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Time travel is an infrequent theme in the Pokémon franchise and has been depicted in several canons, including the games, the anime, and various manga. In general, stories in which a character travels through time focus on the repercussions of traveling into the past or the future. Usually, the motivation for time traveling comes from the need or desire to change history. Characters who interfere with the timeline will generally notice an altered present upon their return.
Two notable Pokémon possess time travel abilities. These are the Mythical Celebi, which is known as the Time Travel Pokémon and has been shown to physically travel into different time periods, and the Legendary Dialga, the Temporal Pokémon that can travel at will through past and future and has the power to send humans and Pokémon to specific points in time.
In the games
- The Time Capsule is said to send Pokémon back and forth through time to explain how trading works between Generation I and II games.
- The player travels through time via Celebi in HeartGold and SoulSilver. The objective is to battle Giovanni in the past, as well as discovering part of Silver's past.
- In Black 2 and White 2, one of Pokéstar Studios's film series is about time-traveling to the future.
- The plots of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness and Explorers of Sky heavily involve around time-traveling in the Pokémon world.
- The multiplayer missions of Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs take place in various temples in the past of Cocona Village.
In the anime
- May, her Squirtle and Meowth travel through time with via Edna's locket in Time Warp Heals All Wounds. Events in the past directly alter the original timeline.
- Ash, Dawn, Brock, and Sheena travel through time via Dialga in Arceus and the Jewel of Life. Events in the past affect the original timeline, though not immediately, only when Arceus remembers that Ash had rescued it in the past.
- Sam travels through time via Celebi in Celebi: The Voice of the Forest. There, he encounters Ash and his friends. It is unknown if the events in the future and return to the past directly alter the original timeline, but it is hinted that it might not have and these events were already present in the original timeline.
- Ritchie travels through time via Celebi in Celebi and Joy!. Events in the past directly alter the original timeline.
- Calista travels through time via Baltoy and an alter in Me, Myself and Time. It's also a case of meeting one's younger self. It is unknown if the events in the past directly alter the original timeline.
- Ferris travels through time via a portal in a two-part episode A Restoration Confrontation!. It is also a case of arriving in the far distant past as opposed to the recent past. It is unknown if the events in the past directly alter the original timeline.
- Ash, Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie travel through time via Rotom and an elevator in Rotom's Wish!. Events in the past directly alter the original timeline.
In the manga
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
- The Masked Man desired Celebi's time-traveling ability to reunite himself with his two dead Pokémon. He wound up disappearing into Celebi's time vortex.
- Ruby's Celebi would later alter the events of the final battle, reviving both Norman and Steven who had died during the battle in the fourth chapter and Courtney who died in the third.
In the Pokémon Gold & Silver: The Golden Boys manga
- Eusine used Bill's Time Capsule to send his Pikachu to the past, where it became friends with Gold. Later, when the appearance of the Black Tyranitar threatened to alter the future, Pikachu almost vanished.