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Team Rocket Trio

    The Trio in General 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/smteamrocket.png
Did someone ask something? We're here to find out!
Noble answers are what we're all about!

The beauty so radiant, the flowers and moon hide in shame.
A single flower of evil in this fleeting world:
Jessie!

The nobly heroic man of our times!
The master of darkness fighting back against a tragic world!
It's James.

It's all for one and one for all!
A glittering dark star that always shines bright !
Dig it, while Meowth takes flight!

Team Rocket, let's fight!
That's right!
WOOOOOBUFFET!

The main antagonists of the series, Jessie, James, and Meowth (and Wobbuffet!), are members of the villainous gang Team Rocket who are always on the tail of Ash and his friends. Deeming Ash's Pikachu to be extraordinarily powerful after it foiled one of their heists, they promptly decided it'd be the perfect Pokémon to steal and gift to their boss, Giovanni, and they've been following the two in hopeless pursuit ever since. Their singleminded pursuit of one particular individual Pokémon has been to their detriment, causing them to frequently be strapped for cash and struggling to support themselves through other various means, all the while still clinging to their futile goal. Their track record eventually got so poor that it led Giovanni to forget that they were members of the crime organization to begin with!

At the end of Diamond and Pearl, however, he took notice of them again, and gave them a special mission in the Unova region. As a result, the trio became far more competent, getting involved in bigger and more elaborate schemes masterminded by some high-ranking Team Rocket member. It didn't last, and they soon went back to their comical personalities of old. Old habits die hard, but you'd be an idiot to underestimate them.

To date, they are the most prominent characters in the anime franchise next to Ash and Pikachu, continuing to follow the pair even as other travelling companions go their separate ways. Amazingly, they even have persisted into standalone Pokémon films featuring Ash and Pikachu but otherwise exist in separate continuities from the TV series, proving their tenacity apparently spans alternate universes.

The Team Rocket trio exhibits the following tropes:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: By the end of their Sinnoh run, they have become such washouts within the organisation that Giovanni has completely forgotten who they are, meaning he starts believing their exaggerated claims of success and promoting them to bigger roles. The one improvement in position they've made in their employment as a whole is by failing for long enough.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: In the TPCI dub, in addition to rhyming all the time, Team Rocket often pepper their lines with lots and lots of alliteration - usually both at once. This was notably present in TPCI's DP and XY dubbed seasons.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: A lot of Team Rocket's Pokémon have cute or at least endearing designs, and when given the chance can be just as playful and affectionate as the heroic Pokémon. At times, even Jessie and James themselves could apply as such.
  • Affably Evil: They aren't 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.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: All three of them had a miserable life of being mistreated or rejected by those around them, even Wobbuffet only ended up on their team because his trainer was desperate to trade him off. This was continued within the Team Rocket organisation, where their penchant for screw ups and making the entire unit look like bungling crooks led to them being hated or bullied by other high ranking clients. This has been downplayed in later seasons, where they have since managed to get comfier positions within Team Rocket, though obviously they are still often laughing stocks in general.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Only a handful of the trio's Pokémon have confirmed genders. note  The rest are ambiguous bar subtle implications.
  • Ambiguously Bi: The all three of them had fallen in love with person of another gender but they all have some moments of not-heterosexual relationships. For example, they're didn't mind being Wholesome Crossdressers and sometimes have some kind of attraction to the same gender.
  • Antagonist Abilities: The Rocket Prize Master they use throughout Journeys allows them to wield powerful Pokémon without having to go through the effort and training Ash and his companions do.
  • Anti-Hero: On occasion, even in Black & White during the "Episode N" arc.
  • Anti-Villain: Except in the Black & White series (and even that's debatable at times), it's often rather hard to consider them real villains.
  • Arch-Enemy: Subverted with Ash. While the trio likes to believe themselves to be this having followed him for 25 years out of universe to steal his best friend and partner, Ash merely considers them an annoyance at best, especially when villains more dangerous appear.
  • 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 Black & White. 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.
    • Sun & Moon completely overhauled the anime's art direction, moving it away from attempting to closely mimic the game art in favor of designs that are more conducive to a looser animation style. Jessie and James' designs were tweaked in the process: Their features actually have subtle, but noticeable differences, when previously their facial structure was virtually identical apart from Jessie having more prominent eyelashes. James has a slightly taller nose (which is more noticeable on profile view) and Jessie has slightly narrower and more strongly angled eyes. James's hair also has softer, uneven edges when before the cut was sharper.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Their usual pose when reciting their motto.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: In "Wobbu-palooza", when some hooligans gate crash a festival, the heroes are obligated not to fight them due to the town's Actual Pacifist laws. Team Rocket on the other hand, have no such qualms and send them packing.
  • 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!
  • Beauty Is Bad: The late series creator Takeshi Shudo once wrote on his blog about how pretty-looking antagonists often appear in his productions. In contrast to the grotesque Terrible Trio from Time Bokan, Shudo intentionally made the Rocket character designs beautiful and their personalities charming, calling Musashi and Kojiro in particular a "sort of Bonnie and Clyde". However, they're fairly sympathetic and occasionally even outright nice individuals, and not really rotten at the core, so this is a Zig-Zagged Trope.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The trio frequently show charity or a refusal to cheat or attack the rare few individuals that show pity and kindness towards them (granted, due to varying in acquaintances, they aren't always united in this, leading to conflicts). Perhaps one of the most notable from all three was to a Blissey nurse who gave them its Pokémon Center's berries. Realising it took the blame for their disappearance, they staged having mugged it for the berries to clear its name.
  • Becoming the Mask: During the Team Flare storyline, even after Malva ditched them and later their covers literally being blown, Team Rocket continued to broadcast the entire crisis from beginning to end as real reporters would, keeping the rest of Kalos up to date on the situation at hand.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Despite typically being all for Team Rocket and loving being bad guys above all else, they have on occasion voiced dissatisfaction with being bad guys - especially when in their most unlucky days. It's especially noticeable in The Power Of One, where wanting to be good for a change is part of their motivation.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Malva recruited them into her TV crew while she was doing her coverage of the Kalos League. It was shown several times that Malva was running them all ragged, leaving the trio exhausted and with no time to pull off any scheme.
  • Benevolent Boss: Despite trying to make a business of stealing and using Pokémon, Jessie and James genuinely care about their own and rarely berate or mistreat them for their inevitable failures against the twerps. In some cases they even release them if they find a more meaningful purpose in life.
  • Berserk Button: Never try to kidnap Pikachu - that is their job and they 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.
    • Stealing their Pokémon makes them act as very effective members of the side of good, as Butch and Cassidy were the first to learn the hard way. That goes for Meowth as well.
    • Don't use their rhyming introduction to mock them, it'll annoy them more than anything.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Team Rocket are for the large part incompetent clowns, though a lot of times pull off successful heists or attacks that are only thwarted due to Ash and his friends being around. Sometimes even they are failing against the trio until a powerful Pokémon or random twist of luck intervenes. This is especially evident since XY, where the trio are as comical as ever, but retain some shades of their dangerous and cold blooded qualities from Best Wishes.
  • Big Eater: Whenever they find a stash of food and their stomachs are running on fumes.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Indigo League often has Jessie and James divulging their evil plans instead of just executing them. Meowth harangues the pair in response and pretends he's above such indiscretion, a thorough falsehood Played for Laughs.
  • 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.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase:
    • Their various mottos have been mocked and imitated a lot. Even without the full motto, the 4Kids dub got a lot of use out of the lines "Prepare for trouble!"/"Make it double!" for various antagonistic characters that weren't them. Non-verbally, some even take to "blasting off" post-defeat.
    • On their side, in response to their first real level grind, they mimicked Ash's victory pose after they collect a Z-Power Ring and Mimikium Z in the Alola series.
  • Boss's Unfavorite Employee: In the early seasons, they are such to Giovanni of the Team Rocket criminal organisation. Both he and a large amount of other members of the organisation grew to loathe the trio's constant failures making them a laughing stock, with Giovanni only keeping them to trek other regions because poor exposure is better than no exposure. Amusingly by the end of their run in Sinnoh, they'd become such washouts that Giovanni had forgotten all about them, allowing them to gain more favourable terms with him since then by exaggerating their accomplishments and roles in taking down rival criminal syndicates.
  • Brains Evil, Brawn Good: Against a very advanced trainer such as Ash and his quite experienced and powerful Pikachu, Team Rocket often prefer schemes and gadgetry to try against them than physical combat, which they almost always lose at.
  • 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. In every one so far they have acknowledged that they're in a movie, among other examples.
    Jessie: First we turn over a new leaf, and now this!
    James: Do you think we'll ever learn?
    Meowth: I'll let you know next season!
    Wobbuffet: WOOOOOBBUFFET!
  • Breakout Character: To the franchise as a whole. The Team Rocket trio of Jessie, James, and Meowth were created specifically for the Pokémon anime (as opposed to being based on existing characters from the games), but they've proven to be incredibly popular and iconic. It's allowed them to be the longest serving anime characters next to Ash and Pikachu, and they've become the only anime-original characters to make appearances in several Pokémon videogames, as well as alternate animated movie universes.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Jessie and James have the "R" symbol of Team Rocket on their shirts. They also usually put it on their mechas, and it almost always appears at the end of their motto. Even James' speedo and Jessie's bikini featured the red letter R once.
  • Bullying a Dragon: They have a terrible history of angering or picking fights with people blatantly above their league. In Hoenn in particular, a lot of their comeuppances were a result of pressing someone's Berserk Button rather than forcing them into self defence.
  • But Now I Must Go: Jessie and James actually released Mimikyu and Mareanie when they left Alola, instead of likely having to give them up at Team Rocket HQ just like the previous four generations.
  • 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.
  • Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them: While most of the time the three of them are able to get along just fine, their relationship commonly devolves into bickering due to differing ideas, which has on several occasions escalated to the point they angrily split up from each other. Inevitably though, they always realize they can't bear to live without each other.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • Jessie, James, and Meowth show up in Pokémon Yellow and its remakes Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! (though with Meowth as just another Pokémon they use, along with Ekans and Koffing). And they're just as pathetic as always.
    • They're also added into Pokémon Masters, carrying many of the traits the game versions of themselves didn't already have like allowing Meowth to talk. In fact, in Masters (which is otherwise set in the main video games' continuity), it's implied that they are the anime's TRio, having been brought to Pasio by Hoopa.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: They're well aware that they're the villains and that they're doing evil. They even acknowledge it in their motto.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Their intro speech ("Prepare for trouble! Make it double!...") and "Team Rocket's blasting off again!" - this is also the case for the Japanese phrase counterparts which are different, but used in the same ways.
    • In addition, referring to Ash as "the twerp", and his party collectively as "the twerps". In Japanese, the trio refer to Ash as "jari-boy", which translates in English as "brat boy". His crew typically gets the prefix "jari-" as well, essentially referring to them all as "brats".
    • In the Sun & Moon series, they do not "blast off again" as often due to Bewear constantly taking them away. Whenever this happens, they utter the phrase "We're off with a new blast!"
  • Catchphrase Spouting Duo: Trio, In the Japanese version, they tend to describe defeat as "bad feeling" and success as "good feeling".
  • Character Check: During the trio's phase as more dangerous, serious-minded villains in the Best Wishes arc, they still had occasional Not So Above It All moments as a reminder this was the bumbling Team Rocket trio. XY afterwards reverses it around. They're back to being buffoonish, but still have several moments of being genuinely sinister and cold-blooded.
  • Character Development:
    • While they go in and out with their default personalities due to Flanderization, generally extra talents and Hidden Depths keep being established and permanently added to their list of abilities as eras pass. For example, since Hoenn, James has shown potential as a Pokémon breeder, and from Sinnoh, Jessie has stayed a competent coordinator, while Meowth has gained a hidden culinary passion. Their poverty-stricken status has also been downplayed as the series continued, as the trio have since proven that they can take almost any part-time job and excel in it (with allowances for a few occasional missteps), alleviating their previous money woes.
    • In the Hoenn episode, "A Scare To Remember", they had few qualms taking advantage of an amnesiac Pikachu and convincing him he was a part of Team Rocket. By Alola, they refuse full stop to help Faba wipe Lillie's mind, noting that a trainer and Pokémon's memories are vital to creating their personality.
  • Characterization Marches On: They've been all over the place in this regard, somewhat inevitably considering how many writers must have worked on the series after 20+ years. They are particularly quite different compared to their initial debut, where their mannerisms were more subdued and mysteriously sinister, rather than loudly theatrical as they are now. Their characterization nowadays also bears noticeable tweaks and embellishments from over the years, and their personality traits can also vary across the spectrum episode to episode Depending on the Writer.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Usually, when Team Rocket tries to cheat at something like a Pokémon contest, they inevitably lose. On the other hand, when they play by the rules, they typically do better than when they tried to cheat. This is very much the case with Jessie and contests, where her performances became a lot more successful, and she actually started winning, when any sort of trickery, cheating, or otherwise was dropped like a hot potato.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Often, little talents or skills the trio or their Pokémon develop in a failed scheme end up coming in handy in their off-the-clock pursuits. This is particularly prone to happening in Jessie's coordinator events.
  • The Chessmaster: A surprisingly decent one for Goodra's character arc in XY. After their long-term drainage of Goodra's homeland causes an all-out war between its Pokémon, they decide to exploit the situation when Ash gets involved, using the heroes' intervention to frame them for the dilemma and dupe the enemy Florges into capturing Pikachu. Unfortunately Goodra, who had developed and evolved since that time, proved to be a Spanner in the Works.
  • The Chew Toy: Perennially broke, extremely unlucky and accident-prone, and if something is going to unexpectedly explode or backfire, it's going to happen around them. In situations where Ash can't stop them, fate itself will usually bend over backwards to make sure they get theirs somehow.
    • Lessened somewhat in regards to Jessie's skill as a Coordinator from DP onwards, and taken even further in "Best Wishes" where they briefly experience success in more secretive Rocket operations.
    • Generally speaking, these days their luck has mostly turned around in anything they do that isn't related to doing something illegal. But the moment they try to commit a crime they're absolutely hopeless.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: Jessie (red), James (blue) and Meowth (yellow) in order of introduction.
  • The Comically Serious: Some moments in Unova had them as this.
  • Commuting on a Bus: In Best Wishes, they get 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 return to being regulars in the Decalore Islands arc onward, complete with blasting off again. Still, they remain absent in some episodes, which almost never occurred before the Unova era. Their new pattern is to have their appearances more reasonably spaced out and frequently following their own storylines, rather than have them serve as a constant, monotonous antagonistic force.
  • Conflict Killer: If Ash and his band are at war with a character or Pokémon, Team Rocket's usual role is to butt in and attack either, forcing the two sides into Teeth-Clenched Teamwork against them. At least a few times, however, this was played against Team Rocket, leading them to pull an Enemy Mine with the twerps against another antagonist.
  • Con Man: A good deal of their schemes involves conning naïve people for easy money.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: While XY seems to have reinstated many of their bumbling qualities, their cowardice remains more downplayed, with more cases in which they fight and challenge the heroes even after their scheme has been foiled. Granted this was likely as much because the heroes would look better blasting them off in a proper fight than when they tried to surrender or retreat.
  • Criminal Found Family: They have a very strong bond with each other, crossing into Living Emotional Crutch territory in that if any of them splits off for one reason or another (a potential relationship, a new career interest, etc.) they inevitably can't bear to be without each other for long and come right back together. They're are all misfits even among their syndicate. But for all they bicker, they have found true companionship with each other.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: They often use shockproof gadgets and weapons against Ash and co. to counter Pikachu's attacks, but often fail to account for non-Electric attacks, such as Razor Leaf. Finally outdone in parts of Best Wishes and XY where they have mastered casing which is strong against nearly every tactic, but can still be destroyed with enough determined brute force.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: When they aren't being used for jokes, they are quite threatening. Not to mention they have several developed talents in non-villainous areas. They were considered dangerous fugitives prior to meeting Ash, and other, higher-ranked Team Rocket members have failed just as badly against Ash and his allies. Indeed, they've proven fairly capable when working away from Ash, and on occasions when other agents show up and Ash and his friends find themselves fighting Team Rocket on two fronts, it's often more likely to be the Trio who prove to be Eviler than Thou.
  • Custom Uniform: Their white uniforms seem to be this. All other Team Rocket agents wear black, but they wear white, possibly symbolizing how outlandish they are compared to the rest of the organization (and how they aren't quite as evil as the rest of them). Only in Best Wishes do they wear black uniforms, and even then, it's only during the first few episodes.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Most of their battles with the twerps tend to be thirty-second spectacles consisting of them swiftly getting the tar beaten out of them with the twerps dodging and countering their every move. Even in cases where they fight well, some twist of bad luck will often neutralise them in a way that allows the twerps to win with next to no effort. Subverted in the early part of Black and White where their rise in ranks was punctuated by them putting up even-handed battles against the twerps for once, while later Unova and early Kalos often maintained a Curb-Stomp Cushion as a Character Check to this.
  • 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 leave them financially secure if they only applied them to legal pursuits. 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 permanently turn a new leaf on principle.
    • Case in point, James has a variety of skills that give him plenty of options, Jessie has displayed potential to be a top-tier coordinator, and Meowth is one of the few living Pokémon that can speak human language without telepathy or being a legendary. Any one of these talents could easily become a successful, profitable career. As creator, Takeshi Shudo himself explained:
      Shudo: They’re not hopeless villains. It doesn’t matter if it’s not top-notch, they’re able to do practically everything. Musashi (Jessie), is a beautiful woman and suffers from the hardships of being beautiful. These experiences aren’t quite complete, but there is plenty of them. Well, it’s not that she can’t say that she easily falls in love because she can’t become a world-class beauty...Kojiro (James) is fairly well-brought-up and educated. When it comes to Nyasu (Meowth), he’s an intellectual and high genius who worked hard to master the human language. However, with some little causal relationship, they stepped out of line and stopped living an honest life.
    • Hilariously come Sun & Moon where circumstances have forced them to largely stay in once place, they decide to open a food cart to run during their off hours. At one point during a moderately successful day they actually declare that doing honest work is enjoyable (though they immediately feel that something is a little off about that statement).
    • Taken further in ep 106 of Journeys, when Giovanni recruits them to enlist more Rocket agents. They create a propaganda radio show as a solution, though when it fails to get any attention, they not only market it more broadly, but retool the scripts heavily with prizes, fan participation and other events. The revised show ends up incredibly popular....though the trio forget all about trying to acquire Team Rocket support as a result.
  • 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.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 19 of the Journeys series focuses mainly on them as they bond with a Ditto and help it to gain self confidence to be able to transform.
  • Death or Glory Attack: Often common practice for the trio's Pokémon battles, since the heroes often easily out stealth their attacks and finish them off with a few moves. Anytime their Pokémon start landing damage, however, the battle tends to become much more intense. Note that the trio have actually supplied a good few Curbstomp Battles rather than just receiving them.
  • Defeat Catchphrase: Whenever they are jettisoned into the sky. "Look's like Team Rocket's blasting off again!" or variants thereof in the English dub; "This feels bad!" in the original Japanese.
  • Demoted to Extra: Downplayed. While still prominent characters, their Once per Episode attendance is broken starting from Best Wishes, with occasional episodes where they are absent to place focus solely on the twerps or other characters.
    • It's more accurate to say that they've been relegated to 'major recurring character' status rather than mere 'extra'. This has actually worked in their favor too, since it has allowed writers to do more interesting things with the trio during their appearances, rather than the previous pattern of shoehorning them into being formulaic antagonists every single episode.
  • Determinator: No matter how many times they've been blasted off, they will never give up on trying to capture Pikachu. They've chased Ash all over the freaking world to do so.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: They serve this role sometimes to Ash or the other characters of the day. An infamous example was during the Indigo League Arc when they kidnapped Ash and did everything they could to prevent him from participating in the Indigo League. Thankfully, they don't serve this role in the leagues in later arcs of the show.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: One of the most interesting elements of Team Rocket's characterization is that they are better at just about anything - from running a legitimate business, to competing fairly in Pokémon contests - than they are at cheating or being bad guys. Whenever they are forced to get honest jobs during a Broke Episode or work as an Enemy Mine alongside Ash and his friends, they get far better results and karma is much nicer to them.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The majority of their schemes get scuppered this way and even if they do plan for some things (like Pikachu), something else will come along to stop them. For instance, in To Catch a Rotom!, Team Rocket uses special electricity-shooting guns to entice some Rotom and trap the Electric/Ghost-types in a special containment device. Ash and his friends send out Excadrill, Krookodile and Stunfisk, who being Ground-types aren't affected by the beams of electricity. Team Rocket winds up frozen, Pikachu and Fan Rotom free the imprisoned Rotom and the three Rotom send Team Rocket blasting off again.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: During the climax of every episode, the heroes will usually unload all their strongest Pokémon's attacks onto them until they blast off. The provocation can range anywhere from trying to endanger or kidnap them, or just irritating them at the wrong time. Sometimes falls into Misplaced Retribution if one or two members weren't responsible or even objected, which the heroes sparsely make exception for.
  • Drama Queen: All three of them, Jessie being the standout.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Most other Rockets (the only possible exception being a dropout) seem to treat them with disdain, especially their rival Terrible Trio, Cassidy and Butch. Giovanni repeatedly sends them on numerous Uriah Gambits just to get them out of his hair. This in spite of their numerous accomplishments in other fields, and having gone on several Enemy Mine situations with the twerps when the world is at stake. It took until post-DP for Giovanni to treat them as Rocket members again, and he even praises them for their part in helping take down Team Plasma.
  • Due to the Dead: Played with in the episode "Pokémon Shipwreck" when they're mistaken for dead and almost buried at sea.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Team Rocket's debut actually had them be fairly competent villains, with barely a trace of comedic atmosphere. They were characterized by a Smug Snake attitude that's practically unheard of with their current selves. Granted, they still lost humorously in the end, and this is where the trend began to slowly shape itself thereafter. Their self-contained Reverse Cerebus Syndrome was underway, at least until Best Wishes where they were restored to some level of serious villainous competency. This didn't last however, and they were eventually reverted to their now more familiar comedic selves.
    • In several early episodes, the team didn't blast off, and instead were just left to run off cowardly. Compare this to almost all episodes after which go to contrived lengths to maintain their Running Gag. Also while their first episode did have them blast off, the Twinkle in the Sky was absent.
    • In addition their camaraderie was incredibly downplayed in early episodes, with frequent occasions they seemed to only barely tolerate each other. Their Villainous Friendship got established as their finalised characterisations set in, though even as late as the Sinnoh seasons, they would sometimes backstab or show more extreme distain for each other, while post-Best Wishes they are rather consistently Vitriolic Best Buds.
    • The very first episode is the only episode, until "Rematch at the Nacrene Gym" (#673, in the Best Wishes arc), in which they do not appear.
    • In Pokémon: I Choose You!, the trio are unimportant to the plot, in the later films, they play bigger roles in the plot.
  • Easy Impersonation: Among their many Paper-Thin Disguise schemes, the trio have naturally disguised themselves as the twerps more than once with success (this includes cases the team's Pokémon disguise themselves). The only time anyone saw through them was when they intentionally made their costumes distinguishable to lead the real twerps on a wild goose chase.
  • Elite Mook: In Best Wishes they got promoted into Giovanni's top ranks and became much more competent. They slowly lost this stance as the series went on, though have remained on Giovanni's good side for the time being. Judging by Sun and Moon they are also the first members of the organisation to master Z-Moves.
  • Enemy Mine: The trio sometimes team up wit Ash and his companions if they are fighting other bad guys or if they are in the middle of a catastrophe that would endanger all of them. This happens very often, if not all the time, in the movies.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Jessie and James were once caught by a trap baited with Pokémon food, which they ate with every sign of enjoyment. (See also Jessie's folder, as she can polish off meals not even her teammates would attempt.)
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Generally speaking, while they may be Pokémon thieves, they're absolutely appalled by trainers who abuse their Pokémon. Case in point, 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.
    • They were genuinely mortified by the sight of Mewtwo's clones fighting their originals, even going into a brief Dark Reprise (of sorts, anyway) of their motto.
    • Even though they don't like Ash and his friends, the trio do end up helping them every now and then. Heck, they even saved Ash from falling out an open window at one point!
    • In one episode Pikachu suffers a power nerf from being separated from Ash. When he proves helpless against Team Rocket, the trio complain there is no sport in capturing him and walk off until he regains his will to battle.
    • After a failed ambush on Ash while he was walking home from school, Meowth discovers that the Stoutland that Litten was living with was on the verge of dying, and spends the rest of the episode actively expressing his concern, even advising Ash to watch over it.
    • They were utterly disgusted with Faba wanting to erase Lillie's memories just to cover his own ass.
      Meowth: We may be the bad guys, but we're not bad bad!
    • They were no impressed with Team Skull's attitude in Sun & Moon during the Manolo Conference, where they tried to interfere with Team Rocket's food truck and trashed the reception area.
    • And then there's "A Poached Ego", an entire episode built on this trope where Jessie and James find a poacher that has trapped a bunch of Ekans and Koffing. In the end, they release Arbok and Weezing so they can lead the Ekans and Koffing to safety.
  • 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. They tend to be victim of such whenever an arc's main antagonist appears (and sometimes even petty ones such as Harley), getting upstaged or easily taken out to prove their superiority. Even ones they prove Worthy Opponents for, they are usually the more affable underdog.
  • Evil Versus Evil: They tend to act as rivals to the villainous organisation of each region, though how effective they are varies.
  • 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.
  • Faction Motto: They introduce themselves with their motto every time they run into the protagonists.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: More than a few times the twerps try to help Team Rocket or help them go legit. These almost always end with the Terrible Trio double crossing them and using this as a means to steal their Pokémon.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Reconstructed. While they are genuinely Affably Evil, they aren't against exaggerating it or forging peace or sympathy with the heroes and other characters in order to con them or get their guards down. Meowth is especially apt at this. The majority of times they team up with Ash and Pikachu ultimately end with the trio trying to double cross them.
  • 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 a good number of times. From late Johto until the end of Sinnoh, they increasingly became hyperactively goofy and stupid in personality, and lost all sense of menace, with the cast sparsely ever taking them seriously anymore. 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!
    • From XY and onward, 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. Retaining their Hidden Depths and being utilised more moderately also helps.
  • Forgettable Character: Used to their advantage later on. The Team Rocket trio eventually became enormous dropouts within the organisation. While this led to them being met with distain by Giovanni and other members for some time, after a while they slipped into such obscurity that the boss couldn't even remember who they were, thus their bad reputation fell under the wayside and they were able to lie and bluster their way back into his good books. It helps that since then, the trio have managed to bungle small moments of convenience for the organisation and most grudge bearing members of Team Rocket have been caught or slipped out of focus themselves, leaving Giovanni convinced they are standard serviceable minions to this day.
  • Foil: To Ash. Both are (well, were, due to Ash eventually breaking out and becoming Champion) considered losers during their early days due to a combination of their incompetence and laziness hampering their ability to effectively reach their potential in their respective fields, causing them to either lose consistently at their most important goals (being a Pokemon Master for Ash and catching Pikachu/gaining the respect of Giovanni for the Rocket Trio respectively), or end up hamstringing themselves in their pursuit of their goals. They're also too stubborn and determined to quit and will always eventually bounce back, even if they don't always learn their lesson. That said, whereas Ash manages to eventually break out of his losing streak and build himself up overtime to become a highly competent trainer through his own merits and eventually a Champion of Alola and World Champion in Journeys, the Rocket Trio, while expanding their competence to many different areas, never truly commit to any of those things in the long term due to their fixation, and arguably only gain respect from Giovanni via deceit and exaggeration.
  • Forgot Flanders Could Do That: Even at the height of their Villain Decay, they 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. Best Wishes took this concept and ran full steam with it, while XY and Sun and Moon as mentioned above, frequently dabble in it.
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • Make no mistake, they really want to steal Pikachu (and many other Pokémon for various plots usually to please Giovanni), but on several occasions, Ash and co. and Team Rocket have been shown to be on surprisingly good terms when they're not caught up in another of the latter's plots. Probably two of the most notable moments are a) in the second movie where Team Rocket do their best to help Ash save the planet (however bad their best was) and b) Ash and co. working to help convince James' grandparents in Hoenn that he was really on a good team. In the episode "Charizard's Burning Ambition," they even take pity on Ash's Charizard and deliberately let him win so he could be accepted into the Charicific Valley.
    • In the Pikachu shorts in particular, Meowth and the rest of the team's current Pokémon are usually far more petty antagonists, and in some cases are actually forgiven and allowed in on the fun by the end. In some the most recent ones, they are outright pally with the heroes (if still a bit mischievous).
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: Across the anime series, all three of the trio have had opportunities to move on to a more promising or comfortable path in life if they ditched their Team Rocket allies. Despite being a villainous variation, they always eventually refuse, and it's clearly out of the loyalty they have for each other.
  • 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. All three were also regularly abused and treated as pests just for trying to make a living for themselves (they weren't as good at it back then), leading them to take up a life of crime.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: As mentioned, the three started off mistreated and disregarded, leading them to seek respect within the villainous organisation Team Rocket. After a while however, they gained a laughing stock reputation even through that...until their tenure in Unova, when they suddenly became serious, dangerous rivals for both the heroes and Team Plasma. Even after becoming buffoonish again, their reputation as Not So Harmless criminals still lingers around.
  • Genre Blind: Despite being blasted off time and time again, they're sincerely smug at every encounter. "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" attitude towards their plans is sometimes persistent.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Jessie and James frequently take part in legitimate tournaments and contests, often against one or more of Ash's team. Meowth and the rest of the team's Pokémon also often join in on playtime antics with the hero Pokémon in some of the Pikachu shorts and original ending sequences.
  • 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.
  • Good Feels Good: As much as they love being bad guys, they tend to get a lot of satisfaction from doing occasional noble deeds.
  • The Ham Squad: Their introductions are by no means natural, and they tend to get a little too into the villain role when antagonizing Ash and co.
  • The Heavy: While they are far from the only agents that Team Rocket has, they are definitely the most frequent ones Ash and Co. had to face while it is the trio's actions that drives the majority of episodes.
  • Here We Go Again!: They've come to treat their "blasting off" Running Gag in a hilariously jaded fashion, often having passive banter as they are ejected.
  • Hey, You!: They usually refer to Ash as "twerp" (English) or jari-boy (Japanese, literally "brat boy"), and refer to him and his friends collectively as "the twerps", or jarinko ("the brats").
  • Home Base:
    • In the Sun and Moon Series, they build a small headquarters in the trunk above Bewear's den as a base of operations for their time in Alola. This due to the Bewear refusing to let them get away for too long, but they do enjoy the food and hospitality she provides them.
    • In Journeys, they spend their downtime at a secret underground base located in Vermilion City, which is accessed by a phone booth.
  • Humongous Mecha: They sometimes utilize ridiculous mechs robots (usually Pokémon themed) 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.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: It's been shown time and again that they're actually much better at being good than they are at being bad.
  • Instant Expert: Surprisingly for them, they actually get the hang of using Z-Moves very quickly upon obtaining them, performing an effective Black Hole Eclipse on their first try.
  • Irony: One of the more subtle running gags is that these guys have amazing luck doing things that in the games are extremely unlikely. Once while fishing they accidentally caught a Feebass. Another time while slathering honey they attracted a Munchlax.
    • Both Jessie and James, interestingly, have strong childhood bonds with pokémon associated with positive connotations rather than criminal ones, a Chansey (that eventually evolved into a Blissey) and a Growlithe respectively. Chansey are usually trained as nurses at Pokémon Centers while Growlithe are commonly employed as police dogs. Perhaps it makes sense that ultimately, they are not very good at being villains.
    • Most of their attempts at just capturing Pokémon instead of stealing them tend to be effortless. In XY, Inkay and Pumpkaboo's captures are comically effortless, with Jessie and James simply lazily lobbing one Pokeball at them.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Somehow in the course of their journey to be the world's most ineffectual villains they've turned out to be decently good (if not outright skilled) at just about everything except crime. Performing, MC-ing events, design, running small businesses, and building ridiculously complicated gadgets from the most meager supplies are just a fraction of what could be put on their resumé.
  • Jet Pack: How they escaped "blasting off" in the Unova saga.
  • Jobber: Spend a large amount of the time suffering beatdowns to display a character's progression. In the Hoenn and Sinnoh regions, due to lacking their Not So Harmless streak, they were sparsely anything but this.
  • Joker Immunity: Team Rocket often "blasts off" while inside some sort of Giant Mecha that goes off in a massive explosion. You'd think they'd be dead by now.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The trio's upgraded competence throughout most of Unova was punctuated by their ability to often avoid getting blasted off, usually via the use of jet packs. Naturally when they became bumbling again, a Karma Houdini Warranty kicked in.
    • Throughout Alola, Bewear frequently retreats with Team Rocket before the twerps can blast them off (though not always).
  • Kick the Dog: While Team Rocket is silly and ineffective most of the time, they are capable of doing nasty things.
    • In the episode where Ash's Chikorita evolved, Team Rocket had Arbok and Victreebel attack Ash directly, beating him up badly.
    • Team Rocket reaches their lowest point when they try to murder Ash at the Indigo Plateau by, well, burning him to ash using the fire of Moltres. As far as villainy goes, they never once tried to top that.
    • When they sub for Giovanni during Ash's Viridian Gym battle, they rig Ash's platform to subject him to Electric Torture every time his Pokémon take damage during the fight.
    • After kidnapping Pikachu after the Indigo League (and playing a huge role in his subsequent elimination), they twist the knife even further by dropping bombs on the tournament after-party at Ash's house and terrorizing everyone there.
    • In "Beyond The Rainbow" they manipulate a Florges into helping them steal Pikachu, while in secret drying her homeland for profit and tricking her followers into attacking the heroes by blaming the dilemma on them. When the plan is fulfilled, they gloat in excess to her, and dig the knife deeper about her baby Floette, that lies ill without the land's healing water. Ash is utterly sickened by this.
    • In Oasis of Hope, they take over an oasis ran by a colony of Spoink and enlisted a famished Grumpig to assist them in the take over which allowed them to trap the heroes and capture Pikachu by forcing Ash to surrender him via Grumpig attacking the hypnotised Spoink each time Ash refused. Team Rocket planned to betray Grumpig by taking all the food from the Oasis and leaving Grumpig in the oasis without any food.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Surprisingly enough pull this off at the end of XY. After one final Curbstomp Battle among many in the XYZ series, they Lampshade they are completely outmatched against Ash's current squad (especially due to consisting of the two league finalists), and spend the remainder of the series on their own agenda until the twerps and their Pokémon once again disband.
  • Large Hams: All three of them.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: All of their Kick the Dog moments end with this:
    • Their attempt to incinerate Ash with the flames of Moltres backfires when the real Moltres emerges from the flames, fries their robot, and sends them blasting off.
    • The aforementioned episode where they had their Arbok and Victreebel attack Ash directly led to Ash's Chikorita, who was locked in a cage and being Forced to Watch, evolving into Bayleef, breaking free, and blowing them away.
    • Their aerial bombardment of Ash's party backfires badly when they make the mistake of pissing off Ash's Charizard by blowing up a table of food Charizard had his eye on. Charizard promptly attacks them and throws their own bombs back at them.
    • Their Electric Torture of Ash during his Viridian Gym battle comes back to bite them when Ash pulls off his Heroic Second Wind, revealing that James also rigged Jessie's own platform to zap her whenever her Pokémon take damage. When Jessie demands to know why he did so, James confesses that it didn't occur to him that they might lose again, so he didn't think it would matter.
    • On the other side of the coin, most of their more benevolent acts have a far better success rate and sometimes grant a Happy Ending, especially since often Good Feels Good.
    • Most other members of Team Rocket look down on the trio for their incompetence and use their better reputation or ranks to humiliate or bully them. Most of the time however, when put into action themselves, they end up suffering a similar fall for grace that makes them look even more buffoonish, something the three often get to observe and enjoy thoroughly. Domino, Butch and Cassidy are key victims of this.
    • In comparison to their countless painful failures trying to steal Pokémon, nearly all their legitimate captures are incredibly easy, and result in succinctly loyal comrades. Inkay and Pumpkaboo, two of their most reliable Pokémon, were both caught just by idly flicking a single Pokeball at them, while the likes of Cacnea and Chimecho willingly joined the team after they asked them. Mime Jr takes the cake, he eagerly jumped into James' Pokeball without him even trying to catch him.
  • Last Villain Stand: Even when their plans are foiled, the three will regularly try to fend the twerps off in a Pokémon battle. These rarely last that long.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness:
    • In Best Wishes, they started to regain Character Checks to their original more sinister personalities, making the change somewhat jarring for those used to their contemporary comedic ones. Later series returned them to goofballs again, though maintain the occasional Mood Whiplash and more frequent spurts of competence. In addition they are now only recurring characters instead of appearing Once per Episode.
    • Generally many Running Gags for the trio are more prone to be broken or deconstructed in later seasons. Sun and Moon for example often omits their "blasting off" exit in favour of a Bewear evacuating them.
  • Laughably Evil: Pretty much their thing. It's downplayed in Best Wishes where they are portrayed as more serious and dangerous threats, but it comes back again in the Decalore arc.
  • Leitmotif: In addition to their various mottos, there'a also "Team Rocket's Secret Strategy" - a melody that has followed them in various forms even over the dub switch.
  • 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: They've zigzagged across the spectrum over 20+ years. Particularly post-Johto the trio became especially irrelevant as villains and more often a group to pity or even at times cheer on, compared to their initially quite nasty selves. The Best Wishes series briefly reverted the trio into a credibly dangerous threat, but they've since come back into being mostly ineffectual comic relief. Additionally, the series nowadays only very occasionally mentions any of the trio's pasts, which were always filled with more unfortunate and depressing implications than most other storylines featured in the tv anime.
  • 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. Also acts as a partial subversion since it also indicates they are among the least evil members of Team Rocket.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: the trio have essentially become this to each other as a function of their True Companions status. If they split off from each other for an extended period for any reason, they can only last so long without each other before they start to miss each other terribly at best, or become completely dysfunctional at worst. This has become so characteristic of them that it's been referenced in one of their theme songs, with one line in the lyrics proclaiming that they're a team and can't do anything without each other.
  • Living a Double Life: Sometimes the trio use their disguises for more straightforward ambitions such as contest participants or to secretly perform heroic acts, often taking on rather developed personas as a result. Incidentally a lot of these personas turn out to be more successful and popular than their default villainous ones.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Due to being lowly members, they are unaware of their boss' more sinister agendas, like his involvement with the experimentations of Mewtwo.
  • Look What I Can Do Now!: After three generations of being on the receiving end of this, they themselves get to do it quite effectively at the start of Best Wishes, taking Ash aback with their newfound competence and outright decimating Pikachu and Pidove in battle. They do the same at the start of XY, where Jessie reintroduces Wobbuffet, who is now resistant enough to badly injure Pikachu and Froakie. In both cases, his new companion actually starts of terrified of them.
  • Lovable Traitor: There are quite numerous episodes in which Team Rocket cooperates with Ash et al. Even when genuine amicability between the camps precedes, Team Rocket almost always ends up betraying them.
  • Made of Explodium: It sometimes takes a ridiculously simple attack to trigger off the trio's blasting off Running Gag.Sometimes taken to a ridiculous extent when other characters get caught in the same explosion at the same or closer range, and while they're thrown to the ground or Blown Across the Room, Team Rocket is blasted through a wall and into the stratosphere.
  • Made of Iron: No matter how many crazy attacks, ridiculous falls, and giant explosions they endure, they always manage to come out barely scathed. They actually credit their encounters with the protagonists as the reason for this, with the repeated electric shocks and blasting offs making them now extremely resistant to injury. It quickly gets to the point that they treat being sent into the sky as little more than a mild annoyance.
  • Masculine, Feminine, Androgyne Trio: Jessie and James are a Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy pair, while talking cat Pokémon Meowth rounds out the trio.
  • Master of Disguise: Utilize a Paper-Thin Disguise almost Once an Episode. Only a handful of times has anyone saw through their act or even been remotely suspicious until they outed themselves.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory:
    • In "Pokémon Scent-sation", Team Rocket manages to steal a supposedly rare perfume from Celadon City gym while everyone is busy trying to put out the fires that resulted from their bombs. However it's revealed that said "perfume" was actually just one ingredient required in making the secret perfume — the essence of Gloom (i.e. very stinky).
    • An episode during mid-Johto had Team Rocket get their hands on an ancient queen's scepter that could control Pokémon and Jessie uses it to control Ash's Pikachu, except it turns out that the scepter only works within where the boundaries of the queen's home village were, meaning Jessie can't take Pikachu out of or control any Pokémon outside that area.
  • Minimalist Cast: Jessie and James rarely have more than five or six Pokémon, about half the amount they can obtain together. Their Kalos roster is their smallest, counting up to only four Pokémon note , only two of which are prominently used for battling. Naturally this plays into their Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain role, since even when they battle well, Ash's team can often outnumber them.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: It's made clear that the three of them are much better at virtually every legitimate career they make an attempt at than they are at any kind of criminality. Averted for most of Best Wishes which poised them as more properly villainous henchmen, but subsequent seasons prove this trope still to be true.
    • This is taken further in Sun and Moon where they end up spending a significant amount of their downtime running a moderately successful food truck business. It's even lampshaded when they comment that doing honest work is actually satisfying! (But also feels off, somehow...)
    • They're so much better at being heroic rather than being criminals that their current promotions technically rely on the fact they've been instrumental in stopping criminal plots. They stay employed by a crime organization because their fighting of other crime organizations means Team Rocket has less competition!
  • Mission Control: In Best Wishes, with the introduction of Dr Zager.
  • Modern Major General: Initially the trio were the Master of None and usually played Straw Loser to Ash's group. In later seasons however, while getting blasted off as often as before, they start finding niches in almost everything but being villains, sometimes even overshadowing the twerps whenever they just try playing things legitimately.
  • Mondegreen Gag: According to Butch and Cassidy in an early episode of the second season, the version of the Team Rocket motto Jessie and James use is actually an example of this.
  • Mooks: As highly as they think of themselves, their no more special than the average Team Rocket Grunt. They become Elite Mooks for Team Rocket's Unova operations, but eventually go back to their usual schtick of trying to steal Pokémon. Though they still report directly to Giovanni on their progress and have stayed on his good side for the most part
  • Mook Maker: In Journeys, Jessie and James are granted the Prize Master, which vends Pokémon for their use. It doesn't work much better than when they had their own Pokémon, however. In fact, they end up losing one of their mooks, a Grookey, to Goh.
  • Morality Pet: In Alola, they genuinely care about Bewear and Stufful enough to risk their well being and even their reputation within the organisation. They rescue Stufful from being forcibly taken from Matori at one point, and when a Guzzlord attacks Bewear they use their mech to come between them and jet her and Stufful to safety.
  • Motive Decay: Ash's Pikachu isn't even the strongest Pikachu they've met over the course of the show, to say nothing of all the countless powerful and rare Pokémon they've encountered while following Ash and his friends. But they insist on capturing Ash's Pikachu as well, so they won't feel like their goal wasn't pointless.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: All three have surprisingly complicated—and sometimes conflicting—back stories and origins. Most noticably, the earliest episodes show that Jessie and James knew each other as schoolchildren and spent time together in a bicycle gang, but a much later Team Rocket origin-story episode gives the impression they didn't meet until they were paired up as adults. However, later episodes in the series reference other parts of their backstories that previously acknowledged those childhood events, lending credence that they did in fact happen. It's worth noting that in the 'origin' episode they don't actually outwardly say anything that confirms or denies that this is their first meeting, though, so it's still plausible they did know each other when they were younger, went their separate ways for some reason, and then didn't meet again until joining Team Rocket.
  • 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!
    • In one Japanese-only radio drama, Musashi and Kojiro play characters called "Jessie" and "James".
  • Named After Somebody Famous:
    • Jessie and James' Japanese names, Musashi and Kojiro, respectively, come from two famous samurai who reportedly dueled to the death. Musashi was victorious.
    • Musashi is also named after the WWII warship Musashi, as Cassidy/Yamato is named after the WWII warship Yamato.
    • The English dub names refer to the outlaw Jesse James. The trend continues with Butch and Cassidy (after Butch Cassidy), Annie and Oakley (after Annie Oakley), and Attila and Hun (after Attila the Hun).
  • Necessary Fail: To some degree, given how often they are pivotal in Enemy Mines with the twerps or even just inadvertently solving dilemmas in their mayhem, one can only wonder how much more dire many situations would be if they didn't obsessively try and fail to capture Ash's Pikachu from region to region.
  • 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 Pokémon of the week. The use of electric resistant machinery is also one progress in strategy they often maintain. 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 Pokémon in the series not named Pikachu.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Done regularly in fact. The episode's dilemma, be it two sides conflicting, a Pokémon struggling with their abilities or someone suffering insecurities, being forced to stop a Team Rocket scheme usually ends up helping solve it. During the Kalos League, the trio lampshade that they practically trained Ash into a pro trainer.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Depends On The Writer, but typically, James is nice, Jessie is mean, and Meowth can be either one.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Sometimes the team are sent blasting off even if they did something noble. Frequently this is when only one is in on this and is punished indiscriminately with their teammates, though in others it's just their trademark bad luck.
  • No-Respect Guy: The entire team aren't very well-liked amongst Team Rocket's ranks, especially between late Kanto and early Sinnoh. Between their constant screwups and inability to steal a single Pokémon, Giovanni literally forgot they existed. They're able to turn it around before their visit to Unova, but even by Journeys, they're still not given enough respect due to their failings, mostly because of Matori.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: The trio don't actually care about Team Rocket or its goal of world domination. Their first priority is always, acquiring personal wealth or "earning" Giovanni's approval, which is why they're more than willing to sabotage the organization's operations to improve their own standing.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Even 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 Pokémon 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.
  • Ocular Gushers: Despite being villians, all three of them are easily moved and extremely prone to bursting into waterfalls of tears when something makes them emotional, more so than just about anyone else in the anime cast.
  • Official Couple: Jessie and James in the manga adaptation The Electric Tale of Pikachu. In the anime it's ambiguous to this date and it's unlikely to ever be revealed.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: They go through an enormous array of gadgets and mechs to try and match the twerps, and in Sun and Moon even manage to create a technological lair inside Bewear's tree trunk home, all despite explosive defeats Once per Episode. In earlier seasons, it was implied they acquired this type of gadgetry and/or the money to obtain it from the organization (and left themselves with a whopping amount of debt), though later episodes tend to just convey them as Gadgeteer Geniuses who somehow manage to finance their equipment through menial part-time jobs.
  • Once an Episode: Team Rocket getting blasted off. Again.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: At the start of Best Wishes the trio reappear with a far more focused attitude and keep the goofy antics and wisecracks to a minimum (even in the dub). It's more than foreboding that Ash won't be defeating them nearly as easily for most of the region. It gradually fades as the series continues, though every now and then the trio retake this sinister disposition to remind Ash they can be very genuine menace.
  • Out of Focus: Best Wishes downplayed their appearances to help them maintain their new menace, with several episodes they make only a minor appearance progressing their scheme or sometimes don't appear at all. XY reinstated their Pikachu-chasing formula, though even then toys with having the heroes hold entire episodes on occasion. Sun and Moon also has many episodes where the trio don't appear at all, or are doing something completely unrelated to the twerps.
  • Opposites Attract: So to speak. While they share some similar interests and are incredibly in-sync with each other, Jessie and James are complete opposites in other respects. Jessie grew up dirt poor, James grew up filthy rich. Jessie's hot-tempered, brash, and demanding, while James is meeker, and at times selfless to a fault.
  • 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 realize 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 (except Best Wishes). The first time they were disguised, the heroes recognized them right away. By DP, though...yeah.
    • Played with in Pokémon contests. While Jessie at least attempts a more palpable disguise most of the time, the heroes are still never remotely suspicious that the outspoken, pink haired contestant has the exact same Pokémon, including a Meowth that is also capable of human sapience. In some cases they even discuss how talented they are.
    • There's one time where James costume changes practically right in front of the protagonists and they still don't realize that the man they'd been talking to, 'Jeeves', was actually James, assuming instead that 'Jeeves' suddenly wandered away for some reason.
    • One notable exception is in the first-season episode "The Electric Shock Showdown," in which they disguise themselves to perform a victory cheer for Ash's Pikachu before its fight against Lt. Surge's Raichu. This time, the kids recognized them right away. (Of course, it may have helped that Jessie and James started reciting their motto before Meowth stopped them by slapping them with a paper fan.)
      Brock: [after Team Rocket finish their cheer] That...was really disturbing.
      Misty: Thanks for your support! 'Bye, Team Rocket!
      [The retreating Team Rocket stop dead in their tracks.]
      Team Rocket: HUH?
      Meowth: How'd they know it was us?
      Jessie: Lucky guess!
  • Perpetual Poverty: In earlier regions at least. They almost never have a budget for food or proper lodgings, presumably because they spend all their money on disguises, traps, and robots. They even end up in such massive debt to Team Rocket that they had their membership revoked in one episode. They were allowed to stay only due to Giovanni's good graces and the fact that the organization was short on members at the time. However, over the course of several series it's shown they've become able to do basically any part-time gig that comes their way which supposedly helps them at least get by. By the time they get to Alola, they end up starting and running a malasada food truck during their off-villainy hours that becomes relatively successful, and also apparently get paid very well doing commentary for the Battle Royale after being hired on short notice.
  • Personal Hate Before Common Goals: This was often the formula whenever the Team Rocket trio met with other members of the organisation in early episodes. Though all of them desire to steal Pokémon to appease Giovanni, the trio had an appalling reputation as washouts that made Team Rocket look like laughing stocks, most other more competent units snubbed them and would even make them collateral damage in their schemes out of spite. This often led to the trio forming an Enemy Mine with Ash to take revenge on them, leaving both fractions empty-handed. This was especially the case with Butch and Cassidy, who have a Sitcom Arch-Nemesis background with Jessie and James.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • On more than one occasion, they've been seen cheering for Ash in his Pokémon League Conference matches. The two most notable instances are his battle against Paul (thanks in no small part to his usage of Infernape) and his battle against Alain (where they weep openly after he loses, even stating that they're no longer in the mood to steal their Pokémon).
    • Despite her being one of their enemies, they are shown cheering for and genuinely being supportive towards Iris during her match against Cynthia. After she loses at the end, they're left in tears and state that her loss will make her stronger.
  • Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Vague Age aside, Jessie and James are generally implied to be fully grown adults who are somewhere in their 20's. Nonetheless, they've gotten obsessed with stalking a 10 year old boy, his Pikachu, and all of their traveling companions who are no older than their mid-teens. This obsession holds so strongly that they, along with Meowth, have persisted in this pursuit across seven different geographical regions and counting.
    • In fairness, come Sun & Moon it seems they're at least trying focus more of their efforts on catching other Pokémon ; they just happened to be assigned to the same region where Ash is currently staying though, so when the opportunity to ambush him presents itself they simply can't help but try their luck.
  • Plot-Irrelevant Villain: Ever since moving to regions beyond Kanto and Johto, the trio have found themselves falling into this a lot, especially as each region has their own villainous team with their own elaborate plot that has nothing to do with Team Rocket. While the trio often help pivot the plot (or accidentally solve it) through their schemes, sometimes they only show up to keep up appearances, with Ash's team treating them as little more than nuisances to their own situations. Come Kalos, they pretty much decide to stay out of the action during the big showdown in favor of serving as journalists broadcasting the events. Lately the anime has tried to help downplay this by omitting them from the occasional episode where their presence is unnecessary.
  • Proud Beauty: Jessie/Musashi, obviously. The English dub of early episodes makes both Jessie and James very fond of referring to how beautiful they are. While this element isn't absent in the original voice-acting (Kojiro introduces himself and Musashi as being lovely, charming villains in the Japanese version of their motto, after all), compare the Japanese version of their S01E45 song to the English dub's. The former is a considerably longer, deeper Badass Boast with lyrics like "Reality will be a nightmare / Once we assume command". In the English, we get:
    Kojiro: ♪ I am the handsome one! ♪
    Musashi: ♪ I'm the gorgeous one! ♪
    Both: ♪ Looking good is lots of fun! ♪
    • The English song "Double Trouble" (found on the 2.B.A. Master CD), while perhaps a better equivalent to "Rocketto-dan yo Eien ni" than the latter's dub adaptation, adds some of this as well, except that Giovanni steps in to Break the Haughty.
      Jessie: I'm so gorgeous!
      James: I'm always the man!
      Giovanni: You're just the players in my master plan!
  • Punch-Clock Villain: If it weren't for their loyalty to Team Rocket, they could quite easily live normal, honest lives (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). Sun & Moon takes it to the extreme where they start a successful malasada food truck that they run in their off-villain hours. When Giovanni tells them to pack up and return to base at the end of the series, they are legitimately sad to leave behind the new life they made.
  • 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 starting with 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. They don't last more than a few episodes, though.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jessie is considered to be the Red Oni as she is the gruffer and more hot headed of the group as she has a hostile temper when things don't go her way and her red hair fits nicely. James is considered the Blue Oni as he is the more softer spoken and sensitive member as he loves his Pokémon but his hair is not quite blue since it's actually light purple. Meowth fits somewhere in between.
  • 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 often to James than Jessie, though.
    • Ironically, the favor with Giovanni that they've recently started enjoying is linked to the fact they've been regularly playing some part in helping Ash & co. foil the plans of other criminal gangs, since what they do is effectively destroying Team Rocket's other competition.
  • Reflexive Response: Doing the opening lines of their motto (or even the background music) will sometimes trigger Team Rocket into blurting the rest of it.
    Ash: Team Rocket, prepare for trouble! On second thought, make that double!
    Jessie: *Confused* To protect the world from devastation?
    James: *Equally confused* To unite all peoples within our nation?
  • Replacement Goldfish: They were implied to act as such for the cub of the Bewear that house them in Alola. She later reunites with her Stufful again, though continues looking after Team Rocket as well.
  • Reset Button: As a part of their Toon Physics package. It doesn't matter how many times their Meowth hot-air balloon gets destroyed, their clothes get trashed, or they get blasted off into the distance with nothing but the shirts on their backs: they will be back flying in a balloon wearing pristine uniforms with all their belongings accounted for.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: In the TPCI English Dub.
  • Right Hand Vs Left Hand: Most of their attempts to work with other Team Rocket agents fall into dysfunction, either because of the trio's incompetence holding the others' plans down, or because the other often eviller agents decide to double cross them, often leading the trio to form an Enemy Mine with the twerps to take revenge. Their collaborations with Dr Zagar are among the few stable ones they've had within the organisation.
  • 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".
  • Second Episode Introduction: Despite being the main characters next to Ash andd Pikachu, the trio didn't appear in the show until the second episode.
  • 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. Inverted in XY, where Jessie's Wobbuffet, easily Team Rocket's silliest Pokémon, comes back to Jessie's party, signifying the trio's return to their previous goofy personalties (if similarly in more Not So Harmless form than before).
    • The Terrible Trio themselves have started to appear less frequently in the show, although they continue to remain a cast staple. This is most likely because the target audience of the show requires that they can never be allowed to actually win against the protagonists (at least not long-term), but at this point after so many episodes, it's easier to make them conceivably more competent by showing them in fewer but more novel situations, rather than constantly recycling their old schemes ad nauseum, and it has proven an effective strategy.
  • Shoo 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.
  • Simple-Minded Wisdom: Recurrently, all of the trio tend to show semblances of intellect or talent that implies they're not completely incompetent idiots. This is most liable to happen when they're siding with the twerps for a change.
  • Skewed Priorities: Whenever they try to steal or capture Pokémon for their Organization, they tend to do it for the flimsiest and bizarre reasons, often depicted by Meowth's fantasies as he explains them beforehand.
    • Their obsession with Ash's Pikachu serve as a franchise long one, since as Best Wishes show, they're much more effective and successful when Pikachu isn't on their list of priorities. Especially glaring in the Sun and Moon series where Pikachu is still their main focus to capture over even Ash's Meltan and Mallow's Shaymin, Mythical Pokémon. (To their credit however, as said series' league would contest, Pikachu genuinely is more powerful.)
    • Reaches its logical conclusion in Sun and Moon where their top priority has warped into making their unique bewear-themed honey-doughnut business profitable, rather than acting in the interests of the organization they're supposed to be employed to. Much to their horror after a harsh dismissive rebuke by headquarters on their lack regarding actual progress on that part.
  • Smug Snake: 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.
  • The Snack Is More Interesting: In "A Shroomish Skirmish", they were being chased by a herd of angry Breloom. They would accidentally stumble upon the twerps, prompting the Rockets to recite their motto, until Meowth notices Brock's cooking. They decide to eat first and then finish the motto after that. And James forgot which part he left off in the motto!
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: All three of them. As much as they love being smug, devious villains, their lives were riddled with abuse from the very start, and they often miserably lampshade their countless failures and humiliations, and the many more that inevitably await.
  • Spider Tank: Several Pokémon themed variations:
    • The Magikarp submarine became one in one episode, and it climbed a cliff.
    • They inevitably used a Spinerak tank that shot string shot at Ash and Pikachu during the Johto era.
  • Stalker Without A Crush: What their... relationship with Ash and Pikachu has essentially become. It seems the idea of giving up on stealing Pikachu has become completely unfathomable to them, as they will follow Ash to the ends of the earth if they have to. It's gotten to the point that when Ash's journey in one region ends, they will actively stake out his house and eavesdrop to find out what region he's going to next.
  • Starter Villain Stays: Unless you count the flock of angry Spearow who were more dangerous wild animals than anything, the Team Rocket trio are the very first villains Ash had to fight. And after being defeated by his Pikachu they continue to be a thorn is his side more than any other antagonist.
  • Starving Artist: Seemingly in hand with their Perpetual Poverty, the trio's most noticable skills that aren't related to being crooks are their skills in art, fashion, and performing.
  • 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 more straight from the Decalore Islands arc and onward, though they show occasional shades of their former competence and Giovanni still shows passive interest in their progress.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: They pull these left and right during Best Wishes.
  • Stealth Pun: The new Team Rocket logo. This trio really did become Darker and Edgier!
  • Straw Loser: By the time of the Hoenn era, they had been Flanderized so badly that everyone plus their grandma would easily beat up or outdo Team Rocket to show their competence, their redeeming functions also downplayed. Even other weak trainers or Big Bad Wannabes usually consider the trio beneath them and can at least blast them off as one accomplishment. They zigzag with this trope in other eras, though there is usually at least more palpable Hidden Depths, along with cases of...
  • Strong as They Need to Be: As often as Team Rocket end up punching bags, there are several battles where they fight competently if to set up a climax, especially often for a Big Damn Heroes moment or to galvanise one of the heroes' Pokémon getting a power boost. "A Trainer and Child Reuinion" is one of the most bizarre cases, where their Pokémon and gadgets are not only overpowering Ash and Dawn's (who regularly toast them effortlessly) but also Aaron's (an Elite Four member), only to end up getting blasted off rather quickly by a wild Beautifly.
  • Sympathy for the Hero: They were all in awe at Ash and Ash-Greninja's semifinal victory that they start believing that Ash finally has a good shot at the championship. And when the League ends and Ash is NOT the victor, they were the ones with the waterworks over seeing Ash lose again.
    All three, when Infernape activates Blaze during the Sinnoh League: "Infernape is up! So are we! A happier team you'll never see!"
  • Taught by Experience:
    • For all their stubborn incompetence, it only took a handful of defeats from Pikachu to figure out to make electric-proofing a top priority in most of their gadgets.
    • It took them a much longer course of beatings, but at the end of XY they acknowledge that the twerps have levelled up to a calibre they can't possibly match (especially Ash who is by that point a League Finalist). They end up laying low for the remainder of their Kalos tenure. Later during their time in Alola, they finally put in some actual deliberate effort to try keep up with the twerps by researching Z-Moves, arming their Pokémon with them, and making their gadgetry resistant to their power.
  • 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. Only a handful of episodes end with them officially the "winner" over a member of Ash's team however:
    • Jessie (as Jessilina) manages to pull off her first Contest victory in Solaceon City in "Team Shocker" and to add to her victory, Dawn doesn't even make it past the appeal round and spends most of the episode in a Heroic BSoD.
    • "Dressed For Jess Success" has James (posing as Jessilina) using Meowth and Carnivine to rather handily defeat Dawn in the Lilypad Town Contest. Though Dawn is a Graceful Loser this time, James and Meowth end the episode rather happy with their victory.
    • "A Dancing Debut" has Jessie win the Couriway Town showcase using Meowth, Wobuffet and Gourgeist. Again Serena is a Graceful Loser, but Jessie ends the episode very pleased with herself.
    • "Holy Matrimony" acts as a rare case the twerps suffer the End-of-Episode Silliness in place of Team Rocket, with Ash and friends left to fend off Jessebelle while Jessie and James making a rather romantic escape (albeit with Meowth left chasing).
    • The theatre production Pokémon Live! has the trio successfully bring Pikachu to Giovanni. Naturally Ash managed to get him back afterwards, but they still temporarily succeeded in their ultimate goal.
    • The twelfth episode of the Sun and Moon series has Team Rocket finally legitimately win a Pokémon battle against Ash fair and square. While inevitably the circumstances prevent them from actually capturing Pikachu, the trio are appropriately shocked and thrilled with their success.
    • In the thirteenth episode of the Journeys series, after a fiasco with a Gigantamax Drednaw, they get something of a consolation prize by finding a wild Chewtle that was stuck to Jessie's hair. A later episode reveals that unlike Yanma, it was deemed useful emough to be used by Team Rocket.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In Diamond and Pearl, it was becoming clear that all the losses were getting the better of Jessie, James, and Meowth. There were several episodes where they would fight amongst themselves in this era. It all came to a head in "Noodles! Roamin' Off!", when Meowth rage-quits after being Scapegoated for a failed scheme, and Jessie follows suit. That said, they also quickly realized that despite everything, they couldn't handle being apart for too long and join up again.
    • This would go by the wayside eventually with the team finally getting a "promotion" of sorts going into Best Wishes. Meowth made a supposed turn from Jessie and James for good during their mission in Unova, but it turned out to all be a trick by the three to steal the twerps' Pokémon.
  • Terrible Trio: Former Trope Namer. Simply put there's three of the goofballs, and they love being terrible.
  • 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.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • Get thrown the odd Happy Ending or win a competition every once in a while, especially when they don't use dirty tactics for once.
    • In most regions, the Team Rocket trio were lucky to be effective in standard battles, let alone get access to the signature power up. In Alola however, they manage to obtain a Z-Ring and Z-Crystals, and surprisingly enough, manage to perform a Z-Move flawlessly in their first attempt.
    • Long-term, their position is relatively better off than before. While they are still as much Butt Monkeys when it comes to stealing Pokémon, they at least have Giovanni's good graces now, and due to better funding and an increased load of job experience under their belt, often manage in better conditions every region.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • In Best Wishes, where they almost managed to go the entire season without blasting off even once. They slowly regressed back into ineffectual comic relief throughout "Decolora Adventures" and XY however, though are still more prone to Not-So-Harmless Villain moments than before.
    • By the midway point of Ash's Alola trials in the Sun and Moon series, they gain access to a Z-Ring and two Z-Crystals, leaving them with a dangerous amount of power through the Z-Moves. This also counts as the trio's first attempt at a Level Grind of sorts mid series.
    • While their villain competence interchanges, their Redemption Promotion seems to increase consistently as the series goes on. In early eras, they were generally failures, even when they tried to go legit or faced Ash's team in standard contests. Later episodes put more emphasis on their talents besides their villainy, so often prove formidable when not playing dirty. It's gotten to a point the trio have actually bested the twerps in a few non-villainous scenarios and even saved the day in their place a couple of times. In some cases they even end up giving Ash's team pointers.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: While they were always villains, in the late Johto to Sinnoh times they were usually more mischievous fools than truly evil. Since Best Wishes however, the trio demonstrate more cold blooded tendencies, and are more willing to act upon them. Even when returned to more comical form in XY, this has played into them being more dangerous, with far more times the heroes are repulsed or even genuinely terrified by what they can do.
  • 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.
  • Toon Physics: While the other characters aren't immune to Amusing Injuries, the trio themselves tend to be protected more by Rule of Funny, going through ceaseless extreme situations without ever being much more than comically dazed or scuffed. In one episode, the team shoot to bottom of a tall cliff fairly harmlessly, though when May risks falling down all of five seconds later it is taken dead seriously, the same rules of physics not applying to her. They also tend to be the only characters allowed to show Medium Awareness about being in a cartoon.
    • They're so aware of their usual casual immunity that in one episode where James gets severely poisoned, he has to clarify to Jessie and Meowth that his condition is serious and he is not alright, which causes their attitudes to immediately switch from vague interest to genuine concern.
  • Tragic Villain: Each of them was dealt a rough hand in life:
    • Jessie grew up in abject poverty after her mother went MIA on a mountain when she was a young child, and then she failed at any career path she pursued, including being an actress and becoming a Pokémon nurse, before winding up at Team Rocket.
    • James was stifled by the societal expectations of growing up in a wealthy, aristocratic family, and his parents were dismissive of him at best and downright controlling at worst. Worse still, the girl they arranged to marry him is abusive. He ran away from home when he couldn't take it anymore.
    • Meowth learned to speak in order to impress a female Meowth, but she cruelly rejected him for Persian and regarded Meowth as "walking talking freak" and he was subsequently kicked out of his Meowth pack.
  • Trolls: If there's one form of villainy they excel in, it's duping the heroes with constant booby traps and Paper Thin Disguises. They always fall for it initially, even though ultimately Ash & co always put them in their place.
  • Tunnel King: After years of digging pit fall traps, they developed impressive digging skill.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: The Team Rocket Trio has been well known for this trope as they refer to it as "we're blasting off again". This trio helped revolutionize the trope by becoming paperboy examples of it as they have blasted off hundreds of times over the course of the anime due to their incompetence. It was downplayed in the Best Wishes saga due to the trio taking on a more serious tone with them flying off in jetpacks instead but went back to old habits before the XY saga.
  • Ultimate Job Security: In spite of their many, many failures and Giovanni's all too visible contempt for them, the trio has still remained a part of Team Rocket. Following the Johto arc this seems to stem from them being the only Rocket agents in the region, as Giovanni seems to consider having lackluster representation is better than none at all. Post-Sinnoh, it's shown that he's become so out of touch with them that they've managed to improve his opinion of them by convincing him that they're a major force in disbanding the evil teams that could otherwise cause trouble for Team Rocket (which is a clear exaggeration; While it's true they typically do have a hand in it, their contributions are always much smaller than those of the "twerps").
  • Undying Loyalty: To Giovanni and Team Rocket, but even that pales in comparison to their loyalty to each other - one of their few good qualities is the fact that they're totally inseparable and always come through for one another. Someone else threatening one of the trio or their Pokémon typically results in the others making an instant Enemy Mine with Ash and his friends, even against other Rocket members.
    • It says something that all of Jessie and James' Pokémon are as loyal to them (if not more consistently so) as those of the twerps, despite it dooming them to the fate of the forever losing Goldfish Poop Gang. Meowth is the nearest to acting as The Starscream, and even then draws the line at truly selling out Jessie and James, even when it would be in his best interest. Keeping in mind that Meowth is actually a wild Pokémon not truly owned by the two, and thus his loyalty is not inherited.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In "A Chansey Operation!", even though Dr. Proctor treated their Pokémon's injuries after they were hurt in a truck accident, Team Rocket still decides to steal all the Pokémon from the hospital. However, their own Pokémon don't feel the same way, and refuse to cooperate with the plan.
  • 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. Played with in the Kalos arc, where Team Flare never took Team Rocket seriously. It turned out to be Underestimating Badassery however as the trio had a direct part in defeating them.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: The only expense that could be compared to their innumerable gadgets and mecha is the frankly astonishing number of costumes they go through to dupe the heroes (and even apparently just for fun). If a role needs to be played, they have the resources to be properly dressed for it, though to varying levels of quality. This is somehow despite the fact they are always on the go and frequently portrayed as being too broke to pay for food and shelter, so really one wonders how they are able to purchase and store those clothes. This is lampshaded on occasion, sometimes by themselves as seen with James' infamous "flaming Moltres" stunt.
    Meowth: That outfit... Where'd he get it?
    Jessie: I think that costume came straight out of his closet...
  • Vague Age: There seems to be conflicting sources as to just how old the trio are. When the original anime was localized, Jessie and James were stated as being 15 and 16, respectively. The Japanese website for Pokemon The Movie 2000 states that they are both 25 years old, and Meowth is 3. The Birth of Mewtwo radio drama also implies that Jessie is in her mid-20s. Jessie claimed to be 17 in one episode of the first season, and the Christmas special also implies that she is, at most, 20. The only definite is that Jessie and James are about the same age as each other.
    • One episode of Sun & Moon has all the adult characters fall victim to a spell that makes them depressed and lazy. Team Rocket is among those affected, indicating that at the very least they are not underage.
  • Very Punchable Man: 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.
  • Villain Decay: Twice over in fact:
    • Thanks to Flanderization, from late Johto to Unova, they devolved into a group of bumbling, incompetent dorks who pose no threat to Ash whatsoever.
    • After regaining their cred and then some in Best Wishes, they ultimately reverted to buffoonish villains in XY, though are still more resilient and cunning than beforehand.
    • Relatively speaking, they suffer this every season. While their overall competence varies, the trainers and their Pokémon's inexperience usually mean they at least start off a palpable Starter Villain at first. Then as the heroes develop and evolve, the team Can't Catch Up, and ultimately become reduced to a quick filler in most later episodes, until the season ends, Pokémon and characters disband, and the process starts over.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: As recognized in "Dues and Don'ts," the trio neglects to train and capture more Pokémon in favor of putting all their efforts into stealing Pokémon, and they owe Giovanni too much money to ask him to send them more powerful Pokémon. This results in Ash and his friends usually having full, well trained Pokémon teams and plenty of battle experience while Jessie and James usually only have one or two Pokémon each and their battle style is to just spam the same attacks over and over again. Somewhat fittingly this trope is only present when they are villains. In legitimate battles or performances, their Pokémon show much more of their experience and they are actually among the most proficient at taking what they've learned in the past. For some reason they never take this to heart in their villainous schemes, where they are one track set on destroying the twerps (despite often being able to defeat them under normal tactics).
    • Downplayed in the Sun and Moon series. Though they still struggle to keep up with Ash, they do make some legitimate attempts at boosting their chances at succeeding in their villainous schemes, such as obtaining the region's Z-Move mechanic. It helps that Giovanni and Matori are keeping much more regular inspection of their progress.
    • As of Journeys, Giovanni finally grants them access to Team Rocket-owned Pokémon via the Rocket Gachat, a vending machine device that dispenses random Pokémon for them to use against Ash and co. Additionally, they get their very own Rotom Phone, albeit a very snarky and trolling one, for their personal use, forfeiting the need for James' outdated "Pokémon Cards". After a while however their new resources still emulate this trope anyway since, true to their luck, the Gachat stops giving them effective Pokémon most of the time.
  • Villainous Friendship: For all their many faults and conflicts, the trio all genuinely care about each other. This sometimes extends to their Pokémon as well.
  • Villainous Rescue: Done a few times. Perhaps most prominently in the second movie where the trio help Ash save the world, complete with performing a Heroic Sacrifice, and in Best Wishes, where it is they who stop a Brainwashed and Crazy Giovanni from destroying Unova (and possibly more).
  • Villainous Underdog: The trio are usually blatantly outmatched in battle skills and sheer numbers in terms of Pokémon battling, thus rely on scheming and gadgetry to try and challenge Ash and co.
  • Villainous Valor: The team are often so persistent in their plans and the abuse it gives them, it's pretty admirable. Their camaraderie and palpable moral compass helps a fair bit too.
  • Villains Out Shopping: There are several episodes they aren't doing anything villainous at all, taking part in legitimate contests or events or just getting caught in the heroes' dilemmas.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: They get snappy at each other on a daily basis but are close. In the first season, this is far more prominent as Meowth, who considers himself superior, versus Jessie and James, while later seasons switch around the dominant streak to Jessie, with Meowth joining James as her browbeaten assistant. Occasionally James' dopiness and fairly strong moral compass will cause him to butt heads with Jessie and Meowth as well.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Played straight at first. While not evil looking per se, most of the teams' early Pokémon favoured darker or goofier designs than those of the heroes'. Subverted more and more as the anime progressed however. Most of James' Pokémon in particular look downright adorable.
  • We Have Become Complacent: At least a few of the trio's Not-So-Harmless Villain moments were timed just as the twerps were expecting another time-wasting Team Rocket Curbstomp Battle.
  • Wicked Cultured: Played With. At a glance, they appear to be this considering the way they pepper their mottos and introductions with flowery language, and additionally they genuinely seem to love theatre and the arts. However, this is also masks the fact that can quickly devolve into bumbling idiots.
  • The Worf Effect: If a new evil arises to threaten the peace of the current region, you can usually count on them to effortlessly dispatch these three as a quick way of showing that they mean business and are not to be trifled with.
  • You Are Worth Hell: All three members (along with even some of their Pokémon), have been granted individual opportunities at a normal happy (and perhaps even successful) life, but always return to their role as punching bag Team Rocket members. The reason is always because of their True Companions.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: To the Pokémon poacher in "A Poached Ego", protecting Arbok and Weezing (amd their pre-evolved forms) so they can escape into the wild.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: Played with. In some cases Team Rocket would avoid their usual "blasting off" Running Gag and try to retreat after a scheme had failed. Ash and the other heroes, had they been riled up enough by their antics, would prevent this by sending their Pokémon onto them, making sure they left the scene, but in the usual more painful way.

    Jessie (Musashi) 

Jessie (Musashi)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jessierocket_8302.png
Prepare for trouble...

Voiced in Japanese by: Megumi Hayashibara
Voiced in English by: Rachael Lillis (4Kids), Michele Knotz (current)
Voiced in Latin American Spanish by: Diana Pérez (base voice, Seasons 1-23), Elena Ramírez (replacement in some episodes), Rebeca Gómez (Season 24-present), Mayra Arellano (flashback as a kid)
Voiced in European French by: Catherine Conet, Chantal Baroin (Movies Pokémon 4Ever and Destiny Deoxys), Valerie Nosrée (Movie Jirachi: Wish Maker)

The de facto leader of the villainous threesome who are often out to capture Ash's Pikachu. On the side, she also takes part in Pokémon Contests in the Hoenn and Sinnoh regions, and Pokémon Showcases in the Kalos region.


  • All There in the Manual: The fact that Jessie is the daughter of a Team Rocket agent gets occasionally mentioned in various guidebooks and character info sheets. So far however, this has yet to be properly touched upon in the anime, and currently the only voiced piece of media that covers this plot is a radio drama that served as a companion to the first movie and was never released outside of Japan.
  • Always Someone Better: Tends to make herself The Rival of each of Ash's female companions per era because of this. Be it battles, contests, or just snark wars, they almost always end up at least a small step ahead of her. May in particular, once she herself got past her teething issues, made a habit of outclassing Jessie, directly or not.
  • Anime Hair: Jessie has an extremely distinctive, gravity-defying hairstyle that splays outwards and away from her neck (and incidentally, allows her to easily pose her body to create a silhouette of an 'R'). Once in awhile her hair looks more reasonable, though. See Letting Her Hair Down below for more.
  • Art Evolution: In late Johto, when the show's artwork became more sharply defined, one of the most noticeable changes was that Jessie's hair went from crimson red to magenta. For what it's worth, though, Jessie's hair was always a shade of magenta in game and card artwork.
  • Attention Whore: Part of the reason she participates in Contests and Showcases. She gets very angry if the cameras aren't on her during these.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Her standard outfit reveals her midriff for fanservice.
  • Berserk Button: Quite a few:
    • The quickest way to trigger Jessie is to mess with her hair. Anytime she ends up having her hair damaged or cut, SOMEONE GETS HURT! One exception to this being when she herself reach a level of fatigue so severe, that she doesn't even realize that a wild Chewtle had been hanging onto the end of her hair by its teeth for who-knows-how long before the trio finally spotted it.
    • Injuring or otherwise defacing her face is another. In "Pokémon Scent-Sation," she insisted on using bombs ("blaster balls" in the dub) to blow up the Celadon City gym. Her motive: Revenge for Erika's employees' stamping a red X on her face when rejecting Team Rocket.
    • Just about anytime someone questions her chances of succeeding.
    • She also doesn't like being called a Christmas Cake. She once got very furious when Misty called her an "old witch" that she literally STARTED BREATHING FIRE, leading Meowth to quip that she'd evolved into a Flareon!
    • When she thinks of something and the other two try to persuade her to reconsider.
    • Don't even think about questioning the power and elegance of her Pokémon.
  • Berserker Tears: Hilariously, when beating up Seviper for biting her hair off in "A Tail with a Twist".
  • Book Dumb: Due to never really receiving or finishing a proper education as a child, she lacks a lot of basic knowledge that other people her age usually would know from the get-go, such as names on Pokémon attacks and what moves a Pokémon can know, or even just their species names, resulting in her leaving a lot of the thinking to Meowth and James while she works on her own self-image. This is most evident in how she doesn't seem to know or understand the moves of her Wobbuffet, whose species only posses four moves in total, basically letting him fend for himself whenever she sends him out into a fight. She also is repeatedly shown to not be particularly skilled at using computers or other technology, especially compared to James who is at times a borderline Gadgeteer Genius.
  • Broken Bird: Jessie is technically one of these after spending virtually all of her formative years enduring misfortune after misfortune. Her mother went missing when she was young and she grew up poor. She had a string of love interests who left her for one reason or another. She failed at nearly every interest she pursued, including flunking out of two different schools. By the time she got into Team Rocket, she'd become so jaded that despite doing well in her training she was unable to connect with any of her assigned partners until James and Meowth. While at present she exudes overconfidence and ego, there are occasional hints that deep down she's still haunted by her past, feeling resentful of any of her shortcomings and having fears of being abandoned.
  • Broken Win/Loss Streak: Jessie suffered a lengthy losing streak throughout the entire Hoenn and Kanto Contest run, before finally winning a Sinnoh ribbon. Jessie was convinced James and Meowth had helped her cheat, but they eventually tell her they played no part. Jessie thereafter continued winning ribbons, and even makes it to the semi finals of Sinnoh's Grand Festival.
  • Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: Jessie doesn't outright admit it,note  but she really does care for Wobbuffet.
  • Character Development: While Jessie has remained the most antagonistic and aggressive of the trio, she has nonetheless become a kinder person over the years. She's now more prone to show others gratitude or support, even just slightly, instead of just focusing on herself. The most direct example of this is how early in the anime series Jessie violently threatened a Ditto that was having difficulties with using Transform, but 20+ seasons later when the same scenario with a different Ditto comes up, Jessie is wholeheartedly encouraging it instead. She remains somewhat self centered and vain, but, it tends to be more in terms of harmless brattiness.
    • Jessie tends to see herself alone against the world in tackling her problems, and has a habit if ditching her teammates if its convenient or if she fears rejection. JN 095, after she misguidedly leaves James and Meowth under assumptions they'd be happier without Team Rocket and winds up in a deathtrap, marks the first time Jessie has been shown to envision her teammates coming back to save her (though the second time round it really is them).
    • Additionally as a performer, Jessie not only became increasingly competent as series passed, but actually gained at least a small amount of gracefulness. In Hoenn she was on a solid losing streak, and consistently an Attention Whore and a Sore Loser. In Sinnoh, she finally starts winning ribbons and is still arrogant, but risks her good fortune several times to show some humility (eg. releasing Dustox, being unwilling to just take a free ribbon from Salva, and resisting every natural urge to lash out at Dawn when she is finally eliminated by her). In Kalos, she reaches the same place as in Sinnoh, though leaves the competition genuinely content and retaining a professional air.
  • Cheated Angle: Jessie's hair flips to the right in many instances, particularly early on. See here, for a particularly egregious example. She's facing away from the camera, her hair is pointing to the right. She turns 180 to face the camera, and her hair points off to the right the entire time.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: She invokes this trope fairly often in Contests for appeals, and it works.
  • Compressed Hair: Has no problem concealing her hair underneath Team Rocket's recurring disguise while in Unova.
  • Cross Dresser: She used to do this just as much as James. Though it's become rarer, she'll still proudly sport a suit and look fantastic in it from time to time.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Her reaction to Ash and his friends imitating and poking fun at their motto.
    Jessie: (fuming) Team Rocket's not something to be made fun of, but if you're going to imitate us, at least do it right!
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Surprisingly, Jessie is a really good Coordinator. While off to a bad start in Hoenn, afterwards she places high in nearly every contest she entered, and was even in the top 4 of the Sinnoh Grand Festival. She similarly won three Tripokolons, allowing her to enter and, again, reach top 4 in the Kalos Master Class.
  • Demon Head: Often does this when she gets mad at James and Meowth, as in the episode "One Trick Phony".
    • When Ditto is unable to transform into exactly what she ordered it to (and at one point takes her words literally).
    Jessie: HOW DARE YOU INSULT US LIKE THIS! I'm warning you, you'd better transform perfectly this time or I'll transform you into jelly!
  • Disappeared Dad: Her father is never referenced.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In "Pokémon Scent-Sation." Jessie elects to plant bombs in Celadon Gym and blow it up, with everyone still inside, purely because Erika's staff stamped a red X on her face when they threw them out.
  • The Ditz: Gradually averted over time when it comes to contests and later showcases, but played straight in other areas. A few instances have shown her to be woefully incompetent when it comes to certain basic Pokémon trivia, such as what moves they can learn. For example, she thought she could tell a Charizard to use Poison Sting, and during her first contest, she told her Seviper to use a whole assortment of moves that it couldn't use, much to its chagrin and embarrassment.
    • Even though it's her longest standing Pokémon, Jessie can never seem to properly learn how to use Wobbuffet's limited moveset and always confuses Mirror Coat and Counter. As a result, she tends to force Wobbuffet to largely fend for himself when sent out to battle, serving as little more than a glorified cheerleader for him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite her openly nasty demeanour, she often very blatantly cares about her Pokémon. Even the ones that initially earned her ire note  end up rather beloved pets. Insulting her is a very bad idea in itself, but insulting her Pokémon is even worse.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Ash's female companions, Misty in particular, as both are vain fiery redheads.
  • Evil Is Petty:
  • Evil Redhead: She has red hair and is a ruthless criminal.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Jessie seemingly has the stomach for Misty's cooking, which even Ash found disgusting, and May's Pokéblocks.
  • Fantastic Racism: She believed that James' Inkay was part of an evil group of Malamar because Malamar was Inkay's evolved form despite an overwhelming amount of contradictions.
  • Fiery Redhead: She has one HELL of a temper.
  • Flanderization: Compared to James and Meowth, Jessie's main personality traits remained roughly the same, though her temper and bossiness were much more subdued in early episodes (or at least no worse than her teammates'). As James and Meowth became more pitiful, Jessie took over as the Leader Wannabe, and her childish temper and ego became more defining elements of her personality. They were toned back down in Best Wishes to fit the squad's more serious characterisation, though came back with a vengeance as soon as the trio reverted back to normal.
  • Friendship Trinket: When Jessie was studying at a nursing school, she made friends with a Chansey. She failed to graduate, but when Chansey received a golden egg-shaped medal on her own graduation day, she broke it in half and gave the other half to Jessie so they would always remember each other.
  • Gender-Blender Name:
    • In Japanese she was named after a famous swordsman and as such her name, Musashi, is very masculine.
    • Also applies in English too, as while "Jessie" is technically a unisex name and her spelling of it is considered more feminine, the individual who she (and James) is named for was a man named Jesse James.
  • Generation Xerox: With her mother Miyamoto. Jessie ended up on Team Rocket like her Missing Mom and they're both rather childish, however Miyamoto was one of the top members while Jessie is perpetually stuck at the bottom.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Sometimes dons these while in disguise, most notably as Contest aficionado Jessilina.
  • Graceful Loser: Most surprisingly in the Kalos Master Class. The team very nervously await a hissy fit after Serena defeats her, though Jessie seems happy she at least got to be a popular runner up.
  • Hair Reboot: No matter if something happens to her hair, it'll grow back in short order.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: It doesn’t take much to piss Jessie off. Even James and Meowth fear her because of this.
  • Harem Seeker: In a few episodes of the original series, her visions of fancy would involve being waited on and served by a entourage of handsome shirtless men. While she never outright stated her goal of having such a thing the way Ash would about being a Pokemon Master, the implication's clear.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: In the episode A Hole Lotta Trouble, Jessie gets stuck in a cave hole, presumably due to her hips. May tries to push her through, which doesn’t work. She only gets out because a Loudred causes the hole to become bigger.
  • Hypocrite: Ends up this way as times. One noticeable example was when she suggest to wait for an Electrike to be trained before stealing it to Meowth and James, only to eventually lose patience and state the opposite later on and call out James and Meowth on this like it had their idea instead.
  • Identical Stranger: Unnervingly to the cast, Jessie is shown to look nearly identical to James' arranged ex-fiancée, Jessebelle.
  • If I Were a Rich Man: She often fantasizes about being rich, picturing herself waving bills around, and wearing a slinky purple dress and feather boa.
  • Ineffectual Loner: During her days as a Team Rocket trainee. Before getting paired with James and Meowth, she was incapable of working with a partner and tended to abandon anyone assigned to work with her because she felt they slowed her down.
  • In-Series Nickname: In the past, when she and James were in a biker gang, she was called "Chainer Jess" because she had a habit of swinging a chain above her head as she rode.
  • Interspecies Friendship: While studying at nursing school, she became friends with a Chansey. Although Jessie failed to graduate, Chansey gave her half of the egg-shaped medal she had received so they could always remember each other.
  • Irony:
    • Among the things Jessie tried and failed at before somehow ending up in Team Rocket was being an actress. Now her criminal lifestyle has had her disguising herself and pretending to be someone else so often that she's become a pretty impressive performer after all.
    • Jessie's mother was considered to be one of Team Rocket's most valued agents, but Jessie and her team have been rendered the Goldfish Poop Gang to a group of kids and became so ineffectual at their job their boss once forgot they even existed.
  • It's Personal: She caught both Lickitung and Seviper in fits of anger:
    • Lickitung was caught when it paralyzed Arbok. She just threw a pokeball at it in anger, and it didn't escape.
    • Seviper stole some of her rice balls, then bit off her hair. She beat Seviper up single-handedly. A terrified Meowth had to remind her to catch it before she killed it.
    • She also kicked James' second Victreebell off the team for biting her, even ordering Arbok to physically give it the boot.
    • Of the three, she's the most likely to antagonise the twerps out of spite for intervening or causing the trio anguish, sometimes with James and Meowth as The Drag-Along. Several times she's actually called her Pokémon to attack the trainers.
    • A large amount of the trio's non-Pikachu captures in XY have been a result of this (eg. trying to steal Serena's Pokémon for showcases, or take down a wild one that attacked them earlier in the episode).
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Released its Dustox so it could live with its new mate, even when it refused. Attempted the same with Wobbuffet at a later point, though he chose to stick with Jessie.
  • Jerkass: Very often to Alpha Bitch levels, particularly in contests.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Beneath the veneer of bitchiness, she truly does care for her team and her Pokémon, and has willingly done good for the sake of it. She's even helped save the world more than once, too.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In the Sinnoh saga, Dawn was eliminated in the first round of two Contests in a row, causing her confidence to take a crippling blow. Jessie (as Jessilina) made fun of her for that twice, and she then ended up losing in the first round of the Wallace Cup and the Celestic Contest, both of which Dawn would go on to win. By contrast, Jessie was able to win contests at long last in Sinnoh, often so long as she played fair and square.
  • Leader Wannabe: Sort of. Strictly speaking there isn't really a leader among the trio, but Jessie is often framed as such in that she's the first to speak in their motto, and due to her more aggressive, go-get-'em personality she's typically the one browbeating the others into action. However, this is often for the sake of appeasing her childish temper, and there are times when the other two will put their foot down or take the lead.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Occasionally her hair is in a state that is not its characteristic shape. Usually this is done intentionally for disguises, but getting it wet also bogs it down. She could probably win contests looking like this.
  • Literal-Minded: In an episode of season 1, she and James take the phrase "underwater ballet" literally (it was actually a costumed synchronized swimming show that was going on), and she wears a blue tank top and tights.
  • Magic Skirt: Averted actually! Being a kids anime, the show does try to avoid too many low angle shots of characters wearing skirts. But Jessie is also pragmatically shown to be wearing some sort of black bike shorts under her skirt.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Masculine Girl to James' Feminine Boy.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Provides a modest amount, being a burning hot redhead with ample breasts, beautiful long legs, and as mentioned has a bare midriff. Before the BW arc, she occasionally appeared in nice bikinis. Also, she's one of the few regular females who isn't underage; in the banned IL35 (Dratini's debut episode), she almost succeeds in seducing the Safari Zone warden.
  • Minor Insult Meltdown: Quite prone to it. She nearly went berserk on a little girl who referred to her as an old lady.
  • Missing Mom: Supplemental materials reveal that Jessie's mother was a high-ranking Team Rocket member who went missing on an expedition to find Mew.
  • Mood-Swinger: Interchanges between bouncy and whimsical or demonic rage in the blink of an eye.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: There's a subtle tendency for Jessie to hurt or reject others first, seemingly as a defense mechanism from the chance of her being the one rejected. For example, in the times the Team Rocket trio breaks up for a reason or another, Jessie is never the last one left to be "abandoned", with her instead "choosing" to leave the others, even if that choice clearly hurts the other two or despite her own feelings. When one considers her background as a luckless orphan, it's not surprising she has abandonment issues.
    • When it became clear Jessie's Dustox had a desire to migrate and mate, but was wavering due to her loyalty to Jessie, Jessie released Dustox and demanded she leave, rather than letting Dustox make the choice to leave.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The original series episode with Duplica had Jessie's um, "encouragement", curing Ditto of its Shapeshifting problemsnote . It wasn't by accident, either; that was what they were planning to do in the first place.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Although she comes from an impoverished background.
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: A pack of Scyther ended up cutting her hair just to spite her, and was barely able to avoid Jessie's wrath.
    • When Seviper bit her hair, she single-handedly beat the crap out of it and captured it while James and Meowth watched in terror and amazement. Since then, Seviper stayed with her for eight whole seasons and nearly 380 episodes — longer than she had Arbok!
    • Yanmega is among very few to avoid Jessie's wrath, perching on her head as another of the team's odd recurring gestures of affection. Jessie finds this irritating, though puts up with it.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: She managed to win the mandatory three Princess Keys to enter the Kalos Master Class. We only see her win one however (against Serena) with the other two getting only passing mention as the trio celebrate her induction.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: It's mentioned in the English dub that her full name is "Jessica".
  • Parental Abandonment: Jessie's mother went missing when she was a young child and her father has never been spoken of. She ended up growing up in a foster home in impoverished conditions.
  • Pet the Dog: Some of her interactions with her own Pokémon. Particularly her Dustox, who she sees as beautiful, and Wobbuffet, although she doesn't want to admit it regarding the latter.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Dons elaborate ensembles for Contests, mainly out of her vanity and to disguise herself.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Whenever she's planning her latest scheme...if not an outright Slasher Smile.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Until Best Wishes, Jessie has always had a poisonous snake Pokémon on her team.
  • The Rival: In Diamond/Pearl (she was an Unknown Rival throughout Advanced Generation). You know she's gotten more competent at the Contest thing when she manages to actually win a Ribbon!
    • She wins enough to go to the Sinnoh Grand Festival, and only her last was not earned fairly but given by Salvia (Dawn already had 5).
    • Played with in the Kalos showcases where she started off at her Hoenn-level incompetence, but slowly improved against Serena and won enough Princess Keys to make it all the way to the semi finals.
  • Shoo the Dog:
    • In "Ignorance is Blissey", to protect the eponymous Pokémon which is Jessie's old friend. The circumstances even fit three of the four listed reasons on the trope page!
    • Arbok and Dustox were also released by her for their own safety.
  • Signature Mon: Three Pokémon are greatly associated with Jessie due to their long tenure with her. They are Arbok, Wobbuffet, and Seviper. Arbok and Seviper are recognized as Jessie's main Pokémon battler due to both being poisonous snakes befitting of Jessie's personality, while Wobbuffet is immortalized as the comical Sixth Ranger to the trio.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: According to Takeshi Shudo, "Musashi (Jessie), is a beautiful woman and suffers from the hardships of being beautiful. These experiences aren’t quite complete, but there is plenty of them. Well, it’s not that she can’t say that she easily falls in love because she can’t become a world-class beauty".
  • Spell My Name with an S: Even to this day, fans still misspell her name as "Jesse", probably to be more accurate to her and James' namesake.
  • Straw Loser: Her alter ego "Jessalina" had a constant losing streak (even pointed out by Harley), with the sole purpose of making May and other contestants look more competent as coordinators. This was before the Sinnoh region where she Took a Level in Badass.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: With her mother.
  • Team Rocket Wins: In the Sinnoh era, she manages to win enough Pokémon contests to reach the finals (compared to Hoenn where she never won once). She did the same for the Kalos showcases. It's also a case of...
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Throughout the early parts of the series, she often fantasizes about owning a Smoochum. Halfway through the DP saga, during the Summer school arc, she gets to (temporarily) take care of one of her own.
  • Through His Stomach: Jessie's shown a propensity to both be won over by or to show others gratitude/affection through food. Jessie has difficulty showing kindness, but one surefire way to tell she's trying to thank someone or cheer them up is if she gives them food or drink. Given her background of growing up so dirt poor that she sometimes ate snow, this makes a lot of sense.
  • Token Evil Teammate: While Jessie still has sympathetic moments, Meowth and James have outright turned against their Team Rocket ways when the situation needs it or when their morals come into conflict with the situation, but Jessie will still try to steal the Pokémon even if she's alone. This element was more evident in early episodes, where she even threatened to betray her comrades if they hindered progress (such as trying to replace Meowth for a Sneasel).
  • Took a Level in Badass: As a coordinator. In the Hoenn era she was essentially a Straw Loser for May and other contestants, always failing or resorting to cheating. In Sinnoh era she proves more talented, and wins several ribbons through legitimate skill. This ends up repeated in the Kalos showcases, getting enough Princess Keys to become a semi finalist and often getting audience approval even when losing.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Apart from a few years where Jessie's aggression was flanderized, her personality has overtime become less abrasive than it once was. She will still have her angry outbursts, but she's a lot less self-centered, and is more likely to show compassion and gratitude towards her teammates. Apparently, the personality alteration was requested by her Japanese voice actor Megumi Hayashibara, who mentioned in her memoir that she was becoming uncomfortable with the way Jessie was being portrayed in the anime after the original anime writer Takeshi Shudo, left the show and passed away. Feeling that Jessie should be more nuanced, Hayashibara asked the writers to tone down her violent traits and make her into a more endearing leader.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: In Sun and Moon, she develops a liking to malasadas.
  • Tsundere: While all three of the trio have this trait to some extent, Jessie definitely has it the strongest. She puts up the harshest front of them all, and shows the most dogged resistance to outwardly show kindness or gratitude, even in moments where she clearly wants to.
  • Tsurime Eyes: They're associated with pride and strong will, suitably.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: Her hairstyle and vain demeanor makes her resemble her Arbok.
  • Unknown Rival:
    • Jessie was competing against May in Contests during the Hoenn era, yet she barely recognises her; Jessie was in disguise and using an alias, but still. To add insult to injury, despite doing much better in the Sinnoh contests, she still failed miserably in the one contest May returned for.
    • Out of Serena's main rivals in the showcases, Jessie earned her attention the least. This was less out of effectiveness howevernote , and more because, due to working in disguise, Serena didn't have a personal rivalry with her. She obliviously considered her a Friendly Rival after "Jessilie" helped with her public Tripokalon however.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Don't make her angry. Ever.
  • Villainous Crush: She had a moment when she gushed over Steven from the Hoenn series.
  • What You Are in the Dark: When Jessie meets up with her Blissey friend from nursing school, Blissey gives her and her comrades most of the food in the pantry, but is soon found out and blamed by the others in the Pokémon Center. To save Blissey from being blamed. Jessie could easily depart with the food and leave Blissey holding the bag, but to save Blissey from being blamed, she pretends that she tricked the Pokémon into giving them the food, and fake-attacks her to seal the deal.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She really doesn't like rollercoasters.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing:
    • Jessie has managed to catch several Pokémon just by tossing a Poké Ball at them, no battling or even befriending required. Lickitung, Wurmple, and Pumpkaboo are fully-invoked examples of this.
    • Subverted with Seviper and Yanma. Jessie personally beat Seviper into submission for messing up her hair, while Yanma had already been weakened by another trainer when she swiped it from underneath him.
      Jessie: Underhand!
    • Averted with Mimikyu. It swatted two regular Poké Balls away effortlessly. She swiped a Luxury Ball that James had, and that one did the trick. Still, she didn't have to battle it.
  • Womanchild: Her behavior can be downright childish sometimes.

    James (Kojirou) 

James (Kojirou)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jamesrocket_9067.jpg
...And make it double!

Voiced in Japanese by: Shin-ichiro Miki
Voiced in English by: Ted Lewis (4Kids, original), Eric Stuart (4Kids), Jimmy Zoppi (EN, current)
Voiced in Latin American Spanish by: José Antonio Macías, Eduardo Garza (flashbacks as a kid)
Voiced in European French by: David Manet, Thomas Roditi (Movies Pokémon 4Ever and Destiny Deoxys), Luc Boulad (Movie Jirachi: Wish Maker)
Voiced in Italian by: Simone D'Andrea

Jessie's somewhat dim-witted foil. He'll often take the role of Only Sane Man to counter his colleague's more bizarre ideas.


  • Abusive Parents: The fact that a once-innocent, still-gentle boy would rather stand by his luckless miscreant career at his age than return to a cozy mansion indicates at least Parental Neglect. "Holy Matrimony!" of the first season, however, cements his parents as these. They feign death just to manipulate James into settling down and becoming their idea of a proper high-society member; and the woman they've designated as his fiancée owns a whip for scaring James into deference. As though it weren't enough, she's implied strongly to be a multiple-time sexual assaulter. And his parents remain supportive of her ways! "Poor guy" would be an Understatement.
  • 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.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Apparently the case for him after being poisoned by his over-affectionate Mareanie nearly every single day. When a wild Toxapex poisons him, he's out of commission for only one day, when supposedly it normally takes three whole days to recover from Toxapex poison.
  • Affably Evil: Moreso than Jessie and Meowth, he stands out at this. Jessie is Hot-Blooded and more prone to kicking the dog than James; Meowth is sarcastic and cunning enough to pull a particularly cruel betrayal on the heroes during the Black & White season. James has nigh-consistently remained the better third of the trio all this time, and he's always jovially polite to his enemies even when he genuinely is acting as a villain (which—like in the aforementioned Black & White arc—isn't uncommon).
  • Agent Peacock: There are definitely shades of this when he's at his most competent, being a noticeably effeminate man who still poses a legitimate threat.
  • Art Evolution: James' haircut design has gone through a subtle change over the years. It began as a fairly straight-cut bob-length curtain hairstyle, but the ends have gotten progressively messier with each season and look positively jagged now.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Due to being a Masked Royal fan, he can tell the difference between the eponymous wrestler's own mask and a conventional one for merchandise since the former has very minute differences to specifically fit his face.
  • Badass Boast: When he and Jessie were partnered up in Team Rocket.
    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!
  • Berserk Button: Damage his beloved bottle-cap collection in any way, and face the consequences of his wrath towards the offending party.
  • Bishōnen: Coupled with him being quite flamboyant, James has the feminine face to match. So much so that he's able to dress like a woman quite convincingly.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: James is the kindest and most compliant member of the trio and often ends up going along with Jessie and/or Meowth's plans even when his heart isn't necessarily into it. However, he will assert himself if his buttons get pushed hard enough. He loudly condemns his parents for their lifelong mistreatment of him when he's forced to confront them, and he personally puts a stop to Jessie and Meowth when they try to steal from James' beloved "Nanny and Pop-pop". Likewise, he's actually capable of being truly cruel when Team Rocket is at their worst; he has some isolated Kick the Dog moments in the very early episodes, but Black & White shows he's no less harmless than Jessie or James; he sucks the life energy out of a Carracosta in the second part of "A Restoration Confronation!"
  • Black Comedy Rape: There is what is essentially a domestic near-rape scene in "Holy Matrimony!" that's just ambiguous enough to get away with in a kids show. James' fiancée, Jessebelle, along with his pressuring parents, remind him that as a "gentleman of property", it's his duty to marry his fiancée and produce an heir. They trick him into entering a torture chamber then Jessebelle chases him around while cracking a whip. Despite the blatant violence Jessebelle displays towards their son, James' parents remark that James and Jessebelle are "the perfect couple". Jessebelle then puts on a gas mask and paralyzes him with Stun Spore, to which James wails in a resigned tone that she's done this before, and passes out. When he comes to, yet is still somewhat paralyzed, Jessebelle draws close to him, as if for a kiss or some other sexual act. When James gets rescued, Jessebelle tries to paralyze him again, but fails. James mentions that he ran away from home as a kid specifically to get away from her. If not for the slapstick outrageousness, the situation truly would not be funny in the slightest.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: In contrast to his usually passive demeanor, James does not hold back in loudly criticizing and resisting the way his parents try to control his life after they manipulate him into coming home and basically hold him captive.
  • Camp Straight: He's flamboyant, is the more passive foil to Jessie's temper, and has crossdressed well over a dozen times (he even had breasts in one episode), but has fallen for a few women and has shown to have liked Jessebelle when they first met.
  • Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them: Shows shades of this in JN070 in regards to Morpeko to the point he even catches it at the end of the episode.
  • The Chew Toy: Many of his Pokémon love his face a little too much.
  • 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.
    • He also apparently has a collection of the different Pokéball variations.
  • Cowardly Lion: Despite being the least aggressive of the trio, he's managed incredible feats. In SM058, he flings an attacking Tentacruel a great distance back into the ocean to protect his Mareanie. Keep in mind the canon weight for a Tentacruel is 55kg / 121 lb.
  • 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). The creators have admitted this came about simply because in storyboard stages when the staff were putting Team Rocket in Rose of Versailles costumes, they decided James looked better than Jessie in Marie Antoinette's frilly dress, and the trend stuck.
    Jessie: Stop acting like an ignoramus!
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Along with Jessie when Ash and friends poke fun at them.
    James: (equally irked) To unite all peoples within our nation, not ignite!
  • Crushing Handshake: Brock learns in S01 that he has a very firm handshake. Judging from the blatant smirk on his face, it was intentional (and successfully) meant to intimidate. Surprisingly, both Meowth and Jessie were a lot more no-nonsense about shaking hands with the twerps.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Since Hoenn, most of his Pokémon are adorable balls of fluff one would not expect from a criminal organisation. Accordingly, his treatment of them is humorously sickly sweet at times as well.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: As mentioned under Hidden Depths, he could rival Brock as a breeder if he didn't think Team Rocket was his calling.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: In OS139, James says other kids beat him up on a daily basis due to the way he dressed. In AG147, it is revealed that his housekeepers and private tutors physically abused him.
  • Defector from Decadence: To avoid an arranged marriage.
  • 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...
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Even accounting for the trio's eventual group descent into comedic ineffectuality, James's personality was markedly different for a good chunk of the first season compared to what has become standard for him. While he has always been the more yielding and sensitive member of the team, he was also a much vainer, nastier person in those early episodes (that is to say, his personality was similar to Jessie's) and it wasn't uncommon for him to impart physical harm and scathing insults to his Pokémon, things that would be jarringly out of character for him now.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Yes, James was subject to an oppressive childhood, but his fondest memories are with his Nanny and Pop-Pop. He loves them so much, that he even refuses to participate in Jessie and Meowth's scheme to steal the Pokémon there.
      Jessie: Traitor!
      Meowth: Why are ya sidin' with the twerps?
      James: I'm siding with Nanny and Pop-Pop!!
    • He's also shown to develop extremely strong loving bonds with the Pokémon he obtains. He treats them almost like his children.
  • 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.
    • In BW and later, James has shown increasing traits of a mad scientist, including maniacal laughter and a commanding presence, an addiction to computer hacking, an attachment to his machines, and a sadistic thrill from mayhem and destruction. As a kid, there were some echoes of this. He loved playing with science kits (DP021), he studied ancient languages (OS241), and manned a private rocket (DP153), not to mention that his father is a superb mecha builder (DP153).
  • Even the Guys Want Him: A male Toxapex (his Mareanie's former crush) ends up falling in love with him.
  • Extreme Doormat: Often recessive (if not outright terrified) of Jessie. It's implied this behavior was due to what his previous home life as like. He can snap back on occasions however (see below).
  • Gyaru Girl: Episode 16 of the original series shows James don the disguise of a Ganguro. He wears a school uniform with sweater, has a dark tan, platinum blond wig, and thinks everything is COOL~~~! Jessie's own version of the disguise was not as pronounced.
  • Hates Being Alone: Unless they have explicitly done something to upset James, he is never the one to willingly part from Jessie or Meowth for his own sake. The other two are far more willing to attempt striking off on their own, leaving James without any aim or purpose, and he invariably tries to seek them out again in short time.
  • Hates Their Parent: James has nothing nice to say about his parents, detesting them for their neglectful, manipulative ways, as well as betrothing him to an openly abusive girl without a care in the world. Jessie and Meowth had to physically force him to attend their (fake) funeral.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: While James is technically a villain, within the context of those he cares about James is shown to have extremely little self worth. He has repeatedly shown an inclination to sacrifice himself or cut himself off for the sake of his friends because he believes things will be better that way, regardless of what they actually feel.
    • He's even called out on this in Sun & Moon by a wild pokémon of all things, when he tries to release his Mareanie because he thinks she would be happier living in the wild with a Toxapex that she crushed on in the past. The Toxapex realizes that the notion of being released is upsetting Mareanie, and actually attacks James for making her cry.
  • 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 Jessie's more assertive personality means she often calls the shots for the team and both she and James are portrayed as being bumbling morons most of the time, James is shown to have a broader skillset than Jessie: He maintains a number of miscellaneous skills that he learned from his rich upbringing, is generally much better at handling technology than Jessie is, and, in part because he's more levelheaded than her, is more likely to rationally look at and solve a problem they're dealing with. He is also shown to be better than her at battling, at least in terms of basic strategy. Downplayed in the sense that James is still a dopey Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain.
  • Image Song: "Lucky Lucky," about his romantic relationship with a woman he met at a nightclub.
  • In-Series Nickname: In the past, when he and Jessie were in a biker gang, he was called "Trainer Jim" because he still had training wheels on his bike.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    Meowth: Don't you worry your pretty blue head, I got a plan.
    James: It's lavender.
  • Irony:
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • Attempts to do this to Inkay, deciding he would be happier living in a forest of its own kind than with the team. Inkay refuses however, being Undyingly Loyal to James.
    • Tries to do this to Mareanie as well, complete with Shoo the Dog, after a Toxapex she crushed over reappears. Toxapex however, realising how much James care for her, beats him to it and makes him battle for her.
  • 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 or 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 in Pokémon Shipwreck comes to mind. The end result did not go well for neither him, nor the people around him.
    • There was also the time he did the same thing with Mankey in Primeape Goes Bananas, once again, the end result did not go well for anybody, including himself.
    • Also, he's the one who operates the machine that saps Carracosta's life force at Twist Mountain in Best Wishes.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: He says this word for word when Team Rocket's plan to steal the Poké Balls from the Nimbasa City Pokémon Center fails in "Battle for the Underground!"
  • Large Ham: He is this in the English Dub courtesy of Eric Stuart where Stuart dramatically pronounces some of his lines:
    • BEHOLD!.
    • Lessened with his current actor Jimmy Zoppi, though he's still far from a subversion.
  • Licked by the Dog: When he first met both Cacnea and Carnivine. Much to his chagrin.
  • 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.
  • Manchild: Prone to childish sulking or sobbing. His demeanour around Jessie often comes off like that of a bullied toddler.
  • 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. Of the three, he's by far the most likely to perform a selfless act. He's called truces with the main cast on a few occasions where Chimecho or Mime Jr. were at stake, and told them off (and once, even outright 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.
    • In Sun and Moon, he does it using a tourist guide.
  • Nature Lover: While he's had many different typed Pokémon over the years, he shows a noticeable preference for Grass-types. He frequently touts the importance of recycling, upcycling, using biodegradable materials, saving water, and other environmental concerns. When he can afford to, he uses herbal shampoo and eats organic food. He enjoys outdoor activities such as orienteering and PokéRinging (navigating and reading weather patterns). In OS110, he knows which plant will cure Jessie from Stun Spore and how to prepare it.
  • Nice Guy: Outside of Team Rocket, he is a rather pleasant guy to be around with.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Though not as frequently as Jessie does.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Brock speculates that James only joined Team Rocket because he wanted liberation from his oppressive and controlling home life. Indeed, compared to Jessie, Meowth, and basically every other Team Rocket member encountered, James never acts particularly motivated to do crime or climb the ranks. Where Jessie has ambitions of being a top field agent and Meowth makes no secret of his desire to become the boss's favorite pet Pokémon, James is largely just happy to be with his teammates and support them. He is also often left looking lost and aimless on the rare occasions they split up.
  • 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 Farfetch'd (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:
    • Overall, James is typically the most 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.
    • In an early arc, James angrily kicked a Magikarp out of his team for being useless (leading to a karmic assault when it instantly evolved into a Gyarados afterwards). This is very much in contrast with later Pokémon seasons where James cares for his Pokémon deeply and values their companionship rather than thinking of them as tools; He's even gone as far as avoiding using two of them in battle because he viewed them to be akin to young children, and he worried for their safety. Although in fairness given the circumstances surrounding the Magikarp and the situation they were in(James had gotten ripped off after he spent a bunch of money on it, its incompetence nearly got them drowned, they were currently starving and the Magikarp proved it wasn't even good for eating.) it's possible to interpret this more of a Rage-Breaking Point or O.O.C. Is Serious Business.
  • Overused Running Gag: Victreebel, Cacnea, Chimecho, Carnivine, and Mareanie affectionately biting/hugging him.
  • Overprotective Dad: Has shades of this, behaving like an extremely doting parent towards his Pokémon in general, but with Chimecho and later Mime Jr especially.
  • 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). He did somewhat trick Inkay though. He offered Inkay some food, and then threw a Pokéball at it while it was distracted. Regardless Inkay loves James as his trainer, as proven when James believed he'd be happier released to a forest of his own kind.
    • 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.
    • In XY, he once (covertly) helped Serena's Braixen get over having her stick broken. He was so happy about it, he congratulated her for learning Fire Blast while Team Rocket was being blasted off.
  • 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, Yamask or Inkay.
  • 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: James is a loving parody of the Prince Charming type. He's the kindest member of the villain team, a lover of arts, his upfront personality is theatrical and dashing. He even comes from a rich background to boot. He's also an emotional coward with niche hobbies and obsessive tendencies, and he abandoned his fortune to live a life of crime for the sake of escaping an abusive household.
  • Pungeon Master: His image song has a ton of Pokémon puns.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Apart from certain disguises of his, he's studied ballet.
  • Rebel Relaxation: When he first meets Jessie during Team Rocket training, he is posed this way.
  • Riches to Rags: James is part of a wealthy family but ran away to escape from his fiancee Jessebelle and the pressures of his family.
  • Runaway Fiancé: Whose betrothed looks suspiciously like Jessie, for some reason.
    • Ironically, it's much later revealed that James really did fall in love with Jessebelle, 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:
    • Apart from a Weepinbell (that was battled and caught offscreen), James never battles any of the Pokémon he catches, and almost all of his on-screen captures have involved feeding them in some way, or otherwise making some other positive first impression.
    • Somehow he has a knack for catching dangerous Pokémon that end up loving him so much that they glomp him in unfortunately painful ways.
    • He also repeatedly gets scammed by the Magikarp Salesman. At least once he caught on beforehand however, leading to a comical chase.
    • In the Latin American dub, replacing his motto with references and gags became a tradition. For example, he constantly replaces "to the stars above!" part of his motto with a real life place like Acapulco, or a fictional place like "la vecindad del Chavo". It came to a point in later seasons where he doesn't even bother with the motto and just says whatever the translators can think of.
  • Signature Mon: At first, his signature Pokémon was the poisonously dopey Koffing/Weezing. But after Weezing's release, James noticeably had a harder time sticking with an iconic replacement Pokémon. During the AG and DP series, his new signature powerhouses were Grass-types that love to show their affection with painful hugs while the show tries to give him a cute Pokémon cheerleader to complement Jessie's Wobbuffet. But since Black & White, James has never been able to get a permanent Pokémon companion to stick with him like Jessie.
  • Sissy Villain: His evil and effeminacy both fluctuate considerably, but he's an unrepentant criminal and a Camp Straight frequent crossdresser.
  • Smoke Out: He repeats Weezing's feat by means of an ordinary smoke bomb.
  • Something about a Rose: James is often seen brandishing a rose during the Rocket motto. In OS028, he explains that, "Roses are the flowers of love and romance." However, overtime this became rarer, to the point it completely vanished in Best Wishes. When the roses make a return in XY, they're blue instead of the previous red.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: James clearly takes after his dad, lacking only his father's nose and moustache. His father even also has his hair parted down the center with a single out of place cowlick.
  • Supreme Chef: In the mini Pokémon Camp arc of XY, he, Jessie, and Meowth are hired as chefs. James does all the cooking. His cooking is not only complimented by Ash and co and the other campers, but it's also praised by their immediate supervisor Madame Catherine. She even promotes the trio because of this.
  • Taught by Experience: One-episode deal in "Fighting Ire with Fire", where James' 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.
  • Tender Tears: While all of the Team Rocket trio are prone to Ocular Gushers, James is still by far the most likely to get emotional and burst into tears.
  • Team Rocket Wins: Of the three, James is the most likely to enter competitions with a scrupulous strategy that leads him to sometimes win or at least get a near victory through completely honest means.
  • The Little Detecto: In "Team on Team Tussle!", he pulls out a gadget he calls the "Z-Crystal Locating Device", or the "Lame-o-Thousand Machine" as Meowth puts it as he just bought it at a pawn shop some time ago. It actually works, but it gets smashed in the same episode.
  • Token Good Teammate: Downplayed, but he's usually shown to have the most moral scruples and strongest sense of fair play of the trio.
  • Trickster Mentor: Of an unusual sort in "Mending a Broken Spirit", where he uses one of his costumes to help Serena bond with Braixen, having related to it over the episode's dilemma.
  • Trauma Button: The word "fiancé" gives him the heebie-jeebies. Although it might just be with aggressive girls, as he earnestly considers doing actual acts of heroism for a while and staying with "me — I mean, us" after the sweet and shy Kate/Rose's Freudian Slip of a Wacky Marriage Proposal.
  • Tsurime Eyes
  • Uncatty Resemblance: His haircut makes him so strongly resemble a Mareanie that his own Mareanie falls in love with him. Apart from that, his Mareanie's backstory shares similarities to his own, namely that they both were poorly treated by a former love interest only to end up companions to individuals who resemble those love interests (James resembles a Mareanie, Jessie resembles James' fiancé Jessebelle).
  • Unexplained Accent: On several levels. In the english dub, James has always, even across various voice actors, for some reason had a lilt to his voice that sounds like it's partially slipping into a British accent. On one hand this may be either make him fall into the Evil Brit trope, or it might be to reference the fact he comes from a high-society background. But considering that his parents inexplicably have a Southern accent, it's anyones guess why James speaks this way. (Incidentally, his butler speaks with a British accent).
  • Upper-Class Twit: Before he ran away from his family's vast wealth. Now he's just a twit.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Temacu and Kate declare themselves engaged to him in bizarre circumstances. He accepts their proposals but the plans fall through. Also, the Ghost of Maiden's Peak tries to kill him so he can be her husband in the afterlife. He is excited at first but becomes frightened, so Jessie rescues him. He is currently engaged to Jessebelle.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: While due to the nature of Team Rocket's ridiculous schemes mean that it's still ultimately Played for Laughs in some measure, James's propensity to crossdress is almost never singled out specifically for any particular gags or jokes apart from just being a component of Team Rocket's shenanigans. In fact, more than anything it's shown he pulls it off very well, and is generally treated as perfectly passable and sometimes even attractive while doing so in-universe - for example, when he had to pose as Jessilina in the Lilypad Contest to win a sick Jessie another Sinnoh ribbon, not only did Lyra fawn over how cute his outfit was, but he managed to win the entire contest with complete adoration, to the point Jessie felt envious he was getting more praise than she did!
  • You Can't Go Home Again: When he thinks his parents are dead, he says he would rather die than go to their funeral.
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    Meowth (Nyarth) 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/meowthrocket_9004.jpg
Meowth, Dat's Right!

Voiced in Japanese by: Inuko Inuyama
Voiced in English by: Nathan Price (4Kids, original), Maddie Blaustein (4Kids), Carter Cathcart (current)
Voiced in Latin American Spanish by: Gerardo Vásquez
Voiced in European French by: Nessym Guetat (Season 1-8, Movies 1-5 + Destiny Deoxys, Mewtwo Returns, and The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon, first episode of Pokémon Chronicles), Philippe Tasquin (Season 9-current, Movies 8-current, rest of Pokémon Chronicles)

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.


  • Abandoned Pet in a Box: In the "Go West Young Meowth" episode, it's shown that Meowth was abandoned as a kitten in a nest. He grew up on the streets with no parents, gang, or trainer.
  • Aborted Arc: He mentioned once during the Diamond/Pearl series that he's training himself to learn Night Slash...and no mention of this was ever made again.
    • His ability to speak human language was also going to be pivotal in a big storyline planned by the former head writer ever since he wrote Meowth's origin episode but this never came to be.
  • Ace Pilot: He's almost always piloting the team's latest Humongous Mecha, and on many occasions, is very fluent and formidable in it.
  • Adaptational Badass: In Jessie and James' battles in Yellow, not only does Meowth always battle alongside, but has the same level boosts as Arbok and Weezing, and gains a full moveset (including Pay Day, which the anime Meowth laments being unable to learn).
  • Adaptational Dumbass: In both Yellow and Let's Go, Meowth is depicted as a normal, non-sapient Pokémon that Jessie and James keep in a Pokeball. While this at least came with the upside of being a battler in Yellow, in Let's Go he doesn't even do that and doesn't help much on the scheming end of things.
  • Affectionate Nickname: On occasion in the dub while Maddie Blaustein was his voice, Meowth would call James "Jimmy".
  • Ambiguously Bi: Meowth is ambiguously Pansexual, falling in love with various Pokémon over the course of the series, mainly feline species, but he has moments branching out to other species too. Aside from Pokémon, Meowth has fallen in love with humans, and while the obects of his affection are generally female (and he once lost interest in a Purrloin that was revealed to be male), Meowth's fantasies about becoming Giovanni's "top cat" suspiciously often portray the big boss as buff and scantily clothed...
  • Ambiguously Jewish: In the English version, where both the late Maddie Blaustein and Carter Carthcart give him Yiddish as a Second Language. In a fan Q&A, Blaustein confirmed she purposefully played Meowth as if he were Jewish, since she is herself. This is most noticable in the song "Nobody Don't Like Christmas" where she ad libbed Meowth dropping a sarcastic laugh after a joke about Yom Kippur.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Downplayed case. Meowths are listed as being 1'04" in height in their bio (the exact same as Pikachu). In the anime, Meowth stands as tall as 1'08" or even some 2'00" size Pokémon such as Squirtle. This arguably makes him more within the size of an actual cat however.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: While Meowth always walked on two legs and spoke, in the first season he would occasionally do cat-like things such as play with balls of yarn or chase his tail. He never does this in later seasons.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: It's implied the show catches Meowth in the middle of one during the trio's introduction, with him occasionally boasting he's on special terms with Giovanni (the English dub translates this into him being a Leader Wannabe). In both cases, Meowth gradually deflates after Giovanni is introduced and it becomes obvious that he is anything but.
  • Art Evolution: Similar to Pikachu, Meowth's design became a bit leaner and more expressive as seasons passed.
  • As You Know: Suffers from this fate routinely, because he's the only character who can translate Pokémon for not only the characters, but the audience, so even when he's not with a human, he usually ends up just repeating exactly what the Pokémon just said back at them so the viewers aren't just hearing one side of the conversation.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: He's capable of Gigantamaxing and does so for the first time in JN044.
  • Badass Normal: Meowth's abilities, while fairly poor for a Pokémon, seem pretty talented for a human being. Not only can he walk, talk and use his front paws like a human, he's a competent pilot and engineer, shows valid acrobatic skill and is even a good musician and cook. It has been Lampshaded that Meowth could easily become The Ace in a legitimate career if he didn't like being a bad guy so much.
  • Blessed with Suck: All the effort he took to learn how to walk upright and talk has left him unable to use the Signature Move of his species: Pay Day. He mentions that it's because he used up all his "move slots".
    • Or battle competently at all most of the time, for that matter.
  • Brains Evil, Brawn Good: Meowth, as a Pokémon, is usually a feeble battler, so utilises manipulation, trickery and his fluency with gadgets to help the trio try and catch the powerful but occasionally simple minded Ash and Pikachu.
  • Break the Cutie: In "Go West Young Meowth" basically every human treated him cruelly and the other Pokémon weren't much better.
  • Brick Break: Posing as a Croagunk, he fails at it.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Meowth, that's right!"
    • Exclusive to the Mexican Spanish dub, he would often yell "¡Ájale jaleo!" note  when surprised or scared. This was dropped after Season 12, with the dub studio change.
  • Cats Are Mean: He is famous for being the Team Pet of a villainous trio. However, he is probably also the most Anti Villainous out of them. Sometimes he even engages in friendly activities with the protagonist's Pokémon in the side-story episodes. Of course Meowth being a cat complements the fact that the anime's flagship Pokémon, Ash's Pikachu, is a mouse.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Usually aiming his jabs at Jessie and James.
    Jessie & James: (wearing ridiculous dance outfits) This has to be our greatest plan yet!
    Meowth: Dat's what worries me.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Seems to have picked this up in Unova.
    FURY SWIPES!
    • It Makes Sense in Context. In EP050, "Who Gets to Keep Togepi?", when he battles the twerps in a mini-tournament for Togepi, he acts as his own trainer, complete with ordering himself to execute attacks. This trope, as the series goes forward, is likely an extension of the idea that Meowth is technically a wild Pokémon, and does not nominally have his own trainer.
  • Canon Immigrant: Alongside the team's appearances in Yellow and games based on the anime, Team Rocket's Meowth was specifically distributable during certain special download events for Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. Keeping to the nature of its anime characterisation it had an underhanded move set along with Fury Swipes, a smoke ball item, and a fairly low level.
  • Chekhov's Skill: His talent for preparing food with Fury Swipes in "Noodles: Roamin' Off" ended up developed on and reused in several Pokémon Contests he attended for Jessie. By the time of Kalos he seems to be a full on culinary genius.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: You know those famous "Boss Fantasies" where Giovanni is depicted doing ridiculous or mundane things with the Mon of the Week, when the reality is that their boss is a cold-blooded sociopath who (prior to near the end of DP) loathed the trio? Most of them come from Meowth.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Since he's not a particularly strong battler, he often uses more underhanded and crafty tactics when attacking Pokémon.
    • He managed to knock out Brock's Onix with a single Fury Swipes after splashing it with water from a nearby bucket. Despite Brock's protests, this was counted as a legitimate victory.
    • Against Ash's Pikachu toe-to-toe he'd be down in one thundershock. Fighting using a mech or gadget however, he can give him a run for his money.
    • In the original series, he neutralised a Rhydon by using "Tickle" attack on it, and distracted Ash's Bulbasaur by using a "Fake Out" attack. These would normally be considered legit, but Meowth used these attacks before they were introduced as official moves in the games.
  • Comically Lop Sided Rivalry: In terms of proper Pokémon battling, Meowth is usually on the losing side of this, most prominently against Pikachu. It took until "A Frenzied Factory Fiasco" all the way in XY for Meowth to land a single attack on him. As a result Meowth usually sticks to scheming and artillery based confrontations, which, as often as he loses, can at least be more even handed.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: When he's angry and delusional enough, he's a surprisingly competent battler:
    • He fainted Barry's Empoleon with a single Fury Swipes, which it should be noted, it resists. However just a couple episodes later, he couldn't even break a display case with the same attack.
    • His "Fury Swipes Of Love" takes the cake in this department, where Meowth demolishes Seviper, Carnivine, Yanmega, Togekiss, Staraptor, and Infernape.
    • In "The Grass Route" Jessie uses him in a battle tournament disguised as a Sunflora. Due to Ash's overconfidence and not expecting any of Meowth's attacks from a Sunflora, Meowth actually spends most of the fight demolishing Bulbasaur.
    • He helped significantly against Team Plasma in an Enemy Mine in "What Lies Beyond Truth And Ideals", even managing to decimate several Pokémon by himself.
    • In general, Meowth's Fury Swipes aren't weak, just slow and clumsy, making him very easy to out stealth. Most of the rare times he's focused enough to land one, they're very painful, even against prominent fighters like Pikachu. He also proves to have prehensile ability with them, once even using them block a Hidden Attack against Fennekin.
    • Despite his poor track record in Pokémon battles, he sometimes proves talented in Pokémon performance contests. This is especially evident in the Kalos Showcases, (which lack battle contests) where he was competent in nearly all stage themes and almost always helped Jessie reach a top place.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Most of his battles cultimate as this, even the occasional ones that he wins oddly enough. See The Power of Love below.
  • Cute Kitten: Early Kanto had him doing some kittenish stuff, like playing with yarn balls.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: He can understand Pokéspeak and speak English. He could be filthy rich if he tried using his skills for a job as a translator rather than a mafia goon.
    • Lampshaded in "Jumping Rocket Ship" when the twerps point out one of many possible futures for a talking Meowth (becoming a TV sensation).
    • In "Noodles: Romin' Off" he almost quits the team to become a skilled noodle chef due to his precise Fury Swipes.
    • During the time he spends with Ash's group in BW, he acts as a "negotiator" in a couple of episodes.
    • Even as a mere Pokémon, Meowth is actually a competent performer, having won contests and showcases for Jessie and even helped her coordinate rounds.
  • Deadpan Snarker: So very much.
    James: [on a beam miles from the ground] How long do you think it will take to go down?
  • Death Glare: Gave the Dream Thief a hilariously angry look in Best Wishes, before slashing the crap out of him.
  • Death or Glory Attack: Pretty much anytime Meowth jumps in with a Fury Swipes. Most of the time, expect him to get destroyed. Any time it hits however, Meowth usually cleans house.
  • Depending on the Writer: In the Pikachu shorts, regardless of his current characterisation in the main series, Meowth is nearly always a Punch-Clock Villain for Pikachu. It gets especially jarring in the Best Wishes era shorts, where he is a Butt-Monkey with an enormous crush on Meloetta. In the Best Wishes anime itself, he was a ruthless, manipulative villain that once coldly captured and tortured Meloetta as the means of a Team Rocket conquest scheme.
  • Dirty Coward: In a lot of times he is stuck in bad situations with the heroes, he ponders over using them as a distraction.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: His ability to talk and walk upright is the result of this. He fell head over heels for a lady Meowth named Meowzie, who wouldn't give him the time of day. She told him she had no use for a common street Meowth when she had a human owner who gave her everything she wanted. Madly in love and desperate for a chance with her, Meowth missed the point that Meowzie's love for humans was mostly based in all the nice things they gave her and the luxurious life they allowed her to lead; he thought it was about the humans themselves and that if he taught himself to become more human-like, she would like him. He discovered his error when he returned to Meowzie, walking and talking like a human, only for her to call him a freak.
  • Eagleland: Grew up in Hollywood, and a BIG dose of Type 2.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • While Meowth still sparsely battled effectively in the original series, he used several moves such as Scratch and Bite, and sometimes even improvised some, such as Tickle and Fake Out pre-Gen III. Hoenn onwards, Meowth pretty much exclusively uses Fury Swipes, to the point of making prehensile use of it.
    • In the first series, Meowth was a Leader Wannabe, believing he had order over Jessie and James (including dishing out as much abuse to Jessie as he took) and that he could command Ekans and Koffing before they pointed out otherwise. In later seasons, similar to James, he's more jaded and often submits to Jessie's bossiness, and while the later team Pokémon do follow him in their trainers' place, it's more under friendship terms.
    • The English dub originally followed the original Japanese edit's Verbal Tic, having Meowth stick in his name within most of his sentences. This was ditched after a few episodes, with improvised dialogue placed over it instead.
    • The aforementioned fact that he grew up in Hollywood counts too; after the first season, the anime almost never mentions real-life locations (this is part down to the English dub however, in the original, "Hollywood" was a Kanto-located Expy rather than the real thing).
  • Elite Mook: Out of the team's Pokémon, Meowth stands out as equal to Jessie and James and an individual Team Rocket member in his own right. He more often than not is as active in acting out a scheme as the two trainers, providing technical and intellectual support rather than battling.
  • The Engineer: Meowth usually takes control of most of the team's gadgets and mechs, and is implied to maintenance them. May overlap into Gadgeteer Genius since he is also suggested to build some of them.
  • Enemy Mine: With Pikachu, whenever the two end up somewhere alone together. Meowth has even admitted that if circumstances were different, they'd probably be good friends.
    • This claim is kind of proven right in the straight-to-DVD movie Mewtwo Returns. Both Pikachu's clone and Meowth's clone are close friends, and they're seen together most of the time.
    • The episode "King and Queen for a Day", after another accidental separation, Pikachu and Meowth have to babysit their respective group's babies together (Bonsly and Mime Jr.). Aside from Pikachu accusing Meowth of stealing food (he was planning to steal it, but the grateful owner gave it to him after his helping her), there was no bad blood between them throughout the episode.
      • Inverted with Meowth's brief stint as a Fake Defector which seemed to have sparked Pikachu's ire in particular. This didn't stop Meowth from directly helping them against both Team Plasma and the evil Malamar since then, so it would seem things are as usual.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Meowth is unusual in that unlike most Pokémon companions, he is still technically wild in the sense that he has never been in a Poké Ball. Yet, he has still often proved as willingly loyal to Jessie and James as a standard caught Pokémon, and has some rather kind moments with their own Pokémon.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: That one time Ash tried to catch him, the Meowth "blocked the ball! Don't be a thief!"
    • Despite being the one to think it up in the first place, he has a hard time keeping up the ruse of convincing an amnesiac Pikachu that he's a member of Team Rocket, because Pikachu is so darn nice. He even muses that Pikachu is so noble, anyone who tries to kidnap him would be an "insensitive loser", before remembering that's literally what he's doing.
  • Extremity Extremist: Near exclusively uses claw attacks in battle, most often Fury Swipes. He's even used it effectively in performance contests and once as a block attack. Justified since Meowth's minimal skills mean he isn't experienced with much else.
  • Fake Defector: Pulled endless times, perhaps most notably in BW - he pretends to have been fired from Team Rocket in order to join Ash's group on the way to Nimbasa City. It was all a ruse to lower their guard so that he could lure them into a trap, as well as to bypass the Nimbasa Pokémon Centre's efficient security system. He's done it with varying degrees of success in other seasons, in one case at least, he actually starts Believing His Own Lies and wonders whether to defect for real.
  • Fastball Special:
    Jessie: (hurls Meowth at Seviper) "Let's see if you're any use! Double-Edge attack!"
    Meowth: "Wait, I don't know that attaaaaaaaack!"
    • He returns the favor later when he fires Seviper and Cacnea through a chute (much to their chagrin) at the twerps.
    • He also got thrown at Mimikyu by Jessie when the group first encountered it. At least this time, she asked him to use a move he knew: Fury Swipes, which did nothing to it.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: While Jessie and James always attend contests in alter egos, Meowth usually doesn't even bother with a costume. No one seems remotely suspicious that Jessie's alternate persona also has a Meowth with human abilities.
  • Foreshadowing: Takeshi Shudō states that his ability to speak like a normal human was intended to foreshadow the ending he had in mind, which involved a rebellion of the Pokémon against mankind and Meowth acting as an interpreter. Obviously that didn't end up happening, but still worth noting.
  • Freakiness Shame: He really doesn't like having his abnormal traits (his ability of mastering human speech in particular) dragged out in the open by people who react "strongly" to it. Such as Goh in Journeys who went completely nuts with his camera when he realizes how the urban legend of Meowth is actually true, much to Meowth's annoyance.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: In the original Kanto series. His Leader Wannabe tendencies got on the nerves of Jessie and James, and they recurrently considered getting rid of him for another more impressive Pokémon. In "Island of the Giant Pokémon", Ekans and Koffing also make clear they are only loyal to Meowth through association with Jessie and James. When they are separated from them, they gladly leave him at the mercy of Ash's Pokémon, with only Pikachu caring enough not to leave him for dead. This aspect got downplayed as Meowth became less egomaniacal and later seasons developed the True Companions dynamic of the group, making Meowth's dynamic with them closer to Vitriolic Best Buds.
  • Furry Confusion: It's made clear in the show that Meowth is unusual in being able to speak and walk on two legs. But it's still pretty jarring to see him next to a "normal", non-anthropomorphic member of his species.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: He does this a lot with the heroes' Pokémon, especially in the Pikachu shorts.
  • Happy Harlequin Hat: His showcase costume, fittingly enough, is a jester attire.
  • Harmless Villain: He fluctuates as such along with the rest of the team in the main anime. In the Pikachu shorts however, he (and often the rest of the team's current Pokémon) are merely petty troublemakers and Butt Monkeys above anything else. The later shorts often skip this mentality altogether and make him merely a mischievous friend of the other Pokémon.
  • Heartbroken Badass: All that time and Meowzie still wouldn't love him. Aw...
  • Hidden Depths:
    • For all his bumbling, he did learn to talk like a human, a feat that's incredibly rare (not counting telepathic speech, the only other examples are the Gastly in the first series, the Slowking in the second movie, the Manaphy in the ninth movie, and the Rotom Pokedex in the Sun and Moon series).
    • A Best Wishes episode also has a set of Beheeyem dismiss Ash, Jessie and James' resistance to their powers by explaining that idiots are hard to hypnotize ...this translated through the hypnotised Meowth.
    • Although it could just be chalked up to Rule of Funny, Meowth will occasionally drop hints that he's not at all happy with his current place in life.
    Meowth: Oh, they're stuck in a box with impending doom and no way out. That sounds like my life.
    • Meowth is implied to have musical talents. Cases such as "Meowth's Party" show him to be an ample guitarist. His downloadable form in Black 2 and White 2 even has Sing as an ability.
    • He also seems to have good culinary abilities, something that has come in handy in Pokémon contests for Jessie. In the "Eevee and Friends" short, the hero Pokémon even entrust him to make a buffet for their party.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Meowth deems himself greatly more competent than Jessie and James and thus doesn't hold back in upbraiding them. While he is The Engineer (not to mention a self-taught Pokémon fluent in human speech), he's also capable of as massive foolishness as his teammates are.
  • Image Song: A bunch of endings, notably "Meowth's Song".
  • Imagine Spot: Fantasies of his Boss so prominent that they became a running gag.
  • Improvised Weapon: When fighting for the ownership of Togepi, he realizes he's hopelessly outmatched against Brock's Onix, so he grabs a bucket of water and hurls it at him, utterly crushing the Onix.
  • Interspecies Romance: Okay, so most of his interests are feline (Meowzie, Skitty, Glameow, etc.) but there was the time he crushed on a human girl and he has developed feelings for Chloe as of JN072. Then there's his fantasies with Giovanni, most of which depict him as ripped and wearing nothing but briefs. Let the implications fall where they may...
  • Irony: Meowth's species is based on the Maneki Neko, an emblem of good luck and fortune, yet Team Rocket is in Perpetual Poverty and this Meowth can't even learn their signature Pay Day move.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: He suffers Curbstomp Battles aplenty from Pokémon of both genders. He earned an especially brutal beating from Mallow's Steenee straight after she evolved. His attempt at payback in a later instance didn't end much better.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Sinks to his lowest thus far in Best Wishes when we find out that he lied about being fired from Team Rocket and joined Ash and his friends just so he, Jessie and James could steal their Pokémon.
    • He's had many Kick the Dog moments over the years of course, including in episode 12 of the first season, during which he implies that he's capable of killing, but he's too much of a Noble Demon to actually go through with it.
  • Leader Wannabe: A Running Gag in involuntary group splits (which itself seems to occur Once a Season) is that Meowth would try to take charge of the group he's stuck with, only for the others to just ignore him.
    • In the first season, he referred to himself as the "Top Cat", with the implication that he was the real leader of the trio. Jessie and James were dismissive of the idea, and he has no power personally over any of their pokémon.
  • The Load: When he first met Jessie and James before the events of the series. His initial incompetence injures James and reinforces Jessie's negative perception of teamwork.
    • While he's at least risen up in the brains department, he's still usually this the odd time he is called into battle with the team's other Pokémon.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: He's been in love several times over the course of the series, with predictable results:
    • In his Origin Story, he learned to walk and talk to impress Meowzie, a shallow girl Meowth he fell in love with. But she was already in love with a Persian.
    • He's been smitten on several Skitty, including the one that May eventually caught.
    • He actually fought Team Rocket to protect a Glameow he fell for. That evaporated when she evolved into a Purugly.
    • A Zorua turned into a girl Meowth to distract Meowth while Team Rocket was trying to capture it.
    • During his Fake Defector stint in Best Wishes, he competed with Ash's Oshawott for the attention of a Purrloin. Both were thwarted when it was revealed said Purrloin was a boy.
    • When he got hexed by Mimikyu when trying to look under its shroud, he hallucinated about seeing a Glaceon, a Gardevoir, and a Lopunny, all female.
    • Got utterly smitten the moment he laid eyes on a Pheromosa to the point where he started mimicking her stance, posture and speech-patterns, hoping for mutual love, despite the Ultra Beast's very obvious dirt-ugly and poor personality.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Being rejected by Meowzie made him pretty bitter, though then again he was still willing to help her.
  • Love Redeems: Sometimes, because of it (in the case of Skitty and the human Cassandra) he resorts to doing good for their sake, with results.
  • Love Triangle: Meowzie (with a Persian), and Purrloin (with Ash's Oshawott).
  • Malevolent Mugshot: Really likes to model the team's gadgets off of his likeness. Along with their trademark Meowth balloon, several of their Humongous Mecha are giant Meowth bots.
  • Manipulative Bastard: In the episodes "Fangs for Nothin'", "A Scare to Remember", and "Hooked on Onix". The first one has him convince a Dragonite that he, Jessie, and James are "protecting" the Dragon Fang from Clair, Ash, and the others. In the second one, he convinces an amnesia-stricken Pikachu that he's part of Team Rocket. And the third one has him, Jessie, and James trick an Onix (the leader of a pack of Rock-type Pokémon) into thinking that Ash and the others are the bad guys. He also initially managed to manipulate the Squirtle Squad into helping Team Rocket capture Pikachu prior to their Heel–Face Turn.
    • In BW, he convinces everyone he's been fired from Team Rocket, joins Ash for 5 episodes, and then backstabs him.
  • Mook Lieutenant: In the Pikachu shorts. Generally subverted in the main series however (he thought he had the power of one initially, until Ekans and Koffing bluntly pointed out otherwise).
  • Motion-Capture Mecha: Meowth upgrades to these throughout the Sun and Moon series, thus granting him a closer variation of "battling". He even gives the illusion of a Level Grind of sorts by upgrading the mechs to be more resistant as encounters continue, the later ones manage to withstand multiple Z-Moves.
  • Mr. Exposition: A notable example due to his ability to understand Pokémon Speak.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Again regarding the Imagine Spots, where the most Meowth could think of Giovanni's use for their prey-for-the-week would be for some plain, day-to-day chore. Emphasis on "mundane".
    • Throughout the Journeys series, the coin on his head is used to activate the Gacha device the trio use.
  • Noble Demon: While he does deceive the main party big time in Best Wishes, he would never stoop so low as to kill someone even though he's capable of doing so, as demonstrated when he threatened Misty in episode 12 of the first season (meaning he's so noble, his death threats, while Ash does take them seriously, are always empty).
    • Shown clearly in BW124, where he finds himself unable to attack the twerps' Pokémon after they had saved his life earlier.
  • Non-Action Guy: Rarely battles due to lack of experience, preferring to assist Jessie and James with the actual plotting side of things. Downplayed from X and Y onwards, where he takes part in battles more often, even if his track record in them isn't much better.
  • Noodle Incident: The exact details of the mission that got him fired from Team Rocket: both the mission itself as well as how he botched it. Turns out, this is because the whole story is a lie.
  • The Noseless: His lack of a nose has been used as a Running Gag on multiple occasions.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Like Pikachu, Meowth has remained unevolved the entire series, and shows no interest in becoming a Persian.
  • Papa Wolf: Given that the contest for who got to keep Togepi was between him and the three heroes, there's no way he was going to win. Still, his love for the little guy let him take an impressive beating from Brock's Onix and still come back to KO it. Okay technically he cheated by throwing water on Onix as an "attack", but hey, a Meowth knocking out an Onix is still an impressive feat.
  • Parental Abandonment: Meowth wasn't even raised by anyone and had to take care of himself as a kitten.
  • Pet the Dog: He once went against his teammates to protect a Miltank who healed him. In The Poké Spokesman, he pretended to be a normal Pokémon and made the titular Spokesman think he's communicating with a Pokémon to not give up his dream to be a Pokémon-Human interpreter.
  • The Philosopher: Often his snark tends to convert into this, especially in the Japanese version. Likes to gaze at the moon and lament.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: During their Darker and Edgier run in Best Wishes he was the most liable of the trio to regress into his normal buffoonish self. In all other regions before and after however, Jessie and James are even goofier than him, with Meowth even sometimes the Only Sane Man.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Played with. While Meowth aren't exactly the most powerful Pokémon in the games either, the show completely degrades Team Rocket's example, likely to keep his bumbling and reliance on Zany Schemes to steal Pokémon relevant. However Meowth will on occasion have very notable showings of true strength and skill, even if the majority of them lean as Rule of Funny.
  • The Power of Love: While usually a pitiful battler, romance seems to bring out a greater strength in him. With Fury Swipes, he singlehandedly took down Ash's Infernape and Staraptor, Jessie's Seviper and Yanmega, and Dawn's Togekiss...because he was in love with Glameow. He also defeated a Persian with a one-hit swipe in an attempt to earn the affection of his childhood crush (see Pyrrhic Victory below).
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Throughout his infamous Fake Defector stint in Unova, Meowth manages to earn the heroes' trust by performing legitimately helpful acts for them and even other parties and wild Pokémon. While it was all just to lure the heroes into a trap, little of it was negated in the end, and since the plan failed, he ironically ended up doing more good than harm.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Most of Meowth's battles cultimate in this, those that aren't an outright One Hit KO anyway, while most of Jessie and James' Pokémon have at least some small but plausible strengths, Meowth is extremely inexperienced outside a usually ineffective Fury Swipes attack.
  • Punny Name: Both the Japanese and English names for the Pokémon begin with the onomatopoeia for a cat's meow in their respective languages.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Managed to beat a Persian for the girl he loves... only to find she still considers him a "freak" and sticks with Persian anyway. He also curb stomped the heroes and his Team Rocket brethren to win the affection of a Glameow, only for it to evolve into an abusive Purugly.
  • Real Men Cook: Shows a culinary talent from Sinnoh onward. It's more in terms of artistic cooking than as the Team Chef however. As such he provides well whenever Jessie's contests have a Cooking Duel and his work is nearly always complimented as delicious.
  • Redemption Promotion: Keeping with the rest of the trio, Meowth's normally pathetic battle skills amp up hilariously whenever he fights for noble causes. He was unstoppable against Team Plasma's forces in their final battle. This was to rescue Pikachu rather than capture him.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Wants to replace Persian on Giovanni's lap.
  • The Rival:
    • His vendetta towards Pikachu verges between this and a respectful Friendly Rival.
    • Also Matori's Alolan Meowth, who is aiming for the same goal as him (usurping Persian as Giovanni's favourite).
  • Running Gag: Aside from the Boss fantasies, there was also Meowth's tendency to disguise himself as other Pokémon. The most recurring of these disguises is a Sunflora.
  • Rule of Funny: His battles. Whether they end in instant failure or he somehow wins, it's usually to set up a joke.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Meowth in his youth put all his time and energy into learning to act human. As a result he is able to talk and use his front paws like a human, but has little experience in battling, resulting in him (usually) being an ineffective fighter. According to himself he permanently lost the chance to learn Pay Day because of this.
  • Signature Mon: Played With in that nobody technically owns Meowth. But he is without a doubt the most iconic Pokémon associated with Team Rocket. Unlike Wobbuffet, who can be Put on a Bus as seen in Black & White, it is impossible to feature Jessie and James without Meowth, and that's why they are called a trio by the fans.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Meowth plays this role during a 5-episode arc in Best Wishes - he claims to have been fired from Team Rocket, when it was part of a ploy to steal all the team's Pokémon.
  • The Smart Guy: A Japan-exclusive official Pokédex book confirms his exceptional intelligence made him capable of learning human speech.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: As he is a Pokémon that can speak to humans, he acts as a human-to-Pokémon translator. He can't understand mechanical-like Pokémon such as Magnezone, Metagross or Ultra Beasts, however.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Meowth got a lot of attention during his Fake Defector period in Best Wishes. Curiously, he is also this out of Team Rocket's Pokémon roster in Sun and Moon, being called into battle far more often than Jessie and James' captures.
  • Status Quo Is God: Like Pikachu, Meowth has no interest in evolving. And while he has shown odd semblances of battle competence throughout the series, he has remained an inactive and inexperienced Pokémon, to the point he hasn't even learned a new attack since the start of the series.
  • Supreme Chef: Similar to James, Meowth is implied to have a culinary talent. At one point in Diamond and Pearl he almost leaves Team Rocket to become a ramen chef when it is pointed out his Fury Swipes make him a natural fit for the job. Several of his performances for Jessie's competitions also involve him making food in some way, most of which he wins.
  • Taken for Granite: Hunter J once turned him into stone to sell on the black market.
  • Talking Animal: The very first one, and the most recurring, even.
  • Team Dad: Often this to Team Rocket's Pokémon when separated from Jessie and James. Subverted in the first instance this happened, as Ekans and Koffing bluntly didn't think the same way of it as he did.
  • Team Rocket Wins: With the exception of the Hoenn era, Meowth usually scores at least one impressive victory in battle per series:
    • Kanto/Johto: Defeated a Persian in a Single-Stroke Battle in "Go West, Young Meowth". Also defeated Brock's Onix by splashing water on it.
    • Sinnoh: Defeated Ash's Infernape and Staraptor, Jessie's Seviper and Yanmega, and Dawn's Togekiss with a few "Fury Swipes of Love" in "For The Love of Meowth".
    • Unova: Decimated several of Team Plasma's Pokémon in "What Lies Beyond Truth and Ideals".
    • Kalos: Curbstomped Clemont's Chespin with a single Fury Swipe (albeit through the use of power upgrading armour) in "Calling From Beyond The Aura".
    • Alola: Delivered a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Ash's Rowlet in SM112 (though this ended up bringing Meltan's wrath down on him).
  • Think of the Censors!: He refuses to translate Mimikyu initially due to this being a "family show".
  • Third-Person Person: Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Also, he would occasionally replace certain words with his own name.
  • Token Evil Teammate: As Ekans and Koffing once pointed out, while many Team Rocket Pokémon are loyal or even enthusiastic about serving Jessie and James, Meowth is the only one that gets a kick out of being evil, if being an easily defeated Goldfish Poop Gang with Jessie and James really counts as 'evil'.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • As a performer Pokémon. He was mainly used to help Jessie cheat throughout Hoenn. During Sinnoh, it was established that Meowth had a particularly articulate use of Fury Swipes, making him useful in contests legitimately. By Kalos he is Jessie's Secret Weapon for showcases and performs well in nearly every round.
    • This later extended to battles as well. While he's still mainly a plotter, Best Wishes and later series have him occasionally take part in battles, and he's usually shown to be no less capable than Jessie and James' Pokémon for better or worse.
    • In Journeys he finally gets access to a region gimmick, proving able to activate his species' Gigantamax form and even use G-Max Gold Rush, his first non-Fury Swipes attack in over six regions. Unfortunately for him though, this still doesn't grant him the power to go up against Eternatus.
  • Translator Buddy: For the rest of Team Rocket's Pokémon and pretty much other Pokémon in general. Because he's pretty much the only Pokémon in the series capable of speech, other powerful Pokémon tend to take advantage of this in order to communicate to humans and hijack Meowth to be their unwilling translator. He can't understand mechanical-like Pokémon such as Magnezone, Metagross or Ultra Beasts though.
  • Unknown Rival:
    • Several due to the trio's incompetence (see above), but in particular he loathes Giovanni's Persian for having his master's favour over him as "top cat". Persian barely seems to even acknowledge him.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: The Purrloin in BW46 manipulated him and Oshawott into helping him by pretending to be female. Purrloin's trainer finally cleared it up, much to both their shock.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Very few people ever comment on the fact that Meowth can speak human, despite this being rare to the point where it's almost exclusive to Legendaries with the ability to use telepathy.
    • One Johto episode had the trio try to use Meowth's ability to talk to make money at a street performance festival. Meowth gets stage fright but eventually does speak up, drawing in a crowd... only for his joke routine to fall so flat, it was enough to lose the crowd's interest.
    • At times, other Pokémon thieves and hunters express interest in getting him, knowing they can get a fortune by selling him for his ability to speak.
    • At times averted with newcomers such as Dawn, Clemont, and Goh; who are shocked Meowth can talk the first time they meet him.
  • Urban Legends: In Kanto, Meowth is quite the urban legend when it comes to the Team Rocket Trio, in that the rumours around him being a "talking meowth" are considered highly doubtful and dubious by anyone who hasn't seen him in person. Anyone who has met him however, knows better.
  • Verbal Tic: "-nya". Averted in the English dub however; the first few episodes had Meowth use his name in a lot of his sentences, but this was quickly dropped.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: To even more extremes than most Team Rocket Pokémon, having not learned a single new attack since the first series. He did gain brief access to G-Max Gold Rush in Journeys however.
  • We Need a Distraction: The first time in the Best Wishes series where Meowth was doing anything remotely comical was in BW04, where Jessie and James force him into an Umbreon getup to divert the attention of Don George, his troupe, Ash and Iris, as the Rockets go on with their caper.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: The one time Meowth was treated too nicely by Jessie and/or James, he outright admits that he's much more used to being bullied by them.
    • And then there's another time when he did it to himself: he mentions that it sometimes scares him how he has a rarely seen soft side.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gives one to Iris when she attempts (and fails) to catch him in a Poké Ball without warning.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: Meowth is pretty much limited to scratch attacks such as Fury Swipes, having neglected learning most of his species' moves in favour of becoming sapient. He has shown resourcefulness about this sometimes, especially in performance competitions, but in terms of battling, he's mostly limited to just swiping or (more often) getting his ass handed to him. He is able to use G-Max Gold Rush however, though naturally requires Gigantamax form to achieve it.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Has a grudging respect for Tyson's Puss in Boots Expy Meowth from the Hoenn League, since they share an enmity towards their evolved form. However, it's also a case of an Unknown Rival, since Meowth-in-Boots rarely acknowledges him.
    • And of course Pikachu. Even he is often astounded by his valour and strength, and multiple Enemy Mines and Friendly Enemy moments make clear they have some palpable respect for each other.note  As obsessed as Meowth is with trying to capture him, he has stated he'd love even more for Pikachu to willingly join him as an ally to Team Rocket.
    • Meowth also generally has respect for Ash as a trainer. If a Pokémon isn't going to join Team Rocket, he would much rather they end up with Ash instead. He's said this of both Chimchar and Litten.
    • As disgusted as Ash's team were by Meowth's Fake Defector scheme in Best Wishes, even they had to admit he'd used a genuinely brilliant plan against them.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He swipes Jessie and James indiscriminately. He's also tried to claw female allies of Ash more than once.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Ever since Carter Cathcart started voicing him in the English dub, Meowth's been known to occasionally let loose an "oy vey."

    Wobbuffet (Sonans) 
Voiced in Japanese by: Yuji Ueda
Voiced in English by: Kayzie Rogers (1st voice), Erica Schroeder (2nd voice; current)
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Jessie_Wobbuffet_8967.png

This perpetually jovial and dopey Pokémon was introduced in the Johto saga, after Jessie accidentally traded her Lickitung for him. Barring a Bus Trip during the Black & White series, he has since consistently stuck around despite the otherwise constantly-revolving cast of Pokémon. While technically one of Jessie's Pokémon, later seasons portray him as being always out-of-Pokéball, much like Pikachu, solidifying his status as a Sixth Ranger. note 


  • Almighty Janitor: He usually stays by the sidelines and following orders, but when he actually goes into a fight, he's more than capable to deflect and counter attacks from any mons coming for his crew, regardless if they're legendary ones or not. This makes it even more jarring that Jessie seldom uses him, given the twerps usually have a much more difficult time defeating Team Rocket whenever she does.
  • Attack Reflector: Knows Counter and Mirror Coat.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Despite how vacuous he may look, he loves being with Jessie and the rest of Team Rocket, especially since his return during the Kalos region.
    • In a very early episode in Johto, he was floating down a river, and imagined seeing Jessie in the clouds, reacting cheerfully.
  • Badass Bystander: Wobbuffet spends so much time as inactive comic relief that it's easy to forget that he's the most powerful of Team Rocket's Pokémon. Despite Jessie only calling him into battle on spaced occasions, his Counter and Mirror Coat can easily deflect most of the twerps' attacks and even some legendaries.
  • 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.
  • Breakout Character: Initially introduced as just one more of the Generation II Pokémon obtained by the main cast during the Johto saga (in fact being the only new Pokémon Team Rocket obtains during this time period), mostly just to provide comic relief, Wobbuffet proved endearing and memorable enough that the writers couldn't bring themselves to get rid of him. He was added to the very end of the iconic Team Rocket Motto and stuck around during the entirety of Hoenn and Sinnoh, with the two series even attempting to somewhat-unsuccesfully give James his own "Wobbuffet" (in the form of Chimecho and Mime Jr. respectively). When he was unceremoniously bussed as part of the Black & White series' attempt to make the TRio into "serious" villains, it received backlash from certain parts of the fandom, as by that point he had stuck long enough that it just was not the same without him. He returned by popular demand in XY, and by Sun & Moon he's portrayed as always being out of his Pokéball, pretty much acting full-time as a fourth member of the trio.
  • The Bus Came Back: After their adventures in Unova, Wobbuffet rejoins the team for the XY series.
  • Canon Immigrant: Was distributable at downloading events for Pokémon X and Y. It had the same move set as its anime counterpart plus a characteristically low level.
  • Character Tics: Typically seen with a hand on his forehead. Though unlike Psyduck, this is more akin of a soldier's salute rather than a sign of a constant headache.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Despite being absent from the team in Best Wishes, he still appeared in the Pikachu shorts of that era, hinting his tenure in the series wasn't over just yet.
  • Cool Shades: Wears some pretty dorky sunglasses as part of his Performance costume in Kalos. His incognito sunglasses in Alola are far cooler.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The Disaster Dominoes that left Jessie with Wobbuffet were set in motion after Ash's team helped his previous trainer pawn him off in a trade. Amusingly, the twerps never figured out it was the same Wobbuffet that Team Rocket use against them to this day.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Its Counter and Mirror Coat attacks have proved useful in several battles and contests, even if it spends the rest of the time acting as Plucky Comic Relief. Especially evident in the Kalos era.
  • The Ditz: Its looks and demeanor lend to it coming as rather dopey.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Wobbuffet's Counter and Mirror Coat are so powerful that they would render Team Rocket nigh invincible against Ash & co... except for the fact Jessie can't seem to ever get their different properties straight in her head and rarely calls for him to battle as a result.
  • Elite Mook: Like Meowth, Wobbuffet now frequently travels with the group instead of being relegated to his Poké ball and often assists with the actual scheming and grunt work of a plan as well as battling. Especially prominent since the Kalos region where he is a lot more competent in both regards.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He stands with Meowth and the other Rocket Pokémon in "Got Miltank", refusing to help Jessie battle a sanctuary of healing Pokémon.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Misty's Psyduck. Both were accidentally obtained by the team's Fiery Redhead, both are silly and dopey but surprisingly useful, both are heavily associated with the Psychic type, both have a habit of coming out of their Pokeballs on their own, both have a love-hate relationship with their trainers, both are essentially useless in fights unless attacked first, and both have a habit of putting their hands up to their heads.
  • Evil Feels Good: Doesn't seem to mind that it was accidentally traded to a villainous team.
  • Face–Heel Turn: He 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.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Initially, as a result of being an accidental trade and his usual dopiness, the trio were left rather exasperated with it. He eventually became a beloved team member however.
  • Heartbroken Badass: He 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.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Debuted during the Johto season, usually acting as a de facto fourth member of the main trio since.
  • Lethal Joke Character:
    • Wobbuffet spends most of his time as comic relief. When Jessie uses him competently enough however, he's one of the team's deadliest Pokémon. Especially prominent in XY. While he's still always blasted off by Pikachu and co, when caught on guard in battle, he can tank almost all of their attacks.
    • Wobbuffet's defensive moveset made him incompetent in contests, though capable of creative combinations in showcases (where he performs with another Pokémon).
  • Logical Weakness: Wobbuffet cannot attack on his own and can only reflect damage with Counter and Mirror Coat. This means that he cannot do anything against moves that aren't technically attacks. In "A Hurdle for Squirtle!" Jessie uses him in a contest against Harley's Ariados, but Harley has Ariados use the non-damaging String Shot to ensnare Wobbuffet, pull him around like a marionette with strings, and then hurl him across the stage for a finish.
  • Long Runner: He's been on Jessie's team for more than 500 episodes, the most recurring supporting Pokémon character on the show. The only other Pokémon to stay on the show longer than him are Pikachu and Meowth who've been there since the first and second episodes respectively. As of Sun & Moon, Wobbuffet's presence appears to have been rewarded, with him now spending nearly all of his time outside of his Pokéball and being treated as a permanent fixture on the team.
  • Look What I Can Do Now!: When he first returns in XY, he is far more battle effective. His Counter and Mirror Coat are resistant to more powerful attacks and he can even dodge skilfully. Compared to their first battle in Johto, Pikachu is genuinely on the ropes against Wobbuffet at first.
  • Lost in Translation: His Japanese name "Sonans" is a pun on the phrase "that's the way it is", meaning his random interruptions compliment a lot of Team Rocket banter. Not to mention when he interacts with his pre evolution, Wynaut, aka "Sohnano", a pun on "Really?", creates a situation of an endlessly looping conversation.
  • Made of Iron: Given his specialty this is to be expected, but even compared to his fellow Iron Butt Monkey comrades, Wobbuffet tends to shrug off even the worst of slapstick abuse.
  • Non-Action Guy: He started off serving mostly as comic relief, only following XY did its Counter and Mirror Coat start becoming pivotal on a frequent basis. Reverted back in Sun and Moon, to the point that he used attacks in only three episodes of the entire series.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Wobbuffet returns himself to his Poke Ballnote  in JN 081, when Gorman and Bluto are ecstatic seeing him, despite the fact Wobbuffet has always been outside of his Poke Ball since the Kalos arc.
  • Only Sane Man: Out of the entire Trio's team, he tend to be the only reasonable one in the group, both being a competent battler by his own judgment and point out the hypocrisy internally whenever the others say something stupid. However, he's all too pleased with his role in the group as a support-member that he never bother complaining about it.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Everything it does is for laughs.
  • The Pollyanna: No matter how much punishment Wobbuffet endures thanks to being a part of Team Rocket, he 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. He returns to action in XY.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Despite going along with Team Rocket's schemes, it didn't do anything malicious out of its own free will. Like Meowth, it has some outright friendly moments in the Pikachu shorts.
  • Secret Weapon: Due to his boosted Counter attack, he became such in XY, helping Team Rocket fend off some of the heroes' attacks. This sometimes occurred in previous eras, but much more sparsely.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: He is Put on a Bus for the Unova arc, coinciding with Team Rocket's more serious portrayal throughout said arc. Their return to a more comedic role is heralded by Wobbuffet's return to the team.
  • Signature Mon: He serves as Jessie's overall Signature Mon since Arbok's departure, although Wobbuffet was already a very prominent Team Rocket Pokémon in the original series as well. Wobbuffet has traveled with Jessie and Team Rocket to almost every region, except to Unova in Best Wishes where he was left behind in the headquarters, since his goofy personality didn't fit the serious and competent trio of that era. Other Pokémon Jessie would catch in different regions serve as her main battler or Contest Pokémon, since Wobbuffet's limited movepool and passive nature makes it difficult for Jessie to use. He remains loyal to Jessie and Team Rocket and (aside from Best Wishes) serves as a constant figure to the trio's identity who often switch their entire party per region except him.
  • 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.
    • This has become even more true as of Sun & Moon, where Wobbuffet appears alongside the trio when they receive direct orders from Giovanni and he has yet to be recalled into his Pokéball. He's become so strongly an integral part of the team they now make a seat just for him in their robot builds!
  • Stock Sound Effects: During Kayzie Rogers' temporary departure in the middle of the Diamond and Pearl series. While most of her other characters got replacement actors, the English dub just reused Roger's previous recordings for Wobbuffet until her return. Subverted since her permanent leave from the series, where he now has a new voice actress. Several voice clips prior to Season 10, however, were reused from past episodes.
  • Stone Wall: Even among the Rockets, he gets inflicted the most damage.
  • Token Competent Minion: While Wobbuffet is as much a Plucky Comic Relief as the rest of the Team Rocket trio, he generally offers a much tougher fight during the sporadic occasions Jessie calls him out to battle when compared to Team Rocket's other Pokémon who usually serve as jobbers outside of the occasional Not So Harmless moment. In the early points of the XY series, Jessie used Wobbuffet far more regularly, leading to multiple far more persistent face-offs against Ash and co instead of their usual defeats in Curb Stomp Battles.
  • Token Good Teammate: He's easily the least vicious of Jessie's Pokémon and is certainly the most childlike.
  • Took a Level in Badass: He's back in the XY saga, and is far more competent in battle than before.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Jessie as per her usual roster. Less conventionally he's often independently loyal to James and Meowth as well.
  • Villainous Friendship: Often demonstrates a bond with Meowth in later episodes.
  • Walk-In Chime-In: Early on especially, Wobbuffet would randomly leave his Pokéball and join in on a conversation. This conversation is from EP154:
    Jessie: Must you always butt into our business?!
    Wobbuffet: Wobba-wobba-wobba-wobba-wobba.
    Jessie: I was afraid you'd say that. *recalls him*
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Although his defense is far stronger in XY, it comes with a loophole: it's useless against things that aren't actual attacks. So he ends up getting stymied by Froakie's frubbles in XY001 and Inkay's ink in XY003.
  • With a Foot on the Bus: XY063. Jessie left him with the nice doctor who earlier saved their lives to pursue love with his female Wobbuffet. He decided he'd prefer to stick with Jessie.
    Meowth: You left them...for us? You're the best pal-y that ever was!
    Jessie: You're a fool. A fool...
  • Yes-Man: Towards Jessie and Team Rocket in general, having seemingly no ambition or drive of its own. Except that one time he fell for a Kirlia.

Team Rocket Trio's Pokemon

See here.


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Alternate Versions of Team Rocket

    Mirror Team Rocket 
A version of Team Rocket from the Mirror Dimension, who are apparently the world's greatest heroes.
  • Adaptational Heroism: This Team Rocket are hailed as heroes and legends in their home dimension, instead of being petty thieves.
  • Badass Baritone: All four of them get this treatment, as their voices are noticeably deeper compared to their mainstream counterparts.
  • Big Good: They're described as this, fighting against evildoers across the world.

    Alternate Team Rocket 
A version of Team Rocket from the Alternate Universe where they hatch the deadliest scheme of all: force Dialga and Palkia to fight each other, use their energies to reduce everyone's Pokémon into eggs, then steal them all!
  • Adaptational Badass: Considering they nearly pull off a massive heist involving two major Legendaries, they make even the Unova Era Team Rocket look like idiots by comparison.
  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: Unlike the main Team Rocket, they have cool-looking armor that protects them from the effects of space-time, their Meowth can use Dark Pulse, and they actually tricked Olympus Mons into fighting each others so they can pull off the heist of the century.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: They came up with a plan to get Dialga and Palkia to fight each other, then trap them in the Red Chain. That way, while they fought, their energies would deage all Pokémon into eggs, allowing Team Rocket to steal them all and raise them as their own, then capture the two legendaries when they wore themselves down.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Being smarter than the main Team Rocket aside, they grossly underestimated how pissed Dialga and Palkia could get when aggravated enough. Instead of wearing them down like they hoped, the duo wind up shorting all of the armor that's supposed to protect against the space-time effects, forcing Arceus to intervene to get them to stop.
  • Fountain of Youth: When their armor shorts out, the space-time effects turn the TRio into teenagers.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After getting two legendaries to battle each other so they can reduce the entire world's Pokémon population into eggs for them to steal, Ash, Goh, Chloe, and Dawn, plus their alternate counterparts, smash their plans and blast them back to headquarters while they get deaged into teenagers.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Their armor can be shorted out by plain water.
  • The Worf Effect: Upon introducing themselves, they make short work of Ash's Lucario and Goh's Inteleon, both of whom had just taken out their main counterparts in seconds.

LOOKS LIKE TEAM ROCKET'S BLASTING OFF AGAIN!!!
WOOOOBBBBBUFFET!!!

Alternative Title(s): Pokemon Anime Team Rocket

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