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"Breaking the fourth wall" is a term that refers to a point where a character acknowledges that he or she is in a television show, and therefore, fictional. This term is different from an aside, where a character will seemingly detach for a moment to say something to the audience, then continue on as if nothing had happened.
There are several ways of breaking the fourth wall. They include referring to events that happened in said episode, stopping someone from performing a violent act or swearing by saying something along the lines of it being a children's show, respoding to a character who is not physically present (ie, the narrator), or getting people to buy merchandise of the subject in question.
In the anime
In the anime, the fourth wall has been broken numerous times. The most common characters to do this are Team Rocket.
Episodes where the fourth wall is broken
- School of Hard Knocks: In trying to break up an argument between Ash and Misty, Brock comments that they're running late and have to start the show. This may be the first time the fourth wall is broken.
- Pokémon Scent-sation: Meowth complains that Gloom's horrible stench must've melted his nose from his face. He then remembers and points out to the audience that the show's cartoonists never gave him one.
- Hypno's Naptime: Jessie remarks their early arrival in the episode is based on the half hour time constraint involving the show.
- The Song of Jigglypuff: At the end of Team Rocket's theme song, they sing a line that says that they'll be the stars of the cartoon.
- Beach Blank-Out Blastoise: When Jigglypuff draws on Misty's face she says she looks like a cartoon character, when she really is one.
- The Crystal Onix: Jessie acknowledges the writers' existence.
- Wherefore Art Thou, Pokémon?: Team Rocket acknowledges the narrator's existence.
- As Clear as Crystal: Jessie tells James to explain their mecha to the "viewing audience."
- May's Egg-Cellent Adventure: Meowth comments that James is giving him a pain, but he can't say where because there are kids watching the show.
- New Plot, Odd Lot!: At the end, Jessie takes over the narrator saying "Stay tuned!". This may reveal that Jessie knows about the narrator's existence.
- Gathering The Gang of Four: Team Rocket says they have waited nine seasons to capture Pikachu. Pokémon: Battle Frontier, is the ninth season of the anime, which this episode takes place in.
- Home Is Where the Start Is!: Meowth breaks the fourth wall when James asks upon blasting off if Team Rocket will ever learn. Meowth responds that they'll find out next season
- Two Degrees of Separation: It is possible that Paul knows of the narrator's existance, as when he appears, he says: "Hmph! Well, if it was that easy! Who needs that thing?"
- Once There Were Greenfields: Jessie breaks the fourth wall when she says to start up the season in style with the old get-up and go strategy. That is the second episode of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Battle Dimension.
Movies where the fourth wall is broken
- The Power of One: Slowking told Team Rocket that lots of people saw them risk their lives to save the world, then all four of them look at the audience and say hi. Earlier, when Team Rocket is saying the motto for the first time, Ash mentions catching the motto on video.
- Spell of the Unown: Team Rocket mentions being in show business near the end of the movie. Meowth also asks Jessie earlier in the movie whether or not she thinks they will get a bigger part in the next one. Ironically, they only had minor cameos in that movie.
- Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea: The wall is broken twice with Meowth commenting that Diamond and Pearl "good names for games" and later says, "let's just get through this season first." which are obviously references to the games and tenth season both titled Diamond and Pearl.