Rika Matsumoto, the voice of Ash Ketchum in the original Japanese version of the Pokémon series, gave fans an absolutely electric performance of the opening title theme from Ash’s Last Voyage. She performed it as part of the YouTube series The First Take and it’s a must-have for Pokemon fans and anyone looking to brighten their day.
Ash and Pikachu will retire as protagonists of the Pokémon series in March. The young trainer and Pikachu have been protagonists of the series since its debut in 1997, and will star in their final episode on March 24 in Japan. Ash’s final arc will feature notable reunions between Ash and other beloved characters like Brock, Misty, and of course, Team Rocket. In addition to an original story, the final chapter of the arc will receive a special theme sung by Matsumoto.
The song is called “Mezase Pokémon Master -with my friends-“, and you can listen to the full recording on YouTube. Matsumoto oozes charisma and energy in the video. At the very beginning, she screams with the familiar voice of Ash, which gives the performance even more nostalgia. She comes with a full band and background vocals, and nails it. At the end, we see her shaking her own hands and smiling — it’s honestly heartwarming.
For those unfamiliar, Matsumoto’s work is not limited to voiceover. She is also an accomplished musician who helped found the anison band JAM Project and performed other songs for the Pokémon series in the past. She has sung the Japanese themes of several films, including Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back — Evolution, and different seasons of the show.