Pokemon Is Ditching Ash

The new Pokemon anime series is titled Pokemon: Horizons and will not feature longtime franchise protagonist Ash.

By Kevin C. Neece | Updated

pokemon: horizons

In the forthcoming Pokemon Horizons: The Series, Ash Ketchum is replaced by two new trainers. After 25 years as the central human figure of the beloved and enduring Japanese franchise, Ash Ketchum will have his story wrapped up in the current Pokemon Ultimate Journeys: The Series. So, as Variety reports, similarly to the upcoming Netflix series, Pokemon Horizons: The Series will move beyond Ash to focus on two new leading characters, Liko and Roy, as they delve into new discoveries within the world of Pokemon.

As the trailer suggests, Pokemon Horizons: The Series will see its protagonists, including Liko’s Pokemon partner Sprigatito, exploring new mysteries and unlocking secrets connected to Liko’s strange and powerful amulet. They will also be encountering a host of new characters, including the culinarily skilled Murdock, engineering whiz Orla with her Pokemon Metagross, healer Molly, and the Rising Volt Trackers, led by Captain Pikachu and Friede. This comes alongside the release of the franchise’s latest video games, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

pokemon: horizons
Captain Pikachu

The departure of Ash Ketchum prior to Pokemon Horizons: The Series has been teased for some time, preparing fans for the exit of arguably one of the most iconic heroes of the past quarter century. Having finally won a Pokemon World Championship and become a Pokemon Master late last year, it seems fitting that the sun should set on Ash’s story. Still, those who have followed the series since its inception—not to mention the generations that have followed after them—will surely be sad to say goodbye to the beloved trainer.

But Pokemon Horizons: The Series will be filled with lots of new adventures that will surely keep this worldwide phenomenon going, and Liko and Roy are likely to become beloved heroes as well. Interestingly, though, Liko and Roy might not be the names by which English-speaking audiences will know them. Ash’s name is Satoshi in the Japanese-language version of Pokemon, meaning Liko and Roy might have their names changed as well. The series is already running in Japan and, while we know it will arrive in the US later this year, changes such as these have not yet been revealed, though the international press ahead of the series, along with the simplicity of the names, might mean that the characters will keep their existing monikers.

By whatever names the heroes of Pokemon Horizons: The Series are called, they are already globally famous, as Pokemon continues to be one of the most robust franchises in the world, with multiple video games, series, and movies to its credit, not to mention a seemingly endless cavalcade of tie-in merchandise. And this is hardly the first time Ash has not been center stage, as in 2019’s Detective Pikachu, though his legendary presence was certainly felt in that film. But the official retirement of the character, bittersweet as it is, marks a major milestone in Pokemon history and might even constitute something of a new beginning for old a new fans alike.