The Pokémon Company announced a new animated series with new protagonists, following special episodes concluding Ash Ketchum’s story! This comes after the character finally became the Pokémon world champion in the popular anime.

The Time Has Come

For 25 years, Ash Ketchum has traveled the Pokémon World aspiring to become a Pokémon Master. With Pikachu at his side, he fought many battles and befriended many characters along the way, learning and growing as a Trainer and person. He gradually improved his placements in each regional League, eventually winning the Alola League. From there, he additionally climbed the ranks in the World Coronation Series, defeating elite Trainers before culminating in his victory against Galar’s Champion Leon.

pokemon ash ketchum

Despite all these achievements, however, the goal of becoming a Pokémon Master is more than becoming the strongest Trainer and winning glamorous titles and trophies. In an ORICON NEWS interview following Ash’s crowning victory, his Japanese voice actress Rica Matsumoto stated that Ash still has a long way to go in becoming a Pokémon Master. He may have become the strongest, but it is different from becoming a true Pokémon Master.

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Following Ash’s monumental achievement of becoming one of the greatest Trainers in the Pokémon World, there will be special episodes commemorating his long journey to conclude Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series. These episodes will see the return of fan-favorite characters such as Misty and Brock and will even provide a glimpse as to what lies beyond the horizon for Ash Ketchum and Pikachu. For fans who followed him since the very beginning, it is a magnanimous symbol of gratitude from the franchise.

On Twitter, both Veronica Taylor and Sarah Natochenny expressed their joy and thanks to Pokémon fans everywhere, the former doing so in character as Ash Ketchum.

It is worth noting that this new development of the anime ending Ash’s story was announced on the 25th anniversary of the infamous episode that changed the anime landscape forever, “Electric Soldier Porygon.” The series went on a four-month hiatus following the nationwide shock the episode brought to Japanese audiences in its first and only airing.

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Had it not been for strong fan support, the Pokémon anime could have been canceled for good, ending Ash Ketchum’s story prematurely and retiring Pikachu as the series mascot. The following episode, upon resuming broadcast, “Pikachu’s Goodbye,” played with the idea of writing a main character out of the series while also thanking fans for their loyalty and support through James. With the upcoming end of Ash’s time in the anime, things have come full circle.

New Adventures and New Characters Await!

The upcoming series will focus on Riko and Roy, who will travel through the Pokémon World alongside the Paldean starters (Sprigatito, Fuecoco, Quaxly). Besides being based on Pokémon Scarlet and Violet and featuring a Shiny Rayquaza, details are to be announced. The new series will premiere sometime in April 2023. 

Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series is currently streaming exclusively on Netflix for American audiences. For new episode availability, check back with Netflix and The Pokémon Company International in the near future.

What are your thoughts on Ash and Pikachu potentially leaving the series? Are you looking forward to the 2023 anime series? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow The Illuminerdi on social media to be notified of more Pokémon news and updates like this in the future.

KEEP READING: ASH KETCHUM’S ADVENTURE CONTINUES IN THE POKÉMON ANIME SERIES

Source: The Pokémon Company.