Pokémon - it's a name nearly everyone in the world seems to know these days, from grandparents to pre-schoolers and everything in between. Whether it's from video games, movies, anime, trading cards, or merchandise Pokémon has been one of the most successful pop culture contributions Japan has had to the rest of the world. And because of its epic global success, Pokémon is a massive name with tons of games, movies, and more to offer! But with so many different choices and options available, it makes it hard to know what the best parts are.
That's why we decided to make a handy guide to what we think are the Top 10 Pokémon Films. We did the hard work so you don't have to (of course don't let us stop true Pokémon fans from watching them all anyway)! There are so many Pokémon films these days and more get made every few years that it can be overwhelming to look at the list of them all and know where to start. And like most series, all the movies are different with their own featured points and shining moments. So whether you're a new or old fan, we hope this list of the Top 10 Pokémon Movies will help you find what Pokémon films you want to enjoy!
10. Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life (Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Arceus Choukoku no Jikuu e)
- Air Date: Jul. 2009
Long ago, a meteor almost destroyed the world in Arceus and the Jewel of Life, and everyone was only saved because of the intervention of the legendary Pokémon Arceus. However, the Pokémon was severely injured, and itself was saved by a man named Damos. In return, Arceus granted him the Jewel of Life which it created from parts of its body - under the agreement that the parts would later be returned. Damos never kept his promise though, and Arceus declared divine judgement on all humans if it ever woke up again. And you guessed it, Arceus and the Jewel of Life is about that awakening! Ash, Brock, and Dawn are all in the wrong place at the wrong time with a descent of Damos, a girl named Sheena who can read the hearts of Pokémon. Can they all save the world of Arceus' reawakening and judgement?
Get ready for another time travel adventure with Arceus and the Jewel of Life! The only way for the friends to stop Arceus in the present is to find out what happened and try to change the past, which leads to a lot of emotional meetings and harsh truths. Sheena's ability to read the hearts of Pokémon is also very intriguing and, and she even does it to favourites like Pikachu to add something extra to the story. So it's a bit science fiction, a bit fantasy, and a bit feel-good all at the same time! That means the film appeals to a wide variety of fans that might want to watch it and likely has something for everyone. For an exciting film with a lot of diversity, Arceus and the Jewel of Life is your best choice.
9. Pokémon 3: The Movie (Pokémon: Kesshoutou no Teiou Entei)
- Air Date: Jul. 2000
Pokémon 3: The Movie revolves around the mystery of the Unknown, mysterious Pokémon that look like letters. It all begins when the father of Molly Hale, a young girl living in the city of Greenfield, disappears while investigating these Pokémon. Desperately wishing for his return, Molly accidentally summons the legendary Pokémon Entei to take the place of her father. Meanwhile, Ash had also come to Greenfield to meet Misty and Brock - but they find the whole city has been turned to crystal by the Unown! In order to save the city, these Pokémon have to be defeated. The stakes are raised even more when Ash's mother is kidnapped by Entei, and the trio has to save her and fight the Unown.
The Unown are a really mysterious and intriguing part of the Pokémon games when they appear, and Pokémon 3: The Movie helps to explain more about them. It features some really great battle scenes too, especially against the legendary Entei. Plus the crystallised city setting is unique and adds a special element to the film that sets it apart from others. Entei taking on the fatherly role for a human girl is also a very interesting concept, and it's cool to see how that plays out in the storyline of the film. If you're a fan of second generation Pokémon and especially of the Unown and looking for a story with a bit of mystery too, look no further than Pokémon 3: The Movie.
8. Pokémon 4D: Pikachu’s Ocean Adventure (Pokémon 3D Adventure 2: Pikachu no Kaitei Daibouken)
- Air Date: May 2006
Even Pokémon need a vacation at the beach sometimes! And that's exactly the story of Pokémon 4D: Pikachu's Ocean Adventure. Pikachu and all of his friends head off for a relaxing beach holiday! However, it turns out to be a bit of an adventure too when Chatot discovers a mysterious treasure map. Intrigued, Pikachu and company follow it to the underwater wreck of a pirate ship called the Wailord's Tear. But finding the actual treasure won't be easy - and there's danger lurking in the depths too.
Pokémon 4D: Pikachu's Ocean Adventure is a great movie if you're just looking for a fun afternoon. It doesn't have any human characters in it either, so it's especially good for fans of just Pokémon more than of trainers and bad guys. Just because it's a fun story doesn't mean it's not exciting though! Pikachu and his friends come across many dangers and obstacles while looking for the treasure to keep the film interesting. So for fans of Pokémon just wanting a fun-filled adventure about sunken pirate treasure, or people that just like stories of friendship, be sure to not miss Pokémon 4D: Pikachu's Ocean Adventure.
7. Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai (Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Dialga vs. Palkia vs. Darkrai)
- Air Date: Jul. 2007
The Rise of Darkrai brings Ash, Brock, and Alice to the Alamos Town, which is famous for the Space-Time Tower. But when the trio goes to visit the beautiful garden there, they find it completely destroyed! A local blames it on the Pokémon Darkrai, who appears soon after. But just what are Darkrai's motives? Is it a friend or an enemy? Why would it destroy the iconic gardens and what does it want? On top of that, the legendary Pokémon Dialga and Palkia engage in a massive battle right over the city - and the result could be a rip in space and time! It's definitely a whole lot at once for Ash and his friends to deal with, or rather, to survive!
The Rise of Darkrai features not just one but three awesome legendary Pokémon! So you can imagine that the three-way battles between them are really exciting and fun to watch. Plus when the space-time continuum is threatened that always adds extra fun and excitement into the mix. The story of Darkrai is an intriguing one, and it's interesting to watch the tale unfold as you learn more about the mysterious Pokémon and what it wants. Plus if you're a fan of Alice over Misty, she gets plenty of screen time to shine! And you can count on Ash and Brock being as clueless and corny as ever. For epic legendary battles with high stakes, have a look at the Rise of Darkrai.
6. Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew (Pokémon Advanced Generation: Mew to Hadou no Yuusha Lucario)
- Air Date: Jul. 2005
Lucario and the Mystery of Mew takes place in the town of Lohta, where a battle is held every year to decide on the new "Wave Leader Hero." The title is in honour of a man named Aaron who was the original hero and saved the world from war by using the Tree of the World's Origin. Of course, the competition is too tempting for Ash and Pikachu to pass up, and they compete and win the title! Shortly after though, Pikachu is taken by Mew who appears very mysteriously. And then to add even more questions to the puzzle, the Wave Leader Pokémon Lucario awakens after centuries of sleep! Ash has to find Pikachu, figure out what Mew wants, and learn about just what Lucario is in this adventure.
Lucario and the Mystery of Mew both ties older Pokémon in with some of the favourites of the newer generations. Of course, Pikachu is still central to the story, and fan favourite Mew also is making a key appearance! Plus it explains the origin story of Lucario, who you have to admit is a pretty awesome Pokémon as well. The story is a mystery as the title suggests and will keep you guessing along the way as you cheer for Ash to find his best friend again. Plus the story about Lucario and the Tree of the World's Origin is really intriguing too. If you're a fan of any of those Pokémon or if you really like a good mystery story, Lucario and the Mystery of Mew is the film you're looking for.
5. Pokémon Heroes (Pokémon: Mizu no Miyako no Mamorigami Latias to Latios)
- Air Date: Jul. 2002
On the island of Altomare, an old couple found a pair of children lying wounded on the beach. They took them home and restored them to health, caring greatly for the young boy and girl. When their island was attacked by monsters one day, the boy and girl suddenly transformed into the legendary Pokémon Latios and Latias. Summoning their family from the skies and the magical Soul Dew stone, they protected the island from the monsters! Thus begins Pokémon: Heroes, speeding up to the present day when Ash, Misty, and Brock are vacationing on Altomare. Meanwhile, Team Rocket are after Latios and Latias, hoping to obtain the Soul Dew for themselves! When Ash accidentally befriends Latias in the form of a human girl, the trio is dragged into the fray - can they save the legendary Pokémon and the fate of the island?
Pokémon: Heroes is a really fun film to watch. It's very colourful and bright, and Altomare resembles the real city of Venice, Italy for a unique setting. The film features Pokémon that can disguise themselves as humans and the interactions between Ash and Latias when he thinks she is just a girl are hilariously awkward to watch! But the film is more than just humour - the adventure really starts when Team Rocket shows up. You'll be cheering for Latios and Latias against the bad guys and watching with anticipation to see the fate of those Pokémon and their beautiful city. For laughs and adventure, check out Pokémon Heroes.
4. Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys (Pokémon Advanced Generation: Rekkuu no Houmonsha Deoxys)
- Air Date: Jul. 2004
Destiny Deoxys takes place in LaRousse City, where a boy named Tory is terribly afraid of Pokémon. When he was very young, Tory was with his father investigating a meteorite that contained Deoxys, but Tory was caught up in a stampede of Walrein that traumatised him. By the time he unexpectedly meets Ash and Pikachu, he's already afraid of all Pokémon - even Pikachu! But when Deoxys begins to attack the city searching desperately for its companion, Tory has to join forces with Ash, Brock, May, Max and their Pokémon to save the city! Lucky for all of them the great Pokémon Rayquaza is also there to help. But will Tory be able to overcome his fear of Pokémon to save his home?
Destiny Deoxys is a very touching story following Tory's unfortunate life. His fearful encounters with harmless Pokémon are amusing to watch but also sad in a way, making this film capable of stirring a lot of different emotions in the viewer. But as he overcomes that fear, it's also a good story of character growth, coming of age, and stepping up to do what's right against all the odds! You'll definitely be cheering for Tory as well as Ash and his friends of course, and overall Destiny Deoxys is a feel-good story with a good message. Stand up to whatever you're afraid of and you might even surprise yourself!
3. Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (Pokemon: Maboroshi no Pokemon Lugia Bakutan)
- Air Date: Jul. 1999
Pokémon: The Movie 2000 is about an ancient prophecy that says when the great titans of fire, lightning, and ice rise again, Lugia the guardian Pokémon will also appear to bring peace back to the world. Captivated by greed to capture Lugia, a trainer named Gelardan tries to awaken these titans. He succeeds in creating a massive climate anomaly everywhere, with horrible storms popping up all over the land. One of these storms crashes the boat that Ash, Misty, and Brock are traveling in. On the island that the three find themselves shipwrecked on, another prophecy is revealed - that Ash is the chosen one to help Lugia restore peace. Will he be able to step up to that role and save the world and stop Gelardan?
Pokémon: The Movie 2000 is an older film but don't let that put you off from watching it! It's well made with a really exciting plot line. Gelardan is a really good villain and his selfishness and greed can really make you hate him - perfect for the bad guy after all! Lugia is also a really cool Pokémon, and getting to see it in action fighting the titans is very exciting. It also still has the classic trio that many people enjoy seeing together, so you can expect some good humour and tales of friendship as well. Overall The Movie 2000 is well made and fun to watch with lots of cool Pokémon!
2. Pokémon 4Ever (Pokémon: Celebi Toki wo Koeta Deai)
- Air Date: Jul. 2001
Pokémon 4Ever is the story of Celebi and a boy named Sammy. It begins 40 years in the past when Sammy saved Celebi from a Pokémon Hunter. Celebi used its unique ability to travel through time to bring itself and Sammy to the present in search of a healing lake deep in the forest. It's in this forest that the pair run into Ash, Misty, and Brock - and unfortunately into Team Rocket as well! First Vicious, and later Jessie and James try to capture Celebi, hoping to use its time travel ability for their own evil purposes. Not only do Ash and his friends have to stop Team Rocket to protect Celebi and by extent the future, but they need to get Sammy and Celebi back to the forest before it's too late.
We have to admit, time travel is awesome when it's done right, and Pokémon 4Ever uses it to tell its story without being too confusing or over the top. It's got all the classic human characters Pokémon fans love, and a few new ones too! You'll definitely find yourself cheering for Celebi and hoping Ash and his friends will be able to help him as they race against the clock. And of course, with an ability like time travel, the stakes are really high! It keeps the adventure meaningful and exciting to watch when you know just how important it is that Celebi is kept safe. For a fun story with a well-written sci-fi twist, watch Pokémon 4Ever!
1. Pokémon: The First Movie (Pokémon: Mewtwo no Gyakushuu)
- Air Date: Jul. 1998
Pokémon: The First Movie is the story of Mewtwo's origin. Using cloning technology and science provided by Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket, a group of scientists were able to successfully use the DNA from Mew, an ancient and powerful Pokémon, to create a living weapon. The result was the most powerful psychic Pokémon Mewtwo. But they underestimated his power and intelligence and were overthrown by Mewtwo. Angry at being created in a lab only to be used as a weapon, Mewtwo begins to use the very technology that created him to clone other Pokémon and create an island fortress for himself and his army. In an attempt to take out the human race and rise above all other Pokémon, he disguised himself as a powerful trainer and invited the world's best trainers to battle him on his island. Ash, Misty, and Brock are just a few of the trainers that fall into his trap...
As you can guess from the English name, Pokémon: The First Movie was the first film to be made from the successful TV series. And in our opinion, it's hard to beat the first one! It had loads of the original 150 Pokémon that long-term fans know and love and explains the backstory of one of the most mysterious Pokémon. The First Movie is an emotional roller coaster ride - it's full of the cheesy jokes and one-liners that make Pokémon special, but it's also likely to touch even the coldest of hearts. As a warning to more emotional viewers, this film is likely to make you not only laugh but cry as well! The First Movie is a really fun ride from start to finish, and shows an interesting look at an intelligent and fully verbal Pokémon, and what his interaction with human trainers and other Pokémon alike is. And that's why the First Movie is, in our opinion, the best Pokémon movie.
From adventures to mysteries, old generation to new, Pokémon movies cover so many genres and exciting stories that there's bound to be something for everyone! Whether you like all the original characters or you want to see some of the newer favourites, every generation of Pokémon had at least one movie if not more for you to check out. We just hope our list of what we think are the Top 10 Pokémon Movies will help make your choice and research a little bit easier next time you want to watch a Pokémon film!
What Pokémon movie is your favourite? Did you see it on our list? Is there anything you would add or replace? Maybe you think they should be in a different order? Please let us know in the comments below!