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The many depictions of Team Rocket - Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'General Pokémon Discussion' started by shoz999, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. shoz999

    shoz999 Accumula Town

    The Team Rocket organization has arguably the most named members out of any organization throughout all forms of media. In fact in Pokemon Adventures, Team Rocket actually has not one, not two but four sets of Rocket Lieutenants. This little detail makes you wonder if Giovanni in the games and anime also has other groups of rocket lieutenants at his disposal. In fact the anime actually has a lot of high-ranking members. With both the Adventures manga and the anime, you really do get the idea that there is something admirable that many of Rocket's underlings find about Giovanni.

    With that being said. What do you think of Team Rocket overall throughout their many appearances? Is there any member of group that stood out to you? What do you think of the boss-man himself and his philosophy on Pokemon?

    I've organized a list of many of the more well-known Rocket members that stood out to me below by Team Rocket's leadership hierarchy, from the Rocket Bosses to the lieutenants, sub-leaders (including scientists) to the grunts themselves. The list will mostly focus on the two longrunners, the anime and manga because pretty much all the named rocket grunts from the games are included in their adaptations and are actually not that different from their villainous counterparts.
    Rocket Boss
    In both the Adventures and Anime adaptations of the games, there has always been one more Rocket Boss outside of Giovanni.

    This man arguably needs no introduction. No matter what form he takes in any canon, the leader of Team Rocket is one of the cruelest and cold-hearted villains throughout the Pokemon series. This Self-Proclaimed Strongest Trainer created Team Rocket not necessarily out of wealth but in order to get stronger as a Pokemon trainer. He is one of the most overpoweringly strong trainers in both the anime and manga, utilizing mind tricks, speed and his Pokemon's brute strength. This man is a chess-master who is always thinking ten steps ahead of you.

    Mask of Ice
    The leader of Neo-Team Rocket, he is the main antagonist of Pokemon Adventures Gen 2's GSC Story Arc. What makes him quite interesting is that he was foreshadowed as the ultimate antagonist of Gen 2 way back in the original Gen 1 Red, Green & Blue Story Arc. Whereas Giovanni utilizes mind games and brute strength, the Mask of Ice battling style utilizes a mix of trickery and swiftness having mastery over ice-type Pokemon, using them to their fullest strength that range from a whole bunch of creative options such as dense mists, movable ice-clones, ice illusions and of course the classic frozen status of the Pokemon games.

    Madame Boss
    Not much is known about the Madame Boss other than that she was the mother of Giovanni and leader of Team Rocket previously in the anime. All we can assume that if she gained the title of the Rocket Boss previously, her skills as a trainer and Pokemon must be almost or as scarily strong as Giovanni or the Mask of Ice.

    Rocket Lieutenants
    There have been many Team Rocket positions that are second-in-command to Giovanni's position. What's interesting is that many of Giovanni's Rocket Lieutenants are greatly loyal, fed-up or want to overthrow him which can lead to civil wars within the Rocket rankings.

    Rocket Gym Leaders
    Koga, Surge and Sabrina are arguably the first "Lieutenants" or second-in-command trainers of a villainous organization in any form of media, even the games. In the Kanto region, the Gym Leaders hve their own little civil war between the "Good" Gym Leaders and the Rocket Gym Leaders lead by Giovanni. Like many other lieutenants and grunts, they have blind loyalty and respect for Giovanni. Since the RGB story arcs, they have moved on from their lives as members of Team Rocket. Surge is continuing his ship-construction company building famous ships like the S.S. Anne and S.S. Aqua. Koga has given up his title of Gym Leader for the title of the Elite Four. Finally, Sabrina has slowly lost interest in her duties of Gym Leader in favor of acting in movies, as what happened in the Black and White 2 games where Sabrina is now an actress.

    Their battling styles are modeled after classic fantasy roles, the ninja/rogue, the warrior/engineer and the mage. Koga's Pokemon uses a mixture of illusions, trickery, regenerative powers and poison to win battles as befitting of a ninja. Surge's Pokemon uses a mixture of gadgetry and traps more closer to that of an brainy Engineer than that of a hulking warrior. Sabrina's Pokemon uses a mixture of illusions as well but also levitation and barrier fields.

    Carl & Sham (The Rocket Executives of GSC)
    In the games, you may know them as the unnamed Rocket Executives in the original Gold, Silver and Crystal games. These unnamed leaders took over Team Rocket in hopes of contacting Giovanni but failed. They and two other grunts were later given new makeovers in HGSS as the Four Generals but before that they were adapted as separate characters, given the name of Carl and Sham in Pokemon Adventures serving as two of the Mask of Ice's Rocket Lieutenants. Similar to Archer and Ariana after them, their tactics consist of intimidation and painful brute force.

    Will & Karen
    You may know Will and Karen as members of the Elite Four but in the Adventures manga they were originally the Rocket Executives working for the Mask of Ice. Utilizing Pokemon that have psychic powers or have merciless strength, they are one of the strongest trainers in the Pokemon series. Similar to the Rocket Gym Leaders path, they meet Koga and Bruno later on who shows them a more independent path from Team Rocket. These four would later become the Elite Four.

    The Three Beasts
    The third Rocket Lieutenants to debut in the Pokemon Adventures manga, they are modeled after classic movie monsters. The big lug, Orm is modeled after Frankenstein, utilizing many tiny and cute but tanky and trickster-like Pokemon like Shuckle or Jumpluff. The small brainy one, Carr, is modeled after a werewolf, utilizing steel-types to his advantage. Finally the woman in the middle is Sird, modeled after Dracula but actually made her first debut in the Pokemon TCG. She's arguably the most dangerous battler, using Pokemon that are a mixture of swiftness and stealth to finish the job quickly.

    The Four Generals/Rocket Executives
    In both the games and manga, they take over Team Rocket after Giovanni has disappeared. In the manga, they are the fourth variation of the Rocket Lieutenants. Archer is the leader, he is cunning and his Pokemon utilizes painfully torturous attacks as befitting of Houndoom's Pokedex entry. Ariana is the second-in-command utilizing poison, intimidation and swiftness. Petrel is arguably the weakest of the four but possibly the most cunning as he is more well-known for his master of disguises than his battling. Finally we get to arguably the most forgettable of the four, Proton. I say forgettable because he really... doesn't do much in both the games and manga. The only thing we do get is that he talks big, saying he's the cruelest Team Rocket member in the games and that's about it.

    Rocket Sub-Leaders (including Scientists)
    Throughout the Team Rocket Leadership heiarchy, there comes other officers, scientists and other types of sub-leaders who leadership roles aren't clearly defined but you get that they aren't the second-in-commands like the Rocket Lieutenants.

    Ken, Al & Harry
    Imagine the possibility that Jessie, James and Meowth were excellent and intimidating Pokemon battlers and had enough competence to be leaders over a group of grunts... but at the same time they have enough incompetence that Giovanni isn't going to promote them to lieutenant anytime soon. At the same time, the Adventures Rocket Trio shares one common aspect with the anime Rocket Trio, absolute blind loving loyalty to Giovanni. You'd get Ken, Al & Harry. Their tactics are simple and easy to figure out but have Pokemon that are highly experienced and trained enough that you should probably use your brain before heading into a fight against them.

    Possibly the only Rocket member here never featured in the anime or the manga, he is only found in the games, FireRed and LeafGreen. He is the main antagonist of the post-game story but more importantly it's through him that GameFreak is hinting that Giovanni's son is a red-haired boy, later confirmed by Pokemon Adventures that it is indeed Silver, the rival of Gold/Ethan.

    Dr. Fuji
    Arguably the most mysterious character in the Kanto region, Dr. Fuji is the creator of Mewtwo in the games, anime and is hinted at creating Mewtwo through Blaine's friendship in the manga. Fans have made the interpretation that Fuji made Mewtwo for Team Rocket in the games based on the anime and manga's depiction of how Mewtwo was created, through a science project funded by Team Rocket. This was never confirmed but it does make fans curious as to how Giovanni got a hold of Mewtwo in USUM. Regardless, Fuji is an interesting character however his most interesting and honestly saddest debut is none other than the first Pokemon Movie. In the movie, Team Rocket funds Fuji's cloning project to clone his daughter "back to life" after she passed away long ago, in return Fuji would help create the most powerful Pokemon in existance. Unfortunately Fuji's wife leaves him and his project to clone his daughter failed. With nothing left in his life, he continued working on Mewtwo and he succeeded, sitting there, watching as Mewtwo killed his own creator.

    Dr. Namba
    Dr. Namba is somewhat of a joke character for Rocket Scientists much of the same way the anime's Rocket Trio is for grunts. It's notable that he gets frustrated how people get his name wrong. However here's a Did You Know Fact for you? Remember the talked-about scene where Ash just straights up tackles Dr. Faba in the Sun and Moon anime? That's actually a reference to the time Ash just straights up tackles Dr. Namba during the Lugia special.

    Dr. Zager
    I'm not very far into Best Wishes right now but from what I'm getting at from the Bulbapedia article, he's a cowardly but excited scientists who becomes a major reoccurring antagonist in the Best Wishes series. Apparently he retreats a lot without hesitation, never reasonably salvaging what's left of his science projects or plans. I'm not too familiar with this character but I am watching the Best Wishes series, so this may get updated some time later. However I was a little intrigued by his role early on in the Best Wishes series where he was first introduced offering an assignment to Jessie, James and Meowth to seek out a meteorite.

    Prof. Sebastian
    There is really not much known to this guy. He is one of the major antagonists of Legend of Thunder but he's rarely seen throughout the series. All we get is that he is a calm observant scientist and has leadership status of some kind, as how many grunts answer to him.

    If the Rocket Gym Leaders are arguably not only the first Rocket lieutenants in the manga but also the first villainous lieutenants throughout the series, this guy would be the closest thing to the anime's first lieutenant. Why do I say closest? It's because that we do know he's a high-ranking leader in Team Rocket organizing large-scale operations and serving as the main antagonist during the Lake of Rage story line... it's just we just have no clue what his rank is. As mentioned before, there are degrees of ranks in the Team Rocket hierarchy. In fact if I wanted to go a bit further, we could include Rocket Instructors from the anime but for the sake of keeping it short, nope.

    The Iron-Masked Marauder
    This man is a high-ranking Team Rocket officer who hates Giovanni and wishes to overthrow him in order to become the new leader of Team Rocket. Other than that interesting piece of information, he's actually a fairly generic evil villain. For example his "Dark Balls" literally turn ordinary Pokemon into evil Pokemon? I'm not sure how science does that but okay. Other than that, he's actually fairly memorable for his design, gear and for his motives of overthrowing Giovanni.

    Grunts & Agents
    Of course you can't have a villainous team without grunts and agents working for you.

    Jessie, James & Meowth
    These guys don't really need much of an introduction. They are possibly even more famous than Giovanni in terms of casual fans. You have the flamboyant but caring James. The short-tempered but big dreaming Jessie. And the Meowth that loves to talk. In the terms of the entire anime series, you could say there the main antagonists as they have appeared in nearly every single episode, using their unofficial Team Rocket theme as part of their introductions and often getting blown through the sky by Ash & friends.

    Butch & Cassidy
    They are sort of the rivals to Jessie, James & Meowth. They are far more competent and smarter than the anime's Rocket trio however similar to Adventure's Rocket trio, they are incompetent enough that you can't really see them moving up from the grunt position.

    Attila & Hun
    Pokemon Adventures has a lot of competent and intimating Team Rocket members, however the anime has a lot of their own as well. Meet Attila & Hun, two Team Rocket agents that are out to capture Raikou and they are quite the threat, utilizing intimidating machinery that looks less like the cartoony machines that Jessie, James and Meowth use combined with their impressive line of highly-trained steel-types, Steelix and Skarmory, these guys serve as the major antagonists of the Legend of Thunder movie.

    Annie & Oakley
    These two are also fairly intimidating and are well-known for their unique designs and their role that lead to the death of a Pokemon, Latios. Other than that, there's really not much known about them except that they are capable battlers and are great at roof-running at night time.

    Domino is a Team Rocket agent who serves as the secondary major antagonist in Mewtwo Returns. She is Giovanni's right hand girl throughout the movie special and that's really it. She puts Jessie, James and Meowth to janitor work and other than that, she really doesn't do anything. I suppose she isn't as memorable as other rocket grunts/agents because Giovanni outshines her in the special as the main antagonist. However I do think she does stand out somewhat thanks to her simplistic changes to her rocket uniform.

    A high-ranking agent of Team Rocket, he serves as Jessie, James and Meowth's source of information, new assignments and collects the results for Giovanni. I haven't went that far into Best Wishes, so Pierce's role might be different later on.

    Miyamoto - Jessie's Mother
    Another high-ranking agent of Team Rocket, she is considered to be one of the famous "role models" of Team Rocket serving Giovanni's mother as a top-class Rocket agent. She is Jessie's mother but has never made an appearance in the anime but she has been mentioned from time to time and has made "appearances" outside of the anime.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
    04n70n10 and AgentKallus like this.
  2. Kutie Pie

    Kutie Pie "It is my destiny."

    FYI, Annie and Oakley are Team Rocket spies only in the dub. They're just cat burglars.

    I think it says a lot about Giovanni as a leader that Team Rocket has managed to become as big and infamous as it is, and yet outside of you, the silent protagonist of the game, dissolving the organization, it's managed to continue thriving in the anime and manga--and even still whispered about in the games. The manga made it clear that there's Rocket members with a lot of power in their pocket--sometimes literally--and that's possibly why it is they've managed to avoid law enforcement for so long, if they're not already bribing them (because corruption seeps deep). Other organizations are more interesting than the Rockets, to be honest, but they don't last long probably because they lack the ambition, the smarts of keeping low and having eyes and ears in high places, the money. It's quite telling when Giovanni himself financed the Mewtwo project for as long as he did because he wanted power, wanted people to fear Team Rocket. In a way, he somewhat succeeded. We just don't get to see what goes on elsewhere where the Rockets are much more dangerous, much more intimidating because Jessie, James and Meowth are that incompetent that we easily forget just how powerful the organization truly is. Really does make you wonder why Giovanni still keeps them around.

    I wish we did learn more about Madame Boss because apparently she's the founder, and yet her son made the Rockets much more successful. Or if she's not the founder, it's potentially family-owned, and that would mean Silver, if he hadn't defected, would've inherited the organization when he was older. There's definitely a history behind Team Rocket's conception, and it probably had a backstory at one point, but whatever Shudo had planned for them, we'll never know (unless it was mentioned in the novels he wrote).
    shoz999 likes this.
  3. shoz999

    shoz999 Accumula Town

    I never knew that about Annie and Oakley. I have to admit that was a very clever change 4KiDs did. They honestly looked like legitimate Team Rocket agents by their color scheme, suspicious clothing and their investigation leading to a greater power.

    On a different note, a family-themed Giovanni episodic storyline featuring Silver and the Madame Boss. That would be a storyline to be talked for months to come.
  4. Ignition

    Ignition Well-Known Member

    I hate Team Rocket minus the TRio from the anime. I especially hate Giovanni because he's so bland. The "Pokémon are for power not friendship" ideology is so overplayed and predictable. They're also the reason I hate the first "saga" of the manga due to making so many people evil and having some unnecessary and/or goofy plot lines
  5. Redstar45

    Redstar45 The anime canon cop !

    Greez i understand that feeling but there is no need to bash tr for that gen 1 and 2 Pokemon still new to the world at time
  6. Ignition

    Ignition Well-Known Member

    If you're referring to me, I understand that but the impact's still there
  7. Redstar45

    Redstar45 The anime canon cop !

    Yeah i am but i find the rocket-Gang best part of kanto to me but i don't think that i like the rockets trios (the anime) anymore
  8. Ignition

    Ignition Well-Known Member

    Fair enough. Rocket is the worst part about Kanto for me
  9. RedJirachi

    RedJirachi Veteran member

    The Team Rocket organization in the anime compared to the game has always come off as different. In the game, Team Rocket is probably the least overall threatening evil team(except Team Skull, but that's intentional). Or more accurately, the least ambitious. They're a mix of the black market and yakuza. Sure, they say they want to take over the world but outside of an alternate universe Giovanni over 2 decades from their introduction it's mostly just posturing and more "we want economic world domination"

    In the anime, the Team Rocket organization is putting actual effort into world domination. The trio are the exception, and while their main resource is stealing Pokemon and selling them in practice they're more of a lighter SPECTRE. In the game no connection between Team Rocket and Mewtwo is made, it's not even known if they know Mewtwo exists and the Genetic Pokemon was the product of general scientists. In the anime Mewtwo is Team Rocket's masterpiece. It's a change so popular and influential its actually flowed back to the games, given in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Giovanni uses a Mewtwo
  10. Redstar45

    Redstar45 The anime canon cop !

    Problem is game Giovanni don't have really connected to mewtwo outside of the usum .
  11. shoz999

    shoz999 Accumula Town

    You know. There is another interesting member of Team Rocket that made his original debut not in the games, Adventures manga or anime but actually... the TCG and from there, he was adapted into the manga and later the anime. That is none other than Imposter Oak! This was one of the few cards that actually had it's own little "series" that made the character "Imposter Oak" felt a little more like a character rather than just stuck to the card.


    To add more to the presence that he felt like an actual character in the Pokemon universe, he would later be adapted shortly in the Pokemon Adventures manga as a haunting figure standing in a dark corner, having a grin similar to that of a Gengar, waiting for Red.

    Surprisingly however some anime fans don't seem to realize that Imposter Oak did actually made not one but at least two appearances in the Pokemon anime, where James pretends to be Prof. Oak in both the 2nd and 4th gen seasons. He does actually look similarly to the Imposter Oak featured in the cards and manga however the main reason probably as to why this TCG reference is not as recognizable as it's Adventures counterpart is that he lacks that iconic cocky Gengar-like grin from both the TCG and Adventures manga. Even though the TCG reference was barely noticed by many fans, James masquerading as Prof. Oak is one of the more memorable filler episodes of Pokemon.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
  12. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Well-Known Member

    From what I have seen of the Manga in general (not just Team Rocket) it's not a story or a world that interests me, and I haven't followed the Anime since, like the start of Johto. So I can't say anything about those depictions.

    In the games I think that like some other elements in Kanto they might be inspired by some of the creators' childhoods (other examples are Lt. Surge, the "Lightning American", since a lot of American Soldiers used to be stationed in Japan and the protagonists "missing" father, who's likely just working over hours in his business job). From what I can gather from other anime and Japanese the Yakuza used to be considered "cool" among kids in Japan (in the same way that some people in other places consider the Mob "cool") so it makes sense to put them into the game as antagonists.

    And that's it; in the games Team Rocket is just that, the Pokemon Yakuza. And in that capacity they are pretty well handled (especially considering the random elements plot of Gen 1/2) They attempt to steal fossils, they take over a city in order to steal the Master Ball prototype, they run a seedy gambling house with slot machines.
    And until they were defeated by a 10 year old child they seemed pretty successful in their endeavors, considering that they have a large supply of rare and hard to obtain Pokemon to be handed out as prices (including Dratini irrc ) and are the only source of Porygon in Kanto.
    The Goldenrod example might be a bit unrealistic in scale, but aside from that theft of precious artifacts, holdups with innocents caught in the crossfire, company sabotages, running gambling houses and illegal(?) trade with precious comodities/exotic animals are all things Organized Crime engages in.

    No I don't have any love for Gen 1/2, but in hindsight that makes TR both the most realistic and, really, unique evil team (aside from Skull, who in some ways come across more as a really messed up self-help group for insecure people). They don't want to use some demi-god to remake the world in their image or rule the world or some bullpoop. They just want money and power.

    Now, Imho, this doesn't translate well to incarnations outside the game in which they steal common mons like, for example Nidoran. Then it's like "guys, a Pokeball is just 200 Pokedollar and you can get your own Nidoran) This also opens the question on what they are supposed to do with those common mons. Who buys a Nidoran?
    That being said Jesse, James and Meowth are the only part of the anime I still like. I still know their Rocket motto by heart.
  13. RedJirachi

    RedJirachi Veteran member

    That's the point I'm making. It's funny to think that Mewtwo is associated with Team Rocket in like every medium except for the original
  14. shoz999

    shoz999 Accumula Town

    It's funny how basically the Pokemon mafia turned into a Pokemon James Bond villain organization plotting for world domination. I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that Team Rocket's appearance in the anime decided to treat Giovanni more like a James Bond villain and from there, you get all those wacky science gadgets and experiments. People started identifying Team Rocket with those robots and gadgets, that Rocket Grunts seem a bit more closer to villainous spies than gangsters. On a funny note, it's funny how Pokemon Generations showed the Team Rocket walking like a bunch of stylish gangsters lol in a science facility. Although Team Rocket in Pokemon Origins is also portrayed that way. In Pokemon Adventures, it's quite intriguing. On one hand they do seem like a James Bond-style villainous organization with so much access to gadgets and other science-related experimentation. On the other hand, Adventures Team Rocket still kind of captures that organized crime your talking about through Giovanni himself, the Rocket Boss, who explains how actually terrifyingly organized his plan is by taking over transportation/shipping routes. It's planning like that reminds you Team Rocket is in the end inspired by organized crime.
  15. RedJirachi

    RedJirachi Veteran member

    I'd say that was a mix of early installment weirdness and trying to stay relevant to the far more ambitious future villainous teams
  16. Leonhart

    Leonhart Disney fanatic

    I preferred them in Gen I given how cruel they were, what with murdering Pokemon and all. They also seemed realistic in the sense that their schemes were money-based and not as extreme as future villains.

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