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Pokémon in South Asia

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Pokémon in South Asia
Pokémon logo English.png
South Asia Flags.png
Flags of Bhutan, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal.
Language Hindi
Continent Asia
Original anime airdates
EP001 May 12, 2003[1]
May 19, 2014
AG001 May 9, 2006
DP001 November 9, 2009
November 16, 2009
BW001 June 17, 2013
July 2, 2014
November 3, 2014

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.

Pokémon games

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[2].

Pokémon anime

The Pokémon anime is available in the following South Asian territories: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Country Channels
Afghanistan Cartoon Network Pakistan
Bhutan Cartoon Network India
Pogo TV
Hungama TV
Sri Lanka

Cartoon Network & Pogo

Cartoon Network India and Pakistan logo

Original series

Pokémon: Indigo League

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 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.

Debut Season(s) of Pokémon Original series aired
May 12, 2003 Pokémon: Indigo League
2003 - 2004 Pokémon: Adventures in the Orange Islands
2004 Pokémon: The Johto Journeys
2004 - 2005 Pokémon: Johto League Champions
May 18, 2005[3] Pokémon: Master Quest

Advanced Generation series

Pokémon: Advanced

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, followed by Pokémon: Battle Frontier.

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.

Year Season(s) of Pokémon Advanced Generation series aired
2006 Pokémon: Advanced
Nov. 6, 2006[4] Pokémon: Advanced Challenge
2008 Pokémon: Advanced Battle
2008 - 2009 Pokémon: Battle Frontier

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.

Bulbanews has an article related to this subject:

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.

Pogo TV logo

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. On a related note, the season completed its first run on Cartoon Network Pakistan from February 1 to March 19, 2012.

Year Season(s) of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl series aired
2009 - 2010 Pokémon: Diamond & Pearl
2010 Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Battle Dimension
2011 Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Galactic Battles
Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors*
2012 Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors*

Best Wishes series

Pokémon: Black & White

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.

Bulbanews has an article related to this subject:

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.

On September 28, 2014, Cartooon Network had a programming marathon on Pokémon named P for Pikachu, in which they showed repeats of the first three episodes of the season.
On November 2, 2014, another marathon named Poke Diwali was aired to celebrate Diwali and the next three episodes were aired.
On January 4, 2015, to celebrate the New Year, Cartoon Network had one more marathon named Poke New Year[5]. The special aired the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th episodes of Pokémon: Black and White.
On February 28, 2015, One more marathon named Poke Mania was aired[6]. It aired the 16th, 17th, 19th, and 19th episodes of the season.
On March 3, 2015, another marathon named Poke Masti was aired[7]. It included the 26th, 27th, 28, 29th and 30th episodes of the season.
On 5 March, 2015, to celebrate Holi, a new marathon called Poke Holi was aired[8]. It had the 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th episodes of the season.
The first three had new theme songs and these marathons were repeated a number of times later.

The Best Wishes series premiered on Cartoon Network Pakistan on November 3, 2014.

Year Season(s) of Pokémon Best Wishes series aired
2013 Pokémon: Black & White*
2014 Pokémon: Black & White*

Hungama TV

Hungama TV logo

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.

Original series

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 Beauty and the Beach was skipped because it contains inappropriate material, and EP035 and EP038 were also 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 because of the limit of the channel's time level package[citation needed]. Because of this reason, they needed to skip these 3 episodes. However, episodes skipped for the time level package problem were aired later during reruns.

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 again for their time level package problem as mentioned above but this episode too aired later during reruns. 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.

The current Pokémon logo used in India

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 want 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.

Debut Season(s) of Pokémon Original series aired
May 19, 2014 Pokémon: Indigo League
September 11, 2014 Pokémon: Adventures in the Orange Islands
October 30, 2014 Pokémon: The Johto Journeys
January 2, 2015 Pokémon: Johto League Champions


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[9][10]. The audience has since then grown to 96.9 million individuals, out of which 32.9 million are children[11].

Pokémon movies

On November 14, 2006, Cartoon Network India aired the first Pokémon movie, Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns, as a part of its Children's day programming.

Starting from 17 March 2015, Hungama TV started airing a promo for the premiere of Pokémon The First Movie Mewtwo Strikes Back coming soon on the channel as Pokémon The Movie - Mewtwo Ka Badla (Hindi: Mewtwo का बदला).

Debut Movie(s)/special(s) aired *
Cartoon Network / Pogo
November 14, 2006[12] Mewtwo Returns
2009 Pokémon Chronicles
Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea*
2010 Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea*
2011 The Rise of Darkrai
Giratina and the Sky Warrior*
Arceus and the Jewel of Life*
2012 Zoroark Master of illusions*
Hungama TV
18 April 2015 12:00 PM Pokémon the First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back

Cast and Crew

Hindi dub

Character Voice actor
Ash Nachiket Dighe[13] (Hungama dub)
Misty Rucha Dighe[13] (Hungama dub)
Brock Abhishek Singh (Cartoon Network dub)
Uplaksh Kochhar[13] (Hungama dub)
Tracey Nachiket Dighe (Cartoon Network dub)
Jessie Shagufta Baig[13] (Hungama dub)
James Kishore Bhatt[14] (Cartoon Network dub)
Rajesh Shukla[13] (Hungama dub)
Meowth Saumya Daan[13] (Hungama dub)

Tamil dub

Character / Role Voice actor
Opening theme singer Karthik [15]

Pokémon manga

English-translated Pokémon manga was distributed in India by Chuang Yi.

Pokémon merchandise

  • Pokémon became an instant hit in India and almost always used to be the number one kids show on TV. Due to its huge popularity, many pirated Pokémon products began to be sold in India.[16]
  • 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[4].
  • 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 do. [citation needed]
  • 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 in 2015[17].


Related articles

External links


  1. Indian Television
  2. NDTV Gadgets
  3. Indian Television
  4. 4.0 4.1 Indian Televison
  5. Cartoon Network India (mobile) Schedule (archive)
  6. Cartoon Network India (mobile) Schedule (archive)
  7. Cartoon Network India (mobile) Schedule (archive)
  8. Cartoon Network India (mobile) Schedule (archive)
  9. Inside Games (Japanese)
  10. The Hindu Business Line
  11. Indian Television
  12. Indian Television
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Bulbapedia Staff had contacted an official source, who wish to remain anonymous.
  14. Indian television
  15. Afaqs
  16. Indian Television

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