Sympathy for Team Rocket | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 05, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 05, 2019

Sympathy for Team Rocket

It’s been over two decades since the world was introduced to the Pokémon universe and all its wonderful adventures. The franchise has spawned a ton of games for various consoles, a series that has been going on for as long as the company itself, over a dozen movies, and has established itself as a global phenomenon.

Pokémon has given us a lot to cherish, but there is one thing about the series in particular, that we often fail to appreciate, and that is Team Rocket, which is perhaps the worst group of antagonists in anime history.

Team Rocket is a criminal organisation that mainly operates in the Kanto and Johto regions. Their motive is to exploit Pokémon for personal benefits and to ultimately take over the world using them. However, we will not be talking about the entire organisation. Our focus will be on the trio consisting of Jessie, James and Meowth as we are most familiar with them. Now, why is it that we need to sympathise with these three individuals who are part of the criminal organisation that harvested Mewtwo and wanted to wreak havoc across the Pokémon world?

Let’s start with their tragic backstories. James was born in a rich family but all his life, he was very lonely. His parents would make him do things he didn’t want to do, and he couldn’t be himself. So, he ran away from home and eventually joined Team Rocket.

In her childhood days, Jessie lived with her mother in poverty and they had nothing to eat apart from the food her mother prepared from nothing but snow. Later on, her mother left home for a Team Rocket mission and the two haven’t met since then. Following her mother’s footsteps, Jessie too went on to join Team Rocket.

Meowth went to Hollywood to try out his luck but ultimately failed. He tried to impress the love of his life by learning to walk on two legs and speaking the human tongue. But he was snubbed once again after which he found himself among the ranks of Team Rocket.

Team Rocket has been trying to steal Ash’s Pikachu from him but has never succeeded and probably never will. All their conquests end in vain as the trio is sent blasting off into space every single time. It’s like retaking a course every semester thinking that you are going to ace it, but you don’t, and instead you’re hit by lightning or some other move that will send you flying beyond the horizon.

There is no doubt that the operations this trio carry out are underfunded. Despite that, they somehow manage to get hold of the most bizarre gadgets and contraptions in attempt to capture Pikachu or any other target. As they fail mission after mission, all the money they spend on these gadgets go to waste—just like their efforts, just like their lives.

All Jessie, James, and Meowth want is to impress their boss. But given their record, no one expects them to do anything useful for the organisation. In fact, even our protagonists have stopped paying attention to them over the years.

The list of miseries goes on and on for Team Rocket, and it just seems that they can never get out of this cycle they’ve been in for the last two decades. With all that being said, how can one not show minimum sympathy to the most impractical and useless villains in anime history?


Faisal wants to be the very best, like no one ever was. To survive university is his real test, to graduate is his cause. Send him memes and motivation at

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