- If you were looking for the exploration team in the Mystery Dungeon series, see Team Skull (Mystery Dungeon).
Artwork of Team Skull Grunts from Sun and Moon
Team Skull (Japanese: スカル団 Skull-dan, literally Skull Gang) is a villainous team living in the Alola region.
In the games
In Pokémon Sun and Moon
Team Skull appears in Sun and Moon. As revealed by some of their members, Team Skull is composed of misfits who failed the island challenge. They steal Pokémon from people, but unlike previous villainous teams, they do not have a specific goal other than to cause trouble and acquire enough money to support themselves. In a stark contrast to other villainous teams, they do not pose a serious threat to the wellbeing of Alola and its residents, the majority of whom consider them thuggish nuisances at worst.
Team Skull originated from a group that coalesced around one of Alola’s kahunas. This group provoked the wrath of the four island deities and was struck down. The survivors became the first members of Team Skull. At some point, Team Skull took over Po Town on Ula’ula Island, driving away the original residents, vandalising the buildings with graffiti and structural damage along with generally preventing others from entering the town and hindering the flow of electricity.
The group is known to highly value kinship – many of the grunts are close friends with each other, the team’s admin Plumeria treats her underlings like a caring older sibling and in return is respected by them for it, and several grunts mock Gladion for lacking friends in the team and technically not being a true member of Team Skull as hired work.
At some point, Lusamine became the secret benefactor of Team Skull, and they, in turn, started to carry out her orders. Not all of the members were aware of her influence – while Plumeria knew that Guzma respected Lusamine as she was the only older figure to acknowledge his strength, Lusamine’s estranged son Gladion was only aware that Team Skull was after Cosmog without knowing of their ties to the Aether Foundation president. Following Team Skull’s kidnapping of Lillie and Nebby, Gladion immediately severed his ties with them and joined with Hau and the player to infiltrate and rescue them from Aether Paradise.
After Guzma is rescued from Ultra Space by the player, he disbands Team Skull and its members go their separate ways. Guzma returns to his parents’ house on Melemele Island, while Plumeria takes up residence in a camper on Route 13 and later challenges the Alola Pokémon League. One Grunt becomes an apprentice chef under Mallow in Konikoni City, while two others in the Po Town Pokémon Center offer a Skull Tank for sale in order for them to make enough money to leave. Others are taken by Hala to train in Iki Town, deciding to become a rescue team and dubbing themselves « Team Reskull » (Japanese: タスカル団 Tasukaru-dan, literally Rescue Gang). Guzma is one of the former members taken under Hala’s wing, but rather to help hone his potential and help him overcome his anger issues.
In the anime
Team Skull debuted in Alola to New Adventure!, where three Team Skull Grunts, Tupp, Rapp, and Zipp, were seen harassing Kiawe in front of the Pokémon School. Though the three Grunts outnumbered Kiawe and Ash, the two Trainers emerged victorious through the combined efforts of Ash’s Pikachu and Kiawe’s Turtonator. This particular trio have become recurring characters, often appearing to cause trouble only to be stopped by Ash and Pikachu’s Gigavolt Havoc. These three Grunts would go on to become recurring characters throughout Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon.
More Grunts appeared in a flashback in Yo, Ho, Ho! Go, Popplio!, where they were harassing a Popplio on the beach until Lana intervened by freezing them solid with her Ride Lapras.
Team Skull fought Team Rocket in A Team-on-Team Tussle! over possession of a Darkinium Z, which multiple Alolan Rattata, Raticate, and a Totem Raticate were protecting. They lost after a wild Bewear showed up, scaring the Totem and Ally Pokémon away while Team Rocket unearthed the Darkinium Z from the hill it was embedded in.
Gladion made his physical debut in A Glaring Rivalry!. Unlike the games, however, he is not associated with Team Skull in the anime; and is even shown defeating Tupp, Rapp, and Zipp in a battle.
Multiple Team Skull Grunts appeared in Turning Heads and Training Hard!, where Tupp, Rapp, and Zipp led them to the Pokémon School to battle Ilima. However, all the Grunts were eventually defeated by Ilima’s Eevee.
Plumeria debuted in That’s Some Spicy Island Research!.
Guzma debuted in The Dealer of Destruction!. After hearing the announcement of the upcoming Alola League, he decided to ruin the tournament.
In Battle Royal 151!, all the members of Team Skull entered the Manalo Conference, although only Guzma managed to get past the preliminary round. While Guzma competed, the Grunts created havoc and mischief around Manalo Stadium. In The Wisdom Not to Run!, after Guzma had been defeated by Ash in the semifinals, he attempted to dissolve the team, but the Grunts wanted to stay with Guzma, as they wanted him to teach them how to battle as well as he does.
In the manga
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
Team Skull debuted The Grand Entrance and Delivery Boy Sun, where a couple of Team Skull Grunts tried to scam Sun out of money they were supposed to give him from a hired job. Later, Guzma replaced a Grunt as a participant in the Iki Town festival, but was defeated by Sun.
Later, Guzma hired Gladion to work as an enforcer for Team Skull, leading him to Po Town, where Plumeria also made her first appearance. As a part of the Aether Foundation’s plot to keep Team Skull active, Guzma was later given a Cosmog to summon Ultra Beasts against the Trial Captains who had come to negotiate with them. This act inadvertently led to Guzma getting sucked into Ultra Space for multiple months, before he was returned to Alola.
At the end of the Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon chapter, Guzma planned to start a Malasada and Tapu Cocoa shop with Hau.
In the movie adaptations
A group of Team Skull members appears in ICYR2.
In the TCG
This listing is of cards mentioning or featuring Team Skull in the Pokémon Trading Card Game.
- Team Skull is the first villainous team to make their debut in the first episode of an anime series.
- The lyrics to the Team Skull encounter theme contain the word « dokuro » (ドクロ), meaning « skull » in Japanese.
- In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Pichu can wear the Team Skull cap as one of its palette swaps.
|Japanese||スカル団 Skull-dan||From skull|
|English, French, German, Italian,
Spanish, Dutch, European Portuguese
|Team Skull||Same as Japanese name|
|Korean||스컬단 Skull-dan||Same as Japanese name|
|Chinese (Mandarin)||骷髏隊 / 骷髅队 Kūlóu Duì||From 骷髏 / 骷髅 kūlóu, skull|
|Chinese (Cantonese)||骷髏隊 Fūlòuh Déui||From 骷髏 fūlòuh, skull|
|Czech||Tým Skull||Same as Japanese name|
|Finnish||Kalloryhmä||From kallo (skull)|
|Hungarian||Koponya Csapat||From koponya (skull)|
|Polish||Zespół Czacha||From augmentative form of « czaszka » (skull)|
|Brazilian Portuguese||Equipe Skull||From English name|
|Russian||Команда Череп Komanda Cherep||From череп cherep (skull)|
|Vietnamese||Nhóm Đầu lâu||From « Đầu lâu » (skull)|
|Japanese||タスカル団 Tasukaru-dan||From 助ける tasukeru (rescue), たくましい takumashi (bold), and スカル skull|
|English||Team Reskull||From skull and rescue|
|German||Rettungsteam Skull||From Rettungsteam (rescue team) and Team Skull|
|Italian||Team Muskull||From skull and muscoli (muscles)|
|Korean||헬스컬단 Healthkull-dan||From 헬시 healthy and 스컬 skull|
|Chinese (Mandarin)||築樓隊 / 筑楼队 Zhúlóu Duì / Zhùlóu Duì||From 建築工 / 建筑工 jiànzhú-gōng (construction work) and 骷髏 / 骷髅 kūlóu (skull)|
|Chinese (Cantonese)||築樓隊 Jūklàuh Déui||From 建築工 ginjūk-gūng (construction work) and 骷髏 fūlòuh (skull)|