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 branded in English as Pokémon the Series (テレビアニメ「ポケットモンスター」シリーズ, Terebi Anime Poketto Monsutā Shirīzu, TV Anime Pocket Monsters Series), is a Japanese anime television series, part of The Pokémon Company's Pokémon series, which began broadcast in Japan on TV Tokyo on April 1, 1997 and North America on September 7, 1998.

The anime is currently broadcast as eight 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 with a split across 27 seasons, running a fixed number of episodes, using a specific opening sequence, and sporting a different subtitle for each new season.

The anime series is accompanied by spin-off programming; including Pokémon Chronicles, other specials, various live-action variety and Pokémon-related news shows, multiple web animation and miniseries, several radio shows, musical stage show and a live-action drama series.

Premise and plot[]

The anime consists of eight series and is divided into 27 television seasons.

Pokémon the Series (1997-2023)[]

The first seven series follow Ash Ketchum, a young trainer of fictional creatures called Pokémon. Joined by his partner Pokémon Pikachu and a rotating cast of human characters, Ash goes on a journey to become a "Pokémon Master", traveling through the various regions of the Pokémon world and competing in various Pokémon-battling tournaments known as the Pokémon League. They thwart 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.

Pokémon Horizons: The Series (2023-present)[]

After 26 years, Ash and Pikachu stepped down as the protagonists and the eighth anime series features Liko and Roy along with the three Paldea First partner Pokémon as they adventure through the Pokémon world. During their adventures, they encountered the Rising Volt Tacklers led by Friede, Amethio and the Explorers, and various characters from the Pokémon games. The Legendary Pokémon Terapagos and a Shiny Rayquaza played important roles.


The anime is produced in Japan by OLM, Inc. in association with Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions and JR Kikaku and airs on TV Tokyo nearly every week, with the exception of a four-month hiatus after the Porygon incident and a seven-week hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Until the Porygon incident, the show aired every Tuesday at 6:30 PM. The show returned afterwards at 7 PM on Thursdays. From April 7, 2016, to September 13, 2018, it instead began five minutes earlier at 6:55 PM on Thursdays. From October 7, 2018 to September 29, 2020, the show aired each Sunday at 6 PM. From October 9, 2020, the show airs each Friday at 6:55 PM. Many fans consider the dialogue and events mentioned in the Japanese version to be the "true canon", while the various dubs are regarded to be overridden if something stated in them differs from something said in a Japanese episode.

The show is mainly aimed at children, and as such, mature topics such as death are not often brought up, though sometimes they appear in some episodes, and most notably in movies. Many Pokémon that are implied to be violent or sinister in the games are also made to be less aggressive. There are generally some references meant for adults, though these are kept to a minimum especially outside of Japan.



Series No. of seasons No. of episodes
Pokémon: The Original Series 5 276
Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire 4 192
Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl 4 191
Pokémon the Series: Black and White 3 142
Pokémon the Series: XY 3 140
Pokémon the Series: Sun and Moon 3 146
Pokémon Journeys: The Series 3 147
Pokémon Horizons: The Series 2 46+
27 1,280+

Several episodes were never aired in some countries due to controversies.

Series and seasons[]

Pokémon: The Original Series[]

Season number Season Episodes
1 Pokémon Indigo League 1-82
2 Pokémon Adventures in the Orange Islands 83-118
3 Pokémon The Johto Journeys 119-159
4 Pokémon Johto League Champions 160-211
5 Pokémon Master Quest 212-276

Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire[]

Season number Season Episodes
6 Pokémon Advanced 1-40
7 Pokémon Advanced Challenge 41-92
8 Pokémon Advanced Battle 93-145
9 Pokémon Battle Frontier 146-192

Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl[]

Season number Season Episodes
10 Pokémon Diamond and Pearl 1-52
11 Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Battle Dimension 53-104
12 Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Galactic Battles 105-157
13 Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors 158-191

Pokémon the Series: Black and White[]

Season number Season Episodes
14 Pokémon Black and White 1-48
15 Pokémon Black and White: Rival Destinies 49-97
16 Pokémon Black and White: Adventures in Unova and Beyond 98-142

Pokémon the Series: XY[]

Season number Season Episodes
17 Pokémon the Series: XY 1-49
18 Pokémon the Series XY: Kalos Quest 50-93
19 Pokémon the Series: XYZ 94-140

Pokémon the Series: Sun and Moon[]

Season number Season Episodes
20 Pokémon the Series: Sun and Moon 1-43
21 Pokémon Sun and Moon: Ultra Adventures 44-92
22 Pokémon Sun and Moon: Ultra Legends 93-146

Pokémon Journeys: The Series[]

Season number Season Episodes
23 Pokémon Journeys: The Series 1-48
24 Pokémon Master Journeys: The Series 49-90
25 Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series 91-147

Pokémon Horizons: The Series[]

Season number Season Episodes
26 Pokémon Horizons: The Series 1-45
27 TBA 46-present


Main article: Pokémon the Movie

Miscellaneous animated media[]


Variety shows[]

Live-action drama series[]


Radio drama[]

Other productions[]



  Main article: Pokémon the Series/gallery


Pokémon the 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 is 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.

In a February 2008 review for IGN, Jeffrey Harris gave the Indigo League series a score of 2 out of 10, saying: "Ultimately, the show's story is boring, repetitive, and formulaic. The show constantly preaches about friendship and helping others. ... Nearly every episode features Ash, Misty, and Brock on a trip. Team Rocket tries the latest scheme to catch Pikachu or whatever else, and fails miserably." He concluded: "at the end of the day, this franchise feels more like crass marketing then trying to preach the importance of friend and companionship." In an April 2008 review, Common Sense Media gave the series 3 out of 5 stars, saying: "Over the years, the energetic, imagination-filled, Japanese-inspired fantasy series has cut across cultural, gender, and age barriers to captivate a global audience of girls, boys, and even adults", but added: "Folks may also find the franchise's massive commercial appeal disturbing, especially since the show is mainly geared towards kids."

Carl Kimlinger, in an August 2008 review of the Diamond and Pearl series for Anime News Network, gave the dubbed series an overall grade of C. He wrote: "The formula has been set in stone … Ash and buddies wander around, meet a new Pokémon or Pokémon Trainer, fight, make friends, and then use their newfound Power of Friendship to stave off an attack by the nefarious Team Rocket", and added: "even the tournaments are a relief, a blessed pause in the cerebrum-liquefying formula as Ash and company square off against destined rivals for an episode or two." However, he stated that it would be enjoyed by its target audience, saying: "It's colorful, silly and lively (if insanely simplistic and cheap)" and added: "Parents will appreciate the absolute lack of objectionable content (aside from the promotion of animism) and the series' impeccably PC message of friendship, cooperation and acceptance". He criticized the series' soundtrack as "tin-eared" and "bad video game music".

Kevin McFarland, in a 2016 binge-watching guide of the Indigo League series for Wired, described the series as "a kids program that emphasizes the value of hard work, the importance of family and close friendship, and the ideals of love, trust, and honor. But it's also a largely silly show with slapstick comedy and colorful battle sequences, making Ash's Sisyphean task to become the world’s best Pokémon trainer continually entertaining."

Paste ranked the series at 44th place in its October 2018 list of "The 50 Best Anime Series of All Time", with Sarra Sedghi writing: "To the joy of ’90s kids everywhere, Pokémon helped solidify anime (and, hopefully, good punnery) in the West". She added: "Pokémon may not be high artistry (because, you know, it’s for children), but the show’s pervasiveness is a testament to the power of nostalgia." IGN ranked the series at 70th place in its list of "Top 100 Animated Series", saying that the series "had clever writing and a golden marketing formula designed to spread Nintendo's Pokémon video games into new, lucrative territory."


The series is considered to be one of the first anime series on television to reach this level of mainstream success with Western audiences. It has also been credited with allowing the game series to reach a high degree of popularity, and vice versa. At the 2000 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, the show was nominated for "Favorite Cartoon", but lost to Rugrats. Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back was nominated for "Favorite Movie", while Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition won "Favorite Video Game".

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