Fans of Japanese game series Pokémon have been expressing their horror after it was announced Ash Ketchum and Pikachu, who have headlined its anime show since 1997, will no longer be the main protagonists.
The Pokémon franchise, launched in 1996, is one of the largest multimedia properties in the world with its own video games, trading cards, TV show and movies.
The anime series is focused on Ketchum, accompanied by his loyal Pokémon Pikachu as he attempts to capture other Pokémon and win battles against rival Pokémon trainers.
In November the show depicted Ketchum winning the Pokémon World Championship, making him the most celebrated trainer in its fictional universe.
Ash Ketchum is pictured with Pikachu in a promotional shot from the movie “Pokémon 3.” Ketchum and Pikachu will no longer be the main Pokémon protagonists, according to an announcement.
Warner Bros. Pictures/GETTY
However, this week producers announced fresh main characters will be introduced to the franchise for its next series, which will start broadcasting in April 2023.
The new protagonists will be Liko, a young girl, and a boy called Roy, along with their starter Pokémon.
In a statement the producers said: “It will represent everything [fans] love about Pokémon animation, including action, adventure, friendship and Pokémon.”
However, some fans took to Twitter to express their surprise and disappointment.
Social media manager Russell Ku tweeted: “It’s a sad day for Pokémon fans! After more than two decades of adventure, laughter, and tears, Ash Ketchum and Pikachu are bidding farewell to the Pokémon anime series.”
It’s a sad day for Pokémon fans! After more than two decades of adventure, laughter, and tears, Ash Ketchum and Pikachu are bidding farewell to the Pokémon anime series. #anipoke https://t.co/6Ocar1p7TE
— Russell Ku (@russellchengku) December 17, 2022
YouTuber ProReborn wrote: “wait… ash ketchum isn’t the… lead character in… pokemon… oh f*** sakes I am growing up.
“I’m not crying… YOU’RE CRYING. NO I DON’T NEED TO SEE MY THERAPIST. EVERYTHING IS OK.”
Digital content producer Kyle Jones simply tweeted: “Where were you when they killed Ash Ketchum.”
American voice actress Sarah Natochenny has voiced Ketchum since 2006, in the English-language dub of the Pokémon anime series.
She tweeted a photograph of herself holding an Ash Ketchum mask, adding: “It’s been an extraordinary privilege to have been the English voice of Ash Ketchum for what will be 17 years.
It’s been an extraordinary privilege to have been the English voice of Ash Ketchum for what will be 17 years. No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he’ll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come. I’ll keep him present for all of us in every way I can. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/UZxPO4xD6E
— Sarah Natochenny (@sarahnatochenny) December 16, 2022
“No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he’ll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come. I’ll keep him present for all of us in every way I can.”
The Pokémon producers announced Ketchum will return for a number of “special episodes,” before the start of the new series.
In a statement posted on their official website, they said: “Big changes are coming to the world of Pokémon! Get ready for the premiere of a brand-new animated series featuring an original story and characters, including a girl and a boy, as they set off on action-packed adventures across the Pokémon world.
“This new series will highlight popular Pokémon like first partners Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly from the Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet video games. Fans can look forward to these characters’ incredible journeys as they unravel the mysteries of the Pokémon world, experiencing everything from exciting Trainer battles to fun Pokémon encounters.”
In 2016 New York sex offenders on parole were banned from playing Pokémon Go amid concerns they could target children playing the augmented reality game.
In the same year three teenagers playing Pokémon Go were robbed at gun point in north London, according to British police.
Source : Newsweek