MeowPokémon are not the only legendary that can talk, having been an integral part of Team Rocket in the world Pokémon cartoon. One of the longest-running animated television shows of all time, Pokémon boasts more than 1,100 episodes, 23 feature films, and numerous spin-offs. Airing since 1997, Pokémon focuses on the adventures of the show’s main character, Ash Ketchum, and his friends, mainly consisting of Pokémon battles, legendary Pokémon discoveries, and mostly A hilarious encounter with Team Rocket, the world’s anti-heroes. Franchising.
Meowth is part of the Team Rocket trio, along with Jesse and James, whose presence throughout the anime is motivated by the need to follow Ash and his friends in an attempt to steal Pikachu. In terms of personality, Meowth is known to be ambitious and conniving, as he has repeatedly deceived Ash and his group to lure them into a trap. However, what sets Meowth apart from other Meowths, or most Pokémon in general, is the fact that it can speak and understand human conversational cues fluently – why?
Meowth’s ability to talk has tragic origins
The reason why Meowth can talk in the anime is quite grim, stemming from personal tragedy and years of abandonment. In a flashback in “Go West Young Meowth”, it is shown that his first memory as a child was of being alone and hungry at Camp Pokéhearst. Due to scarcity of food or lack of proper care, Meowth accidentally knocked over a basket of baseballs, thinking they were food. This angers the resident baseball coach, who hangs Meowth from a tree as punishment. While hanging, Meowth watches a movie called That Darn Meowth!, about a Meowth being given delicious treats in Hollywood. Believing that Hollywood is paradise, he decides to venture there with new hopes and dreams – it will be where he finally learns to speak.
However, when he arrived in Hollywood, Meowth was considered a stray Pokémon and was constantly chased for stealing human food. A Meowth gang decides to take him in, allowing him to live on the streets as a member and cause havoc throughout town. Although Meowth experienced many abandonments during his adult years, he maintained his idealism even in the face of adversity. One day, he met a Meowth girl named Meowzie, who rejected him due to poverty, saying she preferred humans anyway. To please her and arouse her feelings, Meowth goes to great lengths to speak human language, even going so far as to be able to stand upright. However, Meowzie is horrified by this perversion and calls him a freak. Heartbroken, Meowth remembers the first human word he learned, “rocket”, and is inspired to join Team Rocket, where he is later assigned to a team with Jessie and James.
Can other Pokémon learn to speak like Meowth?
There seems to be nothing special about Meowth, either as an individual or as a species, that would give them the ability to speak when other Pokémon cannot. Other Pokémon like Chansey are even shown to read books at times, so it seems that any Pokémon with enough motivation can gain some level of language comprehension. What’s really surprising is that there are more and more Pokémon that don’t have the ability to speak, since they seem to have the intelligence to do so. Even Pikachu seems to be able to learn how to talk, although it might take a really big event to make that happen.
Therefore, Meowth’s ability to talk in Pokémon has a rather sad origin, as this transformation was triggered by a need for acceptance and being abandoned over many years. Although Meowth and Team Rocket have been a source of comedic entertainment for decades, thanks to their hilarious adventures in anime, their inner lives are tinged with sadness and a unique sense of loneliness. Despite constantly failing their missions, the Team Rocket trio remains ambitiously motivated to do whatever it takes to please their boss, Team Rocket head Giovanni. Does this desire come from the need to be accepted? This is true, at least in the case of Meowth, who jealously wishes to replace Giovanni’s Persian and become his “top cat”—which gives a glimpse of Pokémoninnate desire to be loved.