Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Pokémon anime series, based on the video game series, was created in Japan and then translated for the North American television market. The series appeared outside Japan before the video games did, and has since spawned several movies. It is aimed at younger viewers but many teens and adults enjoy it as well. Originally a single series, Pocket Monsters, it has since been spun off to two: Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation continues the story of Pocket Monsters, while Pokémon Sunday (formerly Shuukan Pokémon Housoukyoku) is a series of stories revolving around some of the recurring characters.
The series' music was composed by Hirokazu Tanaka, better known for his work on Nintendo games such as Metroid. Nintendo disapproved of Tanaka working on the project, so he quit the company to turn his attentions completely to Pokémon.
The show is currently in its third season of Advanced Generation in Japan, while the English version is on the second season of Advanced Generation, titled Pokémon: Advanced Challenge. In the fall of 2005, an English version of Housoukyoku, titled Pokémon Chronicles, will air on Kids WB. Each season also brings forth a Pokémon feature-length film, and each film up until the seventh is preceded by a Pokémon animated short.
In Japan, both series are shown on TV Tokyo, with Advanced Generation airing on Thursday nights and Pokémon Sunday on Sunday nights. In the United States, new episodes of Advanced Generation can be seen on the air on the Kids WB cartoon block six days a week (except Sundays), including the earlier pre-Johto episodes, which are still considered the best episodes of the series by many.
The English version is produced by 4Kids Entertainment, with video distribution of the series handled by Viz for the TV series, Kids WB! and Nintendo for the first three movies and the first special, and Miramax Films and Buena Vista Home Entertainment for the other movies, while Miramax's parent company Walt Disney Pictures was rumoured to have a say in the 7th movie.
Like many anime series, Pocket Monsters and Advanced Generation episodes are split up into smaller seasons for the English release, usually to denote the areas and advengures going on. Because of this, seasons are identified by the opening animation used for the episode, rather than a run of a fixed number of episodes. They are subdivided as follows:
- Pocket Monsters - covering the Kanto, Orange Islands, and Johto adventures.
- Pokémon - the original English series, covering the Kanto and Orange Islands story. Pokémon, in turn, is often subdivided into "Season 1" and "Season 2", denoting the Kanto and Orange Island adventures, respectively.
- Pokémon: The Johto Journeys - covering the start of the Johto journey, and ending as the protagonists reach Goldenrod City.
- Pokémon: Johto League Champions - continuing the Johto adventures, and ending as the protagonists leave Cianwood City.
- Pokémon: Master Quest - this series concludes the Johto adventures.
- Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation - Covering the Hoenn adventures from where Pocket Monsters leaves off.
- Pokémon: Advanced - Continuing from Master Quest, Advanced covers the Hoenn adventures until the protagonists leave Mauville City for the first time.
- Pokémon: Advanced Challenge - covers the next three Hoenn gyms.
Pocket Monsters / Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation
The main series tells the story of Ash Ketchum (Satoshi) and his quest to become a Pokémon Master. However, unlike the video games, due to unexpected circumstances he is given a Pikachu. Much of the series focuses on the friendship between Ash, Pikachu, and the various Pokémon and Trainers along the way. The main series follows the video games closely, but diverges from the video game continuity somewhat.
The original episode titles in this series are often given with little or no kanji, partly as a homage to the limited text capabilities of the Nintendo Game Boy, and partly due to the series being primarily intended for children. Kanji appears more regularly in Advanced Generation title, again partly due to a growing audience and partly as a homage to the increased text capabilities of the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. In the English version, episode titles tend to be a play on common words or phrases in pop culture, although early episode names were mostly translations of their Japanese counterparts.
Shuukan Pokémon Housoukyoku / Pokémon Sunday
Skuukan Pokémon Housoukyoku ("Weekly Pokémon broadcast") and its successor, Pokémon Sunday, is a closely related spinoff series that airs concurrently with Advanced Generation. The main episodes are stories that star various recurring characters that appear in Pocket Monsters, some of which account for discontinuities of the plot of Advanced Generation. However, instead of new episodes each week, as is the case with Advanced Generation, during Housoukyoku other things may air, such as reruns of Pocket Monsters episodes, television airings of the Pocket Monsters movies, cast interviews, and live action footage from various Pokémon events.
During each season of the main series, a Pokémon feature film (劇場版ポケットモンスター, romaji Gekijōban Pocket Monsters, and later 劇場版ポケットモンスター アドバンスジェネレーション, romaji Gekijōban Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation) starring the main characters from the TV series has been released. As of 2004, there have been seven movies and one feature length TV broadcast (released outside Japan as a direct-to-video movie titled "Mewtwo Returns" ), with an eighth scheduled for release on July 16, 2005 in Japan. The plot of every movie has involved an encounter with a "legendary" Pokémon, although some may not conform to a strict dictionary definition of the word. The movies are also used to promote brand new Pokémon that are supposed to be in new versions of the game.
Each movie until the seventh is preceded by an animated short, featuring Pikachu and other Pokémon owned by the main characters and Team Rocket. Much of the dialogue in the short is done in the Pokémon language, which consists of grunting (for larger Pokémon) or stating the name of the Pokémon, and most of the intelligible dialogue (monologue?) excluding the narration is performed by Meowth.
The movies, along with their corresponding animated shorts, are:
- ピカチュウのなつやすみ (Pikachu no natsu yasumi) / Pikachu's Summer Vacation
- ミュウツーの逆襲 (Mewtwo no gyakushū - Mewtwo's Counterattack) /
- Features the legendary Pokémon Mew and Mewtwo. Highest grossing of all Pokémon films and of all anime films in the US. However, it has been criticized by fans because the dubbed version omits several important elements of the story. Followed up by the special Mewtwo Returns.
- ピカチュウたんけんたい (Pikachu tankentai - Pikachu's Exploration Party) / Pikachu's Rescue Adventure
- ルギア爆誕 (Lugia bakutan) / Pokémon The Movie 2000 - The Power of One
- Features the legendary Pokémon Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, and Lugia.
- ピチューとピカチュウ (Pichu to Pikachu) / Pikachu and Pichu
- 結晶塔の帝王 (Kesshō tō no teiō "Emperor of the Crystal Tower") / Pokémon 3: The Movie - Spell of the Unown
- Features the legendary Pokémon Entei and the Unown.
- ピカチュウのドキドキかくれんぼ (Pikachu no dokidoki kakurenbo - Pikachu's Nervous Hide-And-Seek) / Pikachu's Pikaboo
- セレビィ 時を超えた遭遇 (Serebii - Toki o koeta deai - Celebi - A Timeless Encounter) /
- Features the legendary Pokémon Celebi and Suicune. First film to be released by Miramax outside Japan.
- ピカ☆ピカ 星空キャンプ (Pika Pika hoshizora Camp - Sparkling Starlit Sky Camp) / Camp Pikachu
- 水の都の護神 −ラティアスとラティオス− (Mizu no miyako no mamorigami - Latias to Latios - Guardian Spirits of the Water Capital - Latias and Latios) / Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias
- Features the legendary Pokémon Latios and Latias. Last movie to be seen in theaters outside Japan.
- おどるポケモンひみつ基地 (Odoru Pokémon himitsu kichi - Secret Base of the Dancing Pokemon) / Gotta Dance
- 七夜の願い星 ジラーチ (Nanayo no negai hoshi Jirachi - Wishing Star of the Seven Nights - Jirachi) / Pokémon - Jirachi: Wishmaker
- Features the legendary Pokémon Jirachi, Groudon, and Absol. First film to have a direct to video release outside Japan.
- 裂空の訪問者 デオキシス (Rekkū no hōmonsha Deoxys - Visitor of the Space Fissure - Deoxys) / Pokémon - Destiny Deoxys
- Features the legendary Pokémon Rayquaza, and the alien virus Pokémon Deoxys. First movie to run without a short.
- ミュウと波導の勇者 ルカリオ(Mew to Hadou no Yuusha - Rukario Mew and the Wave Guiding Hero - Rukario)
- Features the legendary Pokémon Mew, Regirock, Registeel, Regice, and one of the new 4th generation Pokémon, Rukario. First movie to feature a legendary Pokémon from a previous movie. First movie to have Nintendo DS downloadable content.
Japanese names in Western order (given name before surname) are given first, followed by the English name. All Japanese names, unless otherwise noted, are romanized from katakana. For the sake of simplicity, English language names will be used in this and other articles in Wikipedia about Pokémon, unless explicitly referring to the Japanese version.
- Satoshi / Ash Ketchum - Ash Ketchum is the main character of the main anime series. Satoshi is named after Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of the Pokémon games. Ash aspires to be a Pokémon Master, and together with the various friends and Pokémon that travel with him, embark on many adventures. In a similar fashion to the game, Ash does this by entering various Pokémon League competitions. Ash does not appear in Housoukyoku and Sunday, but is frequently referenced.
- Pikachu, a little yellow mouse-like creature with a lightning bolt tail and the ability to create an electrical jolt from its cheeks. It is the Pokémon that Ash receives from Professor Oak to start his Pokémon Journey.
- Takeshi / Brock - the Pewter City Gym Leader who leaves his post to become a Pokémon Breeder, leaving the care of his gym to his father. He is one of Ash's travelling companions.
- Kasumi / Misty - the Cerulean City Gym Leader who leaves her post to become a Water Pokémon expert. She is the youngest of four sisters. At the end of the Johto saga, she returns to Cerulean City in order to run the Pokémon Gym there.
- Kenji / Tracey Sketchit - a Pokémon Watcher who idolizes Professor Oak, and travels with Ash and Misty throughout the Orange Islands. This has led him to become Professor Oak's assistant.
- Haruka / May - a Pokémon Coordinator introduced in the Hoenn saga who's starting her own Pokémon Journey. She follows Ash partly because he is a more experienced trainer, and partly because, Ash's Pikachu destroyed her bike in a similar fashion to Misty's bike. She is based on the female playable character in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.
- Masato / Max - The brother of May. Although he is too young to be a Pokémon Trainer, he joins Ash and his friends in order to experience more of the world of Pokémon than what he can learn from books. Like Tracy, he idolizes Professor Oak.
Main article: Team Rocket
- Musashi / Jessica "Jessie" - the female half of Team Rocket
- Kojirō / James - the male half of Team Rocket
- Nyarth (ニャース Nyāsu) / Meowth - One of the few Pokémon that can speak a human language.
The antagonists of the Pokémon series are Team Rocket (Roketto-Dan) members Jessie and James, and their Pokémon Meowth. Jessie and James were for a long time the largest divergence between the games and the television series; in the games, the Team Rocket organization is a dangerous and widespread source of crime, while in the anime, Team Rocket is almost exclusively represented by these three characters, who are more bumbling than mean-spirited. They join the video game series in the Game Boy game Pokémon Yellow, which incorporates several elements of the television series, but have not made any other appearance in the video game series to date.
In almost every episode, there is a subplot where Team Rocket is trying to steal Ash's Pikachu or another Pokémon introduced in that episode. The attempt is always unsuccessful in the end; Team Rocket is usually sent flying into the distance, often as a result of either Pikachu's Thunderbolt attack, an attack of the Pokémon introduced in the episode, or mechanical failure of the various (usually Pokémon-shaped) machines they pilot. As Team Rocket vanishes over the horizon, they yell their catchphrase Looks like Team Rocket's blasting off again! or a variation thereof (the Japanese counterpart is Ya na kanji!, which translates to "I've got a bad feeling about this!" or simply "This feels bad!"). There are, however, a few episodes where Team Rocket are the protagonists while the main characters are relegated to secondary roles. In many of these episodes, Team Rocket are portrayed in a more favorable light.
Team Rocket is well known for their motto that is always uttered in every episode at least in part, with subtle variations therein. The motto, as well as some of Team Rocket's other antics, is sometimes parodied within the series. On at least one occasion Ash and his friends have made their own Rocket-like motto.
In the Pokémon films, Team Rocket acts often as the comedy relief, and on occasion, aid the main characters in times of need. In later movies, their roles were diminished bit by bit, often being characters that just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are almost always also the characters with the film's last lines.
Although Team Rocket is almost exclusively used to denote Jessie, James, and Meowth, the series occasionally features other members of Team Rocket, including Butch (Kosaburo) and Cassidy (Yamato), Tyson (Tatsumi), and Professor Nanba (Nanba-Hakase). These characters are often legitimate villains, donning black Team Rocket uniforms (consistent with the game, and contrasting those of Jessie and James, who wear white), and generally have different plans that are, through the incompetence of Jessie and James, foiled by Ash and his friends.
With the current series now taking place in Hoenn, the area of focus in the Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire games, the new criminal groups Team Magma and Team Aqua also made appearances for large-scale plans, but their appearances are far fewer than those of Team Rocket, who have become main characters. Team Aqua and Team Magma, like the black-clad Team Rocket members, are portrayed as true villains rather than mere antagonists.
Other recurring characters have been introduced, but few have more than one appearance. They include:
- Yukinari Ōkido-Hakase / Professor Samuel Oak - a Pokémon researcher. He is often considered the leading Pokémon expert, often giving lectures to Pokémon academies and hosting a radio show in Goldenrod City. Alongside his research, he is also authorized by the Pokémon League to give new trainers one of the three Kanto starter Pokémon: Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. It was a special condition in which Ash obtained Pikachu from Professor Oak. (see Ash Ketchum article)
- Uchidō-Hakase / Professor Felina Ivy - a Pokémon researcher. She is the leading researcher in the Orange Islands.
- Utsugi-Hakase / Professor Elm - a Pokémon researcher, and former student of Professor Oak. He is authorized by the Pokémon League to give new trainers one of the three Johto starter Pokémon: Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile.
- Odamaki-Hakase / Professor Birch - a Pokémon researcher, known for his field work. He is authorized by the Pokémon League to give new trainers one of the three Hoenn starter Pokémon: Treecko, Torchic, and Mudkip.
- Masaki Sonezaki / Bill - the inventor of the Pokémon Box. He is also a student of theoretical Pokémon behavior, learning how Pokémon behave by dressing up in Pokémon costumes.
- Joi / Nurse Joy - a family of Pokémon nurses (all of which are named Joy, posssibly they are clones) that operate the various Pokémon Centers in the world of Pokémon. Because of their identical appearance, it is often difficult to tell one Nurse Joy from another. The Japanese name, joi, means "female doctor".
- Junsaa / Officer Jenny - a family of police officers (all of which are named Jenny, possibly they are clones) keeping peace efficiently in the Pokémon world, often arresting members of Team Rocket. Like the various Nurse Joys, it is difficult to tell one Officer Jenny from another. The Japanese name, junsaa, means "police officer".
- Hanako / Delia Ketchum - the mother of Ash. Delia is very caring of her son, always reminding him to do his best. She is very talented, having won a beauty pageant and cooked a dish so popular that elite chefs at the Indigo Plateau have asked for its recipe. It is not known who is the father of Ash, but it is clear that Ash's parents have separated. In the Japanese version, the name of Satoshi's mother was, for a long time, unrevealed. The name Hanako was revealed during the second Pocket Monsters movie.
- Shigeru / Gary Oak - Ash's main rival since childhood, and grandson of Professor Oak. Like Ash, he journeys to become a Pokémon Master, but abandons his quest in order to follow his grandfather's footsteps. In the original Japanese, he is named after Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Mario and Legend of Zelda games.
- Yuki / Suzie - a Pokémon breeder who gives Brock her Vulpix. Brock later returns it to her.
- Tōru / Todd (also Snap) - a Pokémon photographer who takes pictures of Pokémon in their natural habitat, and the main character of the video game Pokémon Snap. The name Tōru comes from the verb toru, meaning "to take a picture". Todd is only known as Todd on episodes airing on TV in the United States; on home video/DVD releases, and in all other English-speaking countries, he is called Snap. The reason for this is unknown.
- Imite / Duplica - a Pokémon entertainer and Ditto trainer who performs various cosplay acts for passing travellers. She is the trainer to two Ditto: one which performs perfect transformations, while the other transforms into a smaller version of larger Pokémon. Interestingly, while her name was changed in the English translation, her house is still known as "Imitehouse". "Imite" is short for "imitate".
- Hiroshi / Richie - a Pokémon Trainer who shares similar tastes in Pokémon as Ash. He has many of the same Pokémon as Ash, and also distinctly nicknames his Pokémon and labels his Pokéballs. His Japanese name, Hiroshi, is said to be a reference to the former head of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi. Also, Hiroshi is one of the default character names in the Japanese version of Pokemon Blue.
- Nanako / Casey - a Pokémon Trainer and baseball fan. She starts her Pokémon Journey not long after Ash reaches Johto. She is a big fan of the Electabuzz team, and as such wears a lot of Electabuzz wear, and aspires to collect as many yellow striped Pokémon as possible.
- Jun'ichi / Jackson - a Pokémon Trainer who starts his Pokémon Journey in Johto. He is friends with two other trainers, Yoshi and Dani (who are based on the playable male and female characters in Pokémon Crystal), and were first introduced in a special episode. His Japanese name is said to be a reference to Jun'ichi Masuda, composer of the soundtracks of the Pokémon games.
- Kanna / Prima - one of the Elite Four who Ash meets on the Orange Islands. She is known in the English video games as Lorelei.
- Hazuki / Harrison - a Pokémon Trainer from Hoenn. Ash's loss to Harrison's Blaziken leads Ash to embark on a journey to Hoenn.
- Shuu / Drew - a Pokémon Coordinator who is considered one of May's rivals.
The various key characters in the video game, such as the Pokémon Gym Leaders, have also made numerous appearances in the anime. Although Brock and Misty are series regulars, Giovanni is the leader of Team Rocket, and Norman, the father to May and Max, are often mentioned in Advanced Generation, many of the gym leaders appear in a short story arc. Some have reappeared more often, either when they cross paths again as a result of needing to do so in order to reach the next gym (such as the case with Morty or Wattson), or when Ash loses the first battle and has a rematch (such as with Sabrina or Brawly). Several characters in the various Pokémon League Elite Four (shitennō) have also appeared, often giving advice to the main characters.
On December 16, 1997, an episode titled Dennō Senshi Porygon (Electric Soldier Porygon) broadcast in Japan caused several children to have epileptic seizures. A sequence in the show included a form of computer graphics which needed a certain anti-virus program in order to function properly. However, the software also caused a series of visual flashes to appear on the recording, so these were altered to make them appear computer-generated too. The resulting series of flashing lights and flickering colours inadvertently triggered the seizures in the children; Japan's Fire Defence Agency reported 685 affected people were admitted into hospitals of 30 prefectures by the following day. The phenomenon was repeated when a news broadcast about the event inexplicably replayed the offending scene. It was discovered that the very quickly alternating red and blue patterns of the scene in question caused a reaction due to a previously undiagnosed (in Japan) form of epilepsy (see photosensitive epilepsy). (As it turned out, the American Federal Communications Commission, and equivalent agencies in most European countries, already knew that television used in this manner could sometimes invoke epilepsy, and had banned extremely high frequency color switching on television broadcasts in their countries years ago.) Nintendo's stock dropped significantly, and the episode with the flashing scene was not broadcast outside of Japan. On March 30, 1998 TV Tokyo announced its intention to resume broadcasts.
The epileptic seizures were referenced in The Simpsons episode "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo," although the seizures was attributed to an episode of Super Sentai (called "Battling Seizure Robots" in The Simpsons) rather than Pocket Monsters.
In addition to the episode that caused epileptic seizures, a handful of other episodes in the first season of the series were deemed to have content too mature for Western audiences and were cut or not shown at all. This has prompted complaints from among those fans who are denied the right to see these episodes, especially since some of the episodes in question are not classed as too mature on Western television.
- In the episode titled Miniryū no densetsu (Legend of Dratini), the Safari Zone ranger threatens Team Rocket with a loaded gun. The episode was not aired outside of Japan.
- In the episode titled Beauty and the Beach, James uses fake breasts to enter a beauty contest. The episode was edited so that the entire bikini scene was virtually removed from the episode.
- In the episode titled Koori no dokutsu (The Ice Cave), Brock is sickened with symptoms similar to that of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Because it was to air during the height of the outbreak, it was prevented from airing. There has been no indication on if or when it will air. Another reason for banning was the Episode also starred the Pokémon "Jynx". Jynx is viewed as a racist stereotype by many groups.
- The episode titled Yureru shima no tatakai! Dojotchi vs Namazun in Advanced Generation was skipped over due to the content of the episode and its similarities with earthquakes in Niigata prefecture in October 23, 2004. It is not known when the episode will ever be shown in Japan (either on AG or as a repeat episode on Sunday), or whether an English version will be made.
All of the banned episodes were translated into English, with most of the English production completed, but were prevented from airing. Only one of them, Beauty and the Beach, made its way around the ban.
|Character Name||Voice Actor (Japanese)||Voice Actor (English)|
|Satoshi / Ash Ketchum||Rika Matsumoto (松本 梨香)||Veronica Taylor|
|Kasumi / Misty||Mayumi Iizuka (飯塚 雅弓)||Rachael Lillis|
|Takeshi / Brock||Yuuji Ueda (上田 祐司)||Eric Stuart|
|Kenji / Tracey Sketchit||Tomokazu Seki (関 智一)||Ted Lewis|
|Haruka / May||KAORI||Veronica Taylor|
|Masato / Max||Fushigi Yamada (山田 ふしぎ)||Amy Birnbaum|
|Pikachu||Ikue Ootani (大谷 育江)|| Rachael Lillis (Episode 1)|
Ikue Ootani (Episodes 2 - )
|Togepi||Satomi Koorogi (こおろぎ さとみ)||Satomi Koorogi|
|Ōkido-Hakase / Professor Oak||Unshou Ishizuka (石塚 運昇)||Stan Hart|
|Hanako / Delia Ketchum||Masami Toyoshima (豊島 まさみ)||Veronica Taylor|
|Joi / Nurse Joy||Ayako Shiraishi (白石 文子)||Megan Hollingshead|
|Junsa / Officer Jenny||Chinami Nishimura (西村 ちなみ)||Megan Hollingshead|
|Shigeru / Gary Oak||Yuuko Kobayashi (小林 優子)|| Matt Mitler (Season 1)|
Jimmy Zoppi (Season 2 onwards)
|Tōru / Snap (Todd)||Kappei Yamaguchi (山口 勝平)||Jimmy Zoppi|
|Musashi / Jessie||Megumi Hayashibara (林原 めぐみ)||Rachael Lillis|
|Kojirō / James||Shinichiro Miki (三木 眞一郎)|| Ted Lewis (Episodes 2 - 12)|
Eric Stuart (Episodes 13 - )
|Nyaath / Meowth||Inuko Inuyama (犬山 犬子)||Madeleine Blaustein|
|Narrator / Narrator||Unshou Ishizuka (石塚 運昇)|| Phillip Bartlett (Episodes 1 - AG19)|
Mike Pollack (Episodes AG20 -)
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