Pokemon fans across the world are saying heartfelt goodbyes to Ash and Pikachu today, following the announcement that the pair will no longer star in the anime series.
On December 16, it was revealed that after 25 years, Ash and Pikachu's "final chapter" is coming next year. What this means is that The Pokemon Company will air an eleven-episode series starting on January 13, 2023, that will finally bid farewell to the iconic duo. From then on, the Pokemon anime will star two new protagonists and 'mons from the Paldea region - the same region found in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.
Alongside this eleven-episode series, titled Pokémon Aim To Be A Pokémon Master, we'll also be getting a one-off special called Pokémon: The Distant Blue Sky, which is due to air on December 23, 2022. No other details about this special have been revealed yet other than the teaser poster below that features Ash and Pikachu staring off into the distance.
Serebii Picture: Poster for a new Special Episode, Pokémon - The Distant Blue Sky, due to air in Japan next week, December 23rd 2022 https://t.co/NWlAdnmI2o pic.twitter.com/myPpoK6OvoDecember 16, 2022
As you can imagine, it's been an emotional day for long-time Pokemon fans who have grown up with 10-year old Ash and Pikachu over the last two decades. Right off the bat of the announcement, an outpouring of love for both the Trainer and his Pokemon appeared online, with many thanking the fictional character for being an inspiration during their childhoods. Which is about as touching as the 22-year-old cameo in Ash's championship win episode.
Goodbye Ash Ketchum and Pikachu I will miss you both 😭💔 pic.twitter.com/gZQ2T7wX8sDecember 16, 2022
Ash & Pikachu’s journey is coming to an end after 25 years.. I grew up with them & It’s super bittersweet knowing their story is coming to a close, but I’m excited for what’s to come. Thank you Ash & Pikachu 💛 pic.twitter.com/PXjU3D6ipbDecember 16, 2022
The tributes weren't just limited to Pokemon fans though. Alongside all of this, Ash Ketchum's English voice actor for the past 17 years, Sarah Natochenny, also shared their love for the character in a tweet that read: "It’s been an extraordinary privilege to have been the English voice of Ash Ketchum for what will be 17 years. No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he’ll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come. Cheers to new beginnings!" If that's not enough to get you tearing up, we don't know what will.
It’s been an extraordinary privilege to have been the English voice of Ash Ketchum for what will be 17 years. No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he’ll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come. Cheers to new beginnings! ❤️December 16, 2022
Need something to take your mind off the news? Take a look at our best Pokemon games list.