Pokemon has been a pop culture staple for nearly 30 years, so it’s easy to see how newcomers might feel a little lost when deciding where to start their journey. Any seasoned Pokemon enthusiast would tell you the best place to start is at the beginning with Pokemon: Indigo League.
To date, there are 26 seasons of Pokemon (consisting of more than 1,200 episodes), 23 animated films, one live-action film, and 38 core series games. The franchise is massive, but for good reason.
The appeal of the main objective, “Gotta catch ‘em all” never gets old. The visual stimuli never fail to entertain, and the journey of it all has kept fans engaged over nine generations of Pokemon creations, consisting of 1,008 different Pokemon.
Pokemon: Indigo League – Where It All Began
Starting your journey with Pokemon: Indigo League (1997-1999) will give you a solid foundation in the franchise. Indigo League will explain the story of how Ash (the lead protagonist) first meets Pikachu. Witnessing their relationship from their first meeting is crucial to understanding the significance of their companionship.
Once you’ve built a bit of a foundation with Indigo League, you’ll have a choice to make. You can watch the anime in chronological order, or you can jump around to what fans consider some of the coolest seasons of the series. It’s your choice to make.
Pokemon: The First Movie
After Indigo League comes Pokemon: Adventures in Orange Islands (1999), or you can mix the movies into the chronological listing and watch Pokemon: The First Movie (1998). Between the first two series and the first movie, you’ll get a good feeling for what’s going on in the land of Pokemon.
If you’re not one to follow the chronological order of things, it might be fun to jump from Indigo League to some more recent depictions of the realm. Try checking out Pokemon: Black and White, Pokemon: XY and XYZ, and Pokemon: Sun and Moon. Those series will graduate you from beginner to knowledgeable in the franchise.
In Black and White, Ash and his mother travel with Professor Oak to the Unova region. Once there, Ash and Pikachu explore to discover new Pokemon and compete with various Gym leaders in the region.
In Pokemon: XY and XYZ (it should be noted that XY and XYZ are two different series), Ash is exploring the Kalos region. XY brings forth Mega Evolutions. It has 48 episodes, and Ash meets up with two new friends, Serena and Bonnie.
XYZ has 47 episodes. In this Pokemon journey, Ash and Pikachu encounter the resistance of Team Flare and a Mega Evolution Trainer, Alain.
Pokemon: Sun and Moon takes place in the Alola region and has 43 episodes. The series was released in 2016 and it features a few new characters: Mallow, Sophocles, Lana, and Kiawe.
Finally, jumping into the most modern of Pokemon series, you’ll want to feast your eyes on the Netflix original series, Pokemon: Journeys. The main appeal of Pokemon: Journeys is that the story tells you more about the beginning of Pikachu’s life. Not to add any spoilers, but emotionally invested viewers should carry a tissue along for the ride.
If you want to watch the entire Pokemon franchise, it will involve jumping between streaming services.
You’ll have to bounce around on your streaming channels to watch all of the different seasons of Pokemon, but they’re out there. Currently, Hulu has XY and XYZ. Netflix has Indigo League and Journeys. FreeVee has Sun and Moon. Tubi has Black and White, and there are plenty of Pokemon episodes to be viewed for free on the Pokemon TV streaming app.
A final notable shift in the Pokemon world should also be mentioned. After nearly 30 years of being the lead protagonist, Ash is no longer the main character of the newest Pokemon series, Horizons.
A shift that leaves a bit of a sour taste in the mouths of long-time loyal fans, the series now features Liko from the Paldea region of Scarlet and Violet. Though Pikachu is still present in the series, Liko’s partner Pokemon is Sprigatito, one of the starter Pokemon in the region.