Top 10 Pokemon Anime Seasons

With more than 20 seasons of Pokemon anime, which one rules them all?

Ash, Pikachu and their friends have been discovering the world of Pokemon for decades and have explored over six regions. From Kanto to Kalos, which season of the Pokemon anime is the best?

10
Pokemon Season 7: Advanced Challenge

Ash, Pikachu, Max and May in swimsuits ready to swim in Hoenn.
Pikachu, Ash, Max and May ready to swim in the seventh season of the Pokemon anime, Advanced Challenge. The Pokemon Company

Continuing their journey in the Hoenn region, Ash, May, Max and Brock had a few adventures in Advanced Challenge but none of which really stood out as that memorable. None, except for the classic two parter that saw the return of Misty and Togepi; The Princess and the Togepi and A Togepi Mirage!.

While these two episodes were truly epic, they still couldn't boost the season higher than number 10.

9
Pokemon Season 13: Pokemon Diamond and Pearl Sinnoh League Victors

Pokemon Season 13 Diamond Pearl Sinnoh League Victors
Pokemon Season 13 Diamond Pearl Sinnoh League Victors. The Pokemon Company

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl Sinnoh League Victors were the final season set within the Sinnoh region and featured the long-awaited Sinnoh League. Ash's Pokemon Battles in the tournament were superbly animated and the inclusion of Legendary Pokemon, Latios and Darkrai really surprised fans.

 

8
Pokemon Season 4: Johto League Champions

Pokemon Season 4 Johto League Champions
Ash, Pikachu and Cyndaquil in the fourth season of the Pokemon anime. The Pokemon Company

The second season set in the fan-favorite Johto region, Johto League Champions benefitted greatly from the region's characters and Pokemon. Unfortunately very few of the episodes really stood out enough which prevented it from ranking higher.

 

7
Pokemon Season 3: The Johto Journeys

Misty, Ash and Pikachu from Pokemon
Misty, Ash and Pikachu from Pokemon. The Pokemon Company

The first seasons set in a new region normally feature the best episodes. The writers seem more energized with the new setting and soft reboot and almost everything that happens this early on in a region is major plot development, something fans of the show desperately want to see. The Johto Journeys has all of this in addition to the classic episode, Charizard's Burning Ambition which sees the departure of Charizard which boosts the season as a whole to greater heights and a higher ranking.

6
Pokemon Season 2: Adventures in the Orange Islands

Pokemon Adventures on the Orange Islands
Charizard, Pikachu, Ash, Pidgeotto, Lapras and Squirtle in the second season of the Pokemon anime. The Pokemon Company

A lot of Pokemon fans dislike Adventures in the Orange Islands with a passion but I like it so much that it's actually my sixth favorite season!

The season's strength is in its originality and willingness to be different from the previous story arcs. Adventures in the Orange Islands stands apart from a lot of the other seasons by not really being set in a region. It's set in an area called The Orange Islands. It provides a great change of scenery and storyline with Ash not training for a Pokemon League but instead being on a serious mission for Professor Oak with Misty to deliver a mysterious Poke Ball to him.

Unlike most of the other seasons, the Orange Islands arc stands completely on its own and thus is a lot easier to rewatch as opposed to the Johto and Sinnoh arcs which span several seasons.

5
Pokemon Season 6: Advanced

Max, May, Ash, Pikachu, Brock and Professor Berch in the sixth season of the Pokemon anime.
Max, May, Ash, Pikachu, Brock and Professor Berch in the sixth season of the Pokemon anime. The Pokemon Company

While The Johto Journeys benefitted from the new creativity a new region brings, Pokemon Advanced also benefitted and then some.

The sixth season of the Pokemon anime saw a total refresh of the visual style of the show. The character designs were now much more modern and the animation smoother. The writing also seemed to have more energy, making this season one of the highest yet.

 

4
Pokemon Season 14: Pokemon Black and White

Pokemon Season 14 Black and White
Pokemon Season 14 Black and White. The Pokemon Company

The 14th season of the Pokemon anime, Pokemon Black and White once again saw a major refresh in the look and feel of the show. Ash's character design looked significantly different than it did way back in the first season and the show itself now looked more stylized.

This season also broke new ground for the anime. While previous journeys to new regions would see a mix of new and old Pokemon, when Ash and Pikachu traveled to Unova, with the exception of Pikachu and Meowth, every Pokemon they encountered was an Unova native. Even Officer Jenny and Nurse Joy got a new look!

This "Only New Pokemon" rule forced the writers to think outside the box. They could no longer rely on Pokemon and characters established in the previous 13 seasons. This was unchartered territory for Ash and for the viewer as well.

3
Pokemon Season 17: Pokemon the Series XY

Pokemon the Series XY
Pokemon the Series XY. The Pokemon Company

With such a big change in style in Season 14, not many fans were expecting another change when Ash moved to the Kalos region. Pokemon the Series XY really upped the ante with not only new character models but an entirely new way for presenting Gym Battles with new computer generated imagery and sound effects. The animation in this season took another leap forward in quality but unlike previous seasons which normally start off with impressive animation and quickly lower to average after a few episodes, the animation quality in XY maintains a high standard throughout. The plotting and overall storylines are pretty good too!

 

2
Pokemon Season 5: Master Quest

Professor Oak, Pikachu and Ash in Pokemon Master Quest.
Professor Oak, Pikachu and Ash in Pokemon Master Quest. The Pokemon Company

 Master Quest may seem like a strange choice for the second best season of the Pokemon anime, but let me tell you why; good quality episodes.

Very few seasons featured the sheer number of quality episodes compared to Master Quest. In one season we get several Lugia episodes, an origin story for the mysterious Ho-oh, a fantastic Evee episode, a time travel story, Ash and Pikachu swapping bodies, a real encounter with a real Entei, an episode featuring an Unown and a full Pokemon League!

It really didn't get much better...

1
Pokemon Season 1: Indigo League

Pokemon Season 1: Indigo League
Brock, Ash, Misty, Charmander, Pikachu and Squirtle from the first season of the Pokemon anime. The Pokemon Company

...because the best Pokemon season was the first one which has since been rebranded as Indigo League after the Kanto region's Pokemon League.

This season of the anime is pure classic anime. It's fun, features so many memorable supporting characters that fans still celebrate to this day despite most of them only appearing in a single episode. It's also the only season of the anime to feature the entirety of Ash's journey to a Pokemon League within one season and without question, features the best theme song out of any season.

If you could only watch one season of the Pokemon anime, you should watch this one. If you could watch them all, you should watch this one again, and again... and again. It's that good and that's why it's the very best.

Like no one ever was...