After 25 years, perpetual 10-year-old Ash Ketchum has finally become the world’s greatest Pokémon trainer.
Ash’s big moment took place in the latest episode of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series, which premiered today in Japan. In it, Ash’s Pikachu defeats a Charizard belonging to Leon, who video game fans will remember as the champion of Pokémon Sword and Shield’s Galar region.
Their battle was the final bout in the Pokémon World Coronation Series Masters Eight Tournament, which pits champions from across multiple regions against one another, including Cynthia, Iris, Steven, and Lance. By defeating Leon, Ash effectively proved himself the strongest of all the Pokémon League Champions, thus completing the dream he first set out to accomplish when he left Pallet Town in episode one of the original 1997 series.
This is an especially big deal for Ash, who historically has had a tough run in tournaments like this. In fact, until 2019, he’d never managed to become a Pokémon League Champion in any of his attempts – a losing streak that ended when he defeated Gladion in the Manalo Conference and became Alola’s Champion.
Prior to that, though, Ash suffered championship loss after loss, all the way back to his initial run in the Indigo League arc where he only placed in the top 16.
What’s next for our hero, then? Well, with a new Pokémon game coming out next week, we’re sure to see Ash eventually make his way to the Paldea region and challenge that league. He’s also previously expressed desires to, you know, “catch ’em all,” but given how far behind he is now that the total number of Pokémon is pushing 1000, this seems an unlikely feat for him to achieve.
Congrats, Ash. You’re an inspiration to us all.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.
Source: IGN Video Games All