I have been rewatching Pokemon lately, random episodes that play on TV. It is always shown that Jessie & James from Team Rocket fail to capture Ash's Pikachu or their attempts in kidnapping other Pokemon are thwarted by Ash and team.

Since the Pokemon animated series is purely focused on adventures of Ash and team, we rarely see any focus on other characters, Jessie and James included. Yes, there are few episodes which explore their backgrounds and history, but again it involves Ash and team in some manner.

Now any organization/syndicate in any world if it finds a high failure rate among certain field agents, they will either terminate their employment or withdraw them from field activities. But even after failing so many times against Ash and team, Jessie and James are part of Team Rockets operations. Plus, they get those high end gadgets to meet their objectives. Yes, they are shown doing random odd jobs to raise money, but I don't think it must be giving enough money to build high end weapons. Also, most of their odd jobs revolve around getting close to rare Pokemon and kidnapping them.

So what I was thinking was, in the periods between Jessie and James' encounters with Ash and team, they must be kidnapping various Pokemon successfully. It's just that they are unable to defeat Ash and team. Is there any proof to this?

  • 2
    There was a very early episode where another pair from Team Rocket (Butch and Cassidy, I think) shows up and comments on Jesse/James/Meowth's obsession with Ash's Pikachu
    – Izkata
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 23:24
  • 1
    There's a potted history of the Team Rocket Trio here. If you fancy chasing down the references, it seems to answer your question quite nicely.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 18:22

3 Answers 3


That’s kinda the thing about them. For being what seems like the most incompetent Team Rocket members, Giovanni keeps funding them. Why? Because while they are terrible at stealing Pokémon (although some of their crimes do succeed on occasion) they are extremely flashy and more than likely some of the greatest escape artists in the whole world. Police are always on the lookout for Jessie and James. They are an excellent way for a crime organization to test out local and regional police forces and keep their true syndicate operations running in the shadows. Jessie and James are the ultimate smokescreen.

  • 7
    If you have some evidence that this is indeed the case you could edit in that would be great! Also if you have any evidence on them actually succeeding again that would help this answer out a lot.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 15:02
  • 1
    "Giovanni keeps funding them". Does he? I got the impression that most of their funds came out of either James' family fortune, their side jobs (e.g. food vendors), or their ability to make stuff out of a shoestring budget. Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 21:59

Their success rate is very low, but so is their profile.

The answer to this question explains that Giovanni doesn't even know who they are, and although their chances of success at any given mission are low, Team Rocket as a whole loses nothing by keeping them in the field.


Theyve actually accomplished quite a lot for team rocket

  1. They infiltrated aether paradise and got bewear on thier side in sun and moon.

  2. They infiltrated team flare in the anime in xyz destroying the competition and nearly succeded in making another base for team rocket.

  3. They stole meloettas song in black and white and with giovannis help nearly took over unova.

  4. They found a portal to prehistoric unova in black and white in a mountain using a turtle pokemon and almost succeded in taking over history itself.

Thats only 4 things team rockets jessie, james and meowth have accomplished also not mentioning thier ability to blend in nearly anywhere.

  • 3
    Plus James nearly won the bikini contest in Beauty and the Beach.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 9:22

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