Image: Cartoon Network

The series was renewed for a Twentieth season, scheduled to premiere in 2017

Release Date of #Pokémon S20: 2017

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the beloved Pokémon franchise, which made its grand entrance into the international market in 1996. The franchise, and anime series, follows Ash Ketchum (or Satoshi in Japan) as he embarks on his challenge to become the ultimate @Pokémon master.

#Pokémon is currently broadcasting its 19th season. Part of the XY story arc, season 19 is referred to as @Pokémon: XYZ (or Pocket Monsters: XY & Z in Japan). The Japanese season premiere occurred on the Tokyo TV channel on October 29th, 2015 while an American Cartoon Network premiere aired later, on February 20th, 2016.

Prior to its premiere, the season was premised by four mega-evolution specials. The first focused on Alain, as he hunts out Siebold of the Elite Four in search of a Mega Stone; it premiered in Japan in April of 2014 and in America one month later. The second special acts as a sequel to the first, with Alain meeting Steven Stone who is also searching for the Mega Stone. The third special increases the intensity of the story arc by following Alain as he attempts to save the Hoenn area from titan #Pokémon. While the fourth special (premiering on October and December of 2015 in Japan and the Cartoon Network respectively), features Alain betting both his Key Stone and Mega Stone on 10 Mega Evolution battles.

The 19th season follows Ash, Serena (Ash’s childhood friend from Pallet town), Clement (a gym leader and inventor) and Bonnie (Clemont’s responsible little sister) as they continue their travels. Alain, meanwhile, continues his search for “the source of Mega Evolution”, while Team Flare, a team hell-bent on figuring out the Zygarde’s secrets, is introduced.

Because the American schedule is behind the Japanese one, we can also predict that April 2nd, 2016 will be an exciting episode, depicting Frogradier’s epic evolution into Greninja. As Ash and Greninja’s relationship grows deeper, we will get to see Greninja go through a special Evolution (reminiscent of Mega Evolutions), where he syncs into Ash’s senses and “takes on [Ash’s] appearance while being covered in a water torrent veil”. Interestingly, however, when in this state, Greninja acts as a type of voodoo doll; if Greninja is hurt, Ash can feel it.

Because of the difference in viewing schedules, it’s also easy to find upcoming spoilers for American viewers. The next few paragraphs will describe what Cartoon Networks viewers can expect on the March 19th episode entitled “Dream a Little Dream From Me!”.

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This episode marks the first appearance of Darkrai in Pokémon: XYZ. Having a bit of fun, Darkrai begins giving Meowth and Pikachu odd dreams showing them alternate versions of the group’s Pokémon. In the dream, Bonnie’s adorable Squishy is also shown as “powerful and unstoppable”. Later on, Pikachu wanders to a river and is approached by talking Froakie, Delphox and Diggersby who insist that they’ve always been able to talk and that Pikachu is the one acting strangely. When Pikachu and Meowth (who’s aware of the situation) return to the tell the group about the strange happenings, they all appear blank-eyed and are talking in an odd and unfamiliar language. Without revealing too much, this episode will also feature a potential capture by a fire spirit.

Japan’s next episode, “The Master Class Begins! A Maiden’s Fierce Fight Where Sparks Fly!” (or “Masutā Kurasu kaimaku! Hibana chiru otome no gekitō!”) is set to premiere on March 18th of 2016, however its particular storyline remains unknown.

The past three seasons, all part of the XY story arc, have been described as vastly improved by Pokémon fans. The animation is better and the

travel companions are more interesting. Ash’s character has been developed to appear slightly older while his relationship with Serena provides for an interesting dynamic. A lack of a seasonal overarching plot line also provides a unique opportunity for the writers to try out new ideas.

It remains unclear what will be coming after Pokémon XYZ, but until then, be sure to keep up with the current episodes and to check back here frequently for updates.

Happy viewing!

Pokemon is coming to Disney XD starting December 5th! This is an incredible deal that not only puts Disney XD in control of future seasons/shows, but also the entirety of the past 19 seasons! Development on the new show Pokemon: Sun and Moon has already started for a 2017 release.

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