Pokémon has survived on television for over twenty years, following the adventures of Ash across the various regions of the Pokémon world. However, last season, something radical happened: Ash won a Pokémon League Championship. After years and years, he finally claimed his goal, becoming a Pokémon Master! This begs the question, though, "What now?" Where does the anime series go after its titular character has achieved his every dream?
Details surrounding the upcoming season of the Pokémon anime have come to light, confirming that the series will take a soft reboot. Like every new arc of the show, it'll take place in a new season, with the same regular alterations made. New professor, new characters -- but, thanks in part to its TV-Tokyo page, the upcoming season of Pokémon will offer a more extreme reboot. Because Ash Ketchum won't be the core focus anymore.
The Protagonist Situation
Early rumors indicated that Ash would no longer appear in the upcoming anime. The new series, titled Pokémon, indicated that there might be a fresh-slate approach taken with the series. Prior seasons of the show would be titled in conjunction with the new Pokémon game coming out that year or the year prior, continuing on throughout the region. An early trailer for the upcoming anime further worried fans, as it didn't feature Ash at all.
This appears to no longer be the case, as confirmed by the newest trailer.
However, as also shown in the trailer, the series appears to be cutting back and forth between two very different protagonists. We see Ash as a young boy, at the start of his journey once again, as seen in the early episodes of the anime, but we also see a new protagonist named Go. This ten-year-old, along with his starter, Scorbunny, is dead-set on capturing the legendary Pokémon Mew.
According to the TV-Tokyo description of Go, he encountered Mew as a young boy. The encounter with the legendary Pokémon drove him to passionately pursue the elusive creature. He's a calm boy with a great deal of passion. This cool, collected nature puts him as a foil to the more excitable and devil-may-care Ash.
While it's clear that this anime will flashback to Ash at the start of his journey, it remains clear that Ash will, in the modern era, journey with Go. Considering that Ash is now an official Pokémon Master following his victory at the Alola League, it's possible that Ash might take Go under his wing, to show him the ways of Pokémon. This teacher-student dynamic will be contrasted by the show's apparent use of flashbacks, which promise to return to Ash's early Kanto adventures. The first episode will be an entire flashback -- but more on that later.
Cast of Familiar and New Characters
But Go and Ash won't be alone on their journey. Obviously, Ash's Pikachu will be joining the team, but on top of that, a set of familiar and new faces will be appearing. Professor Oak will appear to some capacity, as will Team Rocket. Presumably, both will serve in their usual roles, with Oak being Ash's personal mentor and Team Rocket pursuing Pikachu with mechas and traps. This is despite the two thieves placing fairly high in the Alola Pokémon League Competition.
However, a few new characters will be appearing as well. The new professor is Dr. Sakuragi. He, presumably, will be instrumental in setting Go on his journey with his Scorbunny. He conducts research at the Sakuragi Institute. The doctor's daughter, Koharu, will be Go's childhood friend, and, presumably, either serve as a female companion to Go and/or rival. Koharu's companion is a Yamper, a dog-like Pokémon that's been promoted throughout the series.
Interestingly enough, the Pokédex appears to have undergone another transformation as well. It's still a Rotom, like in Pokémon Sun & Moon, but has a more cell phone shaped design. Presumably, this is due to the influence of Pokémon Go on the upcoming series.
Journey to the Past and Future
One fascinating aspect of the new reboot is the Sakuragi Research Institute, where Dr. Sakuragi spends the majority of his time researching. The Sakuragi Research Institute, according to TV-Tokyo, allows Ash and Go to travel to every region in the Pokémon World. No other anime before has ever done this before to such an extent. Yes, we would spend momentary periods showing events in other regions in prior anime, but this outright confirms that each and every region will be featured in this new anime.
This means we might be able to return to old fan-favorite characters once more. Misty and Brock are obviously the first that come to mind, but every region is up for grabs. Old friends might return, offering audiences a chance to see how they've grown following Ash becoming a Pokémon Master.
The first episode of the anime in particular promises to take a trip to the past. The first anime will offer audiences a glimpse into the unseen infancy of Ash's Pikachu. The first episode, titled "Birth of Pikachu," will travel to the forests of the Kanto Region to explore Pikachu as a young, lonely Pichu. According to the site, the young Pichu "experiences an encounter and farewell." It seems likely that this flashback will not simply be for our understanding of the character's past, but establish some key information that will offer direction and context for the events that will follow. Perhaps we will learn that Pikachu had some encounter with a legendary Pokémon (perhaps Mew) that will tie into this new season's arc.
From the trailer, we also caught glimpses of numerous areas, including one shot of Ash and Go traveling on the back of a Lugia. Every season of Pokémon has featured legendary encounters, but it would seem as if this series will take Ash and Go straight into the wildest regions of the Pokémon world in the hunt for the legendary Mew. This could potentially lead to some incredible encounters with some of Pokémon's most outlandish entities.
Whatever the case may be, it's clear that this adventure isn't going to be restricted to the new island region of Galar, but rather explore both the past and vast expanse of the world. The new reboot of Pokémon isn't just going to be a new world to explore. It's going to be an adventure of a lifetime.