Unlike past seasons, however, The Pokémon Company has decided to take a soft reboot approach for its globally popular anime. Despite earlier rumors suggesting as such, Ash hasn’t hung up his Poké Balls and retired. In fact, the Trainer is arguably embarking on his greatest, most ambitious journey yet. Rather than stick rigidly to its formula of having each season’s overarching narrative unfold within the confines of a single location, the entire known Pokémon world is fair game this time around.
Following a short pit-stop at his hometown of Pallet, Ash and Pikachu have started the first leg of their new globetrotting escapades and, thanks to a recent announcement, we now know which region he’ll be revisiting first. As per the image below, translated by Twitter user TASOfficial, Hoenn is confirmed to be the pair’s first port of call in the show’s seventh episode: “Fierce Fight in the Hoenn Region! Challenging the Battle Frontier!!” it reads.
The island nation, for those unaware, first debuted way back in 2002 with Gen 3 games Ruby & Sapphire. Like Kanto and Johto before it, Hoenn is loosely based on Japan and, fans suspect, will feature a number of cameos from past characters when Ash finally sets foot back in the region. Top of that list is Serena, who, having last appeared during the X and Y era, is said to have journeyed to Hoenn.
As for when Western audiences can expect to start watching Pokémon: The Series in English (episodes are currently available on YouTube in their native Japanese), sadly, we don’t have an answer for you. The Pokémon Company still has yet to confirm when localization will begin, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted and when the situation changes. Stay tuned.