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In 2023, Ash Ketchum and Pikachu will no longer be the main characters of Pokémon.

Ash Ketchum’s 25-year journey in the animated Pokémon TV series will soon come to an end, as the series will focus on brand new characters next year, after finally becoming the best like no one ever was.

In an episode of “Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series” that aired in Japan in November, the boy from Pallet Town and his longtime partner Pikachu became world champions. With the main character of the series as the top Pokémon trainer, The Pokémon Company announced that “the final chapter in Ash and Pikachu’s story” will begin on January 13, 2023, with 11 episodes concluding the journey that began in 1997.

“The upcoming special episodes not only commemorate Ash’s monumental achievement, but they also serve as an expression of gratitude from Pokémon to all the fans who have supported him and his partner Pokémon Pikachu along the way,” The Pokémon Company said in a statement. “In this final chapter for Ash and his Pikachu, they will provide a glimpse of what the future may hold for the world’s strongest trainer.”

“From exciting trainer battles to fun Pokémon encounters, fans can look forward to unravelling the mysteries of the Pokémon world,” The Pokémon Company said.

Sarah Natochenny, who has played Ash in the English version of the show since 2006, said in a Twitter post that it has been a “extraordinary privilege” to play the character.

“Whatever happens after his final chapter, he will live on in the hearts of many generations to come. I’ll do everything I can to keep him present for all of us “Natochenny explained.

Pokémon episodes are typically broadcast in Japan first, followed by broadcasts in the United States and other parts of the world months later. The Pokémon Company has not yet announced when the final episodes starring Ash and Pikachu will be broadcast in English.

In the United States, episodes of “Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series” are available on Netflix.

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