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This is a question I have been wondering about - why hasn't Team Rocket's Meowth evolved, or rather (since it's kind of easy to answer that question) will he or can evolve?

The core to that question is that we see Meowth is envious of Giovanni's Persian, and when he imagines himself being petted by Giovanni he isn't imagining himself as Persian but as Meowth, so it kind of brings the question - is Meowth like Ash's Pikachu and doesn't want to evolve? I mean, he sure can imagine himself being petted by Giovanni as Persian, since its evolved form is surely better than Meowth itself, so it's clear why Giovanni would want Persian over Meowth, and Meowth should know that even so he doesn't imagine himself evolving, so that means he can't evolve from some reason?

I have a pretty good theory for an answer but I would be happy for a more sourceable answer if anyone has.

  • I only played Pokemon but never watched the anime. In the Pokemon games, you can actually prevent a Pokemon's evolution. IIRC, you can mash the B button every time it tries to evolve so it's not that surprising. I just don't know how they did this in the anime. – W. Are Jan 17 at 1:31
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    @W.Are Everstone would be more effective :P – Wondercricket Jan 17 at 1:33
  • @Wondercricket Ah, yes. Almost forgot about that one :) You make your Pokemon hold it, right? Nostalgic. Might get back to playing it XD – W. Are Jan 17 at 1:35
  • Yeah, I'm aware of that, I'm a pokemon games fan as well, but it doesn't answer my question. PS - about the anime, pokemon can choose not to evolve, like Bulbasaur in the first season ep "Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden". – USerNAme Jan 17 at 1:50
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In different view to F1Krazy's answer, I would like to point out that evolution has shown to work differently in the anime it does in the games.

  • There is no apparent leveling system in the anime, so it doesn't make sense for Meowth to have "acquired enough experience" for him to evolve.

  • Trade-revolutions are also shown being handled different, as with Misty's Poliwhirl evolving into Slowking without the trade requirement; although a King's Rock as still involved.

With that said, Team Rocket's Meowth has not evolved into Persian for two reason:

1. Meowth despises Persian

There are two instances in the anime to which Meowth has shown a great dislike for Persian:

  • The first instance is poke-love Meowzie. This love is what lead Meowth to be more human like and taught himself to speak the Human language, as Meowzie preferred Humans. Long story short, Meowzie rejected him and went to a Persian who took her in under his care.

  • The second instance is Giovanni's Persian. As you stated, Meowth fantasizes himself being petting by Giovanni as a Meowth and not as a Persian. Meowth's jealous nature wants himself to be "Top Cat" and wants to be in this position as a Meowth and not Persian. This dislike towards Giovanni's Persian is related to an already dislike to Persian's as a whole

2. Meowth chooses not to evolve

It has been shown in the anime is that Pokémon can choose not to evolve, even if it were to be a level-based evolution in the games. A key example is Ash's Bulbasuar. In the episode Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden, this shows a special festival that supports Bulbasuars evolving into Ivysaurs. Throughout the entirety of this episode, Ash's Bulbasuar is shown resisting the evolution process.

In earlier episodes, Island of the Giant Pokémon and The Ghost of Maiden's Peak, it is shown that Bulbasuar has a fear of Venusaur, and thus does not want to become one. This supports Meowth's choice of not evolving into Persian due to the dislike of it's evolutionary forms

  • Although you right about that in the anime there isn't leveling system, strange enough that it isn't said except one ep, "The School Of Hard Knocks" ep 9 in the first season, it's said there that Pidgey evolve at Lvl18 and ect., strangely after that ep, the anime "forget that episode". – USerNAme Jan 18 at 18:02
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Meowth can't evolve because he can't battle.

As stated on Meowth's Bulbapedia article:

Meowth normally does not battle unless there are extreme circumstances; his explanation is that his ability to talk and walk upright came at the expense of battling ability.

A good example of this is Pokémon: The First Movie, where Meowth and his clone are two of the only three Pokémon that don't get involved in the final battle (the third being Ash's Pikachu, who refuses to fight back against his clone). Because Meowth never fights, he never earns any experience, and therefore he can never evolve.

I guess Team Rocket could just stuff him full of Rare Candies until he evolves into Persian, but that then raises the question of where they would get all those Rare Candies from, as they're consistently shown to be short on funds.

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