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Ash Ketchum actor bids farewell to fans after Pokémon exit, and now we're crying

Ash Ketchum actor bids farewell to fans after Pokémon exit, and now we're crying

Pokémon voice actor Sarah Natochenny has opened up about the end of Ash's journey, revealing that the news left her "bawling".

Where do I begin? It’s been an emotional couple of weeks for those of us who have been following the Pokémon anime for, well, as long as we can remember. After riding the high of becoming the Pokémon world champion after 25 years, it was finally revealed that our beloved Ash Ketchum is set to depart the series, making way for two brand new protagonists.

In January 2023, Pokémon Ultimate Journeys will run 11 episodes which they’ve deemed to be “the final chapter in Ash and Pikachu’s story”. It’s what many of us suspected would happen after Ash became world champion. Still, it doesn’t make the news any easier to digest. If you’re not crying already, you probably will when you read what Ash’s voice actor had to say to fans about the end of the character’s journey.

Take a look at what’s in store in Ash’s final chapter below.

Voice actor Sarah Natochenny began voicing Ash 17 years ago, when she was just 18. That’s an incredibly long time to spend working on a franchise so as you can imagine, no one is more upset to find out that this journey is coming to an end than her. “I started bawling at this meeting. The producers were trying to hold it together for me as well, they kept speaking in a very even tone,” Natochenny told IGN. The actress heard the news mere days before it was announced to fans.

“The director started to get emotional as well, just seeing me, because we're very close and this is so sad,” she continued. “I took the day to walk aimlessly in the freezing New York cold, and I was crying. [...] Then I turned my thoughts to be positive, because I always knew that this was going to happen one day. 17 years is an incredibly long, fortunate amount of time to have steady acting work, especially as one character, so I let my mind flood with the positive thoughts and the idea that this is a signal of change in my life, in Ash's life."

Natochenny teased that the final episodes will be among the “best episodes of television the world has ever seen.” In a final word to fans, she said: “Be the best like no one ever was. And do it with love. Don't be cutthroat. Don't step on people to get what you want, but know what your goals are and do them to the best of your ability. Do them with passion and do them while also loving the people around you and being kind." Someone, pass me a tissue.

Featured Image Credit: The Pokémon Company

Topics: Pokemon, TV And Film, Anime