Pokemon Anime Fake Finale Reveals A New Potential For The Ash And Goh’s Future

Until a week ago, everyone thought the current Pokemon anime series, Journeys, was ending with Episode 135 – Pokemon! I Am Glad I Met You!!. Pokemon seasons don’t have a fixed number of episodes and this was the last one listed in the Japanese TV guide. With Ash securing his victory against Leon in the Master’s Eight and Goh wrapping up his time with Project Mew, it seemed like the series had come to a natural conclusion. What’s more, the title is a clear reference to the very first Pokemon episode, leading many to speculate that Episode 135 was not just the end of Journeys, but the end of Ash’s journey too.

But then another episode title unexpectedly popped up. Episode 136 – Ash and Goh! Embark on a New Journey!! airs this coming Friday in Japan. At the risk of repeating the same mistake, I suspect this will be the actual finale to Journeys. The reveal of that title led to just as much speculation as the last one, but now that Episode 135 has aired, we have a clearer picture of the future of the anime – and some new guesses as to the fate of Ash and Goh.

Episode 135 is a reunion between Ash, Goh, and Chloe, who have all been on separate adventures, but are now taking the time to catch up during a camping trip. While making their way to their campsite, the three trainers encounter a wide variety of Pokemon and begin to reminisce about all the Pokemon they’ve caught and the adventures they’ve been on. Ash thinks back to all the Pokemon he’s released back into the wild over the years and hopes they’re doing well, while Goh thinks about how all the Pokemon he’s captured and how much he’s grown as a trainer. Similarly, Chloe remembers starting out her Pokemon journey and feeling unsure of what direction her life should take until she met Eevee and everything changed for her. The title becomes very literal as the three heroes express their appreciation for all the Pokemon they’ve met along the way.

Aside from catching up on everything that’s happened since the start of the Master’s Eight, Goh really wanted to meet with Ash so he could tell him that he’s ready to go off on his own on a new adventure. While camping, Goh struggles to broach the subject for fear that Ash will feel betrayed. When Ash very casually tells Goh that he’s actually been planning to go off on his own first, Goh himself feels betrayed. He storms off, and just as Ash catches up with him to try to resolve their conflict, the pair encounters Lugia and a battle begins.

It’s a nice bookend for the Journeys series, which began with Ash and Goh meeting during a chance encounter with Lugia. The final episode (I’m sure of it this time) will show the boys working together to defeat Lugia before, I can only assume, departing as friends and going off on their own separate adventures. Despite all the fear and speculation that Pokemon was ending, it seems like things are just going to continue on as they always have. Ash is headed to Paldea, and he’ll make new friends when he gets there.

Except, we know this isn’t the end of Goh’s story. Just recently, Goh’s Japanese voice actor said in an interview that fans can look forward to “Goh’s growth in the future.” Meanwhile, Ichiro Ishikawa, head of TV-Tokyo’s Anime Business Department, told journalists in a press conference that Ash’s adventures aren’t over yet. So if the pair are parting ways, how can both of their stories continue?

One possibility is that anime will switch to a split segment format, with each episode containing two shorter segments that follow Ash and Goh separately. This would be a big change for the series, but it’s not unprecedented. Episode 26 of Journeys featured the anime’s first multi-segment episode. Both Splash, Dash, and Smash for the Crown! and Slowking’s Crowning! is one of the season’s best-received (and weirdest) episodes, and while it remains the only segmented episode, it’s possible the series will take this format moving forward.

It’s also possible that the next season will alternate storylines each episode. We’ve known for a while that the animation studio behind the Pokemon series has been struggling to keep up for awhile, and a change in format like this may help the studio restructure by splitting up the team and the workload into two separate, smaller projects. Whatever the future may be, it seems like both Ash and Goh are going to be part of it.

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