Team Rocket, the iconic villainous group bent on world domination in the “Pokémon” anime, is no more, and longtime fans of the franchise aren’t happy about it.
“Team Rocket’s Counterattack,” the third-to-last episode of the Pokémon anime’s final season, “Pokémon Journeys: The Series,” saw the team disbanding following one final failed effort to capture Ash’s Pikachu.
In Episode 9 of the final “Aim to Be a Pokémon Master” arc, the trio of Team Rocket field agents — Jessie, James and Meowth — devise a plan to separate Ash and Pikachu while keeping Misty and Brock distracted. Despite having just retrieved their own Pokémon from previous regions, Team Rocket ultimately fails after they are launched into the sky by Latias’ Psychic move.
Disheartened by the loss, the group bicker among themselves before deciding to go their separate ways.
Pokémon fans who found Team Rocket’s abrupt end unsatisfying have taken to social media to express their disappointment.
Many consider the villains an integral part of the show, having been a staple of the franchise for the past 25 years.
“After 25 years of annoying yet funny, wholesome, heartwarming and entertaining moments, Team Rocket’s Trio – Jessie, James and Meowth leave the Pokémon anime,” one fan wrote. “These characters were some of the most charming and they for sure made the anime special. I will miss them ❤️”
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“Crazy to think that #Pokemon would split up the #TeamRocket trio.” another noted. “Au revoir childhood.”
“The end of an era,” a fan wrote, with a broken heart emoji.
“25 years filled with Thousands of Memories,” another chimed in.
Meanwhile, some fans are still hopeful that the adored villains will return, either in the final episode or elsewhere.
“I need a clue about the Team Rocket fate!” wrote one fan. “I beg you! Someone, please, I need to know, I am so anxious. Please!!!”
“I really can’t tell when or if #TeamRocket will be seen again in a future #Pokemon series after the last #Ash and #Pikachu series episode,” lamented another.
The episode comes before the penultimate episode of the series finale, which will mark the end of Ash and Pikachu’s time as the TV show’s main protagonists.
The series will end with reappearances of other characters from the early seasons.
As announced in December 2022, the next series will premiere on April 14 with entirely new protagonists and antagonists.