With only three episodes left in the series, it’s clear the Pokemon anime is about to go through a big change. Despite the release of Pokemon Scarlet & Violet and the imminent conclusion of Journeys, we don’t yet have any confirmation that the show is coming back for the Paldea generation. Given the rumored behind-the-scenes issues and the suspiciously final sounding descriptions for Journey’s last episode, it’s possible this could be the end of the Pokemon anime as we know it.
Despite the evidence, it’s hard to imagine the anime ending for good. Pokemon is still the biggest franchise in the world, and the show has always been a major pillar. Even if Ash’s journey is coming to an end, there’s still a lot of possibilities for the future. Here’s five ways the Pokemon anime could continue after Journeys ends.
Goh becomes the protagonist
Ash passing the torch to Goh has been the most popular theory throughout most of the Journeys era. The start of Journeys retconned Ash’s origin story to include Goh in it, and throughout the series we’ve seen Goh become more of a deuteragonist, or secondary protagonist, rather than a typical sidekick. Now that Ash has won the World Coronation Series, the last three episodes are switching focus to Goh and his work with Project Mew. The trailers for the new arc barely even feature Ash, which could be an indication for the future of the anime. Battling will always be a big part of the show, but now that Ash has obtained the top honor, maybe it’s time for the show to focus more on catching ‘em all. That’s what Goh is all about, so it would only make sense for him to lead the show going forward.
Continues As Normal
Ignoring all other factors, the simplest explanation is that Ash will move on to the next region and make new friends just as he has done for more than 20 years. The Pokemon franchise is a machine with a lot of moving parts, and all of them – the show, the games, the TCG – have to work together and keep moving forward. This is why some argue that new Pokemon games are released on a set schedule with no room for delay (regardless of quality) and why it’s likely that a new anime series starring Ash Ketchum will start up in the near future.
As the new Monarch of the World Coronation Series, Ash is now in a position to defend his title, and we may see new contenders rise through the ranks to challenge him. This could even lead to a better hand-off than Goh down the road if Ash were to encounter an up-and-coming trainer that he takes under his wing. Alternatively, Ash could just compete in Paldea’s Ace Academy Tournament. If the Pokemon Company wants to maintain the status quo, it’s certainly proven it's capable of doing that. We didn’t get to 1,200 episodes with virtually no plot progression by accident. It's only in the last year that things have started moving forward for Ash, and a new series could reset everything just as it always has.
Continues as direct-to-streaming films
We’ve seen some changes to the way Pokemon episodes come out over the last few years. In the US, new episodes are released in blocks on Netflix instead of airing on TV. Recently, the four-part Arceus Chronicles mini-series was released by Amazon as a direct-to-streaming film. Given that there hasn’t been a new Pokemon movie since 2020 and no new ones have been announced, it may be the case that the anime is planning to shift formats going forward. Given the supposed production issues, it’s possible OLM needs to slow things down. Instead of making hundreds of episodes in a couple of years, we might see more Arceus Chronicles-style specials. These could keep Ash’s story going, or they could tie into the games the way the Twilight Wings webseries did. Even if the regular anime ends, the show could come back in another form.
Chloe takes over
This outcome had more potential early on in Journeys, but over time Chloe has been more and more absent from the series. Still, there’s a compelling case to be made for Goh's little sister to take the driver’s seat in the next season.
Chloe is the most junior trainer we know. Throughout Journeys, we’ve seen her grow out of uncertainty and embrace becoming a trainer after meeting her partner Pokemon, Eevee. Chloe and Eevee (Pokemon’s de facto second mascot) are discovering the world of Pokemon together the same way Ash and Pikachu did when the show first started. There’s a nice parallel to their journeys, and it’s possible that this series is setting Chloe up to relive Ash’s glory days as a young scrappy trainer with lots to learn. At the end of the day, Ash and Goh aren’t that different from one another. It would be great to have a girl be the face of Pokemon going forward.
Time skip, Ash is a dad
This is the most outlandish possibility, but it makes a lot of sense. A lot of people think Ash will never leave the show because that would also mean losing Pikachu, who is the most iconic mascot to ever exist. One solution is to jump ahead 20 years and make Ash an adult with a young kid just starting their Pokemon journey. It’s not like Pokemon age, so Pikachu could be his kid’s partner Pokemon, and Ash could serve as their mentor. Ash’s child would have a lot to live up to, giving them a unique conflict that Ash never had, considering his dad was apparently a deadbeat. This way, the show still gets the refresh it needs, and Pikachu still gets to be the star.
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