Characters: Pokémon Anime - Team Rocket
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The Team Rocket Trio (TRio)
The main villains of the series, Jessie, James, and Meowth are always planning up a way to capture Ash's Pikachu, who they have deemed to be exceptionally special, strong, and worthy of giving as a gift to their boss, Giovanni. Originally, they usually worked as a stand-alone branch of Team Rocket. This even lead Giovanni to forget that they were members of the crime organization to begin with!
At the end of Diamond and Pearl
, however, he takes notice of them again, and gives them a special mission in the Unova region. Since then, the trio have become far more competent, and are usually involved in bigger and more elaborate schemes masterminded by some high-ranking Team Rocket member. For the most part, the "capture Pikachu" objective has taken a backseat to their larger plans, but old habits die hard...
The Team Rocket trio exhibits the following tropes:
- Affably Evil: Up untill Best Wishes they didn't really seem as evil as they like to believe, they have their Pet the Dog moments and genuinely love and care for their own Pokémon, if not for their relentless determination and dedication to Giovanni they could honestly go straight anytime they wanted. In Best Wishes and a few episodes prior Meowth could count as Faux Affably Evil faking friendships with Ashs group to get their guards down, though he's had genuinely affable moments as well.
- Anti-Villain: Prior to the Best Wishes series, it was often rather hard to consider them real villains.
- Anti-Hero: On occassions, even in Best Wishes during the "Episode N" arc.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: they succeed in capturing Pikachu and the three Kalos starters in XY011, but then get into an argument about who should take credit, making an argument through their various contributions: James made the gadgets, Meowth plotted the capture, and Jessie...gave the signal.
James: That's like the easiest thing! That's not an achievement!
- Art Evolution: They don't get away untouched from this in Best Wishes. In addition to the art change hitting Ash, Jessie and James got black outfits due to their promotion. They also have noticeably different character models even when they switch back to wearing white outfits.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Their usual pose when reciting their motto.
- Balloon Belly: Team Rocket falls on hard times quite often, and usually lament over not having enough money to afford a decent meal. You can be sure that when they get the chance to stuff themselves full, THEY REALLY STUFF THEMSELVES FULL!
- Boisterous Weakling: Par the odd not so harmless streak, the team often act as this, they have big mouths, but tend to lose nearly every battle they take part in. Meowth may be most noteworthy due to actually being a Pokémon, one of the most loudmouthed, AND weakest in the show at that.
- According to Takeshi Shudo, this was meant to be their chief distinguishing mark. While people were suggesting they were imitations of the Time Bokan trio, he pointed out that on the contrary their sense of confidence nuanced them uniquely.
- Berserk Button: Never try to kidnap Pikachu - that is their job and that will make you understand that (even saving Pikachu on occasions so that they can come and kidnap him themselves later).
- Also, never beat up/piss off Pikachu - Team Rocket will side with/support him instead of you.
- Never try and make Pikachu evolve; they have stolen a Thunderstone on one occasion to prevent him from evolving.
- Breaking the Fellowship: Several times, although it never lasted a single episode.
- In BW, Meowth claims to have been fired and joins Ash's group for 5 episodes before doublecrossing them.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The dub loves to do this from time to time. They ALWAYS break it in the movies. Every one so far they have acknowledged that they're in a movie, among other examples.
- Butt Monkey: Par for the course for a Goldfish Poop Gang. It'd be faster to name the episodes where they didn't get abused in some way; this is mostly averted in the Unova saga of Best Wishes.
- Canon Foreigner: Jessie, James, and Meowth show up in the Pokémon Yellow game (though with Meowth as just another Pokémon they use, along with Ekans and Koffing). And they're just as pathetic as always.
- Catch Phrase: Their intro speech ("Prepare for trouble! Make it double!...") and "Team Rocket's blasting off again!".
- Catchphrase Spouting Trio
- Characterization Marches On: They've been all over the place in this regard.
- The Comically Serious: Some moments in Unova had them as this.
- Commuting on a Bus: As of Best Wishes, they've been downgraded from main cast members to recurring characters, with antagonistic wild Pokémon taking their place as enemies of the week, complete with the wild Pokémon being blasted off.
- They seemed to have returned to being regulars in the Decalore Islands arc, complete with blasting off again.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass / Let's Get Dangerous: When they aren't being used for jokes, they are quite threatening.
- Custom Uniform: Their original white uniforms were this. All other Team Rocket grunts wear black, but they wore white symbolizing how outlandish they were from the rest of the organization. As of Best Wishes they wear black uniforms.
- Until during Ash's battle against Burgh, where they switch back to their white uniforms because they've been given time off of their mission.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Seriously, they can pull off very amazing plans, are creative with their (informed) low budget to get by, and each have talents that would make them thrive in money in a more legal manner. Even Ash and his companions are aware of this. This has actually been Lampshaded several times, with the group making money hand over fist with legit business, but the Rockets seem to view villainy as a calling, and refuse to go legit permanently on principle. Meowth especially is disdainful of honest work.
- Case in point, James has a variety of talents and skills that give him plenty of options, Jessie has displayed potential to be a top-tier coordinator, and Meowth being the only living Pokémon that can speak human language without telepathy or being a legendary would score each one of them vast wealth.
- Darker and Edgier: In the Unova saga. Although, once the Decolore Islands come around...
- Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster: They all love their jobs.
- Determinators: No matter how many times they've been blasted off, they will never give up on trying to capture Pikachu.
- Drama Queens: All three of them, seriously.
- Due to the Dead: Played with in the episode "Pokémon Shipwreck" when they're mistaken for dead and almost buried at sea.
- Even Evil Has Standards: They all have a soft spot for Chimchar after seeing how he was treated while under Paul's *cough* care. Another time, they wanted to pull off a scheme of the week, but stopped themselves, because they were touched by the farewell between Ash and Gliscor in the episode.
- Also demonstrated with them and the organization as a whole in Operation Tempest. They're horrified to hear their Brainwashed and Crazy boss declare he desires the destruction of Unova because Team Rocket has always stood for conquest, not destruction.
- Evil Gloating: Rarely to their benefit - see Smug Snakes below.
- Eviler than Thou: Consider themselves this to Hunter J and Team Galactic, though in truth it's the reverse.
- Face Nod Action: In the episode "A Poached Ego", Team Rocket (Jessie, James and Meowth) do this just before performing a heroic You Shall Not Pass.
- Faceship: Their iconic Meowth hot-air balloon.
- Five-Bad Band: The Advanced Generation and Diamond and Pearl incarnations:
- Flanderization: Throughout Kanto and most of Johto, they were bumbling and incompetent, but didn't really act overtly moronic and could pose some reasonable level of threat. From late Johto until the end of Sinnoh, they increasingly became hyperactively goofy and stupid in personality, and lost all sense of menace. Their individual quirks also got flanderized, such as Jessie's temper, James' sensitive side, and Meowth's boss fantasies (which seemed to get increasingly homoerotic).
- Come the Unova arc of Best Wishes, they're more serious than ever, including their Kanto personalities!
- In XY, part of the flanderization is gone, as they still manage to be a threat to the heroes and act serious when the time is right, but still retain general goofiness and comedy relief.
- Forgot Flanders Could Do That: Occasionally manage to remind both the cast and the audience that they can be a competent threat. Two notable episodes are the Johto episode "The Stolen Stones", and the Hoenn episode "Do I Hear a Ralts?". Both of which features the heroes fighting off TR throughout the bulk of the episode, instead of the usual five-minute Curb-Stomp Battle. The newest incarnation of the series has taken this concept and ran full steam with it.
- Freudian Excuse: Jessie grew up in poverty while Meowth spent much of his life as a stray. While James in contrast was part of a well-off family, his parents were cruel to him and wanted to force him to get married.
- Genre Savvy: Despite their blundering, they do seem the most self aware of the show and its standard plot points. Some of their more competent moments also often come from anticipating the "twerps" and their Pokémon's usual retaliations. Hell, they are aware a lot of their plans would have gone on without a hitch if it weren't for them getting involved.
- In fact, it comes in play in Best Wishes where they are fully aware what Ash is capable of to their plans and take active steps to assure he and his friends aren't a factor either by distraction (Meowth playing The Mole) or containing them long enough. They also knew that the twerps would come along and summon Landorous for them in the Milos Island mission.
- No matter what flaw it is that undoes their plan, the trio never forgets to apply a buffer to No Sell Electric-type attacks.
- Goldfish Poop Gang: Over the course of the series, Team Rocket have devolved into this. Best Wishes gave them a 180 flip, making them extremely competent and formidable. In the Decalore Islands arc and on, however, Team Rocket is back to always losing in the end, though they now put up a consistently good fight.
- Humongous Mecha: They sometimes utilize ridiculous mecha robots to aid their nefarious deeds, though they are always destroyed by the episode's end, sending the trio blasting off.
- In the Name of the Moon: Team Rocket's motto that they recite in every episode.
- Japanese Honorifics: In the 2nd Movie, Musashi and Kojiro use those for older siblings in reference to themselves - specifically when advising Satoshi to wait a few years before entering a relationship.
- Jet Pack: How they escaped "blasting off" in the Unova saga.
- Joker Immunity: Prior to Best Wishes, whenever Team Rocket "blasted off" they were generally in some sort of Giant Mecha that went off in a massive explosion. You'd think they'd be dead by now.
- Kick the Dog: In the episode where Ash's Chikorita evolved, Team Rocket had Arbok and Victreebel attack Ash directly, beating him up badly.
- Large Hams: All three of them.
- Laughably Evil: Pretty much their thing. It's been downplayed in Best Wishes where they are portrayed as more serious and dangerous threats, though isn't completely gone. (See their fishing competition scheme or their attempt to steal Luke's Zorua.) It's come back again in the Decalore arc.
- Light Is Not Good: Unlike most of the black outfitted members, they are the only ones ever dressed in white. Even Meowth's creamy-coloured fur references this trope.
- Made of Iron: They actually credit their encounters with the protagonists and being blasted off to making them this.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Until Best Wishes it was made clear that the three of them are much better at legitimate business than they are at any kind of criminality.
- Mission Control: They finally get one in Best Wishes with the introduction of Dr Zager.
- Mooks—> Elite Mooks: In Best Wishes.
- Multiple Choice Past: All three have surprisingly complicated—and sometimes conflicting—back stories and origins.
- Mythology Gag: A couple of phrases from their Unova motto.
Jessie: Bringing the blinding white light of evil into the future!
James: Thrusting the hammer of justice down onto the black darkness of the universe!
- Never Recycle Your Schemes: Averted in a general strategy sense, as they do enjoy repeatedly digging pitfall traps and using giant machines to try to capture Pikachu/the Pokemon of the week. However, played perfectly straight with specific plans. The vast majority of their plans would actually succeed if not for the "twerps" stopping them. It stands to reason that if they just waited for the "twerps" to move on and then tried again, they could just about steal every Pokemon in the series not named Pikachu.
- Nice, Mean and In-between: Depends On The Writer, but typically, James is nice, Jessie is mean, and Meowth can be either one.
- Not-So-Harmless Villains: Even before Best Wishes and after their Flanderization on several occasions the trio proved that despite seeming to be incompetent that they can indeed be a credible and very dangerous threat from time to time, nearly succeeding at stealing the Pokemon of the Week or Pikachu on several occasions and almost killing Ash at least twice. Sometimes Ash and friends tend to forget that they are indeed dangerous criminals on occasion.
- Official Couple: Jessie and James in the manga adaptation The Electric Tale of Pikachu. In the anime it's ambiguous to this date.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Team Rocket's "specialty". As long as they do as little as change their hair a little bit and put something (even a pair of thin glasses) over their faces, they will fool others for at least a little while. You would think that the cast (but especially Ash and co.) would actually realise that the suspiciously-friendly people with blue and red hair - as well as the talking Meowth, who often disguises himself as a person - that appear in seemingly every town - and on every road, as well - are not to be trusted...
- In an early Diamond and Pearl episode, they wore small green jackets over their Team Rocket uniforms. Unzipped. With the R showing. The twerps don't recognize them.
- This trope really got more prominent in later seasons (until Best Wishes). The first time they were disguised, the heroes recognized them right away. By DP, though...yeah.
- Parent Service: Jessie and James.
- Punch Clock Villains: If it weren't for their job they could quite easily go straight (especially James and Meowth). Less so in Best Wishes, but even then they aren't completely bad (technically, their crimes haven't much gotten worse than before, just more seriously handled).
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: In the episode "Fangs For Nothin'", Jessie and James do this while trying to persuade a Dragonite to help them.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Especially in Best Wishes, since they don't appear in every single episode anymore.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: Their outfits after being promoted in Best Wishes, which are the standard Team Rocket garbs.
- Redemption Promotion: Whenever they fight on the side of good, or even just play by the rules in tournaments, their competence level skyrockets. This applies more to James than Jessie, though.
- Rhymes on a Dime: In the TPCI English Dub.
- Say My Name: Intentionally averted. Unless they're undercover (and even then, they have a hard time resisting the urge), Jessie, James, and Meowth have almost never called Ash and Co. by their names. They have been, and always will be "The twerps".
- Shoo Out the Clowns: In Best Wishes, they left all of their old comical Pokémon at HQ, mainly because they're not Unova-native, including the literal clown Mime Jr.
- The Terrible Trio themselves have appeared less frequently as well; most likely because the target audience of the show requires that they can't be allowed to actually win (at least not long-term), and because it's easier to show their competence without repetition of their old schemes as a result. It works.
- Shoot the Dog: To Weezing and Arbok, who refused to leave them after being released to protect the Ekans and Koffing herd.
- Shout-Out Theme Naming: Minus Meowth, in both the original and English dubs. Then again, most Team Rocket duos seem to have a theme name.
- Smug Snakes: This is probably the main reason they always lose - they cannot seem to conceive that their plans might fail or their inventions be destroyed, not to mention they gloat too much. It's evident in the BW049/BW050 two-parter, where the best plan they'd built to date might have succeeded if Meowth hadn't arrogantly assumed Pikachu and Axew could do nothing while caged. Otherwise, Dr Zager would probably have picked up the train carriage with none of the Poké Ball-bound Pokémon any wiser until it was too late. And if Meowth had just taken care of the Pokémon when they escaped rather than gloating to Pikachu's face and disconnecting their car from the train, Zager wouldn't have needed to even involve himself the way he did (having to pick up a car with uncontained Pokémon on it) which wouldn't have given the heroes time to catch up with them!
- It's even more evident in the Kami Trio two-parter, in which they showed that they hadn't learned from their past defeat and failed to capture the legendary Pokémon because their getaway vehicle still wasn't secure enough. Thankfully, they seem to be learning better as they go on.
- Spider Tank: The Magikarp submarine became one in one episode, and it climbed a cliff.
- Status Quo Is God: Subverted in B/W. First, Team Rocket remained competent villains even when they went back to dressing in white and going after Pikachu and other Pokémon. Double subverted when Meowth was "fired from TR" and joined forces with Ash's group for a few episodes....only to reveal that he was still with Team Rocket and was merely tricking Ash and co. Played straight from the Decalore Islands arc and onward though.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: They're pulling these left and right as of Best Wishes.
- Stealth Pun: The new Team Rocket logo◊. This trio really did become Darker and Edgier!
- Team Rocket Wins: Being the Trope Namer, every now and then the trio prove capable of winning a match or pulling off some scheme (that at least has short term success). This is especially common when their plans have no malicious intent.
- Terrible Trio: Former Trope Namer.
- Three-Point Landing: They all manage to do this in "A Sandile Gusher of Change" when they fell into a random pitfall made by a Sandile.
- Took a Level in Badass: Good Lord, Best Wishes. To this day, they still have yet to "get blasted off again."
- It's worth noting they haven't actually changed that much — they're just more serious and a little more Genre Savvy than they were at their previous prime (Kanto), but it shows that being aware of the possibility of failure can indeed go a long way when it means you're prepared for something to go wrong.
- They seem to have finally lost that Level in Badass in the final arc of BW: "Decolora Adventures". They had faltered somewhat before that at the start of the "Episode N" arc, but they rebounded pretty quickly for the rest of it.
- As of the XY anime, they've met in the middle. They've more or less gone back to being comic relief (they're back to blasting off at least once an episode), but are quite competent in battles. In fact, the only reason they lost in the first episode was because of Froakie showing up and of nowhere and using an ability that wasn't actually a move, meaning Jessie's Wobbuffet couldn't use Mirror Coat.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Towards Wobbuffet. When Wobbuffet first "joined" the team, they weren't too fond of it, but gradually became more tolerant.
- True Companions: Have formed a strong bond with each other. And on the rare occasion that they aren't antagonistic, Ash can expect them to have his back (and he returns the favour).
- A Twinkle in the Sky: "Looks like TEAM ROCKET'S BLASTING OFF AGAAAAaaaaiiiiinnn! *Ding*
- Unknown Rival: To Hunter J and Team Galactic in the Sinnoh arc. Averted in the Hoenn arc, where they generally stayed out of Team Aqua and Magma's way rather than attempt to compete with them, and in the Unova arc, where their rivalry with Team Plasma is quite serious and evenly matched.
- Very Punchable Team: Often times, the best way to assert that the episode's One-Shot Character has improved in any way is to have them defeat Team Rocket.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: They get snappy at each other on a daily basis but are close.
- You Shall Not Pass: To the Pokémon poacher in "A Poached Ego".
- Younger than They Look: They're apparently fifteen if the second movie means anything, but look and act like they're in their twenties.
- In "The Ultimate Test", Jessie writes down her age as seventeen.
- The original Universe Bible by Takeshi Shudo listed their age as twenty-five at the start of the show. They might have gotten changed to being in their late teens when the show actually took off, but from the Advanced Generation seasons and onwards, they seem like they are twenty-five years old. So clearly, their official ages are inconsistent.
Prepare for trouble...
The de facto leader of the villainous threesome who are often out to capture Ash's Pikachu.
Voiced in Japanese by: Koichi Sakaguchi
Voiced in English by: Eric Stuart
(Ekans), Koichi Sakaguchi (Arbok)
- Characterization Marches On: Only in Island of the Giant Pokémon was its personality fleshed out (even by a little).
- Though a handful of later episodes (such as Lights, Camera, Quacktion) prove that these traits were never gone, just out of focus.
- Combat Pragmatist: Knows Bite.
- Death Glare: Knows Glare.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Knows Dig.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In the episode "A Chansey Operation." Arbok was treated by a Chansey from a crash that hurt several Pokémon. When Team Rocket later tried to steal the Pokémon, Arbok refused to obey the commands to attack the Chansey and people who treated its injuries.
- It Was a Gift: Apparently received by Jessie as a gift prior to the events of Pokémon.
- My Master, Right or Wrong
- Ocular Gushers: When it is forced to leave Jessie, James and Meowth behind.
- Poisonous Pokémon
- Punch Clock Villain: In Island of the Giant Pokémon, it refuses to attack Ash's lost Pokémon because its trainer didn't order it, and the episode has it and Koffing eating with the group, not holding any grudges against each other.
- Put on a Bus: Frees a group of captured Koffing and Ekans from a poacher, leading them to safety and are never seen again.
- Spike Shooter: Know Poison Sting, which fires a storm of poison-tipped needles.
- Undying Loyalty
Voiced in English by: Kayzie Rodgers
- Attack Reflector: Knows Counter and Mirror Coat.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Despite its looks and personality, its use of Counter and Mirror Coat have come in handy on more than one occasion.
- Evil Feels Good: Doesn't seem to mind that it was accidentally traded to a villainous team.
- Eyes Always Closed
- Face-Heel Turn: It used to be an ordinary Pokémon belonging to an ordinary trainer. But started participating in Team Rocket's evil schemes when accidentally traded to Jessie.
- Heartbroken Badass: It managed to successfully woo a wild Kirlia, and even stood up against his teammates to protect her, but in the end...poor guy has to be sent blasting off AGAIIIIINNNNN! without even saying goodbye.
- Non-Action Guy/Neutral Female: Rarely ever even uses Counter/Mirror Coat. He's been seeing more use in XY however.
- Plucky Comic Relief
- The Pollyanna: No matter how much punishment Wobbuffet endures thanks to being a part of Team Rocket, it remains almost perpetually cheerful.
- Psychic Powers: A Psychic type, though it naturally only has reactive moves at its disposal.
- Put on a Bus: As of Best Wishes, it's with the other old Team Rocket Pokémon at headquarters.
- Punch Clock Villain: Despite going along with Team Rocket's schemes, it didn't do anything malicious out of its own free will.
- Sixth Ranger: Due to joining the TR motto after joining the team. In true Sixth Ranger fashion, this grates on their nerves (or at least Meowth's) at first, before they find a form which suits them.
- He later shares this role with both Chimecho and Mime Jr.
- Stone Wall
- Took a Level in Badass: He's back in the XY anime, and is far more competent in a battle than before.
- Who's on First?: A minor Running Gag whenever Wobbuffet meets with his Baby form, Wynaut; you have to wait a while for them to even finish. Apparently a Shout-Out to an old comedy sketch, in Japanese, anyway. Even Meowth wouldn't bother understanding them.
- Yes-Man: Towards Jessie and Team Rocket in general, having seemingly no ambition or drive of its own. Except that one time it fell for a Kirlia.
Voiced in Japanese by: Chie Sato
- An Ice Pokémon: Knows Haze, replacing Koffing/Weezing's role as the one to cover Team Rocket's escape.
- Beware My Stinger Tail: Its Poison Tail attack.
- Butt Monkey: Being one of Jessie's favored battlers, Seviper ends up taking a LOT of punishment over the course of the series.
- Combat Pragmatist: Knows Bite.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: In its debut.
- Even Bad Mons Love Their Trainers: For all its faults, it is frequently shown that Seviper is fond of Jessie (who returns the feeling, of course).
- Jerkass: Compared to its predecessors Arbok and Weezing, it doesn't seem to have as many redeeming qualities, or at least they aren't shown as much. Offset by being as comical as most TR Pokémon.
- Oh Crap: Done very effectively in Seviper's debut. During its confrontation with Team Rocket, it was not afraid of anything, even after Jessie threw Wobbuffet and Meowth (literally in the latter's case) at it. And then it bit off Jessie's hair, and Seviper quickly realized that it had done something bad. Really bad.
- Poisonous Pokémon
- Put on a Bus: As of Best Wishes, it's with the other old Team Rocket Pokémon at headquarters.
- Serious Business: Like with others of its species, regarding its rivalry with Zangoose - in DP052, it repeatedly refused to back down, and even kept exiting its Poké Ball whenever Jessie tried to recall it.
- Your Size May Vary: Seviper's size/length is never consistent.
Voiced in English by:
Tara Jayne (Wurmple), Amy Birnbaum
(Cascoon), Amy Birnbaum
(Dusktox, 4Kids), Michele Knotz (Dusktox, current)
- Big Creepy-Crawlies
- Blow You Away: Knows Whirlwind.
- Evil Counterpart: To May's Beautifly, though granted she's not really that bad...
- Their personalities are completely flipped when they were still just Wurmple, too.
- Flight: Dustox
- Hair Decorations: Yes, despite being a poisonous moth, she pulls this off - in her departure episode, she has ribbons similar to those "Jessalina" wears in Contests in her wings.
- Poisonous Pokémon: Dustox's secondary type.
- Psychic Powers: Knows Psybeam.
- Put on a Bus: Butterfree-style - she finds a mate (of different-than-usual color), wears an article of clothing, and then has a tearful goodbye with her trainer.
- Shoo the Dog: Dustox doesn't want to leave Jessie's side, but Jessie, in a I Want My Beloved to Be Happy mood, destroys Dustox's Pokéball to convince her otherwise.
- Undying Loyalty: To the point that Jessie had to actually smash her Poké Ball in order to get her to finally leave so she could be with her mate. Apparently, this freed her from Jessie's control.
Voiced by: Kiyotaka Furushima
Voiced in Japanese by: Kiyotaka Furushima
Voiced in English by: Michele Knotz
Voiced in Japanese by: Chiaki Takahashi
Voiced in English by: Kayzie Rogers
Voiced in Japanese by:
- Green Thumb: Secondary type.
- Broken Streak: Jessie's first grass-type, after James had received one in every previous series (Victreebel, Cacnea, Carnivine, Amoonguss)
- Life Drain: Knows Leech Seed.
- Soul Power: Primary type.
...And make it double!
Jessie's somewhat dim-witted foil. He'll often take the role of Only Sane Man
to counter his colleague's more bizarre ideas.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: "Excuse me? Ditching a diamond for a dumb disguise makes you dumber than it!"
- Amusing Injuries: James' Grass Pokémon will, at least Once per Episode, show him affection, which usually involves hurting him in some way, but always Played for Laughs.
- Badass Boast: When he and Jessie first met.
Jessie: Listen up, James. I hope you're good because I'm not going to carry you.
James: No one's carried me since my momma.
- Badass Normal: Watch him in Best Wishes - he doesn't even capture any Pokémon until BW025!
- Camp Straight: Exhibit A...
Meowth: That outfit...where'd he get it?
- Collector of the Strange: Bottle caps. It's Serious Business to him.
- James has also been seen collecting old coins, pogs, and soda can tabs; though bottle caps are his primary focus for collecting.
- Crossdresser: "Like, don't I make the coooolest girl?" Indeed. And he took this to the extreme in the first banned episode (trying to make a few bucks off of a swimsuit contest).
- Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: He shows an aversion to this several times, like in the Pokémon Orienteering episode, where Jessie and Meowth give him an option of Dungeon Bypass, and he outright refuses to take it (although it was also because the route they spotted for him was going to be rough for Mime Jr.) as well as in Cosplay competition, where he and Mime Jr. both go into a Heroic BSOD after Jessie and Meowth decide to just steal the prize (the egg that will soon become Brock's Happiny).
- Disproportionate Retribution: In "Flint Sparks the Fire", a trash collecting droid picks up James' prized bottle cap as trash. It resulted in him being a little too enthusiastic in Team Rocket's scheme in the next episode: stealing the Sunyshore Tower. Then again, this is James and bottle caps we're talking about...
- Evil Genius: Zigzags. If someone needs to work a computer or machine, James will be the guy. Otherwise, he's hardly ever evil genius material.
- Extreme Doormat: Often recessive (if not outright terrified) of Jessie. He can snap back on occasions however (see below).
- Green Eyes
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Makes you wonder if he missed his calling as a member of the SRX Team or either both Celestial Being and Mithril.
- Hidden Depths: He has a very good relationship with his Pokémon, and talented in several other fields that could make him a talented breeder. In fact, he captures almost all of his Pokémon with just a few words and some food. On a rare occasion, he only had to do the former.
- Hollywood Hacking: In BW15.
- Hyper Competent Sidekick: While both he and Jessie are usually depicted as incompetent, the show has implied several times that James is the superior battler of the two.
- Image Song: "Lucky Lucky"
- Irony: James ran away from home to escape his uncaring parents and domineering betrothed... only to join an organization with an uncaring boss and a domineering partner.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even though he has no moral issues with always trying to steal Pokémon as a member of Team Rocket, James really is a nice guy at heart. His close friendship with Jessie and Meowth is the only reason why he doesn't ever leave Team Rocket and a do a complete Heel-Face Turn. There were a few episodes where he goes against Jessie to help the kids because he felt moved to aid them.
- Kick the Dog: Him literally kicking Magikarp into the sea when he doesn't want to be its' master anymore comes to mind.
- Also, he's the one who operates the machine that saps Caracosta's life force at Twist Mountain in Best Wishes.
- Licked by the Dog: When he first met Cacnea.
- Literal-Minded: In an episode of season 1, he and Jessie take the phrase "underwater ballet" literally (it was actually a costumed synchronized swimming show that was going on), and he wears a pink camisole leotard and tutu.
- Lonely Rich Kid: A rich boy who hated his restricted lifestyle, which is why he ran away from home and eventually joined Team Rocket.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Feminine Boy to Jessie's Masculine Girl.
- Minion with an F in Evil: The Team Rocket trio as a whole is a less evil than they try to be, but James crosses the line into outright nice on a frequent basis. He often calls a truce with the main cast if Chimecho or Mime Jr. are at stake, and occasionally tells off (and once attacked) his other teammates for breaking it.
- Of course, come Best Wishes, he's a lot more dangerous.
- Mr. Exposition: If a Pokédex isn't around, he often provides information on new Pokémon using cards.
- Nice Guy: Outside of Team Rocket, he is a rather pleasant guy to be around with.
- The Other Darrin: Ted Lewis was James' dub voice for the first 8 episodes before Eric Stuart took the role.
- Only Sane Man: He's more level-headed than either of his colleagues - at times, even he would find Meowth's Boss Fantasies a little too farfetched (while Jessie usually went along with them). He's also the least likely to grip the Villain Ball, knowing that sometimes they can make progress without taking amoral measures.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Pre-Best Wishes, James was the laid back member of Team Rocket, being a borderline Minion with an F in Evil...except for that one time when he tried to kill Ash with Moltres' Flames.
- Overused Running Gag: Victreebel, Cacnea, Chimecho and Carnivine affectionately biting/hugging him.
- Overprotective Dad: Has shades of this, with Chimecho and later Mime Jr.
- Pet the Dog: Several times, but literally in "Holy Matrimony". Poor Growlie.
- It's worth noting that Weepinbell is the only Pokémon he ever caught by battling - most notably, Cacnea and Yamask (who he fed), and Carnivine (who he pulled free from a marsh) show that he's the most likely of the trio to show compassion without any desire for something in return (though Jessie and Meowth sometimes do so as well).
- There is also the few occasions where he chooses to aid the very kids he is trying to steal their Pokémon from, without any ulterior motive.
- The Power of Friendship: Not unlike Ash, most of the "captures" James made throughout the series are of Pokémon that willingly wanted to be part of his team, and there was no need for battling . Cacnea, Chimecho, Mime Jr., Carnivine, and Yamask.
- Precious Puppies: Growlie.
- Precision F-Strike: In the second episode of DP, Dawn doesn't recognize Team Rocket. What he says next in the English dub must've certainly charmed the socks off any Brit who happened to be watching:
James: That's why she doesn't know a bloody thing about us, there's no Sinnoh Team Rocket branch!
- Princely Young Man: The Prince Charming type.
- Pungeon Master: His image song has a ton of Pokémon puns.
- Rebel Relaxation: When he first meets Jessie during Team Rocket training, he is posed this way.
- Runaway Fiancé: Whose bethrothed looks suspiciously like Jessie, for some reason.
- Ironically, it's much later revealed that James really did fall in love with Jessiebelle, up to the point that he was actually planning to ask her hand in marriage. Her dominating and pretentious personality (that, and she wanted James to get rid of Growlie in favor of a Skitty) was the reason that he changed his mind.
- Running Gag: James never battles any of the Pokémon he catches, and almost all of his on-screen captures have involved feeding them in some way.
- Smoke Out: He repeats Weezing's feat by means of an ordinary smoke bomb.
- Submissive Badass: The few times they've battled has shown James to be the better battler of the duo. He's a lot more passive when it comes to villainy however.
- Suck My Rose: In TR's introductory episode and a couple times after, but it became rarer over time. It has made a return in recent series, though.
- Talking to Himself: See Brock; while in the TPCI dub, Jimmy Zoppi — voice of Gary Oak — took over for him and Meowth.
- Taught by Experience: One-episode deal in "Fighting Ire with Fire", where James's plan-of-the-week is actually ingenious: trap the twerps first before capturing their Pokémon. They would have actually even won if it weren't for Monferno going Unstoppable Rage.
- Token Good Teammate: The least evil of the main trio.
- Upper-Class Twit: Before he ran away from the family mansion. Now he's just a twit.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Lampshaded on occasion.
- Younger than They Look
Voiced in English by:
Michael Haigney (Koffing), Eric Stuart
Rikako Aikawa (Weepinbell, Victreebel episodes 95-261), Yuji Ueda
(Victreebel, episode 86-94)
- Green Thumb: Primary type.
- Man-Eating Plant: It's rather ambiguous whether it loves James so much that it's trying to eat him or...simply trying to eat him.
- Poisonous Pokémon: Secondary type.
- Put on a Bus: James trades it away to the Magikarp Salesman in exchange for another Weepinbel. Unfortunately, Jessie gets sick of the new Weepinbel, which evolves into a Victreebel and starts biting her, and ditches it. At the same time, the Magikarp Salesman gets sick of James' original Victreebel and also abandons it. The two Victreebel meet, fall in love, and live Happily Ever After. Seriously.
- Remember the New Guy: James captured it during the series, not prior (as indicated by his use of Weezing in the flashback showing said capture).
- Screaming Warrior: Its distinctive cry sounds like shrill shouting.
Voiced in English by: Lindsey Warner (4Kids), Michele Knotz (current)
- Dishing Out Dirt: Knows Sandstorm.
- The Glomp: And since Cacnea is a cactus, it is really very painful.
- Green Thumb
- Power Fist: Knows Needle Arm, and later learns Drain Punch with Gardenia's training.
- Put on a Bus: Left to train with Gardenia after she promises to bring out Cacnea's full potential and teach it Drain Punch.
- Smoke Out: A variation, Cacnea can use Sandstorm as a cover to aid escape.
- Spike Shooter: Knows Pin Missile.
- Tastes Like Friendship: James wins Cacnea over when he feeds it some cookies.
- Took a Level in Badass: According to Barry, Cacnea had mastered Drain Punch by the time he fought Gardenia and proved a tough opponent. James was understandably delighted by this news.
Voiced in Japanese by: Natsuki Yoshihara
Voiced in English by: Bella Hudson (4Kids), Michele Knotz (current)
- The Glomp: It likes to wrap its sash around James' head, often times blinding him!
- The Medic: It knows Heal Bell, and because Team Rocket has tendency to be on the wrong end of Pokémon attacks, this makes Chimecho quite useful.
- Non-Action Guy: It has participated in battle a small handful of times, but never consistently or for very long. Chimecho's main role is as a cheerleader, like Wobbuffet.
- Psychic Powers: Primary type, though Chimecho doesn't display much of it aside from levitating.
- Put on a Bus: After Chimecho came down with a terrible fever that prevented it from following Team Rocket any further, James left it with the caretakers of his old vacation home. James promised to return for Chimecho once it got better, but as of Diamond & Pearl, he has not had the opportunity.
- Sixth Ranger: Became Team Rocket's second cheerleading Pokémon alongside Wobbuffet.
- Soul Power: Knows Astonish.
Mime Jr. (Manene)
Voiced in Japanese by: Ikue Otani
(first and current), Tomoe Hanba (second)
Voiced in English by: Kayzie Rodgers (first and current), Michele Knotz (second)
Voiced in English by: Tom Wayland
The third Team Rocket member. Team Rocket's Meowth, in a rarity for his species (and Pokémon in general), is fully capable of normal human speech. He is rather useless in battle due to spending most of his efforts on speaking and walking like a human. Meowth is oddly philosophical, which doubtlessly helps him tolerate the endless beatings his group receives. He longs for the favor of Giovanni, which has led to strange daydreams
about the Boss Rocket in recent seasons.
You're just the players in my master plan!
Voiced in English by:
Craig Blair (2nd voice), Ted Lewis
(1st voice, 4Kids; current voice)
The boss of Team Rocket.
- Actor Existence Failure: His original voice actor passed away towards the end of Advanced Generation, necessitating a re-casting.
- Adaptational Villainy: Giovanni from the the original games already was a villain, but eventually ends up making a Heel-Face Turn, dissolving the Team Rocket and dedicating his life to study Pokémon. This never happens in the anime, and he is portrayed as much more violent and sociopathic in his methods whenever he appears.
- Badass: He was a Gym Leader at one point and is smoothly running his criminal enterprise without any issue. Then there was the battle with Ash where he demolished him without breaking a sweat, proving his credentials as a battler.
- Bad Boss: Right before he was Demoted to Extra (until he became a primary antagonistic force and reminded the fans that yes, you do not mess with this man), Giovanni made the cold decision to make Jessie and James head of the blimp squad, blimps that were so old they fell apart from just one flight, which he had been intending so that the trio could die and he could collect the insurance policy on their blimp. Yes, he was going to kill them off.
- Big Bad: Of the Kanto arc, back when Jessie, James and Meowth actually worked for him. Afterwards he was Demoted to Extra and just sent them along on fool's errands.
- He returned to the role during Team Rocket's Best Wishes arcs, taking up the role more directly in early Season 14 and the end of Season 15.
- Bigger Bad: During the Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh arcs, when he grew so tired of the Trio's incompetence that he pretty much allowed them to do their own thing, although they remained loyal to him.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: At the climax of Operation Tempest.
- The Comically Serious: Which makes Meowth's daydreams about him all the weirder.
- Especially the infamous one where a bunch of Pokémon...hump him.
- Or the chibi Gene Kelly dance.
- The Bagon and the coconut. Good Arceus Almighty, the Bagon and the coconut!.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: He owned Pokemon Land, an attraction park featuring giant robot Pokemon, implying that he is some sort of businessman.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: He's shown giving one to Gary by using Mewtwo. And, when he and Ash finally squared off in Best Wishes, his Persian effortlessly destroys Pikachu.
- Demoted to Extra: At least until Best Wishes.
- Deus Exit Machina: He goes off on some Team Rocket business just in time for Ash's eighth Kanto gym battle.
- Diabolical Mastermind
- Do Not Taunt Mewtwo: In one of his rare less-than-intelligent moments, he decided insult Mewtwo right in his face and paid the price by losing his HQ.
- Elemental Powers
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: In the 'Birth of Mewtwo' CD drama.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: The overwhelming power of the Reveal Glass takes control of him, temporarily driving him into insanity.
- Much earlier than that, he was using Mewtwo to curb-stomp challengers at his gym and do random tasks before he got his base destroyed from saying too much.
- The Faceless: Until Gary fights him.
- Faux Affably Evil: He's cultured, civilized, and intelligent...and one of the most repulsive people in the series. His attitude towards his enemies is one of condescension at best and derision at worst.
- Freudian Excuse: He describes his mother in rather...caressing tones in the CD drama, but his mother seems cold towards him and refers to him only as her 'brat boy'. This probably caused him to become eviler than her, as part of a means to prove himself. He may have something of an Inferiority Superiority Complex in this case..
- Graceful Loser: The resolution to Operation Tempest shows he knows when to cut his losses.
- Infinity+1 Sword: In the first movie, it's explained how he aquired Mewtwo...and later on, how it destroyed the Team Rocket HQ.
- Knight of Cerebus
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: He and all his Team Rocket agents (save the TRio) had their memories of Mewtwo wiped by the Mon in question towards the end of Mewtwo Returns.
- Laughing Mad: In the climax for Operation Tempest◊.
- Made of Iron: Please remember, Giovanni survived Mewtwo destroying his headquarters with nothing more than a few scrapes and a bad attitude. Being Made of Iron must be a prerequisite for joining Team Rocket.
- Manipulative Bastard: Of Mewtwo initially claiming that the two were partners to get him to work for Giovanni. That was until Gio got cocky enough to tell Mewtwo to its face that he lied and considered the Pokémon his most powerful puppet. Mewtwo blew up one of his headquarters in response and escaped (while Gio was showhow unharmed from it all).
- Man of Wealth and Taste
- Milking the Giant Cow: Shown here.◊
- Mr. Exposition: Had a Basil Exposition role towards Jessie, James, and Meowth early into Best Wishes.
- The Other Darrin: His voice actor had to be replaced when Hirotaka Suzuoki died. Zig-Zagged in the dub where after the entire show was recast, he was played by Craig Blair in two episodes of season 10. Then Ted Lewis, his original voice actor, returned to the role and has been doing it ever since.
- Right-Hand Cat: Persian. In the anime-inspired Yellow version, he uses it to battle!
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: He can post bail for anyone (other than him) in the team who got sent to jail.
- The Sociopath: Shows himself to be this from time to time, especially in Mewtwo Returns.
- The Unfought: To Ash, but only in the anime. Not true to the player character in the videogames.
- Ash came face-to-face with Giovanni in Mewtwo Returns, however there was no battle (though Misty, Brock and Mewtwo's clone friends confronted him off-screen).
- A proper battle finally occurred in BW096, their first confrontation since said movie - and he pulverised Ash!
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show
- Would Hurt a Child: Unsurprisingly, he was willing to crush Ash to death to convince Meloetta to further his plans in Operation Tempest.
Cassidy and Butch (Yamato and Kosaburo)
Two recurring agents of Team Rocket, Cassidy and Butch are far more competent than Jessie, James and Meowth and wear the tradition Team Rocket black uniform rather than the trio's white outfits. They started to suffer from Villain Decay
in Pokémon Chronicles
One of Team Rocket's scientists, and perhaps the one who most embodies the "mad" in Mad Scientist
, Dr. Namba seems to be Cassidy and Butch's superior officer.
Voiced in Japanese by: Jin Yamanoi
A high-ranked Team Rocket operative, he is first revealed as the TRio's contact in Unova, assigned to assist them in the Meteonite mission.
Dr. Zager (Dr. Seger)
Voiced in Japanese by: Masayuki Omoro
An esteemed, elderly Team Rocket scientist introduced to the TRio by Pierce. He was first brought into Unova to aid in the mission to locate the Meteonite, and has since become Jessie, James, and Meowth's commanding officer while Giovanni is absent.
- Badass Grandpa: Established himself as one when he flew a helicopter in to yank a train off its tracks.
- Badass Mustache
- The Comically Serious: During the climax of the Battle Subway mission, where he keeps on snarling back at Jessie and James continuing to bug him over what to do.
- Dragon-in-Chief: During Seasons 14-15, he functions as the primary antagonist of Best Wishes in Giovanni's absence.
- Evil Genius
- Evil Old Folks
- Grumpy Old Man
- Kick the Dog: His entire plan at Twist Mountain — reviving a Pokémon, then draining most of its life force in order to keep a hidden time portal stable and open enough for Team Rocket to go through. Carracosta is nearly dead once he has Team Rocket do this for him.
- Large Ham: In his Not So Stoic moments.
- Mad Scientist: Though far more composed than most.
- Milking the Giant Cow: OBSERVE◊!
- Mission Control: To Jessie, James, and Meowth, though he's not above getting in on the action himself.
- Noble Demon: Shows signs of it in Operation Tempest, where he, like the trio, is visibly unnerved at Brainwashed and Crazy Giovanni's claims of wanting to destroy all of Unova.
- Pet the Dog: Warning the Terrible Trio of the danger in a mansion he reputed to be haunted and dangerous is either this or Pragmatic Villainy (since he doesn't want to lose his three agents).
- Similarly, him sending the trio the Basculin-shaped submarine on the final ED credits for the series. He likely didn't have to do this since Team Rocket as a whole was done with Unova, yet he's still keeping in touch with his agents and providing for them. And since friendship is the theme of that ED credits...
- Put on a Bus: He returned to Kanto at the end of Season 15, and hasn't been seen since. He does have a cameo appearance in the final ED credits for the Japanese version of Best Wishes, though, sending the TRio the blueprints for their Basculin submarine.
- The Stoic: Unless he's angry, or excited due to scientific discovery.
Voiced in English by: Emily Jenness
Giovanni's secretary and assistant, first introduced in the final episode of the Diamond and Pearl
series. She is the one to contact Jessie, James and Meowth via Delibird to inform them of their promotion.
- Flat Character
- Ms. Exposition
- No Name Given: She is only referred to as "Sakaki's secretary" in Japanese credit rolls and official artwork. Her name, Matori, was only spoken once - by Meowth in some versions of Best Wishes! episode 23. In the English dubbed version, however, the line where her name was spoken was edited, and according to casting director Tom Wayland, she has no official name in English.
- Satellite Character: To Giovanni.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: In her appearance in episode 95 of Best Wishes!.
- The Stoic