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Villainous teams

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Villainous teams (English: Team ~; Japanese: -団 -dan) are criminal organizations which form the core of the storyline of Pokémon games. There are eleven as of Generation V: Team Rocket, found in Generation I, Generation II and the remakes of both generations; Team Aqua and Team Magma, found in the Generation III main games, Cipher and Team Snagem, found in the GameCube games; Team Galactic, found in the Generation IV main games; the Go-Rock Squad, of Pokémon Ranger; and Teams Dim Sun and Debonairs, of Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, the Pokémon Pinchers of Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, and Team Plasma of the Unova Region. Whatever their goals are in their respective games, the one thing they all have in common is that they achieve their results through the misuse of Pokémon (sans Team Plasma, who treat Pokémon as their friends).

Comparisons

Whereas Team Rocket has vague goals and is Mafia-like (or perhaps Yakuza-like, considering the Japanese background), Team Aqua and Team Magma have clear goals and are cult-like, fanatically believing that achieving their goals will bring about the best interests of the people of the world. Cipher and Team Snagem work together to steal Pokémon from others and create Shadow Pokémon from them, while the leader of Team Galactic wishes to recreate the universe in his image with the powers of Dialga and/or Palkia. The Go-Rock Squad plan to take over the Pokémon Rangers by capturing powerful Pokémon, making them cause disasters, then commanding the Pokémon to stop by using Stylers so they will be regarded as heroes. Team Dim Sun plans on using Pokémon to make energy for Altru Inc. and Almia. Each has an iconic leader - Giovanni (later missing), Archie, Maxie, Evice and Greevil, Gonzap, Cyrus, Gordor, and Blake Hall respectively.

Team Rocket had extensive presence in Generation I, known activities include running the Celadon Game Corner, invading Silph Co., and murdering at least one Pokémon. Even in the anime, where law enforcement officers are clearly present, Team Rocket's activities continue unhindered, as if they were above the law.

In contrast, Team Aqua and Team Magma's activities are at extremes: simple theft: stealing a Pokémon, a meteorite, and one submarine; and causing catastrophes: halting the activity of a volcano and causing droughts and heavy rains by awakening Groudon and Kyogre, while Cipher steals countless Pokémon and closes their hearts artificially to make them into fighting machines.

Similarly to Team Rocket, Team Galactic appears to run the Veilstone Game Corner. However, unlike the other teams, Team Galactic has several facilities. A warehouse and the headquarters are both in Veilstone City, and another building is located in Eterna City. Team Galactic is far more successful than the other teams in accomplishing their goals, as they have captured Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf, created the Red Chain, and temporarily capture Dialga or Palkia until the player character and the lake guardians (or, in Platinum, Giratina) foils them.

The above refers to the games; however, there is a darker interpretation of the teams in the manga Pokémon Adventures.

Trademark characteristics

Team Rocket

Team Rocket grunts

Team Rocket members wear black costumes and have a red "R" as their crest. Many variations of the costume have been seen. Their leader is Giovanni.

In the games

In Generation I, Team Rocket often worked to gain money, through methods such as burglary and selling fossils. Their plans culminated in a hostile takeover of the Silph Corporation building in Saffron City. The gang based their operations in the hidden basement of Celadon's Game Corner.

Initially, Giovanni was the leader of the Viridian Gym. After being defeated by Red, he resigned his position and disappeared to train. Team Rocket was disbanded at this time, but isolated groups still operated in the Sevii Islands until they were made aware of Giovanni's departure.

For three years, Team Rocket appeared to be gone completely. However, an underground movement, led by executives from the Sevii Islands, developed in the Johto region. As usual, it began with crimes committed to earn money (such as cutting off Slowpoke tails and selling them at outrageous prices).

As the Johto Team Rocket grew in size, scientists within the group studied radio waves and how they might be used to control Pokémon. From a former ninja base in Mahogany Town, their experiments affected the Magikarp at the Lake of Rage, causing the Pokémon to evolve unnaturally. Although the experiment was stopped by Lance, Team Rocket soon took over the Goldenrod Radio Tower, intending to use its transmitter to affect Pokémon nationwide.

Before putting their plan into action, however, Team Rocket used the tower to instead attempt to contact Giovanni, hoping he would hear their message and come back to lead. This gave Ethan/Lyra enough time to infiltrate the besieged Goldenrod and defeat Team Rocket's executives, who again disbanded the group. Meanwhile, a time traveling Ethan/Lyra from the future fights Giovanni while the other watches the fight. He then vanishes after the fight and Ethan and Lyra return to their time.

In the anime

Team Rocket has appeared in almost every episode since the second, usually as the bumbling trio Jessie, James, and Meowth, though at times Giovanni as well as other members, such as Butch and Cassidy, will appear.

In the manga

Pokémon Adventures

Team Rocket first appear in Pokémon Adventures when Red and Blue are pursuing Mew in Viridian Forest. They are led by Giovanni, who is portrayed in a much more sinister light than in the anime or games, as with Team Rocket on a whole. Contrary to the games and anime, who generally depict Gym Leaders as valiant, with a few exceptions, in the Red Arc, the three most prominent members of Team Rocket, collectively referred to as the Team Rocket Triad, are Koga, Sabrina and Lt. Surge. Like the other villainous trios, two members of the Team Rocket Triad (Sabrina and Lt. Surge) are true to their original calling (though as opposed to the other villainous trios, for them it is being Gym Leaders, not being members of their Team), while one goes his own way, that being Koga. For a short time, Blaine too works for Team Rocket, making 5 out of the 8 Kanto Leaders Rocket affiliated at some point in their life.

As in the games, Giovanni later disbands Team Rocket and shuns the Team Rocket Triad, and the four of them go their separate ways. Team Rocket make a brief comeback aboard the S.S. Aqua, but they are on the whole unsuccessful. Later, however, Pryce, under the guise of the Masked Man, reforms Team Rocket for his own uses. At this point his most prominent members are Carl, Sham, Karen and Will. Pryce plans to use Team Rocket to gain control of Lugia, Ho-Oh and eventually Celebi, and through that control time in order to save his Lapras's parents. After Gold convinces him to cease his villainous ways, he too disbands Team Rocket, and they are not seen again in the manga.

In the Fire Red Arc, Giovanni once again reforms Team Rocket, the most notable members now being the three Beasts of Team Rocket. The main aim for Team Rocket is to reunite Giovanni with his son, Silver through use of Deoxys. Like the other villainous trios, two of the Beasts remain true to their original calling (as Rockets), those being Orm and Sird, while the other, Carr, goes his own way. In this arc, Silver is intended to inherit Team Rocket, but he instead shuns it. It is unclear what Team Rocket's fate are at the end of this arc, but with the members in disarray, it is most likely that it dissolved.

Team Aqua

They wear blue costumes that look like pirate outfits. They have an skull-and-bones-like "A" as their crest. Their leader is Archie. Team Aqua tries to expand the ocean and awaken Kyogre.

In the games

Team Aqua are the antagonists of Sapphire and Emerald, but they are heroes in Ruby.

In the anime

In the manga

Pokémon Adventures

Team Aqua is lead by Archie. Their principal aim is to gain control of Kyogre and increase the sea in the Hoenn region. There are three Executives, known as the SSS of Team Aqua, which can be considered a parallel not only to the Three Fires of Team Magma, but the Team Rocket Triad and the Three Beasts of Team Rocket. Like the other villainous trios, one member of the SSS of Team Aqua went his own way, but rather than leaving Team Aqua, it was rejoining after being kicked out. Team Aqua and Team Magma are presented more individually in Adventures than in any other medium. Team Aqua seem to have more influence, with Archie holding the position of News Director, but they don't seem to be as well equipped, as shown by the fact that they had no idea what the Orbs were until Amber spied on Team Magma.

Team Magma

They wear red jumpsuit outfits, which have been variously interpreted to look like Ninja costumes or similar to an imp. They have a stylized "M", appearing like a volcano, as their team's signature crest. Their leader is Maxie. Team Magma attempts to wake Groudon and expand the land area of the world.

In the games

Team Magma are the antagonists in Ruby and Emerald, and are heroes in Sapphire.

In the anime

In the manga

Pokémon Adventures

Team Magma is lead by Maxie. Their principal aim is to gain control of Groudon and increase the landmass in the Hoenn region. There are three Executives, known as the Three Fires of Team Magma, which can be considered a parallel not only to the SSS of Team Aqua, but the Team Rocket Triad and the Three Beasts of Team Rocket. Like the other villainous trios, one of the Three Fires of Team Magma goes her own way, in this example, it is Marge, who decides to help Ruby stop Groudon and Kyogre rather than further the cause of Groudon, as the Team's principal aim is. The Three Fires of Team Magma are more distinct from each other than the SSS of Team Aqua, because they all have an individual way of using fire. Marge's is the most straight forward, she simply aims to burn things, Mitch uses smoke to hide his movements and Mack uses heat to cause his victims to hallucinate, oddly, he seems to be able to control these hallucinations. Team Magma and Team Aqua are presented as more individual than they are in any other medium. Team Magma is presented as better equipped in the field of capturing a Legendary Pokémon and using its powers for their own end, as shown by their knowledge and obtainment of the two Orbs, however, they are not as influential, and Archie is able to convince most of Hoenn that Team Magma are the only villains.

Cipher

In the games

In Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness this group aims to turn every Pokémon in the world into Shadow Pokémon. Their leader in Colosseum was Evice and their leader in XD: Gale of Darkness was Greevil.

In the anime

Due to the Orre region not appearing at all in the anime, everything associated with it does not appear as well. Due to the connection between Shadow Pokémon and the Iron-Masked Marauder's Dark Balls, it would not be surprising if this team were based on him.

In the manga

Team Snagem

In the games

In Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD this team tries to steal every Pokémon in the world using their special device, the Snag Machine. In both games, their leader was Gonzap.

In the anime

As above, the Orre region has not appeared in the television series, therefore Team Snagem has not appeared either.

In the manga

Team Galactic

Galactic Grunts wear black and white jumpsuits that vaguely resemble spacesuits and wear their hair in teal bowl cuts. Their leader is Cyrus, who wishes to create a new universe by awakening Dialga or*/and* Palkia. Their team's crest is a stylized letter "G" (Possibly to make it resemble a spiral galaxy). Whereas the other teams usually have large logos on their uniforms, Team Galactic's logos are small, being barely visible on their battle sprites.

In the games

In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, this team's leader (named Cyrus) wishes to recreate the universe in his image with the powers of Dialga or Palkia. In Pokémon Platinum, the leader is still Cyrus, but this time, he tries to summon both Dialga and Palkia to create a world without spirit.

In the anime

Saturn, along with two grunts, appeared in A Secret Sphere of Influence!, though it was just a brief cameo at the end of the episode. Here, they commissioned Team Rocket to steal the Adamant Orb and frame Nando for the crime. At the end, they commented that they did a lousy job at it. This was not revealed until their next appearance, Journey to the Unown!. Saturn tries to locate the Unown and control them using a cube with an Arceus pattern. Cyrus, Mars, and Jupiter later appeared in Losing Its Lustrous and Double Team Turnover! with Saturn.

In the manga

Team Plasma

Artwork of Team Plasma Grunts

Team Plasma is the Villainous team of the Unova region. Their objective is to separate humanity from Pokémon. Their leader is N.

In the games

Team Plasma appears in various locations.

In the anime

Go-Rock Squad

Go-Rock Grunts

In the games

In Pokémon Ranger, this team attempts to capture the legendary beasts with their own version of the Capture Styler.

In the anime

In the manga

In Pokémon Ranger: the Comic, the Go-Rock Quads capture Deoxys and use it against the Rangers Lunick and Solana. They controlled Deoxys by the use of their instruments. The Go-Rock Squad could also change Deoxys's formes with them.

Team Meanies

In the games

In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team, they are the enemy team. They harass the player and their partner many times, including stealing their personal rescue missions and attacking them. Eventually, the player has to rescue one of the members, and the leader of the team asks for help.

In the anime

Team Meanies appeared in the Mystery Dungeon anime short, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Team Go-Getters out of the Gate!. Like in the games, they are the enemy team to Team Go-Getters.

Team Skull

In the games

They are a team of Pokémon in the second pair of Mystery Dungeon games. It is made up of Skuntank, Koffing, and Zubat. They frequently harass the player's team, until Brine Cave, where Skuntank is injured. The two teams finally make up, and Team Skull is never seen again.

In the anime

They also appeared in the anime. They have a minor role.

Team Dim Sun

In the games

Team Dim Sun minions

In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, this team attempts to control all Pokémon in Almia Region. Their head Blake Hall's goal, is to force all the Pokémon in Almia to produce limitless energy for his company, the Altru Inc.

In the anime

They have not appeared in the anime.

In the manga

Phobos Battalion

In the games

Phobos Battalion are the enemies in Pokémon Trozei!. Their goal is to steal Pokémon to use their energy and power up a secret weapon called Phobosphere. Their leader is Baron Phobos.

In the anime

In the manga

Pokémon Pinchers

In the games

The Pokémon Pinchers are a villainous team based in the Oblivia region, appearing in Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs. Their leaders are the Societea, four people who wish to extend their lives with the Golden Armor and rule the world.

In the anime

In the manga