Team Rocket is one of the most nostalgia-inspiring features of the original Pokemon games and anime. Their famous motto is already stuck in your head just thinking about the big red "R" on their uniforms. But, Pokemon's most popular team needs to be talked about just a tad bit more. They debuted in the very first games, the beginning of the Pokemon anime, and pretty early in the card game too.
Between all of their dastardly deeds, immoral misgivings, and Rocket resurgences, it's easy to boil down 5 Things Team Rocket Does Better Than Any Other Evil Team (and 5 Things They Don’t).
10 Blast Off - Evil For The Sake Of Evil
Some of the evil organizations in Pokemon are out to turn the world into an ocean, like Team Aqua, or liberate all Pokemon from their trainers in some eco-terrorist fashion, like Team Plasma. But, that's not how Team Rocket plays their game. This gang is out to steal powerful Pokemon and make money. While the infamous Jessie and James may be focusing their attention on a pretty powerful Pikachu, their colleagues are out mass-catching the rare Pokemon, like Tauros, and genetically engineering psychic mutants. The gangster, Giovanni, runs the entire gang in a cool, calm, and collected fashion and that's all he needs to do.
9 Devastation - Zubats and Rattatas
Alright, c'mon, Team Rocket. You're a notorious evil organization that steals powerful Pokemon constantly, and you give your lackeys Zubats and Rattatas. Even Jessie and James started off with a Koffing and Ekans, eventually getting more powerful Pokemon. If you want to get anything done, at least give the grunts access to some heavier hitters. Imagine walking into the Team Rocket hideout and the rank and file stat casually tossing out Beedrill, Muk, and Gyarados (straight from the Lake of Rage). You'd be shaking in your running shoes. Instead, the worst you'll see is Hypno or Machoke. Please.
8 Blast Off - Various Activities (like Slowpoke Tails, Lake of Rage, Stealing Pokemon)
Aside from the general Pokemon theft that Team Rocket is known for, they aren't afraid to really mess with the laws of nature either. Case in point: the origin of Mewtwo. Team Rocket laid down some serious cash to have scientists create a successor to the Mythical Pokemon Mew. What they got was a genetic monster that killed everyone, destroyed the lab, and wanted to take over the world. In the games, it just went to live in a cave before it was caught by a 10-year-old.
Then, there was the case of the Lake of Rage in Johto where Team Rocket used a radio signal to force Magikarp to evolve so they would be Gyarados to catch. It would have almost been worth it to catch them first, then force evolve them, but the evil organization did it their own way.
7 Devastation - Completely Blind Without Leadership (when Giovanni left)
At the end of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow (as well as the numerous Gen 1 remakes), Giovanni disbands Team Rocket, feeling shame for losing to a 10-year-old multiple times. Can you blame him? But, his underlings all go looking for him during the events of Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver. They cause trouble to get him to come out of hiding. It doesn't work and they're disbanded again. With a certain event, it turns out that the protagonist defeated him while he was in hiding and he decided to remain in hiding due to it. This left the Rocket leadership still empty and they crumbled yet again with no Rocket Boss.
6 Blast Off - Likable Characters In The Anime / Iconic Motto
The primary antagonists of the Pokemon anime series is Team Rocket's own Jessie and James. But, despite their annoyance and inopportune tag-ins, they remain one of the most iconic parts of Pokemon. With their talking Meowth, they show up (possibly in a disguise), speak their motto (you know it), try to steal Pikachu or a powerful Pokemon of the episode, and get knocked into the sky to "blast off again". It's pretty cookie-cutter stuff.
But, most people don't know that they each have a tragic backstory. Jessie was raised poor and James was raised rich but ran away from home. Meowth learned English to impress a girl Meowth and it made him feel like a monster. That's why Team Rocket reaches the stars above! Meowth, THAT'S RIGHT!
5 Devastation - Seriously, Slowpoke Tails?
Aside from stealing Pokemon, they are out to cause trouble (and make it double). During the events of Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver, they went as far as to head to Slowpoke Well and cut off the tails of Slowpokes.
They're a delicacy in Johto, but they do require cutting of the tail. This means the Slowpoke can't evolve into Slowbro, but it's sold in grocery stores. But, the tail is used for fishing for its food source as well. Remove the tail and it can't fish. Team Rocket, you monsters!
4 Blast Off - Giovanni
The leader of Team Rocket, Giovanni is many things: rich, brilliant, and a snappy dresser. He's a gangster in the same way that old mobster movies portray them, but is ambitious (sometimes to his own downfall). In addition to being the Rocket boss, he's also the Viridian City Gym Leader, an established and ruthless Pokemon trainer, and a (20-year spoiler alert!) father. After Rocket was knocked down a notch, he even was gracious enough to know when to bow out until the time was right. It just made his return with Team Rainbow Rocket all the more sweeter.
3 Devastation - They Think Too Small Most of the Time in comparison to Galactic or Aqua, etc.
As mentioned, Team Rocket keeps it simple. They aren't out to rule the world. They just want to do crime. But, why not? All of the other villainous organizations think much bigger. The fight between Team Aqua and Team Magma is over expanding the land or making the world an ocean. Team Galactic wants to recreate the entire universe using basically literal gods to do his bidding. Team Flare wants to literally kill all life on earth. Then, Team Rocket just wants to harass an old man that is mourning the death of a Marowak (which was likely killed by Team Rocket). Think bigger!
2 Blast Off - Not Afraid To Jump to USUM or GO
After the events of Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver, Team Rocket was officially disbanded by Giovanni, never to be heard from again. Just kidding, Team Rainbow Rocket blasted off and brought an interesting post-game story to Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon that really opened up a lot of doors.
Once that didn't work out due to the protagonist, Team GO Rocket showed up in Pokemon GO! With the inclusion of Team GO Rocket, the events and reasoning don't really matter. It added a breath of fresh air to the game and gave some real baddies that weren't just "the other color team than you."
1 Devastation - You Can't Join Them
Early in the original Gen 1 games, there's a bridge north of Cerulean City called Nugget Bridge. The rules are simple: defeat all of the trainers and earn a shiny nugget! In the last matchup, the final trainer turns out to be a member of Team Rocket. He likes your spunk and asks if you'd like to join the evil org. You don't get a chance to answer and it's assumed you said no. This is a travesty. Team Rocket has never let you join their ranks. Sure, you can dress like them in games like Pokemon GO and Super Smash Bros Ultimate, but can you go do evil deeds on behalf of the Rockets? No, you have to be a good little protagonist.