It’s officially the dawn of a new era for Pokémon.
Just three months after it was announced that Ash Ketchum would be stepping down as the anime’s main character after 25 years, we now have our first look at the franchise’s next series Pokémon Horizons — as well as the new characters that will fill the Ash and Pikachu-shaped holes in our hearts.
Actually, we won’t need to worry so much about Pikachu. Despite Ash not being around to turn his hat backwards and whatnot, we’ll still be seeing plenty of that little electric mouse. The new show’s main trainers, Liko and Roy, appear to travel by airship, which is piloted by — you guessed it — a Pikachu with a captain’s hat on. Adorable? Absolutely. Safe? We’ll see.
Speaking of this passing of the baton, here’s a clip of Ash and Pikachu’s final appearance on the main Pokémon anime:
After almost 26 years of adventures, Ash Ketchum and his partner Pokémon, Pikachu conclude their journey in the Pokémon anime. I can’t express how grateful I am to @rica_matsumoto3 ❤️ Thank you for everything, Ash and Pikachu. I will miss you both so much 😭❤️ #Anipoke #アニポケ pic.twitter.com/HupUepEK94
— Rafi (@ThePokeRaf) March 24, 2023
But before you get too sad, know that Ash and Pikachu are expected to be seen again someday in some form, according to director Kunihiko Yuyama.
Pokémon Horizons premieres on April 14 in Japan. A release date for a U.S. dub has not been announced.
Your thoughts on the franchise’s big move? Drop ’em in a comment below.