Ash Ketchum becomes Pokémon world champion after 25-year journey – USA TODAY

He wanted to be the very best, like no one ever was. Now 25 years later, Ash Ketchum can finally proclaim himself as the top Pokémon trainer after becoming the world champion.
The boy from Pallet Town won the title in the latest “Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series” episode that aired in Japan on Nov. 11, winning the Masters Eight Tournament of the Pokémon World Coronation Series.
“Ash Ketchum’s determination and perseverance to achieve his goal of becoming the world’s top Pokémon Trainer over the course of 25 seasons represents the very best of what it means to be a Trainer,” Taito Okiura, vice president of marketing for The Pokémon Company International, said in a statement.
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Ash’s journey to become Pokémon world champion began in 1997, when he turned 10 years old and got his license to become a Pokémon trainer in the episode “Pokémon – I Choose You!”, where he received his iconic partner in crime Pikachu.
Throughout the series, Ash and Pikachu befriended other trainers while he met and trained with numerous other Pokémon in different regions. Ash had won league championships before but fell short of winning world championships — until now. 
The Pokémon Company said Ash’s crowning as world champion in “Pokémon! I Am Glad I Got To Meet You” marked a “significant pop culture milestone” and celebration of fans who were committed to following his journey for 25 years. 
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Pokémon episodes typically air in Japan first before the U.S., and other parts of the world, months later.  The Pokémon Company has not yet announced a premiere date for the most recent episode. 
The first 42 episodes of “Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series” are available on Netflix in the U.S.
Sarah Natochenny, who voices Ash in the English version of the show, said in a series of tweets Nov. 11 she can’t wait to share the English dub of the episode with the world and it is an honor to be the voice of the character for the milestone. 
“What an icon. Never give up on your dreams. Act with love and selflessness. Be the best, the very best. I love voicing this kid so much,” Natochenny said. “Pokémon for life.”
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.


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