Ash Ketchum managed to beat Leon in the finals and became the Pokémon World Champion, which means that he is currently the best trainer in the whole world. Yes, you’ve read that right. Ash Ketchum, the little boy from Pallet Town whose adventures we’ve been following for more than 20 years and through more than 1,000 episodes has finally achieved his goal and become the best in the world. He did not catch them all, but he has seen it all and he has – finally – defeated them all. And while fans are rejoicing over Ash’s win, this epic victory might have very sad consequences as this might be Ash’s final season as the protagonist of the Pokémon anime. In this article, we are going to tell you whether Ash is really leaving the series or not.
At this moment, there is absolutely no official confirmation related to Ash’s future in the Pokémon anime. Namely, he has achieved his goal and has become the very best, like no one ever was, but the Pokémon Journeys anime still has a couple of episodes left and we don’t know how the anime will continue. Seeing that Ash’s goal has been fulfilled, it is not impossible that we will see a new protagonist in the next season of the anime.
The rest of this article is going to tell you everything we know about Ash Ketchum’s future after the final episode of the Pokémon Journeys anime series. You’re going to find out whether it is going to be the end for him and what you can expect from the Pokémon anime series in the future. There are a lot of questions now that Ash has become the Pokémon World Champion and we are going to try to answer some of them.
How did Ash become the Pokémon World Champion?
In Episode 1204, the long-awaited moment finally arrived. Ash traveled to the Galar region again to participate in the new season of the Masters Eight Tournament, that is, the World Coronation Series. Here he meets Hop, Leon’s younger brother, and they have a short battle. During the opening, Ash meets her friend Iris, who also managed to qualify, along with all the regional champions and Alain. During the episodes, Ash watches each battle.
In Episode 1207, Ash faces Steven Stone, the current Hoenn champion. A 3-v-3 format was declared, where Ash loses with Dracovish first, but evens the score with Gengar, who then loses to the regional champion’s Cradily. Pikachu then takes over and finally, Steven gives him the last push with his Metagross, who Mega Evolves during the battle. Pikachu had a hard time winning with his bare fist, so Ash and his Pokémon decide that it’s time for the Z move that unites them. The withering Gigabeam was about to miss, but Pikachu managed to deflect it towards Mega Metagross and finish off with Iron Tail, managing to advance to the next round, where he will face Cynthia.
In Episode 1212, Ash begins his confrontation against Cynthia for the semifinal of the tournament. The champion turned out to be worthy of so much praise and recognition, putting Ash on the ropes by knocking out three of his Pokémon without much effort; Dragonite, Gengar, and even Pikachu. Nonetheless, at least the latter was able to defeat Gastrodon and draw with Spiritomb.
In Episode 1213, Ash manages to overcome himself and recover the marker with the help of Sirfetch’d and Dracovish. Dracovish managed to weaken Roserade, who had recovered from the burns caused by Gengar, while Sirfetch’d managed to clear the field of boulder traps, defeat Milotic, and make Garchomp bow to his power. Then Cynthia Dynamaxes her Togekiss, while Ash activates Lucario’s mega evolution leaving the battle on hold. In Episode 1214, finally, after an arduous fight between Dynamax Togekiss and Mega Lucario, the latter manages to take the victory and face off against Garchomp on the battlefield.
Mega Lucario and Garchomp melee without flinching, and finally, in a moment of suspense with both Pokémon on the ground, Mega Lucario stands up, leaving Ash the winner of the entire battle, and the next finalist to face Leon. In Episode 1218, Ash was backstage teaming up with the Pokémon he would use for his battle against Leon. , Dawn and Chloe arrive to greet him and support him, since Goh had to withdraw due to an urgent call from the Mew project. When leaving the battlefield, Dan was declaring the rulebook, but Leon interrupts him to request to violate the rule of using only one Dynamax in the match, giving Ash a lot of advantage by having access to activate his three attachments.
This request is approved and the battle begins. Ash sends the trusty Pikachu first and Leon his Cinderace. However, Leon reveals that Cinderce has the hidden ability, Libero, which leaves Pikachu at a disadvantage when Cinderace uses Scorching Sands, which is a Ground-type move, changing the Fire-type to that type, so Ash switches Pikachu for Gengar, to which Leon responds by trading Cinderace for Inteleon. Gengar starts off on the wrong foot when being knocked over by Inteleon’s defense with Aqua Jet and Ash decides to activate the Gigamax.
Gengar manages to withstand Inteleon’s powerful shots and tether it to the field with G-Max Terror, to weaken it with Max Ooze. Leon pulls out his third Pokémon, Mr. Rime, who froze and activated Psychic Terrain easily to defeat Gengar by kicking in to hit him with the super effective and vast move Expanding Force.
In Episode 1219, Ash responds to Mr. Rime’s arrival by bringing out his Sirfetch’d, who despite being at a disadvantage, resists the Expanding Force to crack open the field’s ice and disable the field that was giving his opponent an advantage. As soon as Sirfetch’d completes this task, Ash swaps it out for Lucario.
Ash activates the Mega Evolution and after resisting multiple Triple Axels, he traces Mr. Rime’s aura and connects an Aura Sphere that weakens him. Immediately, Leon sends out Dragapult, who didn’t have to deal with Mega Lucario much, as Ash switches him out when he sees that Dragapult knows Flamethrower. Ash brings out Dracovish, which strangely lights up its spines as Dreepy staggers between its jaws and manages to land a Fishious Rend, but Leon commands Dragapult’s Dragon Tail, and Dragapult forces Ash to switch out his Pokémon for Dragonite.
However, Dragonite also fell victim to Dragon Tail right after she got stronger and Mega Lucario comes out again. Dragapult paralyzes Mega Lucario and manages to take it down easily with another Flamethrower, so Ash decides to send in Dragonite to finish it off. Dragonite successfully manages to make his Draco Meteor combo and put an end to Dragapult. Near the end of the episode, Dragonite must face the resistant Rillaboom.
In Episode 1220, despite Dragonite being quite exhausted, he manages to hit Rillaboom with Hurricane, though it ends up losing. Ash sends out Sirfetch’d, who managed to damage him as well, but meets the same fate as his companion and falls. Rillaboom’s third opponent was Dracovish, who decides to avenge his fallen friend and, after a collision between Rillaboom and Dracovish, the latter manages to emerge victorious.
Leon’s next Pokémon was Cinderace, who managed to defeat Dracovish with no problem. Leon opts to trade for Charizard, while Ash only has Pikachu. Leon Gigantamaxes Charizard and orders him to max out, which Pikachu luckily outwits, but is thrown around by the sandstorm. Gigantamax Charizard, unfazed by the Iron Tail, sends a Max Wyrmwind at his opponent, who clings to the ground, and finally, Ash decides it’s time to activate the 10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt.
The collision between the Z-Move and the G-Max Wildfire was so great that it was seen through the Galar skies. This, coupled with the tremendous power of Mega Evolution, somehow draws the attention of Eternus, who escapes from his cage in Hammerlocke City and heads to Wyndon Stadium. There, it gives both Trainers an additional use of the Dynamax. The epic clash ended with a final push between Ash’s Pikachu and Leon’s Charizard. Ultimately, Ash’s partner emerged victorious against the undefeated Charizard, fulfilling Ash’s dream of defeating Leon and making him the new Pokemon World Champion.
Is Ash leaving Pokémon after Pokémon Journeys?
Now that we know what happened in the final battle, this is the question that everyone has been asking themselves since Ash’s victory. With the supposedly final episode of Journeys hinting at a heartbreaking farewell, fans will have to wait for December 9 or some official confirmation to finally find out the fate of Ash Ketchum in the Pokémon anime. Sadly, we don’t have any exclusive information for you, as this seems to be a well-kept secret, but that won’t stop us from telling you what we think and what you can expect.
First of all, we’d like to say that the likelihood of the Pokémon coming to a complete halt is slim to none. With Pokémon Scarlet and Violet coming out today (at the time of writing), the franchise is certainly going to move forward and the anime, being one of the most popular in history, is almost certainly going to continue in one way or another. But, we know that the two new games are going to bring a lot of novelties to the well-established game mechanics, and that just might be reflected in the anime as well.
Namely, it is now quite obvious that Ash’s journey has come to a point from which it cannot simply revert back to its well-known formula. Namely, throughout the previous seasons, Ash Ketchum would lose in the League competitions of each region (save for Alola, but no one took that one seriously, really) and it would then make sense for him to continue his journey into a new region to become even better. It made sense back then, as Ash still had to grow to become the best. Now that he has defeated Leon, the best of the best, the old formula wouldn’t make sense anymore.
Just imagine Ash, the best of them all, now going through a wholly new region and battling the Gym Leaders, especially the earlier ones, who wouldn’t even be a match for Pikachu alone, let alone any other Pokémon that Ash might use. Yours truly wouldn’t like that (I’d probably watch it because – hey, it’s Pokémon, but I wouldn’t like it very much) and most fans agree that such a continuation would be a bad thing both for Ash’s character development, as well as the future of the series.
This is why Ash’s exit makes sense, regardless of how heartbreaking it is going to be if it happens. Several generations of children, most of them now young adults or even adults, grew up with Ash Ketchum and followed his adventures week after week. But, seeing how he has fulfilled his true goal, his adventures might just come to a deserved end. Ash has done it all and we honestly think that he deserves a small break. It would be heartbreaking, but it would also be the only noble thing to do to a character that had such an impact on popular culture like Ash Ketchum.
We don’t think that the franchise would completely eliminate him from the timeline, such a retcon wouldn’t really make sense and would be bad, but we don’t think that keeping him as the protagonist would make sense either. The best and smartest thing to do, from out point of view, would be to turn Ash into a legendary trainer, for which there is already a basis in the narrative.
True Pokémon fans will know that Ash is not the original protagonist of the franchise and that he is actually based on the legendary trainer Red, who was initially introduced as a character in the Pokémon video games. Just like Ryo Akiyama, the legendary Tamer from the original Digimon games became an anime character in Digimon Tamers, Ash could actually become the anime counterpart of Red and become the anime universe’s legendary trainer to beat.
This would allow the producers to honor his legacy in the anime series, but also to move forward with the franchise by focusing on a new protagonist, whether it is someone completely new, or an old character that would now enter the spotlight. Be that as it may, Ash is probably not going to be the main character of the series anymore, but he is such an icon that we doubt that this will be the last we see of whim, regardless of what the producers decide to do.