The first series tells the story of Ash Ketchum (known as Satoshi in the Japanese version, he is named after Pokemon's creator, Satoshi Tajiri) and his quest to become a Pokemon Master. However, unlike in the video games, he is given a Pikachu as his first Pokemon under unusual circumstances. Much of the series focuses on the friendship between Ash, Pikachu, and the various Pokemon and Trainers along the way.
The other two series continue to follow the adventures of Ash and his friends. However, starting with the Advanced Generation series. a new main character named May travels with Ash, Max, and Brock through the Hoenn region, and competes in Pokemon Contests, which are set up in a similar manner to Pokemon Gyms (many throughout the region, and ending with a large tournament), although immensely different.
Throughout the run of the show the subject matter changes. In the original series, the show is more comical and whimsical (light and airy). It uses "goofy" humor (or "cute" humor when it comes to Pikachu, who does wacky things in between important scenes). In the Advanced Generation series as Ash becomes more of a mature and leader-type character, the main course of the show becomes more serious, as it deals with love and death, and its previous comical nature (for the most part) changes into comic relief, attributed mostly to Team Rocket and Brock's love of girls, though the Diamond and Pearl series seems to have returned to using the original comical nature (mostly Ash being the straight man to his Pokemon's antics and Dawn taking the role of the naive beginner).
Season Description # of Eps.
Pokemon! Covers the entire Kanto saga. Ash collects the eight regional gym badges and competes in the Pokemon League, finishing in the top sixteen. 83
The Orange Island Adventures Covers the Orange Archipelago saga. Tracey replaces Brock as a main character. Ash collects the four regional gym badges and competes in the Orange League, which he wins. 35
Pokemon: Second Generation
Season Description # of Eps.
The Johto Journeys Covers from New Bark Town to Goldenrod City. Ash, Misty and Brock travel to Johto to deliver the GS Ball to Kurt. Ash collects the first two gym badges to compete in the Silver Conference. 41
Johto League Champions Covers from Goldenrod City to Cianwood City. Ash collects the next three gym badges needed to compete in the Silver Conference. 52
Master Quest Covers from Cianwood City to Pallet Town. Ash collects the final three gym badges and competes in the Silver Conference, finishing in the top eight. Misty and Brock leave on their respective journeys, and Ash heads to Hoenn with only Pikachu. 64
Pokemon: The Third Generation (covers Hoenn and Kanto)
Season Description # of Eps.
Advanced Covers from Littleroot Town to Mauville City. Ash is joined by May, a new trainer who wishes to compete in Pokemon Contests in order to enter the Grand Festival. They are also joined by May's brother Max, and Brock (Ash's longest human friend throughout the series). Ash collects the first three gym badges needed for the Hoenn League. 40
Advanced Challenge Covers from Mauville City to Lilycove City. Ash collects the next three gym badges needed to compete in the Hoenn League. May wins three contests. Misty visits the group in Episode 44. 52
Advanced Battle Covers from Lilycove City to Saffron City. Ash collects the final two gym badges and competes in the Hoenn League, finishing in the top eight. May wins her final two contests and competes in the Grand Festival, finishing in the top eight. Ash decides to challenge the Battle Frontier, located in Kanto, while May decides to compete in the Kanto Pokemon Contests. Ash collects one Frontier Symbol and May wins one Kanto contest. Misty temporarily accompanies them to Mt. Moon. 53
Battle Frontier Covers from Saffron City to Pallet Town. Ash collects the final six Frontier Symbols and defeats the Battle Frontier. May wins her final four contests and competes in the Kanto Grand Festival, finishing in second place. Ash goes to Sinnoh with just Pikachu and Aipom. May and Max return to Petalburg Gym. May travels to Johto, but Max remains in Hoenn. Brock returns to Pewter City. 49
Pokemon: The Fourth Generation
Season Description # of Eps.
Diamond and Pearl Covers from Twinleaf Town to Hearthome City. Ash is joined by Dawn, a new trainer who wants to compete in Pokemon Super-Contests and enter the Sinnoh Grand Festival. Brock also returns to the group. Ash meets rivals Paul and Nando. Dawn meets rivals Nando, Zoey and her rival/friend Kenny. Ash and Co. meet Hunter J and her attempts at stealing Pokemon. Ash wins the first two badges needed to compete in the Sinnoh League and Dawn wins one ribbon. Ash caught a Turtwig, a Starly which evolves into a Staravia, and a Chimchar which Paul releases. Dawn chooses Piplup as her starter Pokemon, and catches a Buneary, Pachirisu and a Buizel. Brock's Bonsly evolved into a Sudowoodo, he caught a Croagunk, and the egg won in the Pokemon dress contest hatched into a Happiny. 52
Diamond And Pearl Battle Dimension Covers from Hearthome City onwards. Ash & Co. meet Team Galactic. Ash trades with Dawn her Buizel with his Aipom and later, Dawn's Aipom evolves into Ambipom. Jessie won her first ribbon at the Solaceon Contest. Ash catches a Gligar. Ash beats Veilstone city gym leader, Maylene. May returns in the 76th Episode and travels with the group to the Wallace Cup Competition. Dawn beats May in the Wallace Cup Ribbon and Jessie releases her Dustox and catches a Yanma which evolved into Yanmega on the same episode. James gives his cacnea to Gardenia. Ash then went on to beat Crasher Wake, Gym Leader of Pastoria City, Dawn catches a Swinub and Ash's Gligar evolves into a Gliscor. 41
* Ash Ketchum (Satoshi) He is from Pallet Town, Kanto; Ash Ketchum is the main star of the anime series and is one of the default names in Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow (his Japanese name, Satoshi, is named after Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of the Pokemon games). Ash aspires to be a Pokemon Master, and together with the various friends and Pokemon that travel with him, embarks on many adventures. In a similar fashion to the game, Ash enters various Pokemon League competitions. Ash has made cameo appearances in Pokemon Chronicles, and is referred to frequently.
* Pikachu — Pikachu is the series' main Pokemon and also serves as the Pokemon series' mascot. Pikachu is a little, yellow, mouse-like creature with a lightning bolt tail and the ability to create an electrical jolt from its cheeks. It is the Pokemon that Ash receives from Professor Oak to start his journey, and stays with Ash for the entirety of the Pokemon anime. Other Pikachu appear elsewhere, though. .
Other Pikachu of note include Richie's Pikachu Sparky, the Surfing Pikachu Puka, seen in a first-season episode (which drew popular controversy and the Surfing Pikachu rumors to the fans of the game), and the Pikachu owned by the protagonist of Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition.
* Brock (Takeshi) He is from Pewter City, Kanto; The Pewter City Gym Leader, who leaves his post to become a Pokemon Breeder, leaving the care of his gym to his father. He is one of Ash's traveling companions in the anime, and appears as a Gym Leader in the games and various manga. He is classed as a protagonist for being one of the most long-running characters in the show, behind Ash, Pikachu, and Team Rocket
* Dawn (Hikari) She is from Twinleaf Town, Sinnoh; After May's departure, Dawn took the role of co-star and coordinator in the Sinnoh Region. Unlike May, however, Dawn knew what she was going to do as a trainer from the beginning. She aspires to become a top coordinator, just like her mother.
* May (Haruka) She is from Petalburg City, Hoenn; A traveling companion for Ash during his journey through the Hoenn region, and later the Battle Frontier challenge in Kanto. Although unsure of her dream at first, her desire to be a Pokemon Coordinator soon spurs her to take on her own journey. She is based on the female playable character in Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. May is the daughter of Norman the Petalburg City Gym Leader and Caroline. She reappears again in Battle Dimension with Ash, Brock, and Dawn.
* Misty (Kasumi) She is from Cerulean City, Kanto; The Cerulean City Gym Leader, who leaves her post to become a Water Pokemon expert. She is one of Ash's traveling companions in the anime, and appears as a Pokemon Gym Leader in the games and various manga. She follows Ash until the end of season 5 when she got her bike back from Nurse Joy, and is asked by her sisters Daisy, Lily, and Violet to look after the Gym while they go on a cruise around the world. She has been in the series as a main protagonist for more seasons than either May or Dawn.
* Tracey Sketchit (Kenji) He is from the Orange Islands; A Pokemon Watcher who idolizes Professor Oak, and travels with Ash and Misty throughout the Orange Islands. Realizes his dream of becoming Professor Oak's assistant when Ash, Misty, and Brock move on to Johto.
* Max (Masato) He is from Petalburg City, Hoenn; Younger brother of May and son of the Petalburg City Gym Leader Norman, introduced alongside her. Although he is too young to be a Pokemon Trainer, he joins the group in order to experience more of the world of Pokemon than what he can learn from books. Like Tracey, he idolizes Professor Oak. Although not being able to contribute Pokemon to the team, he makes up for it by his extensive knowledge of Pokemon. Max is similar to Wally, yet Wally is old enough to catch and train Pokemon. His appearance seems to be based on a young boy in Ruby and Sapphire who warns the main character that Prof. Birch is being attacked by a wild Poochyena.
Ash and company travel to Hoenn, a southern region in the Pokemon World. Ash takes on the role of a teacher and mentor for a novice Pokemon trainer named May. Her brother Max accompanies them, and though he isn't a trainer, he knows large amounts of handy information. Brock (from the original series) soon catches up with Ash, but Misty has returned to Cerulean City to tend to her duties as a gym leader. (Misty, along with other recurring characters, appears in the spin-off series Pokemon Chronicles.) The Advanced Battle series concludes with the Battle Frontier saga, based on the Emerald version and including aspects of FireRed and LeafGreen. The most recent series is the Diamond and Pearl series, with Max leaving to pick his starter Pokemon, and May going to the Grand Festival in Johto. Ash, Brock, and a new companion named Dawn travel through the region of Sinnoh. In addition to the TV series, eleven Pokemon films have been made, with a twelfth to be released in Japan in July 2008. Collective bonuses, such as promotional trading cards, have been available with some of the films.