Team Rocket icons Jessie and James can now be battled in Pokemon Go

(Image credit: Niantic)

Jessie and James, the face of Team Rocket in the early Pokemon anime, have come to Pokemon Go (opens in new tab).

Developer Niantic announced the duo's new event in a blog post (opens in new tab). The pair's iconic Meowth balloon will now randomly appear on the game's map while you're playing. If you see it, you can tap it to battle Jessie and James, who presumably use Ekans and Weezing in battle. 

"As Team Go Rocket's balloons prowl the skies, we've been investigating them further," the studio says. "The Grunts piloting the balloons are just as perplexed as we are as to where these characters came from. From what we understand, Team Go Rocket has assigned Shadow Pokémon to protect Jessie and James as they seek to create more Shadow Pokémon." 

The Pokemon Go Team Rocket (opens in new tab) crew has been a major part of many events for some time now, but somehow this is the first appearance from the two characters that introduced a generation of trainers to the organization. Jessie and James helped establish Team Rocket's reputation as clumsy, lovable criminals, so it's nice to see them get a spot in one of today's biggest Pokemon games.

Jessie and James "won't be here for long," Niantic says, so battle them while you can. If you want to keep their memory alive, you can pick up some themed avatar items in the shop. I hope one of them is Jessie's impossible hairstyle. 

Pokemon Go seems to be due for another big Team Rocket event (opens in new tab) in the near future, with teasers appearing all over the world ahead of this year's virtual Go Fest. 

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.