Trans Team Rocket Viewing Guide

Pokémon fanfiction has a fairly high barrier for entry, even for readers. As of the most recent update to Bulbapedia, there are 941 episodes of the Pokémon anime that have been broadcast in English, and several more available in the original Japanese, with 19 movies set between them. This adds up to more than 347 hours of viewing—more than 14 continuous days—accumulated over the twenty years that the Pokémon cartoon has aired on American television. This is an undertaking for obsessives of a caliber far, far greater than mine, and is certainly not necessary for understanding or appreciating my Trans Team Rocket fanfiction universe. So, I have prepared a curated viewing list to enable would-be admirers of my fiction to apprise themselves of necessary backstory before diving into the Trans Team Rocket world.

The list below suggests episodes for several purposes. Most of the list is the narrative touchstones shared, referenced, and altered in “When James Met Jane,” as well as a few episodes that help lay out the basic premise of the Pokémon world. A handful of episodes are included because they feature James in feminine clothing and/or Jessie in masculine clothing, serving as evidence of the duo’s queerness, and others are included to show the pair engaged in compassionate heroism instead of villainy. Installments of the Trans Team Rocket universe after “When James Met Jane” generally make involved reference to particular pieces of Pokémon canon, which are highlighted here as well. Each episode is listed with a few sentences explaining its contribution to making the Trans Team Rocket universe make sense, such as whether it is included as an example of specific actions; because it contains an event (such as the addition of a Pokémon to a character’s team) that “When James Met Jane” presents another way; or because it introduces a location, character, or event that features prominently in one or more Trans Team Rocket stories. (Note that events in Pokémon canon may not be in the same order as the corresponding events or references in Trans Team Rocket.)

This viewing guide takes Pokémon down from an impossible 347 hours to a manageable 14, scattered across its overall continuity, dramatically reducing the commitment required to go from a Pokémon ingénue to a devoted Trans Team Rocket aficionado. I hope it serves my readers-in-waiting well.

Episode # Series Within-series # Title
1 Original 1 Pokémon – I Choose You!
First episode of Pokémon; lays out premise of world.
2 Original 2 Pokémon Emergency!
Introduction of Jessie, James, and their Pokémon.

From left to right: Ekans, a purple rattlesnake; Jessie, with a dramatic swash of red hair, a crop top, short skirt, and tall boots; Meowth, a bipedal cat; James, in a uniform similar to Jessie's but with pants and smaller boots; and Koffing, a grinning purple orb with a crude skull-and-crossbones under its face.
Dramatic from the start.

6 Original 6 Clefairy and the Moon Stone
An example of Jessie and James’s attempts at villainy.
7 Original 7 The Water Flowers of Cerulean City
An example of Jessie and James’s attempts at villainy.
9 Original 9 The School of Hard Knocks
Jessie and James reveal they failed out of Pokémon trainer school.
15 Original 15 Battle aboard the St. Anne
Example of general Team Rocket villainy. James buys a Magikarp from a swindler.
16 Original 16 Pokémon Shipwreck
First episode in which Jessie and James cooperate with series protagonists.
18 Original 18 Beauty and the Beach
Example of James in feminine clothing.
22 Original 22 Abra and the Psychic Showdown
Example of James in feminine clothing.
28 Original 28 Pokémon Fashion Flash
Example of Jessie and James being successful entrepreneurs.
31 Original 31 Dig Those Diglett!
Jessie and James’s Pokémon evolve through the power of their trainers’ tears.
36 Original 36 The Bridge Bike Gang
Jessie and James reveal their time as petty gangsters.
48 Original 48 Holy Matrimony!
James reveals that he ran away from an opulent home to escape an arranged marriage. His arranged fiancée wishes to remake him into a “gentleman.” Introduction of Growly.
52 Original 52 Princess vs. Princess
Jessie is revealed to come from poverty. Introduction of Likitung. Early disguise work.
54 Original 54 The Case of the K-9 Caper!
Jessie and James villainy. Example of James in feminine and Jessie in masculine clothing.

Jessie and James standing on a dog-shaped van. They are both dressed in copies of Officer Jenny's police uniform, including the tight miniskirt. Officer Jenny looks on angrily.
Jessie and James in officer femme.

57 Original 57 The Breeding Center Secret
Introduction of Butch and Cassidy. Jessie and James’s first act against Team Rocket.
61 Original 61 The Misty Mermaid
Example of James in feminine and Jessie in masculine clothing.
70 Original 70 Go West Young Meowth
Meowth’s tragic backstory.
Movie 2 Pokémon Movie 2000: The Power of One
Jessie, James, and Meowth make heroic sacrifices and engage in queer-coded banter.
129 Original 129 Ignorance is Blissey
Jessie’s backstory as an unfairly failed nursing student. Jessie’s fundamental benevolence.

Jessie, a tall redhead with braids, placing practice bandages on a classmate. Her classmates are all Chanseys, pink egg-shaped Pokemon roughly the same size as humans.
Jessie before the world took everything from her.

146 Original 146 Tricks of the Trade
Jessie trades her Likitung for a Wobbuffet.
173 Original 173 Wobbu-Palooza!
Jessie and James come to the aid of villagers being attacked by a violent gang.
214 Original 214 Mantine Overboard!
Jessie and James show their commitment to the Team Rocket intro sequence in a submarine.
280 Advanced Generation 6 A Poached Ego!
Jessie and James defend some wild Pokémon from a poacher, release Arbok and Weezing into the wild, and add Cacnea to James’s team. Necessary for full impact of “Eyes on the Future, Heart in the Past.”
288 Advanced Generation 14 All in a Day’s Wurmple
Jessie excitedly catches a Wurmple.
302 Advanced Generation 28 Seeing is Believing!
Jessie’s Wurmple, having evolved into a Cascoon in a previous episode, attains its final form.
358 Advanced Generation 84 Who’s Flying Now?
James meets a Chimecho after meeting the Pokémon swindler again, and adds it to his team.
382 Advanced Generation 108 Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snorunt!
Series protagonist Ash captures a Snorunt. This event is adapted in “When James Met Jane.”
421 Advanced Generation 147 Sweet Baby James
James visits his grandparents and one of their Pokémon adopts him.
432 Advanced Generation 158 Queen of the Serpentine
Introduction of Pike Queen Lucy, who appears in “Angling for Myself” and “A Better, Shinier World.”
A thin, light-skinned woman wearing a purple crop top with thin black stripes, gloves and high-heeled shoes in the same pattern, black slacks, and a belt consisting of gold hexagons. Her hair is long and black with red highlights, her eyes are red and slanted, and her facial expression is determined.
Pike Queen Lucy.


Movie 9 Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea
Events, characters, and concepts from this movie play a large role in “A Better, Shinier World.”

A scene from
The woman in the middle is important.

520 Diamond and Pearl 54 Once There Were Greenfields
James leaves Cacnea with Gardenia for training.
527 Diamond and Pearl 61 Team Shocker!
Jessie wins a Pokémon contest in disguise.
557 Diamond and Pearl 91 One Team, Two Team, Red Team, Blue Team!
Jessie is assigned a Hippowdon as a mount in a Pokémon race.
612 Diamond and Pearl 146 Dressed for Jess Success!
James adopts one of Jessie’s contest personas and wins a Pokémon contest.
719 Best Wishes 62 Crisis at Chargestone Cave!
Team Rocket undertakes a plot in Chargestone Cave, a locale referenced in “Eyes on the Future, Heart in the Past.”

A cave lit with ethereal blue light from special electrical rocks. Some of the rocks levitate. The cave is full of tarantula-like Galvantulas and small fuzzy Joltiks, both bright yellow. At the center, several humans stand in awe.
A mysterious place of electromagnetism.


Trans Team Rocket Viewing Guide