémon: DP
Galactic Battles
Battle Cry - (Stand Up!)
The Greatest - Everyday!
Pokémon: DP
Sinnoh League Victors
We Will Carry On!

Pokémon the Series: Black & White

Japan United States
Season Theme song First episode Season Theme song First episode
Pocket Monsters
Best Wishes!
Best Wishes!
Black & White
Black and White
Pocket Monsters
Best Wishes! Season 2
Be an Arrow!
Pokémon: BW
Rival Destinies
Rival Destinies
Pocket Monsters Best Wishes!
Season 2: Episode N
Be an Arrow! 2013
Pokémon: BW
Adventures in Unova
It's Always You and Me
Pocket Monsters Best Wishes!
Season 2: Decolora Adventure
Summerly Slope
Pokémon: BW
Adventures in Unova and Beyond

Pokémon the Series: XY

Japan United States
Season Theme song First episode Season Theme song First episode
Pocket Monsters
V (Volt)
Pokémon the Series:
Pokémon Theme (Version XY)
Mega V (Mega Volt)
Mad-Paced Getter
Pokémon the Series:
XY Kalos Quest
Be a Hero
Pocket Monsters
Pokémon the Series:
Stand Tall

Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon

Japan United States
Season Theme song First episode Season Theme song First episode
Pocket Monsters
Sun & Moon
Pokémon the Series:
Sun & Moon
Under The Alolan Sun
Aim to Be a Pokémon Master
-20th Anniversary-
Pokémon the Series:
Sun & Moon—Ultra Adventures
Under The Alolan Moon
Future Connection
Your Adventure
Pokémon the Series:
Sun & Moon – Ultra Legends
The Challenge of Life

Pokémon Journeys: The Series

Japan United States
Season Theme song First episode Season Theme song First episode
Pocket Monsters
One, Two, Three
(feat. After the Rain)
Pokémon Journeys:
The Series
The Journey Starts Today
One, Two, Three
(feat. Nishikawa-kun and Kirishō)
One, Two, Three
(feat. Karaage Sisters)
Pokémon Master Journeys:
The Series
Journey to Your Heart
One, Two, Three
(feat. Ash & Goh)
Pokémon Ultimate Journeys:
The Series
With You
Pocket Monsters:
Aim to Be a Pokémon Master
Aim to Be a Pokémon Master
-with my friends-
Gotta Catch Em All

Pokémon Horizons: The Series

Japan United States
Season Theme song First episode Season Theme song First episode
Pocket Monsters:
Liko and Roy's Departure
Heart-Pounding Diary
Pokémon Horizons:
The Series

Side stories

Japanese name Japanese run English name English run
Pocket Monsters Side Stories
December 3, 2002 — September 28, 2004  
Pokémon Chronicles
June 3, 2006 — September 30, 2006


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.

Original series

Japan Pikachu Project US
Japanese title Release date English title Release date
Mewtwo's Counterattack
July 18, 1998  
Pikachu Project 1998
Mewtwo Strikes Back
November 12, 1999
幻のポケモン ルギア爆誕
Phantom Pokémon: Lugia's Explosive Birth
July 17, 1999  
Pikachu Project 1999
The Power of One
July 21, 2000
Emperor of the Crystal Tower: Entei
July 8, 2000  
Pikachu Project 2000
Spell of the Unown: Entei
April 6, 2001
Celebi: An Encounter Through Time
July 7, 2001  
Pikachu Project 2001
Celebi: The Voice of the Forest
October 11, 2002
水の都の護神 ラティアスとラティオス
Guardian Gods of the City of Water: Latias and Latios
July 13, 2002  
Pikachu Project 2002
Pokémon Heroes: Latios & Latias
May 16, 2003

Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire

Japan Pikachu Project US
Japanese title Release date English title Release date
七夜の願い星 ジラーチ
Wishing Star of the Seven Nights: Jirachi
July 19, 2003  
Pikachu Project 2003
Jirachi: Wish Maker
June 1, 2004
裂空の訪問者 デオキシス
Sky-Splitting Visitor: Deoxys
July 17, 2004  
Pikachu Project 2004
Destiny Deoxys
January 22, 2005
ミュウと波導の勇者 ルカリオ
Mew and the Wave-Guiding Hero: Lucario
July 16, 2005  
Pikachu Project 2005
Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
September 19, 2006
ポケモンレンジャーと蒼海の王子 マナフィ
Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea: Manaphy
July 15, 2006  
Pikachu Project 2006
Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea
March 23, 2007

Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl

Japan Pikachu Project US
Japanese title Release date English title Release date
Dialga VS Palkia VS Darkrai
July 14, 2007  
Pikachu Project 2007
The Rise of Darkrai
February 24, 2008
ギラティナと氷空の花束 シェイミ
Giratina and the Sky's Bouquet: Shaymin
July 19, 2008  
Pikachu Project 2008
Giratina and the Sky Warrior
March 31, 2009
アルセウス 超克の時空へ
Arceus: To a Conquering Spacetime
July 18, 2009  
Pikachu Project 2009

Arceus and the Jewel of Life

November 20, 2009
Ruler of Illusions: Zoroark
July 10, 2010  
Pikachu Project 2010
Zoroark: Master of Illusions
February 5, 2011

Pokémon the Series: Black & White

Japan Pikachu Project US
Japanese title Release date English title Release date
Victini and the Black Hero: Zekrom
July 16, 2011  
Pikachu Project 2011

White—Victini and Zekrom

December 3, 2011
Victini and the White Hero: Reshiram

Black—Victini and Reshiram

December 10, 2011
Kyurem VS the Sacred Swordsman: Keldeo
July 14, 2012  
Pikachu Project 2012

Kyurem VS. The Sword of Justice

December 8, 2012
神速のゲノセクト ミュウツー覚醒
Extreme Speed Genesect: Mewtwo Awakens
July 13, 2013  
Pikachu Project 2013

Genesect and the Legend Awakened

October 19, 2013

Pokémon the Series: XY

Japan Pikachu Project US
Japanese title Release date English title Release date
The Cocoon of Destruction and Diancie
July 19, 2014  
Pikachu Project 2014
Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction
November 8, 2014
光輪の超魔神 フーパ
The Archdjinni of the Rings: Hoopa
July 18, 2015  
Pikachu Project 2015
Hoopa and the Clash of Ages
December 19, 2015
Volcanion and the Mechanical Magearna
July 16, 2016  
Pikachu Project 2016
Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel
December 5, 2016

Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon

Japan US
Japanese title Release date English title Release date
I Choose You!
July 15, 2017  
I Choose You!
November 5, 2017
Everyone's Story
July 13, 2018  
The Power of Us
November 24, 2018
ミュウツーの逆襲 EVOLUTION
Mewtwo's Counterattack Evolution
July 12, 2019  
Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution
February 27, 2020

Pokémon Journeys: The Series

Japan US
Japanese title Release date English title Release date
December 25, 2020
(Originally July 10, 2020)
Secrets of the Jungle
October 8, 2021

Other anime series

  The contents of this article have been suggested to be split into Pokémon animation.
Please discuss it on the talk page for this article.

As the franchise progressed, other animated features, set outside the main series' canon, have been produced. These are often made to promote a new generation or game.


Feature Japanese run English run
Pokémon Origins
October 2, 2013 November 15 - 22, 2013
Pokémon Generations
December 9, 2016 - February 2, 2017 September 16 - December 23, 2016
Pokémon: Twilight Wings
January 15 - August 6, 2020 (TW01 - TW07)
November 5, 2020 (TW08)
January 15 - August 6, 2020 (TW01 - TW07)
November 17, 2020 (TW08)
June 4, 2020 (PT01)
May 5, 2021 - December 28, 2021
June 17, 2022 - August 5, 2022
Pokémon Evolutions
September 9 - December 23, 2021 September 9 - December 23, 2021
Pokémon: Hisuian Snow
May 18 - June 22, 2022 May 18 - June 22, 2022

Mystery Dungeon episodes

Feature Japanese debut English debut
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Team Go-Getters Out of the Gate!
March 23, 2007 September 8, 2006
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time & Darkness
September 9, 2007 September 1, 2008
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky - Beyond Time & Darkness
April 12, 2009 October 9, 2009

Animated trailers

Feature Japanese debut English debut
Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 Animated Trailer
May 17, 2012 August 8, 2012
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Animated Shorts
November 1, 2012 March 26, 2013
Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Animated Trailer
November 16, 2014 November 20, 2014
Pokémon Masters Animated Trailer
June 27, 2019 June 27, 2019

Animated music videos

Feature Japanese debut English debut
September 29, 2020 September 29, 2020

Variety shows

These are Pokémon variety shows that air on Japanese television.

Japanese name Run
ポケットモンスター アンコール
Pocket Monsters Encore
October 19, 1999 — September 17, 2002
Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station
October 15, 2002 — September 28, 2004
Pokémon Sunday
October 3, 2004 — September 26, 2010
Pokémon Smash!
October 3, 2010 — September 29, 2013
Pokémon Get☆TV
October 6, 2013 — September 27, 2015
Meet Up at the Pokémon House?
October 4, 2015 — March 27, 2022
Where are We Going With Pokémon!?
April 3, 2022 — present


Serena drawn with fingernails
  • Animator Masāki Iwane 岩根正明 once stated that the anime 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.; another font used as less remarkable text accompanying the title font; and another 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 and Pokémon Journeys: The Series. Some characters have fingernails in Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon.

In other languages

Language Title
  French Pokémon, la série
  German Pokémon – Die TV-Serie
  Italian Serie animata Pokémon
  Spanish Serie de dibujos animados Pokémon

Related articles


External links

On Bulbagarden forums

Original series (list) Indigo LeagueAdventures in the Orange Islands
The Johto JourneysJohto League ChampionsMaster Quest
Ruby and Sapphire (list) AdvancedAdvanced ChallengeAdvanced BattleBattle Frontier
Diamond and Pearl (list) Diamond and PearlBattle DimensionGalactic BattlesSinnoh League Victors
Black & White (list) Black & WhiteRival DestiniesAdventures in Unova and Beyond
XY (list) XYKalos QuestXYZ (Mega Evolution Specials)
Sun & Moon (list) Sun & MoonUltra Adventures‎Ultra Legends
Journeys (list) JourneysMaster JourneysUltimate Journeys (The Arceus Chronicles)
Horizons (list) TBD
Specials (list) Pikachu's Winter VacationSide StoriesPokémon Chronicles
Planetarium specialsPikachu shorts
Mewtwo ReturnsThe Legend of Thunder!Pichu Bros. in Party Panic
The Mastermind of Mirage PokémonPokémon Ranger: Guardian SignsA Ripple in Time
Complete listMoviesOther anime series
  This article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.