Lame references aside, it does seem like there is a significant disconnect between different Pokemonseries, even if our immortal Ash/Satoshi appeared to stay the same throughout all of them. Kind of like some other watch order that we previously visited before don’t you think?
We suppose it’s just all about understanding the different fictional regions. Since you know, a Pokemon watch order would inevitably always glean on these game-based areas for each separate title one way or another. Well, probably back to some areas occasionally, but you know the usual drill.
Of course, there’s so much to the story of Pokemon (there really is!) that, like Naruto or the Monogatari series, the lore can still get reasonably deep. As complex as that of an extended Fate watch order, if you will.
Recommended watch order
For most of the released main series episodes and movies, the chronological order and release order should match very closely. But for specials and other watchables dedicated to a particular series or region, you may have to backtrack a bit or simply arm yourselves with previous knowledge (hopefully through watching) of the related series.
Oh and, to save time, you can probably also skip some filler episodes and specials, which we decided not to include in this list since you can simply view them at your own discretion. Though, we still recommend viewing most of the TV series, at least for a more immersive Pokemon primetime sofa viewing experience.
Basic watch order for most of the regions that Ash adventure into.
Pokemon: Indigo League
Pokemon: Adventures on the Orange Islands
Pokemon: The Johto Journeys
Pokemon: Johto League Champions
Pokemon: Master Quest
Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You!
Pokemon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back
Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution
Pokemon the Movie 2000
Pokemon 3 the Movie: Spell of the Unown
Pokemon the Movie: The Power of Us
Pokemon 4Ever: Celebi – Voice of the Forest
Pokemon Heroes: Latios and Latias
Mewtwo Returns (special)
Pokemon: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon (special)
Pokemon Advanced Challenge
Pokemon Advanced Battle
Pokemon (Advanced) Battle Frontier
Pokemon: Jirachi – Wish Maker
Pokemon the Movie: Destiny Deoxys
Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl: Battle Dimension
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl: Galactic Battles
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors
Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai
Pokemon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior
Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life
Pokemon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions
Pokemon Black and White
Pokemon Black and White: Rival Destinies
Pokemon Black and White: Adventures in Unova
Pokemon Black and White: Adventures in Unova and Beyond
Pokemon the Movie: White – Victini and Zekrom
Pokemon the Movie: Black-Victini and Reshiram
Pokemon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice
Pokemon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened
Pokemon XY The Series
Pokemon XY The Series: Kalos Quest
Pokemon XYZ The Series
Pokemon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction
Pokemon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages
Pokemon the Movie: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel
Pokemon Sun and Moon The Series
Pokemon Sun and Moon The Series: Ultra Adventures
Pokemon Sun and Moon The Series: Ultra Legends
Pokemon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle
Pokemon Journeys The Series
Pokemon Master Journeys The Series (ongoing)
Release date order
A few entries switched here and there, some specials removed, but mostly remain the same.
Pokemon: Indigo League (1997-1999)
Pokemon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998)
Pokemon: Adventures on the Orange Islands (1999)
Pokemon the Movie 2000 (1999)
Pokemon: The Johto Journeys (1999-2000)
Pokemon 3 the Movie: Spell of the Unown (2000)
Pokemon: Johto League Champions (2000-2001)
Pokemon: Master Quest (2001-2002)
Pokemon 4Ever: Celebi – Voice of the Forest (2001)
Pokemon Heroes: Latios and Latias (2002)
Pokemon Advanced (2002-2003)
Pokemon: Jirachi – Wish Maker (2003)
Pokemon Advanced Challenge (2003-2004)
Pokemon the Movie: Destiny Deoxys (2004)
Pokemon Advanced Battle (2004-2005)
Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew (2005)
Pokemon (Advanced) Battle Frontier (2005-2006)
Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (2006)
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl (2006-2007)
Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai (2007)
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl: Battle Dimension (2007-2008)
Pokemon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior (2008)
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl: Galactic Battles (2008-2009)
Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life (2009)
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors (2009-2010)
Pokemon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions (2010)
Pokemon Black and White (2010-2011)
Pokemon the Movie: White – Victini and Zekrom (2011)
Pokemon Black and White: Rival Destinies (2011-2012)
Pokemon the Movie: Black-Victini and Reshiram (2011)
Pokemon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice (2012)
Pokemon Black and White: Adventures in Unova (2012-2013)
Pokemon Black and White: Adventures in Unova and Beyond (2013)
Pokemon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened (2013)
Pokemon XY The Series (2013-2014)
Pokemon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction (2014)
Pokemon XY The Series: Kalos Quest (2014-2015)
Pokemon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages (2015)
Pokemon XYZ The Series (2015-2016)
Pokemon the Movie: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel (2016)
Pokemon Sun and Moon The Series (2016-2017)
Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You! (2017)
Pokemon Sun and Moon The Series: Ultra Adventures (2017-2018)
Pokemon the Movie: The Power of Us (2018)
Pokemon Sun and Moon The Series: Ultra Legends (2018-2019)
Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution (2019)
Pokemon Journeys The Series (2019-2020)
Pokemon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle (2020)
Pokemon Master Journeys The Series (2020-ongoing)
Pokemon story introduction
Ash Ketchum (or in Japan Satoshi), is a young boy from the humble Pallet town. Upon reaching age ten, he finally reaches the minimum age that you can become a Pokemon Trainer. Pokemon are basically the regular animals and animal-like plants of this world. There is an entire sport and culture dedicated to cultivating bonds with them, strengthening them, honing their specialties, and eventually battling them out with each other for the chance to achieve higher titles and accomplishments within the competition.
The goal of Ash from the start is simple: become a Pokemon Master. He then started exploring the bigger area of the Kanto region and beyond to meet other friends, rivals, new Pokemon, and to defeat the Gym leaders that would eventually lead him to the Pokemon League…
(Note:the movies and specials will fit into the chronological timelines for each of their respective series)
Pokemon – the original series that is loosely based on the first generation (Red/Blue), and eventually second generation (Gold, Silver) Pokemon games. A few movies and specials are also inserted in between, though the official episodes are counted 275 total.
Pokemon: Advanced – starting after Master Quest, Pokemon: Advanced heralds the adventure of Ash in the Hoenn region, where the third generation (Ruby, Sapphire) of Pokemon games take place. The entire saga of Advanced officially ends at Battle Frontier, and by its conclusion, this series had a total of 192 episodes.
Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl – the next major series that is this time conveniently named after the generation that it was inspired with. As expected, this series takes place in the Sinnoh region, and had a total of 193 episodes for all seasons and specials. Starting Diamon and Pearl seasons will be abbreviated to the first two letters. In this case, “DP” (Pokemon DP: Galactic Battles).
Pokemon: Black and White – named once again directly after the game, this one takes place in the Unova region. In Japan, this series is named Pokemon: Best Wish (a play on the BW acronym). This series had a total of 84 episodes, apparently starting the trend (in retrospect anyway) of having three seasons in each major series.
Pokemon XY The Series – the first series to feature an all-new supporting cast for Ash, he adventures into the France-inspired lands of the Kalos region. Technically, the XY series alone is 93 episodes total, though technically XYZ should be included in the count (still same region).
Pokemon XYZ The Series – same setting, same characters, but this time the character Alain provides even more motivation and focus for Mega Evolutions. Without the previous two XY seasons, this series alone is 47 episodes.
Pokemon Sun and Moon The Series – yet another brand new series to feature an entirely new cast of supporting characters. The region focus this time is Alola. It lasted 146 episodes till 2019.
Pokemon Journeys – the latest series that is currently ongoing. No more particular focus on a region, but instead Ash and his new partner Goh travels across all regions, including the latest Galar region of Sword and Shield. Strangely enough, the series is simply titled “Pocket Monsters” in Japan (the same designated title of the very first series).
Pokemon fillers can actually be fun to watch too!
Like most popular franchises with multiple movies spanning the whole length of its existence in current media (which is… somewhat referenced in our best shounen anime list), the canonicity of Pokemon movies is kind of more or less hazy. The events are often never mentioned thereafter, and there are a few events in the TV series that kind of make you question whether Ash TV and Ash movie are both the same person.
But, as certain facts, such as references to Charizard still in the Charicific Valley after the third movie, have proven, some of them can be confirmed. It’s a “bink or miss” thing, though, so it would still be best to enjoy the series as it is.
And as for the entire timespan that Ash spent in all of these adventures and all these entire two decades, we have one single tip for you:
He’s… still ten years old. Please don’t ask why. And don’t consult Serena about this.
If you ever get tired of Pokemon, check out our best 90s anime list; there is something for everyone’s taste.