New characters take over Pokémon anime as Ash and Pikachu retire
Ash Ketchum and Pikachu have been traveling the world for 25 years, an adventure that has spanned a number of series. But their journey ends with Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series, where Ash defeated Leon in the Pokémon Coronation Series – a championship featuring trainers from around the world of the franchise – and Ash was eventually named the #1 trainer in the world.
Ash and Pikachu have finally achieved their life goal and now it’s time to move on. The Pokémon Company announced on Friday that a new series will take its place at the end of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series — a story featuring two protagonists, Liko and Roy, alongside starter Pokémon, Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, Sprigatito, and Fuecoco Quaxly and Shiny Legendary Pokémon Rayquaza.
There’s not much information about the series, not even a name, but The Pokémon Company said the group will “unveil the mysteries of the Pokémon world — from Trainer Battles to fun Pokémon encounters.” It will debut worldwide in 2023, and The Pokémon Company has promised more details will follow “in the future.”
Before the new series begins, however, The Pokémon Company said it will air “a collection of special episodes” to round out Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series. It’s expected to feature series favorites like Misty and Brock, who also appeared on the show when Ash won the Pokémon World Coronation. There are five episodes of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series following Ash’s big win, three of which have already debuted in Japan. English versions of the show have not yet aired on Netflix. No release date has been announced for the episodes.
Following the announcement, Pokémon fans bid farewell to Ash and Pikachu with tributes to their historic adventure. Japanese voice actor Rica Matsumoto tweeted about playing Ash (called Satoshi in the Japanese version of the show) for two decades – and promised fans will always care about Ash, just like he did when he first met Pallet Town left.
— ✨松本梨香✨ (@rica_matsumoto3) December 16, 2022
Ash Ketchum’s English voice actor, who has played the iconic character for almost 17 years, posted a tribute to Ash and the franchise on Twitter on Friday. “No matter what lies behind his final chapter, he will live forever in the hearts of many generations to come,” Natochenny wrote. I will keep him present for all of us in any way I can.” Natochenny took over the role from Veronica Taylor in 2006 when Natochenny was 19 years old.
It was an immense privilege to have been the English voice of Ash Ketchum for 17 years. No matter what lies behind his final chapter, he will live on forever in the hearts of many generations to come. I will keep him present for all of us in any way I can. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/UZxPO4xD6E
— Sarah Natochenny (@sarahnatochenny) December 16, 2022
Fans have been speculating for some time that the anime series would end after Ash and Pikachu achieve their dreams, and that turned out to be true. It’s the end of an era for Ash – who’s been 10 consecutive years for the last 25 years – and Pikachu. But it’s also exciting to welcome a new era for the franchise, to follow new storylines and meet new people.
Now that Ash and Pikachu are the best in the world, it seems likely that Liko and Roy will encounter the duo somewhere along their own journey.