The Pokémon fandom got quite a shock just weeks ago when it was revealed Ash and Pikachu's journey would be coming to an end after 25 years.
Ash Ketchum's current VA, Sarah Natochenny, has already shared a brief message on Twitter mentioning how it's been an "extraordinary privilege" to voice the character for 17 years, and she's now elaborated on this in a separate post on Instagram:
“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.
"Ash & Pikachu: the very best, like no one ever was. Forever grateful to Pokémon, Hilary, Toshi, Andy, Lisa, Nick, George, Fran, Iyuno, directors of the past, & my fellow cast & crew mates over the years. 17 years is a long time to be playing a 10 year old. To our fans…thank you from the bottom of my heart. Catch you in the wild! Love, Sarah Natochenny."
A few weeks ago, Ash's original voice actor Veronica Taylor also thanked fans for following the character's incredible journey.
The final chapter in Ash and Pikachu's story will begin early next year in January - with a special 11-episode run. It will be followed by a brand new Pokémon anime series - premiering in Japan on April 2023 - and starring two new protagonists.