First appearance: Pokémon Red & Blue (Game Freak/Nintendo, GB, 1998)
M.O.: Pokémon-obsessed criminal organization
Known Crimes: You name it, they’ve done it
Nature of demise: Single-handedly thwarted by two young pokémon trainers

Profile by Jeremy Signor? | March 20, 2011

Pay no attention to the bumbling idiots that hog more television time than Professor Oak hogs the radio. Jesse, James, and Meowth do not represent Team Rocket as a whole. In truth, Team Rocket is an efficient hotbed of expertly-executed criminal activity, combining the connections and savvy of the Italian Mafia with the discipline of the U.S. Military. Their exploits speak for themselves:

  • Stealing powerful pokémon to use as weapons;
  • Running multiple successful gambling rings;
  • Taking several facilities hostage, including a prominent *research lab and the Johto Radio Tower;
  • Dismembering Slowpokes and selling their tails;
  • Mutating the natural state of local pokémon at the Lake of Rage;
  • Illegal mining operations at Mt. Moon;
  • Countless more, both documented and undocumented.

Make no mistake, Team Rocket knows what it is doing, and under normal circumstances would be exploiting Kanto and Johto for years unchecked.

Though that never happened, their spirit still lives on through the countless seemingly identical organizations that popped up in the years that followed. Of course, they were all a lot clumsier and more deluded about their motivations. Take Team Aqua and Team Magma, for instance. Their opposing goals were insane at best. Instead of flexing their collective muscles to exploit the masses, they actually wanted to change the geography of the planet using legendary pokémon, putting them more in line with a supervillian cliché. Of course, the fact that neither group had the ability to quickly gain monopoly over the Hoenn region spoke volumes about their lack of prowess.

Worse still was Team Galactic. Now there was a misguided organization. Those poor saps who aligned themselves with the maniacal Cyrus didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. He was an egomaniac who craved the power to change the world as he saw fit, going so far as pursuing the legendary Pokémon of time and space to do so. Not that his grunts were in on the plan. As far as they knew, they were the second coming of Team Rocket itself. But Team Rocket never tried anything as careless as this. Cyrus very nearly destroyed reality itself in his mad quest.

Now yet another copycat gang has appeared in the Unova Region, Team Plasma, but they too are a misguided band with “noble” goals. Though some of these copycats are technically more dangerous than Team Rocket in their own clumsy way, none display the sheer calculated menace that Team Rocket itself inflicted on Kanto and Johto in its prime. They may be gone now, but as long as their leader Giovanni remains at large, no one is safe. Team Rocket could come back at any moment.

I, Officer Jenny, pledge to remain vigilant in preventing Team Rocket’s past atrocities from happening again.

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