It’s reaching that time, guys! Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the Pokémon series, a TCG player, a lover of Pokémon GO or the video games, or you’ve heard the recent Pokémon Day news, you’ll know that a sea change is coming for the Pokémon world…
But before you start shedding any tears, there is some consolation to be had (well… sort of). While the final episode of Pokémon Season 25 is due to air in Japan on March 24, it’ll probably be a while before it hits any of the platforms showing it in English (Netflix, Prime Video, and the Pokémon TV App - yes, we share your pain on how divided the show’s online streaming is).
So, if you’re feeling like indulging your Ash Ketchum and Pikachu nostalgia, you’ve almost certainly got enough time to rewatch the series from the very start!Below we give you:
- The latest updates following Pokémon Day 2023
- A recap of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series (Season 25)
- The inside scoop on Season 25’s final episode
What to expect from the all-new Season 26
Let’s kick off with a look at some of the big developments to have come out of the last few weeks, starting with February’s Pokémon Day 2023.
What Was Announced on Pokémon Day 2023?
As is customary on the annual Pokémon Day, The Pokémon Company unveiled some pretty exciting new developments set for the Pokémon world in the coming months. Let’s check them out below:
1. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Downloadable Content (DLC) Expansions
27 years after the original Pokémon Red, Green and Blue (and Yellow) were released, perhaps the biggest news this year was the announcement of Hidden Treasure of Area Zero DLC expansions for the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet video games.
Despite the backdrop of bugs and glitches hampering players’ Scarlet and Violet gaming experience to date - including the most recent Paradox Raid Event glitch - the first expansion, The Teal Mask, should be available from fall 2023.
“Players will meet new friends and Pokémon as they unravel the mysteries behind the folktales that have been passed down in this land,” reads a recent Teal Mask synopsis. Four new Pokémon - the Legendary Ogerpon, and the pocket monsters Okidogi, Fezandipiti, and Munkidori - will also be feature in the expansion.
The second expansion, The Indigo Disk, will be released in winter 2023. While less has been said about this expansion than The Teal Mask, what we do know is that players will be travelling to Blueberry Academy as an exchange student. Alongside 100 returning Pokémon, a new Legendary Pokémon, the Terapagos, will also make its debut.
In addition to the two expansions, the new Walking Wake and Iron Leaves Pokémon Tera Raid Battles will also be available for Scarlet and Violet, as will Pokémon Home and Pokémon GO Connectivity - both of which are due later this year.
Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet - The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero DLC official trailer. (Video credit: The Official Pokémon YouTube Channel.)
2. Pokémon World Championships - Dates & Key ArtFor the first time in 18 years, this year’s Pokémon World Championships
will be held in Yokohama, Japan - the birth country of our beloved anime franchise.
Gamers from across the Pokémon Trading Card Games (TCGs), Pokémon Scarlet and Violet video games, and Pokémon GO and Pokémon UNITE will come together from August 11 to August 13 to compete for the title of Pokémon Master.
The key art, drawn in traditional Japanese style, depicts Pikachu alongside a range of starter Pokémon for the Scarlet and Violet games. Check it out below:
3. Classic Pokémon TCG Revealed
The Pokémon Company also unveiled an updated version of the Trading Card Game’s Base Set, the Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic, to be launched in late 2023.
The Pokémon Company CEO, Tsunekazu Ishihara, has asked fans to be patient while precise details of the new TCG are still pending, though he has promised that the new, “premium Pokémon TCG […] will last a lifetime.”
What we do know at this stage is that the TCG is a non-tournament-legal set comprising a game board and game pieces, and is likely to be available as a one-off purchase. The game will be constructed around three 60-card decks, each one focusing on one of the original three final evolutions: Blastoie (water), Charizard (fire) and Venusaur (grass).
4. New Pokémon Concierge Netflix Series
The Pokémon Company also unveiled a brand-new stop-motion animation series, Pokémon Concierge, in partnership with Netflix.
The new series, which for the first time will use stop-motion animation instead the show’s usual hand-drawn animation, promises to move away from the usual battle-based storylines - a recent trend in the Pokémon franchise - and instead focus on a Pokémon hotel (the Pokémon Resort). The series will feature Haru as the resort’s concierge, along with her loyal sidekick Pokémon Psyduck.
Based on the teaser, it’s likely that Pokémon Concierge will be a light-hearted show featuring an original story. Watch the official teaser trailer here:
The new Pokémon Concierge official teaser trailer. (Video credit: Netflix.)
5. Pokémon Sword’s Zacian Arrives on Pokémon UNITE
In celebration of Zacian’s arrival, UNITE players can now join the special event, Adventure in Zacian’s Weald, where they can complete missions to earns coins which they can exchange for Zacian’s UNITE license.
The Zacian has already courted controversy, however, given its significant “superior[ity] to every other Pokémon on the [UNITE] roster” thanks to its “phenomenal abilities, most notably Sacred Sword”, reports MSN.
However, Pokémon UNITE players wishing to benefit from the Zacian’s powerful effects in battle can now claim a gold Zacian Pokémon boost emblem. Simply use the gift code POKEMONDAY in-game before 4:59pm PDT on Sunday, March 26, 2023 to claim yours.
6. Pokémon Café ReMix Set for Scarlet and Violet DLC ExpansionDownloadable content in the form of three new Scarlet and Violet starter Pokémon - Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly
- will be coming to Pokémon Café ReMix.
The update will also bring with it new cosmetics, notably a special Great Chef outfit for Greninja - in celebration of Pokémon Day.
7. Pokémon Masters EX Sees Six New Classic Trainers Appear in RallySix new Classic Pokémon trainers will appear in a Pokémon Masters EX
The new trainers - Lance from Red and Blue, Steven from Ruby and Sapphire, Diantha from X and Y, Iris and Alder from Black and White, and Cynthia from Diamond and Pearl - will be available to partner with in-game.
Other game announcements include the unveiling of the new Pokémon Sword and Shield DLC.
8. Pokémon Sleep to Launch this Summer
A further surprising revelation to emerge from February’s Pokémon Presents event is the promised re-release of Pokémon Sleep this summer.
The app, which will be available on Android and iOS, tracks your sleeping patterns, as well as those of the various pocket monsters you can encounter in the game. The idea is that different sleeping patterns will affect how the game plays out.
Pokémon Sleep - Official Introduction Video. (Video credit: IGN.)
9. Pokémon Sleep and Pokémon GO to Receive New Pokémon GO Plus+ Gadget
Set for release on July 21, the device hosts a small Pikachu which sings players lullabies and is otherwise agreeable - that is, unless the trainer isn’t getting enough sleep!
What’s Happened since Pokémon Day 2023?
So, obviously a lot went down at this February’s Pokémon Day 2023. But, as we know all too well, things aren’t static for long in the Pokémon world. Here are some of the more recent Pokémon developments worth taking note of.
1. TCG Set for Scarlet and Violet ExpansionFirst up is the announcement of the Scarlet and Violet expansion to Pokémon’s Trading Card Game
, to mirror the new Scarlet and Violet video game DLC expansions.
The new TCG expansion, which grants players access to the Paldea region, will debut on March 17, and will launch in full on March 31. The expansion will kick off with 198 new cards, along with Secret Rares and art variants.Thanks to Gamespot, we now know the new TCG Pokémon will include:
- The powerhouse Terastal Arcanine-ex (Fire).
- The Oinkologne-ex (Normal) - a strong mid-game option.
- The match-opening Riolu (Fighting).
- The Armarouge (Fire) - a great complement to the Arcanine.
- The Greavard (Psychic) - likely a good discard choice.
- The card-retrieving Bombirdier (Dark).
- The high-risk/high-reward Great Tusk-ex (Fighting).
- The Iron Treads-ex (Steel) - two versions available.
- The Pokémon-snatching Penny (Supporter Trainer).
We’ve also learned that all Tera-type Pokémon-ex within the new Paldean expansion cannot be damaged while sitting on the bench, regardless of whom the damage is coming from.
2. Are NFTs and the Metaverse the Next Step for Pokémon?
The revelation that The Pokémon Company will take on a senior hire with “deep knowledge and understanding of Web 3, including blockchain technologies and NFT, and/or Metaverse”, may shed light on the company’s intended future direction of travel.
The listing, for a corporate development principal, seeks a candidate who is “deeply connected to a network of investors” in the technology spaces listed above.
The candidate will also advise The Pokémon Company’s senior leadership team, including president Tsunekazu Ishihara, on the firm’s long-term strategy.
The news is already prompting concern among Pokémon fans, many of whom are already turned off by NFTs and the Metaverse. The news is doubly surprising given that The Pokémon Company themselves only recently took an Australian crypto company to court over the unauthorised use of Pokémon characters in an NFT game.
Recap of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series (Season 25)
Now that we’ve checked out what’s been going on in the Pokémon world, here’s an overview of the events of the third and final season of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series (Season 25).
Along the way, Ash and Goh encounter new allies, rivals, and challenges as they pursue their goals: Ash seeks to become a Pokémon Master by competing in the Pokémon World Coronation Series tournament, while Goh works to catch every known Pokémon and join Project Mew.
Chloe also joins Ash and Goh on their travels, discovering her own passion for Pokémon in the process.
The season features a bunch of exciting battles and events, including:
- Ash’s rematch with Bea and his battle with Iris.
- Goh’s trial missions to prove himself worthy of Project Mew.
- Chloe’s participation in a fashion show with her Eevee.
- The return of Team Rocket’s old foes, Butch and Cassidy.
- The discovery of a mysterious phenomenon called Dynamaxing.
- The exploration of the Galar region’s Crown Tundra.
- The encounter with Legendary Pokémon like Zacian, Zamazenta, Calyrex, Regieleki, Regidrago, Glastrier, Spectrier, Articuno (Galarian Form), Zapdos (Galarian Form), Moltres (Galarian Form), Suicune (Shadow Form), Lugia (Shadow Form), Ho-Oh (Shadow Form), Kyogre (Primal Reversion), Groudon (Primal Reversion) and Rayquaza (Mega Evolution).
- The confrontation with a mysterious organization called Team Break.
- The final showdown between Ash and Leon for the title of World Champion.
Goh also widens his set of Pokémon to 107, registering 115 unique Pokémon in his Pokédex, though he is forced to leave Ash following a summons from Project Mew.
What Do We Know about the Upcoming Final Episode of Season 25?
Okay, we hear you saying… but what about the final episode of Season 25, due for release on March 24 (in Japan anyway)?
The final episode will see Ash Ketchum and Pikachu return to Ash’s hometown, Pallet Town, where Ash is expected to reunite with his old rival Gary, who appeared alongside Ash in the series’ 1997 pilot with a similar aim to become the best Pokémon trainer.
Gary never featured as a mainstay Pokémon character, making only cameo appearances throughout the series (including in the Season 5 episode, Can’t Beat the Heat!, where he is defeated by Ash in a Pokémon battle).
However, with each encounter in the series, Ash and Gary have become less hostile and more respectful towards each other as rivals. Their final encounter promises to be one of reflection for Ash, as he ponders what it means to be a Pokémon Master before exiting the series for good. Here’s the official line on how Ash’s final episode is expected to play out:
“When Ash and Pikachu return to Pallet Town, they reunite with Gary who asks Ash the question: How much closer to becoming the Pokémon Master are you now that you’ve become the Champion? Becoming a Pokémon Master has been Ash’s dream ever since he set off on his journey with Pikachu. Will Ash be able to find the answer to this question?”
As we’re sure you’ll agree, it looks set to be an emotional episode. Ash has spent the entire series working to become a Pokémon Master, and it seems pretty clear he’s achieved that goal - though how he realises his own growth in his swansong episode, we’ll have to wait and see!
Despite Ash's departure, the Pokémon anime has a bright future (see more below), and it’s quite possible we could be seeing the return of Ash in the future.
What Can Pokémon Fans Expect from the New Season 26?
While Pokémon has yet to release a summary for the all-new Season 26, what we do know is that our old-time friends Ash and Pikachu are going to be replaced by a boy-and-girl duo in the form of Liko and Roy. Check out this early new footage released by The Pokémon Company:
The Pokémon Company have released this trailer ahead of the new series. (Video credit: The Pokémon Company.)
Oh, and not to mention Professor Friede and his sidekick Captain Pikachu, who’ll be picking up from where old-skool Pikachu left off as the show’s mascot.
Joining Liko and Roy in the new series will also be four new trainers, each featuring their own primary Pokémon. The new quartet, dubbed the Rising Volteckers, will look to Professor Friede as their leader, though it remains unclear whether they’ll be friends or foes of Liko and Roy in the new series.
So there we have it, folks - your comprehensive update on all things Pokémon in 2023!