Why Pokémon Horizons Moved on From Ash and Found a New Protagonist

For over two decades, the Pokémon franchise — despite its ever-evolving world — had the 10-year-old protagonist Ash Ketchum and his buddy Pikachu at the forefront of the series. But after 26 long years, the creative team decided to bid farewell to the iconic duo and introduce new faces. Now centered on Liko and Roy, the team explained their choice to feature new protagonists in the brand new series Pokémon Horizons: The Series

Speaking with Variety, senior director of media production Andy Gose said that while Ash and Pikachu had a remarkable run, there are far more characters to explore in the long-standing franchise. 

“Ash and Pikachu have had such a fantastic run, they’re so iconic and they’ve been the entry point for so many folks into the brand over the years. We’ve gotten that multi-generational effect where folks have grown up with them, and they’re sharing it with their kids, nephews and nieces,” Gose told Variety. “We’ve grown with them, and it feels like there’s more world and more characters to explore. So 28 years in, it feels like why not meet some new folks in the world and experience the adventure of the ‘Pokémon” world through a different lens?’”

Meanwhile, vice president of marketing Taito Okiura shared the need to introduce new characters (a female protagonist, no less), especially considering Pokémon has been evolving since the first anime came out in 1997. 

“Pokémon” kind of has a mandate: We evolve. I’m personally passionate about Ash and Pikachu; but that being said, over 28 years Pokémon has been evolving in multiple forms, including in a video game, a trading card game and other exciting new games. Now there will be a possible opportunity for the animation field to evolve. We’re very excited to have this introduction with new protagonists, especially the female protagonist,” said Okiura. 

Introducing Liko and Roy

After Ash became the world’s greatest trainer, newcomers Liko and Roy — along with their Pokémon buddies Sprigatito and Fuecoco — will continue the anime’s legacy with their allies Fried, Amethio, and a familiar (albeit different) character named Captain Pikachu. 

Pokémon Horizons: The Series first premiered in Japan last year and is now available to stream on Netflix

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