When Ash Ketchum first hit our screens in 1997 in the global hit Pokemon, he says in the theme song: “I wanna be, the very best, like no one ever was.”
Now the star of the anime franchise that is responsible for films, video games and trading cards has finally lived up to his dream, and become a Pokemon master.
The show, which is centred on the perpetual 10-year-old Ash Ketchum and his dream of becoming a master, features hundreds of animal-type characters called Pokemon, which can be caught, trained and used in battle against one another.
In an episode that aired in Japan this weekend, Ash beat Gladion to win the Alola Region league – meaning he claimed his first major trophy in the show and can finally call himself a master after years of defeats and upset.
The newly-crowned Pokemon master had previously won smaller competitions, but fans argue that victory in these tournaments were not enough to be given the trophy.
In celebration of their protagonist’s win, the official Pokemon Twitter account tweeted: “Anything’s possible when you believe in yourself, Trainers.”
The original English-speaking voice of Ash, Veronica Taylor, also offered her congratulations in a nostalgia-filled clip of her speaking as the character on Twitter.
In a gentle mock to the never-ageing nature of Ash, she says: “Hey Ash, it’s your younger, but still the same age, self – congratulations on winning the Pokemon league!”
In the tweet she says that “hard work, determination, good friends, and a bit of luck” pays off.
The franchise first became popular in Britain when trading cards were released, giving way to scores of children and like-minded adults exchanging and battling Pokemon in the late 90s.
After that, dozens of video games followed, as did the long-running TV show, which became a staple on children’s television.
Most recently the franchise broke in to the mobile market and developed Pokemon GO, an augmented reality app which enabled users to “catch” the creatures in their homes and on the streets.
Earlier in the year, live action film Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, starring Ryan Reynolds as the voice of the fluffy yellow creature, became the highest grossing video game film ever, with another movie from the franchise planned for 2020.