Team Rocket (ロケット団 Roketto Dan ) a recurring crime syndicate in the Pokémon franchise. Their goal is to steal Pokémon to further their goal of global domination. Team Rocket first appears in Pokémon Red and Blue Versions, and are led by the criminal mastermind, Giovanni. Team Rocket has operations in the Kanto and Johto regions and Sevii Islands. Several regions have their own crime syndicates, but their efforts are not connected to Team Rocket.
Although Team Rocket has a goal of world domination, most of their crimes are far more trivial such as theft of TMs and Fossils. In the core series, the focus on particular, organized attempts by Team Rocket to monopolize gambling, perform mob take-overs of cities and generally terrorize the inhabitants of Kanto and Johto.
In Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, and LeafGreen Team Rocket Grunts most often use fierce-looking Pokémon. Their chosen Pokémon tend to be of the poison type, with Rockets most frequently using Pokémon like Koffing, Zubat, Ekans and their evolutions. Despite this, their leader, Giovanni, uses mainly ground-type Pokémon, most notably Nidoking, Nidoqueen (which are both also poison-types), Rhydon, Dugtrio and Kangaskhan, which despite its type does not appear out of place in his squad.
In Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions, Team Rocket appears to have expanded its number of preferred types. Many Rockets use the normal Pokémon Rattata and Raticate, while Executives are seen to take on dark Pokémon such as Murkrow and Houndoom.
In Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed and LeafGreen, the player must foil several schemes by Team Rocket, in the following locations before the player shuts them down, which are:
- Mt. Moon, where Team Rocket seeks rare Pokémon and fossils.
- Lavender Tower, where Team Rocket is holding the kindly Mr. Fuji hostage.
- Celadon City, where Team Rocket secretly runs and offices beneath the Game Corner.
- Saffron City, where Team Rocket took hostage/control of the Silph Co. headquarters.
- After defeating Giovanni at the Viridian Gym.
- The Sevii Islands, specifically the fifth island. (FireRed and LeafGreen only)
In Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal, set three years later, it returns to wreak havoc in Johto, at
- The Slowpoke Well in Azalea Town, making illegal business with Slowpoke Tails.
- Mahogany Town/Lake of Rage, where Team Rocket makes an experiment with a radio broadcast which will be used to control Pokémon, as well as forcing the Lake of Rage's Magikarp to evolve into Gyarados.
- The Radio Tower in Goldenrod City, which Team Rocket takes over and uses their Pokémon to control, making references to Giovanni in the broadcast, trying to encourage him to get back to business.
- A Rocket Grunt steals a machine part from Kanto's power plant, creating chaos in the electricity-related business (such as Kanto's Radio Tower and Saffron City's Magnet Train).
In Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, and LeafGreen, the player temporarily disbands the organization by defeating Giovanni in his Viridian Gym. Three years later, in Gold, Silver, and Crystal, Team Rocket continues to survive through its Executives, who control the organization but seek to bring back Giovanni, who is supposedly in solo training. When the Executives are defeated by the player, it permanently disbands.
In Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal, there are two Team Rocket admins at the Mahogany Town warehouse. They bear a striking resemblance to Jessie and James, albeit older and the game does not reveal their names, and the female also uses an Arbok. In Pokémon Yellow, they appear as in-game bosses, using Meowth, Koffing, and Ekans. In Pokémon Yellow, they don't come up with their usual evil plans to steal the main character's Pikachu. Over the course of the series, the trio has grown close and are now good friends as opposed to merely teammates.
In the Pokémon anime, the most recurring members, often seen separate from Team Rocket, and major antagonists appearing throughout are the Team Rocket trio, consisting of Jessie, James, and Meowth. They are known for their incompetence with their schemes, and are often a source of comedic relief. Other frequently-seen members of Team Rocket include Butch, Cassidy, and Giovanni. The trio first appears in "Pokémon Emergency!".
In almost all their appearances, the trio attempts to steal Ash's Pikachu or a Pokémon introduced in the episode, intending to present it to their boss Giovanni. They employ various machines and contraptions, often including rubber or other shock-proof equipment to protect themselves from Pikachu's electric attacks. They also have a hot air balloon that resembles a Meowth (or, occasionally, a Wobbuffet) and a submarine that resembles a Magikarp, or in early episodes, a Gyarados.
In early episodes they were a serious menace to Ash, however, this role was soon transformed into their niche as comic relief. Each of their plans ends in failure, either due to the actions of Ash and his friends, or the trio's own incompetence, often a mechanical failure in their devices. Most episodes end with them being flung far into the air, usually with a cry of, "Looks like Team Rocket's blasting off again!". As a result, the trio has fallen out of favor with Giovanni, and is usually strapped for cash, working other jobs to raise the money to buy such devices. They often find success with legitimate work, but lapse back to a life of crime once their funds are replenished.
Unlike most other Team Rocket members, who wear black uniforms, Jessie and James wear white. There are also a few episodes where the trio are the protagonists, while the usual main characters are relegated to secondary roles; in many such episodes, the trio are portrayed in a more serene light. They have several times shown themselves to have heroic potential and the desire to do good deeds, with their most notable moment being helping Ash save the world in the second film. Even their intended "evil deeds" usually result in someone learning a valuable lesson or fulfilling a dream, causing some to see them as second protagonists who unwittingly change the world for the better. With the introduction of more serious villains in the show, the trio were further pushed towards the role of protagonists. Similarly, their Pokemon are not evil, only acting the way they do because of their strong friendship with Jessie or James, as when Ekans and Koffing were separated from their trainers, they got along well with Pikachu and Ash's other Pokemon.
In various episodes of the show and most, if not all, of the movies, Jessie, James, and Meowth are shown to have the ability to see beyond the fourth wall.
The trio is characterized by both their determination to succeed and their incompetence at almost any task they attempt. They also have a penchant for using amusingly bad puns during conversations. Jessie and James often use disguises, which are usually very inadequate, however, they always fool the other characters; the only exception was when Jessie disguised herself as a Nurse Joy, and Brock, who is obsessed with the Joy family, suspects her.
- Mt. Moon where they were searching for the Moon Stone and had experimented on Misty's Gyarados
- Vermillion City, where they were kidnapping Pokémon for transport by sea
- Lavender Tower where they had taken over and kidnapped Blue
- The siege of Saffron City, when the Rockets had closed off the city and taken the people of Pallet Town captive.
In the manga, Blaine is a former Team Rocket Scientist who had combined the DNA of Mew with his own DNA, creating Mewtwo. However, he gained the DNA of Mewtwo as well, giving him the ability to track Mewtwo. The manga also shows Koga, Lt. Surge, and Sabrina as high-ranking members of Team Rocket, directly below Giovanni in the chain of command.
- A major difference between the manga and other versions of Team Rocket is that several Gym Leaders are Rocket members in the manga, while they are not in other media.
- In this continuity, Team Rocket is apparently an acronym for “Raid On the City, Knock-out, Evil Tusks.” (Pokémon Adventures, volume 14)
Showdown at Cerise
In the Yellow Caballero arc, the Gym Leaders who had been Rocket admins showed up to help the heroes fight the Elite Four.
Neo Team Rocket
- Main article: Neo Team Rocket
After being defeated by the protagonists in the R/B/Y arc, Team Rocket was reformed as Neo Team Rocket. The leader of Neo Team Rocket is the Mask of Ice, a stranger being able to shoot ice at his enemies in various ways, including Icicle Spears and the ability to freeze anything he touches instantly.
The Mask of Ice kidnapped Green, Silver, Shum, Cart, Will and Karen as children, and raised them as his servants. Green and Silver escaped soon after, but the rest of them remained in his clutches. After Giovanni disbanded Team Rocket, the Mask of Ice recruited the Rocket Grunts that were left behind, forcing those who are not interested by controlling them with masks. However, former Team Rocket Executives Lt. Surge, Sabrina, and Koga were not recruited by Mask of Ice.
The Mask of Ice's true identity is that of Pryce, the Gym Leader of Mahogany Town.
Pokémon Trading Card Game
Team Rocket received two expansion sets of cards in the Pokémon Trading Card Game: “Team Rocket” and “EX: Team Rocket Returns.” These expansions feature Dark Pokémon, which are Pokémon that have been turned evil by Team Rocket. Dark Pokémon are actually dual type, regular type, and Dark-type in the second Team Rocket expansion. There are also “Rocket’s” Pokémon, most of which are EXs, apart from Wobbuffet and Meowth. All of them are Dark-type, though most require their normal elemental energies.
- Jessie is one of the three members of the Team Rocket trio. She has long, pink hair. Jessie aspires to achieve Team Rocket's goals in hopes of pleasing Giovanni.
- James is one of the three members of the Team Rocket trio. He has short, purple hair. Like the other Team Rocket members, James aspires to achieve Team Rocket's goals in hopes of pleasing Giovanni.
- Meowth is another member of the Team Rocket trio, named after his own species. Unlike most Pokémon, Meowth has the ability to talk, and directly rivals Ash's Pikachu.
- Giovanni is the crime lord and leader of Team Rocket—having inherited his position from his mother—and the Gym Leader of Viridian City. He is constantly frustrated by Ash's continuous interference along with the trio for their incompetence.
- Jessie's Wobbuffet appears at times, although not as often as Meowth. His moves like Counter and Mirror Coat often benefit the trio whenever they find themselves on the receiving end of powerful attacks. Wobbuffet usually serves as a comic relief character due to his goofy, energetic, and loony character. As a running gag, Wobbuffet often emerges from his Poké Ball, and often at inappropriate times which frustrated Jessie at times. Team Rocket has also had various vehicles and robots based on him.
- Butch is the rival of James, and is looked upon favorably by Giovanni.
- Cassidy is the partner of Butch and the rival of Jessie. Like Butch, she is looked upon favorably by Giovanni.
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