Pokemon is pretty strict with its care of Pikachu and Meowth even if it does put them through the ringer at times. The anime has put the two Pokemon on pedestal as they enjoy the freedom of traveling with their friends outside of a Poke Ball. And thanks to a recent video, fans are being reminded that Meowth is a bit different from Pikachu in a way that really, really matters.
For fans of the anime, they will likely remember Pokemon XY. The anime went live just after the video game of the same name debuted. When episode 79 of Pokemon XY went live, "A Frenzied Factory Fiasco" followed Ash and the gang into a factory where Pokemon training supplies are made. When Team Rocket barrels in, Pikachu and Meowth have it out, and it is there the latter is almost caught.
Yes, caught is what we mean. If you didn't know or had forgotten, Meowth hasn't been formally captured by anyone, so he is technically a wild Pokemon. Not even Team Rocket has tried to catch Meowth, so you can bet the cat didn't appreciate it when Pikachu nearly trapped him in a Poke Ball.
Looking back at the history of Meowth, the Pokemon was never captured and taken into Team Rocket's fold. The cat simply joined along with Jesse and James after running into the bumbling pair. Since Meowth feels like he fits in with the Team Rocket duo, he chooses to stay. So in the same way Pikachu hangs out outside of his Poke Ball with Ash, Meowth does the same with Team Rocket... because he was never given one to start with.
From time to time, Ash has had to corral Pikachu into a Poke Ball even though they both dislike doing so. It is still made very clear that Pikachu is Ash's Pokemon despite him being out of a Poke Ball. As for Meowth, he is technically a wild Pokemon, and he has evaded every attempt to be captured thus far. So if you had hoped Pikachu would ever have a Pokemon of its own, don't go banking on it being Meowth!
Did you ever realize this connection between Meowth and Team Rocket? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!