From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
- If you were looking for the TCG set, see Team Rocket (TCG).
Team Rocket (Japanese: ロケット団 Rocket Gang) is a highly organized criminal syndicate "in pursuit of evil" headed by Giovanni (called "The Boss" by his underlings) and based in Kanto. Its main focus is in stealing or capturing, then selling, rare and/or strong Pokémon, but it also conducts cruel experimental research on Pokémon. Its final goal is to take over the world using Pokémon.
In the games
In the Generation I games and Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Team Rocket focused its attention on Kanto, distributing Pokémon using the Rocket Game Corner in Celadon City and its secret hideout underneath. It also committed various crimes including breaking into a house in Cerulean City, killing a Marowak in Lavender Town and trying to steal Cubone skulls, and taking over Saffron City and the Silph Company Headquarters for its products, including the Master Ball. However, the games' hero/heroine ousted the team from its hideout underneath the Game Corner, the Silph Company Headquarters, and the Pokémon Tower, defeating Giovanni in a Pokémon battle twice. However, Giovanni returned to the Viridian City Gym, as he was also the legitimate Gym Leader there, but the hero/heroine defeated him there, too. Then, Giovanni, acknowledging him/her as the better trainer, disappeared without a trace.
Three years later, Team Rocket returned to Kanto to steal a critical part from the Power Plant, but this plot was on a small scale and was ultimately the last chronological appearance of Team Rocket in the games. Since only one member was involved, which is rather unlike most of Team Rocket's plots, it is possible that this was a semi-independent member that did not hear of Giovanni's fall.
In the Sevii Islands
In FireRed and LeafGreen, Team Rocket had a branch in the Sevii Islands, searching for the Ruby and Sapphire gems. This branch was based in the Rocket Warehouse in Five Isle Meadow on Chrono Island. In the end, the games' hero/heroine defeated the Admin there, making him realize that with Giovanni defeated in Kanto, all is lost for the Sevii branch. The team subsequently pulled out of the Sevii Islands. It has not been seen there since.
In the Generation II games, three years after the aforementioned events, a new Team Rocket focused its attention on Johto, starting off by kidnapping Slowpokes from Azalea Town to Slowpoke Well and cutting off their tails to sell on the black market. Eventually they set up another base underneath a shop in Mahogany Town and built a machine that emitted high-frequency sound waves, enraging the Gyarados in the Lake of Rage north of Mahogany Town. With the help of Lance, the League Champion from Indigo Plateau, the games' hero/heroine foiled the team's operations. In a final and desperate attempt to contact their former leader, Giovanni, members of the team attacked the Radio Tower in Goldenrod City, but were ousted by the hero/heroine yet again.
The members involved in the Johto plots may have some connection with the Sevii Islands branch of Team Rocket, as one of the computers there indicates a plan to use ultrasonic waves on Pokémon to make them evolve.
In the anime
In the anime, Team Rocket is based in Kanto, with many smaller branches reaching out in Kanto and Johto. Giovanni is the Gym Leader of Viridian City during the early part of Ash's journey. There is also an underground school for training aspiring Team Rocket members. In addition, Team Rocket had its headquarters near Pallet Town and Viridian City, but this was destroyed by Mewtwo in its rage; it is unknown where the headquarters are now. All that is known is that the headquarters are now in a large building built at the end of a canyon and guarded by many grunts, seen when Jessie, James, and Meowth returned from the Hoenn region to report back to Giovanni.
A trio of members, Jessie, James, and a talking Meowth, were defeated when on assignment to steal Pokémon from the Viridian City Pokémon Center by Ash Ketchum, and since then have been following him everywhere on his journey, attempting to steal the Pikachu that defeated them and any other Pokémon, items, and money that happen to appear on the way. After following the boy throughout the Kanto and Johto regions, coming in contact with other Team Rocket members, they continued after him to the Hoenn region under the direction of Giovanni, who assigned them to establish a branch of Team Rocket there (in reality only a simple ploy to get them out of his hair). When Ash returned from Hoenn after competing in its regional League Conference, the trio followed him, again returning to their boss empty-handed. After once again following him through Kanto as he competed in the Battle Frontier, they again followed him to Sinnoh with the same goal as before: to establish a Team Rocket branch there.
It is unknown why they have not simply given Giovanni some of the Pokémon that they have managed to capture along the way in Poké Balls, such as Seviper or Cacnea. Meowth often fantasizes about pleasing "The Boss" with some hairbrained scheme where, as a result he would replace Persian as Giovanni's favorite pet. In Giovanni's opinion, however, they are "a bumbling trio" that "can't do anything right," and as of yet, they have failed to come up with a single thing that is acceptable to give to him while eating up the organization's funding with their many robots and schemes. Occasionally, the trio is also forced to work with Ash and company in certain extreme circumstances.
Many members of Team Rocket besides Giovanni and the trio have appeared. Notably, these include a recurring rival duo to Jessie and James made of Butch and Cassidy, who report to Dr. Namba instead of Giovanni himself, Attila and Hun, who are antagonists to Jimmy, Marina, and Vincent as Jessie and James are to Ash and his friends in The Legend of Thunder, Tyson, who was in charge of the Pokémon evolution experiment conducted by Team Rocket at the Lake of Rage, and Domino and Vicious, high-ranking agents who work individually and are seen in a long special episode and the fourth movie, respectively. Professor Sebastian seems to be a high-ranking Rocket scientist, developing both Attila and Hun's and Tyson's devices. Jessie's mother, Miyamoto, was once a member before she disappeared on an expedition to capture Mew while serving under Giovanni's mother. Seemingly, all Team Rocket members who are Agents or above, up to Elite Officer, come in pairs.
Team Rocket has attempted to do many major and potentially globally-altering operations, including cloning DNA of Mew and altering it to create Mewtwo. This stemmed out of a desire of Giovanni to appease his mother's obsession with Mew. When Mewtwo finally finished developing, he deceived Mewtwo into working for him, using him in Gym Battles against such Trainers as Gary Oak, who lost miserably. Team Rocket also attempted to capture and control a Lugia and Celebi, and it also created a device that could force Pokémon to evolve.
They have various means of transportation, such as boats, submarines and helicopters.
In the Pokémon Special manga
Although the grunts are first seen in Glimpse of the Glow searching for Mew in Pallet Town, Team Rocket as an organization was not introduced until Gyarados Splashes In! in the same chapter, Red, Green & Blue. Here they are mentioned by Professor Oak as an evil syndicate that use Pokémon for their evil purposes, mostly experiments.
In the TCG
Team Rocket has been featured in several expansions of the TCG, most notably in the self-named Team Rocket expansion, where Dark Pokémon were introduced, and the EX Team Rocket Returns expansion, which commemorated the release of Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen Versions. In addition, there are several Pokémon belonging to Team Rocket in the Gym Heroes, Gym Challenge, and Pokémon VS expansions.
On Bulbagarden forums