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Pokémon Horizons Is Doing One Thing Better Than Ash Ketchum’s Story

Pokémon Horizons Is Doing One Thing Better Than Ash Ketchum's Story


  • Pokemon: Horizons
    introduces a story-driven plot with compelling antagonists, refreshing the series formula for a more engaging experience.
  • The new show focuses on the characters Liko and Roy, each with their own story arcs and mysteries, adding depth to the overarching plot.
  • The addition of the Explorers as villains, along with the Rising Volt Tacklers, brings a new level of tension and intrigue to the series.

The new and refreshing entry into the Pokémon franchise, Pokémon: Horizons, has been a surprising delight for fans, and that is due in part to one specific thing that the show is doing even better than the original anime, Pokémon: The Series. After 25 seasons following Ash Ketchum in his race to become a Pokémon master, the franchise finally bid a fond farewell to Ash, Pikachu, and the rest of the enjoyable cast in the show. The legendary Pokémon TV series was a hard act to follow, but Pokémon: Horizons is off to an excellent start.

The 26th season of the anime and the first of the new show, Pokémon: Horizons debuted in Japan in April 2023. The English dub of the show premiered March 7th, 2024. The show has changed many aspects of the formula in the original, and much of that has worked well. One of the biggest changes in Pokémon: Horizons makes the show even better than Ash Ketchum’s original 25-year journey: a compelling and mysterious overarching plot, driven by an extended cast with better character arcs. The improved villains are not to be overlooked, either.

Pokémon Horizons

Pokémon Horizons

Release Date
April 14, 2023

Ikue Ôtani , Taku Yashiro , Minori Suzuki , Yuka Terasaki


Pokemon: Horizons Is Story-Driven With Better Antagonists

In the original Pokémon anime, Ash Ketchum and Pikachu, Ash’s best companion, travel around the land on a quest for Ash to become a Pokémon Master. He meets the girl Misty along the way, as well as many others, and the group are often at odds with the silly and mostly incompetent Team Rocket, who seek to capture Pikachu, and fail every time.

Much of Pokémon: The Series was a monster-of-the-week style, with each episode beginning where it ended, with Ash, Pikachu and Misty traveling from one town to the next. The tournaments and Ash Ketchum’s toughest battles were the most exciting aspects of the show, but the episodic style made for a lot of filler episodes and little-to-no overarching plot. When Ash had finally achieved his goal of becoming a Pokémon Master and the world champion, there simply wasn’t much left to explore in the series.

Pokémon: Horizons is doing things differently from the long-running anime series. The focus for the new series is the plot and mysteries built around the two main characters, Liko and Roy. Liko is a young girl who most resembles Ash, with her endearing love and appreciation for the Pokémon they find. She travels with her Pokémon Sprigatito, and seeks to learn more about the strange pendant she inherited from her grandmother, which carries a mysterious Legendary Pokémon in it.

Liko soon meets Roy and his Pokémon companion Fuecoco. Roy is more fiery than Liko, and carries an ancient Pokéball which he can’t open. This eventually leads him to discover the mysterious tale of Lucius, a legendary adventurer of old. Roy resolves to find the other ancient Pokéballs. The two friends have their own personal character arcs that make the overarching plot even more warm and personal.

Related: Pokémon: Ash Ketchum’s Toughest Battles, Ranked

The Renewal That the Pokémon Franchise Badly Needed

Pokemon Horizons the Explorers antagonists villains
TV Tokyo

The many changes to the old Pokémon series formula were necessary to properly breathe life into a show that, while still fun, had also become stale. Giving the cast of characters a compelling set of mysteries to form their overarching plot (and leaning far less on filler episodes) has revitalized the show in a way that excites both old and new fans. It isn’t just the crafting of a better plot that has made the series so compelling.

The adventures of Liko and Roy are made more interesting when they meet the Rising Volt Tacklers, an older group of adventurers who live on an airship. They are led by Captain Pikachu – because what would a Pokémon series be without the adorable little guy? He isn’t Ash’s Pikachu, of course, but he’s just as cute. The extended cast of regulars and the evolution of their own stories and backgrounds makes the show more rich, and contributes to the different — and better — feeling of the central story in Pokémon: Horizons.

Related: All 9 Regions from the Pokémon Anime, Explained

Another important addition to the new show is the villain group the Explorers, who are trying to capture Liko and steal her pendant. Liko meets the Rising Volt Tacklers and their leader Friede when they rescue her from the Explorers. The trio, more devious than Team Rocket by far (despite Team Rocket’s dark origin story), have unique advanced technology and mysterious motivations behind their goal of securing Liko’s pendant for themselves.

The skill of the older Explorers, superior to the young protagonists, adds tension and intrigue to the events in the show. With these compelling changes, Pokémon: Horizons premiered in 2023 to high praise, and will suitably be expanding its horizons with the new English dub releasing on Netflix this March.

Stream Pokémon: Horizons on Netflix through the link below:

Watch Pokémon: Horizons

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