The Pokémon movies are, like the animated series, separate adventures from most Pokémon video games and feature Ash as the main character. Ash and his companions travel through the Pokémon world battling other Pokémon Trainers. It is not strange that a successful anime franchise such as Pokémon consists of a series of animated movies, along with the main anime series.
The first Pokémon anime movie was released back in 1998 and today, there are more than 20 titles on the list. In this article, we are going to bring you a full, proper guide on how you should watch Pokémon movies, both by release date and by proper chronological (and continuity) order. You are going to find out some additional information about the movies and the whole franchise as well.
How many Pokémon movies are there?
As of January 2023, there are 23 Pokémon movies. The first one, Pokémon: The First Movie, was released in 1998 and since then, the franchise has produced one movie per year, until 2021, which was the first year to not have a Pokémon movie released. This number does not include the live-action Detective Pikachu film, nor the Pikachu shorts released over the years.
Pokémon in order (at a glance)
In this section, we are going to bring you the 23 Pokémon movies by their release dates. They are:
- 1998: Pokémon: The First Movie
- 1999: Pokémon: The Movie 2000
- 2000: Pokémon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unown
- 2001: Pokemon: Mewtwo Returns / Pokémon 4Ever: Celebi – Voice of the Forest
- 2002: Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias
- 2003: Jirachi—Wish Maker
- 2004: Destiny Deoxys
- 2005: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
- 2006: Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea
- 2007: The Rise of Darkrai
- 2008: Giratina and the Sky Warrior
- 2009: Arceus and the Jewel of Life
- 2010: Zoroark—Master of Illusions
- 2011: White—Victini and Zekrom / Black—Victini and Reshiram
- 2012: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice
- 2013: Genesect and the Legend Awakened
- 2014: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction
- 2015: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages
- 2016: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel
- 2017: I Choose You!
- 2018: The Power of Us
- 2019: Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution
- 2020: Secrets of the Jungle
What is the best way to watch Pokémon movies?
Well, since the Pokémon movies aren’t really a unified narrative unit, there is no “best” way to watch them. We suggest following them by Generation, but you can really pick any way you want, since they are not connected to the anime, and they rarely refer to each other. The good thing here is that the release order is mostly consistent with the chronological order, so you can just watch them by release date.
Pokémon in chronological order
This section is going to bring you an overview of the Pokémon movies in proper chronological order:
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! (2017)
Release Date: July 6, 2017
Running Time: 97 minutes
This is chronologically the earliest movie because it reinterprets the beginning of Ash’s career, but it is set in an alternative universe, which is why you have to approach it carefully. Ash Ketchum is a boy who, when he turns ten, goes to Professor Oak to choose his first Pokémon and begin his journey as a Pokémon trainer. His Pikachu initially hates it, but after being rescued by a flock of Spearow, the Pokémon changes its mind. Ash and his Pikachu encounter the Legendary Pokémon Ho-Oh.
After earning some medals in the Kanto region, Ash attempts to capture Entei with the help of trainers Amina and Sami, from Twinleaf City and Rupepolis respectively. The boy later obtains a Charmander and discovers Ho-Oh’s location. While searching for the Rainbow Pokémon, the boys come across Suicune and Raikou. Arriving at the mount that houses Ho-Oh, Ash meets the original owner of his Charmander.
However, his Lycanroc is possessed by the legendary Marshadow and attempts to kill his trainer, but Ash’s Charizard manages to save him. Later Ash and his Pikachu had a fight with Ho-Oh which saw the Legendary Pokémon win. After taking his Electric Pokémon to a Pokémon Center, Ash greets his fellow travelers. One of them intends to look for the trio Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres.
Pokémon: The First Movie (1998)
Release Date: July 18, 1998
Running Time: 75 minutes
The story takes up the original cartoon characters with a new plot, set between episodes 63 and 64 of season 1 of the television series. On a mysterious island, archaeologists have discovered a fossilized eyelash of Mew, the rarest Pokémon in the world. The researchers decided to create a clone of Mew, Mewtwo, using this sample, with the aim of offering it to Giovanni, the Leader of Team Rocket.
Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution (2019)
Release Date: July 4, 2019
Running Time: 98 minutes
A synthetic Pokémon, Mewtwo, rebels against the Team Rocket scientists who designed it. Seeking revenge, he invites several trainers to a tournament, intending to create a clone army from their Pokémon. This is actually a CGI remake of the original 1998 movie.
Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (1999)
Release Date: July 17, 1999
Running Time: 82 minutes
The three legendary birds, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, on which the plot of the film relies heavily, are introduced showing us the theme of a delicate balance between the forces of nature. If the power balance between these three mighty males were to be destroyed, chaos would ensue, causing the “Great Guardian” Lugia to rise from the depths of the seas to attempt to end the senseless destruction, only with the help of a “Chosen One” destined to save the world.
Pokémon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unown: Entei (2000)
Release Date: July 8, 2000
Running Time: 74 minutes
Scientist Spencer Hale, Professor of Pokémon and one of Professor Oak’s best students, is obsessed with the secret of the Unown, a Pokémon whose shape resembles the letters of the alphabet. One day, while investigating some ruins attributed to the Unown, Hale comes face to face with these creatures who kidnap him, sucking him into another dimension.
Pokémon 4Ever – Celebi: Voice of the Forest (2001)
Release Date: July 7, 2001
Running Time: 79 minutes
The film focuses on Celebi who travels to the future with a young man named Sam when they are being chased by a hunter. Ash, Misty, Brock, and Pikachu are on their way to the next gym on their journey through the Johto region and are helped by a man named Maki who takes them to his hometown of Arborville. They see a Suicune (who was the first Pokemon Ash saw in Johto).
Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias (2002)
Release Date: July 13, 2002
Running Time: 71 minutes
In this movie, our friends travel to Altomare, a city of water, just like Venice. There they meet Latios and his sister Latias, who befriends the series’ protagonist, Ash. Latios mistrusts humans but Latias hangs out with them by camouflaging herself. In the end, during a huge tidal wave, Latios sacrifices himself to save Altomare, being the first Pokémon to die in the Pokémon anime.
In the credits, two Latios are seen flying towards Altomare, leading viewers to think that they are the reincarnation of the Latios that died in the film. Although in reality, it is the Latios who died in the anime, with his father, who is the reincarnation.
Pokémon: Jirachi—Wish Maker (2003)
Release Date: July 19, 2003
Running Time: 81 minutes
The story revolves around the Millennium Comet, which appears in the night sky for seven days once every thousand years. It is, at the same time, when the legendary Pokémon, Jirachi awakens from a long slumber to absorb the comet’s energy. This energy, in turn, is put into the Earth itself, and that is an area known as Forina.
This time, however, a wizard named Butler, along with his long-time girlfriend Diane, discover the stone that Jirachi was locked in, and which she later brings with her to his show. It is believed that in the days when Jirachi is on earth, it is capable of granting people’s wishes (and that this pokémon is capable of teleporting everything).
Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys (2004)
Release Date: July 17, 2004
Running Time: 81 minutes
During an expedition to the North Pole, Professor Lund witnesses a polar aurora phenomenon. Shortly thereafter a meteor hits the ice, causing an impact that scares a pack of Walrein and Sealeo who charge Tory, son of Professor Lund. After rescuing the child, Deoxys emerges from the crash site. The Pokémon probes the ground and retrieves a crystal covered in snow.
However, Deoxys was attacked by the Legendary Pokémon Rayquaza, who felt threatened by the Pokémon’s intrusion into the ozone layer, and lost the green crystal. After an intense battle that causes the destruction of Professor Lund’s equipment, Deoxys is hit by an attack from Rayquaza and dissolves into a crystal that ends up in the depths of the sea.
Considering itself the winner, the Stratosphere Pokémon returns to defend Earth. Four years later, in a laboratory in LaRousse, Professor Lund’s team of researchers is about to bring to life the green stone he recovered at the pole, but the experiment fails due to damage to a component. However, the attempt will result in the awakening of the Pokémon buried by the ice.
Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew (2005)
Release Date: July 16, 2005
Running Time: 100 minutes
Ash arrives at Cameron Palace where a festival is being held in honor of Sir Aaron (Aaron Sama Japanese Version), an ancient hero who averted a war that was about to start outside the Tree of Beginnings. At the festival, Ash competes in a tournament at the Cameron Palace and wins, becoming the “Guardian of the Aura” (“Hadou” Japanese version) for that year. As part of the celebration, Ash is given Sir Aaron’s things, which also contain his partner Pokémon, Lucario, whom Sir Aaron had sealed away before stopping the war.
However, Pikachu (and Meowth) are taken by Mew to the “Tree of Beginnings” or “Genesis” when an adventurer named Kidd tries to put a clue to the Legendary Pokémon using her Weavile. During the party, Sir Aaron’s staff begins to shine and Lucario comes out of it, believing that the kingdom is still at war, but the queen makes him understand what happened, Lucario told Ash that he confused him with Sir Aaron because they have the same aura.
Mew never returns what it takes so Ash must go find it, Team Rocket is obviously following them to steal the Pokémon. Naturally, Ash, with the help of Lucario and his ability to perceive aura, follows Mew to the Tree of Beginnings to rescue Pikachu. But there’s a problem. After being sealed, Lucario has completely lost trust in him the humans and believes that Sir Aaron left the kingdom and is not a hero, and this is also believed by the others because of a time flower.
After Ash gains Lucario’s trust they enter the tree but are attacked by Regirock, Regice, and Registeel, the tree’s guardians who see them as potential threats.
Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (2006)
Release Date: July 15, 2006
Running Time: 105 minutes
The story begins with the theft of a Manaphy egg by a Pokémon Ranger named Jack Walker from the hands of a pirate, who calls himself Ghost/Fantomas, who wants the egg to guide him to an ancient temple called the temple of the Sea that keeps the great treasure of the ocean, the crown of the sea. Ash, May, Max, and Brock during their journey get lost and as they wander they come across a group of people named Lizabeth, Kyle, Meredith, and Ship who are putting on a water show.
These people offer Ash and his friends a ride to the next town. While everyone is sleeping in these people’s trailer, Manaphy’s egg, which for some reason is there, begins to glow right where May is sleeping, causing her to dream of Manaphy and the Sea Temple. The next day May tells about her dream to the family of the marine show, to which they confess that they are actually descendants of an ancient culture that lived near the sea, whose people knew of the location of the temple.
Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai (2007)
Release Date: July 14, 2007
Running Time: 90 minutes
In the infinite and eternal crack of space and time, two entities that should never have met collide in a battle of great proportions. One of them is the time deity Dialga who manages to hurt her counterpart Palkia, the space deity. Meanwhile, in another place, a man is reading the diary of a famous architect named Godey. In it, what could be the destruction of the world due to powerful forces colliding with each other is predicted.
It’s another day for Ash and his fellow travelers. Dawn is impatient to participate in the contest that will take place in Pueblo Álamos, but soon her dreams seem frustrated when she comes across a huge cliff that separates the road to the town. Luckily for them, a beautiful young woman and her Chimchar offer to take them in a balloon. This kind woman’s name is Alice and her hobbies are guiding tourists and studying music.
Pokémon: Giratina & the Sky Warrior (2008)
Release Date: July 19, 2008
Running Time: 96 minutes
The film begins with a confrontation between the legendary Pokémon Dialga and Giratina in a parallel universe: the Inverted World. Against his will, Shaymin, the Gratitude Pokémon, is also dragged into the challenge.
Shaymin through the move Seed Rage, an attack that absorbs all the dust and debris thanks to the flowers that grow on the back of the Pokémon, opens a passage towards the Real World and is dragged by the vortex, followed closely by Dialga, who managed to free himself from the grip of Giratina. The latter attempts to follow Dialga beyond the portal, but in vain as he has been trapped in a “time cycle”.
Shaymin is carried away by the current of a river and ends up meeting Ash, Dawn and Brock and befriends them. Communicating telepathically, he asks the boys to help him reach Gracidea, which they accept after taking him to a Pokémon Center. In a park near the Pokémon Center, however, Shaymin sees Giratina’s reflection in one of the sculptures present.
Frightened, he attempts to escape, but is captured by Team Rocket who overheard Nurse Joy’s talk about the Pokémon. However, a whirlwind created by Giratina sucked in Jessie, James, Meowth and the Legendary Pokémon. Ash and Dawn do not hesitate to launch to retrieve Shaymin and therefore they too are catapulted into the Reverse World.
Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life (2009)
Release Date: July 18, 2009
Running Time: 94 minutes
Ash Ketchum, Dawn, and Brock travel to the town of Michina, where they are advised to visit the nearby ruins. When the boys reach a body of water near the ruins, a spacetime distortion causes a vortex that attempts to suck Pikachu and Piplup. However, a girl, Sheena, who rushed to the place, invoked Dialga and asked the Legendary Pokémon to save the two Pokémon. Dialga retrieves Pikachu and Piplup and closes the dimensional tear.
At that point, the legendary Pokémon Giratina emerges from the water and attacks Dialga. Ash and Dawn attempt to get Giratina to stop attacking the Pokémon that just saved their starter Pokémon. Sheena also tries to communicate with Giratina, but the Pokémon is too angry to listen to her. However, when Ash and Pikachu get close to him, Giratina remembers previous events and stops fighting. Sheena’s further intervention will convince the Pokémon to return to the Inverse World.
Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions (2010)
Release Date: July 10, 2010
Running Time: 95 minutes
After winning a battle against Harmony’s Donphan, trainer Ash Ketchum, along with his friends Dawn and Brock, watch a Pokémon soccer match on television between the Reds of Jubilife City (consisting of Elekid and evolutions) and the Greens of Bloom City ( composed of Beldum and evolutions). In view of the first world championships, Ash and his friends want to go to Crown City to attend the matches.
When “The Legends of Nimbasa City” appears on the screen, the Grings Kodai team made up of the legendary Pokémon Entei, Suicune, and Raikou, Team Rocket also decides to follow the protagonists to Crown City. Meanwhile, on a jet plane bound for Crown City, Kodai conducts an experiment to test Zoroark’s illusory abilities.
This Pokémon manages to transform itself into an exact copy of Raikou and generate a storm, which is however unmasked by the technology possessed by Kodai. At the end of the experiment, a Ninjask kidnaps Zorua in order to allow Kodai to control Zoroark’s power.
Zorua, however, manages to escape from the clutches of the Pokémon and the Scizors present in the vehicle and abandons it, plunging from below, swooping down on a group of flying Pokémon, and assuming the appearance of a Skiploom descending slowly, while Crown City arrives, through a storm wave, also the legendary Pokémon Celebi.
Pokémon the Movie: Black—Victini and Reshiram and White—Victini and Zekrom (2011)
Release Date: July 16, 2011
Running Time: 92 minutes
The Pokégroupe arrives in the peaceful town of Eindoak, where they participate in the annual tournament hosted by Maurice, the town’s mayor. Ash confronts Carlita and her Hydreigon there. Following his confrontation with the young woman, our heroes meet Victini. After meeting Juanita, Carlita’s mother, the pokégroup meets Damon, Carlita’s older brother, and learns of their family’s origins. About a thousand years ago was established not far from Eindoak, the kingdom of Val, ruled by a king and his Victini.
At that time, the two legendary greats belonged to the king’s two sons. Their thirst for reality and ideals caused their kingdom to sink into chaos and made the two dragons fall asleep. The king was forced to use his Pokémon’s power to restore the flow of Dragon Energy, the mother energy of the world, trapping Victini in the northern part of Eindoak. This is also where Damon reveals his plan to fulfill his mother’s dream, and so we discover that Damon was chosen by Zekrom (in the film Noir) and by Reshiram (in the White).
Implementing his plan, Damon had to use Victini’s power. Right after Ash woke up the dragon contrary to Damon’s. Maurice then warns Damon that the Draconic Energy was corrupted, causing a series of disasters to harm our hero. Saved by Victini and believing the latter to be dead, Sacha throws a macaron towards the sea. The Pokémon is revealed, still alive and showing its mad passion for these little treats.
Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice (2012)
Release Date: July 14, 2012
Running Time: 70 minutes
The legendary Pokémon Keldeo is training alongside Virizion, Terrakion, and Cobalion to challenge Kyurem, however, the three Solemn Swordsmen believe that it is not yet ready for such a match. However, Keldeo breaks the ban and goes to the abandoned mine where Kyurem lives. After lying to Kyurem by claiming to be a Solemn Swordsman, Keldeo immediately finds himself in trouble in the battle against the Legendary Pokémon.
During the encounter, the legendary Terrakion, Cobalion and Virizion also arrive at the mine and initially just observe the battle. When Keldeo loses his horn, Terrakion decides to attack Kyurem, who transforms into White Kyurem and freezes the trio. Keldeo then flees in fear of the fight, but for Kyurem the fight is not over yet.
Meanwhile, Ash Ketchum, Iris, and Cilan are on a train bound for Roscianopoli. After a brief stop at the Ventosa Station, the train that hosts them leaves again with an injured Keldeo on board. After Pikachu notices the Pokémon’s presence on top of one of the wagons, Keldeo awakens, afraid of an imminent attack from Kyurem.
Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened (2013)
Release Date: July 13, 2013
Running Time: 71 minutes
Five examples of Genesect, one of which is chromatic, try to return to their place of origin. However, having been created by Team Plasma and escaped from the organization’s laboratory, they discover that their home has become a freezing place. Mewtwo, who shares the same sad fate with the Legendary Pokémon, explains the situation to the leader of the five, who gets angry and attacks the Genetic Pokémon.
The Genesect then decide to attack a city whose appearance is reminiscent of their nest. Meanwhile, Ash Ketchum, Iris and Cilan are visiting the city. Here Ash and Pikachu encounter one of the Genesect, equipped with Hydromodule. Later the boys meet the remaining Pokémon, who decide to attack them considering them enemies. It will be Mewtwo to defend them, caring for the health of Pikachu and Axew.
Once they discover the past of the five Genesect, Jessie and James decide to catch the Legendary Pokémon, but they fail. Mewtwo will be forced to defend the city from destruction, first convincing the Genesect to take his side and then the foolishness of the Shiny Pokémon’s claims.
Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction (2014)
Release Date: July 19, 2014
Running Time: 75 minutes
In a country called “Diamond Domain” lies the mighty heart of the diamond, which has served as the kingdom’s source of energy and sustains the Ore Country for centuries. Many live in Melecie’s Diamond domain, including its princess – the Jewel Pokémon, Diancie, who created the Diamond Heart. Diancie no longer has the power to control the heart of the diamond and her country is falling into chaos as a result. One day, Diancie reunites with Satoshi and his friends and asks them to go on a journey to find the Life Pokémon, Xerneas, in order to restore the Heart Diamond.
Standing in her way is the Pokémon of Destruction, Yveltal, who once stole all of her life in the Kalos Region. During their journey they are attacked by Team Rocket, as well as jewel thieves Marilyn Flame and Ninja Riot. They are aided by Steel Millis and her father Argus, travelers who also encounter the Chrysalis of Destruction.
Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages (2015)
Release Date: July 18, 2015
Running Time: 78 minutes
One day in the city of Desara, the Pokémon Hoopa appeared. After the townspeople got used to Hoopa, one of them asked the Pokemon to show him how strong he was. It was then that Hoopa used his power, allowing objects or living beings to come through his rings, to bring and fight Pokémon. But as time went on, Hoopa began to summon Legendary Pokemon and caused a lot of damage to the town. A man then appeared and used the Sealed Vessel to stop Hoopa’s fury. 100 years later, Nizar, a young man, frees the Sealed Vessel while Ash and his friends rest at an oasis.
The latter meet Hoopa and Meriem, a young woman and sister of Nizar. The latter, possessed by Hoopa’s fury (the latter’s dark side), arrives and unleashes the fury which begins to wreak havoc. Fortunately, Sacha and his companions manage to seal this fury in the first place. However, in an effort to become more powerful through the slime, Team Rocket unleashes the Fury once again. Ash and his friends are determined to protect Hoopa from his dark side, but that’s without counting the arrival of several legendary Pokémon.
Pokémon the Movie: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel (2016)
Release Date: July 16, 2016
Running Time: 95 minutes
In the middle of the sky, Volcanion, a Pokémon using steam to move through the air, lands on a ship. He wants to free the Pokémon Magearna, captured by Alva and her men from the Kingdom of Azoth, a mechanized city where the Mega Wave has been developed, which allows Pokémon to mega-evolve without the help of gems. But Volcanion fails and finds himself thrown out of the ship with a strange belt thrown by one of Alva’s men.
As Volcanion falls from the sky, Ash and Lem clash. It is then that a belt identical to that of Volcanion attaches to Ash. The latter finds himself forced to accompany Volcanion because their belts are connected by electromagnetism. Volcanion brings Ash against his will to the Kingdom of Azoth where he intends to free Magearna from his captors.
Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us (2018)
Release Date: July 13, 2018
Running Time: 100 minutes
Every year the wind festival takes place in Ciudad Fula, a place where people are one with the wind. There is a belief that the Legendary Pokémon Lugia will appear during the last day of the festival, bringing everyone the blessing of the wind. People begin to gather for the festival, including Lisa, a high school student, and Pokémon newbie; Kagachi, a braggart who tells gossip to visitors; Trito, a timid investigator with a huge lack of confidence; Hisui, a rather quirky old lady who hates Pokémon and Largo, a little girl who mysteriously wanders through the forest alone. When Ash and Pikachu meet them, everyone’s story begins to flow.
Pokémon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle (2020)
Release Date: December 25, 2020
Running Time: 100 minutes
This film takes place in the Okoya Forest, a Pokémon reserve protected by strict rules that prohibit anyone from entering it. Koko, a boy raised by a Pokémon who considers himself such, considers Zarude, Mythical Pokémon, as his father. Ash and Pikachu cross paths with this boy during their adventures. The main theme of this opus is “a human raised by a Pokémon” like the previous film which focused on “the relationship between trainer and Pokémon”.
Where to watch Pokémon movies?
The streaming rights to the Pokémon are scattered around the web, so there is no one place to watch’em all, to paraphrase the franchise’s slogan. Some older movies are available on Amazaon Prime, while Netflix holds the rights to some of the more recent movies. Apple’s iTunes store also has some of the movies, so you can buy them from there. The official site, Pokemon.com, also has the movies, so you can watch them there as well.
Do you need to watch the Pokémon movies in order?
Well, you actually do not need to watch the Pokémon in the suggested chronological order, as they are not really one single narrative unit; rather, they are separate, standalone stories you can enjoy. It would be good to follow them by Generation of release, but even that is not something you need to do. You can, actually, enjoy them however you want.
Are the Pokémon movies connected?
Well, the Pokémon aren’t directly connected in a narrative sense, as they do not tell one single story; some of them are loosely connected in a narrative sense, but it’s only a loose connection, really. They are, of course, part of the same larger narrative complex and are connected via the characters that appear in all of them, primarily Ash and Pikachu.
Will there be more Pokémon movies?
Seeing how the Pokémon is one of the largest franchises in the world and how the movies are generally used to introduce legendary Pokémon into the mainstream anime continuity, we are absolutely certain that there will be more Pokémon anime movies in the future. Nothing has been officially announced yet, but we’re absolutely certain that more movies will come in the future.