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Team Rocket
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Team Rocket

Team Rocket (ロケット団 Roketto Dan in Japanese) is an evil organization in the fictional world of Pokémon which exploits Pokémon for profit. The complete organization is headed by a man named Giovanni. However, the term Team Rocket generally refers to three members that represent the organization in the animated series: Jessie1 (Musashi), James (Kojirō) and Meowth.

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Main Anime characters
Ash Ketchum
Gary Oak
Team Rocket

In many episodes of the animated series, the trio attempts to steal Ash Ketchum's Pikachu or a Pokémon introduced in the episode. To do this, they employ various machines and contraptions, including rubber or otherwise shock-proof equipment. Each attempt ends in failure, either through the actions of Ash and his friends, who the trio refer to as "the twerps", the Pokémon introduced in the episode, or mechanical failure of their devices, often a combination of the above. Because of this, the trio has fallen out of favor with Giovanni, and is usually strapped for cash, working other jobs to raise the money to buy such devices.

The nature of the villianous trio (a strong willed, confident woman, and two loyal if not generally bright henchmen) is a common staple in anime, although due to the popularity of Pokémon in the US Team Rocket is sometimes applied as an affectionate nickname by fans to any such group in a series. (See Grandis, Sanson, Hanson in Nadia.)

The trio are complimented as the characters who ironically have the most personality development over the course of the series, and are well liked by fans (and even non-fans of the series) due to the group's dogged (albeit ulitmately futile) attempts at success. More opportunistic antagonists than real villians, even their attempts at legitimate work are usually disasters.

The trio also has a penchant for using amusingly bad puns during conversations. In the English version, Team Rocket are the only characters in the TV show that "know" that they are in a TV show, and occasionally make remarks that show it. For example, James asked why they didn't just use Plan B in the first place, since it was better than Plan A. Jessie then replies, "We had to fill a half hour!" All the other characters are unaware that they are on TV.

Warning: Plot details follow.

Table of contents
1 Jessie and James
2 Meowth
3 Pokémon of Team Rocket
4 Other members
5 External links
6 Footnotes

Jessie and James

Jessie and James are the two humans that form the White Squad of Team Rocket, distingushed by their white costumes. Although they strive to steal Pikachu, they are reluctant to do so, for fear of being kicked out of Team Rocket.

Jessie (abbreviated from Jessica) is the leader of the Team Rocket pair that appears the most in the animated series. Musashi is named after Musashi Miyamoto, a famous samurai. Jessie is intelligent and sociable, but very headstrong and dislikes being criticized. Jessie was poor as a child, living in near-poverty conditions, and later entered Team Rocket after failing to become a nurse.

James is the handsome (biseinen) but more dimwitted male half of the team. Kojirō is named after Kojirō Sasaki;, a famous samurai known for his very long sword. James has a beloved bottlecap collection and had quite wealthy parents, but left home after their attempts to goad him into an engagement, ironically with Jessiebelle (Rumika), a person with similar appearance to Jessie, differing only in hairstyle. Prior to leaving home, James knew very little about the world outside his home, where he was spoiled rich. His dislike of the many upper-class rules led him to believe that living a life struggling on the streets was better than a life where everything was given, which eventually led him to Team Rocket.

Although the team often appears in disguise, a common source of fan humor is James' habit of wearing women's clothes (to contrast with Jessie, even if she is also dressed as a woman), makeup, and a history with violent, domineering women. This is rumored to have been played up slightly by the dub actors, although even the most teasing barbs generally assume James is, at most extreme, merely heterosexual with a penchant for crossdressing. It was this that also lead to the initial banning (the episode has aired after being severely edited) of one episode that had James wearing fake breasts in order to win a beauty competition.

The two humans became friends after entering a bicycle gang.

If one puts the English names "Jessie" and "James", together, we can see that they were probably named after Jesse James, a famous American outlaw.

Jessie and James appear in Pokémon Yellow as in-game bosses, although the game doesn't reveal their names.


Main article: Meowth (anime character)

Meowth (ニャース Nyāsu, but often represented as Nyarth) is a Pokémon of the Meowth variety; notable for being, with the exception of certain psychic and legendary Pokémon, the only Pokémon that can speak in the human language. Although some Pokémon are said to be quite intelligent, they do not speak, and although we see Meowth teaching himself to talk and read it is never explained how he is able to or exactly how many Pokémon have this potential. One apparent consequence is that Meowth seemed unable to learn standard Pokémon attacks. Meowth is more overtly sarcastic than his teammates but can be easily distracted by his feline instinct. He only wishes success to engrain himself back into the good graces of his former owner, Giovanni.

In Pokémon Yellow, Meowth is one of the Pokémon that you must defeat when fighting Jessie and James.

Pokémon of Team Rocket

Over the course of the series, the trio has employed many Pokémon, none of which were obtained by illicit means.

Jessie's Pokémon:

James's Pokémon:

Other members

From time to time, other members of Team Rocket appear. These members are generally much more menacing and unfriendly compared to the trio, and wear black Team Rocket costumes, consistent with the video games while contrasting those of Jessie and James (hence, the Black Squad). In many of these episodes where other members appear, the trio, despite their reputation for failure, often finds a way to assist these villains, but somehow, through their incompetence, are the villain's undoing.

Two of the most notable members are Butch (Kosaburo) and Cassidy (Yamato), named after Butch Cassidy, who shares an unfriendly rivalry with Jessie and James. One running gag in the animated series is how Butch is often referred to as "Botch". Meowth's counterpart in that trio differs each time they appear. During the Advanced Generation series of episodes, Kosaburo and Yamato served as the main antagonists in Shūkan Pokemon Hōsōkyoku, often being defeated by Kenji (Tracey), Kasumi (Misty), Hiroshi (Richie), or Satoshi's Pokémon.

Other notable members of Team Rocket to appear include Domino in the movie/special Mewtwo Returns, the Iron Masked Marauder/Vicious in Pokémon 4ever, and Bushō and Buson from the Japan only Pokémon Crystal special.

External links


1Jessie is sometimes also misspelled as Jesse, probably due to her relation with Jesse James's name. However, Pokémon.com insists on spelling it as Jessie.

Team Rocket also refers to a team made in one episode of Rocket Power, a separate television show.