It looks like Pokémon fans aren’t ready to wave goodbye to Ash Ketchum and Pikachu just yet, if their online hunt for Pokémon cards featuring the iconic duo is anything to go by.
In December, it was revealed that the peppy trainer and his loyal electric Pokémon would be departing the Pokémon television series after 25 years. Last year, Ash finally completed his goal of becoming the very best (like no-one ever was) by obtaining the title of Pokémon world champion.
A run of 11 Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series episodes will bring Ash and Pikachu’s story to a close, before a new anime series based on last year’s Pokémon Scarlet and Violet introduces two brand new protagonists and their own starter Pokémon drawn from the latest generation of video games. The “final chapter” of Ash and Pikachu’s adventure began airing last Friday, January 13th in Japan.
Ahead of the finale, auction website eBay said that monthly searches for “Ash and Pikachu” in its collectable card game category had risen by almost 200% in December as fans seemingly looked for Pokémon cards to mark the duo’s departure. “Ash” alone saw CCG searches increase by 60%.
Pikachu appears on several of the most popular Pokémon cards ever made, such as the original Base Set’s iconic ‘chubby’ Pikachu, as well as the most valuable Pokémon card of all time: Pikachu Illustrator.
eBay added that monthly searches for Crown Zenith - the final set in the Pokémon Trading Card Game’s current Sword and Shield era - had rocketed 11,000% following its reveal in early November. Searches for Sword and Shield more than doubled - rising by 130% - following the announcement. According to eBay, Crown Zenith is currently ‘far outpacing’ last summer’s crossover set with mobile game Pokémon Go in terms of interest.
In the UK alone, eBay searches for Radiant Charjabug boomed by over 500% in the last eight weeks of 2022, while fellow Sword and Shield card Altaria saw searches more than double by 140%. Deoxys VSTAR, meanwhile, saw searches grow 50%, with Pokémon mainstay Ditto seeing an increase of 30%.
“The horizon in 2023 looks set to bring innovative new decks and characters into the universe, which we also expect to create nostalgic demand on eBay for classic collectables of the beloved Ash and Pikachu, alongside more retro card decks,” the site's collectable card game manager Kevin Aloe said.
Crown Zenith will be released for the Pokémon TCG on January 20th. A release date for the new Pokémon animated series is yet to be announced.