For those of us born in the nineties, Ash Ketchum has always been a friend we could count on; a kid who was lucky enough to live adventures in the fantastic world we dreamed of through the Game Boy. But time went by and, while other references of our generation such as Harry Potter was growing up, Ash always stayed there; without growing up and accumulating medals.
This caused many children of subsequent generations to join his adventures. Perhaps without the same passion as us, who knew how he started and went along with him when he even got on badly with little Pikachu. But they followed a path that seemed to have no end… until now.
Twenty-six years after his first adventure, Pokémon has put an end to Ash Ketchum’s adventures. In return, a new series arrives in which protagonists Liko and Rod will travel across Paldea in search of medals and dominant Pokémon from the Legendary Path. But along the way, a whole story that has marked childhoods and youths all over the world will be left behind.
How was Ash’s end in Pokémon?
The real ending to Ash and Pikachu‘s story came when the protagonist of the original series won the title of Champion by defeating the High Command leaders of all the regions he had already visited. Although it cost him sweat and tears, Ash fulfilled his dream, at last, by defeating Lionel and his fearsome Charizard.
But there was still one final arc left, a batch of chapters dedicated to nostalgia in which the characters we all remember reappeared: Team Rocket, Gary Oak, Misty and Brock, the Squirtle Squadron and much more. A nostalgic arc that serves to close the series that we have all loved for years, and that marks a worthy end to this adventure.
Throughout the arc, we reflect on what their adventure has meant for Ash and Pikashu and what it really takes to be a Pokémon Master. Finally, we see a perfect last shot to close it all out, with Ash and Pikachu running towards the horizon. Above, in the sky, a rainbow is formed… exactly like the one left by Ho-Oh in the first chapter of the original fiction.
Thus, the door remains open to a possible future for Ash beyond what he has already starred in. This may come in the form of a future series or, what seems more likely, through recurring cameos in the following ones. Either way, it’s time to pass the baton.
We are getting older
Beyond all that this finale has meant for Pokémon, the end of Ash and Pikachu’s adventures makes it clear that we’re getting old. Most of us who started watching the series are now in our thirties… and it’s time to reflect on what the series itself has meant.
It’s true that Pokémon forever changed the way we understand video games, with much greater interconnectedness and collecting as a major asset. But it also changed the television landscape of the time; it ushered in the era of “mascots” in which products from all over Japan began to emerge as spin-offs, from Digimon to Yu-Gi-Oh! to Medabots to Bleyblade.
Anyone who grew up with these references knows what the Pokémon anime meant. It ushered in a new era in which technology took on great importance; we went from analog to digital, and merchandising became popular as the best way to profit from these products.
The fact that today we all have Funko Pop, figures or shelves full of comics and collectible books has much more to do with Ash and Pikachu than with any other product of the time. And the fact is that Pokémon marked a new way of relating to pop culture, better or worse but in which several generations have grown up.
25 seasons of history
Although Ash and Pikachu have remained the main characters during these 25 seasons, the series has undergone several significant changes over the years. The first of these is that the companions of the main characters, Misty and Brock, have been changing in each series since the Johto region ended. Thus, characters such as Serena, Tracey, Aura or Iris have joined the main lineup.
But the biggest change came with the Sun and Moon series. After 19 seasons maintaining the same animation style and optimizing it to improve it, they decided to make a sudden change and change it completely. In this way, they adapted to the new trends in Japanese animation… although not everyone liked it.
This style is the one that the series has followed in recent years, and it is much better suited to the new generations of children who have continued to enjoy the adventures of Pokémon. Undoubtedly, at this point it was already clear that we fans of the saga were getting a bit old. But the definitive change comes now, with new stories and protagonists that have nothing to do with Ash. Let’s just hope they live up to the classic Pokémon duo.
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