Anime / Pokémon

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pokemonz_8630.jpg
Ash and friends, over the course of four regions of the Pokémon series. note 

"I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was!
To catch them is my real test, to train them is my cause!"
"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 Pokémon 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 was released November 2013 in the United States. This miniseries essentially serves as a more Truer to the Text Anime 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, which later merges into the series proper.

The seasons are as follows:

    open/close all folders 

    Original series (Kanto and Johto) 
English dub:
  • Indigo League (Episodes 1-80)
  • Adventures in the Orange Islands/Orange Archipelago (Episodes 81-116)
  • The Johto Journeys (Episodes 117-157)
  • Johto League Champions (Episodes 158-209)
  • Master Quest (Episodes 210-274)

Japanese version:
  • Indigo League (Episodes 1-80)
  • Orange League (Episodes 81-116)
  • Johto League (Episodes 117-274)

Specials:
  • Pokémon Chronicles (Episodes 1-19)

    Advanced Generation (Hoenn and Kanto's Battle Frontier) 
English dub:
  • Advanced (Episodes 1-40)
  • Advanced Challenge (Episodes 41-92)
  • Advanced Battle (Episodes 93-145)
  • Battle Frontier (Episodes 146-192)

Japanese version:
  • Hoenn League (Episodes 1-131)
  • Kanto Battle Frontier (Episodes 132-192)

    Diamond and Pearl (Sinnoh) 
English dub:
  • Diamond and Pearl (Episodes 1-52)
  • Diamond & Pearl: Battle Dimension (Episodes 53-104)
  • Diamond & Pearl: Galactic Battles (Episodes 105-157)
  • Diamond & Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors (Episodes 158-191)

Japanese version:
  • Sinnoh League (Episodes 1-191)

Specials:
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon (Episodes 1-3)
  • Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs
  • Dawn and Brock After Sinnoh (Episodes 1-2)

    Black and White (Unova) 
English dub:
  • Black & White (Episodes 1-48)
  • Black & White: Rival Destinies (Episodes 49-97)
  • Black & White: Adventures in Unova and Beyond (Episodes 98-142)

Japanese version:
  • 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)

Specials:
  • Mewtwo Movie Prologue
  • Cilan and Iris After Unova (Episodes 1-2)

    X and Y (Kalos) 
English dub:
  • XY (Episodes 1-49)
  • XY: Kalos Quest (Episodes 50-93)
  • XYZ (Episode 94-??)

Japanese version:
  • XY (Episodes 1-93)
  • XY & Z (Episodes 94-140)

Specials:
  • Mega Evolution Acts (Episodes 1-4)
  • Diancie Movie Prologue
  • Hoopa Movie Prologue
  • After XY Specials (Episodes 1-2)

    Sun and Moon (Alola) 
English dub:
  • TBA

Japanese version:
  • Sun & Moon (Episodes 1-??)

For more info on the many, many characters, see the character sheet. Save all character tropes there, not here.

A list of the various movies can be found here.


This show is the Trope Namer for:


This show provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Catchphrase: Early English dub episodes tried to translate Meowth's Japanese Verbal Tic as "meow" or "Meowth". By the end of Kanto they scrapped it.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • The original series conclusion to the anime was meant to be a climactic final battle between Ash and Gary... except by the time the conclusion was approaching, Executive Meddling forced this all-important finale to the side and launched Ash on a perpetual journey and the show into being a Long Runner with no real conclusion in sight.
    • The unopened GS Ball that appears in the original series is built up to be important, but after it's dropped off at Kurt's place it's never brought up again. It was originally going to contain Celebi, but it was decided to be the star of Pokémon 4Ever and the idea was scrapped.
    • Speaking of Kurt, Ash, Misty, and Brock each received a special Apricorn Poké Ball from Kurt, but while Ash and Misty actually ended up using their Lure Balls to catch Totodile and Corsola, respectively, Brock never used the Heavy Ball he was given.
    • In the beginning of Black & White, Team Rocket were collecting meteorites for one of Giovanni's plans. The meteorites are never brought up again after "A Venipede Stampede", as the final episodes involving them were never aired because of the Tohoku earthquake.
  • Actually, I Am Him: In "Fighting Flyer With Fire", Ash and friends have a long conversation with Falkner without realizing he's the Violet City Gym Leader they were looking for.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Most of the time, only one element of a dual-typed Pokémon is mentioned. Often times, circumstances where the secondary typing would have an impact would not be encountered by the Pokémon with the secondary typing.note  Similarly, Abilities are not mentioned unless applicable to the plot. If an applicable circumstance does come up, either the encounter plays out per game logic and we learn about the secondary factor then, (or not,) or the encounter plays out as though the secondary factor isn't there at all.note 
  • Adaptation Expansion: Ever since the early days, the anime has used the extensive time frame between new generations to develop the Pokémon world, sometimes even giving interesting Character Development for established personas. This was particularly handy back when the games had more of an Excuse Plot. Conversely, any adaptations of the anime (such as The Electric Tale of Pikachu) inevitably suffered from massive Compressed Adaptation.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Leaf, Hilda, Hilbert, Nate, Rosa, and Calem do not show up at all despite being Player Characters from some of the games. Both sets of Black & White protagonists being absent was particularly noted by fans of all ages, as their total absence broke a multi-generation tendency of having the female lead of a generation be Ash's traveling companion, or at least making a significant appearance.
    • Gary doesn't have a sister like his game counterpart, since Ash doesn't need the Town Map she provides.
    • Game rivals Wally and (again) Hugh are completely absent. Silver cameos briefly in the intro of the Raikou special, under the name "Kamon".
    • Koga's daughter (and Gym Leader successor) Janine from Pokémon Gold and Silver never makes an appearance. The part of the game she's in requires visiting Kanto to get the region's badges, which Ash didn't do since he'd already gotten them all.
    • While their existence is acknowledged, some Elite Four members from Hoenn, Unova and Kalos are never shown.
    • Sinnoh's Frontier Brains bar Palmer don't appear.
    • Despite being integral to Pokémon X and Y, nothing related to AZ or his Floette appeared in the X and Y anime, and neither does Emma, the Battle Chatelaines of the Battle Mansion, or characters who debuted in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: As with a number of other anime 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-Cheering All the Time: In the Kanto League, Gary's cheerleaders did this.
  • All Myths Are True: Every storyline about a Legendary Pokémon will include somebody saying that they thought they were just fake legends. The 50th time it turns out the Pokémon is real, you'd think they would know better.
  • Always Someone Better: It's a recurring point of the anime that Ash lose tournaments by at least two fights... whoever beats Ash in a tournament tends to lose during their next match. Ritchie lost after beating Ash in the Indigo League, Misty lost in the Whirl Cup after beating Ash, and Harrison lost in the Silver Conference finals after beating Ash.
  • And I Must Scream: Hunter J captures Pokémon by turning them into statues.
    • One episode dealt with a trainer who lost her Pokémon after her town was flooded, the Pokémon was in the Poké Ball for decades deep under the water. If Ash and friends hadn't rescued it, who knows how much longer it would have stayed there.
  • Animation Bump: Battles are usually the recipients of this trope, but as the show went on, Animation Bumps began to occur for certain non-battle-centric episodes as well:
    • Several battles are much better animated than others, especially Gym Battles and battles against important opponents. 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.
    • A notable Bump occurred in the XY episode, "A Showcase Debut!", which had no battles take place in the episode. Before the episode ends, the animation had bumped up to near Pokémon movie-like quality, with more frames and smoother animations given to the characters in particular.
    • One of the most noted things people said was that "Ash looks older" at first fans couldn't place it, but it turned out, he is now drawn with his sideburns overlapping his ears (before, his hair was tucked behind the ears), visible teeth and fingernails, and a less baggy outfit which makes him look thinner, sharper, and more mature than before.
    • Prior to that, the Johto seasons (starting from "Here's Looking At You, Elekid") introduced digital animation, while the start of the Diamond and Pearl seasons upgraded the animation frame rate to 30 frames instead of 24. In general, each era also becomes increasingly crisper and more detailed.
    • Sun and Moon switched to a fully 2DCG art style, causing a design change for Ash's character model but also increasing the quality of action scenes in the Japanese version, which were inexplicably slowed down in the English dub.
  • The Anime of the Game: Probably the most successful adaptation of a game to another media.
  • Animorphism: A witch turns Ash into a Pikachu for a short time at the end of the episode "Hocus Pokémon!".
  • Anticlimax:
    • The rivalry between Ash and Gary is set up in the show's very first episode and establishes that a victory over Gary is one of Ash's important long-term goals. After "Showdown at the Po-ké Corral" has Ash promise Gary that they would finally fight during the Indigo League, Gary is eliminated in a fight against a different trainer in the fourth round of the tournament; Ash goes out in the following round. The later Johto League, however, ties up loose ends with Ash and Gary's Full Battle which ends in the victory of the former.
    • Team Aqua and Magma's two-part finale suffered from a rushed pace and horrid animation.
    • In Diamond & Pearl: Galactic Battles, Team Galactic is thwarted by Cyrus disappearing into a portal after he nearly succeeds in his plans to remake the universe. There is no real explanation as to why this happens and no climatic battle to lead up to this, he just up and vanishes.
    • In Black & White: Adventures 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.
    • Played for Laughs with numerous Team Rocket face offs, especially if they ham up their introduction more than usual.
  • Arc Hero: While Ash is the show's constant protagonist, each new region after Johto switches up the team he travels with — after Misty and Brock in Kanto and Johto, it's May, Max, and Brock in Hoenn, Dawn and Brock in Sinnoh, Iris and Cilan in Unova, and Clemont, Bonnie, and Serena in Kalos. Each new Deuteragonist has their own arc, personality, and motivations, and more relationships with the natives of each region.
  • Art Evolution: Kind of a given since the show has probably outlasted much of its original art staff.
    • 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.
    • The Sun and Moon season has by the most drastic shift in art style, being looser and more expressive than previous seasons.
  • 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."
  • Attack Reflector: The Counter and Mirror Coat moves.
  • Bail Equals Freedom: At the end of their first appearance, Butch and Cassidy are in jail for their crimes. At their next appearance, they're free and tell Jessie and James it's because their boss bailed them out.
  • Ballet Episode: "The Misty Mermaid" centers on an underwater synchronized swimming show in which Misty gets involved through a series of circumstances. Reinforced by Team Rocket's disguises in the episode.
  • Balloon-Bursting Bird: It's quite common for Team Rocket to try to make a getaway in their hot-air balloon, only to have one of the good guys use a bird Pokémon to pop the balloon and send them crashing down to Earth.
  • "Bang!" Flag Gun: Haunter had one in "Haunter vs. Kadabra." (the actual "BANG!" flag appears too quickly to be easily made out though)
  • Battle Couple: Oscar and Andi, from the Advanced season episode "The Bicker The Better."
  • Beach Episode: Complete with swimsuit competition! And Banned In America!
  • 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.
  • Blinding Bangs: The ghost-girl in "Ghoul Daze!"
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: Not only do the blocking moves appear, it seems meeting any attack with another produces results. This has led to Flamethrowers being karate-chopped.
  • Body Wipe:
    • "Bad to the Bone", where Professor Oak tells Ash that he should leave his lab.
    • "Berry Berry Interesting", where Munchlax walks into the Pokémon Center and to a berry bush.
    • In "A Fishing Connoisseur in a Fishy Competition", Bianca runs through the camera.
    • "A Shipful of Shivers", one of the ghost's tongue fills the screen as he is licking Jessie and Meowth.
    • "Address Unown", in Larvitar's mind, the Slowking's mouth fills the screen as Pikachu and Togepi are entering it.
  • Bookends:
    • Johto begins and ends with Ash facing off against Gary.
    • Ash's Battle Frontier journey begins and ends with one of his Pokémon defeating a legendary Ice Type (Charizard defeats Articuno the first time, Pikachu defeats Regice the second).
    • Pokémon X and Y begins with Ash and a Dragon/Ground-type Pokémon under the control of an evil team at the top of Prism Tower. Pokémon X and Y's ending arc has Ash and a Dragon/Ground-type Pokémon under the control of an evil team at the top of Prism Tower.
  • Butt Monkey: Several cases, but most prominently:
    • Team Rocket, being the perennial Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains of the show, fall victim to constant Pokémon attacks and "blasting offs" Once an Episode. Sometimes even when they aren't causing trouble, they're still punching bags to the cast or just cosmic fate (it plays a large part into their tragic backstories).
    • Ash started off as such due to his ineptness and impulsiveness usually causing him to humiliate himself or get into danger. It downplayed following Character Development, though still appears every now and then.
    • Out of Ash's many companions, Misty was near equally prone to slapstick and ego-denting humiliation as he was. Possible runners up include May due to being most liable to hold the Distress Ball and get endangered, kidnapped or tied up, as well as Clemont, being an Adorkable Bungling Inventor with several jokes based around his poor physical condition.
  • Calling Your Attacks: A variation; the calls are commands by a Trainer for the Pokémon to execute a specific technique/attack, as the Pokémon can use them without human intervention.
    • The Pokémon showboat episode implies that the Pokémon do this, but we can't tell because of Pokémon Speak and the dubbing process.
  • Call of the Wild Blue Yonder: In episode "Let Bagons Be Bagons" a Bagon tries to learn how to fly. It eventually does so with a jetpack before evolving into Shelgon.
    • Another example was "Fly Me to the Moon" about a Pidgey named Orville who dreams of flying higher then any other Pokémon. Even Meowth was touched by the dream and decided to help him.
  • The Cameo: The zany Clefairy from Pocket Monsters appears in Episode 360.
  • Canon Foreigner: Jessie, James and Officer Jenny are characters created specifically for the show.
  • Canon Immigrant: Due to the anime playing a large part in the promotion of the games series, there was a lot of Recursive Adaptation. For the main game series in particular, Ash's Pikachu and Team Rocket's Meowth were made as downloadable content for Pokémon Black 2 and White 2.
  • 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 archaeologist who has earned her PhD at the age of eight.
    • Far later in the anime's life, Clemont joins the team. While most of his regular inventions tend to blow up as a running gag, he has managed to develop various facilities devoted to energy production in the Kalos region, including Kalos's power plant and Lumiose Tower.
  • 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.
  • Circus Episode: The episode "It's Mr. Mime Time!" deals with the ringmaster of a traveling circus and her lazy Mr. Mime. When Ash is recruited to take the place of the Mr. Mime in the circus (in order to convince the Pokémon to come back to work) he gets mistakenly kidnapped by Team Rocket.
  • Clam Trap: In the episode "Clamperl of Wisdom!", a Clamperl (an oyster-like Pokémon) bites down on Meowth's tail at one point. This scene currently serves as the trope's page image.
  • Clip Show: Three of them (one in Hoenn, two in Sinnoh), all skipped in the dub.
  • Comic Trio: Team Rocket, combined with a Terrible Trio. This was averted in Black and White, in which they became much darker and more serious (they even traded their trademark white uniforms for black ones), and also only started appearing occasionally, taking a back seat to other antagonists. However, as of X&Y, they have returned to their comical old selves, and are the main antagonists once again.
  • 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. Occasionally this was done on purpose with titles appearing for In-universe TV shows like "Sinnoh Now" and Ball Seal animations. 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 (based off of 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 , 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.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: This scene from the first episode of Black and White.
    • The newest Best Wishes ending has this pic of all the main characters and nearly all their mons.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Pretty much any time someone gets hit with a move like Flamethrower at close range.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction:
    • During the Original series, when Ash is trying to catch a Weedle, Samurai tries to challenge Ash to a battle. While Ash is talking with Samurai, the Weedle escapes.
    • During the Diamond and Pearl saga, when Dawn makes a second attempt to catch a Buneary, the Pokeball that she plans to use slips out of her hand and hits Ash in the face leading him to angrily scold Dawn which results in an argument between the two. While they argue, the Buneary slip away which Piplup notices and alerts everyone that it escaped.
    • During the Diamond and Pearl saga, when Paul and Electabuzz are trying to catch a wild Drapion, they both get distracted when Ash's Gligar falls from the sky after being blown by a gust of wind in front of Paul and the Drapion escapes when it sees Paul and Electabuzz distracted.
  • Cooking Duel: In "Hail to the Chef", Rhoda and Rhonda face off against each other with their Mr. Mime and Sneasel, respectively, to see who's the best.
  • Costume Evolution: The main party members switch outfits whenever they go into a new region.
  • Creator Cameo: Ikue Otani appears in the episode "Lights! Camera! Pika!" as a voice actor for, who else, a Pikachu. Supposedly, next to her is Yūki Kaji, the Japanese voice actor for Clemont.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Marilyn is a girl that goes gaga over any Pokémon she says is cute, though not as bad as Gardenia with Grass Pokémon. So anybody watching the episode would've never guessed that she's good in Pokémon battles.
    • Ash, and generally most newcomers start off this way before Character Development kicks in, being more inept and flawed but with their potential obvious.
  • Cross Counter: Used in quite a few match-ups between Pokémon, but though the episode "Pasta La Vista" was set up for one, Team Rocket interrupted before the two fighting Pokémon could hit each other.
  • Cultural Translation: During an early Indigo Plateau episode, rice balls are once referred to as donuts despite very clearly not being donuts. Later seasons would edit out Japanese food items and replace them with sandwiches and the like.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Quite a few characters, be they lifted from the games or anime-original characters.
  • Cute Bruiser: Any cutesy Pokémon with fight in them may count.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
  • Deadly Doctor: Dr. Proctor from the Indigo saga, who fought Team Rocket armed with nothing but a labcoat full of scalpels.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: This happens almost all the time for captured Pokémon. This is especially true for those who befriend the group, but demand to fight before they are formally caught. Among those this applies to are Ash's Treecko in AG, Ash's Snivy and Krokorok in BW, and Serena's Pancham in XY.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: The Elite Four, as well as several other characters.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Brendan and Lucas, Player Characters from the games the series is based off of, only show up as cameos in a couple of the movies.
    • In Pokémon Black and White, Bianca is one of the player character's friendly rivals and makes frequent appearances. In the anime, she does show up fairly often but never rises above the level of supporting character. The other rival from those games, Cheren, only shows up in one episode.
    • With the anime cast itself, most former companions, after their tenure journeying Ash is over, will be Put On The Bus besides a return episode the following era and a few very minor cameos.
    • The Legendary Birds suffer this as well. In the second movie, they're introduced as harbingers of destruction that lived in myth and legend. In later series, not only is their existence common knowledge but it's heavily implied that there is more than just the three of them, since Ash has encountered multiple Moltres and Zapdos and Noland, a Sinnoh Frontier Brain, is friends with an Articuno.
  • Denser and Wackier: The Advanced Generation was notorious for this, having far zanier plots in filler episodes, as well as Meowth having frequent boss fantasies.
  • Deus ex Machina: It would be impossible to count the number of times Team Rocket or an opponent had the heroes on the ropes until a random Pokémon appeared or evolved and cleaned house for them. XY adds onto this with the Mega Evolutions, which verge as the Pokémon equivalent of super saiyans.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The "League Rivals", characters typically introduced near the end of each arc who all have a knack for being the one to eliminate Ash from the Tournaments. Of particular note is Tobias, who had (at least) two Olympus Mons and swept the entire Sinnoh League, which Ash was actually doing pretty well in up until that point. Ash merely failed less than everyone else by managing to knock both out at the cost of all six of his Pokémon.
  • Diminishing Villain Threat: Jessie, James and Meowth debuted as formidable, cool headed baddies. After their obsession with capturing Pikachu was established they slowly and gradually devolved into a pitiful Goldfish Poop Gang, all the way until Best Wishes, which abruptly upgraded them into far more serious and dangerous villains. XY thus far has gone the middle road, making them comical again but keeping some of their power boost.
  • Disney Death: Nearly every single movie has a Pokémon die and come back to life, or barely avoid dying in the first place.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: One of the recurring oddities of the show, especially of the early era under Takeshi Shudo's pen, was the fact that events kept conspiring to submarine Ash's journey To Be a Master by preventing him from having Pokémon that were both powerful (read: fully-evolved) and competent — they could be one or the other, not both.
    • Ash's Butterfree, the first Pokémon he'd ever fully evolved, was released to go participate in his mating season. He hasn't been seen since outside of rare flashbacks.
    • Ash's Primeape left Ash's team to receive training from a professional boxing coach to become a P-1 Champion... except Primeape had already become a P-1 Champion in that very episodenote . Insultingly, this was also the episode in which the normally belligerent and disobedient Primeape finally bonded with Ash and began to listen to commands. He also hasn't been seen much outside of cameos in future Japanese openings.
    • Ash's 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. (Couldn't have Ash flying around the islands, now could we?) Despite his promise to return after he was done in the islands, Ash's writers haven't bothered with the bird in years.
    • 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 and Horsea.
    • When Ash was allowed to keep powerful Pokémon, 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 . So, for the 89 episodes Ash had a Charizard (he first achieved the form in EP046), the lizard was loyal for less than 30 of them before the writers did away with him. This made room for Cyndaquil, a little badger cub with powerful fire attacks... hampered by serious ignition problems, though Ash actually worked with Cyndaquil to overcome this problem a few episodes later.
    • Ash's Sceptile is another good example — it evolved from Grovyle to protect a Meganium it had fallen for... only to learn Meganium loved another. Its heartbreak crippled it so completely it couldn't use any special moves, though it got over this problem after only a couple of episodes.
    • More recently, in XY, Ash's Goomy quickly evolved into a Sliggoo and then into a Goodra, a powerful pseudo-legendary Pokémon, and it had no issues obeying Ash. Soon after it fully evolved, Ash released it so that it could be with its friends at its swamp home.
    • This eventually led to the writers utilizing the Bag of Spilling with the start of each new series, from Advanced Generation on — Ash leaves his entire team, sans Pikachu, at Oak's lab just before he enters a new region. The narrative justifies this (somewhat) by him wanting to start from scratch and learn new things, and can (usually) be counted on to find some new way to De-Power Pikachu accordingly. At least he brings back his old team members for tournaments....
    • Greninja's "Ash-Greninja" form is strong enough to defeat Champion Diantha. However, Ash doesn't have full understanding of the transformation or even how to activate it. Furthermore, during the transformation Ash shares Greninja's pain and fatigue and they'll both pass if they push the form too hard. This obstacle is finally overcome after his first battle at the Snowbelle Gym.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Plenty in the lead-up 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.
    • Fourth: Munchlax (in 2004), Lucario, Weavile, Bonsly, Mime Jr., Chatot, Buizel, Mantyke, Manaphy, Electivire.
    • Fifth: Zoroark, Zorua.
    • Sixth: Sylveon (and the Fairy-Type in general), Mega Mewtwo Y (and by extension the new Mega Evolution mechanic), Gogoat, Helioptile, Noivern.
    • 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 featured Mega Evolutions of Metagross and Rayquaza, also before Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. The XY anime is also set to introduce new forms for Zygarde starting in October/November 2015.
    • 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.
    • Mewtwo appears in the Kanto League saga's intro for roughly half a second (at the very beginning, no less). It wasn't until 59 episodes later that he made his first physical appearance, setting him up to be the main antagonist in Pokémon: The First Movie.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The entire Kanto league saga can be considered this. Compare this saga, which only took around 80 episodes to complete, to later game-based league sagas. Another point is that the only Gym Leader of the Kanto League to dress like his game counterpart was Koga.
    • Other weirdness includes the occasional mention of real-world locations such as France, England, and most famously, Hollywood, which was the setting of an entire episode devoted to telling Meowth's backstory.
    • 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, sprinklers that gave Pikachu an edge, and the Haunter that Ash led back to the Saffron Gym snapped Sabrina out of her Emotionless Girl/Creepy Child persona)— starting with Lt. Surge, and later 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.
    • It also seemed that the Kanto gym leaders could freely substitute their own Pokémon during a gym battle. The rule that only a challenger could make substitutions was first introduced in Ash's Orange League Championship battle. This rule was carried over to the Johto gyms and has been a standard gym battle rule ever since, with the odd exception of Lenora at the Nacrene Gym.
    • 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.
    • 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 Pokémon 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. Interestingly, this is averted in the Japanese CD drama based on the first movie, in which Giovanni steals a defeated trainer's Magmar.
    • 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.
    • The very first episode is the only episode, until #673 in the Best Wishes arc, in which Team Rocket does not appear.
    • On a meta level, episodes written by Takeshi Shudo, most of which are from the first two seasons (and became increasingly rarer before he left during Johto), are noticeably more mature in tone, focusing on the darker aspects of the Pokémon universe. The clash between these and the vast majority of episodes, which are far more lighthearted, is quite jarring to viewers.
  • Earth Drift: Just like the game series, the anime has been subject to this over the years. The Indigo seasons, Orange Islands and some Johto seasons reference a number of real world locations and concepts (like real holidays), but later seasons pointedly do not.
  • 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.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Following with the game's rules, though these can be bent sometimes (Pikachu being able to harm Ground Pokémon with Electric moves, just for starters).
  • Era-Specific Personality: Most recurring characters' personalities tend to fluctuate with each change of region. The competence of both Ash and Team Rocket tends to be the most prominent victim.
  • Everyone Can See It: Serena has a crush on Ash, and nearly every girl around them (notably Alexa, Miette, Bonnie, and Shauna) catches on long before Ash does.
    • Everyone can see that Ash and Misty care for each other despite their constant fights (or maybe because of it...) as pointed out by several characters in the show (Nurse Joy, Tracey and even Danny).
  • Everyone Owns A Mac: Of the Hold Your Hippogriffs variety, even. As Bulbapedia has pointed out, if a PC appears in this series, chances are it's running the Pokéverse equivalent of Mac OS.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: In a Contest battle, anything + everything = sparkles.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Most arc villains tend to bitch slap Team Rocket out of the picture to prove their villainous cred. This was especially bad in the Hoenn era, where even most minor comical antagonists reduced Team Rocket to their Butt Monkey. Downplayed with odd cases such as Team Plasma, who were more sinister, but fell to Team Rocket following an Enemy Mine.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Teams Magma and Aqua as always, and Teams Rocket and Plasma as well.
  • 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.
    • The XY episode cards were later updated to have Serena's attire change. Again this was omitted from the dub.
  • 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.
  • Extreme Melee Revenge: While Toon Physics prevented any serious injuries, the heroes were sometimes left very pissy from Team Rocket's schemes. Cue a no holds barred barrage of Pokémon attacks on the Pokémon and their trainers for as much as it takes to make them blast off, be they attacking, retreating or begging for mercy.
  • Failure Is the Only Option. The writers have never allowed Ash to win a regional tournament (with the exception of the Orange League, which doesn't exist in the games). He'll always lose no matter what. Their logic behind this thinking is that if he wins one single tournament, from one single area of the world, his entire journey ends.
  • Fainting: Mostly in the first season.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: At various points we've had psychics, aura, ghosts, Humongous Mecha, Magic (albeit very little), Hard Light Holograms, a few superheroes (an aged Batman parody, and a Kamen Rider parody), Toon Physics, Weird Science, Cloning, Pirates, Ninjas and a talking cat. And that's just the stuff that doesn't apply to the Pokémon themselves (though most of these do).
  • Filler: Throughout every season, but more noticeable after Kanto. Justified on a meta-level by multiple concerns — one, Filler allows the anime to lend the spotlight to the increasingly vast number of Pokémon; two, the games themselves tend to be so sparsely-plotted (some kid from some backwoods town goes on a journey to become Champion, fighting a rival and an evil organization along the way) that the anime would be at constant risk of Overtook the Games if it didn't employ Filler. Best Wishes moved far quicker than Diamond and Pearl due to the fact that it didn't need as much filler since there were two game sets (B/W and B2/W2) set in the same region instead of only one. Regardless, it still drags onfifty percent of Ash's travels in Johto were filler.
    • Regarding the Pokémon debuts, as of BW119, all Pokémon up to Genesectnote  has appeared in either movie or anime. However, we still haven't seen Autumn Deerling, ? and ! Unown, as well as Trash and Sandy Burmy.
    • Black & White is a unique example: the show originally was plotted to be much more like the games, especially the plot arc of the first of the set, and would have even culminated in N's Castle rising dramatically from the ground as it does in the games... and then the Tohoku Earthquake happened. As can be imagined, any plans to have a castle rise out of the ground via an earthquake were immediately thrown in the dumpster and the entire generation's plot arc was immediately and hastily re-plotted to try and get around having to address the end sequence of B&W's game version. This resulted in a fair bit of obvious filler where the original N arc was going to be.
  • A Fistful of Rehashes: "Showdown at Dark City" is basically Yojimbo...with Pokémon! And two rival gyms going too far with the Serious Business! And rated TV-Y7!
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: A few feather boas are worn, one by a Socialite on the St. Anne.
  • Forged Message: In "Wherefore Art Thou, Pokémon?", 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. It backfires very badly.
  • Forgotten Framing Device: The movies tend to start with narration, but unlike episodes of the show, the narrator doesn't come back at the end.
  • 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.
  • French Maid Outfit: The "Tanks for the Memories!" episode sees the gang helping out at a Maid Cafe because the joint was temporarily understaffed (Brock was training one of the maids working there). This results in Dawn, Ash (again!) and even some of their mons dressing up in these outfits.
  • Funny Afro: Everybody wears afro wigs in "Baffling The Bouffalant!", because the Bouffalant won't attack anybody who has a similar hairstyle to their natural afros.
  • Gag Dub: While not technically a parody, the English dub usually results in Rule of Funny and tons of Lampshading.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Has its own page.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Team Rocket interchange between trying to steal Pokémon and trying out legitimate contests and businesses on the side. Especially apparent in the Sinnoh era where they actually become much better at it than their usual villainous job.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All:
    • Despite this being the series' Catch Phrase, actually completely averted in regards to the Pokémon. Ash isn't interested in capturing every Pokémon, he's just on a journey to explore his limits. He catches a few Pokémon, enough to fill up a team, in each region but he doesn't just throw a pokeball at every new Pokémon he comes across.
    • The series does have actual Plot Coupons for Ash to actually quest for, namely he needs to acquire 8 gym badges from a region in order to compete in that region's Pokémon League. And during the Advanced Generation and Diamond and Pearl series, May and Dawn had to win 5 Contest Ribbons in order to compete in the region's Grand Festival. Serena also required 3 Princess Keys to reach the Showcase finales in the XY series.
  • Gratuitous English: Oh so very much. And the Japanese opening themes amount to little more than this and boatloads of random Pokémon terms with a catchy tune. Case in point: Everyday is spelled evierdai Lyrics are here.
    • The seasons based off of Black/White is called Best Wishes in Japan.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: In "Pokémon Shipwreck", Ash wakes up on the ceiling of the capsized S.S. Anne, and stays there until Misty and Brock tell him he's on the ceiling. Only then does he fall to the ground.
  • 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, Grimer, and Trubbish 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).
    • Most mentions of environmentalism are played for laughs when Team Rocket mentions how certain aspects of their schemes are good for the environment.
  • Gullible Lemmings: As often as the heroes outmatch Team Rocket, you can almost always expect them to fall hook, line and sinker for a booby trap or Paper-Thin Disguise beforehand. Played with for Meowth's Heel–Face Mole stunts, since the heroes have become increasingly suspicious and prone to Lampshade Hanging as they've continued. Even then though, he usually still manages to wheedle his way in eventually.
  • Hammerspace: This appears in several varieties:
    • The backpacks, which are not very big, but contain anything from large food supplies to camping tables and even an umbrella (in Pokémon: The First Movie, 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.
  • Human Popsicle: If you count Pokémon, Pryce's Piloswine counts. In "As Cold As Pryce", we learn it was frozen in a glacier for many years, and defrosted harmlessly.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The 4Kids dub did this frequently, especially in the early episodes of Season 1.
    • 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.
  • Hypnosis Proof Dogs: Inverted in a later episode where Team Rocket used a Drowzee's hypnosis specifically to brainwash Pokémon but not their trainers.
  • 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.
  • Instant Costume Change: Team Rocket often partake in such to achieve their Paper-Thin Disguise dupes. At one point Meowth did a rapid multi costume change to mimic a transform ability.
  • 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.
    • Also averted with most Legendaries who speak through telepathy. Oddly not averted with Victini in its two movies, though justified as a major part of the plot was Ash discovering Victini's tragic past, which if Victini just told him at the beginning the movie would be cut in half.
  • 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/Pokemon 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/Pokemon it's always on the Pokémon's side, except for Gardenia and her fetish.
  • Isle of Giant Horrors:
    • After surviving the sinking of the St. Anne, Ash's party and Team Rocket end up stuck on an island made up of malfunctioning giant animatronic Pokémon, separated from their Pokémon.
    • Another episode during the OI season has Meowth and Pikachu tied together in the middle of Fairchild Island, an island containing giant Rhydon and Pidgeot who attack anyone that comes near.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: In "Address Unown!", a Unown puts Ash and friends into Larvitar's mind to help it get past traumatic events.
  • Jumped at the Call: Happens on occasion. Misty's Psyduck, James's Mime Jr., and Ash's Froakie all literally caught themselves by activating unused Poké Balls.
  • Justification: In the games, the AI rarely ever switches Pokémon, even when it would benefit them to do so and even though it's essential to two-player battling strategy. For this reason, Gym Battles in the anime have the referee announce that the Gym Leader is not allowed to switch Pokémon.
  • 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".
  • Kids Rock: 2 B A Master
  • 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  are clearly aimed at a slightly older shonen audience.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Each era adds new main characters and stipulations according to the games they adapt. Best Wishes in particular offered a few formula breakers, such as making the Team Rocket trio more minor, but far more competent and serious antagonists. Another formula breaker of Best Wishes was Ash's capture of nine new Pokémon, which he kept in regular rotation and stored at Professor Juniper's lab, rather than Professor Oak's, if they were off his active party.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Don't these two look familiar?
  • Lemony Narrator: Not during the main anime so much, but he does during Pokémon Chronicles and such.
  • Lensman Arms Race: Ash and Team Rocket's rivalry has slowly becomes this, due to the trio's constant quest to one up the twerps and Ash's team gaining ceaseless abilities and pointers from thwarting them. By the time the two sides enter the Kalos region, their rivalry earns an In-Universe "Holy Shit!" Quotient from the locales, just from the ridiculous skill and power displayed from an unfanfared rookie and a bunch of small time criminals.
  • Lighter and Softer: Generally speaking, the tone of the anime is more zany and humorous than the games that it's based on, as they avoid the dark undertones the games include. That said, the anime has had its moments of seriousness and darkness too, especially with some of the movies (notably Takeshi Shudo's early movies), and the Mega Evolution specials take a hard turn toward the much more serious.
  • Lighthouse Point: Episode 13, "Mystery at the Lighthouse".
  • Limited Wardrobe: Although Ash & co. usually get new outfits for each new journey.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: In "Showdown At Dark City", Ash tries to hide his real name. When he looks at Pikachu playing with a ketchup bottle, Ash announces his name is "Ketchup" before he quickly changes it to "Tom Ato".
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: And that's just the human cast, excluding the hundreds of one-shots.
  • Long Runners: Has been running almost nonstop since April 1997 in Japan, with over 900 episodes and 15 movies - with every episode having been on TV Tokyo.
  • 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. There's also the handkerchief that Serena kept after Ash gave it to her when they were little and used it to bandage her hurt knee. When she showed it to him in Kalos, that's when he remembered who she was.
  • 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-Battle Tea Break: In "Ka Boom With A View!", Ash and Palace Maven Spenser take a break in the middle of their fight to enjoy lunch.
  • 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.).
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The opening of the B/w arc features a battle between Charizard and Reshiram! Guess what never happens?
  • Monster of the Week: They're usually kind or misunderstood, though.
  • Mood Motif: The episode "A Chansey Operation" has the doctor be hit with a tranquilizer dart. He very quickly falls asleep as the background music is the rhythm of Jigglypuff's Lullaby.
  • The Movie: Sixteen of them, two of which are actually one for the price of two.
  • Moving Buildings: One of Team Rocket's mechas.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Jessie gets this as a cross between Parental Bonus and Evil Is Sexy.
    • The female companions also get this often. Misty cleans up nicely while May and Dawn have this as a side-effect of their Contest arcs. Among other things...
    • The Officer Jennies and Nurse Joys are subject to this too, deliberately lampshaded in the show with Brock, who falls in love with each one he meets.
  • Mook Chivalry: Even bad guys such as Team Rocket tend to obey the turn based ethics of Pokémon matches and rarely use more than one Pokémon at once, only really ganging up on a character for an exceptional Kick the Dog moment. Played with since the heroes do this just as often, only using fuller forces to wrap things up or to show they've been truly pissed off. This is likely a Drama-Preserving Handicap in their case, since the combined army of all three companions could likely trounce anyone with ease.
  • Musical Episode: Though not really an episode of the show nor even canonical to it, the stage show Pokémon Live! would seem to fit in this trope.
    • "Gotta Dance!", the short before the sixth movie.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • A lot of Canon Foreigners in the early show are actually obviously derived from trainers in the games — Samurai is a riff on the Bug Catcher classnote , AJ is a Cooltrainer, Giselle is based on the Lass, Duplica is based on Saffron City's Copycat, etc.
    • A minor, easy-to-miss one, but when Misty's Staryu is knocked out, it sometimes makes a sound similar to the low health beep from 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.
  • 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 the Pokémon themed single for fourth XY ending DreamDream, the B-side track is a cover of KISEKI (the credits theme for the XY games).
  • Named After Someone Famous: Jesse and James take their names from Jesse James.
  • Never Say "Die": Rarely brought up in the series, but there have been a few cases, for dramatic purposes at least:
    • 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 Pokémon Heroes or Lucario and Sir Aaron's deaths in Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew.
    • Human deaths are also a rare event. They vary from a relative that died due to illness, accident or old age, historical figures, or the main characters actually encountering human ghosts.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: The best you'll get for anyone (barring temporary characters and guest stars) is Ship Tease. Unless you're Serena.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: Due to the turn based battle methods being imported from the games, the anime adds the ability to "dodge" command a Pokémon. Whenever a Curbstomp Battle is demanded for the plot, expect this to get spammed a lot.
  • Non-Dubbed Grunts: Some Pokémon, mostly the ones who kept their Japanese names.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Team Rocket always get at least a handful of occasions per era they are good battlers or have a genuinely intricate and tight scheme. In some cases they genuinely have the heroes all but defeated until the Pokémon of the Week intervenes. This was especially apparent in Best Wishes, which gave them a temporary competence boost.
  • 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), Pocket Monsters Best Wishes! Season 2 (seasons 15-16), Pocket Monsters XY (seasons 17-18), Pocket Monsters XY&Z (season 19), and Pocket Monsters Sun Moon (seasons 20+), 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), Pokémon Black and White: Adventures In Unova and Beyond (season 16), Pokémon The Series: XY (season 17), Pokémon The Series: XY Kalos Quest (season 18), and Pokémon The Series: XYZ (season 19).
    • 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 and beyond managed to cut back on occurrences, though.
  • Ominous Fog: Results in a Ship Tease with holding hands.
  • Ondo: Do-do-dogaasu, Do-doga-do!
  • The Other Darrin: The entire American voice cast (with a few exceptions among the recurring cast) is changed three-quarters of the way through Advance Generation.
  • Out of Focus: Most of the villain teams get this treatment. The Advanced Generation had almost 200 episodes but Team Magma and Team Aqua only featured prominently in less than a dozen. The same goes for Team Galactic in Diamond and Pearl. Team Plasma was supposed to have a greater role than they did but due to the Tohoku earthquake those plans were shelved.
  • Out of Order: Most of the episodes in the first season was this, all because of the infamous Seizure incident.
    • "An Undersea Place To Call Home!", originally meant to be the 24th episode of Season 17, had to be moved due to the sinking of the South Korean ferry MW Sewol happening only a couple of weeks before its airdate. It is now the 50th XY Series episode overall officially (and thus the 2nd of Season 18). The dub got around the Anachronic Order by explicitly stating the events of the episode took place prior to Ash's gym battle with Grant, thus also giving it the honor of being one of the few complete flashback episodes.
  • 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.
  • Party in My Pocket: They're called "Pocket Monsters" for a reason.
  • 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. However, being experts at their chosen type means they find ways to subvert this.
  • Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title: Many, starting with the second half of Ash's Orange League Championship battle, "Enter the Dragonite," and continuing up through the end of the Diamond & Pearl saga.
  • Powder Trail: "Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon", coupled with Indy Escape...sort of.
  • The Power of Friendship: All Pokémon companions.
  • 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  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.
  • Put On The Bus: Most of Ash's companions change after one era, the former ones disappearing outside the rare reappearance or cameo. Brock returned and lasted two more eras, but ultimately returned to this state after.
  • Raiders of the Lost Parody: A couple examples. Battling the Enemy Within has the aforementioned "boulder rolling down a hall" parody. Explorers of the Hero's Ruin in Best Wishes goes much further by including the "boulder rolling down a hall" bit and Cedric Juniper keeping a log of the ruin that is similar to the Grail Diary in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Cedric already had the appearance of Henry Jones Sr. in the games, the anime also gives him his characterization. There are also traps styled after those found in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and the behavior of the Sigilyph found in the ruin is akin to the science fiction elements of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Ash fails to recognize the huge disadvantage Pikachu was at when he used it against Brock's rock type Pokémon, and is beaten. Even after giving Pikachu a power boost he's still unable to completely overcome the disadvantage and only wins thanks to Brock's siblings interfering.
    • Team Rocket tries to attack Ash while he battled students of an elite training school. Only to be immediately chased off by the far more skilled and numerous students. As they lampshade, what's the point in playing fair against some Pokémon thieves?
    • Meowth tries to battle Ash for possession of Togepi, setting up for a intense duel, only for Pikachu to idly knock him out with one Thundershock before Meowth can even plan a single attack. Lest we had almost forgotten Meowth was an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain that got his ass fried by Pikachu Once an Episode anyway.
    • Misty assumes that a nurse joy has overcome her fear of water types after being forced to face it. She admits afterwards that shes still afraid of them, but just won't let it get in the way anymore.
    • Which is somewhat ironic since the same thing had previously occurred to Misty herself with Ash's Caterpie. While she had learned to be less contemptuous towards it, when Ash asked that she show her affection, she was unwilling, since she was still terrified of bugs.
  • Recognizable by Sound: Subverted. Every individual Pokémon, besides those that speak English (or whatever the dub language), 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.
  • Recurring Extra: Downplayed. The anime will on occasion recycle character designs, but for the myriad background characters, like this mother-daughter pair from the movies. Here's a slightly more comprehensive list.
  • Redemption Promotion: Team Rocket are generally Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains with the occasional Not So Harmless moment. Whenever they fight for the side of good however, their competence completely skyrockets. By the time of Sinnoh they can actually beat Ash's team in contests just by playing by the rules.
  • 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).
  • Retool: Due to gyms not existing in the Alola region in Pokémon Sun and Moon, the Sun and Moon anime series follows a drastically different plot from the previous series: Instead of traveling from town to town with a 2 or 3 companions, Ash and Pikachu are instead attending a Pokémon School alongside several classmates.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: One segment in "2.B.A. Master":
    So you've reached the Plateau, but not yet a hero.
    Are you ready to meet and defeat...the Elite?
    Can I expect survival...against your rival?
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Too many to list. Even some Pokémon you wouldn't think as cute to begin with.
  • 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.
  • Sand Bridge At Low Tide:
    • In the episode called "The Crystal Onix", Ash and the gang find that the way to the mythical cave is a sandbar that only appears at certain times of the day.
    • One of the Decolora Islands episodes has one of these as well.
  • Scenery Porn: Every single movie has at least one positively epic set piece in full Conspicuous CG. And they are gorgeous.
    • 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.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Jessie tries to do this in "The Battle Of The Badge" episode.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Jessie, James, Meowth, Officer Jenny, and Nurse Joy.
  • Second Person Attack: Used frequently in the fight scenes.
  • 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.
    • In general, if there's an evil scheme or world endangering dilemma going on, rest assured it will always involve capturing some powerful Pokémon.
  • "Setting Off" Song: "Viridian City".
  • Shout-Out: 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.
  • Sigil Spam: The stylized Poké Ball emblem appears everywhere.
  • Silly Spook: The first ghost-types to appear turned out to be pretty funny. They're fond of Tex Avery-esque Eye Pops and Wild Takes and clearly see their hauntings as pranking Ash & Pikachu, not attacking them.
  • Skeleton Government: Besides Officer Jennys, there seem to be no form of government at all.
    • In one Orange Islands episode there's the mayor of the city running for re-election, but he turns out to be paranoid about hiding the fact that he abandoned his Bulbasaur in the sewer.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Most trainers in the series, male and female, suffer a fair amount of slapstick abuse or awkwardness, usually caused by their Pokémon. Jessie in particular is assaulted indiscriminately with the the rest of her Team Rocket buddies each and every time.
  • Slasher Smile: If a Pokémon has sharp teeth and isn't Ugly Cute, expect its grin to look like this.
  • Sleeps With Both Eyes Open: Misty's Psyduck did this once, making Misty think he was immune to Jigglypuff's singing.
  • Slice of Life: In some episodes, Team Rocket don't antagonise Ash's team directly (or come Best Wishes, sometimes don't appear at all), leading to full laid back plots concerning the heroes.
  • The Smurfette Principle:
    • Whether it be Misty, May, Dawn, or Iris, only one girl is allowed in the group at a time. Word of God has admitted it's mainly done for Fanservice purposes.
    • Averted in the XY series, as its group consists of two female characters: Serena and Bonnie (though only Serena carries around any Pokémon due to Bonnie's age).
    • Usually both Ash and Team Rocket have one female Pokémon on their team following gender mechanics being introduced in the games.
    • The Sun and Moon series averts this as well as Ash's class is evenly split with 3 boys (Ash, Sophocles and Kiawe) and 3 girls (Mallow, Lana and Lillie).
  • Something Completely Different: Pokémon Chronicles and the Mega Evolution specials focus on other characters.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The Gen IV saga did this a few times, playing absurdly epic and dramatic music as the backdrop for chasing Pachirisu around for several minutes, or Team Rocket's evolution machine sputtering out repeatedly.
  • Spin-Off: The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon specials, and Pokémon Chronicles.
  • Spoiler Cover: Posters for the films are usually released around February in Japan, with the actual movie being screened in July. This often means that either the main poster or the "Pikachu the Movie" onenote  will spoil every single change in the teams of Ash and his friends in the next 5 months.
  • 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 Pokémon 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 Advanced Challenge opening spoils the evolution of Ash's Taillow into Swellow. In fact, in that spoiler shot that includes all of the group's Pokémon, Swellow flies in for a close-up!
    • 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.
    • Averted with Spurt!— TONS of Ash's old Pokémon 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.
    • In the XY series, "Mega Volt!" gives away the capture of Ash's Hawlucha and the evolution of his Fletchling into Fletchinder.
    • "Mad-Paced Getter!" spoils not only the capture of Ash's Goomy, but its evolution into Sliggoo and then into Goodra. The later updated version spoils the capture of Ash's Noibat.
    • "Alola!" reveals that Lillie will receive a Pokémon egg at some point.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Team Rocket. Even ignoring the famous trio who appear in almost every episode, Team Rocket is the only villain team to not be disbanded and is the only one that is featured prominently in every season. What's more, their plot line in Black and White arguably has more time and attention devoted to it than Team Plasma's.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The male and female Nidoran from the Orange Islands episode "Wherefore Art Thou, Pokémon?", an obvious Shout-Out to Romeo and Juliet. As a bonus, they are named Tony and Maria after the protagonists of West Side Story, a modern take on the original play.
  • Stock Footage: Each season has a bunch of Ash poses that are constantly reused during battles. There are also a bunch of poses or motions that are often reused when a Pokémon is called out of its Poké Ball or executes a move.
  • 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.
    • Palkia also has the roar of Boga, Obi-Wan Kenobi's varactyl mount, in the films and in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Boga is the first part of the roar, with either Heisei King Ghidorah (films) or Godzilla 1954 (Brawl) at the end.
  • 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 note  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.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: The actual competence and strength of characters and Pokémon is highly dependent on the plot.
  • 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.
  • Syndication Title: The first season airs on Boomerang as Pokémon: Indigo League.
  • 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.
  • Team Rocket Wins: Being the Trope Namer, this occurs a fair few times for the trio, almost always when they start playing fair or side with Ash's team. "Dressed for Jess Success" and "A Dancing Debut" are the only episodes where they defeat the twerps and it sticks however.
  • Textual Celebrity Resemblance: The episode "Arriving In Style" is about dressing Pokémon in costumes. The "famous fashion designer Hermione" looks a lot like iconic costume designer Edith Head.
  • Theme Tune Extended: Occurs with several of the English theme songs (and the majority of Japanese songs). Some of the extended versions can be heard in select episodes, but such extended songs are typically heard in the Pokémon movies. Usually, the movie in question will feature the theme song of the season that is airing at the time of the movie's release. The first original series' theme song is probably the most notable example, though - it received an extended version of the regular show theme and, for Pokémon: The First Movie, a remix of said extended edition.
  • "They've Come So Far" Song: The "Adventures in Unova" arc has the following in its theme song...
    It's the next chapter, the ultimate goal
    Ready for battle, brave and bold
    I know we're gonna make it, we will find a way
    We've come so far, we've fought so hard to get where we are
    We belong together, it's always you and me, Pokémon...
  • Thinly Veiled Dub Country Change: During the early days, despite taking place in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture, it was far more numerous with its Japanese set pieces, a fact that 4Kids Entertainment did its best to try and "correct". Jelly filled donuts, anyone? However, once the series started to become the cultural phenomena it is today, the writers started to make a better effort to make it more 'cultural neutral' to make it more easier on dubbers... though examples still pop up from time to time.
  • ˇThree Amigos!: Ash, Brock/Tracey/Cilan/Clemont, and Misty/May/Dawn/Iris/Serena. Advanced Generation and XY both add a Tagalong Kid- Max and Bonnie, respectively.
  • To Be Continued: Even though most episodes don't end in cliffhangers.
  • Toon Physics: Oddly character specific to Team Rocket. While the heroes suffer Amusing Injuries as well at times, the trio tend to bounce back from ceaseless brutality that would usually risk seriously injuring other characters, being little more than comically dazed or scuffed (one episode places genuine drama from May risking falling down a cliff, despite Team Rocket shooting down it Road Runner-style just seconds before). They also tend to be the only characters allowed to show Medium Awareness about being in a cartoon.
  • Totally Radical: Several characters and instances in the dub, including Brawly and a one-shot DP character named Sho, who the dub made into a Jive Turkey turned Up to Eleven.
  • Traitor Shot: The Teddiursa in episode "UnBEARable" has five of them.
  • Transformation Sequence: Pokémon evolution.
  • Tournament Arc: The point of every region, both the League (called Conference for some reason) and the Grand Festival.
  • TuftOfHeadFur: The show has used this trope to distinguish between two Pokémon of the same species:
    • Ritchie had a Pikachu named "Sparky" who had a tuft of fur to distinguish him from Ash's Pikachu.
    • In "Battling At Full Volume" a guitarist trainer with a mohawk exclusively battled powerful Pikachu. His Pikachu had his fur styled like a fauxhawk.
  • 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.
  • Unbuilt Trope: The early Pokémon seasons are the first and most famous examples of Mon anime. However they also deconstruct certain aspects of the Pokémon world. At the beginning of Ash's journey, he is an inexperienced child. He gets his food stolen, is disobeyed by his starter, and is nearly killed by a flock of Spearow, all in the first episode. Other early episodes showed other darker issues like Pokémon abandonment, disobedience, the existence of a crime syndicate. Mewtwo's backstory is a tragic and terrifying example of the experimentation that can exist. However, as Ash became more experienced, he ended reconstructing the Pokémon world by showcasing the virtues: loyalty, bravery, teamwork, and love.
  • 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....
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: Mixed with BLAM Episode, "Time Warp Heals all Wounds!" fits this, featuring May and Meowth traveling back in time in order to stop a man before he takes the train where he will die before his wife can tell him that she is pregnant.
  • 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.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal / Your Tomcat Is Pregnant:
    • When the Togepi from Where No Togepi Has Gone Before! uses Attract, affecting Pikachu, Croagunk and Meowth, confirming that this Togepi is female, as James points out. Jessie realizes her Yanmega wasn't affected, asking "You are a girl?!", surprised, while Yanmega glows red.
    • The titular Purrloin in the episode Purrloin: Sweet or Sneaky! caught the attention of Oshawott and Meowth (confirmed to be male in earlier episodes) and both of them competed to see who would be Purrloin's boyfriend. Only for that Purrloin's owner to point out that it was male and the whole act was just a ruse to steal stuff.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Most people and Pokémon don't seem to react to Team Rocket's Meowth, who is able to talk and act just like a human.
  • Versus Character Splash: Introduced in the XY series.
  • Video Phone: A common feature in the anime, Video phones in Pokémon centers appear to be the main way that trainers communicate with others while traveling.
  • Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: While Team Rocket members in aren't always competent, only the Terrible Trio, and later Butch and Cassidy due to characterization changes, are actually goofy. Most members are some level of dangerous. Their boss Giovanni has a case of Adaptational Villainy as he is more violent than in the games.
  • Walking the Earth: Except when returning to Pallet Town.
  • 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?:
    • Ash frequently makes several friendly rivals and leaves several Pokémon behind, claiming he'll see them again someday. Sometimes he does, usually he doesn't.
    • When Ash and Gary return to Pallet Town to prepare for their first tournament, Professor Oak mentions that there were two other trainers, presumably who he gave his Charmander and Bulbsaur to, who failed to collect eight gym badges in time for the Pokémon League. These two trainers are never seen and are never mentioned again.
  • 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. This has been subverted on occasion, however, especially with James' Pokémon in later seasons.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: A few of Ash's friends throughout the series started off as being scared or just disliking certain Pokémon.
    • Misty was famous for being scared of Bug Type Pokémon, although she's willing to make exceptions for cute ones like Butterfree, Venonat or Ledyba. She also used to have a dislike of Gyarados before she obtained one for herself.
    • Iris had a dislike of Ice Types due to being a Dragon Type trainer. It was noted In-universe for being unfounded as Dragon Types are also weak to other Dragon Types. She eventually got over her fear when she had to work with her rival's Vannilluxe to deal with a dangerous moss outbreak.
    • Cilan had a dislike for Purrloin and all he mentioned was that he had a bad experience with one.
    • Poor Lillie is afraid of touching or being close to any Pokémon.
  • Wild Child: Tommy in the anime, and twice in the manga.
  • Wingding Eyes: Heart eyes showed up a lot when Brock saw a beautiful girl.
    • And heart eyes have shown up on Pokemon at least a couple times, in the episodes "A Better Pill To Swallow!", and "Claydol, Big And Tall".
  • Women Are Wiser: To a subtle extent with most female companions. While they still have profound moments of humility or hypocrisy, they usually have at least a small cut of clarity over Ash. Brock initially balanced this until, well...
    • Clemont mostly subverts this - besides his inventions going haywire, he's probably the sanest and most straightforward member of the XY crew (more than even Serena, much of the time).
    • Jessie tends to subvert this. While maybe more focused as a villain than James and Meowth, she is still a Know-Nothing Know-It-All compared to them. Word of God is that Misty was supposed to be similar for the hero side. She's not totally incompetent however, just not smarter than Ash as often as she believes.
  • 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".
  • Wrong Context Magic: Ash's Greninja is capable of attaining a Super Mode that is as strong as Mega Evolution, but the exact mechanics (apart from involving a form of Synchronization between Ash and Greninja) are unexplained. It's an alien concept that didn't exist in the games (save a unique Greninja that comes with the Sun and Moon demo, meant to emulate the anime) and many people In-universe wonder if it counts as a Mega Evolution or not.
  • 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!
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Anime/PokeMon