Perpetual ten-year-old Ash Ketchum now holds the rank of Pokémon champion after winning his first Pokémon League Tournament in the show. In the anime’s 22-year run, fans have seen the trainer battle his way through seven different leagues since beginning his journey. His latest and perhaps greatest achievement saw Ash bring home the gold trophy in the 139 episode Birth! The Alola Champion! in the Sun and Moon series.
It’s an honor the young trainer has sought since leaving Pallet Town and choosing Pikachu more than one thousand episodes ago. Fans took to social media to congratulate Ash on his achievement, including the voice of his younger (1998) self when the anime first released, Veronica Taylor.
Congratulations to Ash Ketchum on winning the Pokémon League from Ash’s ‘younger’ self, circa 1998…yup, hard work, determination, good friends, and a bit of luck pay off! #pokemon #ashketchum #winning pic.twitter.com/JhgRcGJBEy
— Veronica Taylor (@TheVeronicaT) September 15, 2019
“Congratulations to Pokémon League Champion Ash Ketchum!! It’s been a long journey to this day! And congratulations to @rica_matsumoto3! Your voice has inspired every Ash/Satoshi around the world.”
Even the official Pokemon anime Twitter posted about the momentous occasion for the trainer.
— 新アニメ「ポケットモンスター」公式＠9/29(日)情報解禁！ (@anipoke_PR) September 15, 2019
While this certainly isn’t the first Pokémon tournament title Ash has won, it is his first official league championship win. He and his Pokémon team did win the Orange League competition in the Orange Archipelago, however, it consisted of battles against four gym leaders and was not an official league tournament.
Anything’s possible when you believe in yourself, Trainers. ? ? pic.twitter.com/kee0Wshv1m
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) September 15, 2019
The closest Ash ever came to winning a championship title during a Pokémon tournament was during the Lumiose Conference where he was the runner-up. His very first tournament was in the Kanto League in 1999 where he placed among the top 16 contenders.
Now, I suppose he has the time to truly become a Pokémon master and work to catch ’em all. It just goes to show that if you dedicate yourself to something you are passionate about and put in the hours, you can achieve your dreams. Which is basically what Pokémon is all about.