It sure took a long time, but Ash Ketchum, the iconic protagonist of the Pokémon anime series, has finally become the very best like no one ever was. After 25 years of catching Pokémon, travelling the world, and battling trainers, gym leaders, and Champions, the perpetual 10-year-old trainer is now the world’s top trainer!
In the most recent episode of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series, Ash and Pikachu achieved their long-time goal of winning the Masters Eight Tournament of the Pokémon World Coronation Series. The victory came after Pikachu defeated Leon’s Charizard in the Final, proving that he is indeed the strongest of all the Pokémon League Champions.
It was a hard-fought fight for the title, with Ash having to win against Steven and Cynthia in the quarter and semifinals respectively first – both worthy and skilled opponents in their own right. Steven is the Champion of the Hoenn region (or Gen III, for those more attuned with the games), while Cynthia holds that honour for Gen IV’s Sinnoh region. By comparison, Leon is the Champion of Gen VIII’s Galar region.
Sarah Natochenny, Ash’s English dub voice actress, took to Twitter to express how it has been an “absolute honour” to be the voice of the character for decades, adding that Ash, indeed, “was the very best, like no one ever was.” The statement is the reference to the opening line of “Pokémon Theme (Gotta Catch ‘Em All!)”, which reads “I wanna be the very best / Like no one every was”.
Ash became the first-ever Pokémon League Champion in 2019’s Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, but this latest achievement is what he has been gunning for from the start. The trainer from Pallet Town made his debut in the first episode of the anime in 1997, and has since brought Pikachu along for his all of his adventures. While his feat has been celebrated by many, it’s unclear whether the boy will remain the anime’s main protagonist, or if a new trainer is taking over.
Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series is now available on Netflix in selected markets, with the most recent episode set to premiere outside of Japan soon.