Like every narrative tale, there are always villains who are in the world immersed in that reality, and Pokémon is no different.
There are fantastic creatures that are being coveted by these characters linked to organizations for the purposes of world conquest, supremacy and utopias, or even simply selfish interest groups that are there to bring about chaos involving these pocket creatures.
So let's get to know the criminal organizations of the Pokémon world. It is worth remembering that I will only mention the from video games, not taking the media from anime.
The criminal organizations of the Pokémon world
Appearing in the first games of the generation (Red/Blue/Green/Yellow), it was led by the fearsome Giovanni (Ground type specialist), who is also Gym Leader of Viridian City in Kanto (using his reputation as a front). And when it comes to facades, they had several hiding places in many places like the city of Celadon, using commercial base in casinos.
They have an interest in Pokémon thefts for indoctrination and corruption, smuggling, and theft of fossils on Mt. Moon and tech robberies to further their plans, where they wanted to steal the Master Ball at Silph Co., but were stopped by the protagonist.
After Giovanni's defeat in his gym, he disappears for a while, as if he was about to end his activities. But, in the Gold/Silver/Crystal games, in the Johto region, remnants of the organization take over the Goldenrod Radio Tower and make a radio broadcast intended for its former leader. However, it is only revealed in Heart Gold/Soul Silver that Giovanni hears the broadcast at their hideout located in Tohjo Falls.
And before that, there is an event in the remakes where there is an interaction with Celebi for a time travel, where Ethan and Kris (Gold/Silver/Crystal – second generation protagonists) travel to the past to defeat Giovanni.
After the defeat, Giovanni complains about this embarrassment of continuing to lose to the children and with that, he leaves the place and mysteriously disappears. Subsequently, the Viridian Gym Leader title is taken over by Blue, Red's rival and former champion of Kanto.
Giovanni's signature Pokémon in early generations were Rhyhorn and Rhydon, Nidoqueen, Nidoking, and Dugtrio; but it has variations with its Persian pet, and sometimes uses Onix and Kangaskhan.
In the more advanced games of the franchise and remakes, such as Heart Gold/Soul Silver, he added a Honchkrow (which is not so logical because it's a Dark/Flying type — since he specializes in the Ground type).
In Black/White 2 we had a team change, but preserving the side of its specialty, counting on: Sandslash, Rhypherior, Nidoqueen, Nidoking, Golem and Marowak. And in the “Type Expert/World Leaders Tournament” mode, his team gets pretty aggressive with Garchomp, Rhyperior, Nidoking, Krookodile, Gliscor and Hippowdon.
As a final curiosity, in honor of the anime, in the game Ultra Sun, Giovanni uses Mewtwo with Mega Evolution X and in Ultra Moon with Mewtwo with Mega Evolution Y.
(Note: The anime's story is different from the games. In the anime, Team Rocket was responsible for the Mewtwo project, while in the games, it was just Doctor Fuji's personal encouragement on the Cinnabar).
Team Magma & Team Aqua
Starring in the third generation of games in Hoenn (Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald), these teams are in constant rivalry for elemental domination of what the planet should be made of, that is, whether there would be more land or more ocean dominance.
In this clash, we meet Maxie, leader of Team Magma, whose right-hand woman are Courtney and Tabitha, who is incessantly looking for Groudon, the legendary Pokémon that represents the expansion of land mass on the planet. Their goals with this expansion are to promote more advanced civilization and development for humans with more allotments.
As for the rival team, we have Archie, leader of Team Aqua, whose right-hand men are Matt and Shelly, who are looking for Kyogre, the legendary Pokémon that represents the supremacy of the oceans and seas on the planet because for them their ideal is to clean up the world and put an end to the human advances that have destroyed nature, believing that they must reach the status of primordial origin.
In Ruby, you face Team Magma; in Sapphire, you face Team Aqua; and in Emerald, you end up facing both teams.
There are some plot changes from the classic games with the Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire remakes, such as the use of the orbs to awaken the legendaries that while Maxie steals from Mt. Pyre the Blue Orb and Archie the Red Orb; in the remakes, Maxie takes the Red Orb for Groudon's Primal Form and Archie takes the Blue Orb in equivalence for the Primal Form Kyogre, and of course, playing Omega Ruby, you face Team Magma, while playing Alpha Sapphire, you face Team Aqua.
Maxie and Archie's signature Pokémon, respectively, are Camerupt and Sharpedo (even though they have a variety of Pokémon that aren't stereotypical of their ideologies, they have Crobat and Mightyena in common as choices).
Introduced in the fourth generation in Sinnoh (Diamond/Pearl/Platinum), they aim to reshape the world, rewriting reality.
In the Diamond/Pearl versions, the final confrontation takes place at Team Galactic's HQ in Veilstone City, through the infiltration made by the protagonist and his rival and then, towards the Spear Pillar on Mt. Coronet, they will stop their leader, Cyrus, from summoning Dialga/Palkia – who control time and space – by using Uxie, Mesprit and Azelf to summon them and meanwhile, you and your rival together team up to face off against other members of the organization: Mars and Jupiter, for soon Cyrus and the legendary Pokémon of the game (Dialga in Diamond and Palkia in Pearl) as final bosses.
After the Legendary is defeated or captured, Cyrus will say that he has not finished his plans and that he would still return once more to fulfill them, and part of the team flees with Saturn, another founding member who is part of the same society with Cyrus.
In the Platinum version, there is a slight difference: instead of Dialga or Palkia being summoned in the Spear Pillar, Cyrus creates a duplicate of the Red Chain to take advantage of both powers, knowing the instability it would cause in the universe; and then, the events unfold with Giratina luring Cyrus to the Distortion World to prevent the destruction of space-time, and Cynthia (champion of the Sinnoh region and archaeologist) along with the protagonist head to the location for this anomaly in the fabric of space-time caused by Giratina to be closed so as not to affect reality and bring about the end of the world.
After Giratina is defeated or captured by you, the leader of the organization decides to stay in the Distortion World, again leaving the active members of Team Galactic in Saturn's hands under his command. However, when the protagonist travels to the Battle Zone after becoming the regional champion, it is known that Charon is still acting on behalf of the organization, with a plan to extort money from the citizens of Sinnoh, threatening to cause Stark Mountain to erupt to destroy the region.
Meanwhile, Mars and Jupiter team up to find their former leader, but are defeated again by their character and gives up on the plans, and Charon enters the deepest cave of Stark Mountain alone, where he is finally trapped by the character Looker.
Cyrus' signature Pokémon are: Honckrow, Crobat, Weavile, and Gyarados. But there are variations and additions, as in Platinum with the same quartet as the Diamond/Pearl version, but with the addition of the Houndoom. In Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, preserving the same Pokémon as the Platinum version, we have the addition of Dialga and Palkia, respectively.
The organization presented in the fifth generation (Black/White – Black 2/White 2), they aim to free Pokémon from their trainers in the Unova region, as they believe there is a type of technological conditioning to the use of Poké-Balls that should not exist, to use as a population control maneuver strategy in disarming trainers and humans who live in harmony and consent from the Pokémon.
In that plan, they want to capture the legendary dragons Reshiram and Zekrom (or one of them - but we'll discuss Kyurem later) for this domination, in the hypocrisy of their ideals that they preach to the people.
Led by the cultist Ghetsis and with the group of the Seven Sages (Gorm, Bronius, Rood, Giallo, Ryoku, Zinzolin, in addition to Ghetsi himself, who sees the organization as a sacred institution, as a kind of kingdom/church) where he wants his adopted son, N, to be the heir and the true king, as he found the boy alone in the forest with Darmanitan, Woobat, and Zorua, and he was a pure-hearted child, which was yet another manipulation in Ghetsis' plans.
In the Pokémon League, N defeats the champion Alder and reveals his castle near where the League event is being held. There, N reveals that he will use one of the dragons to fulfill the team's plans, so in the final battle, Hilbert and Hilda head towards N, but are stopped by the Seven Sages, who in turn are aided by the Unova Gym Leaders to give you cover for battle.
Depending on the version of the game, you fight N using either Reshiram or Zekrom, and the heroes use one of the opposing dragons N has. In his defeat, Ghetsis humiliates N by revealing that he used him and that he was not his legitimate father, and shows himself as the ultimate challenge. He is defeated by the heroes and arrested by Alder and Looker (the same police officer who appeared in Diamond/Pearl).
After the events of Black/White, in B/W 2, after the arrest of Ghetsis, the Shadow Triad, a select high-ranking team from Team Plasma helps him escape to fulfill his plans, and in that there was a separation of the team. Now there are two teams, where one is followed by N (who was a good guy) and went against his father's plans and wanted to have this harmony with the Pokémon, seeking redemption for the crimes committed by the organization and its progenitor, as well as Anthea and Concordia who supported N; and on the other side, we have the followers of Ghetsis who still continue with the same type of doctrine.
Led by Ghetsis himself and with the help of scientist Colress, who did many things like creating the Genesect and attempting to capture the Victini, they searched for the dragon Kyurem, the primordial dragon, which was the original body of this meteor that crashed into the region of Unova, where there are theories that where the dragons Zekrom and Reshiram fragmented, there, Team Plasma wants to freeze Unova using the powers of this legendary.
Depending on the version of the game, Ghetsis can fuse Kyurem with Reshiram's DNA to make White Kyurem or fuse with Zekrom's DNA to make Black Kyurem, in the final battle with Nate and Rosa (B/W 2 protagonists) along with N.
B/W's signature Ghetsis Pokémon are: Hydreigon, Cofagrigus, Sesmitoad, Bisharp, Eelektross, and Bouffalant. And in B/W 2 they change to Hydreigon, Cofagrigus, Sesmitoad, Drapion, Eelektross and Toxicroak.
(Fun fact: the team's name "Plasma" is a state of matter where negative electrons and positive nuclei, which usually form atoms, separate, this being analogous to the organization's philosophy, which states that people and Pokémon must be separated.)
Introduced in the sixth generation in Kalos (X/Y), the team aims to make the world beautiful and ideal by their standards, with money as their goal.
And of all the teams presented, they differentiate by having up to an Elite Four as a member of the organization, Malva.
Led by Lysandre, which believes eternal beauty doesn't come without a little struggle. So, faced with this utopia, he decides to revive a legendary Pokémon from the Kalos region (Xerneas or Yveltal - depending on the version) in an attempt to recreate the weapon used by AZ, his ancestor to revive his Pokémon, Floette (history of the past of Kalos where he used this machinery to absorb the life of Pokémon in an ancient war to revive his friend, but regretted it).
And during the events of the games, Lysandre invites Calem and Serena to join Team Flare and help restore the region's beauty and when it's defeated. Lysandre makes it clear his heartache when he learns that his utopia will not come to fruition, deciding to fire his gun and end everything he tried to build. The lightning strikes the organization's HQ and begins to shatter, apparently burying him and all the remaining members.
Lysandre's signature Pokémon are: Gyarados, Pyroar, Honchkrow, and Mienshao. In the Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon versions, in addition to this quartet, he has the addition of Xerneas (for Ultra Sun) and Yveltal (for Ultra Moon).
Team Skull and the Aether Paradise
Introduced in the seventh generation (Sun/Moon), they are a team of underachievers, delinquents who lost the challenge of the islands of Alola by the Hakunas: Hala, Nanu, Olivia and Hapu. The first founders of the group were the ones who lost to the Hakunas and, in that frustration, created this gang that only wants to steal money and Pokémon from other trainers. That leader is Guzma.
To understand Guzma, in his past, he was a good-hearted trainer and an excellent guy, winning numerous titles due to his great skills and tactics, in addition to the fact that he was an aspiring captain of Melemele Island and was part of an exclusive group that helped the Kahuna of the time, Hala.
However, with his mistakes in being promoted to captain, and with the attack of the guardian of his island after doing wrong things, he decided to found the team intending to end the traditions of the region, wanting to prove his worth. He wanted his strength alone to be enough, without having to go through the challenges required in local tradition or occupy an important post like captain and Kahuna. And going further, he criticized Professor Kukui, claiming that he didn't need to create a league in Alola, as he is the best existing trainer in that region.
Within the organization, there was Gladio (Lusamine's son, president of the Aether Paradise), who wanted to belong to the team, but was not 100% in that commitment. That all changed when his sister Lillie and her Pokémon Cosmog were kidnapped by the team, which led to his departure and he ended up asking Hau (Pandam's grandson) and the protagonist to rescue them.
Arriving there, they are stopped by the first wave commanded by Faba, one of the company's scientists with his minions. And at the end of this quest, Guzma reveals that they worked and were funded by the foundation itself and were financed by Lusamine, mother of Gladio and Lillie!
Gladio challenges everyone on the Skull team and their leader, but fails to face Guzma, leaving it up to his protagonist, and at the end of the battle, Lusamine uses the Cosmog to be a way to open the portal to the Ultra Beasts through the Ultra WormHole, and she is sucked into that dimension with Nihilego, one of the Ultra-Beasts and merged with it, where Guzma is unable to stop her out of fear, leaving it up to the protagonist to defeat it.
Lusamine's signature Pokémon are: Mismagius, Lilligant, Clefable, Milotic, and Bewear.
(Note: Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon have a totally different plot and I won't consider it here because the story has a huge difference).
Team Yell and the Macro Cosmos
And finally, we arrive in the recent region of Galar, the eighth generation (Sword/Shield), where we have the Yell team.
Basically, they're fans who show up when Marnie, sister of the Dark-type Pokémon's Gym Leader Piers, appears, hoping she's the new Gym Leader, doing everything to make her idolized and admired by everyone. They will do anything to support Spikemuth.
Marnie is one of her rivals within the Sword/Shield game, seeking to become champion at any cost to gain her worth. She suffers from personal pressure because of her brother, who abandoned the position of leader of the gym he hosted, and yet, the gym has something peculiar: it's the only one that doesn't allow the use of the Gigatamax/Dynamax mechanics because it doesn't own a Power Spot.
Even though President Rose offered Piers to relocate the gym to another favorable location that would service the Power Spot facility, he declines as he is too attached to the city and as a result, Spikemuth is isolated and is rarely visited by fans.
Both characters are important to the plot, as they help your character to look for the key to Tower Rose, as the "villain" of the story is the president of Macro Cosmos, Rose, who aims to use the energy generated by Eternatus to guarantee sustainable energy to Galar to avoid a crisis during the "Darkest Day" event for the second time (the first was when Eternatus appeared in the region and was stopped by the wolves/dogs Zacian and Zamazenta).
He's not necessarily a bad guy (like most of the villains of the organizations mentioned in this article), but his intentions were wrong, and he took bad consequences in those bad attitudes to reach his goal.
Rose's signature Pokémon are: Copperajah, Escavalier, Ferrothorn, Perserker, and Klinklang.
Having its appearance in Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, it is an alternate version of events where all villains, coming from different realities, come together in a single organization where they succeed in their plans.
At first, it was Lusamine who tried to bring together various evil organizations into the Aether Paradise Foundation, in order to unify them into one great power. As events progressed, this didn't work out too well, as the villains had differing goals and opinions, resulting in the creation of a competition, in which the winner will become the leader of the alliance, which was Giovanni. Faba turns against Lusamine and uses her as a hostage in order for Giovanni to succeed.
After defeating the traitor Faba, your character, thanks to Lillie, infiltrates Team Rocket's Castle and discover that all the villains were brought from their alternate worlds where they achieved their goals through of Ultra WormHoles, and that each of these leaders had their own Legendary Pokémon that they managed to capture in their plans on their respective worlds.
When you reach Giovanni, he reveals that Team Rainbow Rocket has taken over the Aether Foundation to access their research and technology data on other worlds, intending to build an army of Ultra Beasts for worldwide expansion and beyond. When defeated, he will accept his defeat and leave, allowing Colress (now an ally in this reality of the games' events) to restore the mansion to its original state and also send everyone back to their original worlds. As punishment, Faba is demoted to an intern at the Foundation by Lusamine.
Afterwards, Giovanni is seen teleporting to another world, intending to continue his plans in another reality.
In addition to each member's signature team, the legendaries they have on their teams are:
- Giovanni: Mewtwo X (Ultra Sun) / Mewtwo Y (Ultra Moon)
- Maxie: Groudon
- Archie: Kyogre
- Cyrus: Dialga (Ultra Sun) / Palkia (Ultra Moon)
- Ghetsis: Zekrom (Ultra Sun) / Reshiram (Ultra Moon)
- Lysander: Xerneas (Ultra Sun) / Yveltal (Ultra Moon)
(Fun facts: Team Skull is not treated as part of this organization's union villains. And Giovanni's escape from this other wormhole to another reality is possible that is his connection to invading the world of Pokémon GO, where he is shown as a villain to be challenged from time to time).
Did you know about the stories of the villain teams in more depth? Have more details you want to share? Write here in the comments.