They said it couldn't be done. For literal decades now everyone made the same joke every time he tried and failed. No one thought it was ever going to happen, except it just did. This week, Ash Ketchum, protagonist of the Pokemon anime, finally won a Pokemon League.
Ever since the world was first introduced to him back in 1997, Ash tried multiple times to prove himself a Pokemon Master by winning in a regional Pokemon League. Time and time again, though, he has failed to do so, often coming teasingly close to victory only to be bested by a stronger trainer without fail. But after 22 years and 1,000+ episodes, Pokemon Sun and Moon Episode 139 saw Ash finally break the cycle and take home the win in the Alolan Pokemon League's championship match. At long last, he became the very best like no one ever was.
Naturally, fans have been ecstatic. All over social media, news of Ash's victory has led to thousands of reactions from people who couldn't believe it actually happened. "Ash Ketchum" has even been trending on Twitter as a result. Seeing him win after all this time and so many losses has proven to be cathartic for countless legions of fans.
It's easy to see why people can get so emotional over a kids' show. It's been around long enough for multiple generations of people to grow up on Ash's adventures throughout the Pokemon world's many regions. They've watched as he made friends, faced challenges, discovered new things, and grew as a Pokemon trainer, and they've rooted for him all the way. So even if they stopped watching the show years ago, many have maintained a fondness for the perennial 10-year old from Pallet Town and the memories he gave them.
Which is why this momentous victory could end up turning bittersweet. Last week word came out that the next Pokemon series coming this fall will be a reboot of the anime. Some marketing has been released for it, but none of it has featured Ash at all, leading to speculation that he'll be getting replaced by a new protagonist. And now that Ash has finally won a Pokemon League, fans are wondering if he only won after all this time so that he could end his time with the series on a high note. After 22 years of trying to win and failing, most can agree he deserves it either way.
Wherever it ends up leading to, there's no doubt that Ash Ketchum's victory is yet another highlight for the Pokemon franchise in in a stellar year that has seen its first major live-action movie in Detective Pikachu and the continuing success of Pokemon GO, and will soon see its first major console release in Pokemon Sword and Shield.