Team Rocket is a manipulative group of villainous criminals in the Pokémon franchise. They appear in the Pokémon anime, the Pokémon manga, as well as the first and second generations (as well as their respective remakes) in the games.
In the Games
Team Rocket is an organization bent on criminal business and eventually trying to achieve global dominance over the world. In Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow/Green as well as in their remakes FireRed and LeafGreen, Team Rocket is the main criminal organization in Kanto region. Team Rocket Grunts steal items and Pokemon and recruit new members for the team.They performed several illegal activities in Kanto including breaking into people's homes and performing robbery in Cerulean City and stealing ancient Pokemon fossils in Mt. Moon from scientists and archaeologists.
Team Rocket eventually invaded Lavender Town in order to steal rare Pokemon that were living in the Pokemon Tower including a Marowak and its baby Cubone. Team Rocket killed the mother Marowak and its ghost still haunts the Pokemon Tower. In the process of capturing rare Pokemon, Team Rocket had taken an old man named Mr. Fuji hostage inside the Pokemon Tower. It is later revealed that Team Rocket had a secret HQ called the Rocket Hideout underneath Celadon City with the entrance being hidden in the Rocket Game Corner (which Team Rocket also runs and operates legally). This becomes evident when there are Team Rocket Grunts hanging out in the streets and houses of the city, claiming that people should not touch the posters on the casino walls.
After defeating numerous Team Rocket Grunts (and, in Yellow version, Agents Jessie and James) in the Rocket Hideout under the casino, the player meets and fights Giovanni, the boss of Team Rocket. After being defeated, Giovanni leaves behind the Silph Scope which enables it's user to see invisible beings, namely ghosts. Team Rocket and Giovanni evacuate from the Rocket Hideout and leave Celadon City. Later on, Giovanni, together with the Team Rocket grunts, scientists, and agents, appear in Saffron City, having taken control over the whole city and Silph Co. Giovanni intends to steal the valuable scientific goods that Silph Co. had been developing, especially the Master Ball which can capture any Pokemon without fail. After his defeat in Silph Co. and saving saffron City, the player meets Giovanni one last time where he is revealed to be the Gym Leader of Viridian City. After his final defeat, Giovanni disbands Team Rocket and leaves to travel and train more, realizing the error of his ways.
In FireRed and LeafGreen versions, the player can travel to the Sevii Islands and fight the local branch of Team Rocket under the leadership of two admins (hinted to be, in fact, Executives Archer and Ariana from the future Neo Team Rocket) and Rocket scientist Gideon. It is discovered that this branch (who were operating in the Rocket Warehouse) had been researching Pokemon evolution and how they can force a Pokemon to evolve. After finding out about Giovanni's defeat, the admins leave the Sevii Islands to re-organise Team Rocket and find Giovanni.
In Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal, as well as in their remakes HeartGold & SoulSilver, Team Rocket is re-organized in the Johto region under the leadership of the Rocket executives: Proton, Petrel, Ariana, and Archer (in HeartGold & SoulSilver they recieved names and went nameless in Gold/Silver/Crystal). They start with a small money-making business under Proton's command, residing in the Slowpoke Well and selling severed Slowpoke tails for high prices. After their defeat in the Slowpoke Well, Team Rocket moves to Mahogany Town, creating their new HQ underground below a store. In Mahogany Town, they sell Rage Candy Bars and sell expensive tickets to the Lake of Rage. They were also performing new and unethical scientific experiments, that included trying to speed-up Pokemon evolution with radiation, which results in the creation of the Red Gyarados that went on a rampage in the Lake of Rage. Champion Lance and the player team up to destroy Team Rocket's business and attack their underground hideout (called the Team Rocket HQ) by fighting executives Ariana and Petrel. Team Rocket is defeated and they leave the Team Rocket HQ.
Later, Team Rocket, under Archer's command, conquers Goldenrod City and takes over the Goldenrod Radio Tower, broadcasting over the whole region and attempting to send a message to Giovanni about the revival of Team Rocket. They take the Radio Tower's Director hostage in a hidden area of the Goldenrod Tunnels in order to impersonate him and take full control of the Radio Tower. The player defeats all four executives, and Archer disbands the so-called Neo Team Rocket. In the Celebi event in HeartGold and SoulSilver, it is revealed that Giovanni got the message over the radio from the Goldenrod Radio Tower and was rushing to Goldenrod City to take control over the team.
Alas he is defeated by the player, who had traveled through time with the Legendary Pokemon Celebi and fights Giovanni at Tohjo Falls. Defeated, Giovanni walks away in despair. Some players speculated that the splash sound, which one can hear after Giovanni walks away to the cave's exit, indicates that Giovanni jumped from the falls and ended his life in a suicide. However, this implication was proven to be false when Giovanni reappeared in the Pokemon World Tournament event of Pokemon Black2/White2 as one of the competing battlers.
In Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon, a download card had confirmed that Team Rocket are going to be in the games.
In the Anime
In the anime Team Rocket is even more militarized, with robots, tanks, and war helicopters under its control. However, Team Rocket's military power is seen rarely, and the team is usually represented not by Rocket grunts, but by special agents, heading field missions, grunt attacks and local money-making. Unlike in the game timeline, Team Rocket as a whole has never been totally defeated in the anime. Even though the organization as a whole played lesser role during "Advanced Generation" and "Diamond and Pearl" sub-series, Team Rocket becomes more important once again in "Best Wishes" series, as Giovanni himself, usually an extra character, appears on a regular basis and directs the advance of Team Rocket in the Unova region.
The most well known agents, usually referenced to as just "Team Rocket" in the anime, or as "Rocket Trio" by fans, that constantly interfere with the protagonists are Jessie & James, with the talking Pokemon Meowth that accompanies them. They serve as the main antagonists of the series. The Trio has provided most of show's comic relief since the second season (going so far as fourth wall-breaking), with the exception of the "Best Wishes" sub-series where they took on a more serious role until late in that series.
In the "XY" series, the trio takes on their classic comedic role. They follow Ash to the Kalos region, and have reverted to capturing random Pokemon, not just legendaries. Jessie has also regained her Wobbuffet. Although they are once again "blasting off" after their defeats, the trio showed competence in battling and capturing Pokemon, and Giovanni still has respect for the agents after their helpful actions in the Unova region. Despite all their efforts, all of their attempts to steal either other people's Pokemon fail, with Ash, his friends, other trainers, and/or third-party villains thwarting them. In some cases, they even screw themselves over.
Despite their misdeeds, the trio are not truly evil and are close friends despite arguing whenever things go wrong. Sometimes, they are forced to team up with Ash and his friends, for varying reason: sometimes, they are forced to cooperate to get themselves out of trouble, while other times, it's for the greater good (most famously in the second movie, where the trio openly helped Ash save the world). In the eighth and nineteenth movies and some TV episodes, Meowth is captured somehow, prompting Jessie and James to covertly follow the heroes in order to retrieve him.
Dr. Fuji, who is a scientist of Team Rocket in the anime, is also responsible for the creation of Mewtwo, by altering the DNA from the legendary Pokemon Mew. Giovanni takes Mewtwo and trains him until the Pokemon realizes that he is used as a pawn instead of an equal partner and destroys Rocket Hideout and the lab. Giovanni later finds Mewtwo's location and deploys the Rocket Grunt army under the command of agent Domino to capture Mewtwo and the other Pokemon clones under Mewtwo's leadership, and then sends the Rocket grunts to create a new base for Team Rocket in Mewtwo's hideout. With the help from the protagonists and Meowth, Mewtwo is released from Giovanni's grip and teleports the Rocket army away, while destroying their memories about the battle, leaving Giovanni and Domino to wonder about their sudden change of place.
In Pokemon Origins, a standalone anime adaptation of Red/Green game versions Team Rocket fulfills the same role as it does in those games. Team Rocket grunts are the main enforcers, causing trouble all over the region, only to be defeated by a young Pokemon Trainer Red. One of those grunts even outright murdered a Pokemon - the Marowak Mother who tried to protect her kin from Team Rocket's poachers. The team is still led by Giovanni, who is showed to be a corrupt businessman that values Pokemon only for profit and has forgotten the true spirit of Pokemon Training. While in the games Giovanni must be beaten three times (in the hideout, in Silph Co. and the Viridian Gym), his Pokemon Origins version first meets Red during the Silph Co. takeover and soundly defeats the young trainer, leaving the damaged skyscraper on his helicopter. Red challenges Giovanni once again in Viridian City.
This battle made Giovanni remember his old days as a Pokemon Trainer, when there was more to his life than just business. After a long battle, Red managed to win and Giovanni tried to give him the Earth Badge. However, Red refused to accept a badge from the leader of an organization as abominable as Team Rocket. Giovanni resolved this quarrel extraordinarily - by disbanding Team Rocket, despite the protests of his followers. With newfound respect for Red, the Viridian City Gym Leader decided to resign and start a new journey, yearning to become a better person and an even greater Pokemon Trainer.
In the Manga
- Giovanni: The boss of Team Rocket and Viridian City Gym Leader, he sends Rocket agents to capture many powerful Pokemon for business and the creation of his army to conquer the world. In the games he usually acts as a shadowy mafia boss, while in the anime and manga his organization is paramilitary and has mechas as well as war helicopters.
- Madame Boss: Giovanni's mother and the original founder of Team Rocket in Pokemon anime backstory (as revealed in the Japanese CD-drama "It's a white tomorrow, Team Rocket"). Usually interested in money-making, she is also responsible for the first search for Mew's DNA and other data.
- Mask of Ice: A.K.A. The Masked Man is the main antagonist of the Gold, Silver & Crystal chapter in the Pokémon Adventures manga, serving as the leader of Team Rocket after Giovanni disappears but before the Rocket Executives take over. He uses special masks to mind control Team Rocket troops into submission. Later on his true identity as the Gym Leader Pryce is revealed.
The highest ranked members in the organization, directly below Giovanni as seen in the HeartGold & SoulSilver Pokemon games. When Giovanni was defeated in the Kanto region and went missing, they assumed command and started to reorganize Team Rocket in the Johto region. The names are Archer, Ariana, Proton, and Petrel. It seems that Archer and Ariana were originally a duo of Team Rocket Admins from the Sevii Islands branch of Team Rocket and were operating different experiments in the Rocket Warehouse (this occurs in the FireRed & LeafGreen versions).
In Pokemon Adventures Manga the initial Rocket executives are Kanto Gym Leaders Sabrina, Lt. Surge, Koga, and Blaine. In the later Neo Team Rocket under the leadership of Masked Man the new executives are Keane, Chermaine, Will, and Karen. In the FireRed & LeafGreen chapter Giovanni is in control again, with no executives at his side, but rather with elite agents of the Three Beasts trio, Carr, Orm, and Sird (although Sird is secretly a member of Team Galactic). In the HeartGold & SoulSilver chapter Archer, Ariana, Proton, and Petrel are the new leaders of Team Rocket until Giovanni's return.
There are no known local or global executives in the Pokemon anime and Giovanni still leads the team on his own. However, elite agents of Team Rocket appear, usually taking part in some field missions (Atilla & Hun, Tyson, Domino), leading Rocket grunts (Jessie & James, Cassidy & Butch) or free-lancing in search for rare Pokemon (Miyamoto, Vicious). In "Best Wishes" series Giovanni's secretary appears, and after agents Jessie & James establish themselves in Unova region, Giovanni sends elite agent Pierce and Dr. Zager to coordinate their missions.
- In earlier episodes, Jessie, James & Meowth start their introduction without the line, "Prepare for trouble, make it double!" Shortly afterwards, the line is added. When Wobbuffet is included, he says, "Wobbuffet!" right after Meowth says, "That's right!"
- In the first few episodes of their appearance, Jessie, James & Meowth make their exit while saying, "It's time Team Rocket blasted off! You may have won this round, but we'll be back!" Of course, in further episodes, the three get shot into the sky, shouting, "TEAM ROCKET'S BLASTING OFF AGAIN!!!!" complete with a shining star where they land.
Agents and Grunts
- Jessie: Tne female of the Rocket Trio in the anime, who's always trying to capture rare Pokemon (including Ash's Pikachu) to the boss. During the "Best Wishes" series she gets promoted and no longer serves for comic relief. After her adventures in Unova, she was was returned to her old, comical self. Jessie owns a Wobbuffet, who is the source of a running gag where he pops out of his Poke Ball at the strangest times.
- James: The male of the Rocket Trio in the anime, he is Jessie's partner and is hinted to have some kind a romantic relationship with her. During the "Best Wishes" series he gets promoted and no longer serves for comic relief. After his adventures in Unova, he was returned to his old, comical self. Before joining Team Rocket, James was part of a noble, rich family. A life he desperately wanted to escape from.
- Meowth: A Scratch Cat Pokemon who can talk the human language and is an expert with mechas and gadgets, which are used by the Trio. Like his cohorts, he was promoted in the "Best Wishes" series and stopped serving as comic relief. He was later fired from Team Rocket and temporarily traveled with Ash, Iris, Cilan, and Pikachu. But it was later confirmed that Meowth getting fired was all part of Team Rocket's plan, and that he's still a member of Team Rocket. After his adventures in Unova, he was returned to his old, comical self.
- Cassidy: Partner of Butch and rival of Jessie, more successful than her at first. She is looked upon favorably by Giovanni.
- Butch: Partner of Cassidy and rival of James, more successful than him at first. He is looked upon favorably by Giovanni. The only problem with him is that nobody can get his name right at times, like calling him Bob, Bill, Hutch, etc., which infuriates him.
- Dr. Namba: A scientist and the personal commanding officer to Butch and Cassidy from late into Johto and onward. Like Butch, he hates when his name is mispronounced.
- Domino: Team Rocket's elite agent in the anime, also known as the Black Tulip or Agent 009. She was the leader of Giovanni's Rocket army on a mission to capture Mewtwo.
- Tyson : One of Team Rocket's elite officers in the johto region responsible for the creation of Red Gyarados, ultimately arrested in the end.
- Iron-Masked Marauder : The main antagonist of Pokemon:4Ever. One of the most dangerous character who plans to capture Celebi in one of his special Poke Balls known as Dark Balls and turn it evil. He also plans to use that power to control Team Rocket and rule the world.
- Atilla: Partner of Hun and one of the main antagonists of Legend of Thunder. He acts as the muscle in his partnership.
- Hun: Partner of Attila and one of the main antagonists of Legend of Thunder. He acts as the brains in his partnership.
- Dr. Sebastian: A scientist and the leader of Team Rocket's Johto operations, personally overseeing both Tyson and the duo of Atilla and Hun.
- Pierce: An elite operative sent to Unova to assist Jessie, James and Meowth in obtaining the Meteonite.
- Dr. Zager: An elderly scientist, implied to be the leading scientist in the entire organization. He serves as Jessie, James and Meowth's consistent commanding officer during their missions in the Unova region.
- Gideon: The head Team Rocket scientist at the Team Rocket's Sevii Islands branch.
- Juggler Dalton: A Team Rocket agent who took part in the Silph. Co takeover, notable for being a unique Rocket member that does not belong to either Scientist or Grunt trainer class in the games.
- Lavender Town Rocket Commander: A grunt leader who was tasked with the takeover of the Pokemon Tower, he was the one to murder Mother Marowak.
- Rocket Grunts: Team Rocket's workmen and soldiers under the command of agents and admins/executives. They play a small part in the anime, as Team Rocket is usually represented by agents, while in the games they are Team Rocket's main representatives, searching for the fossil at Mt. Mown, leading recruitment missions and stealing items, taking part in the takeover of Celadon, Saffron, and Goldenrod cities.
- The Four Rocket Brothers: A family of Team Rocket Grunts who took part in the Silph. Co takeover.
- Viridian Gym Trainers: The Viridian Gym Trainers were Giovanni's agents. There were eight of them: Cole, Kiyo, Jason, Atsushi, Samuel, Takashi, Yuji, and Warren.