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Pokemon Anime: These are Ash’s final emotional moments after 26 years and 1234 episodes

In episode 1234, Ash says goodbye.  (Image Source: The Pokemon Company)

In episode 1234, Ash says ‘goodbye’. (Image Source: The Pokemon Company)

Ash’s journey is over. At least in the form of an anime series that we can follow. After more than 26 years, the young coach said goodbye to Japanese television. This not only marks the end of his time on the TV screen, but also an era for us Pokemon fans who grew up watching his adventures.

Warning, spoilers follow for the final episode of the Pokemon anime starring Ash, which has only aired in Japan so far!

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In episode 1234 we celebrate Ash’s farewell with mixed feelings, for which we have been able to mentally prepare for a few episodes. Because in the Special season “Aim to be a Pokemon Master” Ten episodes earlier, we followed Ash as he and Pikachu met up with many old friends. That meant many loving and adventurous reunions, but also sad farewells.

In Ash’s final episode, an old friend returns

In the eleventh and final episode of the season (and thus overall episode 1234) the duo fared no differently. First of all, they say goodbye to Misty and Brock, keeping it short knowing they’ll see each other again soon.

After relaxing at home in Alabastia, Ash not only reunites with Tracy, Professor Oak, and some of his old Pokemon, but also with his longtime rival, Gary. And this leaves traces for me to say with Ash: “I wonder how close you are as a champion to becoming a Pokemon master.”

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Although there is no fight with Gary, Ash has to deal with Team Rocket one last time.

An old friend comes to his aid: Taubbos, which he released after its evolution in episode 83 to take care of a swarm of Taubsis. After Jessy, James and Meowth’s final spectacular exit, Ash invites Tauboss to rejoin the team, which they gratefully accept. So it has taken 24 years for Ash and Deaf Boss to finally be reunited.

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Is this really the end?

What follows is a thoughtful Ash, based on Gary’s testimony, reflecting on what becoming a Pokemon Master means to him. Eventually he finds an answer (via screenrant):

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Becoming a champion wasn’t my goal… I’m still just a challenger I guess. The world still has a lot of Pokemon that I haven’t even seen. I want to meet them and make friends with all of them. That’s what becoming a Pokemon Master means to me!

So, after his detour to Alabastia, he sets off again with Pikachu and lets chance decide in which direction their journey will continue:

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The episode thus represents Ash’s farewell as a series hero, but it could also imply that it wasn’t quite that. The fact that there is always something to discover and learn could of course be understood in purely philosophical terms. Since we don’t get to see an emotional compilation of his 26 years, nor an aged Ash, but “Next Time: A New Beginning!” is faded in, we don’t want to completely rule out a reunion with the duo.

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How do you like this farewell to Ash? Do you really think that’s it?

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