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Flags of Bhutan, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal.
| Original anime airdates
|| May 12, 2003|
May 19, 2014
|| May 9, 2006
|| November 9, 2009|
November 16, 2009
|| June 17, 2013|
July 2, 2014
November 3, 2014
|| May 9, 2015
The Pokémon franchise (Hindi: पोकेमोन Pokémon, Urdu: پوکيمون Pokémon) made its debut in the Indian subcontinent in 2003, with the broadcast of the first anime episode in both English and Hindi languages on Cartoon Network India. The respective channel aired the show for eight years straight (2003-2011), up to Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Battle Dimension.
The anime also started airing on Cartoon Network Pakistan; the channel currently airs the Best Wishes series.
In March of 2011, the anime was shifted from Cartoon Network India to Pogo. It aired the Diamond & Pearl series in its entirety, along with the first season of the Best Wishes series. In July 2014, the anime made its return to Cartoon Network India with Pokémon: Black and White.
In May 2014, the anime was also picked up by Hungama TV, which started airing the original series. The channel also started airing the XY series from May 2015.
While Nintendo has yet to make its way in the Indian subcontinent market officially, the Pokémon games and some Pokémon merchandise as well as other Nintendo products (like consoles and games) are available on online retail sites.
Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have made their way to India just a week after the US release.
The Pokémon anime is available in the following South Asian territories: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Cartoon Network & Pogo
Cartoon Network India and Pakistan logo
Pokémon: Indigo League premiered on Cartoon Network India on May 12, 2003 as a part of its Toonami block and it was made available in both Hindi and English languages.The timing was Monday - Friday at 8 am and 5 pm. The anime soon became one of the highly rated show on the respective channel, especially during its peak, and concluded its first run in the same year.
Immediately after the first season, Pokémon: Adventures in the Orange Islands made its Indian debut in late 2003 and ended its run in the mid of 2004. Following the year long re-run airings, Pokémon: The Johto Journeys made its long-awaited premiere on Cartoon Network.
Affiliated with Cartoon Network India, a separate Cartoon Network feed was launched for the Pakistani audience in 2004, which was later made available in Afghanistan and Bangladesh as well. Due to the affiliation, both channels broadcasted the anime simultaneously. With Pokémon: Master Quest, Cartoon Network India introduced two additional dubs for the Indian viewers, Tamil and Telugu. The original series concluded its first complete run in the mid of 2005.
Advanced Generation series
Pokémon: Advanced made its South Asian debut on May 9, 2006 and concluded in July of the same year. After four months of reruns, Pokémon: Advanced Challenge was simulcasted on November 6, 2006. The trailers for the seventh season were also aired in the Indian theaters. It ended its first run on January 4, 2007. Following this season, Cartoon Network introduced a new block called Dastaan-e-Pokémon.
Dastaan-e-Pokémon, a one-hour block, started January 8, 2007 with the first episode of the anime. The block continued to air all of the previous seasons, from the first season up to the seventh. Almost a year later, Pokémon: Advanced Battle made its way to South Asia. Also, it was the first time when a season premiered with two back-to-back episodes on the respective channels. The block ended in the end of 2008
The final season of the Advanced Generation series. Pokémon: Battle Frontier debuted in November of 2008. It began to air on Cartoon Network Pakistan two weeks after its Indian debut. Following the ten months long rerun airings, Pokémon: Diamond & Pearl premiered in the respective territories.
Diamond & Pearl series
Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl
Unprecedentedly, the first season of the Diamond & Pearl series aired in Pakistan starting November 9, 2009 and in India on November 16 of the same year. Due to unknown reasons, Cartoon Network Pakistan wrapped up the season prematurely in just five weeks. As a result, around 23 episodes were skipped, from O'er the Rampardos We Watched! to A Stand-Up Sit-Down!. However, all the episodes were aired in their actual order during the rerun airings.
After keeping it on air for eight years, Cartoon Network India dropped the series in early 2011. The anime was then picked up by Pogo, its sister channel. It started with the season premiere of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Galactic Battles for the Indian audience, which later made its Pakistani debut on August 1 and concluded on October 11, 2011.
On October 3, 2011, Pogo took the opportunity to air Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors for the first time in India. However, The Fleeing Tower Of Sunyshore! and Teaching the Student Teacher! were skipped due to unknown reasons, an issue which was fixed in the following rerun airings. The season finale, Memories are Made of Bliss!, aired on October 25 of the same year. The season completed its first run on Cartoon Network Pakistan from February 1 to March 19, 2012.
Best Wishes series
After almost a year and eight months long gap, Pogo premiered the fourteenth season of the anime on June 17, 2013. Many changes were introduced, including: a new time-slot for the show, new voices for the narrator as well as Delia Ketchum. Instead of following the original order, Pogo skipped the episodes The Dragon Master's Path! and Cilan Versus Trip, Ash Versus Georgia!, due to some unknown reasons. The channel completed the run of the season with the season finale, Battle for the Underground, on Thursday, 5th September. The re-runs of the season began from 9th September, continuing at the same time slot. Later on during these re-runs, the episodes of The Dragon Master's Path! and Cilan Versus Trip, Ash Versus Georgia! were broadcasted.
On June 27, 2014, after more than 3 years since Pokémon shifted to Pogo, Cartoon Network India made an announcement through its official Facebook page that Pokémon would soon be returning to Cartoon Network. The channel began airing Pokémon: Black & White from July 2, 2014, airing 2 new episodes on the weekdays. However, many of the episodes were aired out of order, which created confusion among viewers who were watching it for the first time. Instead of completing the fourteenth season run, it started airing reruns from 6 August, 2014, having originally aired till Mewoth's Scrafty Tactics. CN later completed airing the remaining episodes airing them at late night time slot of 10:30 pm without any promo on the channel. The channnel later continued airing re-runs at various time-slots, also airing various marathons during that time.
The Best Wishes series premiered on Cartoon Network Pakistan on November 3, 2014.
Cartoon Network India has aired several Pikachu Shorts but they did not air along with movies. The Pikachu Shorts Christmas Night and Kanga Games were aired together as Pikachu's Winter Vacations. The Shorts Winter Games and Pikachu & Pichu were aired together.
Around the beginning of 2014, Disney Inc. bought the airings rights for Pokémon. However, the respective company did not acquire the rights for the anime's previous Hindi dub. While the exact reasons for re-dubbing are not known, there is a good possibility that such decisions were made because of Disney India and UTV's policy, implemented in 2010-2011, that all the dubs of Disney channel properties will be carried out in-house, even if previous dubs exist.
With Pokémon, I Choose You!, the anime made its Hungama TV debut on May 19, 2014. Hungama TV introduced a block for Pokémon reruns, PokéThon (coined from Pokémon and Marathon). Similar to the Cartoon Network airings, a couple of inconsistencies in the airing order were noticed by viewers. Following Its Mr. Mine Time, Hungama aired Holiday Hi-Jynx on August 14, 2014 and Snow Way Out! on August 18, 2014, followed by Showdown at the Pokécorral. Some episodes like Episode 18, Episode 35 and Episode 38 were skipped by Hungama as they are banned. Pokemon: Indigo League completed its initial run on September 10, 2014, with the airing of Friends to the End!.
Pokémon: Adventures in the Orange Islands debuted on Hungama TV on September 11, 2014, with Pallet Party Panic. Hungama TV now introduced an another block for Pokémon reruns, PokéVaar (literally PokéDay). More inconsistencies were noticed by viewers, and some episodes, including Stage Fight and The Mandarin Island Miss Match were permanently skipped. However, some other episodes like Misty Meets Her Match, A Tent Situation and The Rivalry Revival were also skipped but aired later at repeat time-slots and main slots as new episodes.
The Pokémon logo used in India currently
On October 30, 2014, Pokémon: The Johto Journeys debuted on Hungama TV with Don't Touch That 'dile, even though all episodes of the previous season were not aired at that time. The channel also started using a red logo for Pokémon, instead of the regular one. As had happened with earlier seasons, another episode, Fighting Flyer with Fire, was skipped. Similarly, one more block for reruns was introduced, named PakdoThon (coined from Pakdo (Hindi word for catch) and marathon). Some episodes of this season were aired with additional Tamil and Telegu dubs. With The Fortune Hunters, Pokémon: The Johto Journeys completed its initial run on December 29, 2014.
With A Goldenrod Opportunity, Pokémon: Johto League Champions debuted on Hungama TV on January 2, 2015. A change of cast of the Narrator was introduced. Also, Hungama fully introduced Tamil and Telugu dubs from this season. All the previous seasons were also dubbed into Tamil and Telugu, and started airing in those languages during re-runs. From Two Hits and a Miss, the channel also started skipping the parts of the episode before the title card, as they wanted to skip the theme song, but unlike previous seasons, there are some scenes before the theme song. Even the scenes of those episodes which had been aired fully (with the theme and the scenes before the theme) before were also skipped during reruns. This started causing confusions among the viewers. However, sometimes during reruns and in the late evening re airing time slot (before), the deleted opening scenes and the theme song were aired. For The Poké Spokesman and Control Freak, those scenes along with the theme song were aired during the main time slot. The scenes and the theme songs were again restarted from The Secret Actor's Guilt. From The Joy of Water Pokemon, they again started skipping the theme song but this time the scenes before the theme were not skipped. With Machoke, Machoke Man, Hungama completed the initial run of Pokémon: Johto League Champions on March 26, 2015.
Pokémon: Master Quest debuted on Hungama TV on March 31, 2015, with Around the Whirlpool. The episode Mantine Overboard was skipped by the channel. It was later aired during reruns. The Episode 250 was also skipped by the channel as it is banned. For currently unknown reasons, Hungama TV did not air the episodes Better Eight Than Never and Why? Wynaut! during the weekday afternoon timeslot. Instead these were aired during evening re-run slots on the same day, while there were no episodes during the afternoon slot.
Pokémon XY logo used currently in India
The XY series debuted on Hungama TV on May 9, 2015 with the first two episodes of Pokémon the Series: XY, Kalos, Where Dreams and Adventures Begin and Lumoise City Pursuit. These episodes were aired without any promo on a weekend time-slot, even though the Advanced Generation, Diamond & Pearl and Best Wishes series hadn't aired on the channel. Hungama TV later announced that more episodes of this season would air during the weekend time slot, with regular episodes continuing during the weekday time-slot. From the start of the season, Hungama TV started skipping the title card of the episodes. The channel started using a new logo for the series, replacing the original one. Similar to the other seasons, inconsistencies in the airing order were again noticed by viewers. Hungama TV skipped the episode A Rush of Ninja Wisdom for unknown reasons.
The anime has been very well-received since its launch on Hungama TV. Consistently ranking on top in its respective demographics, the show used to reach an audience of around 57.1 million across India, 24.2 million of which are children. The audience has since then grown to 96.9 million individuals, out of which 32.9 million are children.
On November 14, 2006, Cartoon Network India aired Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns as a part of its Children's day programming.
In 2009, Cartoon Network took the opportunity to air Pokémon Chronicles from 11th June onwards.
The movie Lucario and the Mystery of Mew premiered on both Cartoon Network channels (CN India and CN Pakistan). The movie Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea premiered on Cartoon Network Pakistan in 2009, but debuted on Cartoon Network India in the following year.
In 2011, both CN channels aired The Rise of Darkrai. The movie also debuted on Pogo TV in the same year. Starting from 2014, the movie airs on the CN+ service of Tata Sky.
In 2011, Cartoon Network Pakistan also aired the movies Giratina and the Sky Warrior and Arceus and the Jewel of Life. They were followed by the premiere of Zoroark - Master of Illusions. These three movies have so far aired only on CN Pakistan, but not on CN India or Pogo TV.
The logo for the movie made by the channel
The very first movie, Pokémon The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back premiered on the channel on April 18, 2015, as Pokémon The Movie - Mewtwo Ka Badla (Hindi: Mewtwo का बदला). The channel also made a new logo for the movie. A lot of scenes from the movie were skipped, including the opening and ending themes. Even though Hungama TV airs the English dubbed version of the anime, this movie was aired based on the original Japanese version.
Cast and Crew
| Character / Role
|| Voice actor
| Opening theme singer *
|| Karthik (CN dub)
English-translated Pokémon manga was distributed in India by Chuang Yi.
- Pokémon was an instant hit in India and was one of the number one kids shows on TV. Due to its huge popularity, many pirated Pokémon products are sold in India.
- Pokémon Rakhis were available in India, with Pikachu and the starter Pokémon of Unova region.
- Pokémon collectibles were available for free in every Cheetos snack packs.
- On the Toonami block, Cartoon Network hosted a contest titled "Toonami-Game On Video Game Championship" in 2006, with Pokémon merchandise given out as prizes.
- Pokémon Toys were available as toy gifts of McDonald's Happy Meals. These toys were spoons featuring Pikchu and other starters. However no advertisements were made by McDonald's as they usually did.
- Pokémon Black and White merchandise is available in India from Reliance Home video and games.
- Pokémon XY merchandise is launched in India by Dreamtheatre, available in on-ground stores and online sites (Flipkart, Snapdeal).
- Pokémon merchandise like books, toys, etc are available on on-ground shops as well as online sites.
- Holi Pichkaris (Water Guns) were available during 2014 and 2015.
- Pokémon Kites were available for sale.
- A Pokémon contest was held by Hungama TV in 2015, which gave out Pokémon merchandise as prizes.
- Pokémon XY Products/toys with the original logo are distributed by Funskool India.