On November 17, 2019, Pokémon Journeys: The Series debuted in Japan as the 23rd season of the globally popular Pokémon anime series. And while Pokémon Journeys kept Ash as the main character, along with his trusted friend, Pikachu, a lot of things have changed and the series was a bit different from the preceding seasons, despite keeping the same vibe. These changes prompted fans to ask themselves Is Pokémon Journeys a Reboot? Is Pokémon Journeys cannon? Interested? Keep reading the article to find out!
Pokémon Journeys is not a reboot of the franchise. As confirmed by several scenes in the season’s episodes, Pokémon Journeys is an official continuation that kept everything from the previous seasons and that continues Ash’s adventures, albeit in a slightly different manner than before.
Today’s article is going to be about the status of Pokémon Journeys within the Pokémon animated canon. You’re going to find out whether the series is a reboot or a continuation of Sun & Moon, whether it is canon and whether all of these changes mean that the Pokémon is ending. Enjoy!
When Sun & Moon finished, the production team behind the anime series wanted to do something new; the result was Pokémon Journeys, the current season of the anime and the one that introduced the Galar region to the animated continuity. Ash and Pikachu are accompanied by a boy named Goh, as the three of them travel across all the regions of the world of Pokémon, introducing Galar in the process. This show changed some stereotypes about the series’ structure but we’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out since we’re still on the arc’s first season, which started airing on November 17, 2019. As of March 5, 2021, a total of 56 episodes have been aired in Japan.
As you can see, Pokémon Journeys changed a lot in how the anime series evolves. During all the earlier seasons, Ash and his friends would travel through one region, collect gym badges and then finish the arc with a battle in the region’s Pokémon League competition.
Journeys changed that, as it gave the traditional adventure concept a twist. Ash and his traveling buddy, Goh, travel through all of the regions of the world of Pokémon. This is the first time that the anime enabled the protagonists to revisit all the previous regions during the season, while also introducing a new one – the Galar region – which remains the focus of the anime’s run.
In that aspect, Pokémon Journeys is not a reboot. Each season of Pokémon is a soft reboot as Ash usually starts from ground zero in each new region, but like all of the preceding seasons, Pokémon Journeys changed nothing about the past, opting to change the present in terms of concept and development.
In the sense that it follows Ash’s new adventures, Pokémon Journeys is indeed a continuation of Sun & Moon, which was the Alola region’s main anime arc. Sun & Moon, as well as the two smaller Generation VII narrative arcs, followed Ash’s adventures in the Alola region and despite the change in animation, the concept was the same.
Pokémon Journeys changed the concept which confused fans around the world, but the fact remains that Pokémon Journeys is indeed a continuation of the Generation VII anime arc which featured the Alola region.
There is absolutely nothing to indicate that Pokémon Journeys is not canon. The characters remained the same, their Pokémon as well and one of the first episodes of Pokémon Journeys showed us Ash’s room with all of his former achievements, which actually confirms that the series is canon and that it is directly tied – as a continuation – to the preceding seasons of the anime.
What is the source of this confusion? Namely, fans have not asked themselves this question with the earlier seasons, so why did Journeys cause so much confusion? We assume that the confusion might come stem from the fact that the Pokémon movie franchise, which was – until 2018 – tied to the main anime series, went through a major reboot after Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel.
We have already discussed this in our complete watching guide to the Pokémon franchise, but the 2018 movie, I Choose You!, was a cinematic reboot of the first episode of the anime series and it established a completely new cinematic universe that still focused on Ash and his adventures, but was not – as it had been before – a tie-in to the main anime series. This is what might have confused the fans since nothing in the anime itself suggested that it was not canon.
The Pokémon anime series has been up and running for more than two decades now. There are several larger narrative arcs that follow Ash’s adventures through different regions and just when people thought that Pokémon is done for, the creators would come up with a new generation of creatures, a new region, and new challenges for Ash and his friends. Some generations were better, some not as good, but the anime series is still running and that just shows how successful the franchise is and how devoted its fans are.
But, while the earlier seasons stuck to the same concept, Pokémon Journeys changed some things and that confused a lot of fans who felt that the show wasn’t the same. Does this mean that Pokémon Journeys is going to be the end of the Pokémon anime? Very unlikely.
The “life” of the Pokémon franchise was always dependent on the new generations of creatures released by the creators. The anime was just an addition where these new creatures would come to life but it was never the foundation of the franchise. So, as long as the creators hold on to their creative ideas and create new creatures, the Pokémon franchise is far from finished.