In Pokémon, Jessie and James are the two infamous villains who never leave Ash and the gang alone. With their partner Meowth, they constantly attempt to capture Pikachu, and in general, they have proven to be quite resourceful in obtaining the funds in order to capture Ash's Pokémon.
They are also known as the Rocket Trio, and are always scheming and trying to snag any rare Pokémon they can get their hands on for their boss. They are seen showing up and then "blasting off again" in each episode. They are comically terrible at their job, but it's their jokes that make them such an iconic trio.
Though they are portrayed as villains, they are well developed characters and are given multi-dimensional personalities. The animators took the time to develop Jessie and James, and thus there many secrets hiding in this Pokéballs.
For example, Jessie’s mom Miyamoto was a high-class Rocket Agent and Madame Boss’ right-hand woman. On the other hand, James came from a wealthy family and left the aristocratic life in order to pursue other things.
Jessie and James' were named after famous western cowboys in the US. There are plenty of things we’ve never known about their past lives, so it's time to take a look at all of their secrets.
Here are the 15 Things You Never Knew About Jessie and James From Pokémon!
15 Jessie Used To Be A Model
Perhaps one of the reasons why Jessie despises anyone calling her "an old lady" is because she used to be a model and thus might be sensitive about her looks. She revealed her past in the Pokémon Johto series. It would explain why she gets so angry when someone talks about her looks and why she values beauty products so much.
In "Spring Fever", Todd, a Pokémon photographer, takes a couple photos of a Pokémon battle against Team Rocket. During the intense battle, Jessie mentions that she used to be a model and begins to pose for Todd. However, Todd walks away, which infuriates Jessie.
Then, in the episode "Beauty in the Beach", she poses again in competition against Misty and the heroes. Jessie dresses up and looks completely transformed. However, people still call her an old lady. Though her and James’ ages are unstated in the dub, it’s implied that they are 25 years old.
14 They Have Defeated Pikachu in Battle
After many trials and tribulations, for the first time in their careers, Jessie and James finally defeated Pikachu in a tag team battle. Their win sent shockwaves across Pokémon forums.
With a combination of Mareanie’s spike cannon and Mimikyu’s play rough, they managed to defeat Pikachu. Ash was shock when it happened, while Jessie and James instantly began gloating, happy that it had actually happened. However, their victory was short-lived, since Bewear then swam from the ocean side to drag them back to their den.
In the Pokémon fandom, critics praised the Sun and Moon series for increasing Team Rocket's strength and matching it with Ash’s. After all, the trio has been repeatedly beaten by a ten-year-old across the series.
13 Jessie Failed Pokémon Nursing School
Jessie’s past is incredibly detailed. You would never guess that she used to be in a Pokémon nursing school. When Jessie was young she failed the actual Nursing class and decided to begin training as a Chansey, since the Pokémon often go to their own nursing schools in order to help Nurse Joy.
This is logically impossible and yet, Jessie managed to fail this class as well since she fell asleep when a Pokémon used Sing on her. Jessie dropped out, but before she left, a Chansey that she helped out gave Jessie half of her necklace as a token of gratitude.
Flash forward years later and Jessie reunites with her old Pokémon friend in "Ignorance is Blissey." In the episode, Blissey, Jessie's old friend, tries to take care Ash and his Pokémon.
Blissey remembers Jessie, but is still having trouble with Pokémon caregiving, and unintentionally gives them some of the center’s food supply. In order to help her friend, Jessie assists Blissey one more time and helps her to become a great Pokémon nurse.
12 Jessie Trained to Be Japanese Idol
Jessie used to train as a theater performer. In the English dub, Jessie and several other girls trained as performers. However, given how the audition is structured, it’s likely that Jessie, who was around the same age as Ash, tried to train as an idol.
Japanese idols start out young and train extensively for hours when they're not in school. The famous idol group AKB48 began performing personal theater when they were in elementary school. However, there is usually one major rule for idols: they cannot fall in love or have a significant other. In Pokémon, Jessie made a similar vow, but things turned sour quickly.
In this episode, Jessie had a school crush on Astin and was given a difficult choice: follow Astin and forget the audition or pursue her career as an idol. Jessie, of course, chose to follow her career as an idol, but she failed the audition and thus lost both her lover and her dream. Had she’d passed, things would have been very different for her.
11 Pokémon retconned Jessie and James’ Biker Life
The original Pokémon series includes a large number of retcons. For example, the series retconned aspects about how Jessie and James met. In the Indigo series, Jessie and James were former biker leaders before they became Team Rocket members. This explains how and why they came to be so close with one another well before they left the gang.
However, this would later be retconned in the Pokémon Chronicles episode "Training Daze!" One of the episodes shows how Jessie, James, and Meowth met through a training montage.
Apparently, Jessie, one of the top potential trainees, was the lone wolf of the group, preferring to work by herself. Or at least she did until she met James and Meowth in a joint training mission.
The Rocket Trio would later pass together and become full-fledged members. While they appear like goofs throughout the series, Jessie and James are competent and devoted to Team Rocket.
10 Team Rocket's Motto Is Actually Wrong…
Directly after they reveal themselves, Team Rocket often breaks into their motto before they launch into battle. However, if you actually break down the words, it turns out the motto is an oxymoron to what Team Rocket, as an organization, stands for.
For example, the lyrics go: “To protect the world from devastation! To unite all peoples within our nation! To denounce the evils from truth and love!” Meanwhile, Cassidy and Butch-- Jessie and James' main rivals-- say: “To infect the world with devastation! To blight all people in every nation To denounce the goodness of truth and love!”
It turns out that Jessie and James created their own motto, which is entirely inaccurate. It’s likely that they guessed the motto and were under the assumption that “speed of light” meant that their official Team Rocket uniforms were white.
9 James Carries a Set of Pokémon Cards Instead of a Pokédex
James may not have a Pokédex but he does carry a set of Pokémon cards around with him incase he encounters any wide Pokémon. While Jessie is better at Pokémon fights, James is knowledgeable about Pokémon classifications and details.
In fact, there are many incidences of the cards coming in handy and helping the trio when they need more information about a Pokémon during battle. This was shown a more than a couple of times in the show. In one scene, James pulls out a Croagunk card in order to identify its basic moves in "Gymbaliar".
His deck of cards even received an upgrade in "Best Wishes". In the episode, he receives a hologram Pokédex from Rocket Headquarters, which had the same features as his cards. The episode displayed a serious side of Team Rocket which hadn't yet been see in the series.
8 Jessie Believes In Love At First Sight
Jessie may have a fiery temper, but when it comes to romance, she is a strong believer in love at first sight. This is mainly due to Astin. As mentioned previously, Jessie harbored deep feelings for Astin when they were kids, and since then, her regret for turning him down became a newfound motivation for her.
Since then, she’s been searching for her one true love. This is evident in the anime-- when she gets separated from James and Meowth in "A Fork in the Road", she meets Dr. White and instantly falls for him.
She later decides to stay with him and wholeheartedly believes that that she has a future with him. Unfortunately, White’s heart lies with his childhood friend, Beatrice. Jessie sees this when White confesses to his lover. Jessie is initially crushed, but picks herself up and sends the happy couple a bouquet of flowers.
7 Mareanie Is Actually In Love With James
Though Pokémon are loyal and show affection to their trainers, this very rarely becomes anything more. However, in one episode of Pokémon Team Rocket go scuba diving and things get pretty weird. While underwater, the trio encounter a Mareanie who believes that James is a Corsola since his scuba mask resembles one.
Since Mareanie prey on Corsola, it immediately latches onto his head and injects its poison into him. James' head then turns purple, and since his hair is also purple, the Mareanie then mistakes him for a handsome Mareanie and falls inlove.
The Mareanie latches onto James and refuses to leave him. Whenever it is called out, Mareanie goes on top of James' head and shoots poison spikes into him in order to make James purple.
6 Jessie Hates When People Touch Her Hair
Jessie takes pride in hair care. Which other villain in the Pokémon universe is able to maintain that long, magenta hair without split ends throughout 980+ episodes? Jessie makes it very clear that no one should ever touch her hair-- a fact that both James and Meowth know very well. If even an inch of her is cut, all hell breaks loose.
There are plenty of times in the series where Pokémon attack Jessie's precious locks. For example, Gible and Totodile both bite the end of her hair and May’s Skitty plays with Jessie’s hair, believing that it's a toy.
In one episode, Seviper is hungry and sees Jessie's rice ball rolling in its direction. Seviper opens its mouth to catch it, but the Pokémon accidentally latches onto Jessie's hair. Jessie then attacks the Seviper with her signature fury swipes and kick.
The episode has a happy ending, however. Jessie catches the Seviper and it becomes one of her main Pokémon. Seviper probably learned to never mess with Jessie's hair again.
5 They Have A Team Rocket Radio Show In Real Life
For a brief run, Jessie and James hosted a radio show in Japan. The voice actors of the characters proposed an idea to create a radio show where Team Rocket is tasked to recruit as many Rocket members as possible. The duo and a few other voice actors pitched it to the anime developers.
This is common in Japan-- voice actors from ongoing anime often host radio programs to promote the series and answer fan questions. They would occasionally bring in guest stars and writers as well. The sound director at the time, Masafumi Mima, who was also a Team Rocket fan, thought it was a brilliant idea and greenlit the radio show.
The team would also invite other voice actors from the series, including Pikachu’s voice actor Ikue Ohtani.
4 Despite Their Failure, Giovanni Still Keeps The Rocket Trio
After failing to capture Pikachu so many times, you would expect Giovanni to fire Jessie and James. The reason why he didn't get rid of the trio might have to do with their backgrounds.
Jessie is the daughter of Miyamoto, Giovanni’s most trusted agent. So it’s no surprise that Giovanni would still keep Jessie around. James is the sole heir of a vast fortune-- his parents live in the upper echelons of Pokémon Society. Keeping James around is the perfect leverage he needs when he's low on resources.
Lastly, while Meowth doesn’t have any strong ties to Team Rocket or any kind of fortune, he is the only Pokémon that can talk-- no one would ever dare release a talking Pokémon out into the wild.
On top of that, the trio have occasionally done their job, which is evident in The Best Wishes series. In the series, they are able to complete one of Giovanni's missions and become true villains they were always meant to be.
3 James' Story with Growlie is based on "The Dog of Flanders"
Remember Growlie? Nostalgic fans may remember James’ loyal Growlithe, the only real friend James ever had as a kid. While his parents would force him to take private lessons, he would sometimes run away and play with his Pokémon.
He went along with his parents' wishes, but when he was forced to marry Jessebelle, James and Growlie ran away from home. However, the tale he depicted in Holy Matrimony, which shows James and Growlie frozen in the snow, was a complete lie according to Misty.
That didn’t stop Jessie, Meowth, and the rest of the gang from crying, though. In fact, the whole story is based off from A Dog of Flanders-- a Dutch novel that is quite popular in Japan.
The book was adapted into an anime series and then into an animated movie. The film, directed by Yoshio Kuroda, drew wide popularity and was said to bring people into tears. It's no surprise that the Pokémon writers wanted to add in this little story.
Growlie did reunite with James briefly afterwards, but James had to leave and told Growlie to look after his grandparents while he was away.
2 They First Appeared In Pokémon Yellow
Contributing to the success of the video and the Pokémon anime in the US, Game Freak decided to implement aspects of the anime into the game in order to appeal audiences. Pokémon Yellow was a success and broke records in sales, but never managed to pass it’s predecessor’s record.
The developers decided to add Team Rocket to the game. Though they don’t say their motto, the English translation would include words, like “Twerp” or “We’re blasting off again!” Meowth appears in it as well, though he doesn’t speak.
Other additional content was added, such as Misty and Brock’s sprites, which were changed to better copy the anime. Pikachu is also shown outside of its Pokéball, similar to the anime, and the three starter Pokémon can be found on the routes that Ash had found them on the anime.
1 James Collects Bottle Caps
James collects bottle caps as one of his many hobbies. When he was young, James had an entire box of them and would constantly add rare ones to his collection. He claimed that he drank enough soda “to float an aircraft carrier.”
In one episode, Murkrow steals the whole collection, which prompts both Jessie and Ash’s gang to chase the Pokémon. Bottlecaps are actually a item in the Pokémon Universe and are quite valuable. In the show, there are multiple times when Team Rocket sell caps to fellow collectors.
For example, in order to purchase a mecha robot to steal Pikachu, Jessie and Meowth force James to sell his rarest caps. The Pokémon games would later incorporate bottle caps in Pokémon Sun and Moon for the Hyper Training schools. The school uses bottle caps as currency for training Pokémon IVs. Game Freak likely incorporated this in response to Pokémon Battle tournaments.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Pokémon's Jessie and James? Let us know in the comments!