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Breaking the fourth wall

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"Breaking the fourth wall" refers to a point at which a character acknowledges that he or she is fictional. In the Pokémon franchise several characters appear to break the "fourth wall" in the anime, manga, and in the games.

There are several ways of breaking the fourth wall; example include when characters refer to a particular episode or season, when characters stop others from performing an occult or criminal act by referring to the fact that it is a "children's show", when characters respond to a real world person who is not physically present (such as the narrator), or when characters talk to the viewer or player directly rather than to their in-game avatar.

In the anime

In the anime, the fourth wall has been broken numerous times. Most of these examples are from the English dub. The most common characters to do this are Team Rocket.

Original series

Episode Details
School of Hard Knocks While breaking up an argument between Ash and Misty, Brock comments that they're running late and have to start the show.
Mystery at the Lighthouse The narrator asks Ash to name his Pokémon, which Ash does.
Electric Shock Showdown James says "Drat! We wasted this episode cheering the good guys!"
Pokémon Scent-sation Meowth complains that Gloom's horrible stench must have 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 that their early arrival in the episode is based on the half-hour time constraint involving the show.
James asks why they didn't just fly away with the Pokémon from the start after their Mirror scheme fails. Jessie responds they have to fill a half hour.
Misty orders the narrator not to congratulate her for "capturing" her Psyduck.
Sparks Fly for Magnemite When Team Rocket appears with a new mecha without Ash and his friends noticing, Jessie and James introduce their new plan to the audience (Jessie even says, "Tell them, James!"), and Meowth asks who they are talking to.
Dig Those Diglett! Team Rocket mentions that their evolved Pokémon are being shown "for the first time on TV".
Pikachu's Goodbye After Team Rocket finishes their motto, James says, "We'd like to thank all of our fans for their loyalty and support. This victory is for them".
Showdown at Dark City At the end, when the kids were saying good-bye, Ash thought they were asking for his signature, when they were really wanting Pikachu's. Ash answers with "Well, Pikachu IS the star."
The Song of Jigglypuff The last lines of Team Rocket's theme song are, "We want to capture Pikachu we hope to do it soon / and when we do we'll be the new stars of this cartoon!"
So Near, Yet So Farfetch’d When Keith tricked Team Rocket by giving them some Voltorb, Meowth said, "He tricked us twice in one episode."
During the ending, when the narrator credits Psyduck with saving the rest of Misty's Pokémon from Keith, Psyduck, in its own language, happily replies to him.
To Master the Onixpected! When Jessie and James start to say the motto, Meowth uses a remote to fast-forward it.
Pikachu Re-Volts When James gets Butch's name wrong, Butch goes out of his screen split to correct it, meaning he knows it's there.
The Crystal Onix After Team Rocket has ran into Crystal Onix's cave, the screen focuses on Jessie and James catching breath. After a second, Meowth calls, "Hey! Down here! I'm down here!," followed by the camera panning down to him, indicating that Meowth was aware of the screen focusing on Jessie and James instead of him.
When James says that the way how they got out of their own traps is a secret, Jessie supports him by saying, "The writers can't figure it out, either."
Shell Shock! After pointing out the fact that Ash and company are yet again enjoying pleasant, beautiful, tropical weather on the seas, the narrator says, "Announcers never get to have any fun!," thus acknowledging his existence as a narrator.
Wherefore Art Thou, Pokémon? At the end of the episode, Team Rocket responds to the narrator's comment of "All's well that ends well."
Bound For Trouble When Misty tells Ash and Pikachu to come back from the fruit basket, their run at the basket is simply rewound.
Enter The Dragonite Team Rocket acknowledges the existence of a split screen. Jessie also pushes the split screen away.
Viva Las Lapras When Team Rocket states that they were attacked by the pirates, Meowth says "It's flashback time."
The Whistle Stop When the bridge is about to collapse, Meowth says, "We usually don't wash out this early in the episode!"
Fowl Play! While inside Team Rocket's mecha Noctowl, Meowth exclaims, "We're going to capture that colorful Noctowl right after we get back from the next commercial!"
The Stolen Stones While Jessie is escaping via unicycle, she hums along with a few bars of the chase music.
Ring Masters After the narrator introduces Rikishii Town as "an intriguing little village", Misty asks the others where they are. Brock quotes the narrator: "It's an intriguing little village, Misty!"
The Perfect Match James says, "For you folks at home, here's a play-by-play."
The Mystery is History Jessie and Cassidy are aware that there is a split in the screen between the two of them, as they shove it back and forth.
Throwing in the Noctowl Meowth tells Jessie and James to hurry up with the motto, saying, "Just give 'em the short version!" 'Them' refers to the audience.
Espeon Not Included After realizing they haven't stolen the complete set of Eeveelutions (having missed Sakura's Espeon) Jessie lashes out at Meowth, who quite literally hits the fourth wall and slides down the screen.
For Ho-oh the Bells Toll Jessie, James, and Meowth are off-screen and appear in speech bubbles right next to Misty, who cowers because of them.
A Tyrogue Full of Trouble When Team Rocket blasts off, they all say, "Cue the blast off lights!".
As Clear as Crystal Jessie tells James to explain their mecha to the, "viewing audience."
Same Old Song and Dance When Team Rocket interrupts the show and sing their song, they say that they will, "...be the new stars of this cartoon."
Beauty is Skin Deep Jessie says to Dratini: "If you don't cool it, the show's over for all of us!"

Advanced Generation

Episode Details
You Never Can Taillow Ash and friends fight Team Rocket for control of the larger portion of a split screen, meaning they are aware of its existence.
The Spheal of Approval In the European Portuguese dub, James says, "Você acha que até o fim de tantos episódios que ainda não sabem o que é eletricidade?!"
Putting the Air Back in Aerodactyl! When Crystal states Butch's name wrong, Butch pushes the split screens featuring Professor Oak and Crystal apart to state his name correctly, meaning that he is aware of the existence of the split screens.
Vanity Affair Jessie states that even if she were to write the script it would not be any better.
Sweet Baby James Meowth turns to the audience and says, "...and you guys might want to cover your eyes!"
May's Egg-Cellent Adventure Meowth says that James is giving him a pain, but he cannot say where because there are kids watching the show.
New Plot, Odd Lot! At the end, Jessie takes over as the narrator and says, "Stay tuned!".
Grating Spaces After becoming frustrated in her attempt to explain a plan to James and Meowth, Jessie turns to the audience and says, "I'm sure you're all one step ahead of these clowns, so you know that's exactly what we're going to do!"
Aipom and Circumstance! Meowth says, "Save it for another cartoon show!" and "May I remind you it's not like we're watching reruns?"
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. Meowth also says they'll make through the tenth season.
Home Is Where the Start Is! James, upon blasting off, asks if Team Rocket will ever learn. Meowth responds that they'll find out next season.

Diamond & Pearl series

Episode Details
When Pokémon Worlds Collide! When Team Rocket blasts off, James says, "Aren't we supposed to leave our audience wanting more?" Meowth responds, "You go tell that to the writers!"
Different Strokes for Different Blokes Meowth, Jessie and James say, respectively, "You can't do that!", "The kids are still getting used to our new motto!", and, "Next thing you know they'll think we've been replaced by Butch and Cassidy!"
Gymbaliar! Meowth rushes Jessie and James, saying that they "only have three minutes left!"
An Angry Combeenation Meowth speaks directly to the "kids" in the viewing audience.
All Dressed Up With Somewhere To Go After Meowth gets confused by Teeter Dance, he says "First the movie short, then TV, and now this!".
Steamboat Willies Team Rocket references the "kids" (viewing audience).
Top-Down Training! Meowth speaks directly to the "kids" (viewing audience).
Mass Hip-Po-Sis After Jessie realizes she's in a blast-off, she demands a script change and James comments she should go with it or the makers might call in Cassidy.
A Maze-ing Race! When Team Rocket gets blasted off by an Onix, Jessie says, "But this is only act one!"
During their motto, Jessie states that they "blasted off early".
Once There Were Greenfields Jessie says to start up the season in style with the old get-up-and-go strategy. This is the second episode of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Battle Dimension.
Fighting Fear with Fear! When Meowth begins to explain his boss fantasy, Jessie says, "I'm sensing a scene change."
A Lean Mean Team Rocket Machine When Team Rocket shows off their mecha, they say, "Introduce it to the kids". "The kids" refers to the viewers that are watching the show.
Doc Brock! Ash interrupts the narrator's closing speech saying he forgot about Gliscor.
Sleepless In Pre-Battle! As Team Rocket blasts off in the daytime, Jessie says that if they can't let them sleep, at least they could let them get more air time, with they possibly being those who work on the show.
Dealing With Defensive Types! As Team Rocket sneaks into the Canalave Gym, Meowth addresses the audience, saying, "Look kids, since you know what comes next, let's cut to the chase, so sing along."
Noodles! Roamin' Off! Team Rocket says at the end of the episode after Metagross blasts them off with Gyro Ball, "Hey kids, so dream with us!" Like A Lean Mean Team Rocket Machine and Dealing With Defensive Types!, "kids" refers to the viewers that are watching the show.
Pillars of Friendship! When Team Rocket blasts off for the second time in the episode, James comments that it is, "...awfully early for a blast off!"
Beating the Bustle and Hustle! When Azure insults Team Rocket, James makes a split in the screen and shoves it at Azure's face.
Dealing With a Fierce Double Ditto Drama! When Meowth begins to explain his Boss fantasy, James says, "I smell a fantasy scene."
Memories are Made of Bliss! In the Latin American dub, Team Rocket says during their last line, "Salimos volando... ¡Al final de temporada!"

Best Wishes series

Episode Details
Enter Iris and Axew! In the Latin American dub, after she gets into the hot air balloon, Jessie says "Qué gusto verte en esta nueva temporada."
Minccino - Neat and Tidy! Bianca waves to the screen after introducing herself.
In the Latin American dub, when Bianca struggles to find her Poké Ball, Ash says "¡Deprisa, se nos acaba el capítulo!"
Commanding the Clubsplosion Crown! At the end of the episode, when the narrator pronounces Stephan's name incorrectly, Stephan cuts in, yelling that he's saying it wrong.
Beauties Battling for Pride and Prestige! In a scene in which Moira and Iris are arguing, Moira pushes the split screen divider out to chime in.
A Surface to Air Tag Battle Team! Twice during the episode, Cilan pushes the split screens featuring Soren and Rocko apart from each other.
What Lies Beyond Truth and Ideals! In the Japanese version, while battling Team Plasma, Jessie says: "But we're the true main characters!"
The Path That Leads To Goodbye! Meowth and Cilan become narrators, recounting over what happened in the island when they arrived. They sometimes face the viewers both directly and indirectly. At one point, Jessie even asks Meowth who he is talking to.
Capacia Island UFO! When Ash asked what the Beheeyem were doing, Meowth replies, "If I knew the answer to that, this show would be over."

XY series

Episode Details
Kalos, Where Dreams and Adventures Begin! When Ash tells Team Rocket that he and Pikachu will always stand up to them, Jessie tells him that all he will end up with is reruns, implying that the show will end due to them succeeding in capturing Pikachu.
Awakening the Sleeping Giant! As the narrator prepares to conclude the episode, Serena pipes up, realizing that they hadn't rescued Clemont yet, prompting the others to gasp at her prompt, including the narrator. Upon Clemont's return, the narrator finishes his conclusion, beginning with "As I was saying..."
The Cave of Mirrors! At the very end, the episode concludes with Mirror Jessie and James saying "Team Rocket, good night!"

Specials

Special Details
Mewtwo Returns When Mewtwo talks to its clones about the events of the first movie, James states that the situation feels "like a sequel to a movie I missed", referring to the fact that Mewtwo wiped everyone's memories at the end of the said movie.

Movies

Movie Details
The Power of One When Team Rocket is saying the motto for the first time, they proclaim that they're now on the big screen (since they've forgotten the events of the first movie). Ash then makes the quip of saying he'll "catch this on video".
Slowking tells Team Rocket that lots of people saw them risk their lives to save the world. All four of them then look at the audience, and the Rocket trio realizes that it's true.
Spell of the Unown Meowth asks Jessie whether or not she thinks they will get a bigger part in the next one.
Team Rocket mentions that they would be "out of show business" if anything happened to Ash while helping to save him near the end of the movie.
Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea When Jessie mentions diamonds and pearls, Meowth says they would be "great names for games", a nod to the Generation IV games. James then says they should at least get through this season first. The next season starts the Sinnoh arc.

In the games

Main series games

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon

Pokémon Ranger series

  • At the beginning of the first Pokémon Ranger game, when explaining the control style of the game, an NPC says that he uses the stylus instead of the D-pad because he is from the "touch generation". This is a reference to Nintendo's Touch! Generations line of games for casual gamers, which were brand new at the time of Pokémon Ranger's release.
  • During the ending of the first official mission in the first Pokémon Ranger game, Professor Hastings knows the game options exist by saying, "By options, I don't mean fooling with some text settings, I mean consider what we might do!"
  • In the mission that introduces Sven in Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia there are many Team Dim Sun goons taking Dark Shards from Chroma Ruins. Sven explains that to make them leave the place, a Pokémon that produces a horrible stench is needed. Then, he turns to the screen and says "you know what I mean?"
  • Also, after capturing the hypnotized Pokémon of a couple of Dim Sun Admins in Almia Castle, said Admins make a comment about how they were not given names, not even "Admin A" or "Admin B".
  • At the end of the Heatran Mission in Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, the Capture Styler breaks the fourth wall, telling the player themselves to wait a moment during Nema's explanation of how Heatran learned Eruption.

In the manga

In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga

In the Magical Pokémon Journey manga

In the Pocket Monsters XY manga