Pokémon (ポケモン Pokemon?), abbreviated from Pocket Monsters (ポケットモンスター Poketto Monsutā?), is a children's TV anime series, which has since been adapted for the international television markets. It is based on the Pokémon video game series and a part of the Pokémon franchise. Originally a single series, Pokémon, it has since been made into four series, the original series, then Advanced Generation, subsequently Diamond and Pearl and Best Wishes, which sequentially continue the story of Pokémon, while its spin-off Pokémon Smash! (formerly Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station and Pokémon Sunday) has broadcast a series of stories revolving around some of the recurring characters, Pokémon Chronicles or, as it is known in Japan, Pokémon Side Story. The series are further divided into seasons, which currently consists of fourteen.
The series follows Ash Ketchum and his friends (human and Pokémon) that he makes on the way as he travels the world catching new Pokémon, battling Pokémon trainers, winning Gym Badges to enter tournaments, and thwarting the attempts of criminal organizations. The anime adapts a fair amount of video game logic from the original games, such as multiple lookalike characters in different regions and Ash being unable to carry more than six Pokémon with him at a time.
Seasons 1-2 (original series)
Ash Ketchum (Satoshi (サトシ?)) has just become a Pokémon trainer in the Kanto region. He picked Pikachu as his starter because, after breaking his alarm clock, Ash was late for his appointment and all the conventional starter Pokémon (Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle) were gone. He has a childhood rival, named Gary (Shigeru (シゲル?)). Ash accidentally destroys a bike belonging to a girl, named Misty (Kasumi (カスミ?)); she starts to follow him to get her bike back, but soon becomes his friend. Misty endeavors to be a great water Pokémon master. Shortly thereafter, Ash battles Brock (Takeshi (タケシ?)), the leader of the Pewter City gym. Ash initially loses to Brock's Onix, but wins the Boulder Badge in a rematch. Brock then turns over his Gym Leader duties to his estranged father and accompanies Ash and Misty on their journey with the goal of becoming the world's greatest Pokémon Breeder. Ash's journey in the Kanto region culminates with him collecting the necessary eight badges to compete in the Indigo League Pokémon Tournament held annually in the Indigo Plateau, near Viridian City. He passes through all qualifying matches, and qualifying for battling in the Indigo Stadium. There, he loses in his fifth match to Richie, a new rival and friend, who happens to use many of the same Pokémon as Ash, including a Pikachu named "Sparky". After the Indigo League, Ash returns briefly to Pallet Town before setting out on a new journey to the Orange Islands, where he will compete in the Orange League. Brock eventually parts company with Ash and Misty to pursue Pokémon research with Professor Ivy. At this point, a new character, Tracey Sketchit (Kenji (ケンジ?)) joins Ash. Ash collects four badges and competes against the Orange League champion, Drake, an experienced trainer who uses a Dragonite. Drake's first 5 Pokémon do not cause much trouble to Ash, the battle coming down to 4 Pokémon for Ash and Drake's Dragonite. However, Dragonite defeats Ash's Charizard, Squirtle and Tauros. The battle comes down to Drake's Dragonite and Ash's Pikachu. After a short battle, Pikachu knocks out Dragonite with a devastating Thunder attack, giving Ash the victory and earning him a spot in the Orange League Hall Of Fame.
Seasons 3-5 (original series)
Victorious in the Orange League, Ash again returns to Pallet Town where he and Misty are reunited with Brock, who earlier left to Professor Ivy's lab to take care of Pokémon. Tracey decides to stay in Pallet Town to work with his idol, Professor Oak, while Ash, Brock, and Misty head west to the distant land of Johto. Pokémon: The Johto Journeys marks the introduction of a new series of Pokémon beyond the original 151 named and frequently seen throughout the Kanto and Orange Islands regions. In the fifth season, after Ash collected the 8 required badges from Johto, he competed in the Silver Conference. He made it through the qualifying matches, getting into the Victory Tournament. He made it to the Top 8, defeating his childhood rival Gary in the way, but lost to a trainer named Harrison from the Hoenn region. Ash decides to head there next after a brief visit home. Before arriving in Pallet Town, Misty receives a message from her sisters requesting that she return to Cerulean City to take over the Gym Leader duties. Brock then decides that he has been away from home too long and must return to help his father take care of his many brothers and sisters.
Seasons 6-8 (Advanced Generation series)
Back to Pallet Town, Ash receives a more modern-looking outfit from his mother and sets out for the Hoenn region with only Pikachu, choosing to leave his other Pokémon with Professor Oak, like Gary, going for a "fresh start". In Hoenn, Ash meets May (Haruka (ハルカ?)) and her younger brother Max (Masato (マサト?)), who join him on his journey. May is excited by the Pokémon Contests that take place in Hoenn, while Max joins the group to gain experience so that one day he will have his own Pokémon and become a Gym Leader like his father Norman, the Gym Leader of Petalburg City. Having solved his family issues, Brock returns to accompany Ash. This season, Gary leaves his promising career as a Pokémon Trainer to become a Pokémon researcher, like his grandfather. Misty shortly visits the group and takes Ash, Brock, May and Max to the Togepi Kingdom. Meanwhile, Team Rocket has been sent by their boss to try to establish a branch of the organization in Hoenn. Along their journeys, Ash and his friends also come into contact with the villainous teams that are in Hoenn, Team Aqua and Team Magma. Finally, Ash participates in the Hoenn League and May in the Grand Festival. Also, in Season 8, after Ash completes the Hoenn League and places in the Top 8, he returns home to Pallet Town, as do May and Max to Petalburg City and Brock to Pewter City. Ash meets up with Misty, Tracey, Professor Oak, and his mother at his homecoming celebration. Professor Birch and Max arrive in Pallet Town that same evening, and May and Brock arrive the next day. Ash and May learn of the Battle Frontier and the new contests in the Kanto region and decide to travel together again to compete. Brock, Max, and Misty decide to join them on their new journey. Season 8 ends with Ash, May, Max, Brock, and Misty setting off to participate in the Battle Frontier.
Season 9 (Battle Frontier)
After passing Mt. Moon, Misty returns to Cerulean Gym to continue training. Ash, May, Max, and Brock travel around the Kanto region, with Ash defeating 7 Frontier Brains and May competing in the Kanto Pokémon Contests. After Ash defeats the Battle Pyramid Frontier Brain, Brandon, and declines the offer of becoming a Frontier Brain, May reveals that she and Max are returning to Hoenn, but she decides to travel to the Johto region for the Johto Pokémon Contests alone. Seasons 10-13 (Diamond & Pearl series)
The main characters from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl series (from left to right): Brock, Ash and Dawn May and Max have left the group, and Brock returns to Pewter City, leaving Ash alone again. Ash learns of a new region called Sinnoh, where he embarks on a new journey. Ash planned to bring only Pikachu, but his Aipom snuck on the boat. Brock comes back a few days later in Sinnoh and they both meet Dawn (Hikari (ヒカリ?)), a new Trainer who hopes to become a great Pokémon Coordinator, like her mother. Ash meets a new rival, Paul (Shinji (シンジ?)), who prefers to capture the strongest Pokémon, leaving the weak who are released, in strong contrast to Ash's methods. During the journey, Ash encounters the Elite Four of Sinnoh in different places respectively, he carries on battles with them, and also receives their instructions about battle techniques. Ash, Dawn, and Brock encounter Ash's old rival Gary several times throughout the series, and even run into May, who are visiting Sinnoh, at the Wallace Cup competition. Ash and his friends also come in contact with Team Galactic, an evil organization that wants to control the Pokémon universe. Team Galactic has also recruited an evil Pokémon Hunter, known only as J, to help them capture powerful Legendary Pokémon to advance their goals. With the help of the Sinnoh Champion Cynthia, as well as a detective named Looker, Ash, Dawn, and Brock manage to defeat Cyrus, the leader of Team Galactic. After the Sinnoh League, the gang prepares to go their separate ways; Brock is returning to Pewter City to become a Pokémon Doctor, Dawn is returning to Hearthome City to model Buneary in a photoshoot, and Ash has decided that to become a Pokémon Master, he will continue training and someday enter the Champion League, and become the Champion Master. Ash and Brock wave goodbye to Dawn and Piplup as they take a ship home to Kanto. When reaching the familiar crossroad, Ash and Brock shake hands one last time, and split up; Brock goes back to Pewter City, and Ash goes home to Pallet Town. During the airing of the Best Wishes! series, there are two special episodes focusing on Dawn and Brock respectively. Dawn is seen continuing her journey to become a top Pokémon Coordinator in the Hoenn region and Brock's younger brother Forrest is officially made the Pewter City Gym Leader to allow Brock to continue his studies to become a Pokémon Doctor.
Seasons 14-15 (Best Wishes! series)
As with both the Advanced Generation and Diamond & Pearl series before it, Dawn and Brock have left the series, and the Best Wishes! series begins with only Ash, at his hometown in Kanto. He then headed off to the Unova region, located far away from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh, with his Pikachu, his mother, and Prof. Oak. After he meets up with the new Trainer and rival Trip (Shooty (シューティー Shūtī?)) and the region's Professor Juniper, he gains new traveling companions; Iris (Iris (アイリス Airisu?)), a girl from a town known for its Dragon Pokémon, and Cilan (Dent (デント Dento?)), a Pokémon Connoisseur and the Grass Pokémon specialist of the three Striaton City Gym Leaders.