The male member of the infamous Team Rocket trio, James largely functions as the comedic relief and at times the moral compass of the group. Many Pokémon fans like him for his goofy antics, gullible nature, and childlike demeanor.
Yet there’s a lot to this periwinkle-haired member of the group that many fans were probably never aware of. Here are some interesting facts about James and his younger years that can give fans a new appreciation for this lovable character.
10 Wealthy Family
James comes from a very wealthy family. Though it’s never specified how wealthy, looking at their elegant home, live-in butler, fine clothing, and other trappings of a high net worth living it’s easy to say they’re easily multi-millionaires if not outright billionaires.
His parents live a life of luxury and sophistication and are often portrayed as the stereotypical elitist snobs. James was an heir to much of their wealth but had a falling out after refusing to marry his betrothed.
9 Abusive Fiancée
James was intended to a young girl named Jessebelle since they were children. She bears a striking resemblance to Jesse which brings up a lot of interesting questions about James’ and Jesse’s relationship.
Jessebelle is a very controlling and often abusive young woman. Her deep affection for James motivates her to treat him very harshly as she attempts to manipulate and mold him into the perfect man. James’ parents wish James to marry her in spite of this and was largely the reason James ran away from home to pursue a life of crime.
8 Despises Upper-Class Society
Because of his abusive fiancée and negligent parents James has come to despise upper-class society. He often comments about how snobbish the wealthy are and how they seem to have rules for everything.
Some fans have speculated that this disgust with the stereotypical wealthy elites may have given him motivation to pursue a life of crime. Perhaps in some way James is getting back at his parents by stealing Pokémon and money from the wealthy of society. In any case his rotten upbringing has given him a deep disdain for anyone he perceives as a member of the upper-class.
7 Adores His Grandparents
While James has a rocky relationship with his parents he deeply adores and cares for his grandparents. By contrast his grandparents are humbler and don’t flaunt their wealth, acting as caretakers for sick or injured Pokémon.
As such James is fiercely protective of his grandparents and always on best behavior to make them proud. This even led to him fighting Meowth and Jesse after they tried to steal his grandparents' Pokémon. After his grandparents find out about his life of crime they shrugged it off saying he’s still a sweet boy and love him all the same.
6 Collects Rare Bottle Caps
James has had an obsession with collecting bottle caps since he was a youth. His collection has grown over time and he becomes very irritated when Jesse or Meowth discard their caps without giving him a chance to examine them for their worth.
As much as he adores his bottle cap collection his friends are a greater priority. In an episode of the anime Meowth is held hostage by villagers who are trying to force him to perform the move Pay Day which he cannot do. Jesse tricks the villagers into thinking Meowth performed the move by throwing his rare bottlecaps at them, helping Meowth escape.
5 Great Makeup Artist
There have been many times when James has proven to be a great makeup artist by using his skills to disguise the trio. While the disguises themselves have often been questionable, the makeup application has been expertly done.
It’s not clear where James acquired this skill although some fans believe he was a closet cross-dresser given his proclivity to wear women’s clothes in the original anime. However he obtained this skill it has proven useful to the trio on multiple occasions.
4 Loves His Pokémon
While every trainer, even Jesse, has an affection for their Pokémon, James has a deep and emotional bond with his Pokémon. His first Pokémon a Growlithe he calls Growlie is seen as a friend rather than a Pokémon and the two have a deep connection.
All of James' Pokémon are dear to him and this affection is reciprocated by his Pokémon. Upon exiting their Pokéballs they will immediately seek him out for physical affection and attention and serve him loyally on the battlefield. James has been known to throw a fight if it means preventing them undue harm.
3 Very Intelligent
In spite of his comedic and child-like spirit James is very intelligent and capable of retaining a lot of information. Although Meowth is the go-to Pokémon expert of the trio, James has proven knowledgeable about many Pokémon and functions as a walking Pokedex at times.
This understanding of Pokémon and their abilities has served him many times in battle and he seems to be constantly expanding his knowledge of all things Pokémon proving he’s a closet bookworm.
2 Expert Hacker
After getting promoted and transferred to Unova James has proven himself to be a very skilled hacker. His ability to crack codes, break into machines, and other cyber terrorism activities has proven beneficial to completing many missions successfully.
It’s unclear where he obtained this skill, although given James high level of intelligence and constant knowledge gathering it’s probable he simply decided he needed to know how to hack and learned the necessary skills. This is probably a big part of the reason why many of his missions were so successful and led to his promotion.
1 Darker Turn After Promotion
Something happened to James upon receiving a promotion to Advanced Agent. His cheerful and child-like demeanor was replaced by something darker and more serious. For a time he no longer seemed to care for anyone else and became very stoic.
Over time this darker more serious personality faded until he became his original self, but it left fans with a a lot of questions as to what happened to this young man to change his personality so drastically. Some think it was due to him taking his promotion seriously, but others feel something happened off screen, perhaps a mission or personal matter, that left him a changed man.