With Pokemon XY: The Series wrapping up in Japan, the Pokemon Company has released the first footage for the follow up Pokemon Sun & Moon: The Series anime.
We don't learn much from the new trailer, but we do get a good look at the art style for the new series, which looks like a radical departure from the previous seasons. Ash looks significantly younger in the new series, with a more rounded face and a smaller nose. His hair is also much more poofy, although this could be due to the tropical humidity of the Alola region.
The trailer also briefly shows the classroom that Ash will be attending, which is run by Professor Kukui. Ash's classmates include Lillie (Professor Kukui's assistant in the Pokemon Sun & Moon games) as well as Mallow, Sophocles, and Lana, who are all Trial Captains in the games.
Many fans are apprehensive about the new anime, as they're worried it will undo the last few seasons of character development for Ash. Each new series is treated as a soft reboot of sorts and fans note that Ash often regresses in maturity and experience when he comes to a new region. The "Best Wishes" seasons were especially egregious, as Ash started acting like a novice trainer again despite having four deep runs in various Pokemon Leagues under his belt.
Pokemon XY: The Series, however, portrayed an older and more experienced Ash that usually looked like a pro on the Pokemon battlefield. Ash cleared six of the eight Kalos gyms on his first try and advanced to his first Pokemon League finals, although he lost in a heartbreaker to his rival Alain.
The new trailer also notably excludes Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie, Ash's companions in the Kalos Region. Although fans were hopeful that Serena (who has an established crush on Ash in the anime) would join Ash in Alola, it looks increasingly likely that Ash's only traveling companion will be his faithful partner Pikachu.
It's not all bad news, though. The trailer shows Ash wearing and using a Z-Ring and we see some Team Skull grunts, implying that both will appear in the anime early on. We also get a possible hint about Ash's new Pokemon, as he disturbs a sleeping Litten while running at a beach.
The new Pokemon anime will begin in November in Japan and will make its way to the United States sometime in early 2017.