From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
The Pokémon anime, often referred to as just "the anime" by Pokémon fans, is a collective term referring to currently 657 main series episodes, 13 movies, and a number of side-story episodes, all focusing on Pokémon. A great majority of these focus on Ash Ketchum, a Pokémon Trainer from Pallet Town, and his journey toward his ultimate goal of being a Pokémon Master, his many friends, and most especially his Pokémon, who he considers his partners and friends.
Though the anime is ultimately based upon the games and draws heavily from them, many concepts which are only touched on the games are spun in a unique way, and expanded on.
The anime is now broadcast in 74 different countries, many times being dubbed into other languages for different locales.
From the very first episode, Ash has been the central character, making his goal of becoming a Pokémon Master known to all he meets. Though initially, he only became a Pokémon Trainer with the goal of beating his rival, Gary Oak, the many Pokémon Ash has met over his journey have shown him what being a Pokémon Master really is. Unlike most Trainers from Pallet, and indeed, unlike players of Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue and Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Ash did not start his journey with Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle, as he arrived late to Professor Oak's lab to receive his starter Pokémon. Instead, Ash was given the only Pokémon Oak had left to give, a Pikachu that did not enjoy being inside its Poké Ball, and from there Ash learned to treat his Pokémon as partners, earning Pikachu's trust by keeping it safe from a flock of Spearow he angered.
Since then, Ash has journeyed across all five of the regions that appear in the main series games, as well as the Orange Archipelago, a "filler region" he visited to hold off the beginning of his journey in Johto until closer to the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver. In each, he battles against the native Gym Leaders for their badges, as do Trainers in the main series games, to compete in the regional Pokémon League, a tournament, rather than five battles straight against the Elite Four and Champion. While his initial strategy was to continue using the same party over the course of his journey, letting some Pokémon go when they were required to do something or wanted to train, he has, since his journey in Hoenn, changed strategy, and now uses only those Pokémon which he has caught in the region, alongside Pikachu, to battle against Gym Leaders, with his explanation to Dawn being that he wants to prove to the young, unevolved Pokémon he meets in each new region that they can win if they try.
Over the course of the series, Ash has had several friends who travel with him, typically across one region, who assist him in his journey as much as he assists in theirs. Misty, the Gym Leader from Cerulean City in the games, joins him in the original series, as does Brock, Pewter City's Gym Leader, in Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh. Tracey Sketchit, an amateur Pokémon Watcher, joins Ash during his Orange Archipelago journey, but leaves him on Ash's return to Pallet to become an assistant to Professor Oak, his hero. May and Dawn, rookie Coordinators, join Ash for the duration of the Advanced Generation and Diamond & Pearl series, respectively; in these he mentors them much as Brock and Misty did him, while Max, May's brother, who is too young to own Pokémon, looks up to Ash for the duration of the Advanced Generation series.
The anime is produced in Japan, and airs on TV Tokyo nearly every Thursday at 7 PM, as it has since the Porygon incident was resolved (it aired on Tuesdays at the same time prior to this). Many fans consider the dialog and events mentioned in the Japanese version to be the "true canon", while the various dubs are regarded to be overridden if something stated in them differs from something said in a Japanese episode.
In Japan, the anime is divided into four series: Pocket Monsters, Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation, Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl and Pocket Monsters Best Wishes. Outside of it, these four series are further divided into seasons spanning roughly 52 episodes, and currently numbering thirteen. The show is mainly aimed at children, and as such, mature topics such as death are not often brought up, though sometimes they appear in movies. There are generally some references meant for adults, though these are kept to a minimum especially outside of Japan.
- Main article: Pokémon movie
Since 1998 in Japan, and since 1999 in the US, a Pokémon movie has been released annually, most often focusing on a legendary Pokémon. These movies are almost always a large success in Japan, and remain at least somewhat successful in the US and other countries, having been aired on Cartoon Network as a special since the ninth movie, and having theatrical releases during the first five seasons.
The movies are not considered by all Pokémon fans to be canon to the show, with some preferring to think of them occurring in an alternate timeline. This theory comes from the fact that Ash and his friends do not seem to be profoundly affected in the show by the events of the movies. Many, however, see the movies as being akin to filler episodes, as none of their parties change, and no Gym Leaders are defeated nor Contests won. This is presumably the correct interpretation, as not only have most of the events of the movies been referenced at least peripherally in the show, but also, several of the events of even major episodes have been forgotten by the writers of later episodes.
|| Pikachu Project
| Japanese title
|| Release date
|| English title
|| Release date
| July 18, 1998
|| Pikachu Project 1998
|| Mewtwo Strikes Back
Mewtwo Strikes Back
| November 10, 1999
Phantom Pokémon: Lugia's Explosive Birth
| July 17, 1999
|| Pikachu Project 1999
The Power of One
| July 21, 2000
Emperor of the Crystal Tower: Entei
| July 8, 2000
|| Pikachu Project 2000
Spell of the Unown
| April 6, 2001
Celebi: An Encounter Through Time
| July 7, 2001
|| Pikachu Project 2001
Celebi: Voice of the Forest
| October 11, 2002
Guardian Gods of the City of Water: Latias and Latios
| July 13, 2002
|| Pikachu Project 2002
| May 16, 2003
Advanced Generation series
Diamond & Pearl series
Best Wishes series
- Animator Masāki Iwane 岩根正明 once stated that the series was originally slated for a 1½-year run, which corresponds approximately to the length of the Kanto region saga (had it not been delayed due to the Porygon incident). Due to its popularity during the run, however, the show was extended and continues to be one of the longest running video game based anime.
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