The final leg of the Pokemon anime series will air in Japan from January 13, 2023. There will be 11 episodes with Ash and Pikachu as the leads before the series moves on to a new chapter after its 25-year storyline with Ash.
The new chapter will be situated in the Paldea region from the latest Pokemon Scarlet and Violet games and feature new protagonists Riko and Roy.
There is a flurry of emotions among long-standing fans of the franchise, some of whom have followed the series since it came out in 1997 in Japan and '98 in the US and have followed Ash through almost 1300 episodes.
There has also been a lot of speculation as to how the creators might treat Ash and Pikachu's exit from the series after 25 years of journeys filled with joy, heartbreak, struggles, and more. This article will look at one such fan theory, which seems like an exciting prospect that brings the journey to its sweet ending.
Note: This article might contain potential spoilers.
A battle between Ash and his father to end his 25-year-old journey in the Pokemon anime series
The internet blew up when Ash won the Pokemon World Championship. After all these years of struggle, the boy finally made it. He achieved his long-standing dream of becoming the best trainer in the world.
So for those who thought that when the series ends, it will be with Ash returning to his home in the Kanto region with the World Championship trophy in his hands and his Pokemon walking with him as the sun sets, that is not going to happen. For better or for worse.
Reddit user 'u/jonathanquirk' took to the official subreddit for Pokemon to share his theory on how the series could potentially end now that Ash has established himself as the best Pokemon trainer in the world. He speculated:
The anime seems to be leading up to the introduction of Ash’s as-yet unseen father.
Indeed, we have never seen his father, although he has been occasionally referred to. He almost got to meet him in the special episode "Pokémon: The Distant, Blue Sky," but since nothing ever goes according to plan in Ash's life, his father had already left by the time Ash reached the meeting point. This happened pretty recently, in December 2022.
So it seems that the crumb trail has been set, pointing towards what the ending might look like. u/jonathanquirk notes that a meeting with Ash's father will provide a much-needed answer to the question of what drove Ash to become the best for such a long time.
I don’t know who Ash’s father is, whether a previously seen character such as Silver, or a “new” character. But I have one theory about them: they own a Nidorino.
He went on to draw on a battle between Gengar and Nidorino that the Generation I games opened with, which was also adapted into the anime as a battle that Ash watches on TV in the first episode. He says,
This was many people’s first image of what Pokémon is, and started what would become the mega-franchise it is today.
Since Ash has his own Gengar now, his father having a Nidorino, and a battle between the two in the series' final episodes will bring the chapter full circle.
Reactions to the Gengar-Nidorino battle between Ash and his father
While some people were sold on the idea of the Gengar-Nidorino fight because of the immense callback value it added, others were skeptical about the showrunners ending the series with a fight between two "less important" Pokemon.
Some wished for an ending where Ash is himself a father, and his kid/s are watching recorded battles from their dad's glory days.
Others were skeptical about the showrunners giving fans innovative endings like these and instead go for something far less exciting and lackluster.
Fans can only speculate as to what will happen. Still, an ending with Ash's reunion with his father would indeed be heartwarming, and a battle between Gengar and Nidorino would be quite the poetic ending to bring this 25-year-old journey to a close.