In an unbelievable, yet expected turn of events, 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. The Pokémon Journeys anime finally gave Ash the title he had been chasing since 1998 and with it, the story seems to have come to a well-deserved and due ending. Or has it? In this article, we are going to tell you whether Pokémon Journeys is ending soon and what that means for the future of the Pokémon anime in general.
As far as it is known now, episode 135 of the Pokémon Journeys anime is going to air on December 9, 2022. The episode’s title is going to be “Pokémon! I’m Glad I Got to Meet You!!”, which is both enigmatic and suggestive at the same time. The synopsis for the episode has not been revealed so we do not know whether it is going to be the last one, but it is possible that the Pokémon anime is entering a new phase.
The rest of this article is going to tell you everything we know about the Pokémon Journeys anime series. You’re going to find out whether it is going to end 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.
Is Pokémon Journeys over?
And while Netflix subscribers are still waiting for the final batch of Pokémon Journeys episodes to arrive outside of Japan, Japanese viewers got to witness a majestic and long-awaited scenario on November 11, 2022. In episode 132 of the anime, titled “The Finals IV: ‘Partner'”, Ash and Leon had their final clash and Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town, after losing in the Leagues of all regions save for Alola, finally became the Pokémon World Champion.
Pokémon fans will know that this was the moment we’ve been waiting for since the beginning. Ash Ketchum set out on his journey to becoming the very best like no one ever was. And we saw him travel through the regions, entering one Pokémon League after another and always failing at various stages. He won the Alola league, but that one was so easy and different in comparison to the previous ones that it truly did seem like a consolation prize that no one really cared for that much. No one really considered it a true league competition and proof of Ash’s powers. And then came the championship. The best trainers from all the regions were in one place and Ash was among them. Could he do it?
Well, it all seemed set for Ash to become the new champion, even if we already knew that he had to fight Leon in the finals. The final battle was spread through four episodes in total and Ash finally won. Sure, we all hoped it would happen, but, at the same time, we did not think it possible. And yet – it happened. Ash won with his team and he was crowned the Pokémon World Champion. Okay. So, what now?
Okay, the series won’t end with that, it has to have a proper send-off and we know that there are going to be at least three additional episodes of Pokémon Journeys, as per the official data:
- Episode 133: “Project Mew” (November 25, 2022)
- Episode 134: “Seize the Future!” (December 2, 2022)
- Episode 135: “Pokémon! I’m Glad I Got to Meet You!!” (December 9, 2022)
Now, we don’t actually know where the series is going to go after this, whether Episode 135 is going to be the last episode of Pokémon Journeys or not, especially since we don’t have a proper synopsis for any of the episodes. Ash did always go back home and he took a rest after each of the losses in the league, but whether the producers plan on continuing the Pokémon Journeys anime or doing something completely else is unknown.
Historically speaking, the previous seasons and arcs did not show consistency in this aspect. Some ended with one or more episodes after the final battle, some had additional mini-arcs that followed the final battle, before transitioning further. This is why we cannot really predict what is going to happen. Sure, the final battle usually signifies the end of a major saga, but we don’t know how they’re planning to end it.
What can we expect from the Pokémon anime in the future?
Still, we can discuss the possibilities and that is exactly what we are going to do in this section of the article. Namely, never has the Pokémon franchise been so close to a definitive ending as it is now. Namely, in all the previous seasons, we knew that Ash Ketchum’s story would continue later as the young trainer had not yet achieved his goal of becoming the best.
That, along with the fact that The Pokémon Company had been releasing new Generations of the creatures, was a sure sign that Ash would be coming back and he’s been doing it since 1998. It’s been 24 years since Ash’s journey started and while he did conclude a Generation’s story on several occasions, we always knew he would come back because his personal story was not over. But now… it seems that it is. Ash has become the very best, he has beaten the best of the best and is the current world champion. He has traveled across the lands, he has seen all of the Pokémon and he has become the very best. What else could he do?
Regardless of whether Ash’s story will continue or not, the Pokémon anime is probably not over. It wouldn’t actually make sense for the anime to end. The Pokémon is one of the most popular and most lucrative anime series ever, and with a whole new generation on the way with the release of Scarlet and Violet, there is no doubt that we will be seeing more of the Pokémon anime in the future. But in what form? That is the million-dollar question! There are, actually, several possibilities.
Now that Ash’s story has come to an end, the Pokémon anime could finally move on from its quarter-century narrative and introduce someone new to the series. It could be a completely new protagonist, or someone we’ve already seen, like Max or Wally, whose journey would begin in the new Paldea region. This would certainly be a refreshing approach to the series, especially if the writers decided to keep the former narrative as canon and then bring Ash back later in the story. It would be strange to watch new episodes of the Pokémon without Ash, but the new games promise to bring us a wholly new experience and it would make sense, from a marketing standpoint, for the anime to do the same. Namely, with such a move, the franchise could attract a completely new generation of fans that would, ultimately, be able to follow their own hero for the next decade or two, whereas the old generation would be able to move on from a story that kept them in front of the screens for almost 25 years and, if they want, follow something completely new.
Namely, Ash Ketchum is the hero of an earlier generation, and while the franchise has done things to reinvent it over the years and to make it more approachable for younger fans, the younger generation missed out on more than a couple of Ash’s adventures and they couldn’t really immerse themselves into the story as those who began their Pokémon journey together with Ash. This is why newer generations never really bonded with Ash in a proper way, although they are fans of the Pokémon franchise. This is why a completely new hero would make sense, and it would also mean that the company is planning several new Generations of Pokémon in the upcoming years.
On the other hand, the Pokémon anime might simply do what it always does – take a break and bring back Ash into the game, and this would also make perfect sense because it’s a formula that has been working for almost 25 years. If it works, why change it, eh? Still, that would involve a lot of work. Namely, since Ash has achieved his primary goal after 25 years on the screen, although he’s still 10 years old, there is really nothing much for him to do. Okay, sure, there’s always the let’s-go-on-an-adventure part where he could simply leave all of his Pokémon except Pikachu and travel to Paldea, but that wouldn’t really cut it anymore.
The whole idea and the process behind it were working because Ash had a goal he wanted to achieve. Now that he has done it, doing it all over again and wanting to become the champion of Paldea… it wouldn’t make much sense, right? First of all, he’s already the best in the world, and if there are trainers more powerful than Leon in Paldea (although the games have not implied such a thing in the trailers), then why were they not represented in the championship? Why did the champion of Paldea not attend the tournament? That would be a massive inconsistency that would be very hard to resolve in a way that would satisfy fans.
On the other hand, if the trainers in Paldea are not stronger than the others, then what would be the point? Ash traveled the regions to become the best, not what he has become the best, there’s really no need for him to travel to another region and collect gym badges since he already knows that he’s stronger than all of these trainers. He has, at the moment, become like Red from the Gen II games, the legendary trainer that everyone has to defeat.
And while we cannot rule out the possibility of Ash really making a comeback in the next installment of the anime series, they would have to give us a really good narrative reason for keeping Ash as the primary protagonist of the series because, from this perspective, a return doesn’t simply make sense. From this point on, retiring Ash would be the best and noblest thing to do, and it would be the best possible way to honor a 25-year-old legacy that has shaped a generation. The only thing we could actually understand is a mini-arc, like the Orange Island or Kanto Battle Frontier arc, where some Legendary Pokémon would be introduced to the canon, but that would have to be a temporary solution until the proper Generation IX anime starts.
Another possibility that comes to mind is a total revamp of the series in the form of a retcon or alternative timeline. Namely, the whole story could start from scratch, completely disregarding the main timeline, which would then open the door for a new iteration of Ash to return, or – again – a wholly new protagonist. This was done with some of the recent movies and although it created some confusion, it worked well in the end. They could do the same with the anime, which would then mean that we are following a wholly different – new or familiar – timeline. This would be a problem for most older fans, but the younger ones would probably adapt quite quickly.
The idea of time travel, as was done in the Arceus game, doesn’t seem overly possible, especially since we’ve already seen some Arceus-related spin-off episodes and we don’t think it’s likely that the writers would return to that part. Oh, there’s also the possibility that the Pokémon is going to end completely and that we are not going to see any new episodes, but that doesn’t seem overly likely either.
So, the Pokémon is probably going to come back even after Pokémon Journeys ends, but we still don’t know in what form. Whether they’ll reinvent the story for Ash once more or give us something completely new, like – for example – Yu-Gi-Oh! did with GX, is something that we are going to see, but with the new games coming out on November 18 and Episode 135 airing on December 9, we’re pretty sure that we’ll be getting some new information on the future of the Pokémon series quite soon and that the series will deliver once more, whichever option it chooses. We just hope that everyone will love it as much as they have loved the original series and the original characters from the Pokémon anime series.