While there have been plenty of Pokémon in the anime series who speak, there’s only one who does so in English. The original Pokémon anime was flooded with Pokémon cries and screams for its 2+ decades, but those noises could only be deciphered by trainers and other Pokémon. When it came to the audience, the only Pokémon we could understand 100% of the time was Team Rocket’s partner in crime, Meowth.

It would take quite awhile until Pokémon fans would see another Pokémon who spoke English, and that came about through Detective Pikachu. Oddly enough, it seems Meowth almost had some English speaking buddies in the anime a number of years ago, but the team involved decided to squash the idea.

In an interview with Famitsu magazine, Pokémon Company president Tsunekazu Ishihara said the idea of other English-speaking Pokémon wasn’t just considered, but experimented with. Eventually, the team thought it best to skip over the idea completely, only to return to it for Detective Pikachu.

To add more depth to communication, we thought that language was important after all, so we went through a trial and error process. In the end, we decided to stop and put the matter aside, but still continued thinking about ways we could do this. Making Pikachu have the heart of a middle-aged man was a crazy idea, but we also felt the possibilities in that. After various experiences later on, we finally arrived at Detective Pikachu.

[Pokémon Company president Tsunekazu Ishihara]

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6M ago

Mewtwo and Slowking spoke English in the movies. There were others as well that spoke English in other movies. I don't know of others in the anime though.

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