VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman
WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
Warning: A nostalgia overdose is imminent. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Pokémon Episodes.
For this list, we're looking at the anime's defining episodes. With over a thousand entries, these are the cream of the crop. Please note spoilers will be unavoidable for the included episodes.
Top 10 Best Pokémon Episodes
Warning: A nostalgia overdose is imminent. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Pokémon Episodes.
For this list, we’re looking at the anime’s defining episodes. With over a thousand entries, these are the cream of the crop. Please note spoilers will be unavoidable for the included episodes.
#10: Charmander - The Stray Pokémon
For any animal lover, this chapter should hit your soul hard. While hiking towards the nearest town, Ash and the gang stumble across an injured Charmander waiting for its trainer to return. After learning the trainer had abandoned the pokémon and fearing the worst due to a raging storm, Ash and co sprint through the freezing rain and save Charmander mere moments before its flame is extinguished. After siding with Ash against it’s former owner, Charmander joins his team and goes on to become one of the shows more iconic characters.
#9: One Journey Ends, Another Begins...
While not the first to flirt with mortality, few episodes are as blunt about the concept of death as this one. Up until this point, Litten occasionally popped up to steal Ash's groceries and act as a comedy relief; however, the stubborn feline was only attempting to feed an elderly Stoutland. After the aging pokémon collapses, Litten reaches out to Ash for help, but Nurse Joy explains that nothing can be done to save Stoutland. Pokémon age and eventually pass away, but Litten's grief-stricken story will stay with us forever.
#8: Enter the Dragonite
Ash seems doomed to forever fall short of winning a Pokémon League, but the Winner's Trophy was far from a poor substitute. In the decisive match against the Orange Crew's Supreme Gym Leader Drake, Dragonite is the only thing blocking Ash's road to victory. With Charizard, Squirtle, and Tauros succumbing to Dragonite's overwhelming strength; Ash's hopes and aspirations rest solely on the outmatched Pikachu. Despite the odds being firmly stacked against it, Pikachu defies all odds and unleashes a powerful Thunder to defeat powerful dragon. "Enter the Dragonite" is the perfect culmination of Ash's journey up until that point.
#7: Island of the Giant Pokémon
Putting aside Meowth, Mewtwo, and a handful of others; generally, pokémon are incapable of speech. "Island of the Giant Pokémon" is memorable for two reasons: Kaiju-sized pokémon and surprisingly adding subtitles for Pikachu and friends. Following a shipwreck and a Gyarados attack, the heroes and Team Rocket land on a strange island home to – among others – a massive robot Charizard. To make matters even worse, the trainers end up separated from their Pokémon. What this episode lacks in Pokemon battles it makes up for with an inside look at the personalities behind the iconic little faces.
#6: Volcanic Panic
Whats cooler than a dragon fighting a humanoid magma monster? A dragon fighting a humanoid magma monster in a volcano that’s what! Once Charmeleon evolved into Charizard, the Pokemon went through an extensive rebellious period, refusing to obey Ash. That was until he finally decided to play ball in the Gym battle against Blaine. Besides being an all-around excellent battle, Charizard versus Magmar was the first time we all got to see what the unpredictable dragon could truly do, and we were not disappointed!
#5: Pokémon – I Choose You!
Fueled by Nintendo's popular games, the anime began approximately a year later and quickly amassed a dedicated fan-base. Even though Pikachu could be caught in the already released JRPGs, the shows first episode cemented the electrifying creature as the franchise's mascot. The only "Indigo League" chapter without an appearance from Team Rocket; the pilot episode perfectly established Ash's rivalry with Gary, introduced Misty, and was the start of Ash and Pikachu’s unbreakable bond as the two fend off Spearow in an iconic moment.
#4: A Riveting Rivalry!
"Pokémon's" slogan may read "Gotta Catch 'Em All," but Ash's ultimate goal is to win a Pokémon League. This episode sees the persistent trainer facing off against Sawyer in the Kalos League's semi-finals, with the match culminating in an intense battle between Ash-Greninja and Mega Sceptile. After 19 seasons and five failures, finally, Ash manages to reach a Pokémon League final and the battle more than lives up to the hype! Boasting some of the series' most fluid animation, "A Riveting Rivalry!" incorporates everything that is great about "Pokémon" and represents Ash's peak as a trainer.
#3: Gotta Catch Ya Later!
For an anime that tends to be rather lighthearted and inconsequential, “Pokémon's” saddest episodes are downright depressing! "Gotta Catch Ya Later!" signaled an end of an era. Following more than 200 episodes, Misty and Brock are urgently requested to return home, causing the original gang to part ways for good. The gang's break-up happens abruptly and with little to no build-up, but the episode still manages to hit all the right notes while providing the characters and fans with closure.
#2: Pikachu's Goodbye
Serving as Pokemon’s grand return to television following the controversial “Cyber Soldier Porgon” episode, the series could not have asked for a more convincing comeback! Ash's electrifying rodent stumbles across and develops a bond with a pack of wild Pikachus, which forces the trainer to question whether the pokémon might be better off among its own kind. Selflessly choosing to prioritize Pikachu's happiness, Ash tearfully pushes the pokémon away, although their goodbye does not last for long. Plus, this is an episode with dozens of adorable Pikachus! So much cuteness could melt the coldest of hearts!
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
The Symbol Life
Bye Bye Butterfree
Go West, Young Meowth
#1: Can't Beat the Heat!
Over the years, Ash and Gary have had a number of matches, but none compare to when their rivalry reached it’s climax at the Johto League Silver Conference! The two battle with stacked teams that would even give the Elite 4 a run for their money. With both trainers on their final pokémon, the battle boiled down to Gary's Blastoise and Ash's Charizard, a match-up that hardly favored the fire-breathing dragon. Thanks to Charizard's unbelievable physical prowess and some quick thinking by Ash, the protagonist finally scores a victory and with it finally earns Gary's respect.