25-Year-Old Pallet Town Boy Wins Pokémon World Series

“Pika pika!” Photo: @Pokemon/Twitter

Do you think Ash Ketchum will wake up tomorrow with a crushing feeling of emptiness? Will he blink awake to the dawn outside his window and ask himself, Was the sky always this pale? When he sits down with Pikachu for tea, will Pikachu say “pika pika,” which translates roughly to, “What ails you, dear brother? Where hath gone the spark in your eye?” You see, Ash Ketchum just had the greatest day of his life. He has become the very best.

When the original Pokémon anime series debuted its English dub in 1998 (a year after its Japanese release), it began with a cri de coeur: “I want to be the very best, like no one ever was.” For decades, lead character Ash, canonically 10 years old, has fought and failed toward this goal, climbing up the ranks as a decorated and impressive Pokémon trainer who worked his way from Top 16, to Top 8, to Top 4, to a career high winning the Manalo Conference in the Alola League in season 22.

But in the most recent episode of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series, which aired in Japan, Ash finally wins at a global scale, beating each region’s best in the World Coronation Series Master Eight Tournament to become Pokémon League Champion. On Friday, November 11, the official Pokémon Twitter account shared a portrait of Ash holding his trophy alongside his team, made up of Pikachu, Lucario, Dragonite, Sirfetch’d, Gangar, and a Pokémon that frankly I can’t find the name of because when I search “red and blue Pokemon” the results are the video games Pokémon Red and Blue. But Ash looks elated. He finally reached his goal.

After a 25-year come-up, a champion must contend with a comedown. On a misty night, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, Ash will walk to the edge of a Magikarp fishing pier. Looking out to the water, he will contemplate the future, having fulfilled his stated purpose in this world. Through the mist, past the horizon, he will hear the faint call of a Dragonair. This world is so mysterious, and new Pokemon are discovered all the time. He thinks he’ll travel to a region he’s never been. Paldea looks nice this time of year. Ash Ketchum, cursed to an eternal boyhood, sets a new goal for himself: I wanna be the very even bester. 

25-Year-Old Pallet Town Boy Wins Pokémon World Series