Pokemon: The Johto Journeys anime holds a very special place in my heart. You see Pokemon Silver and all things second-gen left a mark on my young soul.
It seemed like every day, I’d rewind my Pokemon 2,000 and Pokemon: 3 VHS repeatedly. At the same time, I was exploring Johto in Pokemon Silver with my loyal Meganium by my side. However, I’m not here to talk about my Johto journeys; I’m here to talk about Ash and the gangs’ Johto Journeys!
Pokemon: Johto Journeys ran for 41 episodes and was first aired in 1999 in Japan and in 2000 in America. The series reunited the original star trio Ash, Brock, and Misty as they began their Johto adventure. Team Rocket would return, and new characters would make their debut, such as Casey.
Bottom Line Up Front
- Johto Journeys is the beginning of Ash Ketchum’s Johto adventure. There are some absolute banger episodes in this season of Pokemon. Chikorita and Totodile are hilarious and fantastic additions to Ash’s team.
- I must admit, for 41 episodes, Ash doesn’t make that much progress, only winning two badges for the Johto league. However, along the way, the trio is put in strange situations, such as being attacked by a mob of townsfolk for standing on a Slowpoke tail and being attacked by an unrelenting Quagsire. However, “The Totodile Duel” is my favorite episode in the season, Ash and Misty fighting over a Totodile and Brock as the pacifier is hilarious.
The Lead-Up to Johto Journeys
In the lead-up to Johto Journeys, Ash, Misty, and Tracey had been exploring the Orange Islands, a tropical archipelago and small region exclusive to the Pokemon anime and manga.
In the second to last episode of Adventures in Orange Islands, “A Tent Situation,” the trio arrives in Pallet Town eager to meet with Professor Oak. Ash, Tracey, and Misty unexpectedly bump into Brock at Ash’s house. Confused, the trio rightly asks why Brock is here, and after mentioning Professor Ivy, Brock falls to the floor with symptoms of breakup blues.
After this strange reunion, the four head to Professor Oak’s laboratory, where Ash hands the GS Pokeball over to Oak, a unique Pokeball he acquired on his adventure through the Orange Islands. However, Team Rocket is not far behind and carries out their usual thieving antics before being defeated by Gary’s Nidoqueen. The episode ends with Ash and Pikachu challenging Gary to battle.
Ash loses the battle to Gary’s Eevee in “Rivalry Revival” but fights well, and Gary commends him on his efforts. Sometime later, Misty finds Ash sitting on a rock, pondering his defeat to Gary. Misty explains that Gary has already left to go on a new adventure.
Meanwhile, Brock, Tracey, and Professor Oak attempt to learn more about the GS Pokeball. Ash enters, questioning where Gary has gone, and Professor Oak explains to Ash’s amazement that he has registered in the Johto League, inspiring Ash to do the same.
Misty and Brock eagerly join Ash on his new adventure, and Tracey explains that he will help Professor Oak with his work. Before the trio leave, Professor Oak asks Ash to deliver the GS Ball to Kurt, a Pokeball specialist in Azalea Town.
Johto Journeys Part 1 – (117 – 130)
- Don’t Touch That ‘dile
- The Double Trouble Header – The Trio is introduced to Casey.
- A Sappy Ending – Ash catches Heracross.
- Roll On Pokemon!
- Illusion Confusion!
- Flower Power
- Spinarak Attack
- Snubbull Snobbery – Introduces Snubbull as a new reoccurring character.
- The Little Big Horn
- The Chikorita Rescue – Ash catches Chikorita.
- Once in a Blue Moon – Quagsire steals the GS Ball.
- The Whistle Stop
- Ignorance is Blissey – It’s revealed that Jessie trained to become a Pokemon Nurse.
- A Bout With Sprout – The trio arrive in Violet City and visit Sprout Tower.
Johto Journeys Part 1 – Major Events
Johto Journeys begins in “Don’t Touch That ‘dile” with a Suicune appearing in front of the trio while attempting to navigate a forest. Exhausted, they arrive in New Bark Town, where Ash registers for the Johto League after rescuing Professor Elm’s Totodile from the clutches of Team Rocket. The trio discovers that a trainer had already taken Chikorita as their starter, leaving Cyndaquill and Totodile for new trainers.
With Ash now registered in the Johto League, the gang pushes forward to Violet City in “Double Trouble Header.” Along the way, Ash becomes friends and rivals with Casey, a novice trainer who is an extreme baseball fan and supporter of the Electabuzz team. Casey was given Chikorita by Professor Elm and mirrors Ash at the beginning of his adventure.
New Adventure New Pokemon: Ash Catches Heracross
Casey says farewell to Ash and the gang, promising that she will be stronger the next time they meet. Venturing forward, the crew stumbles across a war between a group of Heracross and Pinsir in a bid to control a forest in “A Sappy Ending.”
Introduced to an old man called Woodruff, the trio learns that the group of Pinsir threatens the forest’s ecosystem. The group helps the Heracross beat the group of Pinsir to restore balance back the forest. In the end, Ash catches a Heracross, which becomes a solid asset to his team.
Ash encounters a Donphan in “Roll On, Pokemon!” Amazed by the Pokemon, he attempts to capture it only to find that it’s owned by a trainer named Rochelle. Ash challenges Donphan to a battle to train his Heracross once Team Rocket is defeated after stealing Donphan to mine Amberite, a rare and valuable stone. Heracross puts up a good fight but stops to eat tree sap in the fight, much to Ash and Misty’s surprise.
Heracross was a great addition to Ash’s team as it was a joy to watch on screen. While it wasn’t Ash’s strongest Pokemon, it grew to become a very powerful asset to his team. I liked the addition of Heracross to Ash’s team as it let his stronger Pokemon sit on the back bench while he trained new Pokemon.
The trio later catches up to Gary in “Illusion Confusion.” Where they befriend a Hoothoot to traverse through a Haunter and Gengar inhabited forest.
The introduction of Snubbull is a significant event in Pokemon Johto Journeys as it reappears on multiple occasions to bite Meowth’s tail. The trio first encountered Snubbull biting a Growlithe’s tail when visiting a mansion in Palm Hills, an Anime exclusive location.
It’s soon revealed that Snubbull is upset with its trainer for confining it to the estate. Tussling with Team Rocket, Snubbull ends up biting Meowth and Arbok’s tails multiple times. It’s funny because Ash’s Pokedex explains Snubbull to have a grumpy exterior, but deep down, it is caring. The episode ends with Snubbull setting off on its own adventure to track down Meowth and bite its tail.
Snubbull appears in future episodes following Team Rocket. While it doesn’t impact the main plot, it’s a hilarious addition to Johto Journeys, offering comical moments, and later features in “Grin to Win,” “Tricks Of The Trade,” “Tunnel Vision,” and appears in Johto League Champions.
Ash Catches Chikorita –“Chikorita Rescue”
As a big fan of Chikorita, this is one of my favorite episodes of Johto Journeys. Traveling along a treacherous mountain path, the trio comes across a Chikorita.
Ash is reminded of his battle with Casey and vows to catch a Chikorita of his own. Ash challenges the little Pokemon to battle, and it proves itself to be a fierce and brave Pokemon. Despite its strength, it’s no match for Ash’s Charizard. However, it’s not defeated without causing significant damage.
The trio brings the Chikorita to a Pokemon Centre, where Nurse Joy explains that the Chikorita in the area are stubborn and aggressive. Team Rocket, impressed with Chikorita’s strength, steals the Pokemon in a devilish scheme to appease Giovanni. However, their plans fail. Chikorita joins Ash’s team after Ash and Chikorita get stuck on a mountain and reunite with Brock and Misty.
Quagsire and the GS Ball – “Once in a Blue Moon”
The trio arrives at Cherrygrove city, and Ash sits by the edge of a river and polishes his Pokeballs along with the mysterious GS Ball. A Quagsire appears and attempts to steal GS Ball, but Pikachu can catch it after a Squirtle’s Water Gun hits Quagsire.
This is a funny episode as this leads Ash on a wild goose, or should I say Quagsire, chase. Eventually, the Quagsire release their round object atop Blue Moon Waterfall, and the objects, along with the GS Ball, float downstream. Brock, Misty, and Ash arrive exhausted just in time to retrieve the ball.
Jessie’s Big Reveal –“Ignorance is Blissey”
I think Team Rocket may be three of the best anti-heroes on TV. They’re funny, incompetent, and have a big heart underneath all the schemes and crime. Therefore I absolutely love it when the show opens up their characters and explains how they came to be.
This episode explores Jessie’s life before becoming a member of Team Rocket, revealing that Jessie trained to become a Pokemon Nurse. In a tragic tale equaling the tragedy of the episode, Jessie proves herself as a skilled nurse and helps out her clumsy Chancey training partner; however, she could not resist Chancey’s Sing and fell into a sleep that was meant for her patients.
Jessie is reunited with the Chancey she trained with, only to find that it had evolved into a Blissey. Recognizing Jessie, the Blissey gives up all the Pokemon food in the Centre to Team Rocket. I love this as Team Rocket later feels guilty for taking the food, showing that they have good hearts.
Ash, Brock, and Misty hungry for food discover that there is nothing but a crumb left. Nurse Joy confronts Blissey about the food shortage while Team Rocket watches from afar. Seeing this as an opportunity, Team Rocket takes the blame and pretends to attack Blissey to get it out of trouble.
The episode ends with Team Rocket defeated and hungry but happy that they could help Blissey. I love this ending as it shows that Team Rocket are heroes but only to the viewer.
Arriving at Violet City – “A Bout With Sprout”
After fourteen episodes, the gang finally arrives at Violet City! A feat that I could complete within an hour but anyhoo, before challenging Falkener, the Violet City Gym Leader, the trio are recruited as instructors at the Pokemon Academy in Violet City. However, unable to control the students, Ash’s Pikachu is almost kidnapped by Zackie, a Pokemon Academy student, when he attempts to throw Pokeballs at Pikachu and catches a Bellsprout.
Later, Zackie and his Bellsprout save Pikachu from Team Rocket and stop them from destroying Sprout Tower. I think this is one of the weaker episodes, as it doesn’t offer much to the story other than getting the trio to Violet City. I did, however, enjoy seeing Sprout Tower out of the games and onto the screen.
Johto Journeys Part 2 – (131 – 143)
- Fighting Flyer with Fire – Ash beats the Violet City Gym and obtains the Zephyr badge.
- For Crying Out Loud
- Tanks a Lot!
- Charizard’s Burning Ambitions – Ash leaves Charizard in Charicific Valley.
- Grin to Win!
- Chikorita’s Big Upset
- Foul Weather Friends
- The Superhero Secret
- Mild ‘n Wooly
- Wired for Battle!
- Good Quil Hunting – Ash catches a Cyndaquil.
- A Shadow of a Drought – The trio arrives in Azalea town, meeting Kurt while resolving the drought problem.
- Going Apricorn! – The trio delivers the GS Ball to Kurt. Brock catches a Pineco, and Ash and Misty are given Fast Balls.
Johto Journeys Part 2 – Major Events
Defeating Violet City Gym “Fighting Flyer with Fire”
It’s what the trio has all been waiting for after countless episodes of fighting Team Rocket, learning about Johto, and meeting new friends and Pokemon. Ash is finally ready to challenge the Violet City Gym. However, guess who’s waiting for Ash at the city gym entrance.
No other than Team Rocket. Seriously these guys never take a break! Once again, the crime trio attempt to steal Pikachu; however, this time, Ash is aided by a mysterious Pokemon trainer flying on a hang-glider who later reveals themselves to be Falkner, the Violet City Gym Leader.
The match starts with a fight between Hoothoot and Chikorita, a strange decision by Ash as Grass-type Pokemon are weak to Flying-type. I found this quite funny as Ash is meant to be the champion of the Orange Islands League, and it’s not rocket science!
Falkner criticizes Ash’s decision and berates him for such a poor type of match-up. Even though Falkner gets triggered by trainers who say that Flying Pokemon don’t stand a chance against Electric-type Pokemon. Maybe Falkner shouldn’t be so judgy.
Chikorita ultimately loses to Hoothoot, and Ash withdraws her from the battle. It’s Pikachu’s chance to battle, and it makes short work of Falkner’s Hoothoot with a Thunderbolt. I chuckled a bit, thinking maybe Falkner should have kept his mouth shut.
Charizard and Pidgeot Fight
Falkner’s second Pokemon, Dodrio, is later knocked by Pikachu. Falkner Sends out Pidgeot, his third and final Pokemon. Falkner defeats a tired Pikachu with a Whirlwind and begins a great fight between Charizard and Pidgeot.
It’s clear that Pidgeot is much faster than Charizard due to its Agility move, and Falkner uses this to his advantage damaging Charizard’s wing in the process. Brock and Misty fear the worst as Ash’s Charizard is grounded. However, after a quick pep talk from Ash, Charizard soars into the sky.
Pidgeot uses Agility repeatedly to maneuver and strike Charizard from behind. However, Ash predicts the attack and commands Charizard to spit a Fire Spin trapping Pidgeot before using Seismic Toss, launching it into the ground and ending the battle.
This is one of the best battles in Johto Journeys, tense with comical relief from Chikorita. It’s cool to see Charizard go head to head with Falkner’s Pidgeot. I must admit that the show does suffer from Ash’s reliance on Charizard as the trio is in a new region.
It would be great to see Ash use his new Pokemon in battle more, as it’s apparent that Charizard is way too powerful for the early competition in Johto.
Ash Leaves Charizard in Charicific Valley
In one of the most significant episodes in the anime, Ash leaves Charizard in Charicific Valley to become stronger by training with the other Charizards in the valley.
I really like this episode as up to this point, Charizard has absolutely dominated in battle. It’s a significant issue for the show as how do you introduce a new Pokemon region and set of Gym Leaders when Ash’s Charizard has already defeated trainers surpassing the skills of these Gym Leaders.
Misty brings this up at the beginning of the episode, stating that it’s not fair that Ash uses Charizard against novice trainers, as seen in the battle between Ash and Casey. Soon after, the trio meets Liza, a Pokemon trainer who looks after Charizard in the Charicific Valley.
Liza states that the Charizard in the valley are their kindest. Later, Liza attempts to teach Ash to fly on his Charizard, and Charizard challenges a bigger Charizard to battle to win and gain entry to the Charicific Valley for training. However, Charizard doesn’t even come close and is kicked out with Liza’s Charizard Charla.
I felt sorry for Charizard even though it’s high time that it has some challenges. It appears Team Rocket feels the same, sympathizes with Charizard, and keeps watch over him all night, making sure the fire on his tail doesn’t go out.
The next day Team Rocket use one of their mechas to try and break into the valley to help Charizard gain a place in the valley. Charizard blasts the mecha away, and Team Rocket’s plan works! In one of the saddest moments, Ash leaves Charizard in the valley and runs away crying, hoping to reunite with him one day.
Delivering the GS Ball
The trio finally arrives in Azalea Town only to discover there is a drought causing the Azalea Town Gym to close. Misty reminds Ash that he must deliver the GS Ball to Kurt for Professor Oak. The trio heads off to find him. While exploring Azalea Town, the trio discovers that the townsfolk are fascinated with Slowpoke and worship them. Unfortunately for Ash, he accidentally steps on a Slowpoke’s tail, and the townsfolk are enraged and chase the trio.
Losing the mob for a brief moment, the gang are stopped by Kurt wearing a Slowpoke costume. He gives them Slowpoke costumes to avoid the crowd. He then runs off to Slowpoke Cave and squabbles with Team Rocket. The trio looks for the man after meeting his granddaughter, defeating Team Rocket, and saving Kurt. It then begins to rain, and the trio ponders whether it was the Slowpoke’s doing.
I like this episode as it parallels the main story in Pokemon Gold and Silver with slight changes. In the next episode, “Going Apricorn!”
The trio learns how Apricorn trees can be used to create different kinds of Pokeballs, and the group calls Professor Oak after Kurt examines the GS Ball. Brock catches a Pineco, and Kurt gives Ash and Misty a Fast Ball after stopping Team Rocket from stealing Apricorns.
GS Ball Plot Problems
While I absolutely love the second generation of Pokemon and the original trio as heroes, the Johto Journeys plot has some significant issues regarding the GS Ball plot.
While Ash’s main goal is to become the Johto League Champion, he was also tasked with delivering the GS Ball to Kurt to learn more about the ball for Professor Oak, but when the trio asks Kurt about the GS Ball, he has no idea what it is.
Initially, the GS Ball containing Celebi was planned, but this was cut and saved for the fourth Pokemon movie. The previous season’s ending set up the GS Ball as an essential item and main narrative.
Johto Journeys Part 3 – (144 – 157)
- Gettin’ The Bugs Out – Ash defeats the Azalea Town Gym and obtains the Hive Badge.
- A Farfetch’d Tale
- Tricks of the Trade – Ash is reunited with Tauros, and Jessie accidentally trades her Lickitung for a Wobbuffet.
- The Fire-ing Squad! – Squirtle returns to the Squirtle Squad. Ash leaves Heracross with Professor Oak.
- No Big Woop!
- Tunnel Vision
- Hour of the Houndour
- The Totodile Duel – Ash catches a Totodile, and Misty’s Poliwag evolves.
- Hot Matches! – Cyndaquil gains control of its fire.
- Love Totodile Style
- Fowl Play! – Ash catches a shiny Noctowl.
- Forest Grumps
- The Psychic Sidekicks!
- The Fortune Hunters – Butch and Cassidy Return.
Johto Journeys Part 3 – Major Events
Beating Azalea Town Gym – “Gettin’ the Bugs Out”
Ash challenges Bugsy, the Azalea Town Gym Leader and Bug-type Pokemon specialist, to a battle. Ash leads with Cyndaquil hoping to use its Fire-type attacks to his advantage. Bugsy sends out Spinarak and begins to spray String-Shot at Cyndaquil.
Unfortunately, Cyndaquil’s sleepy nature gets the better of it, and it cannot use any Fire-type attacks until it has warmed up. So Ash recalls Cyndaquill sending out Chikorita. Chikorita defeats Spinarak by using Sweet Scent but is later defeated by Bugsy’s Metapod.
Ash defeats the Metapod with Pikachu; however, it gets knocked out by Bugsy’s Scyther. Down to only Cyndaquil, Ash has no other option and sends it into battle. Thankfully Cyndaquil’s flame charges from dodging Scyther’s Fury Cutter attack.
Unleashing a Flamethrower, Bugsy orders Scyther to use Swords Dance to reflect the attack back. However, Cyndaquil beats Scyther by attacking it from above, winning the Hive Badge for Ash.
- “Gettin’ the Bugs Out” is a significant episode in the story as Ash not only wins the Hive Badge but is also given a Lure Ball by Maizie, Kurt’s grandaughter, which he later uses to catch a Totodile.
The Return of Squirtle Squad
The Squirtle Squad returns along with Captain Aidan, a character from the Orange Islands. This is a significant episode in the series as Squirtle leaves Ash to rejoin the Squirtle Squad, and Ash leaves Heracross with Professor Oak. This episode is great. Bulbasaur and Squirtle’s goodbye is very funny. As the two were always causing mischief together.
Ash Catches Totodile – “The Totodile Duel”
This has to be the funniest episode in all of Johto Journeys. The episode begins with the trio fishing, to Misty’s delight, although Ash and Brock don’t feel the same.
Ash and Misty start to argue, and a Totodile springs out of the river onto a rock and begins to dance. Ash and Misty start fighting over the Totodile but neither one of them can catch it as Misty’s special fishing lure is spat out by Totodile, and it breaks out of Ash’s Pokeball. The Totodile runs up to the trio dancing before running into the wild.
Ash and Misty are hell-bent on catching Totodile runaway. Brock chases after them, saying they’re going to need a referee. Meanwhile, Totodile stumbles across a hungry Team Rocket, but before they chow down, Totodile steals their food and blasts them away with a Water Gun.
The trio encounters Totodile once more, and Totodile starts dancing again. Ash and Misty both throw their Lure Balls at the same time Totodile falls behind a bush and is caught. Neither Ash nor Misty knows who caught it, and Brock steps in to take the Totodile.
Brock decides the two should have the battle to decide who gets Totodile. Misty is confident, claiming that she is a Water-type master, while Ash dismisses this calling her a Water-type disaster. Ash leads with Pikachu, and Misty unexpectedly sends Togepi into battle.
Unwilling to attack Togepi, Pikachu loses the battle. The two rivals shout at each other, and Ash’s Bulbasaur and Chikorita make quick work of Misty’s team.
Ash Catches a Shiny Noctowl – “Fowl Play”
On the way to Goldenrod City, the trio walks through a forest, encountering a shiny Noctowl. Ash plans to catch it, but he and the gang are inflicted by Noctowls Hypnosis. Ash is only able to defeat Noctowl after Ash has the idea to listen for Noctowl’s wing flaps to avoid its Hypnosis attack.
Question: Where Can I Watch Pokemon Johto Journeys?
Answer: The whole Pokemon Johto Journeys season can be watched officially for free on watch.pokemon.com. Alternatively, you can watch it on Amazon’s Prime Video. However, this is a paid subscription service.
Question: What is Ash’s Team at the End of Pokemon Johto Journeys?
Answer: Totodile, Pikachu, Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Noctowl, and Bulbasaur are Ash’s six main Pokemon. Johto Journeys is the first season set in Johto, so the show had to give way to new heroes. While Ash sends his Heracross to Professor Oak’s lab so Oak can study it, he is reunited with Heracross in Master Quest.
Question: What Pokemon Movies are Set in Johto?
Answer: Pokemon 3: The Spell of Unknown: Entei, Pokemon 4Ever – Celebi: Voice of the Forest, and Pokemon Heroes: Latios and Latias are three movies that span Johto Journeys, Johto League Champions, and Master Quest. Watch the following episodes to watch the films in line with the series timeline:
• Pokemon 3 – Johto Journeys – Forest Grumps.
• Pokemon 4Ever – Johto League Champions – The Kecleon Kaper.
• Pokemon Heroes – Master Quest – Just Add Water.
Conclusion: Johto Journeys Review
In conclusion, Pokemon Johto Journeys is an excellent season for Pokemon to kick off Ash’s Johto adventure. The trio’s contrasting personalities continue to win me over with spells of comedy dotted throughout the episodes as Ash and Misty argue and Brock resolves their squabbles.
The new Pokemon stars, Chikorita, Totodile, and Cyndaquil, are enjoyable to watch as they all seem unique and comical in their own ways, such as Totodile’s bottomless joy for dancing, Chikorita’s jealousy, and, Cyndaquil’s laid-back attitude.
The season does a great job of rebalancing Ash’s Pokemon team, as Ash’s Charizard was way too powerful for the early stages of Johto. As shown when Ash annihilates Casey’s team and Falkner’s Pidgeot. Misty even comments that Ash relies on Charizard too much. However, this was fixed when Charizard left Ash’s team to train in Charicific Valley.
However, the season is let down by the GS Ball plot as this is never resolved by Kurt, making it feel pointless. I think this hinders the show, but overall, Johto Journeys is a fantastic watch, and I highly recommend it to any Pokemon fan.