The next Pokémon anime series will drop Ash Ketchum and his beloved Pikachu in favor of two new protagonists, the Pokémon Company confirmed.
Per IGN, the ongoing 25th season of Pokémon the Series will be Ash and Pikachu’s last, and will see them replaced by Liko and Roy. They will be joined by their Pokémon Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly, the starters from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. The news comes just after Ash finally defeated every opponent in his way at the World Coronation Series Masters Eight Tournament, which only took him 25 years and over 1,000 episodes.
The current season of Pokémon is set to air its final episodes in Japan this month, and to commemorate the end of Ash and Pikachu's journey, the company will release three episodes celebrating a quarter-century of adventures. The episodes promise to "offer a glimpse at what the future may hold" for Ash, although it's also been billed as their "final chapter" together. The trailer, which can be seen above, offers a glimpse of the new leads as well as cameos from Brock and Misty.
Eagle-eyed fans have noticed that the poster for the final three episodes of Ash’s journey are also a tribute to one of the very first posters for the anime back in the ’90s.
The Pokémon anime premiered in Japan back in 1997, and later made its way to the west in 1999 through Warner Bros. The show has remained wildly popular, which has undoubtedly helped by the continued success of the game series. In addition to over 1,200 episodes, there have been 23 movies.