Warning: Contains SPOILERS for episode #19 of Pokémon HorizonsThe Pokémon the last anime series featuring Ash omitted a lot of Galar related content, but Pokémon Horizon‘ this visit to the area made up for what fans missed in Journeys, including Motostoke’s gym leader, Kabu.
Pokémon Journeys represents a major departure from the standard anime formula for Ash Ketchum, with the main character traveling across the world from one region to another rather than exploring a single region as before. However, that meant that the then-new Galar region didn’t receive the same attention as previous regions. As a result, many gym leaders from the Galar region, such as Kabu, Nessa, and Melony, never got the chance to appear in the anime, and some of Galar’s most notable towns never appeared either. present, even when passing by.
Pokémon Horizons Brings the Galar Experience to Anime
Pokémon Horizons’ cast of characters has only just arrived in the Galar region, but some aspects of Galar that were previously overlooked are now introduced. For example, Motostoke, one of the most prominent cities in Galar, was never mentioned in The Journey, as Ash and Goh were not visited, despite mentioning it. Motostoke ends up becoming the Brave Asagi crew’s first stop in episode #19 of Pokemon Horizons, when the group lands the airship outside of town and plans to travel Galar by train. The episode addresses one of Galar’s other notable features, the fight cafes, and culminates in Riko and Roy meeting Kabu, Motostoke’s gym head and an absentee from Journeys.
Horizons has so far come very close to the game, with Riko and Roy’s encounter with Brassius almost exactly matching his gym challenge from Scarlet and Violet. It seems the same could be true for Galar, with a preview of the next episode showing Riko and Roy going through a practice session at Kabu’s own gym, just like in Sword and Shield. Kabu really fits here, as his backstory ties him to the Hoenn region, Rayquaza’s hometown, and so the story hints at the possibility that Kabu might know something about the black Rayquaza. It demonstrates that while Horizons is making up for what Journeys has missed, it’s doing so in the service of its own story, not simply compensating.
Fans of certain characters who never got an anime debut when Ash was around can continue to hope that Horizons will find a way to appeal to them, just like with Kabu. It also proves that not too much time would have passed since Ash’s time, if the series had existed in the same universe, as the roster of gym leaders remained the same. Galar and Paldea are the only areas with a gym head that Ash doesn’t meet in the Journey, so any other areas should be Pokémon Horizon visitable will need new initial gym leaders or will further confirm that the series co-exist in the same universe.