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Ash Ketchum has finally become the very best

Like no one ever was

An image of Ash holding the trophy for the Pokemon World Coronation Series. He is smiling with his team: Pikachu, Dracovish, Gengar, Sirfetch’d, Lucario, and Dragonite. Image: The Pokémon Company
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

After 25 years of training, adventuring, and meeting new friends along the way, Ash Ketchum has finally achieved his life long dream of becoming the world’s best Pokémon trainer. In the latest episode of the anime Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series Ash beat Leon in the Pokémon World Coronation Series, thus becoming the No. 1-ranked trainer in the show’s world.

In the anime, the Pokémon World Coronation Series is a global championship that brings together the best trainers from across all regions — including previous champions like the fearsome Cynthia and others like Iris, Steven, and Lance. Of course, Ash didn’t pull off the win all by himself. His pal, Pikachu, was there for every step of the way. His final team that allowed him to clinch the world title had Pikachu, Dracovish, Gengar, Sirfetch’d, Lucario, and Dragonite.

The match ended with an intense showdown between Pikachu and Leon’s Charizard. It feels appropriate, given that Pikachu is the only one of Ash’s Pokémon who has stuck with him throughout his 25-year journey. Typically, Ash starts each new region with a new team, while always keeping Pikachu on it.

So his victory is a bit of a tear-jerker — especially as the show features cameos from Ash’s previous Pokémon partners and old travel buddies, like Brock, Misty, May, Max, Cilan, Dawn, and others.

Fans stateside will have to wait to watch the full episode in English. The episode just broadcast in Japan and will air worldwide sometime “in the future,” according to a news release. However, if this makes you nostalgic you can go and watch the first season of the retro show on Netflix now.

Fans flocked to social media platforms to share together in the joy of finally seeing Ash achieve his dream with one person describing it as a “special, legendary, historic day.” Before this, Ash’s inability to reach his championship goal had been a recurring joke, because it just seemed like it would never happen — Ash neither aged or beat the top trainer of a region, let alone the world.

As a fan, it can’t but help feel bittersweet. Now that Ash has achieved his dream, what lays ahead for him and the anime? The Pokémon Company has not announced plans for a new Pokémon series with a new protagonist, but that hasn’t stopped fans from speculating that Ash’s journey might be coming to an end. Whatever happens though, it’s nice knowing that with persistence and the right friends, even a dorky boy with a naughty Pikachu can achieve his dreams.