A Brief but Succinct Recap of the 'Pokémon' Anime as Ash's Journey Comes to an End

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Dec. 28 2022, Published 3:01 p.m. ET

After more than 15 years, the story of Ash Ketchum (or Satoshi, if you prefer the Japanese dub) is finally coming to an end. The storyline of the original Pokémon anime is almost over and the torch will soon be passed to a new generation of Pokémon trainers in a new series coming in 2023.

The anime first premiered in Japan in 1997 and became an international sensation in 1998. As Ash's quest to become a Pokémon master went on, he made plenty of friends and caught new Pokémon companions.

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In fact, Ash's adventures have been extended across several different shows as he travels to new regions and takes on new enemies.

His story will soon come to a conclusion with an 11-episode event. If you haven't kept up with the anime since its early days or you just need a refresher on past events leading up to the big finale, here's a quick recap of the Pokémon anime to get you caught up on everything you need to know, broken down by Pokémon generations.

Original (Seasons 1-2)

Ash's journey begins here as he sets off from Pallet Town with his faithful companion, Pikachu. He meets Water Pokémon trainer Misty and Pewter City Gym leader Brock, who accompany him on his journey across the Kanto region. Along with foiling the schemes of Team Rocket, Ash qualifies for the Indigo League championship but ultimately loses.

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Undeterred, he strives to become stronger. He eventually competes in the Orange Islands tournament and becomes the new champion.

Ash is also tasked with the safe transport of the mysterious GS Ball from Professor Ivy of the Orange Archipelago back to Professor Oak in his hometown. However, the GS Ball and its contents were never actually resolved within the series.

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The Johto League (Seasons 3-5)

Upon arriving in the Johto region, Ash learns that his bitter rival Gary is competing in the Johto League tournament and decides to qualify. Having lost to him several times in the past, Ash is able to defeat Gary for the first time, changing their rivalry to become more friendly in nature.

Though he ultimately loses in the Johto League, he sets his sites on the Hoenn Region. He exchanges emotional goodbyes with Misty and Brock as they go their separate ways to achieve their dreams.

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Ruby and Sapphire (Seasons 6-9)

Ash reunites with Brock and meets two new traveling companions in May and her younger brother Max. May strives to compete in the Hoenn Grand Festival and makes it to the Top 8 before losing. Ash competes in the Hoenn League and also makes it to the Top 8 competitors, losing out to a trainer named Tyson.

Ash also earns the right to become a "Frontier Brain" and become akin to a stationary Gym Leader, but declines in order to continue traveling the world.

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Diamond and Pearl (Seasons 10-13)

Ash and Brock travel to the Sinnoh region and meet Dawn, an aspiring Pokémon Coordinator who raises Pokémon for beauty contests. She comes in second in the Sinnoh Grand Festival.

Meanwhile, Ash competes in the Sinnoh League and makes it to the semifinals before losing in the Top 4.

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Black & White (Seasons 14-16)

Ash's journey continues in the Unova Region, becoming friends with trainers Iris and Gym Leader Cilan. Along with qualifying for the Unova League, they also continually put a stop to the evil plans of Team Plasma.

Once again, Ash competes in the Unova League and loses in the quarterfinals. After the competition, they travel to the Decolore Islands. Later, Iris and Cilan decide to travel to Johto to pursue their dreams while Ash goes to Kalos with a reporter named Alexa.

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X & Y (Seasons 17-19)

Upon arriving in the Kalos Region, Ash and Alexa encounter new companions Clemont and Bonnie (the latter of whom is secretly a Gym Leader whom Ash must eventually battle). Together, they learn about Mega Evolutions and the power they offer to their Pokémon. To this end, Ash's new Greninja eventually gains the ability to take on a new and stronger form, making it appear similar to Ash.

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Ash also reunites with a childhood friend named Serena, who wants to appear in a Pokémon Showcase.

Though Ash loses in the Kalos League finals, he and his friends are able to defeat the evil Team Flare.

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Sun & Moon (2016-2019)

Ash and Pikachu travel to the tropical Alola region. Here, Ash has a fateful encounter with a guardian Pokémon named Taku Koko who grants him a Z-Ring. This artifact gives Ash the power to synchronize with his Pokémon, allowing them to perform powerful Z-Moves. He later enrolls in a local Pokémon school, where he and other young trainers learn how to harness Z-Moves.

Using this new power, he overcomes the island's many challenges and even takes home the gold during the Alola League.

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'Journeys' series (2019-2023)

In the final official series for Ash's arc, he makes a victory lap across all eight regions, including that of the new Galar region. Traveling alongside another aspiring Pokémon master named Goh, Ash strives to compete in the World Coronation Series.

Toward the end of the series, Ash becomes crowned the new Pokémon World Champion.

The series is set to conclude in 2023 with one more 11-episode arc.

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