Opinions and Stories

Reflecting on 20 Years of Pokémon anime!

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


Once again, a young girl named Dawn was about to start her journey. Her dream was to become a top Coordinator along with her new Pokémon, that Professor Rowan gave to her, Piplup.

Featured characters

Dawn after she saved Pikachu from Team Rocket!

Dawn: Dawn wanted to become a top Coordinator like her mother, Johanna. As with Misty and May before her, her bicycle got destroyed by Pikachu’s Thunderbolt while it was fighting Team Rocket.

Paul: Paul was Ash’s main rival in Sinnoh. Paul’s only concern was to have strong Pokémon and he didn’t care about bonding with them. If he caught a new Pokémon, he would scan the Pokédex to check its moves and he would release it if its moves were weak.

Zoey: Zoey is a Pokémon Coordinator, and she is Dawn’s main rival. Despite the fact they’re rivals, Zoey helped Dawn many times and she is very friendly with her.

Barry: Barry is one of other Ash’s rivals. He admired Paul and liked the training methods Paul was using. Barry also had many strong Pokémon in his team. He also liked fining people.

Pokémon caught by Ash

Ash’s Turtwig using Razor Leaf!

Episode 468, “Two Degrees of Speration”: Ash was searching for Pikachu who was lost because of Team Rocket, and he decided to catch a Starly so it could help him find it.

Episode 471, “Gettin’ Twiggy With It!”: Team Rocket tried to capture Pikachu but a friendly Turtwig helped it escape. Turtwig mistook Ash as an enemy but when the misunderstanding was cleared up, Ash battled Turtwig and caught him.

Episode 518, “Smells Like Team Spirit!”: Paul was disappointing by his Chimchar in battles and released it. Ash was angry about this and suggested Chimchar to join his team, and Chimchar accepted!

Episode 521, “Throwing the Track Switch”: Ash’s Aipom seemed to be more interested in contests than battles and Dawn’s Buizel seemed more interested in battles so Ash and Dawn traded Aipom and Buizel.

Ash’s Gible using Draco Meteor!

Episode 530, “Riding the Winds of Change”: A horde of Gligar, and their leader Gliscor trapped in a city. Paul caught their leader, and Ash helped Gligar to go back to the forest. One Gligar didn’t want to leave, so Ash caught it.

Episode 623, “Gotta Get a Gible”: Ash met Gible on the previous episode, where he helped it train its move, Draco Meteor. Team Rocket tried to steal Gible, but Ash and Pikachu helped it and Gible allowed Ash to catch it!

Pokémon evolved

Ash and Staraptor having a battle!

Episode 479, “A Staravia Is Born!”: Starly evolved into Staravia when it was battling Team Rocket and mastered Aerial Ace!

Episode 551, “Fighting Fear with Fear!”: Ash’s Gligar was scared when it was battling, and Gary showed up and gave a Razor Fang to Ash. He later used this on Gligar, and as a result it evolved into Gliscor.

Episode 566, “Aiding the Enemy!”: Ash was having a battle against Paul and Ash’s Turtwig evolved into Grotle during the battle!

Episode 584, “Pursuing a Lofty Goal!”: Ash and Staravia decided to participate on a Pokéringer competition. The final game was against Paul’s Honchkrow and during the battle, Staravia evolved into Staraptor and won!

Ash and Infernape in Sinnoh League!

Episode 598, “Evolving Strategies!”: Ash and Paul were having a full battle. Chimchar, likely retaining some distaste in Paul after he released the Fire-type, evolved into Monferno and learned Mach Punch!

Episode 629, “Fighting Ire with Fire!”: Ash was having a battle with Barry when it got interrupted by Team Rocket. Monferno had its ability, Blaze, activate. However, it couldn’t control the Blaze-boosted power in its current state. So, it evolved into Infernape and defeated Team Rocket.

Episode 632, “The Fleeing Tower of Sunyshore!”: Team Rocket stole the tower of Sunyshore City by putting rockets on the tower. Ash and Volkner stopped them and during the battle, Grotle evolved into Torterra and learned Leaf Storm!

Best battles

Episode 645, “The Eighth Wonder of the Sinnoh World!”: It was time for Ash to battle Volkner, the last Gym Leader of Sinnoh. Volkner’s first Pokémon was Electivire and Ash’s was Torterra. Ash thought he had the advantage but unfortunately, Electivire knocked out Torterra with Ice Punch. Ash’s next Pokémon was Pikachu, who defeated Electivire thanks to its ability, Static. Ash switched to Infernape while Volkner chose Jolteon. Infernape knocked it out with two Mach Punches. Volkner’s last Pokémon was Luxray who defeated Pikachu but Infernape, thanks to its Blaze ability, won with a Mach Punch and Flame Wheel.

Ash’s Buizel attacking with Ice Punch on Gastrodon!

Episode 652, 653 and 654, “Familiarity Breeds Strategy!”, “A Real Rival Rouser!”, and “Battling a Thaw in Relations!”:  Ash qualified for the quarter finals of the Sinnoh League and faced his rival, Paul. This was a full six on six battle. Paul’s first Pokémon was Aggron while Ash chose Pikachu. Ash switched Pikachu and chose Infernape, who beat Aggron with a Flare Blitz and Mach Punch.

Paul’s next Pokémon was Gastrodon, and Ash picked Staraptor. Ash switched again, this time to Buizel who knocked it out with an “Ice Aqua Jet” – its Aqua Jet got frozen due to Gastrodon’s Ice Beam – and an Ice Punch! Paul’s next Pokémon, Drapion, used Toxic Spikes and beat Buizel with Pin Missile. Ash’s Staraptor was next but lost due to Drapion’s Cross Posion.

Paul’s Drapion using Poison Fang on Ash’s Torterra!

Ash chose Torterra, who hit Drapion with Energy Ball and Leaf Storm. However it lost to Drapion’s Poison Fang and Pin Missile, with a little help from those Toxic Spikes. Paul switched to his Ninjask and Ash chose Gliscor. Ash, again, switched Gliscor out and chose Infernape. Infernape used Dig, followed by an underground Flare Blitz, to get rid of the Toxic Spikes. It then defeated Ninjask with Mach Punch. Next, Paul’s Froslass battled against Ash’s Pikachu. Pikachu hit it with Iron Tail. Froslass replied with Ice Beam which froze Pikachu, however Pikachu thawed out and knocked Froslass out with Volt Tackle.

Paul decided to go with his Drapion and Ash with Gliscor. Giscor hit Drapion with a Giga Impact and then with a Fire Fang that burned and knocked out Drapion. Paul’s last Pokémon was Electivire and defeated both Gliscor and Pikachu easily, while only suffering a single Quick Attack. Ash’s remaining Pokémon was Infernape. Electivire hit it with Thunder but luckily, Blaze got activated and Ash won with Infernape’s Flare Blitz.

This was the first – and only time – a single battle has spanned more than two episodes. A fitting way for Ash to finally beat his rival in Paul! Alas, Tobias with two legendary Pokémon ended Ash’s run in the league.

League Position: Top 4!