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The name currently in use is the official English translation of the Japanese name.
Logo for Pocket Monsters Side Stories
Logo used during the opening sequence
Pocket Monsters Side Stories (Japanese: ポケットモンスター サイドストーリー Pocket Monsters Side Stories) are episodes of the Pokémon anime that do not focus on the anime's main character, Ash Ketchum, though they will sometimes focus on one or more of his friends.
Side stories are numbered with the prefix SS on Bulbapedia. For a complete episode listing, see the list of side story episodes.
Precursors to the side stories that would later air on the Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station include Trouble in Big Town and The Legend of Thunder!, which like the later side stories, focus on characters other than Ash Ketchum. The Pikachu shorts, although not officially side stories, also do not feature Ash and his friends in a prominent role.
However, Pocket Monsters Side Stories officially refers to the episodes that aired on the Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station from December 2002 to September 2004, in order to showcase what was going on in the lives of Ash's former traveling buddies Brock, Misty, and Tracey while Ash himself was in the Hoenn region. These episodes aired instead of the usual rerun of an older Pokémon episode, and due to WPBS's Japanese title of 週刊ポケモン放送局 Shūkan Pokémon Hōsōkyoku, were usually referred to as "Hosos" or "Hoso specials" by English-speaking fans. Only 18 of these episodes were ever produced and aired, and for several years remained undubbed. Finally, in May 2005, these episodes premiered in English as Pokémon Chronicles, though only in Europe. In Canada, the series started airing in September 2005. Americans would have to wait an entire year more until Pokémon Chronicles made its way to the States, an incident that had never happened before, as the English dub is produced in the US.
With the end of the run of the Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station and its subsequent replacement by Pokémon Sunday, it seemed as if Pocket Monsters Side Stories had ended. Unlike what was the case with Misty and Tracey, May's progress in her journey to Johto was not followed, and she was not seen again on-screen until her cameo return in Our Cup Runneth Over!. However, special episodes would indeed continue, with a special episode based on the first Mystery Dungeon games.
Some special episodes continued to air on Pokémon Sunday instead of the usual anime rerun, starting with two episodes based on the second Mystery Dungeon games and their third version. Another special episode focusing on Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, and connecting to the main anime with Ash's introduction to the protagonist of the special, Ben, was also aired on Pokémon Sunday. Three special episodes aired during the Best Wishes series, with two focusing on what Dawn and Brock have been doing while Ash is in the Unova region, and a third special centering on Virgil's encounter with Mewtwo.
A new series of side stories for the XY series began with Mega Evolution Special I. These specials take place in the main anime's continuity and focus on an entirely new cast, led by Alain and Mairin as they journey around looking for Mega Stones. Unlike previous side stories, these episodes aired during the anime's normal timeslot. Two anime shorts that lead in to their corresponding movies were also made.