The new Pokemon anime not only is introducing a ton of new characters and scenarios for Ash to embark on as he takes on the next phase of his journey, but there's also going to be a lot of cameos from familiar fan-favorites as Ash explores every region of the franchise thus far. But each Pokemon will not exactly be tied down to the regions they initially appeared in, and fans got a major taste of this with the most recent episode of the new series as it brought in the Johto Legendary, Lugia.
But what's special this time around is that the new series seems to be keeping in canon with the first meeting between Ash and Lugia from Pokemon the Movie 2000 as Ash takes on Lugia during the anime's take on a Max Raid Battle from Pokemon Sword and Shield.
Ash and Pikachu really tried to roll up on Lugia like they weren't gonna take an Aeroblast to the face pic.twitter.com/qAGayRdAWn— Tylor (@theSirToasty) November 24, 2019
When Professor Sakuragi theorizes that a Legendary Pokemon will appear in town in a matter of minutes, Ash runs to take it on directly. This Pokemon turns out to be Lugia, who arrives in a storm cloud of power. When the two meet after all these years apart, it's clear from Ash's tone that he's seen Lugia before (rather than this be a retcon of the anime's past events), and Lugia responds with a knowing glance before the two agree to a battle.
After Pikachu and Ash lose almost immediately, he and new protagonist Go make their way onto Lugia's back. But rather than shake them off completely, Lugia takes them on a special flight around the town's skies (and the seas, hilariously) before parting again. In this moment, Ash and Go bond but it's also a great showing of how much Ash has grown that he can continue to have such nonchalant interactions with Legendary Pokemon.
Pokemon: The Series, is now airing new episodes weekly in Japan, but unfortunately is still not officially licensed for an English language release as of this writing. Staff confirmed for the new series include Daiki Tomiyasu serving as chief director for OLM, Maki Odaira as series director, Kunihiko Yuyama as creative supervisor, Shoji Yonemura overseeing series construction, Shuhei Yasuda serving as character designer, Masafumi Mima as sound director, Yuki Hayashi as series composer. Voice cast members include Daiki Yamashita as Go, Yuichi Nakamura as Professor Sakuragi, Kana Hanazawa as Koharu, Megumi Hayashibara as Jessie, Shinichiro Miki as James, and Inuko Inuyama as Meowth.