Warning – This article contains spoilers
After setting off on their journey 25 years ago, Ash and Pikachu have just won the highest possible Pokémon league in the latest installation of the anime Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series.
The Pokémon franchise is one that has gathered millions of fans from around the globe, with its first-ever game releases Pokémon Red, Green, and the following Blue version selling millions of copies worldwide after its release on the Nintendo Game Boy in 1996.
Since then, we have seen everything from Pokémon trading cards to the more recent phenomena of Pokémon GO.
However, one of the biggest factions of the Pokémon empire is their anime. First released in 1997, we’ve since seen 25 series and 23 movies (not including the live action Detective Pikachu) added to the collection, helping Pokémon reach the eyes of children and adults alike.
The anime follows ten-year-old Ash Ketchum (or as he’s known in the Japanese version, Satoshi) and his trusty Pokémon companion Pikachu. Together, they explore different regions around the world, meeting and battling new people and Pokémon in Ash’s renowned venture to, as the original intro claims, “be the very best”, “catch ‘em all!”, and become a Pokémon Master.
Ash hasn’t had much luck over the past 25 years, only winning two Pokémon Leagues from the numerous regions he has travelled to. However, in the most recent anime series, Ash and his Pikachu have managed to battle their way to the largest and toughest championship in the world.
In the Galar region, the duo have reached the highest league of Pokémon battle, The Masters Eight Tournament, in which the competitor (in this case, Ash) faces the top eight Pokémon trainers from across the globe. The winner earns the title ‘Monarch’ and becomes the number one Pokémon trainer in the world.
Defeating fan favourite champions such as Iris from the Unova region and Cynthia from the Sinnoh region, Ash was then faced with Leon, reigning Monarch and champion from the Galar region, in an epic battle that lasted four entire episodes. In the final smackdown, Leon was defeated and Ash became the number one Pokémon trainer in the world, an event that fans have been waiting for since the beginning of the anime all those years ago.
This all begs the question: where will the anime go now? The main protagonist has achieved all that is seemingly possible with nowhere to climb.
This great victory is leaving fans pondering the future of Pokémon, feeling not just pride over Ash’s victory but intrigue at where Pokémon will take us next in this vast, vast world, with the hope that it’s just as thrilling and special as the past 25 years.
Featured Image Credit: OLM, inc. and The Pokémon Company