The Pokemon anime debuted almost 26 years ago but will undergo its biggest change to date just a couple of months from now. After all of that time, Ash and Pikachu will be leaving the show. That has prompted Sarah Natochenny, the actor who has voiced Ash for 17 of those 26 years, to share a touching tribute to Pokemon and its fans.
Natochenny took the reins from Ash's original English voice actor Veronica Taylor in 2006 and has voiced the iconic character ever since. The video she posted to TikTok (thanks, GamesRadar) begins 17 years ago, but notes that her work as the world's most famous Pokemon trainer really exploded a decade later via the launch of Pokemon Go.
Pokemon has been a very big deal for the entirety of its run, but Pokemon Go reopened the doors to those who had previously left it behind, not to mention the new generation of trainers it pulled in. One of the biggest interviews Natochenny did off the back of Pokemon Go's success was with Vanity Fair. An interview that blew a lot of young fans' minds as they realized Ash was voiced by an adult woman, not a small boy.
Natochenny also reveals an episode of Pokemon inspired her to foster more than 100 cats, and that even though her time as Ash is coming to an end, she hopes to keep meeting fans at conventions in the future. Natochenny has presumably recorded her final voice lines for Ash now, although Pokemon is yet to reveal when the trainer's final episodes will air outside of Japan. The next batch of episodes from the current season will be added to Netflix in the US later this month.
Japanese Pokemon fans now know exactly how long they have left with Ash and Pikachu. The trainer's final run has already begun in Japan, and a new series headed up by protagonist Liko will begin on April 14. The new series will also introduce Pokemon from Scarlet & Violet's Paldea region to the anime.
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