Jessie, James and Meowth are some of the worst criminals you’ve ever seen, failing miserably time and time again, yet they are treated to machines worth millions, a submarine, a hot air balloon, and a small salary instead of being fired. So rather than accepting that this is just part of a children’s TV show in order to keep beloved characters around, I started to theory craft, and I happened upon some cool ideas. Here they are.
First I need to preface this with a need to understand just how rich and powerful Team Rocket are. They are filthy rich. Being based in both Kanto and Johto gives them full control of all illegal activity in two entire regions, this is more than any other team. Not just that, many other evil teams in Pokémon are start-ups, attempting to conquer the world without much influence. Team Rocket cannot be put in the same category.
Their monopoly on all things illegal can be thought of as equivalent to a company that had a monopoly on all rare meat, drugs, and influence over politicians for two of the largest countries… in a world where only about 10 countries exist – there really isn’t very many in Pokémon. Giavani has fully integrated his illegal business into more than one region and is sitting comfortably. There’s another thing too, Team Rocket then use this money to invest in even more legal and illegal things as well. Their theme park island of massive Pokémon is a huge tourist destination and would make so much money, and also serve as the perfect money laundering operation.
This isn’t to mention their massive profits obtained through ground breaking Pokémon research which could only be done through their illegal mistreatment.
All this is to say, that losing these machines, and three rogue employees isn’t something that Giovani would lose sleep over, rather he has a million more other things to worry about.
Team Rocket’s management structure is very decentralised, lacking control, or knowledge of activity. There is nobody to report to, and Jessie and James only contact the boss once in the 59 episodes I’ve seen so far, and that’s to ask to be rescued. Giovani simply isn’t interested in anything else that they’re doing, and immediately hangs up the phone as if they are wasting his time.
Team rocket have an alarm that wakes them up in the morning, but very little people who actually know just how bad their mistakes are.
There is still the issue with destroying so much of the machinery that Team Rocket provides to them. I was often under the impression that they were at the least competent inventors, with Meowth occasionally saying that some device was his invention. So if the cases where a machine breaks rather than gets destroyed, it really shouldn’t be that much of a problem for them.
I asked myself the question, say for example when they are on land for 20 episodes, what happened to their submarine? They could just leave it, but it’s very likely sent back to Team Rocket so they can use it for something else instead. This would indicate that Team Rocket aren’t the only ones causing trouble, and that they are not given machines worth millions, rather loaned them. And if they can fix the machines, and make most of them themselves, it’s much more understandable if the occasional one breaks down.
These machines don’t seem thoroughly tested or state of the art at all, rather composed together by inventors who are left alone to create unique devices. If they break down, it’s probably the inventors who are blamed. I could fully understand if they were to say “It got hit by that Pikachu once and immediately broke, how is that our fault?” and not be blamed at all for the failure.
Speaking of Pikachu, they are also a huge failure when it comes to stealing Pokemon. Team Rocket love collecting extremely rare and powerful Pokémon, which, like it or not, Pikachu absolutely is. So a certain amount of failure is understandable when up against a Pokémon so strong, Team Rocket should understand this.
These are a mix of potential theories that add up together to make a more compelling case for keeping Team Rocket, however I don’t think any of this is nearly as good as the next theory, which would make a Team Rocket an actually useful asset to have around. This is based on a number of key points:
- No matter the situation, you cannot ignore Team Rocket whenever they appear, someone always needs to deal with them and get rid of them.
- Until they have been got rid of, they cause lots of problems including environmental damage, damage to public services, and spreading fear. The most major of these things is environmental damage, they cause lots of explosions, lots of waste, lots of damage to buildings, and they dig plenty of holes. These all cause huge problems for everyone even though they cause no death or lead to theft of Pokémon.
- The trio are very hard working, and do this damage every single day
- They are extremely good at escaping capture, and have done so many bad things, including things right in front of Officer Jenny without being arrested.
With all of these in mind, it seems clear to me that this is the reason Team Rocket are allowed to go around in the way they do. They cause lots of damage and problems wherever they go, always escape capture, and always cause damage without a day off. This seems to me, something that Team Rocket would want very much, and it doesn’t seem farfetched either. If someone thought about firing them, why would they when they cause so much damage, and aren’t in prison like (I assume) hundreds of other Team Rocket members.
There are other theories such as James’ parents paying for their mistakes, but I still feel this is a really strong theory.
Please let me know your thoughts on this, and if you have any other theories, I’d be really interested to know!