Gotta catch 'em all!
- For other uses, see Gotta catch 'em all! (disambiguation).
"Gotta catch 'em all!" is the English slogan of the Pokémon franchise, including the English language Pokémon video games. The Japanese equivalent is "Get Pokémon!" (Japanese: ポケモンゲットだぜー！ Pokémon get da ze~!, also spelt ポケモンＧＥＴだぜー！)
The slogan "Gotta catch 'em all!" was created by Norman J. Grossfeld, the president of 4Kids Productions (a former subsidiary of 4Kids Entertainment) from 1994 to 2010. He introduced the slogan, along with three or four alternatives, during a pitch meeting with representatives from Nintendo, Hasbro, and 4Kids Entertainment (then known as Leisure Concepts, Inc.). According to Grossfeld, during the meeting, one lawyer from either Nintendo or Hasbro rejected the slogan due to concerns over it being too declarative, but they were overruled as the other participants in the meeting liked "Gotta catch 'em all!" the best. The participants had also considered the slogan "Catch 'em if you can", one of Grossfeld's alternative suggestions. Grossfeld even had a song written that incorporated the "Catch 'em if you can" slogan that ultimately went unused.
In the core series games
The first pair of Pokémon games released in North America, Pokémon Red and Blue, were labeled with the catchphrase below the Pokémon logo. Their sequels, Pokémon Gold and Silver, and later, Pokémon Crystal, had the catchphrase in the same position. Pokémon Yellow was the only exception, instead advertising that it was the "Special Pikachu Edition" of the game below the logo.
The slogan was taken out of the box art for Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, although pre-release versions of the box art indicate that the slogan was initially intended to be kept, but was dropped sometime between January 2003 and March 2003. The slogan has not reappeared in any Pokémon game box art since, but has appeared in promotional materials such as the trailers for Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and Pokémon X and Y.
In the spin-off games
Pokémon Trading Card Game
In Pokémon Trading Card Game, Hood in the Lightning Club references this slogan by saying: "Got all the Legendary Pokémon cards? Yeah! Gotta catch 'em all!(TM)" Additionally, one of the decks found in the Auto Deck Machine is named Replace 'Em All Deck. Both instances were added in the English localization; they are not seen in the Japanese original text.
Pokémon Play It! series
In the "What's a Pokémon?" lesson from both Pokémon Play It! and Pokémon Play It! Version 2, Julie says this about the Trading Card Game: "There are seven symbols and seven types of Pokémon. Catch 'em all!".
The slogan of PokéROM is "Gotta learn 'em all!".
Pokémon Project Studio
The slogan of Pokémon Project Studio Red and Blue is "Gotta make 'em all!".
In the anime
The most noticeable reference to the catchphrase in the anime was introduced in the first episode by the main protagonist, Ash Ketchum, himself. Promising that he would catch all of the Pokémon in the world, Ash set off on his journey. However, up to the current point in the anime, Ash has only progressed to 94 captures of Pokémon, just over 10% of the total number of Pokémon known as of Generation VIII. Moreover, Ash does not at all focus on catching as many species as he can; he even expresses distaste for Gary's training method of "catching them all". A future character, Goh, would make catching every Pokémon and completing his Pokédex one of his goals. The motto also seems to be a pun for Pokémon photographers, as Robert's grandfather "caught them all" and Todd "catches" Pokémon.
The reference was used as the title of the penultimate episode of the original series, Gotta Catch Ya Later!. In this episode, both Brock and Misty return to Kanto, leaving Ash to head to the Hoenn region alone.
The slogan was referenced in the English-language version of Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys; Brock says the phrase when collecting food from a haywire robotic vending machine during a power outage (with "them all", in this instance, being hot dogs).
The "Gotta catch 'em all!" phrase appears in the opening animation for Pokémon Chronicles and is also seen in the Who's That Pokémon? segment in Pokémon the Series: XY. However, in certain international versions, the line is replaced with respective Pokémon the Series: XY localized logos.
This phrase is featured in the original opening theme, as well as in the chorus of the Pokérap. It is also found in the theme for The Johto Journeys, the anime's third season. The lyrics include, in reference to the Pokémon introduced in Gold and Silver, that "you still gotta catch 'em all!". A new, remixed version of the original theme was used as the opening for the first season of Pokémon the Series: XY.
The Pokérap GS uses the catchphrase quite prominently.
The line is referenced in the song Can't Stop (Catchin' 'Em All) several times.
In the manga
The slogan for the 1999 Burger King promotional Pokémon toys was "Gotta catch 'em here!", a reference to the franchise's slogan.
Retirement and return
The slogan was temporarily retired from the Pokémon games around 2003, with the release of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. Instead of the now-familiar phrase appearing below the Pokémon logo, the game's version name appeared there. This held true for the remaining games of Generation III, and would later prove to be the standard for subsequent generations with the release of the Generation IV games, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. However, the slogan is still used in certain promotional materials for those games.
The retirement was possibly due to the large amount of Pokémon now required to capture to complete the National Pokédex, 386 at the time the slogan was retired. It may as well have been due to the incompatibility between the Generation II and Generation III games, as all of the Pokémon known as of the third generation were not available between Ruby and Sapphire, unlike what had been the case with Red and Blue and Gold and Silver.
The slogan may also have been taken out of use since it was a target of critics of the game and franchise (with some saying the phrase was an equivalent to, "Gotta buy 'em all").
An English-language Diamond and Pearl commercial was released that features the phrase in the United States. It is also used as the slogan for the Catch That Pokémon Show in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. This did not, however, mean that the slogan made a permanent return, rather it was just a reference to the then defunct slogan.
On the Pokémon Black and White official website, the slogan is referenced in the "Pokémon" section of the site. A link to the new Pokémon is labeled with the phrase "See 'Em All."
On September 14, 2013, the phrase was once again used in a trailer that was accidentally leaked on the Pokémon YouTube channel and advertised a new website called "www.gottacatchemall.com" - a website offering people in the United States a chance to win Pokémon X and Y related prizes in the sweepstakes from September 16 until October 12, 2013. The site required the first name of the user, their respective e-mail address, a username and the code "XY1012" to open. The site scattered various codes around various sites on the internet as "Easter eggs" to unlock Poké Balls on the website, and thus, a "Pokémon, a digital gift, and a chance to win". The site now has a new logo for the phrase "Gotta catch 'em all!". The new logo is now used for all videos on The Pokémon Company International's YouTube channel, along with a Pikachu saying "Pika!". The logo was also used in the Pokémon anime's Who's That Pokémon? segment on Pokémon the Series: XY.
The slogan is alluded to in a promotional video uploaded on January 12, 2023, celebrating the Pokémon franchise having 1008 Pokémon in the National Pokédex. The video ends with the phrase, "Did you catch 'em all?"
In other languages
- Sands, Tara, & Yurko, Steve. "Nor-man's Land with Norman Grossfeld." 4Kids Flashback, Spreaker, 13 Dec 2023. https://www.4kidsflashback.com/episodes/4kids-normans-land, 6:02–7:57.
- Pokémon Diamond and Pearl 2007 commercial
- "One Thousand Pokémon! 🥳" The Official Pokémon YouTube channel. YouTube.