Sarah Natochenny, who played Ash for 17 years, was “bawling” him when she found out Ash was leaving.
The Pokemon anime is coming to an end, retiring Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu after 25 years. He is finally a master, so he passes the torch to a new lead, of whom we know very little for the moment. Understandably, many Pokemon fans are sad to see an icon like Ash go, but they’re not alone. His English-speaking actress, Sarah Natochenny, cried when she found out.
She’s been playing Ash for 17 years now, and she’ll be leaving the series with Ultimate Journeys: The Series in January 2023, a limited series that will give Ash and Pikachu their much-deserved swansong, paving the way for new protagonists Liko and Roy. Speaking to IGN, she said she cried when the news broke: “And they said the thing, and my hand physically let go. And I started bawling at that meeting.
“The producers were trying to stay the course for me too, they kept talking in a very even tone, and you could see a few other actors on the call and the director was also starting to get emotional, just seeing me, because we’re very close and it’s so sad.”
After finding out, Natochenny started walking “aimlessly in the freezing New York cold” while crying, but it quickly turned into positive thoughts, as she said she was incredibly grateful to have had a steady acting job for 17 years. And while the news came as a shock, Natochenny said she has no grudge against the Pokemon Company for keeping the reveal so close to her chest.
“I think any big show like this, any show of this magnitude, has to be very careful about what it says to its actors,” Natochenny said. “If you ask any actor working on a video game or on a Marvel property, sometimes they’re recording things or filming things, not even knowing who they’re playing or what’s going on in the scene, so I think the producers don’t want to burden us with this secret because we get asked these questions and being actors, we tend to be very honest.”
Ash might hang up his hat once and for all, with Natochenny departing alongside him, but their legacy might continue with the new anime and its protagonists. Many fans believe that Riko is Ash’s daughter and the new show will have a time similar to The Legend of Korra, showing us the future of this world and the legacy Ash left behind and the impact he’s had on the coaching world. and Pokemon.
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