After 25 years, Ash and Pikachu's "final chapter" is coming next year

(Image credit: TPC)

Ash Ketchum and Pikachu, the face of the Pokemon franchise for more than two decades, are being retired as the anime's protagonists next year.

In a new trailer, The Pokemon Company confirmed that "the final chapter in Ash and Pikachu's story" will air in an eleven-episode series beginning in Japan on Friday, January 13, 2023. In that trailer, the company announced an unfolding of "the future of Pokemon." Drawing on the duo's 25 years at the forefront of the series, the trailer draws on some of the high points of the anime, which first aired in 1997.

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The miniseries draws on the recent conclusion of Ash's arc, in which he became Pokemon Champion for the very first time. The heart-wrenching finale saw Ash and Pikachu best Sword and Shield champion Leon and his Charizard, with help from characters from across their combined adventures (including one particularly emotional 22-year-old cameo). Gary Oak, reappearing after terrorizing players since the days of Gen 1, asks a tough question of Ash: "Now that you've become the champion, how close are you to becoming a Pokemon Master?"

The new series is introduced with a message saying that "across the wide world, a new brand-new dream and adventure is about to begin." Two protagonists - one boy and one girl - are introduced alongside the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet starters, as the series looks to move in-line with the new games.

This likely isn't the last we've seen of Ash - the likes of Misty, Brock, and many other characters have reappeared throughout the hundreds of Pokemon anime episodes - but this is certainly the end of an era, and it'll be interesting to see how the series is transformed without its two brightest stars at its forefront.

Need to swot up on Paldea? Take a look at our Pokemon Scarlet and Violet guide.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.