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End of an Era: Share Your Memories

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Since the news about the current iteration of the anime coming to an end, there have been loads of emotional posts in the subforum about the personal impact it has had. For me Satoshi, Pikachu and the TRio have been a constant through the birth of my sister, school, university, heartbreaks, bereavements, early career, getting married and starting motherhood - almost every pivotal life moment! The same is true for so many of us that I thought it might be nice to have a thread in which people can share their reminiscences of growing up with the show.

I still remember feeling my sister kick in my mum's tummy when the theme song would come on during the height of Pokemania. This is such a full-circle moment that it sounds fake, but the first time I felt my own baby kick was a couple of months back when I was singing along to Pokemon Theme in the car! That song is clearly a foetus bop :ROFLMAO:

I also vividly remember a lesson early on in secondary school where the girl sat next to me broke the news that my best gal Misty had been booted off the show. My response was to throw myself back into the anime in anger (and never look back). Funnily enough this girl went on to become my best friend and she was the first person to message me last Friday to lament the news!

My TRio obsession has also left me with so many fond memories, especially related to the release of Rocket-y episodes. Like having a mum-teenage-daughter shouting match when she tried to send me to bed halfway through watching Sayonara Dokucale for the first time. And watching the clock during my morning maths lesson on March 5th 2009 being like "Rocketshipping is happening RIGHT NOW!" Then March 5th 2015 having to pull an all-nighter to finish my final med school dissertation after I went completely bananas over XY063. Maybe my favourite was the caffeinated meltdown I had when SM012 aired (which is recorded forever in a completely insane post I wrote in the review thread) when I just knew that SM was going to provide me with happy times, which it did for 3 wonderful years. The anime even carried me through covid - I will never forget watching the Musashi/Metamon episode live, alone in my flat the first week of lockdown, and bawling my eyes out because I felt so lonely and helpless.

Anyway, enough of my rambling! Please share your best/worst/most poignant memories below.
 
Hello everyone. I´ve been following this forums since the BW days, but was alwys to afraid to post. However, the news about the anime ending are having a terrible effect on my mental health. Since none of my friends or family follow Pokémon, I decided to gain courage ad finally open an account here. I woul like to appoligize for the gigantic and sometimes harsh paragraphs that follow but I really need to get this out of my chest and try to find some type of closure. It would mean the world to me if a least one person cares enough to read this until the end. Also, if this isn´t the right place the mods are free to delete it/move it to the correct place. So, let´s begin.



I have been following the anime since I was 6 years old. I still have the VH S tapes of the early seasons I used to watch with my mother or my neighbours during the afternoons. Until the end of DP I watched the episodes as they were dubbed in my country. From BW onwards I started watching the original version. I always liked Ash and Pikachu, but my all-time favourite characters are Team Rocket. They always put a smile on my face.



Unfortunately I have been dealing with depression since my early teens, around midway into BW. I remembered how I was bullied for being a «fat geek». Pokémon and especially Team Rocket allowed me to survive those hard times. In fact, they have been present in almost every important or life changing event of my life. On May 5, 2011, when I was selected to represent my school in an English speaking competition I won and celebrated by watching the Elgyem episode in BW. On April 25, 2013, when I got the worst bullying yet, where I was dragged to the mud while raining, it was the first episode of Decolore Islands were Team Rocket returned to form after their terrible treatment in early BW and inspired me to finally confront my bullies. On December 19, 2013, when my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer I tried to cope by watching the episode in which Jessie captured Pumpkaboo. When I went to college far from home and the people I love, it was Pokémon that gave me strength. On February 5, 2021, when I had my first 12h shift at work I skimmed through the episode in which Sobble meets the spy Intelleon, during lunch break. Even this year, on July 8, when my mother was also diagnosed with cancer, I watched the Lance VS Diantha battle (this was incredibly bittersweet because it has a reference to Gourgeist and it brought back memories of the episode it was captured and my grandmother).



The truth is, for me, the Pokémon Anime didn´t feel the same since the end of XY. I loved the sense of travelling and progression it gave and didn´t like how it was handled since SM. Team Rocket´s lack of scream time was especially appalling. Even during that strange out of character period in BW I knew they would eventually return to basics because of the terrible reception to that change in personality. Unfortunately, SM was a step back to the Trio after how amazing they were in XY (XY is the series most important to me because I watched it during a very difficult period of my life and it was the major reason I got through it). However, one thing that is curious is that, even if during the last 6 years Team Rocket barely appeared, when I had a difficult week where my sadness was overwhelming, they would miraculously appear in that episode. Obviously a coincidence, but one I´m grateful.



Now, this next part will be very harsh and perhaps unfair towards the anime staff for Journeys, but I really need to get these feelings out of my chest to try to get some form of closure.



For me Journeys was a disaster and an insult to long-term fans. I will start by saying that I don´t believe it was always intended to be Ash´s last series. The first third gave me the impression it was just a anniversary season full of nostalgia bait, where they would try to see how the fans reacted to a co-protagonist. Unlike many people, I think Gou was used to test the waters and, in the next generation, have Ash with a reduced role and perhaps mentor a new main character. However, when I watched the first Iris episode the first thing to pop in my mind was «They are getting rid of Ash and Team Rocket, aren´t they?». The writing changed drastically from that point onwards. However, the absence of an announcement about the anime ending and the pointless amount of Gou episodes kept me in denial about the end. Then we had the interviews with Tomiysasu and Rica that were purposely made in a way to pretend Ash would continue and I forgot about that fear. Then came last Friday and the terrible news.



One thing I always hated about this show was the lack of transparency. We can see this with the Team Rocket VS Team Plasma fiasco and in XY, when after the Skrelp episode was postponed they stopped publishing the Voice Actors list for like 30 episodes. I fully believe that, at least since that Iris episode, everyone knew the current anime was ending. So, why don´t be open about it? Why not make this last half of the series memorable for long-time fans? I think it´s now clear that the endless breaks and recaps weren´t do to the pandemic, but because of the obviously last minute decision of creating an 11 episode epilogue.



To me, the existence of this epilogue is the most unforgivable thing they could have done. When I saw the preview with Ash lost in thought about what to do in the future I just wanted to rage. You are telling me that now that your series is ending you don´t conveniently know what to do? What about defending your title as monarch? Obviously, only poor Leon was forced to defend it. What makes this even more ridiculous is that the SV games have the perfect set-up to continue Ash´s story: he doesn´t participate in the next season of the world coronation series so he can continue travelling and doesn´t need to defend the title and becomes a teacher in Paldea to inspire and help new trainers. This is such a no brainer that I can´t even begin to understand their rationale.



About the epilogue, it will be nothing more than emotional manipulation. Yes, Ash will reunite with Pidgeot and Primate. Yes, Team Rocket will use at least one mecha. Yes, we will meet Ash´s father. Yes, the Orange Islands will appear for some reason even if they were totally absent during journeys. Yes, Team Rocket will reunite with Arbok and Weezing. And no, Ash won´t meet Giovanni nor fight the Team Rocket organization because that would force the writers to actually come up with a coherent plot and not only a nostalgia extravaganza whose objective is to manipulate the long term fans, who were treated like garbage in the last 3 years into thinking the end of Ash´s journey made any kind of sense.



Honestly, to me Tomiyasu destroyed the series. Trio was atrociously treated in his series. Let me explain. For me, Team Rocket has 2 characteristics that are essential to their characters: their passion for «evil» (meaning never giving up on pleasing Giovanni by actively pursuing Pikachu) and their lovable personalities. SM had the second characteristic in spades but lacked their passion. They almost never interacted with the twerps because of Bewear or the donut van. They were incredibly passive. This is the opposite of early BW where they had their passion but lacked personalities. A complete waste. Surprisingly, Journeys had a pretty great and balanced Trio. However, their appearance ratio was so abysmal that it didn´t matter. Unlike many people, I actually liked the idea of the gacha, but like everything on Tomiyasu´s series it was so horrendously executed that it became terrible. You´re telling me they have a machine giving them Pokémon from headquarters that didn´t gave one of their own Pokémon left at the same headquarters not even once? Not even in their final series? I have no words.



I guess SM ended alright because Matsui was a good writer, but unfortunately Journeys didn´t have that luck. One other thing that I will never understand is the change of timeslots. Now, if the series had stayed with the shounen elements from XY it could make a block with One Piece/Boruto, but SM was far from that. They obviously overestimated SM´s popularity and paid for that. They were basically forced into the dead time slot of Friday. A complete disgrace that was very predictable and that nonetheless shaped the future of the series.



Now, about the so called epilogue I will do my hardest to not watch it. As I explained above, it will be nothing but emotional manipulation. If I watch it I will cry a lot but will still know it is nothing but a shallow attempt to please the fans. If they really cared about us old fans they wouldn´t end Ash´s story in 11 episodes (not even a full 12 episodes cour, how much ridiculous can they get). It´s obvious that this epilogue is what they think is best to calm the fandom beast before the start of their new series. I will watch the special next week because of Yajima who, unlike Tomiyasu cared about the series and I will never understand why he was removed from his position. The special is obvious leftovers from a scrapped movie but it will definitely be fun. I would also like to poinnt out the special´s name «The distant blue sky», a name with the sole purpose of invoking a sense of nostalgia. But I digress.



Has for the new series, I obviously won´t watch it. I think it´s safe to assume at least two things about the new series: it will follow the world tour aspect meaning Paldea will suffer the Galar treatment and we will see a lot of 2-in-1 episodes like the Slowpoke ones. Both aspects weren´t well receive so I don´t understand their plan but whatever. A lot of old viewers like me won´t return for the new series. Are they that confident they will be able to attract young viewers? I don´t really think they care. Pokémon is such a larger than life brand that the anime is just an obligatory way to advertise the brand. Which also begs the question of the rationale behind removing your mascot from it. It´s like Disney discarding Mikey or Dragon Ball discarding Goku. In fact, Dragon Ball is an example of how Ash and Team Rocket never needed to leave and that they could still focus on other characters and even change the format. About Riko, I just want to say that they will play with the idea of her being Ash´s daughter but will never reveal it. We won´t ever know who her mother is either. This way, they can try to grab the old fans´ attention and keep them talking about the new show. A disgusting strategy in my opinion, but a strategy nonetheless.



I know this will sound petty, but I really wish the new anime tanks. They could have made the transition much smoother, giving us 3 full years of goodbyes but purposefully chose not to. I really hope that in the inevitable VA interviews during the next couple of months, the veteran VAs actually take a jab at the production. Unfortunately Rica doesn´t seem to, but I still have hope that the Rocket VAs will. They weren´t afraid to criticize BW or Journeys so let´s hope.



I would also like to comment about some quotes I’ve been seeing on social media mainly the famous «Don´t be sad it ended, be happy it happened». Honestly I don´t agree at all. One of the greatest problems with today´s consumer society is that we should be grateful with what we receive, no matter how garbage it is. I disagree. I´m sad it ended and won´t ever forgive the Pokémon Company for it. I also see people coping that Ash will still appear or that Team Rocket will start following Riko since they never said it was their final chapter. Please, stop. It´s over. Don´t deny it anymore. It will hurt more if you do.



Speaking of the franchise in broader terms, I have every single game and lots of merchandize (and I really mean a lot). This weekend I was playing Pokémon Scarlet and I honestly wanted nothing more than to throw all my Pokémon stuff (except the Team Rocket merchandize) into the trash. I know perfectly well this is drama queen/entitled/spoiled brat behaviour but it´s 100% what I feel right now. I can´t put into words how important this franchise and especially the anime have been to my life and mental health. I´m not joking when I say it saved my life countless times and I don´t really know if I would still be here without it. That´s why, as I see the franchise in general steering in a way I don´t particularly like (for example, open world games), I think it´s time to try to move on. It won´t be easy but I definitely won´t buy any more Pokémon products.



A last thing about Team Rocket. Unlike many fans, I don´t want them to quit the organization. Yes, they have lots of talents, but to me they are truly happy when doing «evil». That´s why I am at least happy that´s how they ended in Journeys. The way Meowth said they are forever and then refers to Sonansu as a 4th member brought tears to my eyes. Many people didn´t like it, but for me it was the perfect ending. One more reason to not watch the epilogue as I´m sure they will have them leave the organization.



Writing this was really cathartic. I can´t stop crying. I think what I´m really afraid of is not having my mother with me for next Christmas and knowing that unfortunately Team Rocket won´t be here to help me anymore.



For all those who read these far, thank you for giving a bit of your time to a stranger in the internet, from the bottom of my heart. It means a lot. Now I will conclude my ravings with by absolute favourite quote related to Team Rocket. It was said in the Japanese version by the narrator at the end of the Sonansu episode in XY: «Filled with a flood of emotions, the balloon floats on. Move forward, Rocket Gang! For the sake of tomorrow!» Unfortunately your white tomorrow is no more, but you will always live inside my heart. Farewell Team Rocket. Farewell my oldest and dearest friends. You really are forever.
 

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My history with the show is spotty. I don't remember watching episodes on a weekly basis. Instead, I'd watch episodes as and when I happened to catch them on Sky or Toonami, which was usually before or after school. Pokemon was a juggernaut, of course, but back then, it actually had some competition. Cardcaptor Sakura, Digimon, Yugioh, Medabots, Mega Man, DBZ, Outlaw Star, and a few others I'm likely forgetting all started airing in the UK around the same time, all worthy of some attention, on a TV I had to share with the whole family. Thanks to that, I never really kept up with the show properly. I remember talking with friends at school about AG, only to be told Diamond and Pearl was the new thing and about 12 episodes deep. Whoops.

I did see the first two movies in theatres. Now that was a wild time. Pokemon was everywhere. You could go into Burger King and play Pokemon Stadium after you got a nice Mewtwo Strikes Back toy. Kids you barely knew would see a binder in your arms and ask if you wanted to trade cards. School would write home telling us to stop bringing cards in because they were causing arguments. People on the news told us to stop watching because the show was promoting Satan. There'll never be a another time like it.

It's all different, nowadays. When I tell my nephew I used to own the first three films on VHS, he blinks at me and asks what on earth a VHS is. Then he asks for the millionth time if he can see my card collection.

The point I started following more closely was when I got my own computer with internet access and discovered all those beautiful (and most assuredly illegal) anime sites. 2008 was when I entered the online community in earnest, discovering the delightful world of shipping debates (100+ page threads on AdvancedShipping vs ContestShipping, which would not even be allowed today) and the many, many gripes people had with the anime. Thinking back, this experience made me more cynical about Ash and his adventures. I used to be one of those who thought he had to grow up, that the show should be more mature, etc. I suppose as a teenager, it was natural to want the show to grow up with you, rather than enjoy it for what it was.

It took me a while to figure out what I even wanted out of the show. I stopped watching BW halfway through, came back for XY, then stopped watching that halfway through as well. Being in college and having so many other distractions was part of it, but there was also a mundanity and monotony to the show which turned me off after a while. The excitement surrounding the Kalos League brought me back for a bit, but then that ended up in disappointment as well. It was clear - and being real, it had been clear for a very long time - Pokemon had little interest in rewarding viewers who'd stuck with Ash's journey for so long, instead opting for the safe, boring option of falling back into status quo and pretending nothing really happened.

I guess I was looking for something to change, and SM provided that. That first poster - you know, the one which broke the PokeAni community beyond repair - made me laugh at just how silly, yet also how fun, it looked. Where people were mad because Ash looked different, and wouldn't be continuing his journey in the traditional way, I was excited for something new. I wasn't interested in tradition, or formulas, or whatever other buzzwords we used to use to justify Pokemon doing the same old schtick time and again. I wanted the show to embrace its whimsical and at times absurd roots again.

It's a similar issue I have with the games. Each new iteration raised the stakes just that bit higher. Ecological disaster in RSE, the creation of an entire new world in DPPt, a philosophical struggle of truths vs ideals in BW, a honest to god death machine used to stop war in XY... it all seemed just a bit too big for Pokemon. I play as a kid going out on a fun adventure with magical monsters. Why am I suddenly a chosen one stopping psychopaths from killing everybody?

The anime never quite went down that road, but Ash notably changes from a normal boy who got into some big situations every now and then to someone more innately special. Now he has Aura powers, and meets every legendary under the sun, and the mystical ninja frog with its unique form nobody else could have... I don't know, I could never really get into it the same way. SM does it too, but SM also has moments like Ash cheating on a school report so he doesn't embarrass himself in front of his mother, which is infinitely more relatable than being god's chosen one. So unsurprisingly, SM is the series I tend to go back to. Beyond that, I've always liked the silly, irreverent episodes the most, especially if they involve Ash and Team Rocket working together. Yes, that was, in fact, a thing that used to happen.

Ironically, SM helped me belatedly understand that there's more to the Pokemon world than just Ash. Ash was a fun character who became something of a son or nephew to me as I grew older, but he was never an inspiration or anything like that. Characters like Brock, Kukui, and Team Rocket became a lot more interesting and relatable.

To sum up, I'll cherish OS and AG because that's my childhood right there. DP, BW and XY represented a weird time in my life when I was figuring a lot of stuff out and found solace in other shows that fulfilled my needs a bit more than Pokemon was capable of. SM drew me right back in and hasn't yet let go. Journeys... I'm not sure yet. I'll need more time.
 
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Ah geez. I usually try not to get emotional, but the last few days since that announcement have been rough and I can't keep bein' aloof about it anymore. I apologize... orz

But first, good memories! I have too many to count, but just going off of some that come to mind from childhood:
I very clearly remember staying up late with my clunky old original Nintendo DS, watching the same two episodes over and over on a Game Boy Advance Video cartridge (one that still currently sits on my desk as I write). I didn't realize it at the time, but when I went back to them, I've still basically committed them to memory line for line even now! I also recall being so obsessed with Eevee, my very favorite Pokémon, that I would rewatch The Battling Eevee Brothers, Trouble's Brewing, and, ahem, especially The Rivalry Revival... pretty much every day. Yes, that may very well be where some of my OS fanaticism stems from (though I liked May's Eevee too!). I think I even said I wanted to be an "Eevee Trainer" like Mikey did lol.

I also remember when I witnessed the Diamond & Pearl dub opening for the first time, and just being SO AMAZED about this brand-new series!! Then later, after the DP era had come to a close, I was deathly excited about BW when it started airing here — to the point where I dragged my whole family to see Pokémon the Movie: White—Victini and Zekrom with me in the theater back in 2011. (Going back to it recently, it was honestly not a very good movie, but I was just SO hyped back then that I guess it didn't matter to me hahah.)
So much time I spent online watching old shipping AMVs, too. And have I ever mentioned how many times my mother told me to stop wearing baseball caps and fingerless gloves while I was indoors? :p

Some more recent fond memories include: this one day a few years ago, when I was walking back from a really long day at class... it was raining, there was no one around, and I was listening to the 2.B.A. Master album and the Pokémon 3 soundtrack on my phone. Long story short, I ended up dancing in the rain on my way home and was so absorbed in it that my phone flew out of my pocket and landed full-force on the concrete lmfao. I felt a little ridiculous at the time but it makes me laugh to think about now.

And the morning of January 8th, 2021, when the third Journeys OP aired for the first time. I woke up tired and disgruntled, hazily checked my phone, and immediately saw the news that my all-time favorite character Gary had finally made a return, after a very long 12-year absence from the series. I INSTANTLY scrambled out of bed, and messaged my best friend so many times (and so incoherently) that for a brief moment he thought some sort of medical emergency had happened to me LOLLL.
On a related note, I still cherish all the hours I spent on this forum in the spring of last year, during the lead-up to JN068 — from painstakingly analyzing and discussing the first "Project Mew" special preview trailer, to waking up before sunrise to finally watch it live on May 28th. That was just such a fantastic and special time for me personally and I'll always be happy that it was all immortalized with you guys right here on Bulba. :bulbaLove: (I mean, I probably wouldn't have ever become active on these forums in the first place if it weren't for my urge to talk about Pokeani!!)

Now, the most poignant; my history with the anime series.

So... to be blunt, I was never a very social kid. I was very sheltered, never went to school, had no siblings nor any real friends to speak of — at the time, I didn't know I was autistic, so life was confusing and inexplicably difficult, and I mostly spent my time alone in my room or on the computer.
All that, of course, is where Pokémon came in for me. More than anything, I remember being sick and letting whole seasons play endlessly at a low volume on the TV; I remember being unable to sleep, so I'd stare at the pages of the Let's Find Pokémon! books and think about what it was like in their world; I remember feeling so lonely that it'd drive me to tears, but only pulling myself together because I'd think "Ash and his friends wouldn't want me to be sad!" lol. I could always be found drawing the characters, making up stories about them, staging imaginary battles with my Pokémon plushies... It was something that was always there for me, even when it felt like nothing else was.

I started losing interest in the anime towards the end of BW. For no real reason other than that I was just far more invested in the games during that era — by the time XY started, I had entirely tuned out (and by then, I was already in that dumb annoying middle school age range where it certainly wouldn't have been "cool" amongst my peers to still be watching it anyway hahah). SM was much the same; it was there in my peripheral vision, sure, but I just couldn't seem to care even if I wanted to.
Then, flash forward to a little over three years ago, back in 2019. Around the middle of that year, I went through a very hard and painful experience that was a big turning point for me; and what was it that I ended up crawling back to later that September? (No points for guessing, that is.) Hearing about the Alola League's outcome brought up all these emotions I didn't even realize I still had! I found out the anime still made me happy, and I immediately had that "heck, why did I ever leave?!" kind of moment, like I was visiting an old friend for the first time in years. Journeys started not long afterward and all has been right in the world for me ever since.

The news on Friday, when it happened, very suddenly hit me like a truck. I was an emotional wreck; to the point where my friends have been intermittently checking on me every now and then just to make sure I'm doing alright LOL. I'm already preemptively walking around with this sad, empty, Anipoke-shaped hole in my heart that just won't go away. This whole time, I had just assumed it'd always continue to be there, and now... we're all just patiently waiting for it to be over. Funny how that goes, right?
I knew this had to happen someday, and I knew all signs were pointing to this being the end of Ash's adventure; yet, somehow, I guess some part of me wanted to believe they wouldn't ever really go through with it. It's been such a constant in my life, something that made me the way that I am and that still means so much to me, that I almost didn't want it to ever truly end. And I know it will continue albeit in a new direction with this 2023 series — but without all the things that I loved so dearly about it, right now I don't think it's ever going to be the same.

At this specific point in my life, the timing of this is very... strange for me. Right now I'm nearing my 20th birthday, and to be honest, I'm realizing that not a lot has changed over the years. It almost feels like some kind of sign; a fated message that's saying to me "oh, grow up, will ya?!"... and, I mean, yeah, maybe I should.
I know I'm going to be sad. Once we get around to the upcoming Aim to Be a Pokémon Master arc, when all these loose ends are tied up and we finally have to say goodbye to everyone for good, I'm going to be devastated and heartbroken and inconsolable for a while. I don't know for how long. That is just the truth.

But if I've learned anything from watching all of these journeys begin and end — the fact that this is all coming to a close shouldn't detract from all these good memories we made along the way... right? Even if it hurts right now, nothing will ever take away the amazing things that the Pokémon anime has brought to me and so very many others, over these 1,221+ episodes so far. Life may continue to march onward, but the world of Pokémon will always remain the same right where it was, and we'll always have these memories to reminisce on.

So I'm grateful for the smiles, the tears, and the laughter; the good times, and the not-so-good times; the joy and excitement, the shock and awe, the celebration and even the frustration; the love for what we experienced, the friendship we found through it, and everything in between. Thank you, and may we all remember these things fondly for a long time to come.
 
I am more of a lurker here especially after many old, and fondly remembered users stopped posting here but I never went away and the Pokémon anime is still accompanying me after all these years.

I started watching Pokémon when it first aired in Germany from episode 1 onwards. I liked it a lot and grew very fond of the concept, characters and world but during Johto I lost interest in the show because it felt way too redundant without much payoff. Team Rocket was on many episode the sole reason I kept watching.
Then I heard of the big league finale in Johto and Ash VS Gary, finally...after all these years! This got me so exicted that I started watching the anime in japanese via torrents. Took ages to download an episode back in 2001/2002 (not too sure anymore when it actually was), but I loved the japanese version.

The music, the voices, the openings...everything felt much much better. So I stuck with the japanese anime ever since the end of Johto until ...well...now.
During my university time I learned japanese for a few semesters and Pokémon was the perfect anime to practise basic understanding of the language because it the speech is pretty simple most of the time. This was during DP.

Pokémon evolved as a series over the years (not always for the better) and so did I (not alyways for the better xD)...

The anime had its ups and down. I loved the change of pace in AG with Satoshi being a more serious trainer and I especially loved the character of Haruka....BW almost got me to quit watching the anime because how Team Rocket was handeled and how...well,..everything was handeled to be honest.
XY(&Z) felt like the first moment where I could have imagined the anime to end and I loved the animations and SM found its way into my heart faster than any other Pokémon series before it. Pocket Monsters 2019 had a lot of problems but I can't say that I didn't enjoy the callbacks in the masters 8 tournament and the finale between Satoshi and Dande....

I am almost 40 now and am still watching a silly cartoon about colorful magical animals and I don't regret sticking with the anime for so long.
I hope that the new mini series will give Satoshi a deserving ending. And more important,....please give Musashi, Kojiro and Nyarth a deserving ending after so many years.

During the AG-era I finished school.
During DP and BW I started and finished university and started working.
XY was my "you are really a grown up now"-time
and SM was the "you start to feel like you finally arrived in your own life"-time.
I got married and at the end of 2019 I became a father (the ending of SM with Kukui and Bernett still gets me every time)...

and...I named my daughter: Rica.
It wasn't easy to persuade my wife but I did it.
And when I look back now and see that Satoshi will leave the anime for good,...so, no more Rica on a weekly basis, no more opening songs sung by her to look forward to, no more beautiful and emotionfilled voice acting from Rica (and the others!) only a few years after when my own little Jari-Girl finally arrived...I feel very nostalgic and thankful. Thankful for all the tears, smiles and unforgettable moments.
 
My earliest memories was sitting back watching the indigo saga as a little kid and falling in love with every pokemon. I almost carried around a Pikachu plush just because I loved the Pokemon anime that much. Almost every week my favorite pokemon changed just because I felt so much joy watching them. But when Ash's Charizard defeated Blaine's Magmar, that was the exact where Charizard became my childhood favorite.

The Johto saga had a similar affect on me. I still loved every pokemon I seen. Heck, Spell of the unown is still my favorite pokemon movie since it was the movie I watched the most since I had it on VHS. And I will never forget my excitement when I first seen Charizard show up to save Ash and fight Entei.

The Advance series was the first series I didn't have that many memories of. Mainly because most of my fondest memories were during the battle frontier. It around that time where I got my first hand held and my first pokemon game, Sapphire. And my first starter I picked was treeko since I always thought Ash's Sceptile was cool and it because my second favorite pokemon. Heck my two favorite moments were Charizard defeating Articuno and Sceptile leaning solar beam.

DP was around the time where I first started to use the internet regularly, so not only did I have the anime to supply me with pokemon stuff but fan contant as well. Though I don't remember much on the fan contant since most of it wasn't that good. But the anime did. There was so many moments that got my blood pumping. Every single Gym battle, every single catch, and every single Evolution got me excited. DP just did a good job at hyping me up.

Then came Best wishes. Now unlike most people, I did like BW. Though it never came close to hyping me up like DP did, I still enjoyed it. Though it was around that time when I did stop watching the anime. By time it came on, I had to get for school and I just didn't have time to sit down and watched it at the time. By time I did come back, B2W2 had come out so I did get to Ash's last gym battle against Roxy which was the closest thing to hyping me up in BW.

XY actually did bring back my hype, though not right away. I felt like it was a bit to slow at first and despite the dynamic camera, I wasn't to fond of the first two gym fights while Korrina did give me some hype, it wasn't until Freaky evolved into frogadire when I really started getting hyped. It was also around this time when I started to watch the Japanese episodes and Check Bulbapedia for upcoming episodes. And when I first seen Ash Greninja, my hype was through the roof.

Now comes SM. I will admit, I did not care much for it at first, but I did start to warm up to it. It was actually the first series where I sat and watched it with my niece and nephews and it was the series that made my oldest nephew fall in love with pokemon. SM did have some moments that hyped me up, though most of those were during the league. Like the only two moments that weren't from the league were Rockruffs evolution and Guzma's introduction. Other that that, the league had all the hype for me.

And finally there's journeys. Besides the hype moments, journeys doesn't have many moments I like to remember. Like there have been things I get excited for, but ended up disappointment in the end. Like project Mew. I was hyped for that, but that hype didn't last.

Tomorrow, I'll be 25 and I've been watching the anime since I was 4. That's 21 years of me watching the adventures of my favorites childhood character. 21 years of being a fan of Anime. And 21 years of being a fan of Pokemon as whole. And I'm thankful of that because of all the memories I have of watching, discussing, and playing Pokemon with friends and family
 
I was born just in time to experience the beginning of Pokémon in the United States. I was 4 years old when Indigo League first started, so it feels I can’t remember a time where Pokémon wasn’t in my life. I was too young to know that Pokémon was on Kids WB at the time, so I never knew if it was playing on TV. I watched most of the episodes at the time through VHS tapes instead, and I was immediately hooked. This is on top of Pokémon Stadium for the Nintendo 64 being my first Pokémon game, and other games like Pokémon Snap and Pokémon Puzzle League making the games enjoyable for me, even if I was too young to play through the mainline RPGs at this point in time.

I also have fond memories of watching the first five movies in movie theaters. I sadly no longer have the trading cards that came with the movies, but it was very exciting to see the effect Pokémania had on the general public at the time. I even faintly remember going to Pokémon Live, the live action play. I also remember being so excited for the Jirachi movie when I watched its trailer on the Pokémon Colosseum Bonus Disc, only to be bummed out that it was the first of many movies to become Direct-to-Video. Nonetheless, I would continue to watch the Pokémon movies on DVD, but it made me grateful for watching the first five movies in theaters. When I Choose You and The Power of Us got full theater releases as well, I immediately jumped on those opportunities. There was also a rerun of Mewtwo Strikes Back in theaters that happened in 2016, and I was fortunate enough to go to a showing where Veronica Taylor was also present, and did a Q&A. That was an amazing experience!

One character that really stood out to me during the original series was Ash’s Charizard. It sold me on Charizard being my favorite Pokémon of all time. I really found it fascinating that Charizard didn’t listen to Ash because it meant that Charizard lacked faith in Ash’s skills. It thought it was above Ash. It thought that it was even better than its opponents were. All of this is why Charizard Chills is my #1 favorite Pokémon episode of all time. We learn in that episode alone that we can never underestimate anyone, we can learn to have faith in each other and move on from shaky pasts, and we can learn to cooperate to accomplish great things. Charizard Chills has many powerful messages that stuck with me my whole life, and it compliments its debut episode as a Charmander very well, showing that Ash always had faith in Charizard. After Charizard defeated other Pokémon like Gary’s Blastoise and Noland’s Articuno, I always saw it as Ash’s second most reliable Pokémon, and I was really excited when it rejoined Ash in the Black & White series, even if it ended up not doing much.

I bring up Ash’s Charizard specifically because it was a direct inspiration for me to main Charizard in Project M, Smash 4, and Pokkén Tournament. Aside from loving the story of Ash’s Charizard, I also liked the fact that Charizard is typically an underdog in the main series games as well. It looks strong and intimidating, but it’s typing is not the best defensively, the weakness to Stealth Rock is crippling, and there’s better Fire and Flying types out there competitively. So to me, having faith in Charizard feels like going against status-quo for your favorites, which I like because I relate to my favorite characters more than I do to top-tiers. I like to play as characters because I like who they are and what they mean to me, not because they are statistically better than the others. In Smash 4, Charizard is one of the worst characters in the game in my opinion, so that solidifies my usage for him in that game even more for me. It’s always satisfying to beat the best with your favorite. When Smash Ultimate released, I switched over to King K. Rool, but I’ll never forget my time maining Charizard, and how Ash’s Charizard inspired me.

Anyway, back to the Pokémon anime. I would continue watching the show through DVDs, still not being aware of what channel it was on sadly. Around the time Pokémon Emerald came out, I discovered Serebii, and would keep up-to-date with the anime through that ever since. I remember when Diamond and Pearl were announced, and being excited to witness the announcements of brand new Pokémon at the time. However, the unfortunate news of the dub change was also announced around this time. Even though I now know the anime would be airing on Cartoon Network, it would be under a brand new voice cast. As many of us know, it was a hard change to accept. I started watching the Battle Frontier episodes as they aired on Cartoon Network anyway, and I even remember recording the last Battle Frontier episode. However, my incentive to keep going with Diamond and Pearl was dampered by the actors changing. It was hard enough for me to watch Battle Frontier, and that was when my interest in the dub ended. At this point, I was also made aware of the Japanese version of the anime, as I saw a YouTube upload of the first Diamond and Pearl opening. It really fascinated me, but as there was no way for me to understand it or watch it anywhere, I kinda gave up on seriously following the anime for a while, just sticking to following it on Serebii and Bulbapedia.

One episode of Black & White really piqued my interest though. Of course, it was the episode where Charizard returned, with me remembering the episode number BW116 by heart. This episode made me aware that the Japanese episodes were being fansubbed. At that point, I didn’t feel like catching up with watching all of Black & White, so I just decided to watch that episode for the time being. I even went out of my way to watch the dub of that episode as well when it aired on Cartoon Network, because I love Ash’s Charizard that much. I kept a mental note of the fact that fansubbers were working to make these episodes watchable for English viewers, and I decided it would be a fun challenge to try to watch the upcoming Pokémon XY anime in full, in Japanese with English subtitles.

XY was the first time I decided to commit to watching an entire series as it first aired. I had never done anything like this before, as I actually don’t watch too many other shows or anime, but Pokémon has always been very important to me. Luckily, the first 10 episodes were great first hooks. It was epic seeing Ash climb Prism Tower to save Garchomp. The first gym had a solid two-parter with great battle animation. The childhood flashback with Serena and Ash was very surprising. But the episode that really hooked me onto XY was episode 9. We see that Clemont’s dad reveals that his son is a gym leader, a fact he didn’t want to admit because he was ashamed of not getting Clembot under control and being kicked out. Ash and Serena, despite all of them not knowing each other very well at this point, decide to hear out Clemont and Bonnie and help them out. After they resolve the conflict, we hear Clemont tell his dad that, despite the short amount of time he’s traveled with Ash so far, he’s experienced so many things and wants to experience even more. Serena even says that she’ll watch over Bonnie, which shows that these characters trust each other so much despite just meeting. XY009 showed how wholesome the XY group can be, and I knew at this point that I picked a great series to watch the entire thing for. I had doubts that I would enjoy being committed to watching a Pokémon series long-term, but the positive energy in this episode sold me on watching the rest of it.

Three years later, we reach the conclusion of XY. At this point, I had grown a heavy attachment to Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie. XY became my favorite series in the entire show, had my favorite traveling group, and my favorite artstyle and story. Everything about the XY series was everything I would have ever wanted in a Pokémon series. The last episode even aired a day before my 22nd birthday, on October 27th. When Sun & Moon was starting, I was in a serious post-anime depression from XY ending. I couldn’t bring myself to accept that the story of XY ended, and I held off on watching Pokémon for a while at this point. I tried watching Sun & Moon to give it a chance, but by episode 6, I knew the show was so drastically different that I didn’t really have the mindset to enjoy it. I ended up taking what I loved about XY’s story, and focused on other aspects of my life at the moment. I started learning video game development more. I entered Smash Ultimate tournaments with my new main King K. Rool. I went to conventions like E3 and PAX. I graduated from college. During all of this, my memories of watching XY faded into the background, and I moved on to other things. However, this wouldn’t be the last of the Pokémon anime for me.

When Pokémon Journeys was starting, I thought it had an interesting enough concept of exploring the whole Pokémon world, rather than just one region. However, what ultimately determined that I would end up watching Journeys in its entirety was the fact that my younger brother also wanted to watch it. He had just graduated from college, and we were now living in the same apartment together. I figured, sure, it could be fun to watch another Pokémon series in its entirety again. My brother never watched XY with me, so this was a new experience for him. I remember getting excited when Korrina was announced to return in Journeys, and then it hit me; this could be the series where we see a bunch of characters from previous ones return. That motivated me even more to keep going with watching Journeys. Towards the end of Journeys, I also couldn’t help but shake the feeling that this could be the end of Ash Ketchum as we know him. When Volker said that he could even shake up the Master Class, I had a feeling that they wanted Ash to win the whole thing. After all, Ash told Leon in the Raihan vs. Leon episode that he would be the one to defeat Leon, plus the whole purpose of Ash entering the PWC was to fight Leon. I couldn’t help but be worried for what Ash beating Leon would mean for the Pokémon anime, but I tried to not worry about it too much at the time.

One character return episode in Journeys really resonated with me, far more than any of the others; Serena. At this point in time, I had not seen anything of the XY anime since it first ended, and it had been over five years later since it ended at that point. I was shocked to see how much care they put into Serena’s character development, and it made me remember her entire story again. It gave me an intense emotional reaction, and I forgot how much I missed her character. I ended up rewatching the entire XY series all over again earlier this year, this time with my brother joining in as well. I paid special attention to Serena’s story this time around, and I noticed a lot of little things I didn’t notice before. For example, Serena got mad at her Pokémon in XY064, regretted it, then Aria told her that things don’t have to be like this, and we can always forgive our Pokémon, because they are our precious partners. Then, when Serena’s Eevee falls down and messes up its first performance in XY101, Serena is patient and understanding of it, telling Eevee to not dwell on its mistakes. This kindness and trust between Serena and Eevee is what lead it to evolve into Sylveon, a reward for Serena learning to not get mad at her Pokémon when things don’t work out. In XY113, Serena almost falls down and makes a mistake, but Sylveon saves her from the fall, showing a role reversal and a reward for Serena’s support for Sylveon paying off. However, things like Sylveon saving her and Aria giving advice to her leads to Serena coming to the conclusion that she relies on her friends to help her too much, and she can’t continue to count on outside help if she wants to be successful. I could go on and on, but my point in bringing all of this up is I feel like there are genuine lessons to be learned from Serena’s story. We can learn to be accepting of others instead of be disappointed of them, we can learn that caring for others can be reciprocated if they have reasons to care back, we can learn that a career is not all fun and games, that a career can be a commitment that must be enjoyed to succeed in, and more.

The XY rewatch helped me get back on track with my life, and made me remember why I got so productive after it first ended back in late 2016. Serena’s entire character arc is a way of expressing my desire to live and succeed. Serena cutting her hair to embrace change and move towards the future is equivalent to me going to the gym and burning away my body fat, throwing away the harsh past and moving towards a healthier and stronger version of myself. Serena leaving her home and throwing away her comfort zone, in order to try out new things and take risks, embodies how I was stuck playing in Smash Bros. tournaments and not loving it as much as I hoped I would, giving it up to focus on trying new things and improving other aspects of my live. Serena becoming a performer because wants to escape her rough past, and give happiness back to the world and make it a better place, embodies why I want to do video game development as a career in the first place. Even the fact that Serena has a crush on Ash is relatable, because a girl in college had a crush on me for similar reasons; because I was hard working, confident, and optimistic, just like Ash was. Unfortunately, she herself was not the best person, so nothing really came out of it. But the experience gave me a better understanding of Serena’s crush in that aspect as well.

Everything about Serena’s character feels relatable to me, and it’s rare for me to feel like that with a female character. However, I feel like it is well deserved. As Serena learned to improve herself from Ash, I saw Serena as an inspiration for myself throughout this year. The quote “If you’re not sure what to do, you should try making a move! If that ends in failure, you’ll still be left with something. There’s nothing you could do that would be pointless!” has been running in my head ever since JN105 aired back in April, and I have too turned it into a part of my identity. I tried Sushi for the first time this year, thinking it was gross looking my whole life, and now love it. I signed up for the gym and took it seriously for the first time in my life, going multiple days a week. I started only getting lettuce wraps for my burgers recently, accepting that buns aren’t necessary and that I can lose even more weight. I purchased lessons for the Unity video game engine, and started learning the program more. I also bought digital drawing lessons, and a drawing tablet, for the first time. If we give things a chance, we can discover a new side of ourselves, which is the cornerstone of why JN105 became one of my favorite Pokémon episodes of all time. Just seeing Serena being happy that Chloe gave performances a try really warms my heart, and it makes me think that Serena would be happy for me trying new things in a similar way. Serena doesn’t just want to make people in her own universe haply, she wants to help out people outside of her universe too. That is what makes Serena such a powerful, and even real, character for me. A single episode of Pokémon defined my entire year, and made me a drastically happier person for it. If I ever make it big in the future, I would genuinely have to thank Serena for it. She is like a real friend to me, and she did more for me than a lot of other people have, both fictional and non-fictional. This essentially makes Serena one of my favorite characters of all time, and my favorite female character in any piece of media. I would even say I like her more than Ash at this point, as I had a stronger emotional reaction to JN105 than I did with JN132. That says a lot.

Anyway, to wrap up my thoughts on Pokémon Journeys; I’m grateful I decided to watch the whole thing with my brother now that we know that Journeys was the last Ash Ketchum focused series. Just as XY ended the day before my 22nd birthday, Journeys ended two days after my brother’s 26th birthday; on December 16th. It’s incredibly poetic how the first series I ever watched in full ended around my birthday, and the first series my brother ever watched ended around his birthday. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. One more thing to note is that JN111 and JN112 motivated us to watch all of Sun & Moon this year as well for the first time, so we binged that in addition to XY. I’m glad I didn’t jump into Sun & Moon with a bad mindset right after XY ended, and took my time before jumping into it. When you look at Sun & Moon as a standalone series, it’s an incredibly fun time and has a lot of creative ideas for episodes. I’m glad I gave it a chance, and it shows that we’re allowed to enjoy entire series even if we watch them retroactively for the first time. Overall though, this year specifically has been an amazing time to be a Pokémon fan, and I’m glad I got to be a part of Ash’s last hurrah with millions of other fans around the world.

Lastly, I made a post elsewhere that describes how much Ash Ketchum and the Pokémon anime means to me, so I’m just going to copy and paste it here for prosperity:

“I needed a day to process the fact that Ash Ketchum is no longer featured in the Pokémon anime. It still doesn't feel real to me. I was born shortly before Pokémon came into existence, so it always felt like Ash and Pikachu were friends I saw every single week of my life. Not only did I grow up with Pokémon, Pokémon also grew up with me. We saw Ash go from a complete beginner, to a World Champion, over 25 years. I was there for every step of the way, and I do not take that for granted.

There are people who were born too late to experience the story from the beginning live. There are people who were graduating high school right when Pokémon began, and never got into the franchise as a result. There are even people who may have left us too soon and never got to see his story conclude. I was born at the perfect time to witness the unfolding of the #1 biggest branding in the world, becoming a life-long fan in the process, and I am beyond grateful for it.

Pokémon is more than just a marketing giant. It's a world filled with heart and soul. Filled with people who are goal-oriented and inspire each other. Filled with emotional moments where we have to learn to let go and say goodbye to our friends, and meet new friends along the way. The world of Pokémon is alive, and represents how everyone has so much to live for. These characters really feel like your friends after knowing them for so long, and they have provided me a great source of comfort throughout my life.

Ash's last series was called Pokémon Journeys. The first time I watched an entire series live as it aired from Japan was Pokémon XY, and now the second time I have done that was with Pokémon Journeys. Watching all 136 episodes of Pokémon Journeys definitely feels bittersweet in retrospective, as characters from all over the franchise's history appeared throughout the episodes, in an unprecedented way. We saw how these characters got closer to their goals, and they all watched Ash in his climatic match for winning the title of World Champion. We didn't know it when Journeys first started, but looking back on it all, it definitely felt like multiple plotlines were being wrapped up. If this was going to be the last Ash Ketchum adventure, I'm glad we got to see all of these characters one more time.

Overall, I'm grateful for the experience. I bought some figures of characters from the show, and they have helped immensely with my happiness and guiding me towards my future. Just because the show is over, that doesn't mean we can't continue its story in the real world. We can take what we love about these characters, and make them our own. Ash Ketchum would never give up, no matter how bleak it looked. He went from a nobody in a cornfield town, to a hard-working celebrity that everyone aspires to be. That is inspiring.

We all can make it in this world, we just have to remember why we love what we do, and share it with the world. That is why I want to become a video game designer, and I have Ash and his friends to thank for helping me get back on track. The characters may be fictional, but because they helped me move my life forward, they feel real to me. My friends looked out for me in a way that real friends would; looking out for my best interests, being patient and understanding of me, sharing their life experiences with me, and looking forward to my success. Anything can be real if you put your mind to it!”

If you read this far, thank you so much for taking the time to read this entire post. Pokémon means the world to me, as well as millions of other of people. I will never forget these characters and stories as long as I live. If I ever have a family in the future, I will make sure to pass on my love for Ash Ketchum’s story to the next generation. One day, I hope I can create a video game that makes people happy, in the same way that Pokémon has for countless of others. Until then though, I’n grateful I got to be alive and around for all of this. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I do not take it for granted.

One final note: the Pokémon anime aired during various points during my school days. I thought it would be fun to leave this here as a footnote:

Original Series - Pre-School/Early Elementary School

Advanced - Elementary School

Diamond & Pearl - Middle School

Black & White: High School

X & Y: College

Sun & Moon: Post-college

Journeys: Post-college
 
It's honestly crazy that I don't remember my life without Pokémon being in it. The show started in America when I was 4 years old. I vaguely recall my first encounter with the show being through a promotional VHS tape with a couple of the early episodes on it. I don't remember how I got it, but I do know that as soon as I watched it, I was hooked. I wanted everything Pokémon. I had clothes, pajamas, books. My first game was Yellow when I was 5 because I wanted a Pikachu as my starter Pokémon. Two of my favorite toys growing up where my stuffed Pikachu that made sounds and whose cheeks lit up, and a little Togepi who would rock back and forth and repeat its name over and over again (my parents absolutely hated it :sneaky:.) My birthday party theme when I turned 5 was Pokémon. The first Pokémon movie was the first movie I ever saw in theaters. I had the characters as glow in the dark stickers and a poster of the first 151 Pokémon on my wall. The anime is what got me into Pokémon and even as I got into other areas of the franchise like the games, the show always remained my favorite.

Also doesn't hurt that Ash was pretty much my first crush as a kid. I just thought he was so cute and funny! And he was on almost all the merchandise back in the 90s, which is how to this day I still have a towel and a little bowl and cup with him on it. Watching him on TV every day as a kid was like getting to see my boyfriend every day!

I have very vivid memories of rushing home from school, summer camp, and weekend activities because I needed to watch the new episodes. There was nothing I looked forward to more. The OS (so Kanto through Johto) aired from when I was 4 to 9 years old, so those were my very formative years. It's why that series has always remained my favorite; the memories associated with it are so dear to me and watching all of those old episodes are so deeply comforting.

Gotta Catch Ya Later! was honestly my first experience with heartbreak. I might have had a huge crush on Ash, but I adored the whole group, especially Misty. I was a super shy, quiet kid, and I loved how Misty did what she wanted, said what she wanted, and was just super confident. I wanted to be more like her, so I loved getting to kind of live through her each week. I also became a huge Pokeshipper during the Orange Islands despite my young age, which inspired me to start on my writing habit that I still have today. So when that original group broke up, I was devastated. It was so upsetting to lose that trio who had been with me through so many years of my childhood and meant so much to me.

I kept watching the anime, but it never felt 100% the same after the OS. I hated May at first because she'd replaced Misty, which is kind of hilarious looking back considering she and I have much more similar personalities and also appearances (we're both blue eyed brunettes.) I did eventually come around to the point where May is still my second favorite companion. I did tune out at some point during AG (getting to the whole "I'm too old for Pokémon" stage and all) but I strongly remember Cartoon Network having their big "10 Year Anniversary" Pokémon marathon where they replayed every single episode of the show (yes, Cartoon Network really treated the series like gold at one point!) I saw all those old OS episodes once again and all the memories came flooding back. I was having so much fun watching that marathon, reliving those old days, and that was the tipping point. I was back into Pokémon for good. All in time for new games and a new series to drop! And, just to keep the irony going, I became bitter all over again when May got replaced by Dawn! 9 year old me would've never believed that if you told her, considering May was like my childhood arch rival for a while.

DP aired throughout middle school for me, and BW through high school til the beginning of college. I enjoyed both of those series, although the end of BW greatly disappointed me. XY aired throughout college for me, and that was when I fell off the anime again for a while, albeit by choice this time and not peer pressure. I just wasn't feeling XY, it didn't bring me joy watching it the way other series had. It started to feel like a chore to watch it, and I just wasn't liking that feeling. Couple that with the fact that I was having a really great time in college and was super busy with extracurricular commitments, I just didn't care to make the time in my schedule to watch it. I did tune in towards the end because there was so much hype over the Kalos League, and because I do always like to see how a series ends, and I was very relieved when XY finally ended because it felt like a clean slate for me to get fully back into the anime.

And then SM came into my life. It was the first series to air in my "adult" life. I was done with school (or so I thought...I ended up going back to graduate school a couple years later) and I was finally working. I was going through a rough patch because I'd loved college so much (after being a kid who absolutely hated grade school) and I felt lost without all of my commitments and getting to see my friends every day. SM became such a bright light in my life during an otherwise difficult time. It was so much fun to watch Ash have fun with all of his friends in a school setting. The found family theme struck such a chord with me; it reminded me so much of the bonds I had formed with my college friends. My childhood dog actually died shortly before the infamous Stoutland episode aired, so the timing was both very painful and very therapeutic. SM also helped me through the death of my grandparents. I know it's the "cool" thing to make fun of SM (at least it was for a while) but for me, SM was the most fun I've had watching the anime since I was really young. Despite now being an adult, watching SM gave me the same feeling watching the OS did all those years ago, and still does. The fact that both series aired so far apart, and at such different phases in my life, really gives me such a great appreciation for both of them. Unfortunately, Journeys was a big drop off from the feelings SM gave me, but the series was still more on the lighthearted side and there were aspects of it I enjoyed.

But now, getting these final 11 episodes, my heart is so anxious, excited, and nervous all at once for what's to come. Just that one little clip of Misty catching Ash with her fishing rod the same way she did when I was 4 years old actually brought tears to my eyes. It's honestly unbelievable to me that nearly 25 years later, everything seems to be coming full circle. I was never really sure that they'd end the anime as we knew it, but if they ever did, I always knew I would never be ready. The news really did feel like a punch in the gut, and a week later, I'm still processing it. I am so grateful for all the years of memories I have with the anime, and all the joy it's brought me and that I can continue to look back on, but it's hard to think that there won't be any new memories to be created. As someone who never intended to continue with the anime if Ash were to leave, I still can't believe that my time with the show will be done in just a few months. My heart just doesn't have it in it to continue on after all these years.

It does comfort me to know that I can always look back on all those years of episodes, however, and how much fun I've found and continue to find within the Pokémon community. I've had some great conversations on this forum, Tumblr, and fanfiction sites over the years (Twitter is terrifying when it comes to the anime...I try very hard not to engage there lol) and made some great friends. When no one you know in real life really watches the anime anymore, being able to have communities of people who do, especially when it's something so important to you, is essential. Even if there are no new episodes for me to personally watch, I know I will still continue to contribute to communities like these and make sure those memories of the "old" anime continue to live on!
 
Pokemon was one of the first TV shows I watched when I first came to the US from Palestine. I think this was when it was still on UPN (and prior to its transition to Kids WB) and it's been there for me since. And even though I have an on again off again relationship with the show, knowing that Ash is leaving will still be bittersweet. I'll always have the fond memories of waking up early in the morning and watching the show with my mother and being so amazed at the world it presented.
 
The first episode I watched was the one when Ash first caught Caterpie. I remember how I was sleeping and my mother suddenly woke me up and said "Pokémon has already started!" and I was super tired and I was like "What the hell is a Pokémon?" lol. Apparently my brother had already seen the second episode without telling me.

I remember reading about the Japanese dub and the new episodes that hadn't aired outside of Japan in a magazine. The same magazine also showed some of the beta Gen 2 Pokémon from the Space World demo which were leaked recently.

I think my favorite Pokémon at the time was Togepi. I remember looking into the little hole in the Pokeballs at the candy store to find one. Eventually I did and it was even a shiny Togepi so it was like I had been shiny hunting irl lol.

I didn't start to watch the Japanese dub until Gen 4. I'm glad that DP was such a good season because otherwise I might have dropped the series. At first I was mostly curious about the differences between the Japanese dub and the Swedish dub (I have never watched the English dub lol) especially after finding out about the banned episodes and my favorite "The birth of Mewtwo". Not to mention the CD drama which is also great. The Chimchar and Paul arc as well as the focus on Dawn as a co-star kept me interested.

I remember being excited about the Plasma vs Rocket episode but then it got banned because of the disaster in Japan. I wasn't a fan of the rest of the season and my disappointment was so big that I started skipping episodes.

I liked the way Ash was portrayed in XY. Seeing a female protagonist from the games being adapted into the anime made me very happy. May, Dawn and Serena were the highlights to me even if their goals were a little bit stereotypical at times.

It was hard to connect with Iris and Cilan, two characters who you can't even battle depending on which version and starter you picked. I was also convinced that Cilan and his brothers were the Shadow Triad and he was planning on betraying the group lol.

SM was also a disappointment to me but I liked seeing Mimikyu and Lillie animated since they were my favorites. The focus on mental health issues in Lillie's arc was interesting.

Journeys was probably my least favorite season so I started skipping episodes and only came back for cameos and the M8. Kind of a shame that Ash is leaving in a season I hated because it makes it hard for me to feel sad about it. Right now I'm just happy about the possibility of a female protagonist who battles.
 
Ah, this will probably be a bit of a long one.

I don’t really remember when I started watching the anime, except that it was during when OS aired, maybe around year 2000 or so. I definitely remember watching the Johto seasons when they were live, as well as anticipating how AG would turn out as that premiered too, before I also watched that live. I also distinctly remember watching a lot of re-runs of the Kanto and Orange Island seasons on either syndicated TV or on Cartoon Network, and I watched a lot of those old series’ episodes for the first time there. I remember liking Kanto a lot with its very “first season” feel of wackier, looser plot lines, and the Orange Islands too, albeit less so. That said, I remember liking Johto significantly less, being exhausted by its infamous filler and what felt like a weird underutilization of potential with what was, at the time, my favorite region. I remained dedicated enough to the series, however, that I remember that when I ended up moving somewhere that didn’t carry The WB (where OS through AG premiered in the US) as one of the available local networks, I had one of my relatives record videotapes of premieres for me and then ship them over via mail. And sometimes, if I was really impatient and persistent enough, I would actually have them put the phone up to the TV speakers on Saturday mornings so that I could listen to what was basically a really crappy-sounding radio drama version of the show live, haha.

Meanwhile, it was around the time of the infamous VA switch in 2006 that my relationship with the anime began to change, for the worse. Being young and rather impressionable when it happened, the rather strong negativity about it all was rather contagious for me, with the whole affair kind of putting a bad taste in my mouth (which it still does today, actually, but more so due to my own understanding of things more so than the indeed contagious feelings that I caught from others at the time; that’s a story for another time, though). That, along with my increased shift away from “fun” things and more towards work and studying, meant that I ended up more or less abandoning Pokémon — and not just the anime, but everything — around this time. I suspect that the same thing would’ve happened if the VA change didn’t happen, though, as I was kind of getting bored with the anime around the middle of Hoenn anyway, not in the sense that I really disliked it (May was in it, after all, haha; she was my favorite character in the series for a while) more so than that just I didn’t feel like going out of my way to watch it anymore. I suppose that’s what happens when your only way to watch the show is via snail mail, haha, but even when DP ended up premiering on Cartoon Network, I didn’t really care. My spark for the series had disappeared, save for the fandom online which I continued to explore sporadically, when I wasn’t being crushed by schoolwork.

That said, I think that some of my most precious memories with the anime came from me discovering the Japanese version for the first time in 2018, specifically the original series and the movies. And it was a wonderful — yet very surreal — experience to see how the Pokémon anime was (and is) in its original form, as it was intended to be seen by its original audience. In many ways, it was like watching a completely different show, not merely because of the script differences, but because in the often dramatically different ways in which it handled music and sound especially. Having Miyazaki’s music being present all of the time in place of its often generic-sounding 4Kids replacements gave a much different feel to the series, as did the much more frequent little moments of silence that demonstrated that sometimes silence really can be golden (if strange, if you’re more used to 4Kids’s, um, very opposite approach to things). And of course, hearing Rica Matsumoto as Ash (or rather, Satoshi) along with the rest of the Japanese VAs in place of the 4Kids crew was quite the change, which along with hearing all of the original Japanese names made it almost feel like I was getting to know all of the characters all over again. Finally, in retrospect, I think that this was all also kind of the precursor to the “anime awakening” that I would have four years later, with much of what I expecting out of the massive amount of anime I dived into during that time being defined by what I was exposed to starting here.

Also, a little bit before all of that, I began regaining interest in the anime in general again, wondering what I had been missing after all of these years. Like with everything else Pokémon, playing Black 2 & White 2 in 2014 was what brought the spark back for me. XY was airing around this time, but I didn’t watch it continuously (nor did I attempt to, haha), only sampling a few episodes that caught my brief interest but didn’t convince me to make a full-hearted return to the series. That said, my connection to the fandom led me to connect to the anime in a more unconventional way, mainly through it sparking certain ideas in me and such. One of which ended up becoming Mirror Adventures: A Tragedy of False Smiles, the result of me watching XY037 (“The Cave of Mirrors”) and thinking about what would happen if that were an entire series. Speaking of fanfiction, watching the anime again also led to a leap in interest in that, although in many ways I could say that it was the other way around, too. They kind of fed one off of another, I guess is what I’m trying to say! Fanon led to my interest in canon and canon led to my continued involvement in and exploration of fanon. And then finally, lurking around Bulbagarden and hearing what everyone had to say about the anime led me to become more invested in things again, to the point where that — along with my desire to share my ideas (and fanfic) with the world — led me to sign up to Bulbagarden not long after! So you can at least partially credit my renewed interest in the anime for my current presence here, haha.

Even so, however, I didn’t watch the anime live back then and I still don’t now, dubbed or subbed. A part of me kind of wants to, but time has always gotten in the way and I’ve never really been able to “catch up”, if you know what I mean. So instead, I’ve found myself going deep into certain series long after they’ve aired, with XY(&Z) being the main one. It’s been kind of weird for me to go through the entire series “alone”, so to speak, but in a way, it’s almost been kind of refreshing, too, since I’m no longer a slave to certain wants and expectations that are most intense when the episodes are aired live and people are sharing their own often intense wants and expectations, often in a way that makes it contagious. That, along with the fact that I already knew how certain episodes would go, meant that I could better judge the episodes on my own terms, without the opinions and wants of others getting in the way of any enjoyment or understanding that I could find on my own. Which is a strangely yet satisfyingly wonderful thing, I think.

Now, I’ve only watched a little bit of Journeys, so there’s only but so much of a personal opinion that I have on it, let alone anything close to an objective one. That said, based on everything that I’ve heard from others, it seems that Goh and Chloe were done kind of dirty by this series, which annoys me and fuels the often love-don’t love relationship I have with the anime (and kind of always had in some form, now that I think about). The former for being a good character whose potential was let down by questionable writing that frequently made him look worse than he actually was, and the latter for a certain lack of ambition, dedication, and courage in developing her into something truly special. And that’s especially annoying because it appears that the former more or less happened before with Iris (good character with potential, bad writing that made her look bad) when she was around, and that the latter almost happened to Serena (being relegated to “that girl with the (hopeless) crush on Ash” with no other real purpose for 50+ episodes) before the writers found their stride in making her into someone likable and relatable in her own right (although some might argue about exactly how well that went). That said, it all doesn’t really frustrate me as much as it probably would’ve if Journeys had come out a decade or so earlier because: 1) I’ve never gotten that deep into the series as of now anyway, 2) fanfic is a thing, and it is wonderful, and 3) I’m too damn old to care quite that much anymore. To be disappointed, and, again, perhaps somewhat annoyed? Sure. But to care, if you know what I mean? Nah. After a while, what’s done is done. Distance can be a truly beautiful thing, in the right circumstances.

And speaking of that, I suspect that distance is going to to define a lot about how I feel about the anime as we know it basically ending, finally, after twenty-six long, epic, and often tumultuous — yet also often wonderful — years. To put it simply, I just don’t think I really have as much investment in Ash’s journey as perhaps other people in this fandom have. Maybe at one point I did, but not really anymore. Ultimately, I think that there was some point where I saw the commercial cogs of this franchise spinning behind the proverbial curtain, probably around the end of XY and into Sun & Moon where I began to see the anime through a more adult lens, with my growing knowledge of how things work in this industry that I didn’t have as a child. And past that point, I became convinced that there would probably never be a truly satisfactory conclusion for Ash, even in the most perfect and optimistic of circumstances. Because in the end, we the fans are probably far more invested in Ash and his journey than the powers that be are, the higher-ups of which are likely far more invested in money, and the lower-downs of which (the writers who we often bash far too hard, I think) are likely far more invested in keeping their jobs, thus limiting whatever potential they would otherwise have to tell a story worthy of the love that we the (hardcore) fans have for this series. And so, I keep my expectations in check, avoid the negativity when I can help it, and enjoy the anime for what it is (and scribble down fanfic ideas to fix what it’s not, haha).

With all of the above said, it was quite the surprise to hear the news about the direction the anime is going in next year, including what that means for Ash. And my feelings, besides surprise, were a strange mix of fear, disappointment, apathy, and… hope. Seems contradictory, right? Well, again, I’m too old to care too much this kind of stuff anymore, at least in that kind of way (if you know what I mean). And even so, again, I keep my expectations in check. Although, in all honesty, there’s a part of me that kind of hopes that this really is the end. Twenty-six years is one hell of a long run, and regardless of whatever the real reason they’re doing this is, it all… feels right, somehow. To leave Ash, Pikachu, and their friends to memories. Because after a while… I don’t know. Maybe a part of me just feels like someone else should have a turn now. Some other idea. Just for the sake of it, regardless of how it all turns out. Even after everything, I feel that this anime deserves it, that the writers deserve it, and that Ash deserves it, in the best way possible. The future awaits.

No matter what, I’ll be looking forward to seeing how it all goes, and I have my highest hopes. So I suppose I’ll end this by saying… here’s hoping, haha!
 
My memories:

I first watched Pokemon in 2009. At the time, CITV aired DP: Battle Dimensions, and I think I just found it one day and was hooked. In fact, it it wasn't for the anime, I may not have even gotten into Pokemon.

I have fond memories of being insistent that I watch it when I was on. I also remember learning for the first time about the cast's previous actors when I chance upon a reairing of the Lucario movie around 2011. I remember wanting to watch the original stuff and finally getting my chance when it went on Pokemon TV and Netflix.

I think I stopped watching it around S/M and Journeys, partially because I found other stuff to hyper fixate over and partially because I burnt myself out.

Now that I hear that Ash is going, it does bring tears to my eyes, and I will be sad to see him go.
 
I started getting into pokemon after watching the first movie and buying my first VHS tape seaside Pikachu at age 7. Since than I watched pokemon in elementary school, middle school, high school, college and now adulthood. My favorite catches are gible, Gengar, Dragonite, treekco, totodile, palpitoad , sewaddle, and Bulbasaur. My favorite EVOS are chimchar to monferno, monferno to infernape, treekco to groyvle, groyvle to sceptile, riolu to Lucario, froakie to frogader, frogader to Greninja, and grolte to torterra
 
So, I found this on YouTube:




(I mean hell, the video's titled: "The End of an Amazing Era." I think it matches pretty nicely with this thread. The video doesn't encapsulate all of my personal memories of the show, though, so I'll probably write more about this later.)
 
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Some of my earliest memories mostly involve watching it in the mornings on CITV/ITV4/whichever place ITV felt like airing it that day (I can only remember around the Battle Stations day and when Battle Frontier was airing before they could do Diamond and Pearl I think) and some of the VHS tapes of the movies including a potato recorded bootleg of the third movie (these were my only experiences with the 4Kids dub cast before we experienced this little thing called the internet which had been around for a while by the time I was watching the show before school). I managed to see pretty much most of Battle Frontier and Diamond and Pearl.

I didn't tune in to Black and White much and my only major memories of it were during holiday time in a caravan and the second Team Plasma episode (not for the actual episode no but for the fact that my mum and dad were arguing with someone which was somehow more entertaining than the cliched mind control nonsense going on).

XY is where I really started to go full on in with the anime and also where the Tinternet thigamajig starts to truly come into play. By the XYZ part of the series, I had just left school near or after Alain's first encounter with Ash and soon started college after the holiday break (the Kalos league had started by that point) before making it to college itself (the Team Flare arc).

Around near the end of the XY series is when I first joined Bulbagarden Forums just days before the Clemont/Bonnie/Cilan special.

The sudden art style change for Sun & Moon kinda shook me a little but I still continued onwards and it would slowly become my favourite series of the bunch.

Dub wise this is where I started to massively get into it and gain appreciation for many of the voice actors involved, both past and present.

After I left college, I think this was around the middle of S&M and getting to see the end of the Alola league was just one of the most wonderful anime moments ever.

CITV also officially stopped showing the series after S&M with Pop taking over for Journeys and even though I mostly stopped watching TV for the most part thanks to said Internet, I did watch the final episode/repeat because it really felt like the end of an era in terms of TV (and indeed it was because quite frankly, the channel's been on the decline since).

And then of course Journeys started afterwards.

I started excited at first but then gradually became more disappointed as it went on (even going on a mini hiatus from watching during the second half before coming back around after Drasna's terrible terrible battle).

As for the dub, it was quite exciting to see some of LA's voice actors get to be a part of the series and I've been consistently bringing up to date news on the dub and the voice cast since.

I managed to watch all of the Masters Eight and of course Ash vs Leon happened and it felt like the Alola league ending all over again with just how great it was.

Meanwhile as the years go by I've managed to get an array of Pikachu plushes and stuff, most of which are still by my bed or up on the wardrobe.

So here we are in the present day. Ash and Pikachu are leaving the anime after April, two new faces are in and it's clear another era of the anime is ending (this time, it's a major end). We've seen the good times, the bad times, the low times and the funny times but it's been a real trip going from small child who got constantly yelled at by cooking teacher during cooking at school to the more confident mature but still funny adult that I am now.

And I'm even getting out there doing more. Going to places instead of just staying in all the time, playing a bunch of video games (since I am also a big video game fan), even watching a bunch of other anime.

I don't know how things will be like after April. Maybe I might still be watching the anime after it's changed, maybe I won't.

But it's been a real blast. And I have countless people to thank:

the eternal ten year old boy,
the electric mouse,
the companions and friends they've made,
the ever scheming, silly but loyal TRio,
the friends I've met not just on here but other places,
the long list of voice actors (both Veronica and Sarah, god bless ya both)
and most importantly:

folks like you.
Thank you.

We now return to your regular scheduled thread.
 
If I were to share all my memories this post would wind up longer than the entire thread so far lol, so here's the TL;DR version (funny, I know):

My first introduction to Pokemon was the trading cards. A few of my classmates had binders full of them that they would bring to school and I thought they were the coolest thing ever. When school let out that summer, I asked my mom if I could get a booster pack of Pokemon cards as my "congrats-on-finishing-first-grade" present and she bought me one, which kicked off my Pokemon obsession. The following month (July of 1999), my mom asked me if I knew that there was a Pokemon TV show. I did not, and this blew my little seven-year-old mind. She had recorded an episode on a VHS tape (really showing my age here lol), so I watched it immediately (it was Bye Bye Butterfree, for those curious) and I instantly fell in love, watching the show at any given opportunity. When school started up again in the fall, I would wake up early so I could watch it before I had to leave for school, and during recess my classmates and I would discuss whichever episode had aired while we also traded the cards and showed off our various Pokemon memorabilia. It was such an indescribably fun and joyous time in my life. It's actually kind of hard to even talk about because I miss it so much and it hurts that I can never go back to those days.

Anyway, at some point I lost interest in both the Pokemon anime and Pokemon as a whole - I want to say this was probably in 2001, not entirely sure - and went a few years where my only interaction with anything Pokemon related was when I played Super Smash Brothers. This continued until March 2007, a couple of weeks before my fifteenth birthday and about a month before Diamond and Pearl came to the United States. I was helping my mom clean the house one day and came across some of my old Pokemon VHS tapes. Immediately I was like "oh man I HAVE to watch these again" and asked my sister if she wanted to watch too (she was a baby when I was originally watching the anime and thus had no recollection of it). She did, so I put one of the tapes in our VCR (yes we still had our VCR at the time, although sadly it did break not too long after this) and the exact moment the theme song kicked in, I fell in love with Pokemon all over again. 2007 and the years that followed were very Pokemon-centric for me: I got myself reacquainted with the original series, I learned all about AG and DP and the new characters they brought, I began obsessively reading and writing fanfiction and lurking several Pokemon forums - including this one, although I was really shy and didn't work up the courage to actually join the site until 2009 lol

The Pokemon anime has pretty much been a constant in my life since then. I don't always consistently watch it - there are still portions of AG, DP, and BW that I haven't watched, and tons more of XY and Journeys - but ever since that day in March 2007 it's never been far from my thoughts. I truly adore the Pokemon anime with all I have, whether I'm on board with the current series or not, and seeing that the show as we know it, the show that's been there for most of my life, is coming to a close is something that's really difficult to wrap my head around.
 
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OKAY, I guess I gotta reveal how cringe I was growing up.

So. Uh. Storytime. Pokémon was one of my first anime, and I started watching back during BW. I was not expecting to get so engrossed during the show's airing cycle that I would watch ALMOST EVERY EPISODE OF IT. I'm not even kidding! I think the only episodes I'm missing are the ones that didn't get dubbed and a few odd episodes back during BW; all of the subsequent seasons I watched front to back. I'm a Unova baby...though my first Pokémon game was Platinum. I missed out on the DP airing cycle. Somehow, my little ten-year-old girl brain latched on hard to Ash. In this iteration, no less. But it was what it was. That stupid little twerp was my first anime crush and I've still got a soft spot for him, even now when I'm officially waaay too old for him. I imagine that latching had some sort of effect on my psyche because I'm now actively unlearning how to stop suppressing my emotions. Oops. Also watched...at least two-thirds of Indigo League during this time? And the bulk of Orange Islands. That was kind of it.

I came back later for XY just after a big cross-country move, and quit during the dubbing hiatus between XY and XY&Z because they were taking too long for my middle schooler brain. Honestly glad I skipped out on the remainder of Kalos, but that's for reasons I'm technically required to keep out of this thread. (tldr; I'm a former Amourshipper, and the ship's become something of a sore spot for me now. I have a super vague explanation of sorts tucked away in the shipping threads here.) Ash-Greninja's cool as fuck though, and I'm glad I eventually ended up nabbing one of those poseable figures. Also...less fortunately, this is the era my One Singular Ash Ketchum figure is from. So uh...yeah, now the little guy has baggage by association. Sorry dude. Least you look cool on my shelf with my 30 other Pokémon.

And then Journeys started getting dubbed and I knew I had to watch it after my attempts to pirate the JP iteration of SuMo died where it sat...five minutes into the first episode of the season because the website kept crashing. So I kinda watched SuMo happen from afar (though I was fond of how chunky/stocky they made him after the initial shock with the terrible choice of pose on the reveal poster, it was really cute). Maybe I'll come back later and watch it in full.

Journeys for me, has been peak Pokéani fiction. Ash and Goh have a relationship that's just so strong and really the kind of quality I've been after for years. Even if you don't look at it through the lens of shipping, they cover each others' weaknesses so well, and the stronger emphasis on the two of them rather than a trio or a set of five characters really gave them space to just...breathe, and it felt good to watch. It also got me through a helluva hard time. The show, the pair, everything. It helped in a way I don't even really know how to explain beyond being an anchor. I can barely believe Journeys is already over, let alone the fact that it's time to say goodbye to my very first anime crush and all his growth. I have high hopes for our new protagonists...I just have to hope that if Ash is a parent, the mother goes unconfirmed. If they hardcore canonize Amour I might just have to give up Pokéani altogether.
 
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