The latest episode of the Pokemon anime series featured the union of two beloved characters.
Professor Kukui has acted as both teacher and surrogate father to Ash during his time in the Alola region. Not only does Kukui teach Ash and his classmates at Samson Oak's Pokemon school, Kukui also lets Ash live out of his home and even let Ash capture the wild Rockruff that had lived out of his home for several months. Kukui has become a fan favorite because of his relationship with Ash and his laid back personality.
When Pokemon the Series: Sun and Moon launched its recent Aether Foundation/Ultra Space arc, it also introduced a character well-known to many Pokemon fans: Professor Burnet. Burnet first appeared as a Pokemon researcher in the Pokemon Dream Radar app and made her first official appearance in the games in Pokemon Sun and Moon as Kukui's wife and a researcher of alternate dimensions. While Kukui and Burnet were a couple in the games, they were merely shown as having a mutual attraction in the anime series.
However, when Lusamine was captured by an Ultra Beast and her children Lillie and Gladion mounted a rescue mission with the help of Ash and his friends, Kukui surprisingly abandoned his class to go to the aid of Burnet. Burnet had followed the group to Poni Island and had planned to accompany them on their journey into Ultra Space, but she got cornered by a group of wild Pokemon that had previously plagued Ash's group while traveling through the island. Kukui rescued Burnet, but at the cost of missing out on his chance to travel to Ultra Space and help his students save their ally.
After Ash, Lillie, and their friends returned from Ultra Space with Lusamine, the group returned to Melemele Island for a much deserved rest. However, the surprises weren't done yet. Kukui shockingly proposed to Burnet with a ring hidden inside a PokeBall as they watched the sun set on the beach. Burnet accepted (by saying "I choose you!") and the two got married in an impromptu ceremony the next day. Ash even served as a hybrid ringbearer/best man for the couple, giving the pair their rings during the wedding.
As you can see below, the fanbase was understandably crying with joy throughout the episode:
We don't know what this means for Ash's living situation, as Kukui's bungalow might be a little crowded with three humans and a ton of Pokemon living there. However, Ash certainly seemed thrilled about having a new mother figure in his life (even though he's seen his mom a lot more in Pokemon the Series: Sun and Moon than in past series.) The episode teased at least one other big surprise, so we could see Ash's surrogate family grow by a little more in the coming weeks.