Ash Ketchum has finally won a Pokemon championship after 22 years and over 1000 episodes.
Ash achieved this long held dream by taking the top prize in the Alola League Championship.
It’s been a long road to victory for Ash, with many hard-fought wins and heartbreaking losses along the way.
Let’s take a look back at Ash Ketchum’s previous Pokemon League achievements.
The Indigo League
Ash’s first Championship attempt in Kanto’s Indigo League remains his worst performance, placing only in the top 16.
After a few impressive victories in the early rounds, Ash was feeling confident in the lead up to a battle against his friend and rival, Richie. Things seemed to be going well at first, with Ash managing to defeat Richie’s Butterfree, and his Charmander. Unfortunately, things soon take a turn for the worse. Ash’s Charizard, with whom he had a troubled relationship at the time, refuses to battle Richie’s Pikachu. Instead, Charizard falls asleep in the middle of the battlefield. Unable to wake it, Ash is forced to forfeit.
The episode came as a shock to fans, many of whom weren’t used to seeing a protagonist fail so badly. Ash’s Indigo League defeat remains an iconic moment in the Pokemon anime, one that showed how the cocky young trainer still had a long way to go.
The Johto League Silver Conference
After a confidence-boosting victory in the unofficial Orange League challenge, Ash Ketchum sets his sights on Johto, eventually earning the right to compete in the Johto League Silver Conference.
Ash battled impressively in the early rounds of the competition, and scored a memorable victory against his long-time rival, Gary Oak, with help from his now loyal Charizard. Unfortunately, Ash and Charizard are defeated by Harrison’s Blaziken in the following round.
Despite his loss, Ash is pleased by his improved performance, this time placing in the top eight.
Hoenn League, Ever Grande Conference
Ash Ketchum makes the top eight once again in Hoenn’s Ever Grande Conference.
Ash faced a long battle with Tyson, in which his Swellow defeated two of Tyson’s Pokemon before finally being taken down. Ash’s Pikachu defeats Tyson’s Metagross, before being defeated by its Meowth.
Tyson ultimately wins the championship, leaving Ash comforted by the fact that although he was defeated, at least he was beaten by the best.
Sinnoh League, Lily Of The Valley Conference
Ash takes a step up in the Sinnoh League, making it all the way to top four – the semi-finals.
Although he ultimately loses, Ash’s semi-final battle against Tobias is memorable for the fact that Ash is the only trainer in the whole tournament to defeat Tobias’ Darkrai. Tobias needed a legendary Pokemon, a Latios, to take down Ash’s team.
Tobias goes on to win the Conference, meaning Ash was defeated by the best a second time.
Unova League, Vertress Conference
In the quarter-finals of the Unova League’s Vertress Conference, Ash faced a fierce battle against Cameron.
For much of the battle, Ash appeared to have the upper hand. However, things changed quickly when Cameron’s final Pokemon, the already powerful Riolu, evolves into Lucario. Lucario defeats both Snivy and Pikachu, knocking Ash out of the competition.
Ash places in the top eight, which may seem like a step down from the top four in Sinnoh. However, Unova is an exceptionally large region, leading many fans to view his top eight finish as an equally significant achievement.
Kalos Region, Lumiose Conference
Ash Ketchum was just one step away from victory in the Kalos League, making it all the way to the Championship battle.
After a long, tiring battle, Ash’s unique Ash-Greninja falls in battle to Alain’s Mega Charizard X. Despite his loss, Ash is pleased to have made it so far.
This battle was memorable not just for being Ash’s first championship bout, but also the surprising early defeat of Pikachu.
Ash finally achieves his dream of becoming a Pokemon League Champion in the Alola region.
After a drawn out battle with rival Gladion, both trainers are left with only a Lycanroc for the final round. Ash eventually achieves victory.
Now that Ash Ketchum has finally proven himself as one of the very best, there are questions hanging over the future of the long-running protagonist.
With the Pokemon anime rumored to be looking at a format change with the upcoming move to the Galar Region, some fans are speculating that Ash may take a backseat to make way for some fresh faces.
Before that potentially happens however, Ash has at least one more challenge to face: an exhibition match against the Masked Royal and his formidable Incineroar.