The Pokémon anime, like its video game and trading card game counterparts, owes its fame to a rich and colourful history stretching back more than two decades. All are key pillars of the franchise as a whole and continue to boast an astonishing level of popularity thanks to continuous change and innovation meant to keep the adventure fresh. Characters, settings and the Pokémon encountered change on a near-yearly basis as a result, though some mainstays have been around since the very beginning.
One of those, of course, is Ash Ketchum. Having been the anime series’ central protagonist for well over 1,000 episodes, the aspiring Pokémon Master has seen more of the world than people four times his age and while he’s still technically little more than a teenager, the time will eventually come when The Pokémon Company decides enough is enough for the iconic character. Is that time destined to come this year, though? Nobody can say for sure, but fans are already fearing the worst.
To discern the source of this concern, one needn’t look further than a new teaser released yesterday by The Pokémon Company, which you can see down below.
The trailer pertains to an announcement scheduled for later this month that will unveil where the anime series is headed next. Alone, that’s no indication that Ash is leaving the show, but many fans have made note of the fact that this iteration of the show is being re-branded simply to Pokémon (Pocket Monsters in Japan) without a sub-header. The implication, therefore, is that some form of a reboot is planned to take place, in turn introducing a brand new cast of characters. What’s more, this new season is said to span the entirety of the known Pokémon world and will visit regions from Kanto all the way up to and including Sword and Shield‘s Galar region.
If true, Ash’s retirement would represent the biggest shake-up to the anime since its beginning, though I’m certainly skeptical, to say the least. The Pokémon Company is well aware of the character’s instantly recognizable face and popularity and to knowingly throw that away would be a most unwise decision indeed.
In any case, stay tuned for the full reveal on September 29th.