The Pokemon anime is coming to a close, retiring Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu after 25 years. He's finally a master, so he's passing the torch to a new lead, who we know very little about right now. Understandably, plenty of Pokemon fans are sad to see an icon like Ash go, but they're not alone. His English-speaking actor, Sarah Natochenny, cried when she found out.
She's played Ash for 17 years now, and she'll be leaving the show with Ultimate Journeys: The Series in January 2023, a limited series that'll give Ash and Pikachu their long-earned swansong, paving the way for new protagonists Liko and Roy. Speaking to IGN, she said she cried when the news broke, "And they said the thing, and my hand physically just gave out. And I started bawling at this meeting.
"The producers were trying to hold it together for me as well, they kept speaking in a very even tone, and you could see a few other actors on the call and the director starting to get emotional as well, just seeing me, because we're very close and this is so sad."
After she found out, Natochenny started walking "aimlessly in the freezing New York Cold" while still crying, but this quickly turned to positive thoughts, as she said she was incredibly grateful to have had steady acting work for 17 years. And while the news came as a shock, Natochenny said she doesn't hold any ill will towards the Pokemon Company for keeping the reveal so close to its chest.
"I think any large show like this, any show of this magnitude, has to be very careful what they tell their actors," Natochenny said. "If you ask any actor working on a video game or on a Marvel property, they sometimes record things or film things, not even knowing who they're playing or what's going on in the scene, so I think producers don't want to burden us with this secret because we get asked these quesions and we're actors, we tend to be very honest."
Ash might be hanging up his hat once and for all, with Natochenny leaving alongside him, but their legacy could carry on with the new anime and its protagonists. Many fans speculate that Riko is Ash's daughter, and that the new show will have a time skip akin to The Legend of Korra, showing us the future of this world and the legacy Ash has left behind and the impact he's had on the world of trainers and Pokemon.
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