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—"Pokémon Theme", originally performed by Jason Paige
The anime series based on the Pokémon games by Nintendo. Given the success of the games, this series managed to make it to America as part of the marketing push, and, combined with the concurrent American airing of Dragon Ball, helped keep the new wave of Western anime adaptations (which started after Power Rangers) going.It features the tale of Ash Ketchum and his pals (who change every saga), as well as the perennially ubiquitous Team Rocket trio of Jessie, James, and Meowth, who attempt to steal Pikachu or another rare Pokémon/item nearly every episode and are, with even greater frequency, sent flying sky-high with the Catch Phrase "Looks like Team Rocket's blasting off again! *Ding!*"Pokémon Origins, an anime special/Mini Series directly based on Pokemon Red And Blue, was released on October 2, 2013 in Japan (10 days prior to the release of the tie-in games Pokémon X and Y) and is set for a November 2013 release in the United States. This miniseries essentially serves as a more Truer To The TextAnime of the Game. In a similar vein, the XY season of the anime has a series of "Mega Evolution Special" spinoff episodes which stars a new, older protagonist, Alain.The seasons are as follows:
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Original series (Kanto and Johto)
Indigo League (Episodes 1-81)
Adventures in the Orange Islands/Orange Archipelago (Episodes 82-116)
The Johto Journeys (Episodes 117-157)
Johto League Champions (Episodes 158-209)
Master Quest (Episodes 210-274)
Pokémon Chronicles (Episodes 1-26)
Advanced Generation (Hoenn and Kanto's Battle Frontier)
Advanced (Episodes 1-40)
Advanced Challenge (Episodes 41-92)
Advanced Battle (Episodes 93-145)
Battle Frontier (Episodes 146-192)
Diamond and Pearl (Sinnoh)
Diamond and Pearl (Episodes 1-52)
DP: Battle Dimension (Episodes 53-104)
DP: Galactic Battles (Episodes 105-157)
DP: Sinnoh League Victors (Episodes 158-191)
Best Wishes (Unova)
Best Wishes! (Episodes 1-84)
Best Wishes! Season 2 (Episodes 85-108)
Best Wishes! Season 2: Episode N (Episodes 109-122)
Best Wishes! Season 2 Da! (Decolora Adventure) (Episodes 123-142)
Black & White (Episodes 1-48)
BW: Rival Destinies (Episodes 49-97)
BW: Adventures in Unova and Beyond (Episodes 98-142)
Aborted Arc: The infamous GS Ball storyline in Johto - according to Word of God, the ball was to contain Celebi, which would travel with Ash for a period of time. However, the plot line of a legendary following Ash was eventually used with Meloetta in Best Wishes Season 2
The Meteonite plotline in Best Wishes is an example of an aborted conclusion to a near-finished arc, being postponed indefinitely.
Alternative Foreign Theme Song: As with a number of other animé dubs, the series has numerous English theme songs, all of them different from the Japanese version. For example, here's the original opening. For those who don't read Japanese, "ポケモンＧＥＴだぜー！" ("Pokémon Get Da Ze~!", yes with the quiggy) translates to (appropriately) "Pokémon Gotta Catch 'Em All".
All Myths Are True: Every storyline about a Legendary Pokemon will include somebody saying that they thought they were just fake legends. The 50th time it turns out the Pokemon is real, you'd think they would know better.
Animal Chick Magnet: Used often enough—sometimes not just for how cute the Pokémon are but for the type of Pokémon too.
Animation Bump: Several battles are much better animated than others. If you see Masaaki Iwane listed in the credits as the animation director, expect a damn good looking episode.
XY's animation is notably different from the previous anime incarnations, and for a good reason; The people who animated Origins took over the animation work of the main series anime. This is welcome news to a lot of people.
Pretty much all the regional Evil Teams suffer from anti-climatic endings.
In Kanto and Johto, Team Rocket never forced a final confrontation.
In Hoenn, Team Aqua and Magma's two-part finale suffered from a rushed pace and horrid animation.
In Sinnoh, Team Galactic had Cyrus disappear and had no actual final battle apart from Brock's Croagunk defeating Saturn's Toxicroak in one hit from out of nowhere.
In Unova, Ghetsis never battles with Reshiram, who is brought back to his senses with one shot from Pikachu. The promised Reshiram vs Charizard battle never happens either, though that could be a case of Never Trust an Opening.
You don't even need to look that far. Just compare the Dare Da? (The "Who's That Pokémon?" of the original Japanese version) from the first episode◊ to that of the thirty ninth.◊
Ash Face: Being set on fire appears to be just a minor inconvenience in the Pokémon world.
Ask a Stupid Question...: In the episode "Dues and Don'ts" Team Rocket tries to catch a Delibird which throws snow at them. Jessie says "It's a Blizzard attack!". James says "How do you know it's a Blizzard attack?". Jessie replies "Maybe because we're in a blizzard?". James says "Oh. That makes sense."
Beware the Superman: A lot of episodes have antagonistic trainers that use their Pokémon for ulterior motives or in some way that threatens innocent bystanders. Downplayed in that the show doesn't go anywhere with it.
Big Damn Movie: When legendary Pokémon get involved, the fate of the world is often at stake.
Chaos Architecture: The Pokémon world has long been Earth with new names for places and slight changes to Japan-based areas, filled with supernatural creatures (and in the anime, name-dropping real world places didn't stop in Generation I). The first episode of Black and White however, at last shows a map of the Pokémon world◊. The continents look nothing like Earth.
Child Prodigy: In "The Ancient Puzzle Of Pokemopolis", the trio meets an archeologist who has earned her PhD at the age of eight.
Christmas Episode: "Holiday Hi-Jynx!", which due to two unfortunate circumstances, did not air when originally intended in Japan and internationally.
The Pikachu's Winter Vacation shorts.
Circling Birdies: While the games usually feature generic birdies, the Pokémon anime sometimes features characters seeing circling bird-like Pokémon; the anime has shifted to frequently utilizing Pidgey or Torchic for this effect. Often, it indicates when a Pokémon is succumbing to the effect of the Confusion status. There is also a low chance of circling stars.
Also, the Ditto at the beginning of Pikachu's Ghost Carnival, in which the Ditto gets circling stars when it got hit on the head by a Cubone while Ditto was disguised as a Cubone.
Clip Show: Three of them (one in Hoenn, two in Sinnoh), all skipped in the dub.
Conspicuous CGI: Especially in some of the movies, but plenty of attacks in the Diamond and Pearl series of the anime also had a tendency to clash with the animation. The Gear Pokémon Klinklang was also CGI rather than traditional animation, which made its rotating parts look unusually smooth.
Continuity Cameo: Todd Snap joined the main cast as a Guest Star Party Member during the Indigo saga to advertise his home game, Isamu Akai (better known as the main character of the Pocket Monsters manga, Red) starred in a movie featured in an episode during the Advanced Generation saga, Jimmy and Marina (the male and female protagonist of Pokémon Gold and Silver and Crystal) starred in a special featuring Raikou (rival Silver, whose anime incarnation is often called "Kamon" to distinguish him, appears in the Japanese opening for the special)note Marina would also go on to make several understated cameos later in the series, and Lyra would become her own Guest Star Party Member during the DP saga. Brendan and Lucas appeared in the introductory shots of several movies in the Advanced Generation and DP sagas, always battling in an arena of some sort.
Demoted to Extra: Most of the games' male playable characters, though notably subverted by Jimmy (who, along with Marina, had a special to himself) and Pokémon Rangers Solana, Kellyn, and Ben, who joined the group for two two-part episodes (one episode for Ben) and a special promoting the first game.
Drama-Preserving Handicap: A variant — Ash is only rarely allowed to have and use powerful, evolved Pokemon on his team. He's been allowed to keep evolved Pokemon on his team in the most recent seasons, but the early show (the Takeshi Shudo era) deliberately went out of its way to submarine Ash's journey To Be a Master. Butterfree was released to go participate in his mating season, Primeape was given to a boxer to go be trainednote After winning the tournament it had just participated in... no, that makes no sense to us, either (in the very episode that it began to listen to Ash, no less), Pidgeotto evolved into Pidgeot and was left with a flock of other Pidgey and Pidgeotto in the very first episode of the Orange Islands arc, the list goes on. (Misty had some of this, too — when she returns to Cerulean City to briefly star in her sisters' underwater ballet, the episode ends with Misty's sisters relieving her of Starmie).
When he was allowed to keep powerful Pokemon, they would often have personality quirks, flaws, or foibles designed to prevent them from operating at maximum (or even remotely decent) efficiency. Most famously, Ash's Charizard was temperamental and often simply refused to lift a finger to help Ash in his battles. Late in the Orange Islands (EP105), Charizard is moved by Ash's devotion and finally decides to get its butt in gear. However, in the Johto arc, Ash is told that Charizard is too powerful and that he's been abusing its superiority, and the writers have him leave Charizard in the Charicific Valley for training (EP134)note The writers had apparently been planning this for a while, writing scenes to downplay Charizard's actual strength, such as when the Chikorita Ash would eventually catch managed to slam it into a mountainside. Look at those episode numbers again — Ash gets to enjoy a hard-earned, obedient Charizard for less than thirty straight episodes. This made room for Cyndaquil, a little badger cub with powerful fire attacks hampered by its serious ignition problems.
Early-Bird Cameo: Plenty in the leadup to each new generation, both in the series and the movies.
Second: Ho-Oh (a literal example, appearing at the ending of the first episode two and a half years before appearing in the games), Togepi, Marill, Snubbull, Donphan, Elekid, Ledyba, Slowking, Hoothoot, Lugia.
Third: Azurill, Kecleon, Wailmer, Latias and Latios, Blaziken, Wynaut.
New forms also make their debut in the anime before any games. Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior debuted Giratina's Origin Forme and Shaymin's Sky Forme prior to the release of Platinum. Pokémon: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction featured Mega Diancie before Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. The second Mega Evolution special episode will feature Mega Evolutions of Metagross and Rayquaza, also before Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
Additionally, in an example concerning humans, Gym Leader Roxie made her debut in the Pokémon anime nine days prior to the Japanese release of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, the games where she is introduced. This also extends to her bandmates, Billy Jo and Nicky, who are her guitarist and drummer in the games as well.
Alexa, a character from X and Y, appears during the Decolore Islands arc of Best Wishes.
Early Installment Weirdness: Compare the Kanto league saga, which only took around 80 episodes to complete, to later game-based league sagas. For one, the only Gym Leader of the Kanto League to dress like his game counterpart was Koga.
Other weirdness includes real-life animals being seen on several occasions early in the first season (such as real fish in the aquarium in the Cerulean Gym). A few early Gym Leaders gave Ash their badges for helping them out in different ways, even though he didn't officially defeat them (the Cerulean and Celadon Gym Battles were interrupted by Team Rocket and a fire respectively, and the Haunter that Ash led back to the Saffron Gym snapped Sabrina out of her Emotionless Girl/Creepy Child persona)— starting with Koga, no other leaders have made exceptions like these. The closest exception that was made was in Sinnoh when Ash and Maylene battled to a draw, where it was at the discretion of the Gym Leader as to whether the trainer deserved a badge.
This was lampshaded at the Cinnabar Gym, when Ash expects to receive his badge, but Blaine only intended to let him re-challenge him for it.
Emphasis on Rule of Funny also led to some bizarre situations, like a talking Gastly which godmoded by conjuring up illusions (rather than using typical moves) to counter any Pokémon attack.
To be honest, this is what happened in Lavender City tower in the original game where you could not properly see (and therefore defeat in battle) the ghost Pokémon inhabiting it until obtaining a specific item.
The episode "Bad To The Bone" has Jessie try to catch Otoshi's Doduo with a Poke Ball despite the fact he already owns it. In later episodes, when a character tries to catch a Pokemon under the ownership of someone else already, the Ball refuses to work, so Jessie should've known she's wasting her time. But the ball was knocked away by Marowak's bone club, so we don't know what would've happened.
There was also the Pokédex, who is usually just a computer spouting off information about Pokémon. In the first episode, it seemed to have a personality as a Deadpan Snarker, acting like a dick toward Ash when he found a Rattata going through his bag.
Levels were also mentioned in one episode, such as saying Pidgey would evolve at level 18 or that Pikachu should be at level 25 after two months.
Eldritch Abomination: Toned down some from the games' Pokédex descriptions, but some of the Pokémon remain delightfully creepy.
Elemental Hair: The Eevee brothers — the yellow-haired Sparky having a Jolteon, the redhead Pyro a Flareon, the blue-haired Rainer a Vaporeon, and brown haired Mikey has an unevolved Eevee.
Evolving Credits: Done rather interestingly with the first Black and White opening, where, in the opening for the first episode, everything, including all the Pokémon, are in black and white, except for Pikachu who shows up fully colored. In the second episode's opening, as Pikachu passes the Pokémon, any that were seen in the previous episode start filling in with color to show who's been seen so far. This was thrown aside in the dub.
The dub plays it straight for Adventures in Unova's opening — the footage changed to the opening used in the Episode N and then the Decalore arc when it reached those points.
Exponential Plot Delay: The relatively straightforward journey to each Adventure Town to get a badge, and later Victory Road for the tournament of champions, can take more than one season to complete. See Filler for more details.
Filler: Throughout every season, but more noticeable after Kanto. Possibly justified, as there's an obligation to introduce every single Pokémon at least once. It IS a "-mon" show, after all. Since each new generation introduces at least a hundred new Pokémon, fillers are pretty much inevitable.
Regarding the Pokémon debuts, as of BW119, all Pokémon up to Genesectnote Yes, even Porygon evolutions. They have cameo in M15's introduction. has appeared in either movie or anime. However, we still haven't seen Autumn Deerling, ? and ! Unown, as well as Trash and Sandy Burmy.
This has the additional benefit of delaying any actual plot advancement until the next generation (and thus, a new plot with new Pokémon) is released. Best Wishes is moving far quicker than Diamond and Pearl due to the fact that they don't need as much filler, due to having two game sets (B/W and B2/W2) set in the same region instead of only one.
Follow the Leader: Originally, Double Team in the anime used the rapid afterimage trick. After Naruto became popular, now it works like Shadow Clone Jutsu. At the very least, it is called "Kage Bunshin" (Shadow Clone) in Japan.
Forged Message: In "Wherefore Art Thou, Pokemon?", two young Trainers, Emily and Ralph, hate each other even though the Nidorans they own are in love with each other. Misty schemes to write Emily and Ralph each a letter supposedly from each other so that they will fall in love too.
Franchise Zombie: The show was originally intended to run for a couple of seasons, with writer Takeshi Shudo even planning an ending for the series. So far it has seventeen, with Shudo having left the show ages ago.
Free-Range Children: No one finds it disconcerting that ten-year olds run about the world by themselves - except Bianca's father, and he gets over it by episode's end. That's what they do in the world of Pokémon so it's usually never a problem.
Gag Dub: While not technically a parody, the English dub usually results in Rule of Funny and tons of Lampshading.
The seasons based off of Black/White is called Best Wishes in Japan.
Green Aesop: Almost unique for both the series and the trope in that it doesn't drop the proverbial anvil (a few exceptions exist here and there). Beyond the obvious demonizing of poachers and animal abusers, it really just provides an example of humanity gone right. Animal rights are rarely an issue (especially because The Dog Bites Back with a vengeance if you kick one too hard). It's rare that smog from vehicles is even seen despite the existence of personal automobiles and heavy air transport, the skies are perennially clear and blue even over the largest metropolises, and huge tracts of land go free of harm. Even when pollution is referenced (outside of the Koffing and Grimer families), it's never actually seen, or else is promptly cleaned up. And no one says a word. Because no one has to.
One example is Gringy City found in an early episode in the first season, whose air and water is so polluted from the extremely exaggerated number of factories most of which seem to exist only to pollute the air and water. The water is green and polluted with multiple Grimer and Muk (because of all the factories), the air is dark and filled with soot (because of all the factories), and there's no grassy area to speak of (because of all the factories). Misty and Brock then end the episode by telling Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny that the Sludge Pokémon are a good indication that they should probably clean the place up a little.
Another example is the early Diglett episode, in which Pokémon even refuse to come out of their Poke Balls to stop the Diglett. It turns out they already knew that the Diglett would be harmed by the dam construction, so shouldn't be stopped. It is also shown that the Diglett created the valley forests, and implied that they create ALL the forests in the world (even though we NEVER see any evidence of this outside this episode).
The backpacks, which are not very big, but contain anything from large food supplies to camping tables and even an umbrella (in Mewtwo Strikes Back, for example).
Poke Balls are usually worn on the trainer's belt, but are usually not visible, and trainers grab Poke Balls from under their jacket.
The Poké Balls themselves serve as technological hammerspace for Pokémon. Interestingly, any size Pokémon fits in a Poke Ball, but each ball can only fit one Pokémon. Poke Balls can also shrink and grow in size.
Hurricane of Puns: The 4Kids dub did this frequently, especially in the early episodes of Season 1.
After TPCI took over, they seemed to be either doing it less or stopping altogether as of the Best Wishes series.
Puns are quite frequent in the original Japanese version too. The Diglett episode from the original series had an endless stream of bad puns in the original, far more so than its dubbed version. Blame the lack of knowledge of this on the lack of available fansubs.
Improvised Lightning Rod: Grass types, which are only resistant to electricity in the games, sometimes use a strategy of digging roots or vines into the ground to disperse electric attacks.
Intelligible Unintelligible: Most Pokémon use Pokémon Speak that humans don't understand, but most all Pokémon understand each other. Since Meowth can also speak English, he often serves as a translator for humans when the other Pokémon are trying to communicate something.
Interspecies Friendship: Friendship, trust, and understanding between trainers and their Pokémon are recurring themes on the show.
Interspecies Romance: Tropius/Meganium, Golduck/Azumarill, Bulbasaur/Gloom etc. Breeding group is also not important (Lombre/Mawile; Lombre is in the Water 1 and Plant groups, while Mawile is in the Ground and Fairy. Marill/Elekid: a Water 1 and Ground and a No Eggs who evolves into one in the Humanshape). There are also some Human/Pokémon examples (Ash/Pikachu, Ash/Bayleef, Ash/Aipom, Ash/Latias, Cassandra/Meowth, Harley's Cacturn/Jessie). Most of the love is one sided and on the human/Pokémon it's always on the Pokémon's side, except for Gardenia and her fetish.]
Kaiju: Legendary Pokémon are anywhere from "extra-large" to "titanic" in size, especially if it's a more "beastly" Legendary (Groudon, Rayquaza, Giratina). Non-Legendary examples include the cliff-sized Dragonite in "Mystery at the Lighthouse" and the skyscraper-tall Tentacruel in "Tentacool and Tentacruel".
Kodomomuke: The series is mainly intended for children, which is even more prominent in later seasons when the Fleeting Demographic Rule starts to show. That said, in Japanese, the older seasons (especially the movies) were a bit more family-oriented thanks to Takeshi Shudo's work on the show, and the Mega Evolution specials in any languagenote at least the one released so far are clearly aimed at a slightly older shonen audience.
Lemony Narrator: Not during the main anime so much, but he does during Pokémon Chronicles and such.
Lighter and Softer: Generally speaking, the tone of the anime is more zany and humorous than the games that it's based on, which became especially prevalent when Generations V and VI introduced games with darker, deeper plots and characters. That said, the anime has its moments of seriousness and dark moments too, especially with some of the movies (notably Takeshi Shudo's early movies) and the one Mega Evolution special released so far.
Long Runners: Has been running almost nonstop since April 1997 in Japan, with almost 800 episodes and 15 movies.
Lull Destruction: The more recent episodes have very few moments of silence, the maximum being about three seconds of silence per episode. The old episodes were short on silent moments as well, but the silent moments were much easier to find back then.
MacGuffin: The infamous GS Ball; also badges and ribbons to some extent.
Made of Iron: Almost every named human character. Also, any Pokémon: while they can be critically injured, no Pokémon (outside of backstory) is ever shown to die.
Magical Computer: Pokédexes. Pretty powerful ones, too, at least for the nineties.
Merchandise-Driven: One of the most well-known and successful shows of this type. The direction that the show takes is usually determined by marketing and marketability.
Mid-Season Upgrade: New captures, attacks, and evolutions are typically gained throughout a season rather than being localized near the beginning or the end. This is mostly because the ungodly amounts of Filler act as huge buffers between plot points and wind up distributing them fairly evenly.
Mirror Universe: Ash travels into one for an episode. As expected, the inhabitants have opposite traits of their normal selves (i.e., Ash is timid and is shown to be a crybaby, Team Rocket are heroes who supported Ash from behind, Clemont is athletic and is into magic, etc.).
Also in the first episode of Black and White: the plane Ash takes to Unova is flight number 151.
Black and White also has episode 6's classic "ding-ding-ding-a-ding!" chime when healing Pokémon in the games.
In DP094, "Doc Brock", a Zapdos makes a quick cameo. In Pokémon Platinum, Zapdos can be found roaming Sinnoh in the post-Elite Four storyline. Notably, this was the first episode to air in Japan after the release of Platinum.
Repeated in DP142, "Where No Togepi Has Gone Before", where the evil Killer Rabbit Togepi knows Extrasensory. In Japan, this was the last episode to air before the release of Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. In those games, guess which move Togepi can use for the first time?
In "Ya See we Want an Evolution!", the organization dedicated to showing the strength of Pokémon without evolving them is called the "B-Button League", referring to the actual game mechanic used for the very same purpose.
This is actually averted in many instances (mostly the movies), even while 4Kids Entertainment was handling it. For example, Pokémon 4Ever actually has Sammy say that Celebi was going to die. However, it's still softened a bit — in the original, it's already dead by that point. They also didn't make any attempt to cover up Latios's death in Pokemon Heroes or Lucario and Sir Aaron's deaths in Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew.
Novelization: Certain anime episodes (some books even compile several episodes within its pages) and at least two of the movies (some of the later movies have been released in manga format).
Now You Tell Me: In the episode "Dues And Don'ts", Ash checks Delibird in the Pokedex. It says Delibird has a attack called Present. Delibird gives Ash and friends glowing ball "presents", which a couple seconds later go off as bombs. Dexter adds that some of Delibird's Presents explode. Ash says "now you tell me".
Oddly Named Sequel: The dub changes names every season except for between the first two, so whereas the original Japanese series has Pocket Monsters (seasons 1-5), Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation (seasons 6-9), Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl (seasons 10-13), Pocket Monsters Best Wishes! (seasons 14-15), andPocket Monsters Best Wishes! Season 2 (seasons 15+) the dub has Pokémon (seasons 1-2), Pokémon: The Johto Journeys (season 3), Pokémon Johto League Champions (season 4), Pokémon Master Quest (season 5), Pokémon Advanced (season 6), Pokémon Advanced Challenge (season 7), Pokémon Advanced Battle (season 8), Pokémon Battle Frontier (season 9), Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (season 10), Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Battle Dimension (season 11), Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Galactic Battles (season 12), Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors (season 13), Pokémon Black and White (season 14), Pokémon Black and White: Rival Destinies (season 15), and Pokémon Black and White: Adventures In Unova and Beyond (season 16).
The DVD releases have remedied the problem for the first two seasons: season 1 is now "Indigo League" and season 2 is now "Adventures on the Orange Islands."
Off Model: As often as we have the Animation Bump, there's plenty of instances of this too. Black and White seems to be cutting back on it however.
Out of Order: Most of the episodes in the first season was this, all because of the infamous Seizure incident.
Overly Long Gag: Professor Westwood V's (a colleague of Professor Oak in "The Evolution Solution") constant apologies to his ancestors, Westwood I-V before remembering that he's the fifth one.
Overtook The Games: The Indigo League conference had ended early in 1999, eight months before Gold and Silver's release. As a result, for the next few months there was an anime-exclusive region known as the Orange Islands.
Pokédex Is a Free Action: No matter whether it's a friendly encounter with a Pidgey or they're being chased down by an angry wild Ursaring, no Pokémon ever attacks while a trainer is using their Pokédex. Ever. Well…except for that one filler which started off with a very random Giratina attack (caused by a Murkrow's illusion).
Pokémon Speak: Most, but not all, Pokémon in the series speak a "language" consisting entirely of their species name. This is probably one of the best-known examples in fiction, especially with Pikachu. In fact, due to the anime's prominence, this was used as Pokémon species' de facto method of communication in most non-anime media too (other than the games) prior to the early 2010s.
Poor, Predictable Rock: The point of every Gym Leader ever, except for the Orange League (which wasn't based on a game) and the Viridian City Gym, because the plot for the tv show was different then the game - since Team Rocket won't be defeated on the tv show, you don't have Giovanni and his ground-type Pokémon on the anime.
Prompting Nudge: In the first-season episode "Showdown at Dark City", Misty suggests making up pseudonyms so the group won't blemish their reputation by essentially taking sides in a gang war. Ash and Misty come up with names fairly quickly, but Misty has to nudge Brock to make him speak since he's too busy gawking at the female recruiter.
Pun-Based Title: The American episode titles, sometimes going to "gems" such as "Doin' What Comes Natu-rally" and "Smells Like Team Spirit". Japan sometimes fall to this ("Do Coilnote Magnemite Dream of Electric Mice!?") Most episodes in the early days were just English versions of the Japanese titles, but starting with the Johto seasons, many many episodes were given silly names in the American translation when the Japanese name was dull.
Partially stopped as of Black and White.
Punny Name: Best Wishes is both initialized "BW" (Black and White), and in Japanese "Wishes" would be pronounced very similar to "Isshu", the Japanese name of Unova, the region the series is set. Also, the Gratuitous English is - goes without saying - a totally Justified Trope in this series given that Unova is based on North America rather than Japan.
Recognizable By Sound: Subverted. Every individual Pokémon, besides those that speak english, makes a noise either identical or near-identical to its name. However, even if they've already heard the Pokémon Speak, no one in that universe has any idea what the Pokémon in question is unless they consult the Pokedex.
Recurring Element: The series has quite a few. Onix often finds himself being one among Rock-type Gym Leaders, where nearly every Rock-type gym leader that made an appearance has an Onix, save for Roxanne.
Retcon: In the original series, it was stated that were only 150 Pokémon known to humans (In keeping with the games at the time). Further down the line though, there are episodes showing newer Pokémon that were owned or captured by characters before the series began (Such as Tracy's Marill, or the Carnivine James caught when he was a boy).
Rule of Funny: The English Dub originally liked to tie in some puns now and then, but has since gone on a more faithful adaptation of the scripts once it passed out of 4kid's hands.
Run the Gauntlet: The Orange Crew and the Frontier Brains are non-villainous versions of this. While League tournaments involve hundreds of trainers, a participant in either of these special "leagues" only ever battles each of the Orange Gym Leaders or Frontier Brains one at a time.
You're also likely to see that set piece get absolutely trashed at some point when the local Olympus Mons get pissed.
The movies also tend to open with gratuitous, sweeping shots of wild Pokémon. These are also typically gorgeous.
The entire three part mini arc with the resolution of Team Galactic, from Hunter J's ship getting sucked up with water to the Spear Pillar...whoa. Just whoa.
The regular series isn't too bad, either. The backgrounds have gotten a lot better: just compare the forests as seen in the Orange Islands arc to those in Black and White. The trees, riverbeds, and cliffsides are more meticulously painted, and so are some of the city areas.
Schizo Tech: You have Poké Balls that transmute living beings to light and store them in containers, which are used and sold in rural forest and mountain towns with little transportation.
Secret Test of Character: A few of the Gym Leaders do this, which makes sense as their job is to test trainers in a multitude of ways.
Serious Business: The fourth episode of the anime has a Bug Catcher type Pokémon trainer who dresses and acts like a samurai, treating his bug Pokémon catching profession as seriously as a samurai would treat his duties.
Spin-Off: The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon specials, and Pokémon Chronicles.
Spoiler Opening: The openings are pretty notorious for this. It only got worse when they started making one per year, which means most of the plot points of the next year are spoiled in one go.
Generally they're pretty good at avoiding this, at least in Japan. When a Pokémon evolves or is captured, it's added to the opening where empty space was before. The dub, however, tends to use visuals form the final version of the Japanese openings, so played straight there.
Played straight in The Greatest - Everyday!, however. We see Ash with Infernape and Torterra, and Dawn with Togekiss. We also saw all of Ash's old Pokemon that eventually returned for the league (even though not all of them ended up actually being used). Gliscor's return was still a surprise though.
The first Black and White opening soundly averts this. Only Pokémon which have appeared in previous episodes are revealed, and there is no way to tell which Pokémon the main characters will catch.
Actually, Reshiram appeared in the very first scene of the first BW episode, during a split screen, with Zekrom.
Averted with Spurt!— TONS of Ash's old Pokemon appear in this opening (including Butterfree), but, with the exception of Charizard, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur (who don't appear until near the very end), NONE of them actually appear in the show itself. Still, this isn't the first time we've been teased with possibilities of old characters showing up again, only to have the rug pulled out from under us...
Third Best Wishes ending Seven-colored Arch brings this back with a vengeance, spoiling four future evolutions (Unfezant, Pignite, Leavanny, and Crustle) and a capture (the Sunglasses Krokorok!).
The remixed opening and new ending for Episode N gives away the return of Ash's Charizard.
The opening for Decalora Adventure has a few hints of episodes in that arc, but the one that really counts is the return of Blackthorn Gym Leader Clair.
Stock Footage: Although it's more like "Recycled Footage", since it's reanimated and recoloured to fit the scenario. The footage from the "Team Rocket vs. Team Plasma" two-parter - where the Relic Castle's mechanism is activated, revealing the Meteonite - was reused for the scene in BW2-12, in which the Abyssal Ruins are activated to uncover the Reveal Glass.
Each season has a bunch of Ash poses that are constantly reused during battles.
Stock Sound Effects: The last few movies keep using sounds from Godzilla monsters: Dialga and Palkia use the roars of Rodan, Ghidorah and Godzilla, Giratina has Mothra sounds and the ship of the 11th movie's villain sounds like Megaguirus.
When one considers that it's Toho Studios (the same company that makes the Godzilla films) that distributes the films...the rest speaks for itself.
Strictly Formula: Every episode of Pokémon that isn't a Gym battle or other plot point from the game follows the formula: Meet person of the week or Pokémon of the week, this person/Pokémon will either have a problem or cause someone in Ash's group to see a problem in themselves, Team Rocket will sometimesnote Always prior to Best Wishes plot to steal Pikachu and/or Pokémon of the week, Team Rocket unleashes their plan and is defeated in short order, the problem of the week is solved either by Team Rocket's defeat or some unrelated event.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Quite a few of the characters, both human and Pokémon, introduced in later seasons are based on characters from earlier ones. To list them all would take up most of the page.
Taps: At the beginning of the episode "Pokémon Shipwreck", Officer Jenny and the other survivors of the sinking of the St. Anne are mourning the apparent deaths of Ash, Misty, Brock, Pikachu, Jessie, James, and Meowth, after they were unable to get off the ship. After Jenny tosses a bouquet of flowers overboard, she tells everyone to give a salute while a trumpeter starts playing Taps, as the flowers sink into the ocean waters.
Textual Celebrity Resemblance: The episode "Arriving In Style" is about dressing Pokémon in costumes. The "famous fashion designer Hermione" looks a lot like famous costume designer Edith Head (or so I assume it's not a coincidence).
Tournament Arc: The point of every region, both the League (called Conference for some reason) and the Grand Festival.
Twinkle In The Sky: Almost every episode has "Team Rocket blasting off again" with them getting an explosion hit them that launches them into the sky, which always ends with a twinkle and a "ting!" sound effect.
Under The Mistletoe: The Christmas Bash CD has a song with the same name as this trope. Misty sings about how she wants it to happen, Ash sings about how he doesn't want to be caught under it. You know the rest....
The Unintelligible: Most Pokémon, although many of the human characters understand them just fine; actions speak louder than words, after all.
Uniqueness Decay. Early seasons Legendaries could not be truly caught and controlled by anyone and they appeared only in important episodes and movies. Later seasons have Legendaries appear in filler and tamed.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: During the Sinnoh League, a Heatran is seen in the background several times as a trainer's Pokémon. Nobody even mentions it. One would think that it would be a big deal, considering Tobias has at least two legendaries.
Wasn't That Fun?: Pretty much every Pokémon movie. Characters arrive at destination, all happy and sunshine for a good 10 minutes, figures out the threat or central plot, danger happens, barely survives the threat, then, live happily ever after for another year.
What Happened to the Mouse?: All the other Pikachu in the Viridian City Pokemon Center after Pikachu blows up the place. It could be implied all of them were hurt or killed in the explosion, but Team Rocket survives the blast, like they always do...
What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: In general, most remotely sinister-looking Pokémon, like Arbok and Murkrow, play antagonistic roles in the series, whereas all the "cute" ones are usually on the good side.
Wild Child: Tommy in the anime, and twice in the manga.
Worst Whatever Ever: The Japanese title for one episode translates to "The Worst Togepi Ever!" The English dub changed it to "Where No Togepi Has Gone Before".
The X of Y: There have been at least 16 instances of this: Challenge of the Samurai, Island of the Giant Pokémon, Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon, The Case of the K-9 Caper, The Battle of the Badge, Tricks of the Trade...
Minna no Pokémon, getto da ze! Gotta Catch 'Em All! Pokémon!