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Top 10 best Pokemon TV episodes

Serebii's Joe Merrick picks his favourites

As Pokemon comes to Netflix, it's time to look back at some of the greatest episodes and moments from the Pokemon TV series. As there have been almost 800 episodes, there are lots of moments that are amazing, and, as I continue to watch them to cover them for my site, Serebii.net, there are more to add to the list each week.

However, the following 10 episodes, in no particular order, are among those which I consider to be the best and help define the show, the characters and even Pokemon in general.

Charizard Chills

Click to view larger image
This episode is one of the classic ones from the Orange Islands. After 60 episodes of being disobedient, this marked the turning point and made Charizard learn to respect Ash as a trainer and accept his commands.

During a random battle with a trainer called Tad, Charizard gets frozen and Ash spends all night taking care of him to try and warm him up. This showed Ash's compassion for his Pokemon and gave people the impression that Charizard is the most powerful of Ash's Pokemon.

Recently in Japan, parts of this episode, and many more of Charizard's tenure, were re-animated for a triumphant return.

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  1. Toastie Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 16:10

    Fantastic and well-balanced list, definitely one of the best articles I've seen on this site. I particularly agree with you on the Sinnoh League and that saga in general. It really showed how Ash had developed as a Pokémon trainer, and the various strategies he used were pretty interesting to watch. I would have had the three-parter where he battles Paul, however, because it felt like a more even battle, whereas Tobias' victory felt cheap.

  2. linkmarth29 Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 16:11

    Nice choices. My favourite was the Team Rocket-Pikachu episode.

  3. Pyron12 Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 16:14

    Some good choices (I didn't read the Meloetta one for spoilers sake). I also like the 2 parter featuring Deoxys, that was brilliant.

  4. Tamzily01 Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 16:14

    Nice choices. My favourite was the Team Rocket-Pikachu episode.

    I remember watching that episode years ago. It kinda reminds me of an episode from the original Kanto arc.

  5. shy guy 64 Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 16:15

    some good choices there

    i prefer the more recent stuff to the earlier stuff myself

  6. kingdra king Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 16:36

    I love the raikou one actually I think I've got that in a movie length 1 parter DVD along with the rest of the Pokemon chionicals series :lol:

  7. lazy_by_choice Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 16:38

    I have to say, the first ever episode of the Pokemon series is the best in my opinion. Not only does it mark the beginning of the series, but it is one of the cartoons that I had the chance of watching while growing up; it was great back in the day and every time I think back on it, it is so nostalgic to me. I love it! :D

  8. King Slazo Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 17:20

    Wow, these are... good choices. Mostly. And this is from one of the few who's stuck with the series for the past... 15 years odd now?

    Semi-Final Frontier will likely be my favourite for a long time, if not forever. Culiminating the epic Sinnoh League with a love letter to those who'd kept up with the show for over a decade, it was epic in every sense of the world. An awe-inspiring finalé to the best series the show ever had.

    Surprised to see the Bulbasaur episode from Johto as it was... quite bland. Like most of Johto until the Whirl Islands. The Misty episodes in Hoenn were only really decent because... it was Misty. Anything to distract from the teribad combo of May and Max.

    But if I do have to nitpick with one choice, its Legend of Thunder? Really? Not because its "not TV", but because it was one of the weaker things in Chronicles. Pretty much every other episode in that spinoff was better.

    As for ones you missed, surprised not to see Electric Shock Showdown, one of the few truly great battles in Kanto where Ash actually earned a Gym Badge instead of being gifted it for some random reason. Its decade later counterpart Pika vs Goliath was neat too, especially when they used the way Ash won originally then had that fail. Thinking about it, I could also list off tonnes of DP series episodes (in case you didn't guess, I loved the Sinnoh stuff) but I'll spare people that. :P

  9. CaptainSnivy Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 17:33

    I didn't know Joe actually liked the anime. I thought it was just the people who help him out with the anime stuff on his site that like it.

  10. Serebii Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 17:38

    But if I do have to nitpick with one choice, its Legend of Thunder? Really? Not because its "not TV", but because it was one of the weaker things in Chronicles. Pretty much every other episode in that spinoff was better.

    As for ones you missed, surprised not to see Electric Shock Showdown, one of the few truly great battles in Kanto where Ash actually earned a Gym Badge instead of being gifted it for some random reason. Its decade later counterpart Pika vs Goliath was neat too, especially when they used the way Ash won originally then had that fail. Thinking about it, I could also list off tonnes of DP series episodes (in case you didn't guess, I loved the Sinnoh stuff) but I'll spare people that. :P

    I had to make some cutoffs somewhere. I didn't want to go for the generic "Gym episodes are good episodes" feel as I wanted the list to be unique.

    As for Legend of Thunder, many of the core elements people dislike about it are due to the dub. The episode itself is pretty good :)

  11. fisher2007 Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 17:42

    I prefer the classic pokemon episodes.

  12. 03jnb Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 17:44

    I agree with you for most of them. I loved the Gaining Groudon/Scuffle of Legends, Solid as a Solrock (I loved the 'Thunder Armour' strategy, I thought that was a very clever strategy) and Gathering the Gang of Four. There's a lot of other episodes that stand out to me such as the episode where Ash goes back to Professor Oak's Lab in between Hoenn and the Battle Frontier and Ash's first Battle Frontier match.

  13. thenintendoer Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 18:38

    darn its been so long since i saw the original series that ive fogotten most of the episodes but given it was one of my favourite shows when i was little id say the episodes from the first series where probably the best

  14. KH81314 Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 19:12

    My favorie episode is the Semi-Final Frontier. Love that episode even though he lost.

  15. Rickjedebeste Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 21:12

    What about Electric Soldier Porygon? That one was kind of... flashy :P

  16. superthingymabob Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 at 23:20

    These are all great choices, although the Unova saga put me off the anime. It's just not as good, and Cilan is REALLY annoying. (I'm an X conniseur!)

    Personally I always liked all of the Pokemon League battles. Also, whenever someone caught or evolved a pokemon was generally good.
    However one that sticks out in my head was when Brock saved Ash, May, and Max when he made his return. I mean, come on!
    "Forretress! Explosion!" And you don't see who it is till the dust clears. Man, the memories...
    Also, when Snorlax's pokeball broke in the Orange Islands.

  17. PikachuKJ Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 07:17

    One of my favourites is when Ash leaves his charizard . It so sad. That and I liked when they brought back Misty. I really like the Iris episode when they go to her old school. Good article.

  18. Link Lee Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 11:33

    Pikachu's Goodbye is one of the best episodes in the entire show. I remember watching it for the first time with my little sister. I remember she cried out loud and I was trying to choke back tears. Thinking about it makes me want to cry again :cry:

  19. MartinIsAwesome Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 12:54

    This was the first thing I thought of after reading this: http://youtu.be/i6Bn_TeB-10?t=1m48s

    For me it will always be the Kanto arc that's my favourite. So many memorable moments from Metapods getting hard in "Challange of the Samurai", Damian's accent in "Charmander the Stray Pokemon", finding out that Squirtle is a total bad-ass and you right to pick him in Pokemon Blue in "Attack of the Squirtle Squad", "Go West Young Meowth" along with the other episodes that focus on Team Rocket's past, and James crossdressing in "Practically Every Other Episode". Good times.

    I've also had the pleasure of watching "Island of the Giant Pokemon" in French. Instead of awesome titles when the Pokemon talk to eacher, they're translated directly into French and it was lame~.

  20. Nintendo4Ever Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 13:52

    One episode that has always stuck in my mind is Bye Bye Butterfree, seeing Pikachu wave it off always got me!

    Also, the episode when Scyther's and Pinsir's were fighting and a Scyther cut Pikachu's bottle of Kethchup in half, his face was priceless!

    There are many other episodes that are still stuck in my mind after 8 years, Pikachu refusing to use the thunderstone, Ash finding Charmander, Ash losing to Richie, the Squirtle Squad! Charizard getting frozen, Charizard vs Magmar and Ash being in the igloo with all his Pokemon around him keeping him warm.

    As you can possibly tell the Kanto arc ='s my childhood and the Johto arc but I can only remember Heracross sucking pollen from Bulbasaur's bulb for some reason.

  21. SquirtleSquad Thursday 21st Mar 2013 at 11:32

    Good list but you are missing the best ever episode. How could the Squirtle Squad episode not make this list?

  22. raphaelcoelho15 Thursday 21st Mar 2013 at 19:38

    The N episodes are awesome and I don't think it's on my Top 10 list but it was shock to me when Meowth stays with Ash, Cylan and Iris for a few episodes and in one of those Iris tries to catch Meowth and it enters on the pokeball and at this moment I was like "Meowth doesn't have a trainer?" and then, after 3 or 4 shakes, he comes out almost breathless saying "My God! I was almost caught" or something like that. LOL that was an amazing episode for me, but for sure the first episode still brings me the best memories of school and how everyone loved Pokémon.

  23. linkmarth29 Thursday 1st Aug 2013 at 20:42

    I get so upset when Brock leaves, especially the last episod set in Sinnoh. The Sinnoh League holds a special place in my heart.

  24. wghtmf Tuesday 27th Aug 2013 at 10:06

    Good list. One of my favourite episodes is the first Jigglypuff episode. I forget what it's called but I always found it hilarious.

  25. Paulos Blade Thursday 2nd Jan 2014 at 20:31

    I guess the first episode of Pokemon was my favorite... I've seen only 49 of the first ones, but then again ... I really appreciated Electric Shock Showdown, showing how just because you're not "evolved" *or in our cases, tall and full of brute strength* that the shorter less muscular crowd *such as Pikachu* can end up outsmarting and use a form of quickening against adversity. Of course in Pokemon it was just beautiful to see an overpowered Pikachu fight Raichu, because I never really made the decision that Raichu was better than a Pikachu even in the games ... despite some stat differences. Guess I'd have to go with the FIRST EPISODE and of course 014 Electric Shock Showdown.

  26. lrwr14 Thursday 27th Feb 2014 at 16:24

    One of my favourite episodes was when, can't remember the full plot, lost on a snowy mountain? he ends up inside a cave with all his pokemon around him keeping him warm. Something along those lines.

  27. King Slazo Thursday 27th Feb 2014 at 16:42

    http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/thumb/e/eb/Snow_Way_Out.png/200px-Snow_Way_Out.png

    Maybe you're thinking of Snow Way Out?

  28. Komodo_Wolfgang Thursday 27th Feb 2014 at 17:22

    This showed how much Ash has grown as a trainer.


    Yet recently found it impossible to take down a Surskit with a titanically powered pikachu. Argument as old as Pokemon itself that.


    Its a shame we never got to see the Rocket Vs. Plasma episodes =( They sounded epic.

  29. lrwr14 Thursday 27th Feb 2014 at 17:44

    http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/thumb/e/eb/Snow_Way_Out.png/200px-Snow_Way_Out.png

    Maybe you're thinking of Snow Way Out?

    Thats the one. Loved that episode.

  30. Growlithe Thursday 27th Feb 2014 at 17:45

    My favourite is "Go West, Young Meowth", where we learn why Meowth can speak and stand like a human.
    As a kid I thought it was very sad, but very cool that Meowth was so determined to learn how to do the impossible.

  31. Hero_Of_Moga Thursday 27th Feb 2014 at 19:21

    in my opinion any episode past generation 3 (hoenn) is terrible as it just became so westernized, hoenn episodes were good at a stretch but sinnoh and beyond just felt like one of those terrible, fake american animes that are constantly played on CITV altough the pokemon origins spinoff looks like it could be more simmilar to the older, superior episodes and I look forward to when I find the time to watch them.

  32. Dan-the-Wii-man Friday 28th Feb 2014 at 02:27

    Got to be the one where ash leaves Charazard behind in johto COULDN'T EVEN DEAL

  33. Thane64 Friday 28th Feb 2014 at 10:45

    Man, 'Gotta Catcha Later' destroys me every time I watch it :cry:

  34. Gargravarr Friday 28th Feb 2014 at 14:20

    I think I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Battle Aboard the St. Anne, though that's possibly because it was the first episode I ever watched.

    I disagree with Semi-Final Frontier's presence on this list, though. I know there seems to be some unwritten rule that Ash can never win a Pokemon League tournament (aside from the Orange Islands), and I'm therefore used to him meeting a new character near the beginning of the season's League arc who you just know is going to end up knocking him out of the tournament (Ritchie, Harrison, Tyson etc.), but Tobias really was a load of BS. It's rare enough for a trainer in the anime to have even one legendary pokemon, but two is just plain cheap. Literally the only reason he exists is to stop Ash winning the Sinnoh league.

  35. geengy Friday 28th Feb 2014 at 19:58

    I haven't watched an episode of Pokémon in years, but after reading this list I really just want to get right into it and watch those episodes! Thanks for contributing to ONM again, Joe!

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