Ash Ketchum, the protagonist of the long-running Pokémon anime, has won the Masters Eight Tournament of the World Coronation Series.

In the latest episode of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series, which premiered in Japan on November 11, Ash became the new Monarch of the Pokémon World Coronation Series. For 25 years (24 in the US), he and Pikachu have traveled across different regions and fought many battles. Along the way, they have befriended a variety of colorful characters and learned about the makings of a worthwhile Trainer.

From Novice to Pokémon Champion: Ash Ketchum

For a long time, Ash fell short of winning a League tournament directly based on that of the mainline games. (He did win the Orange League, but it is often overlooked because of the Orange Islands setting not being based on one of the main regions.) Since his loss in the Kanto League, Ash took steps to improve himself as a Trainer and person, learning the importance of hard work, determination, and humility.

He gradually climbed up the ranks, from Kanto’s Top 16, to Johto and Hoenn’s Top 8, to Sinnoh’s Top 4; although he dropped to Unova’s Top 8, he recovered significantly by placing runner-up in Kalos. It is in Alola that Ash finally wins a League, earning the title of a League Champion.

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After the Sun and Moon seasons, Ash’s new goal was to battle Galar’s Champion Leon, said to be an undefeated Champion and the strongest Trainer in the Pokémon World. Ash entered the World Coronation Series, where he defeated Trainers such as Volkner, Bea, and Drasna.

While training in preparation against powerful opponents, Ash gained the ability to use Mega Evolution and Gigantamax, on top of his ability to use Z-Moves. He also bested Champions Iris, Steven, and Cynthia before the ultimate showdown against Leon himself. In the end, Ash emerged victorious, fulfilling his dream and becoming the new World Champion. Even better, longtime viewers would notice that this victory recalls Ash’s very first League loss and avenges it, with Pikachu and Charizard’s Trainer positions reversed. Ash Ketchum has truly come far as a Pokémon Trainer from Pallet Town.

Pokémon Company International’s Marketing Vice-President Taito Okiura released a statement celebrating this significant event for the franchise.

“Ash Ketchum’s determination and perseverance to achieve his goal of becoming the world’s top Pokémon Trainer over the course of 25 seasons represents the very best of what it means to be a Trainer. We cannot wait to celebrate this moment with Pokémon fans when the newest season of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series and this adventure-Defining episode air around the world in the coming year. This is a season fans won’t want to miss!”

It has been stated that if Ash Ketchum ever became a Pokémon Master, it would be the end of the anime series. However, the concept of a Pokémon Master is left intentionally vague for fans’ imagination and interpretation. Even in the show itself, Ash believes that there is more to being a Pokémon Master than being the world’s strongest Trainer. Winning the Alola League was but one step to achieving this title. The same might apply for becoming the World Champion.

Currently, Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series is streaming exclusively on Netflix for American audiences. Stay tuned for any new information on new episodes.

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What are your thoughts on Ash’s victory in the World Coronation Series? With the release of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet on the horizon, how do you think he will continue from this point onward? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow The Illuminerdi on social media to be notified of more news and updates like this in the future!

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