Commentary: Pokemon’s Ash wins World Championship after 25 years – here’s why the franchise is still capturing fans

Commentary: Pokemon's Ash wins World Championship after 25 years – here's why the franchise is still capturing fans

GROWING THE POKEDEX

The range of character types included in the franchise, from the energetic Pikachu to the slow and sleepy Snorlax, suggests that there is something for everyone to relate to, from the millennial striver to the laid-back Gen Z.

Digital streaming platforms like Netflix make Japanese popular culture more accessible and actively generate suggestions for content that we might like to watch, meaning a broader range of anime and franchised content is now available to global viewers.

Rather than creating competition for Pokemon stories, the ability to “nostalgia-watch” 25-year-old episodes while also engaging with newer titles appears increasingly popular.

It is unclear whether Ash’s adventures will continue past his ultimate win. Rumors circulating in fan communities include speculation that Ash could return as a teacher or mentor to new characters. This could be in the school which features at the start of the upcoming Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, in a nice mirroring of Tajiri’s original inspiration to provide entertainment for stressed schoolchildren.

While we watch to see what Ash, or a new would-be Pokemon master, does next, the saturation of the franchise in our global everyday lives ensures that we won’t be short of Pokemon content anytime soon.

Jennifer Coates is Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield. This commentary first appeared on The Conversation.

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