Ash Ketchum, the protagonist of the new 20-year old Pokemon anime adaptation, has officially won his very first Pokemon League Championship. As of the most recent episode of the Pokemon Sun & Moon anime series, Ash and Pikachu defeated their opponent to win the Alolan Pokemon League Championship. And there's no one that the championship means more to than Ash themself, as Ash Ketchum's original voice actor can attest to.
For the first eight seasons of the Pokemon cartoon, Ash Ketchum was voiced by Veronica Taylor. Taylor's voice for Ash is iconic, and her love for the character and the television show is well known. Unfortunately, Taylor was replaced in Pokemon's ninth season due to The Pokemon Company taking over licensing and changing recording studios. But Taylor has remained a huge fan. As such, she's recorded a heartfelt and earnest congratulations for Ash, performed in-character as Ash.
Even years later, Taylor's still got the character down perfectly. And more than that, the themes and messaging of the Pokemon anime. Her message from a "younger, but still the same-aged self" is incredibly touching. In the message, Taylor talks about how important the journey to this point has been. He says how important it is to be constantly learning, challenging yourself, and being open to new experiences. "It's not winning that counts, but how you play the game. But, man, it sure feels good to win."
Taylor even manages to keep in character all the way through to the end of the message. "Congratulations and keep up the good work! Oh, uh, I gotta go. Mom's making dinner with Mr. Mime," is her closing statement. She's, of course, referencing Ash Ketchum's mother and her hilarious relationship with her own favorite Pokemon, Mr. Mime. Even after all these years, it's funny how those odd details can linger in your memory.
Congratulations to Ash Ketchum on winning the Pokémon League from Ash’s ‘younger’ self, circa 1998...yup, hard work, determination, good friends, and a bit of luck pay off! #pokemon #ashketchum #winning pic.twitter.com/JhgRcGJBEy— Veronica Taylor (@TheVeronicaT) September 15, 2019
Ash Ketchum winning his first serious Pokemon League Championship in the Alola region is a surprisingly meaningful achievement. It's surprising in that the anime has been running for 20 years now. Many of Ash Ketchum's oldest fans are old enough to be Ash's parents now, seeing as he's perpetually 10 years old. But it's exactly the fact that Ash never gave up, that he kept training and competing, that makes his journey so relatable. For both his fans and apparently his original voice actor.
What's next for Ash Ketchum isn't clear. The current season of Pokemon Sun & Moon will continue for at least two more episodes before it ends in October. Afterward, a new season of Pokemon set in Pokemon Sword and Shield's Galar region is confirmed. However, Ash Ketchum has been notably absent from early teasers for the new seasons. With Ash's championship, it might be time for a new trainer to take over as the anime's protagonist. Odds are it won't be the last time Ash Ketchum makes an appearance, though.