Late last year, the Pokémon Company shocked the world with the announcement that Satoshi—better known in the west as Ash Ketchum—would be bowing out as the enduring star of the long-running Pokémon anime. The company has started rolling out details about the anime’s new heroes… and by revealing that Pokémon could never ditch its true mascot.
Announced today, the new protagonists of the series Liko and Roy—and their partner Pokémon Quaxly, Sprigatito, and Fuecoco from the recent Scarlet and Violet games—will be joined by a mentor character named Friede. A Pokémon professor, Friede will guide the young heroes on their journey together, as they uncover the mysteries of the Pokémon world.
Friede would be a pretty bad Pokémon professor without his own Pokémon though, so he’s going to be joined by… Captain Pikachu.
It’s a Pikachu, not the Pikachu—it’d be kind of insane if after booting him from the series Ash’s Pikachu just decided to swan off with some new friends. But it’s Pikachu. In a hat. That’s their current defining trait. It’s perhaps not surprising that even the incredibly bold move of retiring the most iconic perpetual 10 year old in the world for a total reboot, Pokémon is still playing some things safe. Pikachu, after all, is the most famous of all Pokémon, the mascot of the entire franchise in all its myriad mediums—as all things go with the Pokémon franchise, the more things change, the more some things stay the same.
At least Captain Pikachu won’t be a protagonist on the level of Ash’s Pikachu, it seems—more like a background character. And he at least seems to be getting a bit of personality of his own in an attempt to differentiate him from the Pikachu we all know and love beyond his taste in headwear. We’ll have to see when the new Pokémon anime debuts later this year, after Ash’s time with the series comes to a close with a limited epilogue series bidding farewell to the character.
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