You've heard the news: Ash Ketchum has been a gosh darn ten year old for two decades.
And it's fine. Really. We get it, Pokemon Company. You need to keep it relatable for the kids. Our hero needs to be an equally naive ten-year-old boy for every new generation of Pokemon fans. After all, it's the children who are their main audience.
But the internet has a way of demanding... more. The intense community of Pokemon shipping has taken hold of its own prominent internet space for years now (in ways both wholesome and revolting). The most recent and potent strain of Poke-shippers call themselves "Amourshippers" and have spent hours crafting fan art and weaving conspiracy theories from snippets of dialogue to build up the lore of Ash and his most recent female companion in Pokemon XY&Z, Serena.
Check out a montage video they crafted from this season so far:
So that's pretty freaking extra. Some of that content is pretty near-contrived. But now, finally, fans everywhere have nigh-indisputable proof Ash Ketchum's concrete romantic relationship with one of his companions. In the finale of this season, which aired recently in Japan, Ash is saying goodbye to Serena as he prepares to go to the next region. However, as she's on her way out, she runs back up to meet him and...
The camera cuts away, but the glossy filter and the Princess Diaries-style foot pop make it pretty clear what's going on. Not to mention the red-faced supporting cast in the background.
Ash is stunned, holding a stern look as a blushing Serena waves goodbye. Finally, he puts on that classic determined-anime-boy face and hypes himself up for his next journey.
Ahh, young love. Maybe this is a sign that Ash has grown up. Maybe he's eleven?
Check out the clip of the kiss-in-question below: