I remember watching the anime and thinking, “Wow, the Team Rocket of the video game is nothing like this stumbling, bumbling pair of ‘thieves’ that have a Meowth that can somehow talk.” In the game, Team Rocket is a huge Crime Syndicate. They’re basically the Mafia of the Pokemon World. I mean, they even killed a Cubone’s mother! Everywhere you go some kind of havoc is being caused because of damn Team Rocket trying to take over the world, and it’s up to you, a ten year old with a Charmander (or Bulbasaur or Squirtle) to stop them. This drastically changed in the anime series.
Instead of being a highly organized crime syndicate, Team Rocket changed into an incompetent group of Pokemon thieves. The main trio that is focused on is Jessie, James and the aforementioned talking Meowth. They are on assignment in Viridian City to steal Pokemon when Ash shows up and Pikachu lays waste to their efforts. After that, all they can think about is stealing the Pokemon that humiliated them, Pikachu. They fail constantly, are the laughing stock of their boss Giovanni, and always get “blasted off again.”
While the Team Rocket from the anime has found a place in a lot of Poke-Nerd’s hearts, including mine for that matter, I have always held higher regard for the video game’s version. Maybe it was because I was a kid and they truly seemed evil. Maybe it was because of the hundreds of damn henchmen that were placed throughout the game and I being a completionist, had to battle them all. Or maybe it was because my first playthrough of the game took me around 36 hours to complete, and the feeling I got knowing I went through that epic journey saving the Pokemon world and stopped Team Rocket (and became a Pokemon Master in the process) is unrivaled in anything else I’ve ever done.
I love the anime as much as the next person, there’s no doubt about that. But am I the only one that thought it could have been even better if Team Rocket had been made to shadow the version of the games? I realize they were the comic relief of the anime, and that it was directed at kids, but so were the video games. In the anime, we knew that every time Ash faced them, it wasn’t going to end well for Team Rocket. It kind of got old after a while.
Also, I legitimately get annoyed every time I hear their stupid motto.