Opinions and Stories

Reflecting on 20 Years of Pokémon anime!

Check out Kostas’ review of the anime as we relive the last 20 years!

As of the first of April (really!), it has been 20 years since the Pokémon anime began! To celebrate, I explore each season separately, including my favorite moments, battles, characters and even more!

Table of Contents


Ash protecting his new partner, Pikachu!

Exactly 20 years ago, a young boy named Ash Ketchum was ready to begin his journey as a Pokémon trainer. The next day he was supposed to go to Professor Oak’s lab to get his first ever Pokémon, however he overslept, off to a bad start before he had even left the house! He woke up and by the time he arrived at the lab, all the starter Pokémon were given away by Professor Oak to new trainers, including Gary, Ash’s rival. However, Oak still had one Pokémon left, and that was none other than Pikachu. At first, Pikachu was disobedient until Ash protected it from a horde of Spearow.

Featured Characters

Professor Oak with his Pidgey!

Professor Oak: Oak is a professor who is giving away Pokémon to new trainers. He lives in Pallet Town and is the one who gave Pikachu to Ash 20 years ago. He also gave Squirtle to his grandson, Gary.

Gary: Gary is a well-known character because he is Professor Oak’s grandson. He even had a group of cheerleaders, despite the fact he was ten years old!

Misty: Misty is the Gym Leader of Cerulean City, and a Water-type specialist. She met Ash on the first episode, “Pokemon, I choose you”, when Ash took her bike and Pikachu later destroyed it. Since then, they traveled together for a long time! She has three older sisters who live in Cerulean Gym, though she left the gym to become the strongest Water Pokémon trainer.

Brock and his famous “drying pan”!

Brock: Brock, the Gym leader of Pewter City, joined Ash and Misty on their travels after his battle with Ash. However Brock was a Gym Leader because he felt it was his responsibility; his true dream is to become a great Pokémon breeder! Brock is very passionate and open when it comes to single women, especially Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny.

James, Jessie, Meowth: These three characters work as a group and their main goal is to steal Ash’s Pikachu and many other Pokémon. They all work for Team Rocket. Also, this Meowth has the ability to talk!

Giovanni: Giovanni is the boss of Team Rocket. He specialises in Ground-type Pokémon but he also has a Persian. He was even a Gym Leader for some time.

Team Rocket, blast off at the speed of light!

Gym Leaders: The Gym Leaders of the Kanto Region are: Brock, Misty and her sisters, Lt. Surge, Erika, Koga, Sabrina, Blaine and Giovanni.

Pokémon caught by Ash

Ash’s and Pikachu’s first time meeting!

Episode 1, Pokémon – I Choose You!: As you probably know, this is the episode where Ash and Pikachu met and became best friends!

Episode 3, Ash Catches a Pokémon: This is the episode where Ash caught Caterpie and Pidgeotto.

Episode 10, Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village: Ash caught Bulbasaur on this episode.

Episode 11, Charmander – The Stray Pokémon: The gang met an abandoned Charmander, that Ash caught!

Episode 12, Here Comes the Squirtle Squad: The leader Squirtle from the Squirtle Squad, joins Ash!

Episode 13, Mystery at the Lighthouse: Ash successfully caught a Krabby!

Episode 25, Primeape Goes Bananas: The gang met a Mankey, that then evolved into a Primeape which Ash caught.

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Episode 30, Sparks Fly for Magnemite: Ash caught a Muk, but he sent it back to Professor Oak’s lab.

Episode 35, The legend of Dratini: Ash caught 30 Tauros in the Safari Zone! This episode did not air in the US.

Pokémon evolved

Ash’s Butterfree using Stun Spore!

Episode 3, Ash Catches a Pokémon: The same day Ash caught his Caterpie, it evolved into Metapod!

Episode 4, Challenge of the Samurai: On the next episode, Ash’s Metapod evolved into Butterfree!

Episode 43, The March of the Exeggutor Squad: This is the episode where Ash’s Charmander evolved into Charmeleon and became disobedient.

Episode 46, Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon: Charmeleon evolved into Charizard but still remained disobedient.

Episode 75, Round One – Begin: Ash’s Krabby evolved into Kingler during his battle.

Episode 81, Pallet Party Panic: Ash’s Pidgeotto evolved into Pidgeot.

Ash’s Charizard taking a nap in a battle.

Pokémon released

Ash’s Butterfree leaving!

Episode 21, Bye Bye Butterfree: Ash released Butterfree to breed with another one.

Episode 29, The Punchy Pokémon: Ash left his Primeape to keep training with Anthony, another Pokémon trainer interested in fighting types.

Episode 81, Pallet Party Panic: Ash released Pidgeot to protect a group of Pidgey from a Fearow. Ash promised he was going to return one day.

Best battles

Ash’s Charizard against Blaine’s Magmar on a volcano battlefield!

Ash vs Lt. Surge, Episode 14, Electric Shock Showdown: Ash and Pikachu battled Lt. Surge and his Raichu. Raichu was more powerful than Pikachu and won easily. When the gang arrived at the Pokémon Center, Nurse Joy gives Ash a Thunderstone, but Pikachu doesn’t want to evolve. Ash and Pikachu challenged Lt. Surge again but this time, Pikachu used its Agility, while Raichu was much slower. Raichu eventually ran out of electricity and Ash defeated Lt. Surge.

Ash vs Blaine, Episode 59, Volcanic Panic: Ash forfeited his first battle against Blaine because Pikachu was in danger battling at this battlefield with a strong opponent like Magmar. Ash decided to battle Magmar with Charizard, despite the fact that it was still disobedient. Charizard was way stronger than Magmar, and it won by a powerful Seismic Toss coming right after a Submission from the air.

League Position: Reached top 16!