Why The Pokémon Anime Will Likely Change Its Format (Again)


There is a chance the Pokémon anime will change its format again following the release of the Scarlet and Violet games. The Pokémon anime is currently airing its eighth iteration of the show. Pokémon Journeys premiered alongside the eighth generation of the Pokémon games, Sword and Shield, which featured the Galar region. However, in an unexpected turn of events, the Pokémon anime changed its format drastically when Pokémon Journeys premiered, and this could happen again with the release of the ninth generation of Pokémon games just around the corner.

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One of the main reasons that the Pokémon anime changed its format so drastically was because Ash Ketchum had finally won a Pokémon League. Since Ash was now considered the Champion of the Alola region, there was very little reason for him to undertake another Gym Challenge in a new region the way he had done in every iteration of the Pokémon anime that came before. Pokémon Journeys — and its follow-ups, Master Journeys and Ultimate Journeys — had Ash become a research fellow for Professor Cerise instead, traveling all across the Pokémon world with his new friend Goh to study as many Pokémon as possible. Throughout the latest seasons, Ash has also entered the World Coronation Series, battling his way through the ranks to become one of the top eight trainers in the world.

Now, the ninth generation of Pokémon games, Scarlet and Violet, are slated for release in November. Usually, when a new game is released, the long-running Pokémon anime changes along with it to promote the most recent Pokémon region and all the new Pocket Monsters that inhabit it. As such, the Pokémon anime will likely have another shift in format to accommodate the release of the latest Pokémon games. The question is how drastic this change will be. The Pokémon Journeys format is perfectly suited to incorporate new Pokémon regions within its storytelling, but details released about the new games could open up a whole new world of possibility for the Pokémon anime as well.

How Will The Pokémon Anime Introduce The Paldea Region?

One of the most interesting aspects revealed about PokémonScarlet and Pokémon Violet is that they are open-world games. This is a new chapter for the Pokémon franchise, as older games have always sent players — as well as Ash — on a set path throughout a region to obtain Pokémon Gym badges in a particular order. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will allow players to explore the new Paldea region at their leisure and will include more than one narrative thread. While the ever-present Gym challenge is still a vital part of the Pokémon experience, two other core stories will be available within the game as well. This means that there is likely to be a much larger region for the Pokémon anime to explore, and new narrative avenues for the show to incorporate. A format change to reflect these massive developments in the game would be a welcome one and could also keep Ash as the protagonist. It’s currently unclear what these two additional storylines will be, but Ash and any new traveling companions he may meet along the way could undertake these and thus provide the show with a new format.

Another option is for the format of the Pokémon Journeys anime to continue as it is now, and send Ash and Goh to the new Paldea region on more extensive research trips. One of the few downsides of Pokémon Journeys is that the Galar region feels less traveled. But giving Ash bigger, more complex missions in Paldea could ensure that the newest Pokémon region is properly introduced and keep hold of a format that has allowed Ash to grow as a character and revisit old friends.

The Pokémon anime has withstood the test of time because its stories are fun and relatable and allow audiences to see the newest Pokémon regions from a different perspective. Changing the format for the Pokémon Journeys anime was the right choice. It made the show feel fresh and new and gave its protagonist the chance to truly shine. Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet could provide the next step in the Pokémon anime’s evolution; it just needs to figure out the best course of action.

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