Pokémon movie

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This article is about the movies that are part of the Pokémon anime. For movies that exist in the Pokémon world, see Movies in the Pokémon world.
Pikachu the Movie
Pikachu the Movie DUAL

A Pokémon movie is released in Japanese theaters in July, centering on Pokémon and following, as the main anime, Ash Ketchum and his friends. Typically, the movies' animation is done by Team Koitabashi of OLM (Mewtwo Returns being the only one taken by another, Team Wasaki), and each has at least one hour of footage. The first six movies also have a Pikachu short that was shown before the movie.

Movies, with little exception, center around and feature legendary Pokémon which are either not at all or very rarely seen in the main anime, often with the legendary Pokémon causing some sort of disaster with its powers or being pursued by someone with less than noble tendencies. Ash and his friends will often befriend a Pokémon during the movie and must, at the end, say goodbye to their new friend.

The locations in which the movies take place have been, since Pokémon Heroes, based on a real-world location outside of Japan. Topics explored are typically deeper than those explored in the episodes aired on TV, with the battle between greedy people who would use Pokémon for evil and those like Ash who are friends and partners to their Pokémon being a central issue in several movies.

When they open in Japan, they usually gross a large amount of money, typically ranking first for their premiere weekend. A few years ago, one movie drew in a significant crowd despite the fact that it was released in the same weekend as a Studio Ghibli film. In the United States, only the first five movies, those associated with the original series, were released in theaters, however, the movies continue to be dubbed, being released directly to home video and, since Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, airing on Cartoon Network early in the year. Recently the thirteenth movie saw a limited theatrical release as part of the "Pokémon Black Version and White Version Mall Tour". On December 3rd and 4th, 2011, White—Victini and Zekrom received a limited commercial release in US theaters, making it the first movie since Pokémon Heroes to receive a commercial theatrical release.

To date there have been fifteen theatrical Pokémon movies and three movie-length special episodes.


Original series

Movie English poster English title English release American distributor Japanese title Japanese release Japanese distributor Summary
1 Mewtwo Strikes Back Pokémon - The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back November 12, 1999 Warner Bros. ミュウツーの逆襲
Mewtwo's Counterattack
Mewtwo Strikes Back!
July 18, 1998 Toho Ash Ketchum and his friends are tricked into visiting New Island, an island ruled by a mutant Pokémon, Mewtwo. There, they find out about Mewtwo's plans to clone their Pokémon and destroy the world, and a massive battle follows between the clones and the originals—including the "original" counterpart to Mewtwo: Mew.
2 The Power of One Pokémon the Movie 2000 - The Power of One July 21, 2000 Warner Bros. 幻のポケモン ルギア爆誕
Mirage Pokémon: Lugia's Explosive Birth
July 17, 1999 Toho Ash Ketchum and his friends visit Shamouti Island, the centerpoint of culture in the Orange Islands, just in time for their annual festival in honor of the Chosen One spoken of in legends who would save the world when Lugia's song was not enough to quell the fighting Legendary birds. But when the meddling of a self-named "Pokémon Collector" causes the legendary birds to begin fighting, will the Chosen One appear in time to help Lugia?
3 Spell of the Unown Pokémon 3: The Movie - Spell of the Unown April 6, 2001 Warner Bros. 結晶塔の帝王 ENTEI
Emperor of the Crystal Tower: Entei
Lord of the "Unknown" Tower
July 8, 2000 Toho When Spencer Hale, a researcher exploring the mystery of the Unown, disappears on an expedition, his daughter Molly is left alone in their mansion in Greenfield. Using tiles of the Unown sent to her by her father, she brings Unown into the Pokémon world, where their power can make real her dreams. When she wishes for her parents to return, however, she wishes her father as an Entei, and then for him to bring her a mother. When Ash's own mother is kidnapped by Entei to serve as Molly's, Ash and his friends must journey into the mansion that has been warped by the Unown's power and Molly's wishes... but can they get to Molly in time to stop the Unown's power from warping the whole Johto region... or even the world?
4 Celebi: Voice of the Forest Pokémon 4Ever - Celebi: Voice of the Forest October 11, 2002 Miramax Films / Echo Bridge Home Entertainment セレビィ時を超えた遭遇
Celebi: Encounter Beyond Time
Celebi: a Timeless Encounter
July 7, 2001 Toho Forty years in the past, a young Trainer finds a Celebi on the run from a Pokémon poacher. Trying to calm it, the boy is accidentally transported to the present day by Celebi, and thought by all in the past to have vanished. He meets Ash and his friends, but before they can get Celebi to take him back to the past, it is captured by a far more dangerous man, Team Rocket operative Iron-Masked Marauder, whose Dark Balls brainwash Celebi into following his every command.
5 Pokémon Heroes Pokémon - Heroes: Latios & Latias May 16, 2003 Miramax Films / Echo Bridge Home Entertainment 水の都の護神 ラティアスとラティオス
Guardian Gods of the City of Water: Latias and Latios
The Guardians of Altomare
July 13, 2002 Toho In Alto Mare, a legend is told of its guardians, Latios and Latias, who have protected the city for a long time. The Soul Dew, their essence, is kept in Alto Mare to keep the city safe. But when Team Rocket agents Annie and Oakley arrive to attempt to steal the Soul Dew, Ash and his friends must recover it to keep Alto Mare safe at all costs.

Advanced Generation series

Movie English cover English title English release American distributor Japanese title Japanese release Japanese distributor Summary
6 Jirachi: Wish Maker Jirachi: Wish Maker June 1, 2004 (DVD) Miramax Films / Echo Bridge Home Entertainment 七夜の願い星 ジラーチ
Wishing Star of the Seven Nights: Jirachi
Wishing Star of the Seven Nights
July 19, 2003 Toho A mysterious comet that passes by every millennium awakens Jirachi, a legendary Pokémon. Using its power, a magician, Butler, who was formerly a member of Team Magma, attempts to create a Groudon to further the group's goals. Can Ash and his friends protect Jirachi during the week that it is awake?
7 Destiny Deoxys Destiny Deoxys January 22, 2005 (Kids' WB!) Miramax Films / Echo Bridge Home Entertainment 裂空の訪問者 デオキシス
Sky-Splitting Visitor: Deoxys
Deoxys the Visitor
July 17, 2004 Toho When a meteor crashes into Earth, a battle begins between Rayquaza and the Deoxys contained inside. With Rayquaza the victor, researchers pick up a portion of the meteor with the intention of studying it. When the Deoxys has finally recovered four years later, it attacks the city where the researchers call home, just in time for Ash and friends to visit. But why is it attacking? What connection does the meteor have with it?
8 Lucario and the Mystery of Mew Lucario and the Mystery of Mew September 19, 2006 (Kids' WB!) VIZ Media / Warner Bros. ミュウと波導の勇者 ルカリオ
Mew and the Wave-Guiding Hero: Lucario
Mew and the Wave Hero
July 16, 2005 Toho Ash's Pikachu is taken to the Tree of World's Beginning by a wild Mew. To get Pikachu back, Ash must now team up with a legendary Lucario from many years past, but with Lucario still bitter about the hero who sealed him away, Ash and friends must discover the hero's true intentions.
9 Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea March 23, 2007 (Cartoon Network) VIZ Media / Warner Bros. ポケモンレンジャーと蒼海の王子 マナフィ
Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea: Manaphy
The Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea
July 15, 2006 Toho When the egg of a legendary Pokémon, Manaphy, with ties to an ancient water-based civilization, falls into the hands of a pirate, a Pokémon Ranger entrusts the egg to Ash and his friends—specifically May. May must keep the egg safe until it hatches, and afterward, make sure Manaphy does not fall into the hands of the Phantom, lest Samiya be lost to the seafloor and Manaphy lose its home.

Diamond & Pearl series

Movie English cover English title English release American distributor Japanese title Japanese release Japanese distributor Summary
10 The Rise of Darkrai The Rise of Darkrai February 24, 2008 (Cartoon Network) VIZ Media / Warner Bros. ディアルガVSパルキアVSダークライ
Dialga VS Palkia VS Darkrai
July 14, 2007 Toho In Alamos Town, a large shrine to Dialga and Palkia, the Space-Time Tower, sits. But when Dialga and Palkia begin to battle in their dimension, the fight spills over into the Pokémon world, trapping Alamos Town away from the rest of the world. A Darkrai that lives in town tries to help, but is ultimately blamed by the town as the cause of the problem. Can Ash and his friends save Alamos Town before it is destroyed, and prove Darkrai's intentions?
11 Giratina and the Sky Warrior Giratina and the Sky Warrior February 13, 2009 (Cartoon Network) Universal Studios Home Entertainment ギラティナと氷空の花束 シェイミ
Giratina and the Sky's Bouquet: Shaymin
July 19, 2008 Toho When dark, poisonous clouds begin to appear in the Reverse World, home to Giratina, it takes matters into its own hands and pursues the cause of the clouds: Dialga and Palkia. Finding Dialga, it lures it for revenge, and assumes Shaymin to also be responsible. But this is not the only trouble: a researcher who wishes to make Giratina's power his own is also in pursuit of the Renegade Pokémon. With the balance of the Pokémon world and Reverse World altering due to Dialga and Giratina's own fight, Ash and friends must stop the fighting and get Shaymin to Gracidea to participate in the flower bearing ceremony.
12 Movie 12 Arceus and the Jewel of Life November 20, 2009 (Cartoon Network) VIZ Media / Warner Bros. アルセウス 超克の時空へ
Arceus: To a Conquering Spacetime
July 18, 2009 Toho Ash and friends have traveled to Michina Town, an ancient area surrounded by many legends—and unsurprisingly, many legendary Pokémon as well. Arceus, however, is angry, as in the past it was betrayed by the people of Michina Town, and begins to destroy the area. Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina arrive to protect Ash and friends from the legendary Pokémon, but how can Ash stop the most powerful Pokémon of them all, especially in its rage?
13 Movie 13 Zoroark: Master of Illusions February 5, 2011 (Cartoon Network) VIZ Media / Warner Bros. 幻影の覇者ゾロアーク
Ruler of Illusions: Zoroark
July 10, 2010 Toho Ash and friends arrive in Crown City, where the "Pokémon Baccer World Cup" will be held. However, the city is being destroyed by Raikou, Entei and Suicune, who are all forms of a new and mysterious Pokémon, Zoroark. Zoroark's child, Zorua, asks Ash and his friends for help in saving its mother from the villain who has enslaved it. This draws them into a race against businessman Grings Kodai, who has come to the city in pursuit of Celebi's "Time Ripple" for his own sinister ends, to save Crown City before Kodai's actions lead to its destruction.

Best Wishes series

Movie English cover English title English release American distributor Japanese title Japanese release Japanese distributor Summary
14 Victini and Zekrom White—Victini and Zekrom December 3, 2011 VIZ Media / Warner Bros. ビクティニと黒き英雄ゼクロム
Victini and the Black Hero: Zekrom
July 16, 2011 Toho Ash, Iris and Cilan arrive in Eindoak Town, a village where the descendants of a race known as the People of the Vale live, to participate in a battle tournament. They meet the Victory Pokémon, Victini, and learn of its deep connection to the history of the People of the Vale and their land. However, when Damon, a man aiming to use the castle known as the Sword of the Vale to restore his people's kingdom to its former glory, captures Victini to move his plan forward, he sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy not only Eindoak Town but the entire world.
Victini and Reshiram Black—Victini and Reshiram December 10, 2011 ビクティニと白き英雄レシラム
Victini and the White Hero: Reshiram
15 Kyurem VS the Sacred Swordsmen: Keldeo M15 TBA TBA キュレムVS聖剣士ケルディオ
Kyurem VS the Sacred Swordsman: Keldeo
July 14, 2012 Toho Keldeo is training to become one of the Sacred Swordsmen, like Cobalion, Terrakion and Virizion. But when it decides to challenge Kyurem to prove its strength, it ends up badly injured. Later encountering Ash and his friends aboard a train to the city of Roushan, Keldeo drags them into its desperate attempt to escape from the enraged Kyurem and its gang of Cryogonal. As Kyurem's relentless pursuit drives the group from the train into the big city and finally deep into the abandoned mine Kyurem calls home, can they help Keldeo find its inner strength and defeat Kyurem to prove itself a true Sacred Swordsman?

Relation to the main anime

Generally, Pokémon movies have little to no impact on the overall plotline of the anime and fans will argue as to whether or not they are considered true canon. Evidence going either way is sparse, with many details, such as the fact that Ash, Dawn, and Brock having met Dialga and Palkia in The Rise of Darkrai, Giratina and the Sky Warrior, and Arceus and the Jewel of Life going unmentioned when the legendary Pokémon are seen again in The Battle Finale of Legend!. Other details introduced in movies, such as Ash's aura abilities, have in fact been referenced by the main anime. As details of earlier episodes are sometimes contradicted by later ones, such as May claiming to have used Skitty in the Fallarbor Contest in A Fan with a Plan when she actually used Beautifly in Come What May!, this is generally presumed to carry over into the movies as well.

It is possible that early on, the movies were intended to be generally ambiguous in regard to their canon status, as Mewtwo's erasure of everyone's memories at the conclusion of Mewtwo Strikes Back makes there no difference as to whether or not the movie is canon. As the series has progressed, however, more references to past movies have been made, with Ash recognizing a Latios immediately in The Semi-Final Frontier!, despite having never seen another aside from the one which appeared in Pokémon Heroes.

Due to this inconsistency, it will be noted in the movies' individual articles when a reference has been made to them in the main anime. The placement of the movies in the anime timeline will generally be between the episodes aired before and after the date of the movie's Japanese premiere, though often with earlier movies, this placement can vary with regard to events in the main anime.

Long specials

These special episodes, which run longer than the normal half hour and are not usually separated into more than one episode in either the original or the dub, are often considered TV Pokémon movies, not counting towards the running total. They never appear in theaters, but are instead broadcast on the same networks that the regular anime is broadcast for their premieres. Though they may air around the same time as other episodes of the anime, usually in the anime's normal timeslot, they are not assigned episode numbers.


Main article: Mewtwo Returns

Mewtwo, who has been hiding out in the Johto region since last he was seen, has been located by Giovanni. Now the Rocket Boss wants to recapture the powerful Pokémon to again use him for his own purposes. It was released directly to video in the United States and elsewhere.


Main article: The Legend of Thunder!

In the first anime break from Ash and his friends, three Trainers, Jimmy, Marina, and Vincent must stop the evil Team Rocket duo Attila and Hun from capturing Raikou. It was divided up into three parts to become the first three episodes of Pokémon Chronicles when dubbed.


Main article: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon

Ash, May, Max, and Brock meet up with Misty and Professor Oak to investigate Dr. Yung's new Mirage Pokémon system. But when the mysterious Mirage Master appears with a Mirage Mewtwo, Ash is forced to fight him to stop his plans to dominate the world with his Mirage Pokémon.


  • In the list of locations where a Pokémon can be obtained in Generation IV games, unused data exists for every movie between the ninth and the present, with space reserved for movies up to 2016 (what would be, assuming they continue to be released annually, the nineteenth movie). As events for the 14th movie and onward have been exclusive to Generation V, it is unlikely these will be used.

See also

Bulbanews has an article related to this subject:
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.