The animated Pokémon series has been staple of youth-focused anime since its debut episode in 1997. That’s not likely to change, but what is changing is the cast.
Ash and Pikachu have been the stars of the show through every different iteration of the animated Pokémon series, until now.
The Pokémon Company announced that Ash’s journey will conclude with a final season of 11 episodes. This final season will begin airing on January 23, 2023 in Japan. English episodes of the latest series, Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series, typically air six to nine months later.
The finale comes after Ash finally won the big tournament, emerging as World Champion, a feat he (and Pikachu) had strived for but yet to obtain in all those years. These final 11 episodes will “commemorate his journey” and “provide a glimpse of what the future may hold for the world’s strongest trainer,” according to the announcement.
The announcement also revealed what’s coming next. A new, as yet un-named Pokémon animated series will air sometime later in 2023. This new series will star a boy and girl trainer, as well as the three starter Pokémon from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly. Presumably it also takes place in the setting of the latest games, the Paldea Region.
Look for more details about the new series to emerge next year. In the mean time: huge congratulations to Ash Ketchum for ending an epic run on a high note.