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Pokémon Will Say Goodbye to Ash After 25 Years as the Anime's Star

The animated show will give Ash Ketchum a goodbye arc and then bring on new protagonists.

Ash Ketchum and his team of Pokemon
The Pokemon Company

Ash Ketchum has been the star and face of the Pokémon anime for 25 years, but now his journey is ending as the show moves on from its most famous Pokémon trainer.

Since the debut episode of the Pokémon anime in 1997, Ash Ketchum (known as Satoshi in Japan) has traveled with his beloved Pikachu, catching new monsters to train and defeating champions in his quest to be the best that ever was. But it seems that in the latest series, after winning an international tournament, there's not much more left for Ash to do -- so fans will have to say goodbye to the world's greatest trainer and get ready for a new generation. 

Before that happens, the anime will give Ash a farewell tour of 11 special episodes memorializing his adventures with Pikachu over their 25-year journey. They'll start airing Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, in Japan.

"It's been an extraordinary privilege to have been the English voice of Ash Ketchum for what will be 17 years," said Ash's current English voice actor, Sarah Natochenny, in a tweet. "No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he'll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come."

The Pokémon Company announced that the next series to come in April 2023 will have new protagonists Liko and Roy (their Japanese names, so they could get new ones in the English dub), and feature three starter Pokémon from the new Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet games.