With more than two decades of experience under his belt and well over 1,000 episodes dedicated to telling his story, Ash Ketchum has finally decided the time has come to make some career changes. Despite early knee-jerk reactions suggesting as such, no, the beloved Pokémon Trainer isn’t about to retire anytime soon, but his quest to become a Pokémon Master has almost certainly changed course in light of recent events.
In case you hadn’t heard, Ash is now a Pokémon League Champion. Following a number of morale-draining defeats at previous tournaments, the rookie from Pallet Town has since grown to become a fearsome competitor, having clinched his first-ever title from Alola’s reigning champion. The well-deserved victory has since had time to sink in for Ash, who, having achieved one of his lifelong goals, has found himself somewhat directionless.
Cue the beginning of a whole new adventure.
With Pokémon: The Series intended to start showing in Japan next month, only a few episodes remain to be aired of the anime’s current Sun & Moon season. And the most recent of these, Episode 145, has provided the first clear insight into Ash’s plans for the journey ahead. We’ve known for some time now, of course, that he’ll be making a return visit to every region depicted in the show (including Sword and Shield‘s Galar), but only now is the why becoming clear.
In an exchange with friend Olivia in the latest episode, an uncertain Ash is encouraged to reflect on his quest to Catch ‘Em All by returning to where it all started: home. Beginning in Kanto, the hero will retrace his steps from region to region, only this time, he’ll be sharing lead duties with Gou. How the newcomer’s own story will align with Ash’s remains one of the primary mysteries of Pokémon: The Series and Japanese fans will finally be able to join Ash on his latest undertaking on November 17th.
As for Western audiences, The Pokémon Company has yet to confirm an air date, though I suspect it won’t be far behind. Stay tuned for further developments.