The Pokémon anime starring Ash Ketchum has entered its final stretch in some parts of the world, offering fans their first look at the series’ last new opening theme. The music choice, of course, is perfectly nostalgic, and fitting for Ash’s endgame.
For the Pokémon anime, new opening and ending themes are almost always recorded for the dub, rather than adapting a Japanese song to English or leaving the Japanese version as it is, the way that most modern anime dubs do. This has been the case ever since Pokémon‘s first season in the US, where the iconic Pokémon Theme made a major impression on fans across the country and eventually around the world. Now, that original theme music is back to close out the series, this time accompanied by a nostalgic trip through Ash’s journey over the past 25 years.
The Pokémon Theme Reborn
The new opening theme is a cover of the original Pokémon Theme, featuring the same lyrics that older fans remember from the earliest days of the series. It’s a bit softer than the original, a change which is fitting for the reflective nature of the opening. It makes use of clips from throughout the anime’s history, featuring cameos from Pokémon like Ash’s Lapras and the Pink Butterfree of the original series, as well as images of most Pokémon Ash has used on his team throughout the years, all the way up to the present day of Journeys. The song ends with the Ultimate Journeys title card, before photograph-style images of Ash and his companions from throughout the ages, with Brock and Misty, Ash’s traveling companions once again, featured prominently at the end.
While it’s not a direct adaptation of the Japanese opening, it does actually have a lot in common with it. The final Japanese opening theme was similarly based on the very first opening seen in Japan, called Mezase Pokémon Master (or Aim to Be a Pokémon Master in English). It, too, used a lot of footage from various eras of the Pokémon anime, and even went through each of Ash’s teams, giving the opening slight variations from episode to episode. Both versions cater to the nostalgia of fans, while simultaneously acknowledging that Ash’s retirement marks the end of an era for the franchise. However, it’s an end that is necessary for the creation of something new, and with Ash having achieved one of his biggest goals, this really is the time to do it.
The final episodes of the dub are still a ways away from releasing in the US, but with the final farewell to Ash well known to be coming, fans can enjoy this tribute to the classic Pokémon series that they started with as they mark down the episodes left till the end.