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Pokemon Fans Don't Think They've Seen The Last Of Ash Ketchum

After 25 years of hard training and spectacular Pokémon battles, Ash Ketchum (voiced by Sarah Natochenny) has finally become the ultimate champion. Now that he's beaten the best trainers in the world, he's taking a little time off to relax and hang out with Pikachu (Ikue Ôtani). In the upcoming new story "Pokémon Horizons: The Series," Ash passes the main character mantle to the young and energetic up-and-comer Liko (Minori Suzuki) and her companion Roy (Yuka Terasaki). However, some fans feel Ash is too central to the universe to stay away from the series for long. 

"Pokémon Horizons: The Series" will explore the new Paldea region that was introduced in the games "Pokémon: Scarlet and Violet," with Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly in the spotlight. This will introduce the TV show to the ninth generation of Pokémon and will be the first without Ash as the main protagonist. It's incredibly hard to imagine any iteration of the series without him, leaving some fans to think he'll eventually return.

On Reddit, users share the opinion that Ash will come back if the new series struggles to capture an audience without the iconic young trainer. The final scene of "Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series" insinuated as much, leading u/Rshawer to comment, "To me, this is definitely not the end. They are going to bring this back if the new series underperforms." Many seem to agree that his return is inevitable as they've also added their input to the threaded discussion.

Fans unanimously agree that Ash will return to Pokémon

Ash's return is extremely likely as familiar characters frequently turn up in the Pokémon world — like Ash's infamous rival Gary Oak (James Carter Cathcart), his dear friends Misty (Rachael Lillis/Michele Knotz) and Brock (Eric Stuart), and even Team Rocket, who fans also believe will eventually rejoin the series. In Ash's final scene, he strolls through a gorgeous park with cherry blossoms while the nostalgic adventure theme plays. He arrives at a fork in the road and has to choose a new path, though some believe it leads to Paldea.

Reddit user u/randomboy2004 thinks the final scene pointed Ash to an airport that will fly him to the new region. "Plot twist: The stick point to the airport that is booking to Paldea," they wrote. This could definitely be a possibility as one of the series' directors, Kunihiko Yuyama, even hinted that Ash may be featured again. Others feel the same way, like u/hepgiu who referenced a familiar marketing tactic: "Oh, I've been saying for a while that this new season with a new protagonist ordeal smells like a New Coke stunt to me." 

Some fans think Ash will show up regardless of the success of the new series, including u/ContinuumGuy who said, "Even if it doesn't underperform I bet Ash shows up every now and then." A select few even suggested that the upcoming show should chart a new path without Ash, such as u/TwilightVulpine who pointed out, "Frankly I'd hate if that happened. It would mean they would rather feed kids the same slop forever than take a risk on something new."

Though it would be refreshing to have a brand new start, it seems very likely that we haven't seen the last of Ash Ketchum.