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Ash Ketchum Finally Becomes Pokemon Master After 25 Years

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If you’re one of the millions who sat there watching Pokemon as a kid and, after seeing the words “TO BE CONTINUED” for the thousandth time, wondered when the series would get to the fireworks factory, that day has come. You probably have kids of your own at this point but…better late than never.

After circumnavigating the globe on foot 1,000 times and amassing 36,974 badges from countless gyms, Ash Ketchum has finally achieved the goal he set out for back in 1998. It took 24 years and 25 seasons, but as of the most recent Pokemon Ultimate Journeys episode that aired this weekend, he is now an officially recognized Pokemon Master. Of course, he’s still ten years old, so maybe the entire series took place within a month?

In case you’re wondering, the winning combo turned out to be Pikachu, Dracovish, Gengar, Sirfetch’d, Lucario, and Dragonite. Viewers might have already sensed this time things might turn out different, because every companion Ash has ever had made cameos during the latest Pokemon League tournament: Brock, Misty, May, Max, Dawn, and some less significant people.

By this point everyone has become used to seeing Ash enter the Pokemon League every few years and lose. He has won tournaments before, but never the one that matters, the one with actual cred to it. Who knows what might have happened if the anime had ended at 80 episodes like the original plan was. Perhaps Ash might have won back then, but it was rare at the time for any anime to become globally popular, and the show had to go on. So he lost, and continued to lose for years and years.

Pokemon Ultimate Journeys is currently going through its run on Netflix, but only a batch at a time (as is the Netflix style). You won’t find the aforementioned landmark episode there yet, since it just aired in Japan and an English dub has yet to be made.

The only question is….what now? Let’s be honest, the reason this moment was delayed for so long was because they had to keep the show going. Is this a sign that the anime may finally be thinking of following some other kid? Details for the season after this one have not been announced yet.