Image: The Pokémon Company

Ash Ketchum to leave the ‘Pokémon’ anime

Ash Ketchum, the main character of the Pokémon anime for more than 25 years, is set to leave the show alongside his partner Pokémon Pikachu.

Producers of the show said that a new series, featuring new characters, will begin in April 2023.

This news comes a month after the character fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming the very best by winning the Pokémon World Championship, something that was speculated about as a potential exit point.

11 special episodes, dubbed ‘Aim to be a Pokémon Master’, will air in Japan starting 13 January 2023, and will mark the final chapter of Ash and Pikachu’s journey, and the end of current series Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series. There is currently no information about when they will be aired for English-speaking audiences.

According to a press release, the 11 episodes will “provide a glimpse of what the future may hold for the world’s strongest trainer”. It added: “The forthcoming special episodes not only celebrate our hero’s monumental achievement but they also serve as an expression of gratitude from Pokémon to all the fans who have joined Ash and Pikachu along the way.”

It was hinted that Brock and Misty, Ash’s first travelling companions, would return in these final episodes after appearing in the World Championship battle, and it is expected that other former characters will appear too.

Actress Sarah Natochenny, who has provided the English voice for Ash and other characters in the series since 2006, said that it had been “an extraordinary privilege”.

In a tweet, she added: “No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he’ll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come.”

Alongside the confirmation that Ash’s journey is nearing its end, The Pokémon Company also announced that a brand-new anime series will premiere in Japan in April 2023. It will feature two new protagonists called Riko and Roy, and it is known that the three Paldean starters will also appear.


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