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Pokémon Horizons: The Series - What We Know So Far

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It seems like "Pokémon Concierge" isn't the only exciting new animated project that "Pokémon" fans will be needing to catch in the near future. There's another major show coming, and it's taking an unprecedented step for the franchise. After consistently running for over 25 years, the mainline "Pokémon" anime is finally getting its very first full-fledged reboot. This new chapter for the series has been bestowed the snappy English title "Pokémon Horizons: The Series."

While the "Pokémon" series' trademark elements of catching, befriending, and training powerful elemental creatures are still a prime focus of the new show, this fresh iteration is changing up the status quo that fans are used to far more than many may have expected. In-depth details are still in relatively short supply ahead of its premiere, but there's already enough information to get eager viewers excited, including the general plot synopsis and release window.

When will Pokémon Horizons: The Series be released?

While a definitive English release date for "Pokémon Horizons: The Series" has not yet been announced, the project does have a release window. Fans can expect the new anime to begin airing episodes sometime this year, making it another TV show worth checking out in 2023.

It's worth noting that the original Japanese version of "Pokémon Horizons: The Series" does have a release date: April 14, 2023. However, the "Pokémon" franchise has not historically released official subtitled versions for these original Japanese releases, so viewers shouldn't expect any scheduling parity. Nonetheless, the Japanese premiere date does offer a clue at when viewers should expect the show's English dub to begin airing. Historically, the English dub of "Pokémon" has lagged behind its Japanese counterpart by roughly four to six months. If that pattern holds true for "Pokémon Horizons: The Series," it's possible that fans will be waiting until the final months of 2023 to watch it.

What is the plot of Pokémon Horizons: The Series?

"Pokémon Horizons: The Series" does what fans once thought was unthinkable — it breaks away from the long-running story of Pokémon Trainer Ash Ketchum and his partner Pikachu in favor of beginning a new narrative saga with a completely fresh cast of characters.

"Pokémon Horizons: The Series" takes the action to the Spain-inspired Paldea region and features two new protagonists: Liko and Roy. Liko, who hails from Paldea, partners with her starter Pokémon Sprigatito and sets out to discover the mystery behind a special amulet that was bestowed to her. She's accompanied by Roy, a boy from the Kanto region who also possesses his own strange artifact in the form of a one-of-a-kind Poké Ball and aims to challenge Legendary Pokémon. The pair meet all manner of colorful characters on their journey, including an adventuring professor named Friede and his partner Captain Pikachu.

"'Pokémon Horizons: The Series' is set to be a thrilling journey that explores new wonders and makes fascinating discoveries about the Pokémon world," Taito Okiura, vice president of marketing for The Pokémon Company International, said in a press release.

Who is starring in Pokémon Horizons: The Series?

Many of the characters who will be appearing in "Pokémon Horizons: The Series" have already been revealed, but the same can't be said of the voice cast for both the Japanese and English audio versions. As it stands, none of the actors starring in the English dub for the series have yet been revealed, nor have there been any official previews at what any of the characters in this version might sound like. To top it off, Ash's departure from the cast means that longtime English lead actress Sarah Natochenny is leaving "Pokémon."

Despite the lack of solid information on the show's English cast, there is at least one name attached to the project, and it's one that "Pokémon" fans know extremely well already. Ikue Ōtani, who has been serving as the voice of Pikachu in nearly all official "Pokémon" media since the franchise's inception — including both the Japanese and English dubs of the anime — is returning once again. Her trademark voice can be heard in the lines for Captain Pikachu in one of the project's pre-release teasers.

Is there a trailer for Pokémon Horizons: The Series?

Thus far, several short trailers have been made available to give fans a better idea of what to expect from "Pokémon Horizons: The Series." These trailers aren't in English, but they do have official subtitles.

The first teaser offers a brief introduction to several major characters including Liko, Roy, Friede, and Captain Pikachu, with each getting a brief line outlining their personal goals and motivations. The preview also has a few exciting action shots, including Friede riding a Charizard and Liko and Sprigatito facing off against a mysterious individual named Amethio and his Ceruledge in a Pokémon battle.

The first official trailer offers an even more in-depth look at the show, kicking off with an unknown voice encouraging Liko to overcome her worries and embark on her Pokémon journey. It features an extended look at the battle between Liko and Amethio, a glimpse of Friede piloting a massive "Final Fantasy"-style airship, a surprising appearance from a shiny legendary Pokémon in Rayquaza, and then some.

While these trailers offer an enticing overview of the beginning for "Pokémon Horizons: The Series," they're quite brief and are clearly keeping some narrative elements close to the chest. As the English release for the show approaches, additional trailers may unpack things even further.

Where to watch other Pokémon productions

"Pokémon Horizons: The Series" is far from the first adaptation "Pokémon" has received in the TV and film space. Of course, it succeeds the original "Pokémon" anime, which has run for a whopping 25 seasons. There's also the live-action movie "Pokémon Detective Pikachu," numerous animated films, specials, anime miniseries, and so on. Watching every piece of "Pokémon" media would be a massive undertaking, and it's not specifically necessary for starting this new series. Nonetheless, some fans might like to get in the "Pokémon" spirit during this pre-release period.

Pretty much every major streaming service out there has some "Pokémon" content on it. Netflix features episodes from both the first and latest seasons of the anime, while a subscription to Amazon Prime Video includes a good few seasons at no additional cost. There's a solid free option available in the form of Pokémon TV, a streaming service that constantly rotates a curated selection of "Pokémon" content from over the years.

Is Pokémon Horizons: The Series canon?

While the canon of the "Pokémon" franchise is pretty broad, most projects generally fall in line within most of the established lore and worldbuilding from the series' 25-plus-year history. "Pokémon Horizons: The Series" looks no different, though establishing whether it's specifically in continuity with another specific strand of the franchise is a bit of a difficult task.

At the moment, it's unclear whether "Pokémon Horizons: The Series" actually takes place in the same continuity as the original "Pokémon" anime with Ash and Pikachu. It's possible that it could instead align itself with the established video game continuity, or start something entirely new and self-contained. Anime director Kunihiko Yuyama suggested in an interview with Otomedia (via @DogasusBackpack) that fans would see Ash again in the future, though that could always be in a separate movie or project. Fans will simply have to wait for more details to discern where exactly "Pokémon Horizons: The Series" falls in the greater Pokémon timeline — if at all.

What Pokémon media will Pokémon Horizons: The Series be adapting?

For the most part, "Pokémon Horizons: The Series" seems to be telling an original story within the Pokémon universe. Liko, Roy, Friede, and the rest of the cast are all completely new characters who haven't shown up in any previous media. Nonetheless, a few small narrative tidbits confirm that the new series is going to be drawing from a particular set of "Pokémon" video games: "Pokémon Scarlet and Violet" on the Nintendo Switch.

For one thing, the series is set in the Paldea region, which is also the location of focus for "Pokémon Scarlet and Violet." It features some similar narrative beats too, with Liko getting a Sprigatito as her starter Pokémon, just as many players of the games do at the start of their journeys. Beyond that, Liko's mysterious amulet bears a striking similarity to the symbol of Paldea's Pokémon-transforming Terastal phenomenon, which is a major plot point in the original games. All told, "Pokémon Horizons: The Series" is clearly doing its own thing, but it's also drawing in some major ways from the ninth Pokémon generation.