A Cramorant would have made the perfect partner in crime for Team Rocket in their Pikachu-stealing exploits. It’s a wonder why they never caught one.
The Team Rocket Trio has caught all sorts of iconic Pokémon over the years. Their team has included Meowth, Wobbuffett, Morpeko, and all of James’ painfully affectionate Pokémon. Many of these Pokémon have their schtick that has become just as important to Team Rocket’s identity as the boss fantasies or even the motto. Looking at the group’s Pokémon like this, there’s one more Pokémon that would have fit them perfectly– Cramorant.
Team Rocket having a Cramorant would have worked on a lot of levels. It would have been ideal as a Pikachu-stealing accomplice as well as a running gag throughout the Journeys anime. If they didn’t instead get their Pokémon from the Prize Master in this series, they might have done well to catch themselves a Cramorant.
Why Would Team Rocket Catch a Cramorant?
What makes Cramorant especially useful for Team Rocket’s needs is its Ability Gulp Missile. By using either surf or Dive, it can swallow a Pikachu and attain its Gorging Form. Technically, this only happens to Cramorant whose HP is under half, otherwise, it swallows an Arrokuda to achieve its Gulping Form. However, if the anime had made Cramorant a recurring Team Rocket Pokémon, it would likely tweak the mechanics of this Ability to make the Gorging Form more easily attainable.
Cramorant’s Gulp Missile works for Team Rocket for obvious reasons. They could have Cramorant use Surf to fill an area with water, scoop up Pikachu, and make their getaway in the confusion. For them, Cramoran’t’s Surf would be as useful as Weezing’s Smokescreen or Seviper’s Haze if not more so.
Cramorant would also work for a certain running gag. James tends to catch Pokémon who grow affectionate towards him and latch onto him as soon as they leave their Pokéball; this happened a lot with Pokémon like Cacnea and Mareanie. A Cramorant could make a habit of fitting James into its mouth as Vicrtreebel or Carnivine would. As for the Morpeko he caught in Pokémon Journeys proper, that could have gone to Jessie.
There have been a couple of examples of Cramorant in the anime, and both of them were closely connected to Team Rocket. The Secrets of the Jungle movie saw Team Rocket get into some trouble with a Cramorant, but they also used it to swallow Pikachu albeit for motives besides thievery. In Journeys Episode 127, they pulled a Cramorant from the Team Rocket Prize Machine, but it was used almost exclusively in its Gulping Form. While Cramorant never joined Team Rocket properly, it’s clear somebody working on the anime saw the potential of these two forces coming together.
Why Wouldn’t Team Rocket Want a Cramorant?
The main thing that was keeping Team Rocket from catching Cramorant and other new Pokémon throughout the Journeys anime was the Prize Machine. There was too much potential in seeing Team Rocket with new Pokémon each time they crossed paths with Ash and Goh. The only drawback is that each Pokémon they pull is significantly less developed than any Pokémon they would use regularly.
There’s also the debate surrounding Pikachu’s resistance. As the movie showed, if Pikachu were swallowed by Cramorant, it could just use Thunderbolt to be spat back out. Team Rocket could still use Cramorant’s Ability to catch Pikachu and quickly stash it in an electric-proof container, but that would mostly defeat the purpose of Cramorant; they might as well just use the container and cut out the middle Pokémon. Looking at things like this, Cramorant wouldn’t make much sense for Team Rocket’s party.
As fun as Cramorant might have been on Team Rocket’s side, it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe in a more traditional run of the anime where Ash was still challenging Gyms and Team Rocket relied on mechas, they would have considered catching another Pokémon. As things stand, however, fans have to be happy with