Crew Rocket has come a great distance in the course of the huge historical past of the Pokémon anime. Removed from the one-dimensional criminals they as soon as had been, they’ve developed emotional bonds with their Pokémon, and Jessie has even found a ardour for Pokémon Contests. Sadly, after the smooth reboot of Pokémon Journeys, all this character growth has been undone and the nefarious trio has change into an actual downside for the collection.
Pokémon Journeys has seen Crew Rocket regress tremendously when it comes to their relevancy to the plot. Beginning in Hoenn and persevering with all over Kalos, Crew Rocket lastly had one thing to do aside from hassle Ash when Jessie began competing in Pokémon Contests. Lastly caring about one thing aside from a lifetime of crime, her reasonable success in these Contests, with wholehearted help from James and Meowth, was a good way to maintain their quest to steal Pikachu from getting too stale.
James’ and Meowth’s honest help for Jessie made it clear that these crooks had change into a makeshift household. This new dynamic made them sympathetic sufficient that it grew to become plausible that they might sometimes hunt down Ash’s assist — and that he would really give it to them. Ash’s behavior of lending Crew Rocket a hand is particularly noteworthy contemplating he as soon as tried to push them into the ocean when he thought they had been lifeless.
All through the years, Pokémon devoted total episodes to Jessie’s and James’ relationships with the Pokémon they captured on their journey — and identical to Ash, they might tearfully launch or give away their Pokémon after they felt it was of their Pokémon’s greatest curiosity. How trainers behave with their Pokémon may be essentially the most humanizing or dehumanizing character trait within the collection, and Crew Rocket unquestionably loves their Pokémon.
Nonetheless, nowadays in Pokémon Journeys, all these storytelling instruments to make Crew Rocket sympathetic characters have been stripped away. Jessie, James and Meowth have reverted to their Season 1 characters, which means they exist solely to trigger hassle for Ash. They do not even have their very own Pokémon anymore; as an alternative, in every episode, a Pelipper descends from the sky and drops off a few Crew Rocket Poké Balls with random Pokémon in them for Jessie and James to battle with earlier than returning them to HQ after they get despatched blasting off once more.
Gone are the times the place Crew Rocket faces off towards a rival legal group or lands themselves in such hassle that they want Ash’s assist. They don’t seem to be whilst competent as criminals as they had been throughout Ash’s Unova marketing campaign after they had Meowth be part of Ash and the gang as a part of an extended con. Pokémon Journeys has relegated the trio to contextless antagonism and the occasional comedian reduction, and regardless that a few of it’s genuinely humorous, it solely goes to this point in serving to them really feel related to the franchise.
With out their very own Pokémon or anything to do themselves, Crew Rocket has change into nothing greater than a plot system, and an annoying one at that. Their antics have reached the purpose that their appearances come off as little greater than an effort to pad the episodes’ runtime. With no indication of potential character arcs for the legal trio, their 25-years-long quest to steal Pikachu is getting slightly exhausting. It is nearly as if the anime itself has had sufficient of Crew Rocket however eliminating them altogether can be too daring for a collection that famously avoids taking any narrative dangers.
Pokémon Journeys does not seem to know what to do with Crew Rocket and presumably does not actually care. It is not search for the collection, and it actively harms the episodes through which Crew Rocket seems. Hopefully, the day will come when Jessie, James and Meowth may be related and sympathetic characters as soon as once more as a result of as they’re now, the collection can be higher off with out them.