Ash Ketchum’s 25-Year Journey to Become the Top Pokemon Trainer is Finally Complete

Ash Ketchum may not be a familiar name to many, but as the 10-year-old protagonist of the Pokémon anime franchise, there are millions who instantly recognize it. After 25 years as an integral part of the world of the “pocket monsters,” Ash has finally become the greatest Pokémon trainer in the world. The news was announced officially by the Pokémon Company, with Ash achieving the goal during the new episode of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series, where along with his best bud Pikachu, Ash won the Masters Eight Tournament of the Pokémon World Coronation Series.

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The journey of Ash and Pikachu began back in 1997’s Pokémon: Indigo League series, where together, the dynamic duo battled many gym leaders, took on some huge challenges, and ultimately set themselves on a path to glory that would take over two decades to achieve. It took 22 years for Ash to secure the title as Pokémon League Champion in Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, and now just three years later, Ash and his team have seen more intense fights with some of the biggest and best trainers to win the Pokémon World Coronation Series. As per Variety, Taito Okiura, vice president of marketing for The Pokémon Company International, said of the moment:

“Ash Ketchum’s determination and perseverance to achieve his goal of becoming the world’s top Pokémon Trainer over the course of 25 seasons represents the very best of what it means to be a Trainer. We cannot wait to celebrate this moment with Pokémon fans when the newest season of ‘Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series’ and this adventure-defining episode air around the world in the coming year. This is a season fans won’t want to miss!”

The Pokémon Company4Kids Entertainment

Whether it is anime TV shows, manga comics, card collecting games, or the Pokémon Go! mobile phone game, the Pokémon franchise has become one of the world’s biggest and most instantly recognizable brands. Even for those who have no idea what Pokémon is about, the name and characters like Pikachu are forever ingrained in pop culture. Having begun in 1996 as a pair of Game Boy games, the franchise is currently believed to be the highest-grossing media franchise of all time, with the video game series having sold over 440 million copies to become the third best-selling video game franchise ever.

While Pikachu is still the most iconic of the Pokémon characters, the list of species now stands at 905 and counting, the English slogan for the franchise of “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” seems to have become a life’s work rather than a simple game challenge. In recent years, the franchise has even seen the character of Pikachu hitting the big screen as a live-action character in Detective Pikachu, where he was voiced by Ryan Reynolds and secured a box office haul of $433 million, the second highest-grossing video game adaptation behind 2016’s Warcraft.

Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series is available to stream on Netflix in the U.S.