Ash and Pikachu first appeared on our screens all the way back in the Pokemon anime debut in 1997, with the episode Pokemon - I choose you! that saw the duo team up. In the 25 years that we've followed them in their adventures, Ash has gotten into trouble quite a few times. He's seen some fights with Team Rocket and aggressive Pokemon alike, but there have been a few circumstances where he's died, even if just temporarily.
With the final season of Ash and Pikachu's chapter coming up, there could be no greater goodbye than an on-screen death. It would give audiences complete closure on their arc, and leave no speculation about what the iconic duo would be getting up to after they go.
So what are some of the ways that Ash could die in the Pokemon finale? That completely depends on whether you think the Pokemon company are going to reuse one of his iconic deaths in a throwback, or if you think they'll create something new for the finale.
Five ways Ash could die in the Pokemon finale
There are plenty of ways we could see Ash bite the dust in the Pokemon finale. Here are a few that could end up happening.
Saving the new protagonists from danger
Ash and Pikachu have always been the heroes in the Pokemon series. They're solid protagonists that always fight for the good in the world. Even recently, Ash was ready to give his life in order to save the Tree of Beginning in the Mystery of Mew arc. There is no doubt in his character that he would sacrifice himself to save anyone if he had the option to.
This presents the perfect opportunity to introduce the two new protagonists and get rid of Ash in one smooth motion. The pair, Liko and Roy, could end up in some kind of trouble that only Ash and Pikachu could get them out of. This would be the perfect way to show that the two are carrying on his legacy, with a cinematic scene of him literally giving himself up so that they can carry on their adventure.
Not all on-screen deaths have to be violent. Ash Ketchum has been 10 years old for the past two and a half decades, and fans have been begging to see him aged up. Pokemon could take this to the extreme and have the Pokemon Journeys to the West series cover a number of different time skips. We could see him start adulthood in one episode, and maybe get married in another.
The final few episodes could show Ash Ketchum as a frail old man, who no longer has the energy to travel with his companion Pikachu. He's had a good run and seen the most amazing sights across all of the regions in the Pokémon world. He has an elderly Pikachu next to him, and as a reflection of the generation who grew up watching him, he could peacefully pass away in his old age.
Gary’s Raticate gets his revenge
It’s a well-known story in the Pokemon community, that when you fight Gary’s Raticate aboard the S.S Anne in the first-gen games, you don’t just knock it out. Instead, when you encounter Gary again in Lavender Town, he asks you quite pointedly whether or not you know what’s it like to have one of your Pokemon die. Of course, Lavender Town is the place where Pokemon are laid to rest, and after this, we never see his Raticate again.
However, the Raticate has had years to plan its revenge. In two decades, it could easily have raised either a small army of Rattatta to take him out, or even just one good assassin to slip past. Ghosts are quite well known in the Pokemon universe, so it wouldn’t even be too far-fetched to explain how the Raticate managed to organise this.
Maybe the Raticate has simply waited for the perfect moment. Now that Ash has become World Champion, and is travelling around to see all of his favourite spots, he’s almost certainly got his guard down. He might even be planning to stop by Lavender Town himself, meaning that whoever is going out to avenge Raticate wouldn’t even need to travel that far.
A Pokemon attack
One of the first times that Ash was brutally attacked in the series was when he protected Pikachu against the Spearow attack in the woods. The birds became possessed and turned incredibly violent against the duo. Fans will remember that despite Pikachu being unfriendly towards Ash at this point, he was still ready to take the attack on in order to save his new friend.
That’s not the only time he’s been attacked though. Ash Ketchum is a magnet for danger. He’s been attacked by Gyrados multiple times, had his soul ripped out of his body by Haunter, petrified by Mewtwo, and was even blasted through a wall by Entei. In the film Pokemon: I Choose You, he dies from a brutal attack in order to save Pikachu, but is brought back from the dead by Ho-oh. But what if Ho-oh isn’t there to save him this time? It would be perfectly in character to see Ash finally succumb to a Pokemon attack, as one man can only get lucky so many times. Maybe even Pikachu himself finally has enough of Ash’s antics, and finally takes him out himself.
Curiosity got the better of him
Ash’s goal in life is to become the very best, like no one ever was. He’s dedicated his life to his Pokemon Journey, in both the field and in the competitive Gym environments. Now that he’s finally achieved his goal as World Champion, he’s stated a number of times that he just wants to travel now, and maybe even discover new Pokemon.
However, there is one Pokemon that we’ve already met, who is shrouded in mystery. Mimikyu, the Ghost Fairy Pokemon, has disguised itself using an old rag to look like Pikachu. It envied how popular Pikachu was, and desperately wanted to be able to make friends. The Ghost Pokemon was never able to do this before using the disguise, as just looking at its true form underneath would cause a painful death for whoever saw it.
So whether it’s a case of curiosity killing the cat, or Ash simply doing what Ash does, and sacrificing himself for the great good; I think we can all agree that we can see him taking a peek at what Mimikyu really looks like.
For more Pokemon content, check out our guide on how to catch a second Legendary Pokemon in the new games, or how to find the Herba Mystica so make more sandwiches!