2019 might be winding down to a close but not everyone is already focused on the year ahead. For Pokémon creator Game Freak, in particular, it has one hell of a three-month period to oversee before the curtains finally fall on the 2010s. Nintendo Switch exclusives Pokémon Sword and Shield are, of course, due to arrive in just a few months’ time, and while they represent the most major Pokémon event of the year for many, both games also serve to kickstart the beginning of a new era.
As is custom, the arrival of a new Generation is the perfect time for The Pokémon Company to perform a soft reset on its various tie-in media, not least its long-running Trading Card Game and anime. The latter, in particular, has aired an eye-watering 1,000+ episodes since its debut in the late 90s and continues to dominate TV networks around the world thanks to its ongoing narrative starring lovable Pokémon Trainer Ash Ketchum.
But is the iconic character about ready to hang up his Poké Balls and enjoy retirement at the ripe old age of 10? The jury’s still out on that one, though at the very least, fans of the show appear to have caught their first glimpse of the upcoming series thanks to new merchandise artwork – seen in the gallery down below.
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As noted by the image’s poster, the logo used in next year’s Pokémon Calendar is the same – or very similar, at the very least – to that of the anime and features a wide breadth of Pokémon from different Generations. Pikachu, Alolan Vulpix, Shaymin and all three starters from the Galar region are present, though without their respective Trainers. That absence is unlikely to be an intentional fanning of the flames in regards to Ash’s future, but it leaves his fate just as obscure as before.
Is Ash truly going to be replaced with a new protagonist in the upcoming anime, or will he remain its star? Let us know what you think (and hope) in the usual place below!