The original Pokemon anime series ran on TV from April 1997 to September 1998. It consists of a total of 143 episodes, or 26 mini-seasons. Seasons 1-4 were dubbed into English by TAJ Productions and seasons 5-7 were dubbed by 4Kids Entertainment. The 8th season was the first to be dubbed by The Pokémon Company International (TPCi). EP001 – Showdown in Pewter City is notably different from all other episodes in that it aired out of sequence due to controversy over religious imagery which threatened American broadcast.
In order to watch the television series and movies in a largely chronological timeline, you should begin with the Indigo League, then Red/Blue/Green, while waiting for information on when XYZ will be released. In terms of film order – see below:
- Pokemon 1: The First Movie
- Pokemon 2: The Power of One
- Pokemon 3: Spell of the Unown
- Pokemon 4 Ever // Pokemon 2000//I Choose You!
I would recommend choosing either 4 Ever or 2000 depending on which film you want to see more of.
There are a few different ways to do it, but there’s really no “standard” way. The most common way is just chronological order, going from the first episode of the TV series to the best, and then skipping over any episodes that don’t appear in full on DVD or online streaming. Some people prefer to watch all films before watching any episodes because it does make sense if you think all Pokemon movies have a standalone story and follow Ash’s adventure at some point in their narrative.
The other option is simply going with whichever incarnation of Pokemon you happen to like better (the games, the anime series, etc.) as they’re produced by different creators who work separately from one another without any reference material.
Detective Pikachu (2019)
Pokemon: I Choose You! (2018)
Sword and Shielder! Vol. 1
Pokémon the Movie (1998-2001)
Big Trouble in Little China
My Neighbor Totoro
Babel Lights Kids Walk to School at Night.
The movies are really just sort of a “side quest” within the story of the original TV series that tells you about stuff that happened “off screen”. So if you watch both, it’ll be easier to understand all this backstory detail. But don’t worry, they’re pretty short and shouldn’t take up much more time than watching an episode of the show does.
The listing starts with the earliest movie and goes through them in order of release dates. For a quick link to the list, please see below:
- Pokemon Movie 1 – The First Movie (1998)
- Pokemon Movie 2 – The Power of One (1999)
- Pokemon Movie 3- Spell of the Unown (2000)
- Pokemon Movie 4- Journey To Johto (2001)
- Pokemon Movie 5 – Spell of Undoing (2002)
- Pokemon Prologue: Destiny Deoxys
In order to tell the story correctly, it’s important to know that each season of the Pokemon anime corresponds to a generation of pokemon games.
The first six seasons are Generation I (video games: Red/Green) and the seventh season is Generation II (Ruby and Sapphire). Seasons eight through thirteen correspond to every subsequent video game generation.
To start watching at the beginning of an arc, choose whichever arc you’re interested in watching from below. To watch by release date order, use this guide instead. Even if you own all or most of these DVDs already, I highly recommend using my suggestions below because they tell enough information for newcomers and provide plenty of context for seasoned fans nonetheless!
Before you watch the Pokémon movies, you should definitely watch the TV show that it was based upon. It’s not unheard of for people to come away from a Pokémon movie without any context whatsoever!
To be honest, some of the best individual episodes in the TV show are actually at the end of some seasons. That feels a little weird to me but I don’t know how I could make a case for ordering them other than in terms of which episodes have been ranked as my “favorite” or most “impactful.” For convenience sake, if you wanted to watch just 1 season of 10ish episodes per season then Season 4 is your best bet because Season 2-6 each only have about 12 total episodes per season.
It doesn’t really matter if you watch them in order or not, as the movies don’t follow a linear storyline and contain spoilers from the TV show.