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Pairing: Jessie (Musashi)/James (Kojirō)
Alternative name(s): Rocketshipping, KojiMusa, コジムサ, JAJL
Gender category: NL; F/M; Het
Fandom: Pokémon
Canonical?: Semi (yes in the manga, no in the anime)
Prevalence: Popular
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"illustration of Jessie with her arm around Jessie, they are looking intensely at each other, a small heart is above their head"
Rocketshipping 3 by maimai97 (2012)

RocketShipping is a Pokémon ship involving the characters Jessie and James.


Jessie and James are partners in Team Rocket and have a friendship that dates back to their childhood. They work together on wacky schemes to steal Ash Ketchum's Pikachu and impress their boss Giovanni, alongside their talking Meowth. While their appearance is slick and stylish, the two are huge bumblers; Jessie is a vain drama queen while James is a nerd who collects things like bottlecaps.

Their relationship is mostly platonic, but they have some very strong moments of hinting at something more. Shippers' favorite episodes for this are "Shipwrecked", "The Ghost of Maiden's Peak", "A Holy Matrimony", and "Princess vs Princess."

The loosely-based-on-the-anime "Electric Tale of Pikachu" manga has the two married and Jessie pregnant, but their relationship remains ambiguous in the anime.


For a long time, Rocketshipping was the most popular pairing among fans of the Pokemon anime to the point of being juggernaut. A lot of fans felt more invested in them than in the lead characters, so web shrines and fanfiction and fanart ran rampant. The manga at one point gave fans hope for the anime to end the same way, before it became clear the anime wasn't ending anytime soon.

For many fans their were their first, and most enduring, ship:

Pokemon fandom, we can argue about which girl Ash ends up with all day. But in the end there is one ship we can all agree on and the one we shipped first. Don’t deny it; you know it’s true.


Guys I love Jessie/James so much… Technically I guess I’ve been a Rocketshipper for like 23/24 years....
They’re the optimal girlboss x boywife ship I love them[2]

At one point, there were several different categories of Rocketshipping:

Rocketshipping classic

These fans shipped the pairing and wanted them to get a happy ending, plain and simple. Their fan works could be sappy and shmaltzy, but still kept Jessie and James more or less in-character. Popular tropes in this faction were Jessie and James quitting Team Rocket and "going good," followed by marriage and starting a family. Whether or not they became friends with "the Twerps" depended on the individual writer's feelings about Ash and company.


This was the extreme end of the spectrum, fans who not only wanted Jessie and James to live happily ever after but insisted they were already canon, citing the manga's ending as evidence and insisting the anime would eventually go the same way. They could get very angry at the thought of people shipping Jessie or James with other people (especially James with other male characters), and defensive if they felt their views were challenged. Their characterizations could range from merely OOC to completely off base, portraying Jessie as more fragile and James as more heroic than either was in canon. Cori Falls was a prime example of this.


In which the fans shipped them together, but swapped the traditional gender roles. To them, James's constant crossdressing and Jessie's hot temper meant James was the beautiful princess and Jessie the handsome prince. Early in the fandom this was considered "in-character Rocketshipping,"[3] but over time some fans began to dislike how all it did in some cases was swap the stereotypical gender roles. Later Queershippers would discuss how neither Jessie or James fit any gender stereotype and how assigning either character to those roles missed the point of what made their dynamic work. [note 1]


Fans who saw Jessie and James as friends with benefits rather than a romantic couple. To them, the relationship was fraught with sexual tension and opportunities for the two to express it while alone in the woods. This side of the fandom was full of lemon fanfiction.

Other Common Tropes and Storylines in Fanworks

  • Hurt/Comfort: Usually with them both being hurt and comforting each other, this might be because of how many times they get hurt (i.e. blasted away) in canon
  • Friends to Lovers: Their friendship progressing towards a romantic one
  • Meowth: Meowth's role in Rocketshipping fics varies. Sometimes Meowth is oblivious and excuses are used to remove him from a situation so Jessie and James can be alone together (especially in lemons), other times Meowth actively "ships" Jessie and James and will either tease them about their feelings or actively try to matchmake them.
  • Canon Divergence AU: Break off from different points in the anime canon, there are a variety of points fans chose to diverge from, but any point in which Jessie and James were fired from Team Rocket seem to be popular ones
  • Modern AU: A few modern AUs, where they are taken out of the Pokemon universe, can be found, but they are fairly rare.
  • Angst: Due to Jessie and James both having difficult pasts, introspective and sad moments were common.
  • Darkfic: Some fans liked to capitalize on the dangerous air of Team Rocket and Giovanni's intimidating nature, making the organization seem more deadly than it appeared in canon for the sake of putting Jessie and James in mortal peril. Whether they were already a couple or the dire situations brought them together depended on the author.
  • Pining: This ties in well with Friends to Lovers, with Jessie and James longing for each other and trying to work up the nerve to confess.
  • Deathfic: Oftentimes, authors would explore how one of the pair would cope if they lost the other. Some stories were about moving on and treasuring the memories, while others concluded with the death of the one left behind either via suicide or other means.
  • Kidfic: Based on the manga where Jessie is shown pregnant at the end. Many authors gave the pair a daughter named Miya (after Jessie's late mother Miyamoto) or Rose, or a pair of twins. The children would often have one parent's eyes and the other's hair, or a blend of the two different shades.


RocketShipping was met with some backlash from the popular website Pokemopolis. Site owners Tim and Lex did not like the pairing[4], had a low opinion of shippers[5], and believed James was gay. This led to hurt feelings and anger from Rocketshippers, who felt the site was way too mean-spirited in their dislike of the pairing.






Fan Vids


Links & Resources



  1. ^ James was very much a boy in some ways, like having typical "boy hobbies" like collecting cards and bottlecaps, but was willing to dress like a woman for his and Jessie's plans. Jessie had a dominant personality, but had typical "girly" interests like fashion, makeup, and shopping.