Pokemon Execs on Why the Anime Needed a New Protagonist

Pokemon Horizons is now the Liko and Roy show, and a Pokemon executive reveals why now was the right time to ditch Ash Ketchum.

Pokemon Horizons has finally made its way to North America thanks to Netflix. This series marks the first time in the anime franchise's history that Ash Ketchum isn't leading the show, instead following new trainers Liko and Roy as they explore the world. In a new interview to celebrate the latest anime season's arrival to the streaming service, higher-ups at the Pokemon Company broke down why now was the right time for Ash and Pikachu to exit stage right.

Ash had led the charge on the Pokemon anime for decades, but following his victory at the Masters 8 Tournament, he was able to achieve his dreams of becoming the World Champion. According to Ketchum, his journey was not yet finished as he set out to understand what it meant to be a Pokemon Master. This trip would take place off-screen however as Pokemon Horizons looks at two new trainers in Liko and Roy.

(Photo: OLM Inc)

Pokemon: Say Goodbye To Ash, Say Hello to Liko

The Pokemon Company International's Senior Director of Media Production, Andy Gose, explained why he felt now was the right time to pass the torch from Ash and Pikachu to Liko and Roy, "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. 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?"

To add to this commentary, the vice president of Market at the Pokemon Company International, Taito Okiura, said the following about the new Pokemon trainers taking the reins of the anime, "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."

Via Variety