Pokemon Season 26 release date in Spring 2023: Riko and Roy replace Ash Ketchum and Pikachu in Pokemon reboot

Pokemon 2023 release date
Riko and Roy will replace Ash Ketchum beginning in Pokemon Season 26. Pic credit: Studio OLM

The Pokemon Season 26 release date is confirmed to be in April 2023, the Spring 2023 anime season. Pokemon 26 will premiere immediately following the final episode of Pokemon Ultimate Journeys in March 2023.

Anime Geek is predicting that the Pokemon Season 26 Netflix release date will be in early 2024. Of course, that prediction assumes that Disney+ doesn’t snap up the international streaming license… (Please see the release date predictions section below for more details.)

The official title for Pokemon Season 26 has not been announced yet. It’s possible that Pokemon 2023 (or Pocket Monsters 2023) will be considered a Pokemon reboot and restart the numbering of the seasons.

The total number of episodes for Pokemon Season 26 has not been announced yet. Ever since the 2010 Black & White, the Pokemon seasons have typically ranged between 43 to 54 episodes long, although Pokemon Season 25 Episode 57 ended the last season. However, that should be considered an outlier since the last season was extended with special episodes into a new year. Since Pokemon 2023 is starting in April 2023 it’s possible that Pokemon Season 26 will end in December 2023 and be shorter than usual.

Based on the Pokemon Season 26 trailer PV released on December 16, 2022, Pokemon 2023 will feature pokemon such as the shiny form of the Legendary Pokemon Rayquaza.

The big news is that Ash Ketchum and Pikachu are retiring as the main characters after being the main protagonists for 25 years. It’s the end of an era in Pokemon history since Ash won the title of Pokemon World Champion by winning the Masters Eight Tournament of the Pokemon World Coronation Series.

“It’s been an extraordinary privilege to have been the English voice of Ash Ketchum for what will be 17 years,” tweeted Sarah Natochenny, the English dub voice actress for Pokemon’s Ash. “No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he’ll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come. Cheers to new beginnings!

Replacing Ash will be new Pokemon characters named “Riko and Roy” (some reports list the names as Liko and Roy). Keep in mind that their official English names might be different since Ash actually goes by Satoshi in Japanese. Due to the international appeal of the franchise, it’s also possible that Riko and Roy’s names will be the same regardless of localization in order to keep a unified brand.

The final 11 episodes of Ash and Pikachu’s story will be titled Aiming to be a Pokemon Master (Pocket Monster Mezase Pokemon Master). Fans are wondering if the franchise will finally define exactly what it means to be a Pokemon Master or will this finale leave the term open-ended. After all, “Pokemon Master” could be considered a life pursuit that never ends since there’s always more to learn about Pokemon.

RELATED: Ash Ketchum: Pokemon Master trainer his final goal after becoming World Champion?

The episodes that explain Ash’s journey to reach Pokemon Master status will premiere in Japan on January 13, 2023. These final episodes of Pokemon Season 25 will also celebrate the past 25 years of Ash’s adventures by bringing back Misty and Brock before ending by giving a glimpse into what the future holds for Ash and Pikachu.

Assuming no delays in the Japanese TV broadcasting schedule, Ash’s journey will conclude with the Pokemon Ultimate Journeys Episode 57 release date on March 24, 2023.

Pokemon 2022 Special Episode
The final Pokemon episode of 2022, Pokemon: The Distant Blue Sky, will be a special one-episode story that releases on December 23, 2022. Pic credit: Studio OLM

This article provides everything that is known about Pokemon Season 26 (Pokemon 2023 reboot) and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.

Pokemon Season 26 release date on Netflix in Winter 2024?

As of the last update, Studio OLM, Netflix, or any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the Pokemon Season 26 release date on Netflix USA, Canada, UK, or other English-speaking countries. However, the Pokemon 26 release date in Japan is confirmed for April 2023.

Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information.

In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when Pokemon Season 26 Netflix release date will occur in the future.

It’s actually very unusual to know the exact start date for a new Pokemon season in advance. Typically, the Pokemon anime TV series rolls over into a new season without any major delays. Sometimes there will be a small broadcasting break. But then the first episode of a new Pokemon season will often be announced months after the fact.

For example, The Pokémon Company International revealed Pokemon Ultimate Journeys on May 11, 2022, which meant that the Pokemon Season 25 release date in Japan was retroactively considered to be December 17, 2021. Pokemon Journeys Episode 91 (or Pokemon Episode 1178 in the entire series) was retroactively relabeled as Pokemon Ultimate Journeys Episode 1.

Netflix is unlikely to give up exclusive streaming rights for one of the biggest anime TV series in the world, although Disney+ might be willing to fight them for the license now that they’ve bought Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War and started announcing anime exclusives for series based on Kodansha manga.

As Netflix users know, the streaming giant likes to set up audiences for binge-watching rather than releasing episodes weekly. That means Pokemon Season 26 will come out long after the episodes initially aired in Japan.

Historically, Netflix has released the first batch of Pokemon episodes about 9 months after the Japanese premiere. Assuming that plan holds, the Pokemon Season 26 USA release date will be in January 2024.

Ash Ketchum after becoming the World's Pokemon Champion
Ash Ketchum after becoming the World’s Pokemon Champion. Pic credit: The Pokemon Company

Pokemon 2023 story focuses on a girl and boy duo

The official story summary for Pokemon Season 26 hasn’t been released yet. As previously mentioned, it’s been confirmed that it will include an original story centered around the new girl and boy duo named Riko and Roy. They will set off on an action-packed adventure across the Pokemon world.

Rather than traveling with a different Pikachu, Riko and Roy will first be partnered with 3 Paldea starter Pokemon Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly that come from the Pokemon Violet and Pokemon Scarlet video games. Pikachu was iconic as Ash’s partner so it’s unknown if these first partners will eventually be replaced or if the series will settle on specific pokemon as reoccurring characters.

Fans will just have to wait until the Pokemon Season 26 release date to find out more. Stay tuned!

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