Ash Ketchum and Pikachu, two characters that have been the heart of the Pokémon series since its launch in 1997, stepped down as protagonists on Friday. Her final episode was relatively quiet — nothing too flashy happened — but it was meaningful. The story ended where his journey began, in Pallet Town, and contained several callbacks to the series’ early episodes.
Ash and Pikachu’s journey spans multiple shows and films. In November, he won the Pokémon World Coronation Series and became one of the best trainers in the world of Pokémon. However, in December, The Pokémon Company International said the two would end their run with Pokemon Ultimate Journeys: The Series
[Ed. note: This article contains spoilers for the final episode where Ash and Pikachu are protagonists.]
The final episode featuring the two aired in Japan on Friday. Oddly enough, it almost seemed like a final episode. But there were numerous references to the first episode, according to a plot synopsis
We won’t go into all the details, but a few moments stood out due to their connection to previous episodes. Similar to the very first episode, Ash falls asleep in this episode after spending the night at his mother’s and rushes to Professor Oak’s lab.
From there, Ash rescues a Charmander, which is a reference to how he saved his own Charizard when it was still a Charmander. We later find out that Team Rocket has gotten back together and they make one last attempt to kidnap Pikachu, which shockingly doesn’t work, and Pikachu is rescued by Ash’s Pidgeot.
Perhaps what’s sweetest is the episode’s reflection on what it means to be a Pokémon Master. At the beginning of the episode, Ash meets Gary on the way to see Professor Oak. Gary congratulates him and asks if he’s a Pokémon Master yet, but Ash doesn’t answer. Later, Ash ponders the question and wonders if this is the end of his journey. The two then see a rainbow – a reference to seeing Ho-Oh in the first episode – and they decide to embark on a new adventure and run to the horizon.
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