An interview with the anime’s director suggests that fans haven’t seen the last of Ash and Pikachu, which has some major implications for the reboot.
The Pokémon anime has been in its closing episodes in recent weeks, preparing to send Ash off and introduce a new generation of trainers aiming to be a Pokémon Master. However, even before he’s out the door, there’s word that Ash won’t be gone for good.
According to an interview in the Japanese magazine Otomedia, as picked up by comicbook.com, executive director of the Pokémon anime Kunihiko Yuyuama suggested that it was only “a matter of time” before Ash and Pikachu appear in Pokémon again following their departure. Yuyuama also stated that he sees Ash as being “forever 10 years old,” implying that should Ash appear again, fans should expect to see him more or less as he’s always been, rather than as an adult.
Pokémon Still Refuses to Age-Up Ash
It may seem premature to discuss Ash’s return prior to his full departure from the series, but even the possibility of his return raises some interesting points. Firstly, it implies that the new Pokémon anime will indeed be set in the same world as the original, meaning that many other characters besides Ash (for example, Pokémon’s Team Rocket) could appear, possibly well before Ash does. It also suggests that the tone of the new anime will be very similar to that of the anime that fans know and love, which is likely the final nail in the coffin of a grittier look at the Pokémon world (as if that weren’t already a given). Yuyuama’s comment on Ash being “forever 10 years old” also quashes a number of fan theories about the new protagonists Riko and Roy potentially being the children of Ash or other characters, or of Ash having a mentor-like role as an older character in the series, similar to other anime sequel series like Boruto or Yashahime. If Ash interacts with Riko and Roy, it will be on the same level as them, just one young trainer to another.
Of course, these statements are not promises or indications of anything solid; it’s simply a general insight into the mindset of the Pokémon anime’s creators. It’s likely that Ash won’t appear in the new anime for quite some time unless it’s for a “passing the torch” moment in the first episode similar to the transition between Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. Ash’s appearance in the new Scarlet and Violet anime would likely overshadow the new protagonists, which is absolutely not what the creators would want when these characters are still being established. Whenever he does finally appear, though, fans can expect his return to be quite a big deal.
As fans prepare to say goodbye to the classic Pokémon anime and Ash and Pikachu along with it, knowing that the door is open for Ash’s return may make that farewell a little easier. Ash may no longer be on Pokémon each week, but he’s still out there adventuring, and the show will catch back up with him someday.