How to Watch Pokémon Movies in Order
There are many ways to enjoy the Pokémon world, but the anime and the Pokémon movies really pack a punch.
Though it’ll take much more time to watch the Pokémon series in order than it will to watch the movies, both mediums are equally enjoyable and contribute massively to Ash’s journey to becoming a Pokémon Master. Now that Ash has achieved this lofty goal and we’ll soon be saying goodbye to him in the anime, there’s no better time to give in to nostalgia and relive Ash’s Pokémon journey from the beginning.
The Kanto Region
The Kanto region is where it all began—Ash Ketchum, a young boy from Pallet Town, set off on his Pokémon journey for the first time with his infamous partner, Pikachu. Though Ash had a tough time of it in the beginning, and it’s hard to imagine he and Pikachu didn’t even get along at first, their time together throughout the first few series of the Pokémon anime remains iconic to this day.
Pokémon: The First Movie–Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998)
When a group of scientists manages to successfully clone the legendary Pokémon Mew, they create Mewtwo—but the results are disastrous. Mewtwo gets rid of its creators and begins a quest to prove that it is the strongest Pokémon and trainer in the world, and Ash and his friends are the only ones brave enough to stop it.
In 2019, Netflix produced a remake of Mewtwo Strikes Back called Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back–Evolution. Though it tells a similar story, it foregoes the traditional anime style in favor of a computer-generated 3D animation style.
Pokémon: The Movie 2000–The Power of One (1999)
An evil mastermind tries to kidnap the legendary Pokémon birds Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos, to lure in Lugia (one of the first Gen II Pokémon) and control the power of the sea. Naturally, Ash and his friends swoop in to save the day and befriend the legendary Pokémon in the process.
The Johto Region
The Johto region was introduced in the Pokémon Gold and Silver games, which were later joined by the Pokémon Crystal game. Johto, much like Kanto, is based on a real area of Japan. Generation II introduced 100 brand new Pokémon to the franchise, providing more than enough fodder for new adventures for Ash and his friends.
Pokémon 3: The Movie–Spell of the Unown (2000)
Much like the previous two Pokémon movies, Pokémon 3 focuses on a new Generation II legendary—Entei, otherwise known as the Volcano Pokémon. Pokémon 3 also focused on the mysteries of the Unown, as Ash and his friends are pulled into a reality-warping plot in which a little girl’s dreams and wishes all come true.
Pokémon 4Ever: Celebi–Voice of the Forest (2001)
Pokémon 4Ever focuses on the Mythical Pokémon Celebi, known for its ability to travel through time. Ash and his friends are forced to stop on their journey to save Celebi from a Pokémon hunter who wants to turn Celebi evil and use its power for his personal gain.
Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias (2002)
Pokémon Heroes introduced the world to Latios and Latias, the first of the Generation III legendaries. In the movie, Ash and his friends are forced to stop a pair of thieves from obtaining a valuable ancient weapon, one with the power to sink the canal city of Alto Mare.
During the Johto period, a follow-up to Mewtwo Strikes Back was also made as a feature-length TV special, called Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns. It was released in 2000 and functioned as a direct sequel to the first Pokémon movie.
The Hoenn Region
The Hoenn Region featured in Pokémon’s third generation and was introduced in the Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald games. The Hoenn arc was also the first time Ash would travel without Misty, continuing his journey with Brock, along with new trainer May and her little brother Max.
Pokémon: Jirachi–Wish Maker (2003)
The first of four movies set during the Hoenn region arc, Jirachi–Wish Maker tells the story of a magician who wants to awaken the legendary Pokémon Groudon by forcing Jirachi to grant him a wish. Ash, Brock, Max, and May must stop the magician before he succeeds and destruction befalls the Hoenn region.
Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys (2004)
Destiny Deoxys tells the story of how the Mythical Pokémon Deoxys falls to Earth and begins to terrorize a city. Will Ash and his friends manage to stop the threat? Every other Pokémon movie so far seems to hint that the answer is yes.
Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew (2005)
Ash and his friends are taken on a journey to “the Tree of the World’s Origin” as they try to locate Ash’s missing Pikachu, uncover the mysteries of the Mythical Pokémon Mew, and help a time-displaced Lucario understand its complicated past.
Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (2006)
With the help of a Pokémon Ranger named Jackie, Ash, and his friends are tasked with bringing the Pokémon Manaphy, Prince of the Sea, back to the Sea Temple before the evil pirate Phantom can capture it.
Pokémon’s Hoenn arc also includes another TV feature-length special, titled Pokémon: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon, released in 2006.
The Sinnoh Region
Sinnoh was the fourth region introduced in the Pokémon franchise. Though Ash traveled there with Brock, they were soon joined by Dawn, an intrepid Pokémon coordinator. The Sinnoh region was first introduced in the Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum games. The first three movies released during the Sinnoh era make up a self-contained trilogy.
Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai (2007)
In The Rise of Darkrai, Ash and friends are thrown into the midst of a stunning battle when Sinnoh legendaries Palkia and Dialga cross paths, plunging an idyllic town into chaos. Unfortunately for them, Darkrai is their only hope – despite it being shunned from the town.
Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior (2008)
Ash and his friends must stop an evil scientist named Zero from using the legendary Pokémon Giratina for their own gain—Giratina has the power to rule an alternate dimension called the Reverse World, but that dimension has the power to destroy the real world.
Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life (2009)
In Arceus and the Jewel of Life, the Pokémon Arceus, creator of the world, comes to Sinnoh to pass judgment on humanity after the Jewel of Life was stolen from it. To prevent Arceus’ wrath, Ash and his friends are sent back in time to figure out what really happened.
Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions (2010)
Ash and his friends must find out why the legendary Pokémon Entei, Suicune, and Raikou are rampaging through the streets of Crown City. Little do they know these Pokémon are all actually Zoroark, utilizing its powers of illusion to cause chaos during the Pokémon Baccer World Cup.
The Unova Region
The Unova region is the first Pokémon region that Ash travels to without Brock. Instead, he becomes friends with Iris and Cilan. Unova was also the first region in the Pokémon franchise not to be based on an area of Japan, as it was based on New York City. The Unova arc contains four movies in total, though the first two are two versions of one single story.
Pokémon the Movie: Black–Victini and Reshiram / White–Victini and Zekrom (2011)
To save Eindoak Town, Ash must convince the legendary Pokémon Reshiram or Zekrom to help him rescue his new friend Victini and stop the evil Damon from resurrecting an ancient and lost kingdom.
Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice (2012)
Ash and his friends become embroiled in a bitter Pokémon rivalry when they try to help the mythical Pokémon Keldeo save its friends from the icy clutches of the legendary dragon Pokémon, Kyurem.
Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened (2013)
In Genesect and the Legend Awakened, Ash and his friends must stop the war between Mewtwo and a group of Genesect before their rage destroys one of the Unova region’s biggest cities.
The Kalos Region
Kalos is the sixth region of the Pokémon franchise. There, Ash met new friends Clemont, Bonnie, and Serena, and made it to second place in the Pokémon League. The Kalos region was the first Pokémon region based on a European country—in this case, France.
Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction (2014)
The Mythical Pokémon Diancie rules the underground Diamond Domain, guarding the Heart Diamond that sustains the land. But when the Heart Diamond begins to fall apart, and Diancie isn’t yet strong enough to create a new one, Ash and his friends help it discover its true potential.
Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages (2015)
Ash and his friends meet the Mythical Pokémon Hoopa, who can summon things, people, and Pokémon through its magic ring. But a terrifying Pokémon threat has been set loose, and Ash and his friends are the only ones who can stop it.
Pokémon the Movie: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel (2016)
Ash meets the Mythical Pokémon Volcanion after it falls from the sky and a mysterious force binds the two together. Reluctantly, Volcanion lets Ash accompany it on its rescue mission to stop a corrupt minister from taking control of the mechanical kingdom of legend.
What About the Other Pokémon Regions?
Though there are three more regions in the Pokémon world, namely Alola, Galar, and most recently, Paldea, none of these regions has had an official Pokémon movie that follows the anime’s continuity.
This might be because the Pokémon anime started following a slightly different format when it moved to Alola, as Ash was no longer simply traveling the region and taking on the Gym Challenge, but became a student at a Pokémon school instead.
The Galar era anime, titled Pokémon Journeys, changed course once again as Ash became a Pokémon researcher, traveling to all the known Pokémon regions with his friend Goh to study Pokémon for Professor Cerise. The Galar era anime will be the last anime with Ash Ketchum as its protagonist, so it’s unlikely that a proper movie will still be released for this region.
However, the Paldea region, introduced in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, might bring back the release of the Pokémon films. Little is known about the new direction the anime will take, except that it will follow protagonists Riko and Roy as they take on the Paldea region starting in April 2023.
There are still a few more Pokémon movies for viewers to find. These all take place in an alternate continuity, despite featuring Ash as their protagonist, and so can be watched in any order you choose. These are Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! (2017), Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us (2018), and Pokémon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle, which was released in 2020 on Netflix.
And let’s not forget about Pokémon’s first and so far only foray into live-action, as it’s recently been announced that Detective Pikachu 2 is once again in development (hooray!). There’s plenty of exciting Pokémon content to sink your teeth into.
(Featured Image: Warner Bros. / The Pokémon Company)
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