The Pokemon anime is one of the longest-running and most successful anime in history, so it’s no surprise it’s got its fair share of memorable quotes. Despite how long the series has been continuously airing, the original anime still retains all the charm that made it a global phenomenon in the first place.
The quotes on this list come from a variety of characters throughout the original anime, as well as some of the early films in the franchise. From great bits of humor, to surprisingly profound and insightful moments, there is no shortage of unforgettable lines in this classic part of many people’s childhoods.
10 “I’ll Use My Trusty Frying Pan As A Drying Pan!” — Brock
This famously funny quote from Brock was part of the direct-to-DVD special episode “Return of Mewtwo”. When caught in a sudden storm, Brock, the cook of the group, has a brilliant idea. “Hey, I know,” he exclaims, suddenly covering his head with a pan, “I’ll use my trusty frying pan as a drying pan!”
Although the wisdom of holding a metal pan over your head in a storm is certainly questionable, the hilarity of this line is beyond doubt. It has become one of the most famous memes about the Pokémon anime, with some Brock cosplayers even using a pan as props for photos.
9 “No One’s Carried Me Since My Momma.” — James
The episode “Training Daze” featured a flashback to when Jesse and James of Team Rocket first met. Both eager to prove themselves, Jesse told James that she hoped he was a good trainer, as she had no desire to carry his dead weight.
With a delightful smile, James turned to Jesse and declared “no one’s carried me since my momma.” As funny as this line is, it’s also a defining moment for James, who was later revealed to have grown up in an extremely wealthy family, and now wanted to make something of himself entirely on his own. Even though they’re far more often bumbling failures, it’s these moments of charisma and charm that make Team Rocket such great rivals to Ash.
8 “I Think You Just Proved You Have A Lot Of Courage, Too.” — Brock
“Bye Bye Butterfree” is widely regarded as one of the most emotional and rewatchable episodes of the series, and was pivotal to Ash’s early development as a trainer. When his Butterfree falls in love with a female pink Butterfree, Ash has to make one of the hardest decisions on his journey so far and chooses to let Butterfree go to be with his newfound love.
As the team says their goodbyes, and Ash reminisces on how he met his Butterfree as a Caterpie and trained him and fought alongside him, Brock approaches him from behind and puts a hand on Ash’s shoulder, stating that he raised Butterfree to be courageous, and that “I think you just proved you have a lot of courage, too.” It’s a great and insightful line from Brock that proves that being a trainer is about much more than just winning battles.
7 “Looks Like Team Rocket’s Blasting Off Again!” — Team Rocket Trio
This quote is famous for its repetition, but despite it happening almost every episode, hearing “looks like Team Rocket’s blasting off again!” never gets old. Maybe it’s because it almost never happens in the exact same way, or maybe it just is the fact that hearing it so many times makes it so funny, but one way or another, the Pokémon anime has made it work for decades.
Even Team Rocket themselves never seem to get tired of it as much as they do get used to it, sometimes even calmly debating what went wrong as they’re blasted into the sky. Each one is the same and yet unique, with the various Pokémon Team Rocket use often getting in on the fun as well.
6 “First, There Are Some Things I Have To Tell You.” — Brock
Despite losing on his first try for the Boulder Badge, Ash was encouraged by a wandering loner named Flint to try again with different strategies. After Ash’s victory, Flint returns and reveals himself to be Brock’s father, who had abandoned his family in shame after failing to become the Pokémon Master he wanted to be. To atone, he will take over the gym, so Brock can have the life of adventure he deserves.
Accepting that Brock has a right to be angry, Flint readies himself when Brock states “First, there are some things I have to tell you”—only to be surprised and overwhelmed when Brock, instead of lashing out, begins rapid-firing everything he’ll need to know to take care of his younger siblings. Although Brock is often seen as a sidekick or companion to Ash, he’s a character who could easily be the protagonist of his own story.
5 “That’s Right, I Am Too Weak To Work, But A Pokémon Battle Isn’t Work!” — Ash
A classic line from the equally classic film Pokémon: The First Movie, this line is a perfect summary of Ash’s character. Having just finished grumbling that he was too weak from hunger to do any work, Ash is suddenly challenged to a Pokémon battle by another trainer, which he immediately accepts of course.
Misty is quick to point out the hypocrisy of Ash claiming he was too weak to work while apparently having enough energy to fight a Pokémon battle, Ash retorts with “That’s right, I am too weak to work, but a Pokémon battle isn’t work!” It’s a perfect display of Ash’s passion as a Pokémon trainer, and that despite how skilled he is, he is still young and has much to learn about life.
4 “Everybody Makes A Wrong Turn Once In A While.” — Ash
After losing the beautifully animated water-chariot race at the beginning of the Pokémon Heroes movie, Ash consoles his Totodile, who had lost the race after being tricked into following the invisible legendary Pokémon Latios and Latias. Ash reassures Totodile that he isn’t upset, especially not with him, stating that “everybody makes a wrong turn once in a while.”
Although Ash was being literal, it’s very easy to interpret this as a deeper statement about life itself, and it’s reflective of how Ash views his journey as a trainer. Yes, he might gripe and bellyache when lost in the woods, but by and large, it is much more about the journey than the destination to him, and that’s a lesson everyone could use a reminder of.
3 “Prepare For Trouble, And Make It Double!” — Team Rocket Trio
The iconic motto of one of the most famous trios in anime history obviously deserves a place on this list. Heard almost every single time Team Rocket makes their appearance, at first, it was used to show that these were dangerous people, and to explain their motivations and the philosophy of Team Rocket, but over time it just became a big joke.
Even Ash and his friends would often interrupt Team Rocket during their monologuing, and since they almost always lose, the grandstanding is a bit pointless. Nonetheless, Jesse, James, Meowth, and the other Pokémon of Team Rocket take great pride in their performance, showing that they and Ash have a lot more in common than they might think: especially their unwavering determination.
2 “I See Now That The Circumstances Of One’s Birth Are Irrelevant.” — Mewtwo
Perhaps the most famous quote from any Pokemon film, and undeniably the most memorable line from Pokémon: The First Movie, this quote comes from a conversation between Mewtwo and Mew, the two most powerful Pokemon in existence at the time. After witnessing Ash sacrifice himself to save his Pikachu from the clones he had made, Mewtwo has a sudden moment of clarity.
“I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant,” he tells Mew; “It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.” Through Ash’s sacrifice, Mewtwo realized that just because he had been born a slave in a life of pain, that didn’t define him, only he could define himself.
1 “I Choose You!” — Ash
These famous words from Ash Ketchum echo the lines of the equally famous opening theme song, as Ash does not just command his Pokémon to enter battle, but rather states that they have been chosen by him. This declaration of trust in his chosen Pokémon signifies the deep bond that Ash builds with his Pokémon team.
When Ash sends his Pokémon out into battle, he is doing so because of his faith that they are the right ones for the job. He believes the Pokémon he chooses will be able to help him accomplish his own goals, not at their expense, but rather by working together.
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