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After 25 seasons, Ash Ketchum is retiring from Pokémon

The Pokémon Company confirmed that Ash Ketchum will no longer be the main protagonist of the series’ anime starting in 2023.

Ever since Pokémon! I Choose You! first aired in Japan on April 1, 1997, the Pokémon anime has followed the exploits of 10-year-old Pokémon trainer Ash Ketchum on his quest to become Pokémon Master. After trying and failing many times across 25 seasons, Ash finally managed to become the world’s greatest Pokémon trainer in Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series after winning the Pokémon World Coronation Series.

The Pokémon Company is deciding to leave Ash’s journey on a high note and will retire his character as the protagonist of the Pokémon anime after the current season. Thankfully, he is getting a proper send-off across the final 11 episodes of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series, with classic anime characters like Misty and Brock returning to help tell “the final chapter in Ash and Pikachu’s story.” These final 11 episodes will start airing in Japan on January 13, 2023.

This won’t be the end of Pokémon anime adaptions, though; The Pokémon Company will start a new series later next year, following two new characters named Liko and Roy. Details on this new series are still scarce, but we know it will also feature Sprigatito, Fuecoco, Quaxly, and a Shiny Rayquaza in significant roles. We’re likely to see them venture through Paldea, the region Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are set in.

While the announcement that Ash Ketchum will no longer be the protagonist of the Pokémon series is bittersweet for those of us who grew up with the Pokémon anime, we can hope that the series will give him a beautiful farewell, and that Liko and Roy’s series can successfully capture the hearts of a whole new generation of Pokémon fans. 

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