The long and seemingly-endless Pokémon journey for Ash Ketchum is finally coming to an end. His dream to become a Pokémon Master began back in 1997 (1998 in the US) when he left Pallet Town with his first Pokémon, Pikachu. He would travel through every Pokémon region imaginable, making new friends and catching all kinds of Pokémon along the way. Even if he often ran into trouble with Team Rocket, he would continue to strive for greatness.
In mid-November 2022, Ash hit a major milestone when, after 25 years, he became a Pokémon League Champion in Pokémon: Ultimate Journeys. His victory in this tournament, however, marks the beginning of the end. After one more 11-episode mini-series, Ash and Pikachu will no longer be the main protagonists of the anime, paving the way for a new generation in a completely new series.
The main voice actors for Ash have taken to social media to share their emotions on the end to his journey.
The voice actors for Ash Ketchum share their thoughts on the upcoming 'Pokémon' finale.
In the Pokémon anime, Ash has been portrayed by notable voice actors in different languages. In the original Japanese dub, Ash (known in Japan as Satoshi) has been played by Rica Matsumoto since the very beginning of the series.
In the English dub, Ash was voiced by two different voice actors. From 1998 to 2006, Ash was voiced by prolific voice actress Veronica Taylor. The role would be inherited by Sarah Natochenny, who would provide Ash's voice up until the present.
Having portrayed the iconic Pokémon anime protagonist for so long, each of the voice actresses has tweeted about their bittersweet emotions over the end of Ash's story.
Veronica tweeted, "What a remarkable journey! 25 years of friendship, challenges, lessons learned, and so much joy! Bringing a voice to Ash was and continues to be a huge honor."
Sarah also posted her thoughts, stating "It's been an extraordinary privilege to have been the English voice of Ash Ketchum for what will be 17 years."
She continues, "No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he'll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come. I'll keep him present for all of us in every way I can."
Rica Matsumoto also tweeted about the ending. She wrote, translated from Japanese, "Satoshi has been in our hearts ever since he left Masara Town (the Japanese name for Pallet Town). No matter what, we'll always be together."
Pikachu's voice actor is known around the world.
In a unique departure from traditional international dubs of anime, Pikachu's voice work is retained in both the Japanese and English dub. Since the start of the series, the iconic Pokémon mascot has been brought to life by Ikue Ōtani (One Piece, Persona 5). Ikue has been the voice of Pikachu in nearly every single one of his appearances, even outside of the anime. It's safe to say that even if Ash's story will have an ending, we'll definitely see Pikachu again relatively soon.
The first 12 episodes of Pokémon: Ultimate Journeys are streaming on Netflix. The new anime will begin airing in Japan in 2023.