‘Pokémon’: Original Voice Actor Says She Was ‘Hit Hard’ By Ash Ketchum’s Exit

Pokemon voice actor Veronica Taylor and Ash Kitchum still
TMZ; Warner Bros. Pictures

Ash Ketchum has finally caught them all, becoming an official Pokémon World Champion and setting the stage for his exit from the popular animated series after 25 years, and the news is hitting people hard.

Veronica Taylor, who voiced Ash and his mother Delia for the first eight seasons of the English-dubbed Japanese anime, recently spoke to TMZ about the end of the iconic character. “I had no idea,” she said of Ash’s exit but noted, “We all should have seen it coming.”

“He won the world championship, and it was so exciting; everyone’s saying, ‘Oh, what’s he going to do next?’ And I was kind of hit hard by it. I don’t think I’d really considered his journey ending,” she continued.

Taylor went on to say that Pokémon has “taught us so many lessons,” one of the main ones being “letting go.” She added, “You know, in the Butterfree episode and so many others, we’ve learned how to let go and how to let someone be themselves and that we don’t hold on to something or someone that needs to be free.”

Earlier this week, Sarah Natochenny, who took over the voice of Ash from Season 9 onward, revealed she “started bawling” at a meeting when the producers told her the news of Ash’s departure.

“The producers were trying to hold it together for me as well; they kept speaking in a very even tone,” Natochenny told the U.K.’s Metro. “And you could see a few other actors on the call and the director starting to get emotional as well, just seeing me, because we’re very close and this is so sad.”

“It’s been an extraordinary privilege to have been the English voice of Ash Ketchum for what will be 17 years. No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he’ll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come. I’ll keep him present for all of us in every way I can,” she later tweeted.

Ash and Pikachu’s journey will come to an end across 11 special episodes in 2023.

Pokémon, Streaming, Prime Video