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Pokémon TV series wraps up Team Rocket storyline

Blasting off again.

As the Pokémon TV show prepares its final farewell to Ash Ketchum and Pikachu, the series' long-running antagonists Team Rocket have also been given their apparent swansong.

Jessie, James and Meowth feature heavily in "Team Rocket's Counterattack" - the most recent Pokémon episode to air in Japan.

For those keeping track, this is the antepenultimate episode of the series' final 11-episode arc which wraps up Ash Ketchum's saga.

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This episode sees Team Rocket mount one final mission to capture Pikachu, aided by many of their own previous Pokémon. But, of course, it fails - and it leaves Jessie, James and Meowth with some soul-searching to do.

In a final scene between the antagonistic trio, Jessie, James and Meowth decide to disband their team and say their goodbyes. Our last glimpse sees them going their separate ways, as their past Pokémon sadly look on.

Fans have reacted in dismay, with many saying it was a downbeat ending for characters they had grown to love over the past three decades.

Some had hoped the team might still redeem themselves in some way, or at least stick together - but apparently not.

Ash and Pikachu, now reunited with classic sidekicks Brock and Misty, have just two episodes remaining - so it seems likely the series' focus on Team Rocket is now wrapped up for good.

The Pokémon series' final episode starring Ash will air on 24th March, and is titled "The Rainbow and the Pokémon Master!" - likely a nod to the rainbow Ash saw produced by the legendary Ho-oh the day he left Pallet Town in the series' pilot.

Of course, this doesn't mean Pokémon is ending. A brand new TV series with two new protagonists and a hunky Pokémon professor is waiting in the wings, ready to debut later this year.

This new series will feature an all-new Pikachu star - Captain Pikachu - but sadly, it seems, no Team Rocket.

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