Team Rocket's main objective was obtaining powerful and rare Pokémon to help their criminal syndicate in the hopes of someday taking over the world. They obtain these Pokémon by regular capture, or more often, theft. In addition to this they also perform inhumane experiments on Pokémon to further enhance their power.
Team Rocket has appeared in various games including the Generation I, Generation II, Generation III, Generation IV, and Generation VII games. In Pokémon Yellow and Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, Team Rocket's Jessie and James also appear in several locations and battle the player.
Team Rocket in the original, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen games appear throughout the game. They first appear in Mt. Moon and then are conducting their plans in Saffron City, the Game Corner in Celadon City and the Pokémon Tower.
According to the Lavender Town residents, Team Rocket killed several Pokémon, including Marowak. Pokémon Tower was built in honor of the dead Pokémon. Team Rocket's main headquarters used to be in the Game Corner at Celadon. They were careful to guard the secret button, but the player eventually discovers the button, which introduces the player to Giovanni whom the player battles occasionally. The two times the player fights him, Giovanni leaves behind the Silph Scope and the Master Ball.
Towards the end of the game, Giovanni is revealed to be the missing Viridian City Gym Leader and he was attempting to rebuild Team Rocket in his gym. Like all of his encounters with the player, he is defeated and gives up the Earth Badge.
In the Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen versions, they also appear in the Sevii Islands. A pair of them appear in Mt. Ember where they search for the Ruby and in Icefall Cave where they are fought off with Lorelei's help. After a scientist retrieves the Sapphire from the dotted hole, the player can access their warehouse on Five Island and defeat the Grunts, Admins and the Scientist to get it back.
They return to Johto three years later. In Azalea Town, they threaten to cut off Slowpoke tails and sells them. When the player reaches the Lake of Rage he/she will discover that Team Rocket was behind the Red Gyarados incident, and will join forces with Lance in an attempt to pull the plug. Team Rocket is eventually defeated, and in a last resort they take over the radio tower and hope to contact Giovanni, but are once again stopped. They are disbanded the last time.
Team Rocket, in the anime, have a Base of Operations in Kanto and are headed by Giovanni. Their headquarters were once located in between Pallet Town and Viridian City but has since been destroyed. It is now in an unknown location inside of a large canyon. Team Rocket has also been shown to have branches in the Johto Region and other areas in Kanto. At some point of the anime series' run, they are seen confronting another criminal organizations such as both Team Aqua and Team Magma in Hoenn, Team Galactic in Sinnoh, Team Plasma in Unova, Team Flare in Kalos and Team Skull in Alola. The only exception was their goal to conquer the Unova region by using the Kami trio and Meloetta but their plans are soon thwarted by Ash and the group when his Pikachu hits its ampliflied Electro Ball to the platform that Giovanni was standing and was possessed by the Reveal Glass. This forces Jessie, James and Meowth to tackle their possessed boss to the ground after he changes his plan from conquering Unova into destroying it due to being consumed by his own evil ambitions as previously stated by Ridley.
Their conquering plans are later followed by Team Flare when they controlled Z-2 who transformed into Zygarde in its 50% form and the Megalith and both of them are causing destruction in Lumiose City within the Kalos Region.
Jessie, James and Meowth
Featured more often than the Team as a whole are Jessie, James and Meowth. These three are a small group of members that follow around Pokémon Trainer Ash Ketchum. They were first shown in the episode Pokémon Emergency! in an attempt to steal Pokémon from the Viridian City Pokémon Center, and were defeated by Ash. Ever since then, they have mainly focused their attention on Ash in hopes of stealing his Pikachu. However they always fail and have been defeated hundreds of times with them blasting off into the sky, mostly via Pikachu's Thunderbolt attack. The trio's persistence has led them to every region Ash has been to including Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos, and later in the Alola Region. Since Ash started going to regions where Team Rocket branches are not located, they also double as founders of new branches in the region, although according to Cassidy, this is just a plot to keep them away so that they won't ruin Giovanni's plans. So far they attempted (but failed) to form new Team Rocket branches in the Orange Islands, Hoenn, and Sinnoh.
Jessie, James, and Meowth are generally considered failures, as they almost are never successful in their schemes and are incompetent. Giovanni regularly refers to them as "a bumbling trio" and never wants them around his big plans as they "can't do anything right". He thinks that this trio is so incompetent that he even considered firing them but he does not because he cannot allow incompetence to enter his office after their leaving. Despite this fact they always strive to please their boss, and are very persistent in doing so.
However in Memories are Made of Bliss!, Giovanni finally accepts Jessie, James, and Meowth when they take the credit for defeating Cyrus and his organization Team Galactic as well as Hunter J and he gives them new assignments which results the trio getting promoted to Advanced Agent.
In the second movie, they actually help Ash locate the third treasure needed to summon Lugia because if the world were to come to an end, there wouldn't be any Pokémon to steal. Slowking reveals to them at the end of the movie that the viewers actually saw them do something good for once.
Although they have been defeated by Ash and his friends at times, sometimes they are shown to be great strategists when trying to catch Pikachu. They have shown great use of mind strategy against Ash and his friends in the episode "Bound For Trouble", and they lured them right into the trap before catching Pikachu, and also in "We're no Angels!", they are seen using back opponent's mecha weapon to counter back their opponent. Throughout almost the whole series, they have at least one Pokémon that knows smokescreen, haze, and mist (e.g. Weezing, Seviper, Yamask, and Frillish) that would temporary blind and immobilise their opponents to aid themselves during their missions. They proved to be more superb strategists in Best Wishes! Season, such as in the episode "Crisis from the Underground Up!" Other than that they are also experts in disguise. Their disguise dressing are most of the time successful that no one suspects them as Team Rocket until they reveal themselves.
In the 14th season (Black and White), they received a promotion to advanced agents after they make a contribution to disbanding Team Galactic by helping Detective Looker sneak into Team Galactic headquarters at Mount Coronet. However they took all the credit to their boss, lying about single-handed defeat of Team Galactic and Pokémon Hunter J, and they no longer serve as comic relief at all and have become more of a serious enemy. With their promotion, they received the official Team Rocket Grunt charcoal gray uniforms, but they later changed back into to their original, white uniforms in Battling for the Love of Bug-Types! when they went back to planning their own schemes. In Best Wishes! Season 1, they didn't "blast off" at all and most of the time they quickly retreated when they failed to capture Pikachu or any other Pokémon they have planned to steal by escaping in air via para glider or jetpacks, but after they returned in Season 3 episode 11, they started "blasting off" again in a more comical manner. The trio have gained impressive athletic, hacking and infiltration abilities since arriving in their promotion and have made capturing Pikachu less of a concern, instead focusing on major Team Rocket plans that will ultimately lead to conquest of Unova and the entire planet such as Operation Tempest. Although in Unova Survival Crisis! Giovanni was possessed by the Reveal Glass after Pikachu destroys the platform they are standing by using a huge and amplified Electro Ball to rescue Meloetta in which he changes his plan from destroying Unova instead of conquering it. James, Jessie and Meowth eventually save their boss by tackling him through the ground from his insane state rather than getting killed in the explosion which results them getting retreat immediately after their plan is thrwarted. Later after Giovanni regains control of himself and thinking about what happened to him when he was possessed by the Reveal Glass, he directly orders to make a total retreat back to Kanto.
The trio returns in Unova to capture Pikachu after their boss orders their total retreat and his Operation Tempest is thwarted. Just like they did to disband Team Galactic, they were requested by Looker to stop Team Plasma led by Ghetsis and Doctor Colress who are responsible for creating the machine to control the Pokemon including the legendary Pokemon, Reshiram. After Team Plasma is disbanded, Giovanni gives the trio some praise after their success in defeating the group until in The Dream Continues! where he was looking for the results in how they defeat Team Plasma. Returning from Unova, they realized they had nothing to show for their efforts. Meowth improvised by saying that Yamask, Woobat, Frillish, and Amoonguss were for Giovanni, forcing Jessie and James to turn them over to him.
In the XY series, the trio and returning member Wobbuffet completely returned to being comic relief despite retaining their hacking and infiltration abilities, upgraded technology, slight competence, and their boss' liking of them. After Team Flare is defeated, Giovanni congratulates the trio about their success of defeating Team Flare led by Lysandre and he orders them to return back to Team Rocket HQ in Kanto as the trio are seen quickly ran through the airport to get inside the plane that flies through the Kanto region.
In the Sun and Moon series, Team Rocket gets a new gag. Bewear would take them away to the cave at random times, from rescuing them from defeats to thwarting them from victories. Despite the trio still being goofs and retaining their blast off gag, they are more serious than all previous seasons, minus the first two seasons of Black and White.
The following are members of Team Rocket. (Members with an asterisk to the side of their name means they are part of the manga).
- Bosses: Giovanni/Madame Boss*/Masked Man**
- Rocket Executives: Archer/Ariana/Proton/Petrel/Grey*
- Elite Officers: Miyamoto*, Domino*, Vicious*
- Officers: Tyson*, Attila*, Hun*, Keane**
- Spies: Annie* and Oakley* (dub only)
- Agents: Cassidy*, Butch*, Jessie, James
- Manga Agents: Ken**, Al**, and Harry**, with Carr**, Sird** and Orm**
- Sergeants: Viper*, Lt. Surge**
- Commanders: Karen**, Will**, Sabrina**, Koga**
- Scientists: Professor Sebastian*, Professor Fuji*, Dr. Namba*, Dr. Zager*
- Others: Wendy*, Matori*, Rocket Scout*, Mondo*, Sham**, Pierce*, Christopher*
* - Anime only
** - Pokémon Adventures only
Besides Giovanni, Jessie, James, and Meowth there have also been other Team Rocket members featured multiple times or having large roles. Another duo is Butch and Cassidy, who have been in multiple episodes and are the rivals of Jessie and James. Along with them is Attila and Hun who pursue Jimmy as Jessie and James pursue Ash. There are also non field agents that work as scientists such as Dr. Namba and Professor Sebastian. There have only been a small number of Team Rocket Officers shown but such officers include Domino and Vicious. These high-ranking officers work solo and are considered the best in Team Rocket.
In games Team Rocket logo is simple red "R", same logo was used in anime during Original Series-Diamond & Pearl series. In Best Wishes! they started to use a completely new purple round 3D "R", when old logo used as secondary until XY, new logos was used on all mechas and equipment. In Sun & Moon it recieved a little update, getting a flat design. 3D logo is still, but rarely used, when Jessie and James commonly use old logo.
- The anime gag of blast offs may have originated from Team Rocket. According to the series, Jessie, James, Meowth, and their Pokémon have blasted off over 700 times and stopped their gag when they reached Unova, but the gag returns in Adventures in Unova. Other Team Rocket members have blasted off as well, including Butch and Cassidy and several other Team Rocket Grunts.
- It is noted that Team Rocket and their Pokemon has blasted off more than any other characters in the series; However separately, Jessie has blasted off more than 500 times excluding James and Meowth; James has blasted off more than 500 times excluding Jessie and Meowth; Meowth has blasted off more than 700 times excluding Jessie and James; and Wobbuffet has blasted off more than 300 times. Butch and Cassidy have blasted off 10 times in the series with two of their blast offs being caused directly by Ash and his friends and the other eight caused by Delia Ketchum, Ritchie, Professor Oak, Gary, and Tracey.
- The duos in Team Rocket, in English, are named after infamous outlaws. Such as the American outlaws Jesse James and Butch Cassidy, Hunnic warlord Attila the Hun and Annie Oakley, an expert sharpshooter.
- Jessie, James, and Meowth are considered to be the three stooges of Pokémon because their plans never work and are actually more funny than evil. They lost their position as the three stooges when they reached Unova, but the position returned in Adventures in Unova.
- In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Giovanni reveals what the initials for Rocket stand for: Raid On the City, Knock out, Evil Tusks.
- Team Rocket and Ash seem to have a difficult relationship, despite both being hostile to each other. They are also instances when Ash and Team Rocket seem to care for each other. In "Noodles Roamin off" Ash even jokingly mentioned Team Rocket and their blast-offs in a positive way.
- Sometimes, after Jessie, James, and Meowth have agreed to try what they think is a genius plan, they will in unison sing a rhythmic, rhyming short song about how it's going to make them rich. This started happening progressively more up until they reached Unova.
- Team Rocket has made more appearances than any other villainous group.
- One of Team Rocket's line in their motto "A rose by any other name's just as sweet" is a nod to "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" which is derived from a famous quote in Romeo and Juliet.
- The anime's Team Rocket dresses different then the game's Team Rocket.