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A common tradition of the Pokémon anime is the practice of introducing Pokémon that wouldn't become available in the games until an upcoming generation, usually during a point in which the anime is still covering material from the, at that point, current generation. This is done mostly to tease and to create anticipation for the upcoming games. In some instances, a main character from the current series may capture the Pokémon (Misty and her Togepi, May and her Munchlax, et el.), appearing as a recurring wild Pokémon or owned by a character of the day. A Pokémon movie (as well as its accompanying Pikachu short) are also a common place for showcasing the new Pokémon, usually in one or more of the movie released towards the end of a generation.
A small handful of these Pokémon where introduced during the Kanto-based Generation I saga, with the remaining majority appearing in the generation-bridging Orange Islands saga.
The very first Generation II Pokémon to debut in the anime, Ho-oh appeared in "Pokémon, I Choose You", the very first episode of the Original Series. Ash Ketchum witnessed the legendary bird fly over Route 1. His Pokédex was unable to identify the bird. As such, Ho-oh went completely unnamed in this appearance.
- See: Misty's Togepi
Togepi made its debut as an egg, inadvertidly found by Ash toward the end of "Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon". Ash and friends took the egg and cared for it on their journey for several episodes until it hatched in "Who Get's to Keep Togepi?". Unlike Ho-oh, Ash's Pokédex was able to identify the Pokémon due to having received an upgrade at the start of that very episode. After going as far as to hold a battle tournament to decide who would be Togepi's Trainer, the egg Pokémon chose to be Misty's partner, due to it thinking she's it's mother (as Misty was the first person it saw upon hatching). Misty thus became the first main character to own a Generation II Pokémon.
Marill and Snubbull
The water mouse Pokémon and Fairy Pokémon both debuted in the theatrical short Pikachu's Vacation. Two members of a gang alongside a Raichu and a Cubone, they misbehaved and caused trouble for Ash and friends' Pokémon at the Pokémon Theme Park, before finally becoming friends after banding together when disaster struck.
- See also: Tracey's Marill
While Snubbull wouldn't make it's TV anime debut until the Johto saga itself, Marill made its TV debut under the ownership of Tracey Sketchit during Ash's journey through the Orange Islands. Marill had already been under Tracey's ownership prior to meeting Ash and Misty, but it wasn't revealed until "The Crystal Onix", in which it used it's advanced hearing to help Ash and friends track down a Crystal Onix.
Donphan made its unnamed debut in the opening credits of Mewtwo Strikes Back, where it was the first Pokémon to be used by Raymond in his opening battle against Ash. The Pokémon was pitted against Ash's Bulbasaur, only to be knocked out by the seeds Pokémon's Solarbeam.
Elekid, Ledyba and Hoothoot
Lugia and Slowking
Pokémon from Generation III began appearing roughly midway though the Johto saga.
Kecleon and Azurill
Latios and Latias
- See: Latios (M05) and Latias (M05)
Pokémon from Generation IV began appear midway through the Advanced Generation series, with one making their debut in the Hoenn-based saga, and the rest appearing throughout the Kanto Battle Frontier.
- See also: May's Munchlax
Lucario, Bonsly, Mime Jr. and Weavile
- See: Lucario (M08)
- See also: Brock's Bonsly
- See also: James' Mime Jr.
Manaphy, Chatot, Buizel and Mantyke
See: Manaphy (M09)
Unlike previous series, a total of two Generation V Pokémon made their debut in the Diamond & Pearl series, however, these appearances where only in a Pokémon movie, and not in any episodes of the TV series. Also unlike the previous series, the debuts occurred much later into the series then before.
Zorua and Zoroarkk
- See: Zorua (M13) and Zoroark (M13)
The Best Wishes series introduced three Generation VI Pokémon during the Decolora Islands arc. Additionally, a new form of a Pokémon from a previous generation was introduced during this series.
Mega Mewtwo Y
- See: Mewtwo (M16)
Helioptile, Gogoat and Noivern