Everyone remembers plucky little Meowth! He was most notably given a Brooklyn accent and a sharp tongue in the English dub of Pokémon. Meowth functions as both the brains and the backbone Team Rocket's operations. Cunning, funny, and often making humorous mistakes, Meowth has warmed hearts for generations. Sure, you grew up watching Pokémon, but do you really know Meowth as well as you think you do? After all, there is a little known darker side to one of the franchise's most dynamic Pokémon.
There’s much more to Meowth than just talking big and walking tall. This is a Pokémon with a lot of heart, and a pretty heavy past that he just cannot seem to escape from. In “Go West Young Meowth,” the true extent of Meowth’s tragic past is revealed. From unrequited love, to living like an outcast, to finally finding a place where he belongs, Meowth’s tale is a long one. Considering the first thing that he remembers is being alone, the journey of self-discovery he takes is made all the more necessary.
What really fascinates me about Meowth, in particular, is how impressive of a Pokémon he is. He has many traits that set him aside from others of his species, not to mention his unique ability to actually speak and read a human language. Meowth's character growth in the series is nothing short of remarkable. In addition, his multi-faceted personality captures the viewer's attention from the very first episode that he makes his debut.
15 Meowth Was Abandoned From The Beginning
Meowth's tale of woe began when he was merely a kitten. In the episode, "Go West, Young Meowth," we see him small and mewling, hungry and alone. It is apparent from the very beginning his upbringing was not happy, nor was it setting him up for a bright future. Meowth's youth was spent merely trying to survive in a world that seemed to treat him as if he were a nuisance.
His initial abandonment also shaped a lot of his future behaviors. These include learning to steal from a young age, being comfortable roaming the streets, and never really feeling like there was a definite place where he belonged. That is, until he joined Team Rocket and found a place concocting evil Pokémon-napping schemes with Jessie and James.
14 Meowth Forced Himself To Walk On Two Legs
Love sure hurts, doesn't it? In order to impress a beautiful female Meowth, named Meowzie, Meowth tries to become more human after seeing how much she adores her rich trainer. Meowzie thinks of Meowth as a "street Meowth" and snubs her nose at him and refuses to give him her affection. So, Meowth strives to become more human, which means teaching himself to walk on two legs instead of four and eventually also teaching himself how to talk.
This is a fairly difficult and painful process for him, and it takes him quite a while to master this new mode of being. Eventually, he is able to become bipedal, and sadly Meowzie snubs him once more, calling him a "freak Meowth" now that he doesn't walk like the rest of his species does. His attempt at being more "human" to impress Meowzie is a huge failure, and ends up leaving him even more lost and alone than before.
13 Meowth Is The Only Non-Legendary Pokémon That Can Talk
What is especially impressive about Meowth is that he can communicate without needing to use telepathy. Aside from his unique case, only Legendary Pokémon can "talk." However, they can only communicate using telepathy, but Meowth is the real deal. He can speak, read, and even translate human language into Pokémonlanguage, and vice versa. Meowth often acts as the liaison between human and Pokémon in conversations.
Meowth eavesdropped on a class from a hole in the ceiling and taught himself to speak by mastering complicated tongue twisters. He kept at it, and eventually, his meows turned into full-fledged sentences. After Meowth had mastered human speech, he moved on to reading and obtained a picture book. From there, he learned his first word, which would prove to chart a course for his new destiny. That word was none other than "rocket."
12 The First Word Meowth Understood Was "Rocket"
In order to appease the capricious Meowzie, Meowth underwent a complete transformation in an attempt to become "more human." This included teaching himself to talk, and once he did that, he moved on to teaching himself to read. He got himself a picture book, and his eyes came to rest on a particular page. The letter was "R," and the word was "Rocket."
Little did he know, this singular word would determine the course of the rest of his life. Once he had his heart broken by Meowzie, he decided to carve out a different path for himself. Meowth wanted to join Team Rocket because of this word that was so important to him. He seemed to find a place for a while, serving Giovanni, the boss of Team Rocket, before being passed off to Rocket grunts Jessie and James.
11 Meowth and Pikachu, Under Different Circumstances, Would Be Friends
Meowth has a very interesting relationship with Pikachu. Aside from the fact that he, Jessie, and James are fixated on trying to steal him, Meowth has some tender moments with him. He has even observed that if the circumstances were different, he and Pikachu would likely be very good friends. They are also often seen teaming up together in multiple instances even though they are allied on completely different sides.
Meowth's strong desire to steal Pikachu comes from his eagerness to please Team Rocket's boss, Giovanni, and present Pikachu to him in order to gain his favor. Their relationship is very complex, it is not a tender friendship, nor is it an intense rivalry. It falls somewhere in between on the spectrum of these two extremes. Nothing in Meowth's life has ever been easy or clear-cut, and his relationship with Pikachu is just another example of why happiness seems to elude him.
10 Meowth Wants To Be "Top Cat" But Never Rose To The Occasion
Meowth is the undisputed "brains" of the Team Rocket operation. However, Jessie and James rarely give him the credit that he desires. Although he views himself as the boss of the trio, he ends up a laughing stock more often than not when his plans backfire. However, Meowth is a very convincing liar and even hoodwinks Ash and his friends into thinking that they are on the same side.
One thing that he will never be able to give up is his undying loyalty to Jessie and James, and also to Team Rocket as a whole. Meowth's strong admiration for their boss, Giovanni, has him constantly striving to be "Top Cat" and replace the Persian that currently occupies that position in Giovanni's service. Meowth once served Giovanni, but due to his own bumbling nature, he was quickly replaced by the aforementioned Persian, who he still harbors a strong dislike for. It is unsure whether or not Meowth was ever Giovanni's "Top Cat," but he did get transferred to Jessie and James's team after he got himself electrocuted.
9 Meowth Has a Very Big Heart and Hurts Easily
Although Meowth acts tough, he's really a big softie. He fell almost immediately in love with Meowzie when he first got to Tinseltown. He even goes so far as to protect her when the gang of Meowth that he was once a part of turns against them. He loves her even after she becomes a stray, the very same thing she initially spurned him for.
Meowth also has a soft spot for Misty's Togepi when it's still an egg. He desires to raise Togepi for himself, and is reluctant to let it go, but eventually wishes it happiness with its new owner, Misty. Meowth also is apt to befriend Pokémon who are also outcasts like he is. He finds kindred spirits in those who don't belong. His love goes hand in hand with his loyalty, still having feelings for her even though Meowzie spurns him for the Persian who leads the gang he was initially part of.
8 Meowth Often Ponders His Existence
In the episode "Go West, Young Meowth," Meowth is characterized as a very private Pokémon. Jessie questions why he has never shared his story with them before, and he replies with, "There are things you don’t know about me…things I like to keep private." Which suggests that Meowth spends a lot of time thinking about things he does not share with anyone, even the other members of his trio.
At the end of the episode, he is seen looking up at the moon and away from the rest of the team. He wonders what is next for him, especially after a second failed attempt at love with Meowzie (who rejected him even after he protected her). Meowth's assertion about his own privacy reflects on his hesitation to trust anyone, even his own team members.
7 Meowth Fell Victim To Hollywood (Or Tinseltown)
The concept of Hollywood (or Tinseltown, as it's referred to in the series) represents a new start, a chance to chase one's dreams and even transform oneself. For Meowth, that is exactly what he did. He changed how he walked, learned to talk, and tried to be more human. He went against his own nature as a Pokémon in order to appease someone who would never love him. He was dubbed, by Meowzie, "a walking, talking, freak," which further alienated him from other Meowth, and also from the humans that he tried so desperately to be like.
When Meowth returns, "Tinseltown" is in shambles, and Meowzie has been abandoned by her owner, who could not afford to keep her anymore. Hollywood failed both Meowth and Meowzie, not allowing them to live out their respective dreams. Meowth wanted to be a movie star, and Meowzie wanted to live a life of luxury. Both end up much changed, but Meowth was able to work past that and build a life of his own. However, Hollywood scared him because it let him down so dramatically.
6 Meowth Does Not Belong Among His Own Species
Meowth's bizarre mix of traits, being able to walk on two legs, read, and speak a human language, and inability to do things a normal Pokémon would do —like battle— creates a serious issue. Meowth has only won six battles that he has ever participated in alone. He avoids battling when he can. He exhausted all of his energy learning to walk and talk, which left him unable to hone his battle abilities.
Most of the instances where he must fight he proves to be extremely lackluster and not much of a worthy opponent. However, there are very rare occasions when he is forced to battle and actually proves to be a fairly strong adversary. He also has yet to evolve, which probably stems from the dislike of his next evolution, which would be Persian. He is jealous of Giovanni's Persian, continually vying for the coveted spot of "Top Cat."
5 Meowth Cannot Perform His Species' Unique Ability
Meowth, that's right! Meowth can't perform Pay Day, which is a move that does damage and scatters coins on the ground. Although he has a love for shiny things —just like every other member of his species— this move remains elusive to him. At the expense of Pay Day, Meowth learned to walk and talk, which leaves him without much of a battle repertoire. This creates a further divide, which leaves Meowth feeling less like a Pokémon. He still has the gold oval coin embedded into his forehead, but it is absolutely useless to him in battle.
Meowth was able to compensate for his lack of skills in those areas by proving to be a skilled liar, learning how to pick locks, and acting as a translator for his team. Meowth's in-between state could be the reason that he ponders his own existence so much and feels things much more deeply than his human counterparts do.
4 Meowth Chooses To Be Wild
Meowth refuses to be contained in a Poké Ball, and thus he is technically seen as a wild Pokémon because of this. He is not owned by anyone, not even Jessie and James. He travels alongside them like a companion, and due to his unique nature, he is often recruited to help plan escapades, repair the Team's machines, and target Pokémon to capture.
This stems from Meowth's feeling of not belonging. He can't find anyone that he would be willing to let capture him, not even Jessie and James, so he remains outside of a Poké Ball. Pikachu also travels with Ash outside of his Poké Ball, but he has a traditional trainer/Pokémon relationship, whereas Meowth sees Jessie and James as his fellow team members rather than his trainers.
3 Meowth Moved From Group To Group, Desperate To Belong
Meowth's life on the streets was never easy, but at least he had a full stomach when he was in a gang of other Meowths. He was already an outcast, so he naturally fell in with, (and felt like he belonged for a very short while) with his own species. They were all misfits, so for once, he didn't feel alone. The leader of this gang, a Persian, would soon become his rival for love when he returns years later to Tinseltown.
In this gang, he learned the ways of the streets. Stealing became second-nature to him, so it was only natural for him to move from stealing food to survive, to stealing Pokémon to gain prestige. His transition to Team Rocket was spurred on by a quest for riches and power, both of which he didn't end up achieving.
2 Meowth Can Hardly Be Considered A Pokémon
Sure, Meowth has all of the physical traits of a Pokémon, including the charm on his head that all Meowth have. However, he can't truly be called a Pokémon (or even a human for that matter)? Meowzie calls Meowth a freak after he learns to walk and talk to please her, indicating he has moved more towards having more human characteristics. His fellow members of Team Rocket treat him as human essentially, allowing him to pilot their crafts and plot their schemes. They don't force him into a Poké ball or try and train him to battle for them.
What draws Meowth back to the Pokémon world is when he can connect with another Pokémon, such as Pikachu. Even though Meowth knows a human language, he can still communicate with any other Pokémon he chooses. He also seems to have a good relationship with Jessie and James's other Pokémon. But do they see him more as a fellow Pokémon...or another trainer?
1 Try As He May, Meowth Will Never Be Human
Meowth can put on as many disguises as he wants, but he will never be fully human. Ever since Meowzie spurned him for not being "human enough," Meowth was left with these fractured parts of his identity that he was never able to reconcile. He can do some human things, like walk upright and talk, but he is lacking important Pokémon skills as well.
Even though he is with Team Rocket, he is not sure how to view himself. He sees himself as powerful and in control, but every time his schemes just fall flat, and he, Jessie, and James have to "blast off again." He has made many unsuccessful attempts to gain back Giovanni's favor by stealing Pokémon, and also many successful attempts at love, friendship, and other things that seem to come easily to humans.
In the end, Meowth is unique, a one-of-a-kind human and Pokémon hybrid, straddling the threshold of these two worlds...but never fully fitting into either.