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What is Pokémon?

Around for nearly three decades, if you are wondering what is Pokémon? then we are here to answer all your burning questions, so you can be a Pokémon master.

What is Pokémon: a Game Boy is shown with Pokemon being played on the screen

What is Pokémon? As one of the biggest media franchises in the world, it’s hard to imagine anyone who doesn’t know what the red cheeks and yellow ears of a Pikachu look like. Pokémon is absolutely everywhere, but we’re still ready to guide newcomers – there’s a lot to know about this franchise, after all.

Before we set off on a quest to be a Pokémon master, be sure to learn all about the creature collecting series with our positively packed Pokédex of premium guides. We have articles covering subjects like our Scyther evolution, Misdreavus evolution, Gloom evolution, Murkrow evolution, Bisharp evolution, Shellder evolution, Ralts evolution, starter Pokémon, mythical Pokémon, and the best games like Pokémon Go.

Alright, trainers, get ready to learn quicker than a Rapidash using agility (you’ll get that in a bit) with our what is Pokémon guide.

What is Pokemon: key art for Pokémon Sword and Shield shows a trainer and several Pokemon outdoors in the wild

What is Pokémon?

Pokémon – otherwise known as Pocket Monsters in Japan – is a creature-collecting video game series. Developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Game Boy, Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Green Version debuted in Japan on February 27, 1996, before Pokémon Blue Version came out later the same year on October 15, 1996.

Western audiences had to wait a little longer, as Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue came to North America on September 28, 1998, and Europe on October 5, 1998. Pokémon Yellow debuted in Japan on September 12, 1998, before releasing in North America on October 19, 1999, and Europe on June 16, 2000.

These games launched alongside the Pokémon anime series and the Pokémon Trading Card Game, creating what we now know as the Pokémon media empire. Across multiple formats, the ethos of Pokémon is “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” as players work to complete the Pokédex and catalog every single Pokémon available in each game.

Now, Pokémon has multiple generations of games across various platforms, multiple movies, various television series, and almost countless releases of the Trading Card Game featuring hundreds of different cards. Pokémon is one of the top three earning media franchises in the world, with an estimated accumulated wealth of $76.4 billion since its debut, putting it ahead of Star Wars, Marvel, and even Mickey Mouse.

What is Pokémon: key art shows several pokemon characters and pokemon

How many Pokémon are there?

Currently, as of the new Pokémon announced for the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet DLC, there are 1,025 officially announced Pokémon. There are an additional 59 regional forms, 48 mega evolutions, 32 gigantamax Pokémon, and multiple Pokémon that naturally have different forms, such as the Unown forms that spell the alphabet.

How many Pokémon types are there?

There are 18 different Pokémon types, of which the most recent is fairy, entering the fray on the Nintendo 3DS with Pokémon X and Y. You can find each type below, where we also have links that can take you to our guides to each type, where we explain who the best creatures are in that category. Seriously, it’s a good idea to consult those articles if you’re trying to put a solid team together.

Type Best Pokemon
Normal Best normal Pokémon
Fighting Best fighting Pokémon
Flying Best flying Pokémon
Poison Best poison Pokémon
Ground Best ground Pokémon
Rock Best rock Pokémon
Bug Best bug Pokémon
Ghost Best ghost Pokémon
Steel Best steel Pokémon
Fire Best fire Pokémon
Water Best water Pokémon
Grass Best grass Pokémon
Electric Best electric Pokémon
Psychic Best psychic Pokémon
Ice Best ice Pokémon
Dragon Best dragon Pokémon
Dark Best dark Pokémon
Fairy Best fairy Pokémon

Okay, so now that you know what the different types are, you likely want to know who they’re weak and strong against. Luckily for you, we have guides to the weaknesses of all the available types. We even touch on the best counters, resistances, and strengths of the types. If you want to know how to defeat each of them, our weakness guides hold all the answers:

What is Pokémon: key art shows several pokemon characters and pokemon

How many Pokémon generations are there?

There are currently nine Pokémon generations, and you can find each generation below, next to their region’s name, each release (without the word Pokémon), and our guide to the best Pokémon from that generation of games.

Generation Name Games Best Pokémon
One Kanto Red, Green, Blue, Yellow Best gen 1 Pokémon
Two Johto Gold, Silver, Crystal Best gen 2 Pokémon
Three Hoenn Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, FiredRed, LeafGreen Best gen 3 Pokémon
Four Sinnoh Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, SoulSilver Best gen 4 Pokémon
Five Unova Black, White, Black 2, White 2 Best gen 5 Pokémon
Six Kalos X, Y, Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire Best gen 6 Pokémon
Seven Alola Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, Ultra Moon, Let’s Go, Eevee!, Let’s Go, Pikachu! Best gen 7 Pokémon
Eight Galar Sword, Shield, Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl, Legends Arceus Best gen 8 Pokémon
Nine Paldea Scarlet, Violet Best gen 9 Pokémon

For more on the areas where each individual Pokémon game takes place, be sure to read our full Pokémon regions guide next. The most recent region is Paldea, a beautiful place influenced by the Spanish countryside.

How many Pokémon games are there?

There are 38 mainline Pokémon games, including different versions of each, such as Pokémon Green Version, Pokémon Platinum, and Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. This does not include the DLC expansions added to Pokémon Sword and Shield or the DLC for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

To learn which of the many games is worth your time, be sure to check out our guide to the best Pokémon games. Oh, and make sure you check out our new Pokémon game guide to stay up to date with all of the latest news surrounding a Pokémon Legends: Z-A release date.

How many episodes of the Pokémon anime are there?

The Pokémon anime currently has 1,269 episodes. These range from the original series debuting on April 1, 1997, to the current season called Pokémon Horizons.

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How many Pokémon movies are there?

There are currently 24 animated Pokémon movies and one live-action. You can find each film listed below, alongside its original release date in Japan and North America.

Movie Japanese release North American release
Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back July 18, 1998 November 12, 1999
Pokémon: The Movie 2000 July 17, 1999 July 21, 1000
Pokémon 3: The Movie July 8, 2000 April 6, 2001
Pokémon 4Ever: Celebi – Voice of the Forest July 7, 2001 October 11, 2002
Pokémon Heroes: Latias and Latios July 13, 2002 May 16, 2003
Pokémon: Jirachi, Wish Maker July 19, 2003 June 1, 2004
Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys July 17, 2004 January 22, 2005
Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew July 16, 2005 September 19, 2006
Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea July 15, 2006 March 23, 2007
Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai July 14, 2007 February 24, 2008
Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior July 19, 2008 February 13, 2009
Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life July 18, 2009 November 20, 2009
Pokémon: Zoroark – Master of Illusions July 10, 2010 February 5, 2011
Pokémon Black – Victini and Reshiram July 16, 2011 December 10, 2011
Pokémon White – Victini and Zekrom July 16, 2011 December 3, 2011
Pokémon: Kyurem vs The Sword of Justice July 14, 2012 December 8, 2012
Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened July 13, 2013 October 19, 2013
Pokémon: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction July 19, 2014 November 8, 2014
Pokémon: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages July 18, 2015 December 19, 2015
Pokémon: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel July 16, 2016 December 5, 2016
Pokémon: I Choose You! July 15, 2017 November 25, 2017
Pokémon: The Power of Us July 13, 2018 December 8, 2018
Detective Pikachu May 3, 2019 May 10, 2019
Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back – Evolution July 12, 2019 February 27, 2020
Pokémon: Secrets of the Jungle December 25, 2020 October 8, 2021
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Alright, trainers, that’s all we have for our what is Pokémon? guide for today, but if you have any burning questions, feel free to let us know over at the Pocket Tactics Facebook account. If you’re getting ready to dive into the games, be sure to check out our guides to the strongest Pokémon, Shellder’s evolution, and our mammoth Pokédex.