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Ash and Pikachu to depart Pokémon series after 25 years

Two new faces to front Scarlet and Violet anime.

Pokémon's long-running anime series will say farewell to Ash Ketchum and his loyal Pikachu after 25 years.

Ash's final 11 episodes will begin airing in Japan in January 2023, wrapping up the Pokémon Trainer from Pallet Town's decades long journey.

Of course, the Pokémon anime will continue - but with two fresh new faces, and the trio of new Starter Pokémon from the recently-released Scarlet and Violet.

Farewell, Ash and Pikachu.Watch on YouTube

"Ash and Pikachu have had many encounters, many battles, and many exciting and memorable times," a trailer confirming Ash's departure stated today. "Every adventure is another step on the long path to becoming a Pokémon Master, a dream that never ends.

"The final chapter in Ash and Pikachu's story: 11 episodes to air starting Friday, 13th January 2023 in Japan."

And after that? "Across the world... a brand-new dream and adventure is about to begin," the trailer concludes, showing a girl wearing a blue coat and a red-haired boy in a hat, alongside Sprigatito, Fuecoco and Quaxly.

Ash's replacements.
Ash and Pikachu's new replacements.

Ash's tenure on the show has felt like it was drawing to a close for some time. After numerous sagas showing his journey to becoming a Pokémon Master, Ash finally won a regional league in 2019, and then became the ultimate world champion last month.

For a kid who set out to become the very best, it felt as if there was little else to go. Still, it's a momentous moment for the long-running anime and for the Pokémon franchise in general.

All that said, it seems possible - if not certain at some point - that we'll probably see Ash and Pikachu again.