‘Next time, a new beginning’: Ash Ketchum ends Pokémon journey

Russell Ku

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‘Next time, a new beginning’: Ash Ketchum ends Pokémon journey

The Pokémon Company

‘I wanna make friends with Pokémon all over the world,’ says the iconic character during the final episode of ‘Pokémon: Aim To Be A Pokémon Master’

MANILA, Philippines – It was an end of an era for Pokémon fans, as after over 25 years of triumphs and tears, Ash Ketchum concluded his journey on Friday, March 24.

Ash’s farewell to the Pokémon series was first announced on December 16, 2022, with the iconic trainer reaching the end his journey through the 11-episode arc Pokémon: Aim To Be A Pokémon Master. 

In the final episode of Aim To Be A Pokémon Master, Ash reflected on his journey and his future plans after becoming the top trainer in the world during the Masters Eight Tournament of the Pokémon World Coronation Series.

“Being a champion is not my goal, I still consider myself a challenger…. I wanna make friends with Pokémon all over the world. That’s what it means to be a Pokémon master,” Ash said in the episode. 

Fans were given one last surprise as Ash also reunited with his Pidgeot to help him with his final encounter with Team Rocket. 

Ash’s voice actors, past and present, also sounded off on the character’s departure from the Pokémon series. 

“Still so hard to believe that this day has finally come. Well, time to look toward the next adventure, everyone, together,” Veronica Taylor, Ash’s original English voice actor, said in a tweet

“Ash’s journey never ends,” said Rica Matsumoto, the character’s Japanese voice actor. Matsumoto has been the Japanese voice for Ash ever since the Pokémon series was first released in 1997. 

Sarah Natochenny, Ash’s current English voice actor, paid tribute to Matsumoto, saying she “inspired and entertained millions of people around the world.” She added that the Japanese voice actor also inspired her performance. 

Future ‘Horizons’

Following the airing of the final episode of Aim To Be A Pokémon Master in Japan, a new trailer was released for Pokémon Horizons: The Series

Horizons will focus on two new protagonists, Liko and Roy, and will center around the Paldea region. The characters possess mysterious items in the form of a pendant and a Pokéball that will play a key role in the series.

Other characters were also introduced following the trailer’s release such as the Rising Volt Tacklers and Amethio. 

Pokémon Horizons: The Series will start airing in Japan on April 14. – 

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Russell Ku

Russell Ku is a digital communications specialist at Rappler who believes in the power of stories to build an empathic society.