In case you missed it, something rather magical in the Pokémon world happened over the weekend.
After 22 years of painstaking sweat and tears, Pokémon Trainer Ash Ketchum has finally become a champion. The character, who has been the anime TV series’ central figure since its first airing in 1997, has been on countless adventures spanning more than two decades, having met hundreds of like-minded Trainers along the way.
While each episode often serves as a standalone story in itself, an overarching plot since the series’ beginning has detailed Ash’s ambitions to become a Pokémon League champion. Despite his and companion Pikachu’s best efforts, however, the Trainer has ultimately fallen at the last hurdle time and again, finishing as a runner-up in six tournaments. As of this past weekend, however, the 10-year old now officially has a title under his belt, having emerged victorious in the Alolan League.
With his ultimate goal complete, though, does this mean the end of Ash’s adventures?
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For a while now, fans have been nervously gnawing on their nails in the suspicion that following the Alolan league’s conclusion, Ash would go into retirement. Speculation over his future first gained traction when it emerged that the anime’s new season, due to air early next year, has undergone a reset of sorts, potentially replacing its star with a new protagonist. With Ash now officially a proud champion, such fears have reached fever pitch, but worry not – he’s not going anywhere.
As part of a recent interview with Oricon (translated by Twitter user Primaster), Ash’s Japanese voice actor Rika Matsumoto said: “Even though Satoshi [Ash] won his first Pokémon League, the way to become a Pokémon Master isn’t over.”
What’s the difference between a Pokémon Champion and Master, you ask? We, along with the rest of the internet, it seems, haven’t the foggiest idea. Perhaps we’ll get an answer next year but for now, at least, Ash’s quest appears to be only just beginning. Crisis averted!