Giovanni was the first leader of a criminal gang in the Pokémon series. In the Japanese version of Pokémon Red & Blue, he was portrayed as being a Yakuza boss, while the localized versions of the games turned him into a crime lord, with a fancy Italian name to match.
Giovanni was sent packing by Red at the end of Pokémon Red & Blue. Team Rocket spent all of their time trying to contact their exiled leader in Pokémon Gold & Silver, whilst being blissfully unaware that Giovanni’s son was opposing their plans.
The rival of Pokémon Gold & Silver (hereafter referred to as Silver, even though you can name him whatever you want) was revealed to be the son of Giovanni in Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver. This relationship had been hinted at in other pieces of Pokémon media, but it wasn’t confirmed until Celebi took the player back in time as part of a special event in HeartGold & SoulSilver.
Giovanni has remained a thorn in the side of both Ash Ketchum and the players of the Pokémon video games, while his son was an enemy of the protagonist of Pokémon Gold & Silver. This father & son team have since become some of the most popular characters in the series and are still beloved by the fans to this day.
We are here today to learn the secrets of the enigmatic leader of Team Rocket and his son–from the original planned return of Giovanni that was cut, to the banned episodes of the Pokémon anime that would have shown Team Rocket battling Team Plasma.
Here are Twenty Crazy Things Fans Missed About Giovanni & Silver!
20 Giovanni Was Meant To Return In Pokémon Gold & Silver
The surviving members of Team Rocket in Pokémon Gold & Silver were trying to make contact with Giovanni, who was last seen battling Red in the Viridian City Gym. It’s for this reason that they took over the Goldenrod Radio Tower and sent out a signal.
Giovanni’s fate was revealed in Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver as part of a flashback that is brought on by a time-traveling Celebi, but he was originally intended to return in Pokémon Gold & Silver.
The leaked beta of Pokémon Gold & Silver from Space World ’97 has revealed that Giovanni’s sprites are among those at the Goldenrod Radio Tower, suggesting that Team Rocket’s mission was successful.
19 The Relationship Was First Hinted In FireRed & LeafGreen
Silver was a huge departure from Blue in terms of characterization. While Blue was overconfident and smug, Silver was moody and unsure of why he kept losing to the player.
The Pokémon Adventures manga revealed that Silver was the son of Giovanni and the heir of Team Rocket. Pokémon Adventures isn’t canon with the video games, so fans weren’t sure if the same was true in the games.
The connection between Giovanni and Silver was hinted at in Pokémon FireRed & LeafGreen, as a Team Rocket scientist on the Sevil Islands claimed that Giovanni’s son had red hair, leading many people to think that he was talking about Silver.
18 Giovanni Was Almost A Young Boy & The First Gym Leader
The first Pokémon Gym that you encounter in Pokémon Red & Blue is the one in Viridian City, which is locked throughout most of the game. The first Gym that you can actually enter is the one in Pewter City, where you can challenge Brock.
It has since been revealed that a much younger version of Giovanni was planned to be the first Gym Leader. Concept art from Ken Sugimori’s Twitter of the Gym Leaders has shown Giovanni as the first on the list and is aro the same age as Red. It’s unknown why this design was scrapped in favor of the much older gangster version of the character.
17 Silver Was Originally Your Neighbour & Not A Thief
You first encounter Silver in Pokémon Gold & Silver when he is seen standing outside of Professor Elm’s laboratory. The next encounter with Silver happens when he is fleeing from the scene of the crime, as he has just stolen one of Professor Elm’s Pokémon.
It seems that Silver was meant to have a more conventional role in Pokémon Gold & Silver, as early promotional material depicts him as your next door neighbor. This has been confirmed in the Space World ’97 demo, where his mother appears as a character in the game.
16 Giovanni’s Name Was Misspelled In Pokémon Stadium
Pokémon Red & Blue were known for being riddled with bugs, but they at least had a decent localization. The English version of the games had very few grammatical errors and all of the necessary text was crammed into a Game Boy cartridge.
The same cannot be said for Pokémon Stadium on the Nintendo 64, which had a strict character limit when it came to naming the characters. It’s for this reason that Giovanni’s name was purposely misspelled as Giovani, as it needed one letter removed in order to be able to fit.
15 Silver Is A Cheating Guy!
There are some Pokémon trainers in the series who like to cheat in battle. This is because Game Freak gives them Pokémon that have evolved, despite the fact they are lower than the minimum level in which they can evolve. Lance of the Kanto Elite Four is one of the worst offenders in this regard, with his team of illegally leveled Dragonites.
Silver also uses under leveled Pokémon in Pokémon Gold & Silver. If you chose Cyndaquil as your starter, then he will pick Totodile. He will later use a level sixteen Croconaw in battle, even though Totodile doesn’t evolve until level eighteen.
Silver will also use a level twenty Haunter in battle, even though Gastly doesn’t evolve until level twenty-five.
14 Giovanni Once Starred In How I Became A Pokémon Card
Giovanni has commonly been seen using a Persian as one of his Pokémon, even though he didn’t use one in Pokémon Red & Blue. It wasn’t until Pokémon Yellow that we started to see Giovanni using a Persian in battle.
It was revealed in the How I Became A Pokémon Card manga series that Giovanni rescued the Persian when he was a boy. The Persian had been wounded by those looking for rare Pokémon, which led to Giovanni teaming up with the Persian to fight back against them.
It’s ironic that Giovanni risked his life to save a Pokémon from a group of thieves, as he went on to start a criminal gang that specialized in Pokémon theft.
13 Silver’s Team Doesn’t Change Depending On Starter Pokémon
You are always given the first choice among the three starter Pokémon that appear in each game. The catch to this is that your rival will pick a Pokémon that has a type advantage, with the exception of Hau from Pokémon Sun & Moon, who picks a weaker Pokémon.
The team that your rival will use throughout the game will depend on what starter Pokémon you chose. The exception to this is Silver, who will always use the same team of Pokémon (with the exception of the starter Pokémon) regardless of what you chose at the start of the game.
12 The Connection Between Giovanni And Pegasus From Yu-Gi-Oh!
In the year 2000, there was a live Pokémon musical that toured across North America. This musical was called Pokémon Live! and it featured a collection of songs from the anime, as well as a few tracks from the Pokémon music CDs.
The story of Pokémon Live! involved Giovanni creating a robotic Pokémon, named MechaMew2, which could copy any move that was used against it. Giovanni was played by Darren Dunstan, who would go on to play Maximillion Pegasus in the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime.
A copy of Pokémon Live! was uploaded to YouTube in 2014. It was here that we discovered that Darren Dunstan used the same voice for Giovanni that he would later use for Pegasus.
11 Silver Was Once Turned Into A Statue
Silver didn’t have much of a role in Pokémon Gold & Silver, as he mainly showed up for battles throughout the game before finally learning his lesson about befriending Pokémon. His role was expanded upon in Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver, but not by much.
Silver had a much larger role in the Pokémon Adventures manga, which has been running as one continuous story since the days of Pokémon Red & Blue.
The relationship between Giovanni and Silver was expanded upon in Pokémon Adventures. This wasn’t to the liking of every member of Team Rocket, as Silver was transformed into a statue by Sird, who was also a secret member of Team Galactic. It was only due to the intervention of Jirachi that Silver was freed from his petrification.
10 Giovanni’s Mother Was The Previous Boss Of Team Rocket
In the Pokémon video games, we know almost nothing of the history of Team Rocket before the events of Pokémon Red & Blue.
It was revealed in a Japan-exclusive radio drama called The Birth of Mewtwo that the leader of Team Rocket before Giovanni was Madame Boss, who is Giovanni’s mother. It was under her leadership that Team Rocket gained the strength to field an army of Pokémon trainers.
It was due to Madame Boss’ wishes that Team Rocket sought out Mew, which eventually led to the creation of Mewtwo.
9 Silver Was In The Intro (Even Though He Wasn't In The Show)
The Pokémon anime has always been inconsistent in its use of characters from the games. There are times when rival characters from the video games will appear in the show (such as Serena) while others will be totally ignored (like Hugh).
Silver never appeared during the Johto seasons of the Pokémon anime, as Gary was still Ash’s rival at that point in the storyline.
Silver’s absence was unusual, due to the fact that he appeared in one of the Japanese intros for the Pokémon anime, despite the fact that he never appeared in the story.
8 A Scene Of Giovanni Being Licked By Pokémon Was Deleted
The Pokémon anime was once heavily censored, due to the fact that the show was never made with the international market in mind. It’s for this reason why several episodes of the early seasons were never localized into English.
When Pokémon became a worldwide hit, the show was altered in order to make it suitable for broadcast on a global scale.
There were still a few instances when the Pokémon anime needed to be censored, such as during the Diamond & Pearl seasons. In one episode, Meowth fantasizes about a nearly-nude Giovanni being smothered in honey and licked by wild Pokémon.
7 Silver’s Team Is Ridiculously Overpowered In Pokémon Stadium 2
Silver may be a broody edgelord, but his cool demeanor isn’t matched by his skill on the battlefield. Silver doesn’t pose much of a challenge in battle and he never achieves the rank of Champion, unlike Blue in Pokémon Red & Blue.
The version of Silver that you fight in Pokémon Stadium 2 is incredibly powerful in comparison to the one you fight in Pokémon Gold & Silver. This Silver uses Ho-Oh, Lugia, and Mewtwo in battle, all of which are level one-hundred Pokémon.
6 Giovanni’s Final Words In Pokémon Red & Blue Were Retconned
When you defeat Giovanni in Pokémon Red & Blue, he will tell you that he is finished as the leader of Team Rocket and will study Pokémon for the remainder of his life.
It’s possible that Giovanni was lying in order to escape from Red. It’s also possible that the developers were being serious when Giovanni renounced his evil ways, but the surprise success of the series meant that they wanted to keep him around.
It was revealed in the event Celebi flashback in Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver that Giovanni did not become a student of Pokémon and instead went into hiding so that he could train, in order to become even stronger, as he wanted to revive Team Rocket.
5 The Identity Of Silver’s Mother May Have Been Revealed…
The identity of Silver’s mother is never revealed in Pokémon Gold & Silver. We don’t even know where Silver lives, or if he even has a home. Silver’s mother was a nondescript woman in the leaked Pokémon Gold & Silver beta, but she is considered to be non-canon.
In Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver, one of the Team Rocket executives is given a new design. Her name is Ariana and she has the same red hair as Silver. The fans have speculated that Ariana is Silver’s mother, due to the similar hair and her high-ranking status in Team Rocket.
4 Giovanni Has A Twin Brother
The very first Pokémon video games were Pokémon Red & Green, which were released in Japan in 1996. You might think that the Pokémon anime or the Pokémon Adventures manga series was the first official adaptations of the Pokémon video games, but you would be wrong, as the first Pokémon adaptation was the Pokémon Pocket Monsters manga series.
Pokémon Pocket Monsters is a comedy manga that stars Red and his obnoxious Clefairy. In this series, Giovanni has an unnamed twin brother who works alongside him and helps him to run Team Rocket.
3 Giovanni Still Has His Original Actor In The Pokémon Anime
Giovanni is one of the longest-running characters in the anime. He is just behind Ash, Pikachu, Team Rocket, and Professor Oak in terms of characters who still make regular appearances.
In 2006, the Pokémon Company was looking for a production company who could dub the show for a lower cost, as the franchise was at its lowest point in popularity. This led to TAJ Productions outbidding 4Kids Entertainment and almost the entire original cast of the show was replaced.
The role of Giovanni was briefly taken over by Craig Blair during the Diamond & Pearl seasons, but Ted Lewis ended up being rehired and he still voices Giovanni to this day, making him one of the few characters to still retain his voice from his first appearance in the English dub.
2 Silver’s Eyes Keep Changing Color
The older Pokémon video games have been remade on newer systems at a regular pace, with Pokémon Diamond & Pearl being the next ones on the list for a remake. This has meant that character designs have been updated in order to match the aesthetic of the later games.
Silver is one example of having his design changed, as his eyes have shifted color through each iteration of the series. Silver’s eyes started out as black in Pokémon Gold & Silver, they became grey in the artwork for Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver and were shown as red in the opening of Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver.
1 Two Of Giovanni’s Most Prominent Episodes Were Never Seen
There were several episodes of the Pokémon anime that were never shown in North America due to their controversial content. There have also been a few episodes that have never been broadcast anywhere, including Japan, due to sensitivity issues regarding natural disasters.
There are two episodes of the Pokémon Best Wishes series that have never been shown and are not considered part of continuity. They involve Giovanni leading Team Rocket in a battle against Team Plasma. The reason these episodes were skipped was due similarities to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, which happened around the time when the episodes were due to air.