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Pokémon (TV series) facts for kids

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Pokémon
International Pokémon logo.svg
Quick facts for kids
ポケットモンスター
(Poketto Monsutā)
Genre Adventure, fantasy comedy
Anime television series
Directed by
  • Kunihiko Yuyama (Chief Director: First Series – SM)
  • Masamitsu Hidaka (First Series; AG #1–158)
  • Norihiko Sudō (AG #170, DP, BW)
  • Yūji Asada (Diamond & Pearl #171–193)
  • Tetsuo Yajima (XY)
  • Daiki Tomiyasu (Deputy Director: XY #94–123; Director: XY #124, #141–142; SM; Chief Director: PM2019 #1-present)
  • Maki Kodaira (Deputy Director: SM #52–146; Director: PM2019 #1–54)
  • Jun Owada (Director: PM2019 #55-Present)
Written by
  • Takeshi Shudo (Also Head Writer of First Series #1–157)
  • Junki Takegami (Also Head Writer of First Series #158-274,AG)
  • Atsuhiro Tomioka (Also Head Writer of DP, BW, XY)
  • Aya Matsui (Also Head Writer of SM)
  • Shoji Yonemura (Also Head Writer of PM2019)
  • Shinzo Fujita
  • Akemi Omode
  • Yukioshi Ohashi
  • Hideki Sonada
  • Masashi Sogo
  • Junichi Fujisaku
Music by
  • Shinji Miyazaki (First Series, AG, DP, BW, XY, SM)
  • Yuki Hayashi (PM2019)
Studio
  • OLM, Inc.
  • Team Ota (1997–2006)
  • Team Iguchi (2006–2009)
  • Team Kato (2010–present)
Licensed by
Network TXN (TV Tokyo)
English network
Original run April 1, 1997 – ongoing
Episodes 1148 (List of episodes)
Specials
  • 8 TV specials (3 full-length, 5 normal-length)
  • 25 side-story episodes

Pokémon (Japanese: ポケモン, Hepburn: Pokémon), abbreviated from the Japanese title of Pocket Monsters (ポケットモンスター, Poketto Monsutā) and currently advertised in English as Pokémon the Series, is an anime television series, part of The Pokémon Company's Pokémon media franchise, which premiered in Japan on April 1, 1997, on TV Tokyo.

The anime franchise consists of seven sequential series in Japan, each based on a main installment of the Pokémon video game series. In the international broadcasts, these series are split across 24 television seasons, with the 24th season streaming on Netflix in the United States will be announced soon. Each of the series follows Ash Ketchum, a young trainer of fictional creatures called Pokémon. Joined by his partner Pokémon Pikachu and a rotating cast of human characters, currently Goh and Chloe, Ash goes on a journey to become a "Pokémon Master" and compete in various Pokémon-battling tournaments called known as the Pokémon League.

The anime series is accompanied by spin-off programming; including Pokémon Chronicles, a series of side stories; and the live-action variety and Pokémon-related news shows; such as Pocket Monsters Encore, Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station, Pokémon☆Sunday, Pokémon Smash!, Pokémon Get☆TV, and Meet Up at the Pokémon House?

The Pokémon anime series was largely credited for allowing anime to become more popular and familiar around the world, especially in the United States, where the two highest-grossing anime films are both Pokémon films. It was also considered to be one of the first anime series on television to reach this level of mainstream success with Western audiences, as well as being credited with allowing the game series to reach such a degree of popularity, and vice versa. Pokémon is regarded as the most successful video game adaptation of all time, with over 1000 episodes broadcast and adapted for international television markets, concurrently airing in 169 countries worldwide, and one of the most widely watched shows on Netflix, as of 2016.

Its 24th and current season, Master Journeys, will be streaming on Netflix, a internet channel watchable in the United States and broadcasts on normal television in some countries internationally in the summer of 2021.

Plot and characters

Release timeline
1997 Indigo League
1998
1999 Adventures in the Orange Islands
The Johto Journeys
2000 Johto League Champions
2001 Master Quest
2002 Advanced
2003 Advanced Challenge
2004 Advanced Battle
2005 Battle Frontier
2006 Diamond and Pearl
2007 Diamond and Pearl: Battle Dimension
2008 Diamond and Pearl: Galactic Battles
2009
2010 Diamond and Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors
Black & White
2011 Black & White: Rival Destinies
2012 Black & White: Adventures in Unova
2013 Black & White: Adventures in Unova and Beyond
XY
2014 XY: Kalos Quest
2015 XYZ
2016 Sun and Moon
2017 Sun & Moon: Ultra Adventures
2018 Sun & Moon: Ultra Legends
2019 Journeys
2020 Master Journeys

In the first part of the Original Series, Ash Ketchum is allowed to start his journey in the world of Pokémon and dreams of becoming a Pokémon master, but on the day he is to receive his first Pokémon, Ash oversleeps and wakes up in a panic, running into Gary Oak, who becomes Ash's rival. Professor Oak, the local Pokémon researcher, has already given away the three Pokémon (Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle) he entrusts to new Pokémon Trainers when Ash finally reaches Oak's Lab. The only Pokémon that he has left is a Pikachu, which he gives to Ash. Determined to make it on his journey, Ash does his best to befriend Pikachu, but it refused to trust him and chooses to stay out of the Poké Ball, even attacking Ash with its electric powers. It is only after Ash protects Pikachu from a group of angry Spearow that Pikachu realizes how much Ash cares.

Along the way, Ash makes many human and Pokémon friends as he works his way through the ranks of the world's many Pokémon Leagues. Through the Kanto Region, Ash befriends Water Pokémon trainer and erstwhile Cerulean City Gym Leader Misty and Pewter City Gym Leader and Pokémon Breeder Brock, and all the while thwarting the plans of Jessie, James, and Meowth, low-ranking members of the criminal organization Team Rocket who want to steal Ash's Pikachu and any other rare Pokémon they come across. Giovanni, Team Rocket's Boss introduced three new high-ranking members of Team Rocket; Cassidy, Butch, and Raticate, who want to kidnap Pokémon so they can use their moves. Ash wins eight badges from Gym Leaders in the Kanto region to compete in the Indigo Conference League. Gary loses in the fourth round, placing him in the Top 32. Ash makes it to the Top 16, but loses to Ritchie in the fifth round. Also, Ritchie loses to Assunta in the sixth round, placing him in the Top 8.

When the group travels to the Orange Islands, Ash releases his Pidgeot, and Brock decides to stay with the local professor, Ivy, leaving Ash and Misty to continue traveling together. After a while, they meet and begin traveling with Pokémon Watcher and artist Tracey Sketchit. Ash defeats four Gym Leaders in the Orange Islands, and becomes the champion of the Orange League. Once they reach Pallet Town in Kanto, Tracey decides to stay with Professor Oak, and Brock rejoins the group. Ash loses to Gary before leaving the Kanto region. Ash releases Lapras. Following this, the trio continues on its way to the Johto region.

In the second part of the Original Series, Ash explores the new adventures in the Johto region with Misty and Brock. Ash gives the GS Ball to the Apricorn Poké Ball maker, Kurt. Ash's quest is to defeat the eight Gym Leaders in the Johto region and participate in the Silver Conference. Team Rocket's Jessie gains a Wobbuffet as a new partner. Ash beats Gary for the first time in the Silver Conference, placing him in the Top 16, but Ash loses to Harrison, in the quarterfinals, placing him in the Top 8. But also, Harrison loses to Jon Dickson, in the semifinals, placing him in the Top 4. Finally, Ash returns to the Kanto region to set sail in the Hoenn region. Misty returns to Cerulean City in Kanto to become the full-time Cerulean City Gym Leader and she got her bike fixed that has been destroyed in the beginning of Ash's quest.

Brock follows Ash to Hoenn and Ash gains two new companions, a Pokémon Coordinator May and her younger brother Max, and together they go on an adventure. May collects five ribbons to participate in the Hoenn Grand Festival, and the Kanto Grand Festival. Misty returns and later releases her Togepi, which has evolved to Togetic. Ash defeats all eight Hoenn gym leaders and participates in the Ever Grande Conference, but he loses to Tyson (Tetsuya), in the quarterfinals, placing him in the Top 8. In Pokémon: Battle Frontier (Japanese: ポケットモンスター バトルフロンティア編, Pocket Monsters: Episode Battle Frontier), Ash gets seven frontier symbols in Kanto, and wins the Battle Frontier. However, Ash declines the Battle Frontier Brain title, and decides to continue his Pokémon journey. Afterwards, Ash battles with his rival, Gary. After seeing Electivire, a Pokémon from the Sinnoh region he has never seen before, Ash decides to travel to Sinnoh, and Brock joins him.

Upon arrival in Sinnoh, Ash and Brock meet Dawn, another Pokémon Coordinator, who travels with them as they go through the Sinnoh region in an adventure. Dawn earns five ribbons to participate in the Sinnoh Grand Festival. Dawn loses to Zoey, placing her runner-up. Ash defeats all eight Sinnoh gym leaders to participate in the Lily of the Valley Conference, but he loses to Tobias, in the semifinals, placing him in the Top 4. Afterwards, Ash, his mother Delia and Professor Oak take a holiday to the far-off Unova Region, where he meets and travels with would-be Dragon Master Iris and Striaton City Gym Leader, Pokémon Connoisseur, and sometimes detective Cilan. After winning all eight Unova badges and thwarting the sinister Team Plasma, Ash, Iris, and Cilan travel throughout the eastern side of Unova to prepare for the Vertress Conference, but Ash loses to Cameron, in the quarterfinals, placing him in the Top 8. But also, Cameron loses to Virgil in the semifinals, placing him in the Top 4. Afterwards, Ash, Iris, and Cilan travel through the Decolore Islands before Ash makes his way back to Pallet Town and meet the investigative reporter Alexa, who is from the distant Kalos Region. Having arrived back in Kanto, Iris and Cilan travel to Johto whilst Ash and Alexa head to Kalos.

Ash and Alexa arrive in the Kalos region and Ash is itching to get started in earning his Gym badges. But after Alexa informs Ash that her sister, a Gym Leader, is currently absent, Ash travels to Lumiose City where he meets boy-genius Clemont and his younger sister Bonnie, unaware that Clemont is, in fact, Lumiose City's Gym Leader; a fact he tries his best to hide. Ash also reunites with Serena, a girl from Vaniville Town whom Ash had met in his childhood. Serena earns three keys to participate in the Pokémon Showcase. Serena loses to Aria, placing her runner-up. After traveling with Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie to prepare for the Lumiose Conference by defeating all eight Kalos gym leaders, Ash competes and advances all the way to the finals, where he loses to Alain, a temporary member of the evil Team Flare due to them misleading him. Once he discovers their true intentions, Alain reforms and joins Ash and his friends to stop Team Flare's plans. Bidding farewell to his friends in Kalos, Ash once again returns to Pallet Town.

In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon (Japanese: ポケットモンスター サン&ムーン Pocket Monsters Sun & Moon), Ash, Delia and her Mr. Mime are on vacation in the Alola region when Ash has an encounter with Tapu Koko, the guardian Pokémon of Melemele Island, who presents him with the Z-Ring, a device that, when paired with a special crystal, allows a Pokémon to unleash a powerful move when synchronized with its trainer. This leads him to stay in Alola and enroll at the local Pokémon school. When he decides to undertake the trials necessary to master the power of the Z-Ring, Ash's new classmates Lana, Mallow, Lillie, Sophocles and Kiawe decide to accompany him. Ash takes part in the island challenges, but Ash loses to Team Rocket members Jessie, James, Meowth, and Wobbuffet in a battle for the first time in his quest. But then later, Ash finally gains his first-ever official league victory at the Manalo Conference.

In the new series, Pokémon Journeys: The Series (Japanese: ポケットモンスター Pocket Monsters) focuses on all eight regions, including Galar, the setting of the Pokémon Sword and Shield games. Pikachu's backstory as a Pichu, and Ash's backstory when he was 6 years old missing Professor Oak's camp. Goh's backstory when he was 6 years old and he did attend Professor Oak's camp, and he saw Mew. It sees Ash and Pikachu travel to each of the regions, accompanied by Goh and his Scorbunny, which later evolves into Raboot and then into a Cinderace. Currently, the supporting cast includes a girl named Chloe Cerise and her Yamper. The next installment of the new series, Pokémon Master Journeys: The Series. As of now, Ash's team consists of Pikachu, Mr. Mime, Gengar, Dragonite, Lucario, Sirfetch'd and Dracovish. Chloe Cerise joins Ash and Goh on their adventure with her newly caught Eevee.

Episodes

In Japan, Pocket Monsters is currently broadcast as seven sequential series, each based on an installment of the main video game series. The anime is aired year-round continuously, with regular off-days for sporting events and television specials. In its international broadcast, Pokémon's episodes have currently been split up into 24 seasons, as of 2021, running a fixed number of episodes, using a specific opening sequence and sporting a different subtitle for each new season.

The seventh and current installment of the anime series is titled Pocket Monsters (ポケットモンスター, Poketto Monsutā) in Japan and Pokémon Journeys: The Series internationally; it first premiered in Japan on November 17, 2019.

Season Title Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 Indigo League 82 April 1, 1997 (1997-04-01) January 21, 1999 (1999-01-21)
2 Adventures in the Orange Islands 36 January 28, 1999 (1999-01-28) October 7, 1999 (1999-10-07)
3 The Johto Journeys 41 October 14, 1999 (1999-10-14) July 27, 2000 (2000-07-27)
4 Johto League Champions 52 August 3, 2000 (2000-08-03) August 2, 2001 (2001-08-02)
5 Master Quest 65 August 9, 2001 (2001-08-09) November 14, 2002 (2002-11-14)
6 Advanced 40 November 21, 2002 (2002-11-21) August 28, 2003 (2003-08-28)
7 Advanced Challenge 52 September 4, 2003 (2003-09-04) September 2, 2004 (2004-09-02)
8 Advanced Battle 54 September 9, 2004 (2004-09-09) September 29, 2005 (2005-09-29)
9 Battle Frontier 47 October 6, 2005 (2005-10-06) September 14, 2006 (2006-09-14)
10 Diamond and Pearl 52 September 28, 2006 (2006-09-28) October 25, 2007 (2007-10-25)
11 Diamond and Pearl: Battle Dimension 52 November 8, 2007 (2007-11-08) December 4, 2008 (2008-12-04)
12 Diamond and Pearl: Galactic Battles 53 December 4, 2008 (2008-12-04) December 24, 2009 (2009-12-24)
13 Diamond and Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors 34 January 7, 2010 (2010-01-07) September 9, 2010 (2010-09-09)
14 Black & White 50 September 23, 2010 (2010-09-23) September 15, 2011 (2011-09-15)
15 Black & White: Rival Destinies 49 September 22, 2011 (2011-09-22) October 4, 2012 (2012-10-04)
16 Black & White: Adventures in Unova 45 25 October 11, 2012 (2012-10-11) April 18, 2013 (2013-04-18)
Black & White: Adventures in Unova and Beyond 20 April 25, 2013 (2013-04-25) September 26, 2013 (2013-09-26)
17 XY 48 October 17, 2013 (2013-10-17) October 30, 2014 (2014-10-30)
18 XY: Kalos Quest 45 November 13, 2014 (2014-11-13) October 22, 2015 (2015-10-22)
19 XYZ 47 October 29, 2015 (2015-10-29) October 27, 2016 (2016-10-27)
20 Sun & Moon 43 November 17, 2016 (2016-11-17) September 21, 2017 (2017-09-21)
21 Sun & Moon: Ultra Adventures 49 October 5, 2017 (2017-10-05) October 14, 2018 (2018-10-14)
22 Sun & Moon: Ultra Legends 54 October 21, 2018 (2018-10-21) November 3, 2019 (2019-11-03)
23 Journeys 58 November 17, 2019 (2019-11-17) TBA

Specials

In addition to the main series and the movies, the anime has also shown various full-length specials and TV shorts. Many of these specials centered around legendary Pokémon or one or more of the main characters that is separate from the main cast during its corresponding series, while the sporadically-made later side story episodes typically air as special episodes.

Movies

Spin-off series

Pokémon Chronicles

Pokémon Chronicles is a label created by 4Kids which is used for a collection of several as yet undubbed specials, which were first broadcast in English between May and October 2005 in the UK, and in the US between June and November 2006. The vast majority of the episodes making up Chronicles were taken from what was known in Japan as Pocket Monsters Side Stories (ポケットモンスター サイドストーリー, Poketto Monsutā Saido Sutōrī), which aired as part of Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station. The remaining portions of Chronicles consisted of a TV special called The Legend of Thunder, and installments from Pikachu's Winter Vacation, originally released on video.

Pokémon Origins

Pokémon Generations

Pokémon: Twilight Wings

Japanese variety shows

Pocket Monsters Encore

Pocket Monsters Encore (ポケットモンスター アンコール, Poketto Monsutā Ankōru) was broadcast on TV Tokyo from October 19, 1999 to September 17, 2002. It ran during the second part of Pokémon: The Original Series. Pocket Monsters Encore is a variety show featuring reruns of old episodes, including Japanese and English audio tracks, except for EP035 and EP018, which were broadcast in stereo. EP022 and EP023 broadcast together. EP018 was taken out of sequence and inserted between Holiday Hi-Jynx and Snow Way Out!, which were broadcast in the place of EP038 and EP039. EP052 aired between EP047 and EP048 and EP053 between EP057 and EP058. The ending song is the English version of Type: Wild performed by Robbie Danzie, and it was produced for Pocket Monsters Encore and aired.

Pokémon de English (ポケモンdeイングリッシュ, Pokémon de Ingurisshu) was a segment at the end of Pocket Monsters Encore used to teach Japanese children simple English words and phrases. All of the segments where later compiled into three volumes and later released.

Pokémon de English uses a mixture of unedited Japanese and painted-over English video. New English lines were also recorded for this release by the original voice actors from both Japan and the United States. Pokémon de English was later released as rental only VHS and DVDs in 2002 and 2007, respectively, including English audio, as well as closed captioning in both English and Japanese.

On September 17, 2002, it was replaced by the Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station.

Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station

Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station (週刊ポケモン放送局, Shūkan Pokémon Hōsōkyoku) is a closely related spin-off series that aired with the beginning part of Pokémon: Advanced Generation. The show was presented as an animated variety show, and showed clip shows, reruns of Pokémon episodes, television airings of the Pokémon movies, cast interviews, and live action footage, in addition to the previously mentioned Pokémon Side Story episodes. The hosts were Mayumi Iizuka as Kasumi (Misty) and Yūji Ueda as Takeshi (Brock). They were regularly joined by Kaba-chan, Manami Aihara, Bernard Ackah and Rex Jones as the comedy team "Shio Koshō", Megumi Hayashibara as Musashi (Jessie), Shin-ichiro Miki as Kojirō (James), and Inuko Inuyama as Nyāsu (Meowth). The show ran from October 15, 2002, to September 28, 2004, when it was replaced by Pokémon☆Sunday.

Pokémon☆Sunday

Pokémon☆Sunday (ポケモン☆サンデー, Pokémon☆Sandē) was broadcast on TV Tokyo from October 3, 2004, to September 26, 2010. The show is the successor to the Pocket Monsters Encore and the Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station. It ran from the second part of Pokémon: Advanced Generation to Pokémon: Diamond & Pearl. Like the shows before it, Pokémon☆Sunday is variety show featuring reruns of old episodes as well as a number of 'Research' episodes involving live-action elements. Regular guests include Golgo Matsumoto and Red Yoshida of TIM; Hiroshi Yamamoto, Ryūji Akiyama, and Hiroyuki Baba of Robert; Becky (through September 2006), and Shoko Nakagawa (starting October 2006).

Pokémon Smash!

Pokémon Smash! (ポケモンスマッシュ!, Pokémon Sumasshu!) is the successor to the Pokémon☆Sunday series. It aired from October 3, 2010, to September 28, 2013. Like its predecessors, Pokémon Smash! is a variety show that features live-action segments and reruns of old anime episodes. It ran during Pokémon: Best Wishes Season 1 and Season 2. The theme song is "Endless Fighters" by AAA. Regular guests include Golgo Matsumoto and Red Yoshida of TIM; Shoko Nakagawa; and Hiroshi Yamamoto, Ryūji Akiyama, and Hiroyuki Baba of Robert.

Pokémon Get☆TV

Pokémon Get☆TV (ポケモンゲット☆TV, Pokémon Getto☆Terebi) is the successor to Pokémon Smash!, which premiered on October 6, 2013. Shoko Nakagawa remains as a host, and is joined by Yukito Nishii and comedy team Taka and Toshi. Just like its predecessors, it is a variety show featuring reruns of previous anime episodes and special live-action segments. It ran during Pokémon: XY.

Meet Up at the Pokémon House?

Meet Up at the Pokémon House? (ポケモンの家あつまる? Pokémon no Uchi Atsumaru?), more commonly known as Pokénchi (Japanese: ポケんち) or Pokémon House (Japanese: ポケモンの家), is the successor to Pokémon GET☆TV, which premiered on October 4, 2015. It is hosted by Shōko Nakagawa, Otani Rinka, Hyadain, and Abareru-kun. Similar to its predecessors, it is a variety show featuring reruns of previous anime episodes and special live-action segments. It ran during Pokémon: Sun & Moon and Pokémon: The New Series.

Airing and production

Pokémon is broadcast in Japan on the TX Network family of stations first on Thursday evenings; it is then syndicated throughout the rest of Japan's major broadcasters (All-Nippon News Network, Fuji Network System, Nippon Television Network System) on their local affiliates as well as on private satellite and cable networks on various delays. Production in Japan is handled by TV Tokyo, MediaNet (formerly TV Tokyo MediaNet and Softx), and ShoPro (formerly Shougakan Productions). Kunihiko Yuyama has served as the series' chief director since the original series. The previous series, Pokémon: Sun and Moon, began broadcast in Japan on November 17, 2016, with Tetsuo Yajima serving as director and Atsuhiro Tomioka as head screenwriter.

Internationally, The Pokémon Company International handles production and distribution of the anime with DuArt Film and Video and published by VIZ Media, who was VIZ LLC, but merged with Shopro. The anime currently airs in 169 different countries. Beginning in 2020, Netflix gained the exclusive rights to stream new episodes in the United States; the twenty-third season, titled Pokémon Journeys: the Series, debuted on the service on June 12. Older seasons are available on Netflix and Hulu. The series has previously aired in syndication, with new episodes premiering on Kids' WB, Cartoon Network, and Disney XD. Older season and movie repeats still air on Disney XD, as well as in Spanish on TeleXitos and Discovery Familia.

Pokémon was originally licensed in the United States by 4Kids Entertainment, who produced a localized English adaptation that was syndicated by The Summit Media Group. The localized version premiered on September 8, 1998, twenty days before the release of Pokemon Red and Blue. Pokémon was distributed on VHS and DVD by Pioneer Entertainment and Viz Video, which sold 25 million units of the series in 2000. Following the eighth season in 2005, the series' dub production was taken over by The Pokémon Company and TAJ Productions. Beginning with twelfth film, Arceus and the Jewel of Life, DuArt became the production studio, which lasted until the twenty-second season.

OLM, Inc. served as producer. Until episode 259 (episode 262 in Japan), during the fifth season, the series was animated using cel animation. Beginning with episode 260 (episode 263 in Japan), titled "Here's Lookin' at You Elekid!", all subsequent seasons are digitally animated.

In a 2018 interview, the creators of Detective Pikachu, which features a talking Pikachu, revealed that the original intention for the anime was to have the Pokémon talk, but OLM, Inc. was unable to come up with a concept that Game Freak were accepting of.

Streaming and digital

Pokémon is currently available for streaming on Netflix in 216 regions and countries with different dubs and subtitles; all countries have at least English audio. Pokémon is globally one of the most widely watched shows on Netflix, as of 2016. It is also available on Hulu (in the United States and Japan), and Amazon Prime Video (in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, and Austria). The twenty-second season is available on DisneyNOW in the United States, and content is also available on Hulu, and the Pokémon TV app and website. In 2007, it became Stream able on Narnia Streaming until 2020, when Netflix got permissions.

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