Ash Ketchum and Pikachu are set to leave Pokémon after 25 years.
The pair of characters have led the iconic anime show since 1997 and starred in over 1200 episodes. Last month, they finally won the Pokémon World Championship over a four-episode battle, with the likes of Brock, Misty and Dawn making their return to the series.
Ketchum and Pikachu will be replaced in the show by two new protagonists named Liko and Roy, who will be joined by the three Paldea starter Pokémon introduced in the recently-released games Scarlet & Violet.
Sarah Natochenny, the long-time voice actor for the English version of Ketchum among other characters in the show, paid tribute to Ash in a Twitter post.
She wrote: “It’s been an extraordinary privilege to have been the English voice of Ash Ketchum for what will be 17 years.
“No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he’ll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come. I’ll keep him present for all of us in every way I can.”
It’s been an extraordinary privilege to have been the English voice of Ash Ketchum for what will be 17 years. No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he’ll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come. I'll keep him present for all of us in every way I can. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/UZxPO4xD6E
— Sarah Natochenny (@sarahnatochenny) December 16, 2022
Reviewing Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, which came out this month, NME wrote: “Pokémon Scarlet & Violet is a frustrating beast. I’ve enjoyed my time with it, and if you’re a Poké-fan you won’t begrudge it for the technical issues and design flaws, but it’s impossible to recommend when it feels so half-baked.
“There are good ideas here, but it feels like it would have benefited if developer Game Freak had been given a little more time to refine the numerous ideas here.”
Elsewhere, Art Through The Ages, a Pokémon treasure hunt-style exhibition, came to Manchester’s Trafford Centre on October 17, remaining in place until just before the release of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet last month.
The exhibition, which is a showcase of “unique” art from Pokémon’s Red and Blue era, the Kanto region, saw fans of the series going on a treasure hunt.