The Pokémon anime has had many theme songs across its 26 year-run. But now that Ash Ketchum’s story is at an end, the tunes that have been heard are cemented as representations of each season he’s been a part of. Because of this, the Pokémon themes now carry greater weight for the fanbase, who already get a kick out of the diverse nature of these tracks.
The tracks always carry a message that generally sums up what the seasons are supposed to be about. Some talk about the power of friendship, while others touch on the battle aspect of the anime. No matter what the underlying theme is, they all carry a real sense of fun and wholesome quality. It’s worth looking back at the best songs to remember how Pokémon gets fans hyped before each episode, and to that end, these are our picks for the top 10 best Pokémon opening themes ranked from catchy to iconic.
10. Pokémon Johto (Johto Journeys)
Pokémon Johto goes for a fun-filled tone with its theme song.
Ash and his friends happily explore the Johto region to an upbeat and happy theme that focuses on the fun that comes with traveling with friends. The Pokémon Johto theme also evokes a sense of wonder in the listener, as the lyrics promise a whole new world with new Pokémon.
It might not evoke the most intense atmosphere, but the song captures the family-friendly sentiment that Pokémon is so well known for. Even those who aren’t diehard fans of the Pokémon anime series will find their curiosity piqued at how the track plays out.
9. Journey To Your Heart (Master Journeys)
Pokémon Master Journeys has an amped-up track to usher in Ash’s penultimate story in the anime.
It boasts an innocent atmosphere, with its lyrics talking about the power of friendship. But the goodhearted sentiment works, especially since the theme song has a hard-hitting style.
Ash and Goh are shown enjoying the Pokémon world for all it has to offer, with the track taking on a fast tone as it nears its conclusion. The song hammers this home by assuring listeners that there might be many challenges in the Pokémon world, but it’s about enjoying the ride along the way.
8. Black and White (Black and White)
Unlike other themes, Pokémon Black and White takes risks with its opening through the use of 3D visuals alongside its opening song.
The idea is to show that all the Pokémon happily coexist with each other even if they are of different types. As the music picks up, so does the video gain color, and all the Pokémon fall into place.
The theme song itself has a heartwarming quality to it, with the music carrying a soft composition even when it picks up in pace. Black and White’s lyrics back this all up, talking about how difficult it is to maintain friendships but that the journey is worth going through with people by your side.
7. Believe In Me (Master Quest)
Earlier Pokémon themes are geared more toward the idea of victory, which Master Quest embraces beautifully.
The song isn’t that different from earlier ones as it starts out, but the ending kicks things into high gear. The visuals of the video help in delivering this as several legendary Pokémon make appearances.
As this season is the last one in the original series, Master Quest’s theme carries a note of finality. The idea is for Ash and fans of the anime to remember the journey so far while gearing up for the culmination of the story.
6. Unbeatable (Advanced Battle)
Pokémon Advanced Battle goes for a catchier beat fans can get excited by.
The theme rocks out from start to finish, having no dips or lulls in-between. The video highlights all the opponents Ash will have to go through in his quest, which perfectly complements the adrenaline-pumping music.
It lacks the warmhearted sentiment certain others thrive on, but Advanced Battle still succeeds by setting the proper tone for the season. Its chorus has the potential to get stuck in the listener’s head because of its catchy tune too, which helps make sure fans won’t forget it anytime soon.
5. Stand Up! (Galactic Battles)
Pokémon Galactic Battles’ theme song combines the fun element of the series with the outline of overcoming challenges.
The lyrics are slightly more serious due to their referencing moving through adversities, but the delivery and music remain optimistic throughout. The accompanying video is also uplifting with the characters racing toward their goals, all while Ash, Dawn, and Brock stick together through every challenge that comes their way.
It’s a great track to understand how the Pokémon experience is supposed to be. There’s a big fight feel hovering around since this season is about Ash and his friends finding their footing in Sinnoh, and Galactic Battles’ theme sums up why Ash, Dawn, and Brock make for one of the better trios of traveling companions in the wider series.
4. With You (Ultimate Journeys)
Pokémon Ultimate Journeys is the last theme song in Ash’s story, and carries an appropriately comforting style.
There’s a genuine feeling of love and friendship here, as the song talks about the strength in the bonds Ash has made. The theme’s video shows Ash and Goh across the Pokémon world with their other acquaintances, ending with the boys jumping in delight.
It comes across as a love letter to the listener with its melodious beat. The song is like a warm hug to the fans, who can feel a sense of relatability thanks to the lyrics. It doesn’t evoke the battle atmosphere of some other openings, but its warm nature makes that easy to overlook.
3. It’s Always You And Me (Adventures In Unova And Beyond)
Pokémon Adventures in Unova and Beyond is the last season Ash has with Iris and Cilan, and has a note of completeness to it.
Bolstered by the lyrics, there’s an underlying theme of continuing to put up a fight even when things get difficult. It touches upon friendship as a main aspect of the series, but also contains a great sentiment of camaraderie thanks to its upbeat music.
The song is a marriage of all the best parts of the Pokémon anime. Listeners can’t help but feel more positive and happy from this one, especially since it keeps ticking up in terms of energy until the very end.
2. We Will Be Heroes (Diamond and Pearl)
Diamond and Pearl’s We Will Be Heroes is an ideal example of a Pokémon theme selling the series’ core ideas of friendship and comradery, but isn’t without a hint of melancholy.
The theme is designed to make fans feel emotional about Ash and his friends sticking together in their journey, hammering home how integral they’ve been to each other’s success and their enjoyment of their adventures together. The emotional wave continues as the song goes on, weaving in and out with its optimistic high notes. The singer’s voice is suited to delivering the heartwarming rendition that this theme is too, with a tone that’s equal parts joyful and nostalgic.
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl’s video shows how far-reaching the Pokémon world is too, which goes great with the track. This season was when Dawn fully settled in as a companion to Ash and Brock too, so the wholesome style of the song and visuals is appropriately suited to the dynamic the friends established.
1. Gotta Catch ‘Em All (Indigo League & XY)
While the quality of all the songs is subjective, there’s no doubt that the original Pokémon theme is the most iconic. It represents the Pokémon anime as a whole to the world, remaining the song that is recognizable to millions.
Moreover, the lyrics capture what Ash’s quest is about and how Pokémon function in general. It manages to strike a perfect balance of intensity and positivity with rocking instrumentals and lyrics that speak to the importance of teamwork between trainer and Pokémon. This is matched by visuals which offer everything from scenes of Ash with his Pokémon and friends to explosions and flashy attacks from battles.
The opening is designed to enliven the spirit of fans listening on, gradually raising its tone until the all-out climax. The song is so effective that a remix was even used for the Pokemon XY season, while an instrumental version is used for the final arc of Pokemon Journeys.