The Pokémon series is an overwhelmingly popular media franchise that has extended far beyond its video game origins. In addition to an iconic trading card game, Pokémon also boasts a long-running animated TV series starring beloved Pokémon trainer Ash Ketchum. This anime has also spawned numerous feature-length specials, producing a long list of animated movies for fans to enjoy. These movies represent major events in Ash’s Pokémon trainer journey and often depict encounters with some of the most powerful creatures in the franchise’s ever-growing roster. In addition to these animated movies, 2019’s Detective Pikachu further expands the mythos by making Pokémon live-action. Here’s a full list of every movie released in the franchise at the time of this writing.
Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back
The very first feature-length Pokémon film debuted in 1998 in Japan, with an English-language version following the next year. The movie consists of three segments. The first part, Pikachu’s Vacation, features Ash’s Pokémon frolicking in an amusement park designed for the creatures, before running afoul of a rival team. The second segment covers the horrific origin story of Mewtwo, a lab-grown Pokémon designed as a superweapon. In the final, longest segment, Mewtwo traps Ash and several other trainers on an island, terrorizing them with cloned Pokémon in an attempt to dominate the world.
Pokémon: The Movie 2000 – The Power of One
The second Pokémon film launched in 1999 in Japan and once again came out in America a year later. Like its predecessor, Pokémon: The Movie 2000 starts with another Pikachu-focused short segment called Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure. This brief story sees Pikachu and his friends hunt for a missing Exeggcute egg. The main plot of the film focuses on Lawrence III, a Pokémon collector who seeks to capture the three legendary birds in order to make Lugia appear. His meddling upsets the balance of nature in the Pokémon world, leading Ash and his friends to look for the missing birds and foil Lawrence’s scheme.
Pokémon 3: The Movie
The Pikachu segment at the start of this film, which was released in 2000, is called Pikachu & Pichu. It centers around Ash’s Pikachu meeting a family of Pichu and getting into a series of hijinx with them. The main film introduces the mysterious Unown, strange psychic creatures who resemble the letters of the alphabet. The creatures trap a lonely young girl named Molly in an illusory palace and summon the legendary Pokémon Entei to serve as her father. Ash and his friends join the mission to save the girl and return her to reality.
The fourth Pokémon movie, launched in 2001, does not feature a Pikachu segment at the beginning. Instead, the movie focuses entirely on Celebi, who travels forward from the past with a young trainer named Sammy in order to escape a hunter. Ash and his friends must aid Sammy and Celebi in order to return them to their original time, while at the same time foiling the schemes of the sinister Iron Masked Marauder, a menacing antagonist who seeks to enslave Celebi with the power of his awful Dark Ball.
This 2002 film sees Ash go toe to toe with the thieves Annie and Oakley as they attempt to steal a mystical gem known as the Soul Dew. This crystal powers the defense system for the city of Alto Mare and contains the essence of Latios and Latias. Along the way, they must tangle with the city’s past, including the fossilized Pokémon of an evil trainer that tried to attack Alto Mare long ago.
Jirachi, Wish Maker
The Pokémon-central intro segments make a return in this 2003 movie, which begins with Gotta Dance! This segment sees Pikachu and friends attempt to rescue a trio of Whismur from Team Rocket, all while contending with a special baton that, when activated, causes Pokémon to dance uncontrollably. The main story of the film centers on Jirachi, a legendary Pokémon that appears once every thousand years in order to grant a wish. A former member of the sinister Team Magma captures Jirachi in order to awaken the legendary Groudon, and as always, Ash and his friends must rescue the Pokémon and save the day.
As the name implies, this 2004 film focuses on the enigmatic extraterrestrial Pokémon Deoxys. The alien crashes to earth in an asteroid, earning the ire of sky guardian Rayquaza in the process. As it begins tearing LaRousse City apart in search of a mysterious green crystal, Ash and his friends must team up with Tory, a young boy who is terrified of Pokémon. Together, they protect the town from Deoxys and Rayquaza’s battles while at the same time unraveling the motivations of this mysterious visitor from space.
Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
This 2005 movie sets Ash on a quest to rescue his beloved companion Pikachu. The latter fainted while protecting the legendary Mew from an evil trainer, and Mew teleported both itself and Pikachu to the Tree of Beginning in order to protect itself. Ash journeys after them in the company of an ancient Lucario, sealed in a mystical staff by a legendary hero in a distant land. Along the way, Ash and his friends must explore Lucario’s past and help him recover from his hatred and mistrust of humans.
Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea
This nautical adventure debuted in 2006 and sees Ash, May, and friends assist a Pokémon Ranger named Jack Walker. The ranger has recovered a Manaphy egg from some pirates and needs the kids’ help keeping it safe from their assault. Along the way, the egg hatches, and the infant Manaphy bonds with May. The group must escort the child to Samiya, an undersea palace where the Manaphy can reunite with others of its kind.
The Rise of Darkrai
Time and space collide in this 2007 movie. It sees Alamos Town suffer the effects of an ongoing battle between Pokémon deities Dialga and Palkia, lords of time and space respectively. The townsfolk blame Darkrai, a sinister, shadowy Pokémon that is in reality attempting to shield Alamos Town from the worst effects of Dialga and Palkia’s brawl. Ash and his friends must find a way to not only stop the conflict between the two extradimensional titans but protect the helpful Darkrai from the townspeople’s wrath.
Giratina and the Sky Warrior
Ash and his friends must contend with extradimensional threats once again in 2008’s Giratina and the Sky Warrior. This movie features a villainous researcher known as Zero who seeks to drain the power of the legendary Pokémon Giratina and conquer the creature’s mirrored home dimension. Ash must foil this mad scientist’s plans while at the same time escorting legendary Pokémon Shaymin to a flower garden and avoiding the fallout of a battle between Giratina and Dialga.
Arceus and the Jewel of Life
In 2009, Ash and his friends confront the god of the Pokémon world, Arceus itself. The mythical creature is upset with humanity following a betrayal it suffered in the ancient past which almost cost the creature its life. In order to protect the present-day citizens from Arceus’ wrath, Dialga sends Ash and crew back in time to learn the truth of this ancient conflict and set things right.
Zoroark: Master of Illusions
2010’s movie concludes the series of films based on Diamond & Pearl. In it, Ash and his friends must take down an evil businessman named Grings Kodai. Kodai is using the legendary Pokémon Zoroark to terrorize the citizens of Crown City, utilizing the creature’s illusions to impersonate legendary Pokémon Entei, Suicune, and Raikou. Kodai’s grand plan involves manipulating a local anomaly known as the Time Ripple in order to gain the ability to see into the future, and Ash must stop him before his diabolical plan reaches fruition.
Black: Victini and Reshiram and White: Victini and Zekrom
2011’s Pokémon movie release took an unorthodox approach based on the dual release structure favored by the video games since they first debuted. Black and White follow similar plots, but like the games they’re based on, the legendary Pokémon are swapped in each version. Both versions follow a man named Damon, a descendant of a long-dead kingdom who hopes to harness the power of Victini to restore the ancient land to harmony and order. Both legendary creatures appear in both films, but their roles are swapped. Damon also has a different Pokémon companion of his own depending on the film.
Kyurem Vs. The Sword of Justice
In 2012, Ash encounters Keldeo, a mythical Unicorn-like Pokémon training to join a group of protector Pokémon known as the Swords of Justice. After legendary Pokémon Kyurem encases the rest of the Swords of Justice in ice, Keldeo flees. Ash and his friends must protect Keldeo from the vengeful Kyurem and help it restore its strength. In the meantime, they also quest to free the Swords of Justice from Kyurem’s icy grasp and help Keldeo achieve its destiny.
Genesect and the Legend Awakened
This 2013 movie sees Ash join forces with the enigmatic Mewtwo when a group of Genesect threaten a nature park known as Pokémon Hills. The Genesect, angry over losing their home, attempt to conquer the park and turn it into a new home. With the help of Mewtwo, Ash and friends must curb the destruction and mayhem caused by these belligerent creatures while at the same time helping them find a new home to call their own.
Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction
2014’s animated Pokémon movie sees Ash team up with mythical Pokémon Diancie, who’s seeking a new Heart Diamond to save her kingdom. In order to accomplish this task, Ash and friends seek to reawaken the Life Pokémon Xerneas, only to inadvertently summon Destruction Pokémon Yveltal instead. Ash must help Diancie survive Yveltal’s wrath, as well as the machinations of a group of greedy jewel thieves, in order to create the Heart Diamond and save the day.
Hoopa and the Clash of Ages
In 2015’s film, Ash and his friends are summoned by the Mythical Pokémon Hoopa, who can perform mighty conjuration tricks using its magical rings. While Hoopa’s power is impressive, most of its essence was imprisoned in a bottle after it lost control 100 years ago. In modern times, this power lashes out, possessing a variety of hosts in an attempt to become free and reunite with Hoopa. Ash and friends, with the help of a variety of legendary Pokémon summoned by Hoopa, must fight back the dark presence and help Hoopa gain control of its power.
Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel
This 2016 film sees Ash bonded to a Mythical Pokémon known as Volcanion. This impressive beast despises humans but is forced to work with Ash due to a set of linked bands they both wear. With this forced bond in place, Ash, Volcanion, and friends travel to the Azoth Kingdom to liberate the artificial Pokémon Magearna. This robotic creature has been enslaved by the evil minister of this land in order to power its flying fortress.
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!
This movie, released in 2017, is something of a reboot of Ash’s adventures. It adapts and rehashes the events of the earliest episodes of the TV show, depicting a new take on Ash’s origins, his first encounter with Pikachu, and the start of his Pokémon trainer journey. The movie also replaces long-time companions Brock and Misty with new characters Verity and Sorrel, much to the chagrin of many fans.
Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us
2018’s The Power of Us is another departure from series tradition. The movie follows multiple citizens of Fula City and their partner Pokémon. Their stories intertwine during the annual Wind Festival, an event held to commemorate the legendary Pokémon Lugia. As the events of the festival get increasingly out of hand, these disparate characters, along with the ever-present Ash Ketchum, must band together to protect Fula City from a series of increasingly dangerous threats.
In 2019, a new kind of Pokémon movie hit theaters. Unlike every film before, Detective Pikachu is a live action movie. It features Ryan Reynolds providing voice and motion capture for the title role. The movie is loosely based on the 2016 spinoff video game of the same name. The movie focuses on Detective Pikachu’s quest to help Tim Goodman, a former Pokémon trainer who can understand Pikachu’s speech, find his missing father. A sequel to this film is allegedly in development, though its fate has been thrown into question in recent years.
Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution
2019 saw a considerable change to the animated Pokémon movie formula as well. Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution is a CGI remake of the very first Pokémon film. Like the first movie, Evolution covers Mewtwo’s torturous origins. It then follows his efforts to get revenge on humankind by luring trainers like Ash to its island lair.
Secrets of the Jungle
At the time of this writing, 2020’s Secrets of the Jungle is the most recent Pokémon movie. In it, Ash encounters Koko, a boy who was raised by the Mythical Pokémon Zarude and thus believes himself to be a Pokémon as well. While Ash helps Koko uncover the truth of his past, they also discover a sinister conspiracy from the Biotope Company which threatens to destroy Zarude’s home. Ash and his friends must team up with Koko and Zarude in order to foil the company’s evil schemes and keep the jungle safe.