The pokemon anime started in 1997 as a companion series to the mainline pokemon game franchise. Following the adventures of Ash Ketchum and his companions, the series finds these lovable kids trainers encountering different types of Pokemon around the world. However, some special Pokemon are kept for special occasions.
Often feature films of the pokemon anime features Ash and his friends encountering important Legendary Pokemon. These long parts of the anime, which exist outside the context of the series, are some of the most exciting pokemon media ever made. Out of 20+ pokemon movies that have been released, these 10 are the very best.
10/10 Pokemon: the first movie
The very first pokemon movie is arguably the most memorable entry on this list. The film includes a mini-short that precedes it with the title Pikachu’s Vacationfollowed by the 85-minute Mewtwo strikes backwith Ash, Misty and Brock invited to a Pokemon lab to challenge the greatest Pokemon trainer in the world.
When they arrive, however, they are confronted by the almighty Mewtwo, who is capable of mind control and unleashes his wrath on the people who made him. With the help of the mythical Mew, Ash and his friends take on the Legendary Psychic-type Pokémon. However, this battle doesn’t end without a tearjerker between Ash and Pikachu.
9/10 Pokemon 3: The Movie
The third pokemon movie, subtitled Spell of the Unownis one of the best feature films made in the pokemon universe. Ash becomes conflicted when a young girl, Molly, receives a wish from the mysterious Unown to get her family back. However, an illusionary Entei created by the Unown kidnaps Ash’s mother to serve the role of Molly’s mother.
Although the plot of this movie is eerily similar to the MCU Disney+ series WandaVisionAsh tries to save his mother, aided by his friends. Even Ash’s Charizard, who stayed in the Charicific Valley in the anime, returns to help Ash break into Molly’s crystallized kingdom. It is certainly one of the most disturbing films in the pokemon animation.
8/10 Pokemon 4Ever
In 2001, the fourth official pokemon movie titled Celebi: Voice of the Forest, premiered and took place during Ash, Misty and Brock’s adventures in the Johto region. After a chance encounter with the legendary Pokemon Suicune, Ash and his friends are visited by a boy named Sammy and the Pokemon Celebi, who traveled through time from the past.
When Celebi is injured, Ash and his friends take it upon themselves to take Celebi to the Lake of Life, which has regenerative powers. Predictably, Team Rocket’s involvement will thwart their efforts to help Celebi, leading to one of the most exciting and emotional pokemon movies they ever made.
7/10 Pokemon: Jirachi – Wish Maker
The first movie of Generation 3 pokemon anime finds Ash, May, Max and Brock attending a festival honoring the appearance of the Millennium Comet. Along with the comet’s appearance once every thousand years, the Mythical Pokemon Jirachi awakens from its slumber to absorb the comet’s energy and fulfill a lucky human wish.
The lucky one eventually becomes Max, May’s little brother, who encounters Jirachi in a rock possessed by the wizard Butler and his assistant Diane. However, Butler’s intentions for Jirachi align with the evil Team Magma’s desire to awaken the legendary Groudon. This leads to one of the most climactic battles in the pokemon animation.
6/10 Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
This third generation pokemon movie had the pleasure to introduce pokemon fans to Lucario, a Steel/Fighting-type Pokemon that would debut in the fourth-generation games. In the film, Ash participates in a tournament at a festival in honor of the ancient hero Sir Aaron. As a reward for winning, Ash gets Aaron’s staff, which seals Sir Aaron’s Lucario.
After releasing Lucario from the staff, Ash must earn the Pokemon’s trust to prevent other Pokemon from disappearing thanks to a mischievous Mew. It’s one of the few pokemon movies that show what a truly heroic character Ash has become over the years, especially when it comes to helping others and bonding with Pokemon.
5/10 Pokemon: Giratina & The Sky Warrior
Released in 2008, Giratina and the Sky Warrior focuses on an investigation that attempts to absorb the abilities of Giratina, an interdimensional legendary Pokemon. However, this disrupts the peace between Dialga and Palkia, who are waging a war between space and time respectively. Ash, Dawn and Brock get caught up in this conflict when they meet Shaymin.
Shaymin, a mythical Pokemon that grows flowers, faces the wrath of Legendary Pokemon when he drops Giratina in a time loop between dimensions. The film protects the adorable Shaymin and finds Ash and his friends traveling to the upside-down world to confront the destructive Giratina. It is one of the most visually stunning entries in the pokemon filmography of anime.
4/10 Pokemon: Zoroark – Master Of Illusions
Like Lucario, Zoroark made his anime debut before his game debut with Zoroark: Master of Illusions. In this movie, Ash, Dawn, and Brock meet a Zorua in the wild and agree to help him reunite with his mother, a Zoroark. This mission takes them to Crown City, where Zoroark is made prisoner of a man named Grings Kodai.
The city falls under Kodai’s command and Zoroark’s illusory powers disguise it as an Entei, Suicine, and Raikou. Kodai then manipulates the media to antagonize Zoroark, drawing the attention of Ash and his friends to rescue the abused Dark-type Pokemon. For a pokemon movie, this story is very meaningful and relevant to modern times.
3/10 Pokemon: Black/White – Victini and Reshiram/Zekrom
Pokemon Black & White were the first entries in the pokemon franchise’s fifth generation games. Like their dual nature, the first anime movies for the respective series also doubled: two identical but slightly different movies in which Ash and his friends encountered Zekrom or Reshiram who were at odds with the mythical Victini.
What makes these films so unique is how they vary, just like the mainline pokemon spell. It also includes a charismatic companion for Ash, Cilan and Iris in the mischievous, macaron-loving Victini. With Victini’s help, Ash and his friends must appease a war between the dragon-like gods Reshiram and Zekrom.
2/10 Pokemon The Movie: I choose you!
By the time Gen 7 rolled around, a different format was taking place for features pokemon movies. I choose youinstead of following Ash’s adventures in the Alola region, you loosely adapt the events of the very first episode of the series, with some new characters, encounters, and most importantly, without the inclusion of Misty and Brock as Ash’s companions.
Instead, Ash and his new partner Pokemon, Pikachu, hunt the legendary Ho-Oh that Ash witnesses in the first episode. This journey leads them to even more Legendary Pokemon, while also befriending some of Ash’s earliest Pokemon friends, such as the abandoned Charmander, as well as the all-new Mythical Pokemon, Marshadow.
1/10 Pokemon The Movie: The Power Of Us
The power of us picks up from where? I choose you stopped and found this alternate timeline Ash attending a festival honoring the legendary Pokemon Lugia. Ash is not central to this story, however, with an ensemble cast of various trainers and their experiences at this festival luring the Mythical Pokemon Zeraora.
While Ash isn’t as prominent in this film, many critics thought it was for that very reason. It’s a fresh look at the world of the pokemon anime, one in which these legendary and mythical Pokemon encounter ropes in more than just the same old characters. However, you can expect Team Rocket to make more than a few appearances here.
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