As everyone already knows, Pokemon and the extended Pokemon universe is probably one of the biggest and longest-running anime series still running today, having originally launched in Tokyo way back in 1997, one year after the launch of the first Pokemon game.
Since this launch, the franchise has expanded into nearly every media sector, releasing playing cards, movies, mobile apps, and an incredibly successful line of toys. However, to this day, many still link the brand’s continued success to the TV show, stating that it would never have gained international acclaim and following without such a well-loved show and characters.
While the Pokemon brand hit its height of popularity back in the mid-noughties, the TV show itself has continued throughout the years, always keeping a loyal and dedicated fanbase along the way, replenishing any viewing numbers they lost with new blood as newer generations became obsessed with the IP.
At present, the original TV show featuring Ash Ketchum and his loyal group of friends is on season 25; however, while this season and the ones immediately proceeding it were big hits with the fans around the world, it seems that season 22 is where some real magic was in the air, producing some of the highest rated episodes of the series in years.
This season, better known as ‘Sun and Moon – Ultra Legends,‘ was originally released in October of 2018 on the Japanese broadcast station TV Tokyo. In total, the series comprised 54 episodes, each lasting roughly 22 minutes in total.
With all of this in mind, why don’t we take a closer look at this series as a whole and the plotlines that ran through it? Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will understand why so many people love this season so much. But, enough waiting, Let’s go!
How Did We Get Here?
As I have already mentioned, this is the 22nd official season of the main TV show featuring Ash and all his best friends, so you can imagine quite a lot has already happened to get us here. However, let’s look at the end of season 21 to see where we left Ash.
Season 21 Ending
In this season finale, Ash and his good friend Professor Burnet decide that they want to take Professor Kukui to a meet and greet event hosted by the Masked Royal. Obviously, not realizing the issue this would cause, Ash and his friend encourage Kukui into going to the event despite his obligations.
So, as Ash was not taking no for an answer, Kukui arranged to switch places with his friend Molayne, keeping his identity a secret through a myriad of near misses and close calls. However, during the event, Molayne was spotted switching out of the mask and was accused of theft, subsequently being tied down by the fans now gathered around him.
Simultaneously, one of the Masked Royals’ main adversaries shows up and challenges him, forcing Faba to discreetly take up the mantel and battle him. In the end, everyone is alright, and Kukui manages to get his mask back with his identity and battle record in one piece. Ash and his friends leave non-the-wiser and continue their journey in the Alola region.
As we begin season 22, Ash and his friends have been working hard to complete all the Alola region’s four trials. Doing so would mean that he would win the Alola league, adding the title to his long and illustrious list of achievements. During this time, Ash must also continue his tuition at the Pokemon school in Alola.
However, as we begin this season, Ash has only completed three of these four trials, leaving the last and most difficult trial to date. Also, as I’m sure you have already guessed, in the 54 episodes of this series, Ash gets a little distracted from his main objective from time to time.
With these overarching goals in mind, let’s take a look at each episode in order and their main plot points very quickly. Also, we may skip an episode or two here and there when they don’t actually relate to the main plot and are kind of ‘filler’ episodes.
Ultra Legends Go!
On Alola Island and acting as one of the Ultra Guardians who must use their pokemon trainer abilities to protect the island. To do this, Ash and his friends venture out to the foot of Wela Volcano in “Sparking Confusion.”
Here, Ash and his pals find a wild Geodude and Graveler as they eat some Spark Stones; however, the danger begins when a group of rock hunters rolls in, looking to take the Spark Stones for themselves.
However, thanks to the efforts of the Guardians and a rather angry Golem, the Alolan pokemon and their food source were preserved.
Searching for the Kahuna Hala
As Ash marches across Melemele Island in “No Stone Unturned”, he bumps into the grandson of the Island Kahuna. After this, Ash, Hau, and his friend Dartrix train and battle. By the end of the training and all their duels, Ash manages to teach Rowlet Seed Bomb on the fly, allowing the Pokemon to win the rematch against Hau.
Journey Into an Alternate Dimension
At the start of “Battling the Beast Withing,” Ash and Pikachu travel to the Ultra Rain. Here, in this other dimension, situated a mere several thousand light-years from Alola and only accessible via warp holes, Ash and Pikachu battle the lord of the Ultra Rain, Guzzlord.
Before Ash and his Pokemon are attacked in this new dimension, Dia and Zeraora ride in to rescue them. In the end, Ash learns that they must combine their attacks to win the final battle against Guzzlord. While this episode doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, I like how it teaches Ash to act more as a team player. It also establishes the Ultra Rain and how this new dimension operates.
Reunited with Misty and Brock
As has become custom in Pokemon series that don’t regularly feature some of Ash’s best pals, Misty and Brock arrive in “Alola, Alola!,” visiting their friend during his final days of class. As the week progresses, we discover that Lana planned their trip and the surprise gathering. However, Brock gets a little distracted in the Pokemon School, leaving Misty to be shown around by the gang.
Also, Team Rocket makes another appearance and tries to drag everyone down to their level by messing with Ash and his friends as they join a group of Mantine at Treasure Island.
Trip to Poni Island
This is the first big break from normalcy that we get in this series, with Ash and his entire class taking off to visit Poni Island for an extended getaway. Once they arrive, however, Ash finds out that the island does not actually currently have a Kahuna. Therefore, Ash decided to battle Tapu Fini for the grand trial.
Also, we get to see Ash meet both Hapu and Plumeria for the first time before discovering that another friend, Gladion, has lost his father to an Ultra Wormhole. After Ash and Gladion battle, with the latter willing, nothing really happens for a brief period for Ash.
However, Lana makes a great step forward during episode 13, deciding to dedicate herself to training, eventually evolving Popplio into Brionne, earning a Primarium Z as a reward from her mentor, Ida.
As with the ending of episode 12, the next couple of episodes shows Ash trying to face the island challenge and failing, trying to face Tapu Fini instead. However, this does not work either, and in episode 15, Fini decides to trap both Ash and his Pokemon.
Eventually, he and Kiawe get free and discover that somehow the Guardian of Poni Island can allow people to both see and talk to deceased loved ones. The group then set out in search of their loved ones, but only Ash and Mallow actually find anyone.
Episode 17 then sees Hapu finally become the Island Kahuna after she decided to stand up to Tapu Fini. This means Ash can finally take part in the grand trial. However, it won’t be an easy victory for Ash as Hapu sets him the challenge of battling her with just one Pokemon. Of course, Ash ultimately wins the battle, picking a Z-crystal as his price; Pikachu picks the Steelium Z.
Unexpected Attack by a Pheromosa
Now back on the main island, Ash and the rest of the Ultra Guardians are sent on their next mission, the job of catching wild Pheromosa. Apparently, this Pheromosa has been randomly appearing, attacking unaware trainers and stealing their Z-Crystal in “Beauty is only Crystal Deep.”
Eventually, the group does manage to send the Pheromosa back through a warp into Ultra Space. However, they should have moved a bit quicker before Meowth had time to fall in love with the fiend.
The Next Challange
After already winning the grand trial of Poni Island, Ash’s true test begins in this episode as Professor Kukui properly announces the formation of an Alola Pokemon League. This league idea angers Guzma, Team Skull’s leader, so he heads over to the school and confronts the professor. However, before he can do this, Ash challenges him to a battle between Pikachu and his Golisopod.
Kartana Saves the Day
After some heated battles in a new gym on Alola Island, Ash and his friends return to their duty as Ultra Guardians, heading out to find out just how certain items are mysteriously getting sliced in half without anyone’s knowledge.
Of course, life could never be this simple as, at the same time, a massive meteor is also heading towards the Pokemon School. Thankfully, these two issues help solve one another as the Guardians manage to capture the culprit, a Kartana, just in time to slice through the meteor before it damages the school. They then send it back through an Ultra wormhole.
The Pokemon League Begins
Finally, the Alola Pokemon league begins. The tournament’s first round sees all 151 competitors face off in a battle royale-style game wherein each trainer can only bring one Pokemon.
Eventually, only the remaining 16 may move forward into the next round. Thankfully, Ash and most of his friends make it through this round, defeating some very hard competition, allowing our pals to progress from “Battle Royale 151” to “Battling Beasties.”
The First Final Battle
Eventually, though, these numbers dwindled until only Gladion and Ash remained in the final. During this battle, Gladion reveals his Lycanroc to be a Zoroark. Pikachu and this Zoroark face off and prove too equally matched, knocking each other out.
Without their two favored Pokemon, Ash and Gladion decide to battle their Dusk-Type Lycanroc and Midnight-Type Lycanroc, respectively. In the end, Ash is victorious, becoming the first-ever winner of the Alola Pokemon League. It is then announced that Ash, the league’s winner, will face the Masked Royal in a battle for the ages, champion against champion.
Just after Ash is crowned champion, a Guzzlord and two Shiny Guzzlords appear, ruining the celebrations. However, they have come to the wrong place as Ash, and the rest of the Ultra Guardians send them back to Ultra Space with little effort.
While this episode was great, I really feel like there was no need for the two Guzzlords to appear.
Just before a battle for the ages breaks out, Professor Kukui is finally unmasked as the Masked Royal, shocking everyone in attendance, but alas, the battle must still go on between Ash and his mentor. In this episode, the rules of this forthcoming duel are also outlined. In the fight, Ash and his professor are limited to 6 pokemon each, forcing the pair to choose wisely.
Kicking off the final battle of the series, Ash sends out his Torracat against the Incineroar for Kukui. While these two pokemon battle for an incredibly long time, Ash’s Pokemon eventually tires, forcing the trainer to recall him, switching him with the fresh Lycanroc that he won the Alola League with. In this first exchange, the new and fresh Lycanroc overpowers the Incineroar and defeats it, causing the Masked Royal to call out Braviary to end the episode.
At the start of episode 50, Braviary and Lycanroc face off. Almost as soon as the episode begins, the professor and his Pokemon take out Ash’s Lycanroc, forcing Ash to call out Rowlet, who in turn defeats Braviary. Next, the professor calls his Venusaur, who in turn takes out Rowlet.
At the start of episode 51, each trainer is now down to three Pokemon each. The first battle of this episode is a rematch between the Incineroar and Ash’s Torracat. This match is hotly contested, but Ash emerges the victor, with his Torracat evolving into an Inceneroar at the end of the altercation. This leaves the professor on his final Pokemon.
However, the battle is not quite over as the episode ends upon the arrival of Tapu Koko, who also announces his intention to battle Ash. The pair then team up against Ash, hoping their combined power can defeat the series’ trainer, prodigy, and hero.
At the start of episode 52, Tapu Koko fights against Ash’s Naganadel, defeating it quickly. This leaves Ash on his final and most loyal friend to fight the final battle against Tapu Koko. In this battle’s last altercation, Ash calls Pikachu back onto the field.
Immediately, the professor and Tapu Koko release what has been hidden up their sleeves, a legendary Z-move reserved only for the Island Guardians of this region. However, Ash and Pikachu are not defenseless against it, calling on their own Z-move, the 10 million Volt Thunderbolt.
The impact of these two massive forces of power results in the entire arena being covered and submerged in the dust. Only Pikachu is left standing when everything settles, making Ash the victor.
Wrapping It All Up
Now that Ash has emerged victorious and the Alola Pokemon league has finished, along with Pokemon School, the entire group is enthralled by melancholy as they try and decide what to do with their futures.
Each of Ash’s friends decides throughout this episode what they are going to do. With Lana deciding to explore the ocean and Mallow wishing to return to her family’s restaurant. However, amid all of these announcements, one person’s quiet is deafening. Ash is still undecided as the episode concludes.
Looking to the Future
By the start of the final episode in the season, Ash has decided what he must do to become the best Pokemon trainer the world has ever seen, although he is hesitant to tell his friends, scared of letting them down or upsetting them.
In the end, though, Ash tells them all that he is going to return for a short while to Pallet Town before embarking on his journey across the rest of the Pokemon world. This upsets the crew, but they are all happy that Ash has chosen to do what is best for him.
The episode concludes with Team Rocket being forced back to their HQ and the Ultra Guardians parting ways; well, some of them do anyway. However, before we leave Alola Island for good, it is revealed, to the joy of everyone, that Professor Burnet is pregnant, leaving everything on a happier note than before.
Pokemon Sun and Moon Ultra Legends: FAQs
Question: Is there a season 23 of Pokemon?
Answer: After the success of season 22, another season was always in the works for the massively popular anime franchise. Season 23 details Ash’s journey as he begins traveling across the Pokemon world; however, he must first clear up some difficulties at home before jetting off.
Question: Will Pokemon ever end?
Answer: While the original head writer of the series, Shudo Takeshi, had once planned for the series to end on a downbeat and rather sad note, later, he decided that this wouldn’t be the case. So, with no end in sight or any plans from the producers to bring the anime saga to a close, it is more than likely that Pokemon will go on into the future for many years to come.
Question: Is Ash still ten years old?
Answer: Even though the program has been going on since 1997, Ash is still the same age as he was in the beginning. Ash, like the characters of many popular animated TV shows, is frozen at that age, with the concept of time being somewhat different in these shows. So, like Bart Simpson and Mickey Mouse, Ash will eternally be ten years old.
So, there you have it, a comprehensive guide to one of the best series of Pokemon in quite a few years. A season that put Ash up against some real opposition and detailed Ash’s true ability as a trainer, as he has now completed almost all there is to do and achieved everything he set his mind to.
For me, this season was almost like a coming of age story for Ash and his friends as they routinely have to try and find themselves in the final year of tuition at the Pokemon School, similar to the way we all have to make some hard decisions at the end of High School.
These were the thoughts this season evoked in me anyway, but maybe you thought something different? Either way, I really hope you enjoyed this round-up of season 22 of Pokemon and that I will see you again sometime soon. Good luck!