Giovanni in the Sun & Moon series
|Relatives||Madame Boss (mother)|
|Trainer class||Gym Leader (formerly)|
|Leader of||Viridian Gym|
|Specializes in||Ground types|
|Member of||Team Rocket|
|Anime debut||Battle Aboard the St. Anne|
|English voice actor|| Ted Lewis|
|Japanese voice actor|| Hirotaka Suzuoki|
In the anime
While Giovanni very rarely takes the role of antagonist, his agents often have him in mind during missions due to the chance of power, be it through promotion or other means. This gave him a unique series of appearances, mainly during the Hoenn saga, where Meowth often imagined how the Pokémon in each episode could be used to help Giovanni and win the trio promotions. These boss fantasies never show his actual personality and occasionally even show Giovanni in chibi form.
In the original series, the Kanto saga in particular, Giovanni appeared as the mastermind behind a number of conflicts, though he rarely saw the battlefield, instead letting his underlings carry out his orders. His first appearance was in Battle Aboard the St. Anne, showing to have a Persian as his "top cat" over Meowth, and talking to Jessie, James, and Meowth through a TV screen. His face always remained hidden in the shadows, usually with only his mouth visible. In Island of the Giant Pokémon, it was revealed that he owns the theme park Pokémon Land, and the giant mechanical Pokémon in it. He was not happy to hear that it had been destroyed. He later reappeared in The Breeding Center Secret, where he checked on the progress of Butch and Cassidy's breeding center scam. He then congratulated them for their work and said he would choose out of the stolen Pokémon later.
Up until his appearance in The Battle of the Badge, his voice was altered with a vocoder effect, masking his identity. It can be inferred that they were trying to imitate the games, as in Generation I it is not outright revealed that Giovanni, the Team Rocket boss, is the Viridian Gym Leader. As this episode corresponds to the point at which players of the games would discover that the two were the same, Giovanni finally stepped out of the shadows, revealing his face during a Gym battle against Gary Oak, and eventually utterly defeating him using Mewtwo.
Unexplained events in the episode (other than that the events in question necessitated the use of Mewtwo) caused Giovanni to abdicate his position as the Viridian Gym Leader, handing the Earth Badge to the Team Rocket trio that constantly follows Ash Ketchum (although his orders implied that he wanted the trio to defend the Gym from a possible attack). Through a combination of their own incompetence and Ash's willpower to win the Earth Badge, the Viridian Gym was destroyed at the end of the episode. Due to this, and perhaps other circumstances, Giovanni permanently resigned as Viridian's Gym Leader, as Agatha of the Kanto Elite Four had taken over the Gym temporarily when Ash next returned to Viridian City after his journey in Hoenn.
During his position as a Gym Leader, Giovanni appeared not to care for his Pokémon (aside from Persian), as they were all locked away in cages when not used for a Gym battle.
His next appearance was in It's Mr. Mime Time, where he was seen scolding Jessie, James, and Meowth on their failures and told them to bring rare Pokémon. Afterwards, he said that they'd never find a Pokémon as rare as Mewtwo. In Showdown at the Po-ké Corral, Giovanni's building was blown up by Mewtwo. He and his Persian survived the explosion; and he angrily told Jessie, James, and Meowth to do their job (ironically, they were about to quit).
In The Evolution Solution, Giovanni was on vacation at a beach resort in order to relieve the stress of his headquarters being destroyed and Mewtwo escaping. He also gave Jessie, James, and Meowth an assignment to break into the laboratory of Professor Westwood and steal information from it. He later appeared in A Scare in the Air, claiming that he was assigning Jessie, James, and Meowth to Team Rocket's elite dirigible division. In reality, he had enough of their failures and assigned them to an old, unreliable blimp that he hopes will crash so that he can collect its insurance policy, the trio's survival not concerning him.
Giovanni appeared near the beginning of Mewtwo Strikes Back, as he was the one who had Dr. Fuji clone Mewtwo for him. After Mewtwo destroyed the lab, Giovanni told Mewtwo that he saw him as a valuable partner, putting armor on Mewtwo and using him to defeat Trainers in Gym battles (including Gary's Nidoking and Arcanine, as seen in the anime) and help Team Rocket in their attempts to steal Pokémon. Eventually, Mewtwo confronted Giovanni about its treatment and Giovanni admitted that he didn't see Mewtwo as a partner but as a servant. This enraged Mewtwo and it was this incident which drove it to destroy Giovanni's base, allowing it to escape.
Giovanni was the main antagonist in Mewtwo Returns, where he sought out Mewtwo, who by this time was living in peace with the cloned Pokémon at Mount Quena. Once Giovanni discovered it, he tried to recapture it by threatening to use Mewtwo's cloned Pokémon friends in their experiments, experiments that he also claimed would certainly result in their death. He used two machines to try to make Mewtwo submit to his will, but though Mewtwo stepped into the orb, it was still unwilling to serve Giovanni, threatening to destroy his body first. Ash and the others were able to stop the machines, and it was around this time that they faced off against Giovanni and several Team Rocket soldiers. Their Pokémon fought as a distraction so Ash could get Mewtwo into the spring. Once Mewtwo was healed from its injuries, it moved the spring under the mountain to protect it, and then erased the memories of Giovanni and the other Team Rocket soldiers (excluding Jessie, James, and Meowth) of it, making him forget entirely about Mewtwo. Standing next to Domino and Persian wondering what they were doing, he got the strange feeling as though he had been utterly defeated.
He also made cameo appearances in The Fortune Hunters, where Butch and Cassidy gave him an update on their latest scheme; and Due's and Don'ts, where he begrudgingly accepted Jessie, James, and Meowth back into Team Rocket after their membership had been revoked because of unpaid dues and loans.
In the Advanced Generation series, Giovanni himself played a minor role and the majority of his appearances were restricted to Meowth's boss fantasies. Beginning in A Ruin with a View, Giovanni oversaw Jessie, James, and Meowth's efforts to set up a base of operations in the Hoenn region, with the secret intent of learning about Team Aqua and Team Magma, the villainous teams residing there.
In A Three Team Scheme!, Giovanni contacted the trio for an update on their progress, but was disappointed by their results. They did tell him that they had secured a secret base, however, and Giovanni told them to oversee its completion.
In Pearls are a Spoink's Best Friend, he was informed by the trio that their base got destroyed. This caused him to threaten to send Butch and Cassidy to Hoenn in their place if they continued their failure streak.
In The Scheme Team, Giovanni listened to the trio's final report about their progress in Hoenn, where they claimed Team Aqua and Team Magma disbanded because of their efforts. Though he didn't believe them, he gave the trio a new assignment and pogo sticks as new equipment.
In the Diamond & Pearl series, much like Advanced Generation before, Giovanni's presence and role were minor and a majority of his appearances were restricted to Meowth's boss fantasies. When Team Rocket called him from Sinnoh, Giovanni hastily and un-enthusiastically approved the trio's plan to set up a new Team Rocket base in Two Degrees of Separation!.
In The Thief That Keeps on Thieving!, Giovanni was in his office when two grunts informed him about a special delivery from Sinnoh; the trio had sent him a Yanma. After learning they had actually received a supply of Yanma, he sent it back to the trio.
In Memories are Made of Bliss!, Giovanni was finally impressed with the trio when they claimed to be behind the defeat of Team Galactic. He subsequently allowed his secretary, Matori, to recruit the trio for an important mission.
In the Best Wishes series, Giovanni took on a far more significant and antagonistic role than before, now being in regular contact with Jessie, James, and Meowth and assigning them on various missions throughout the Unova region. His outfit changed from his regular orange business suit to a darker, more militaristic suit. He often appeared alongside Matori, who helped him give orders to Jessie, James, and Meowth. Giovanni traveled to Unova in A Venipede Stampede! in order to collect the Meteonite. He was set to appear again in two following episodes, where he would use the threat of the Meteonite's disaster. This would have created power as a means of him extorting control over the Unova region from a gathering of elite business-people and politicians at a party in Castelia City, only for the Meteonite to be swiped by Team Plasma. However, these episodes never aired. He did not make any more appearances for a long time afterward, with Matori explaining that he was too busy to be in regular contact with Jessie, James, and Meowth anymore. During this time, his role as the trio's leader was filled by Dr. Zager.
After a long absence, Giovanni returned in Unrest at the Nursery!, making a brief appearance in his office. He then appeared in Meloetta and the Undersea Temple!, spearheading Team Rocket's Operation Tempest, a mission to capture Meloetta and use it to take control of Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus to conquer Unova. For the first time in the history of the series, he battled Ash directly, with Persian defeating Pikachu. He then captured Ash and Pikachu so Meloetta would have no choice but to go with him. They all went to the ruins in preparation for the next stage of the mission, using Meloetta's song to summon the Reveal Glass in the temple. In the beginning of Unova's Survival Crisis!, he used the Reveal Glass to summon the Forces of Nature and transform them into their Therian Formes before setting them against Ash, Iris, Cilan, Ridley, and Cynthia. However, during the battle, Meloetta was dislodged from the mechanism controlling the trio's power. After looking directly into the Reveal Glass, Giovanni became possessed by the power and went insane, declaring against his followers' wishes that he would instead destroy Unova. With the power of the Forces of Nature, he began freezing the land in ice, but he was saved from the possession by Jessie, James, and Meowth. On Dr. Zager's advisement, he then ordered a full retreat from the Unova region. He was last seen flying off in his airplane to return to Kanto with Jessie, James, Meowth, and Dr. Zager, contemplating how his worst instincts nearly brought about his own end.
In Farewell, Unova! Setting Sail for New Adventures!, Giovanni congratulated Jessie, James, and Meowth on their good work in defeating Team Plasma before telling them to continue doing their best for Team Rocket.
Giovanni appeared in The Dream Continues! alongside Matori with a new outfit, a dark business suit. After again praising Jessie, James, and Meowth for defeating Team Plasma, he wanted to know what they had accomplished since then. With Jessie and James having nothing to show for their time, Meowth quickly improvised and claimed that the Woobat, Frillish, Yamask, and Amoonguss Jessie and James had used in Unova were for him, and he accepted them.
In the XY series, Giovanni's role was relegated to the Team Rocket trio's benefactor during their assignments in the Kalos region. He appeared in A Battle of Aerial Mobility!, where he told the trio to work hard in Kalos. In Heroes — Friend and Faux Alike!, Jessie and James reported their progress in capturing Pokémon with their obtaining of Inkay and Pumpkaboo. Pleased with their report, Giovanni told them to keep up their work.
In An Explosive Operation!, the trio contacted Giovanni to tell him of their latest activity. They told him of an organization wearing orange suits, which he was already familiar with, and of the existence of Squishy. He became alarmed after learning said organization could hinder Team Rocket, and ordered the trio to investigate them. Later, after fighting with Team Flare, the trio contacted him again to tell him that another Zygarde Core transformed into a much more powerful form. Intrigued by this, Giovanni assigned them a mission to claim Zygarde's power for Team Rocket.
In Battling with a Clean Slate!, Giovanni received information on Team Flare's demise, and was visibly pleased upon being told by the trio that it was all thanks to their actions. He asked them to prepare a detailed report on the matter.
In Till We Compete Again!, the trio sent him a video of their role in the Team Flare incident, in which they made it appear as if they had a larger role. He congratulated them on their success in Kalos, and ordered them to return to Team Rocket HQ.
In the Sun & Moon series, much like XY before, Giovanni primarily served as the trio's benefactor during their assignments in the Alola region, though his appearances were more frequent. He appeared in a flashback during Loading the Dex!, where it was revealed that he had sent Jessie, James, and Meowth to Alola in order to capture the rare Pokémon that inhabit the region. He had another new outfit, a variation of the dark business suit.
Giovanni appeared again in The Sun, the Scare, the Secret Lair! during an argument the trio were having with Matori over their lack of reports on their activity in Alola. They immediately fell into line upon seeing him and showed him Mimikyu, as well as Bewear, who they lied about having captured. Though he was initially skeptical of their claims while examining data presented to him by Matori, he ultimately praised them and told them to continue doing well for Team Rocket.
In Why Not Give Me a Z-Ring Sometime?, Giovanni informed the trio that they can acquire a Z-Ring from the Ula'ula Island Kahuna Nanu, an old acquaintance of his. In Tough Guy Trials!, he phoned Nanu. After expressing surprise that Nanu had become both a police officer and an Island Kahuna, he asked for information about the "Blinding One", though Nanu lied and claimed to know nothing. When Ash arrived to see Nanu, he hung up on Giovanni.
In Filling the Light with Darkness!, Giovanni contacted Matori and Gozu as they approached Alola by helicopter for a mission. Matori informed him that a small Ultra Wormhole had opened in Alola, meaning that their target could appear. Giovanni asked her if their target could be the "Blinding One", and Matori responded that finding out the answer was the purpose of her mission. He replied that he had high expectations of her.
The first time Giovanni had been seen in battle was in The Battle of the Badge. He used powerful Pokémon against Gary but later left the Gym to deal with an unexplained emergency, leaving Ash to battle Jessie. By the time Ash returned from Hoenn, Agatha was in charge of the Gym until a new Leader could be found. Giovanni's reasons for leaving it have not been explained. In Meloetta and the Undersea Temple!, Giovanni finally confronted Ash in a battle and won easily.
Despite being feared by Jessie, James and Meowth, he usually displays a very calm demeanor, even in battle. In spite of the trio's countless failures, he did trust them to infiltrate the Unova region alone and to lead Operation Tempest which was described as the biggest mission in Team Rocket history. Overall, beginning in the Best Wishes series, Giovanni trusts the trio far more than he did in previous series, and now has faith in them to accomplish Team Rocket's goals. This faith has been reinforced over time by the trio's successful encounters against Team Plasma and Team Flare, and Giovanni now encourages them to do good work for Team Rocket when they contact him instead of scolding them for their failures.
Although he is often seen stroking his Persian, he keeps the rest of his Pokémon in cages and stated to Mewtwo that they could never been seen as equals, as the latter was created artificially by humans. Although calm and cool, Giovanni is truly evil and ruthless, threatening to kill Mewtwo's clones if the Legendary Pokémon didn't obey him in Mewtwo Returns and threatening to kill Ash and Pikachu if Meloetta didn't surrender in Meloetta and the Undersea Temple!. Immediately following the failure of Operation Tempest, Giovanni calmly ordered a retreat, showing logic rather than recklessness.
Very little is known about his past in any timeline; he is generally shrouded in mystery. The Birth of Mewtwo reveals that his mother was the head of Team Rocket before him. However, this is presumed to be canon in the anime timeline only, as the games have no precedent for this. The radio drama revealed that Giovanni holds his mother in high regard. It is revealed in the Sun & Moon series that he has personal ties with Nanu, an Alolan police officer, though the exact nature of their relationship remains unclear at this time.
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| Golem was first seen in its cage while Giovanni went to see Mewtwo. It was the first Pokémon that Giovanni used in his Gym battle with Gary, sending it against Gary's Nidoking. The Megaton Pokémon was easily defeated.
Golem's only known move is Tackle.
|Debut||The Battle of the Badge|
| Giovanni used his Kingler in his Gym battle with Gary, sending it to battle against Gary's Nidoking. Gary, however, quickly withdrew his Pokémon and called out Arcanine. Despite having a type advantage, Kingler proved to be no match for the Legendary Pokémon, and was finally taken out by Arcanine's Fire Blast.
Kingler was also later loaned to Jessie for Ash's Gym battle. She used it to battle against Bulbasaur, but lost, although not before dealing heavy damage to Bulbasaur with its Bubble attack, and by consequence, Ash experienced its pain.
Giovanni also has a second Kingler, which was in its cage when Giovanni went to see Mewtwo.
|Debut||The Battle of the Badge|
| Giovanni loaned his Machamp to Jessie for her Gym battle against Ash. It battled against Ash's Squirtle, but lost. However, beforehand, it managed to deal heavy damage to Squirtle with its Karate Chop attack, and by consequence, Ash experienced its pain.
Machamp's only known move is Karate Chop.
|Debut||The Battle of the Badge|
| Giovanni loaned his Rhydon to Jessie for Ash's Gym battle. It was defeated by Ash's Pidgeotto's Double-Edge.
None of Rhydon's moves are known.
|Debut||The Battle of the Badge|
| Nothing was known about Giovanni's Cloyster, as it was briefly seen in a water tank in Viridian Gym's basement.
None of Cloyster's moves are known.
|Debut||The Battle of the Badge|
While controlling Mewtwo, Giovanni used its overwhelming Psychic powers to capture new Pokémon for Team Rocket and in his Gym battles, where it defeated all of his challengers effortlessly. When Mewtwo discovered Giovanni's real intentions for it, Mewtwo broke out of his bonds and escaped.
|Debut||The Battle of the Badge|
Meloetta was the key to Team Rocket's "Operation Tempest," and was attacked several times by the Team Rocket trio before finally being captured by Giovanni. He then used it to open a seal on the Abyssal Ruins, summoning the Reveal Glass.
|Debut||Meloetta and the Undersea Temple!|
Landorus was summoned by Giovanni with Meloetta and the Reveal Glass. By using the Reveal Glass, Giovanni forced Landorus to transform into his Therian Forme, where he wreaked havoc by freezing a nearby town. After Giovanni had abandoned him, Meloetta calmed Landorus down with its singing.
|Debut||Unova's Survival Crisis!|
Tornadus was summoned by Giovanni with Meloetta and the Reveal Glass. By using the Reveal Glass, Giovanni forced Tornadus to transform into his Therian Forme, where he wreaked havoc by freezing a nearby town. After Giovanni had abandoned him, Meloetta calmed Tornadus down with its singing.
|Debut||Unova's Survival Crisis!|
Thundurus was summoned by Giovanni with Meloetta and the Reveal Glass. By using the Reveal Glass, Giovanni forced Thundurus to transform into his Therian Forme, where he wreaked havoc by freezing a nearby town. During the battle, Pikachu absorbed some of his electricity, greatly powering up his Electro Ball. After Giovanni had abandoned him, Meloetta calmed Thundurus down with its singing.
|Debut||Unova's Survival Crisis!|
In The Battle of the Badge, Team Rocket found Togepi after it got separated from Misty. The trio showed Togepi to Giovanni but since he didn't think it was capable of doing anything for Team Rocket, Togepi was able to walk out unawares after Persian when the trio and Giovanni were busy having a discussion.
|Debut||Who Gets To Keep Togepi?|
Delibird gave Giovanni a Yanma that Jessie caught after Tyler weakened her. One of the grunts of Team Rocket mentioned that they have several Yanma and as such, Giovanni didn't accept the offer and Delibird returned Yanma back to Jessie.
|Debut||The Thief That Keeps On Thieving!|
| Official artwork from the
Best Wishes series
| Official artwork from the
| Official artwork from the|
Sun & Moon series
In the manga
In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga
Giovanni makes a cameo appearance in Ash vs. Gary, where it is revealed that the giant Slowpoke that Ash and Gary attempted to catch was in fact created by Team Rocket. He reveals that he intended to use its calming abilities to take over the world by having it make his enemies lose their will to fight. The plan instead backfired on him, the scientists who created the giant Slowpoke soon found themselves losing their will to dominate anything. As he bangs his head in anger over the fact that he defeated himself, he finds that recollecting about the giant Slowpoke caused his own anger to fade away.
Persian was seen watching its owner as his anger fades away from remembering the giant Slowpoke that Team Rocket's scientists created.
|Debut||Ash vs. Gary|
In the movie adaptations
Giovanni appeared in Mewtwo Strikes Back!.
He also appeared in Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution.
In other media
Giovanni is the main antagonist of Pokémon Live!. In this show, he offers the exclusive Diamond Badge to anyone who can defeat him. However, this is actually part of a plot to create the ultimate Pokémon, the robotic MechaMew2, which can learn any attack used against it. At the beginning of the story, the only moves MechaMew2 is missing are Thunder Shock and Thunderbolt. He orders Jessie, James and Meowth to capture Ash's Pikachu in order to complete his plan, and later abducts Professor Oak and Delia as well to prevent their interference.
When Giovanni comes face-to-face with Ash in the show's climax, MechaMew2 completes its set of every known move. However, before he can fulfill his plan to take over the world, the real Mewtwo appears and uses an attack that teaches MechaMew2 the value of love and goodness. MechaMew2 rebels against Giovanni and seizes him by the neck before carrying out a Self-Destruct attack, sealing Giovanni's defeat.
Giovanni was played by Darren Dunstan.
- In Pokémon Live!, it is stated that he dated Delia Ketchum, though this is both unmentioned and unconfirmed in the anime.
- In the English dub, Giovanni is the first character to regain his original voice actor following the voice actor switch.
- Giovanni is the only villainous team leader to date to make an appearance in a Pokémon movie.
- Giovanni is also the only villainous team leader to have appeared in more than one series of the anime.
- Giovanni is the only Gym Leader in the anime to have used a Legendary Pokémon in a Gym battle.
- Giovanni is the only Gym Leader from Generation I whom Ash hasn't battled as a Gym Leader.
|Japanese||サカキ Sakaki||Sakaki (榊) is a sacred tree in Shinto which resembles the Earth Badge. Also from 坂/阪 saka, slope.|
| English, French, German,
|Giovanni|| From Italian Giovanni, equivalent to John, gift from God; gio rhymes with geo, from Greek γῆ gē, earth.|
May also be a play on his resemblance to a Mafia boss in control of his mob.
|Korean||비주기 Bijugi||From 비쭈기나무 Bijjuginamu (Sakaki).|
|Chinese (Mandarin)|| 坂木 Bǎnmù*
| From 坂木/阪木 Sakaki, an alternative way of writing the name. 坂 contains the radical 土 tǔ (earth).|
坂/阪 (slope) is also a homophone to 板 of 老板 lǎobǎn (boss).
|Chinese (Cantonese)||沙加 Sāgā||Partial transliteration of Sakaki. Also contains 沙 sā (sand).|
|Russian||Джованни Dzhovanni||Transcription of English name|
|Members of Team Rocket|
|Bosses:|| Giovanni (anime • Adventures • Pocket Monsters)|
|Executives:|| Archer • Ariana • Petrel • Proton|
|| Jessie, James, & Meowth (JJM)|
Koga, Lt. Surge, & Sabrina (Triad*)
Ken, Al, & Harry (TRET)*
Carr, Sird*, & Orm (T3B*)
|Duos:||Butch & Cassidy*• Attila & Hun* • Annie & Oakley*|
|| Executives • Scientists • Grunts • Rocket Brothers • Gideon • Dr. Fuji*|
Domino* • Iron-Masked Marauder* • Dr. Namba* • Sebastian*
Rocket Scout* • Wendy* • Tyson* • Jubei* • Viper* • Christopher*
Matori* • Pierce* • Dr. Zager* • Gozu* • Miyamoto* • Mondo*
Kaede* • Blaine*
|This article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.|