Pokémon Horizons: The Series (2024)

The next generation of Pokémon is here.

Pokémon Horizons: The Series (ポケットモンスター Pocket Monsters (2023)) is the eighth chapter of Pokémon: The Series, and the first story not to feature Ash and Pikachu as the anime's protagonists. Taking place throughout the Pokémon World including the Paldea region of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, this chapter focuses on two new trainers—a young girl named Liko hailing from Paldea in possession of a mysterious necklace, and a young boy from Kanto named Roy who has a Poké Ball of unknown origins—as they explore the wider Pokémon world with the help of Professor Friede and his partner, Captain Pikachu. Along the way, they'll encounter all sorts of strange and mysterious wonders, including a shiny Rayquaza, and the three starters of the Paldea region—Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly—all while a group of mysterious villains known as The Explorers seek to claim Liko's pendant by any means necessary.

Starring in the anime are Minori Suzuki as Liko, Yuka Terasaki as Roy, and Taku Yashiro as Professor Friede. Ikue Otani will voice Captain Pikachu, continuing her iconic role as a different iteration of the franchise's mascot. The anime has a concurrent manga adaptation serialized in the Shōjo magazine Ciao—the first feat in many years for the franchise.

The series premiered in Japan on April 14, 2023, with an hour-long special. A trailer for the English dub premiered during San Diego Comic-Con 2023; the dub itself premiered on BBC iPlayer and CBBC in the United Kingdom on December 1st, 2023, and on Netflix in the United States on March 7, 2024.

To promote the international launch of the series on Netflix, the series had a crossover with Pokémon GO in which Liko and Roy will randomly appear in Snapshots, Pikachu wearing Cap's hat can be caught, and Charcadet, Ceruledge, and Armarouge will be outright added to the game, as well as several of the game's currencies being boosted, it ran from March 5 to 11, 2024.

Watch the first trailer herePokémon Horizons: The Series (2) and the official trailer herePokémon Horizons: The Series (3).

Watch the English Dub trailer herePokémon Horizons: The Series (4) and the first two episodes herePokémon Horizons: The Series (5) and herePokémon Horizons: The Series (6).

Not to be confused with Pokémon Horizon, a manga based on Pokémon Sun and Moon.

Tropes! I choose you!

  • Adaptational Late Appearance: Due to Pokémon Journeys: The Series not being purely focused on Galar region, not everything from the Generation 8 games made an appearance in that series, and appeared in Horizons instead. Finally making their appearance are...
    • Kabu, the Fire Type Gym Leader from Motostoke, in Episode 20
    • Galarian Moltres, in Episode 22.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the games, it is emphasized that Terastallization can only occur in a select few locations, and not in any region that the games were set in before Scarlet and Violet, but in this series, it can be used anywhere such as in Galar, when Friede uses Tera Dark to defeat Amethio in episode 25.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Orla's Metagross is a pseudo-legendary Pokémon, but it struggles in battle against the much more common Golduck and Rhydon. Justified due to her using it for repair work and not battling.
  • The Alleged Car: The Brave Olivine, the airship that the Rising Volt Tacklers use to fly all over the world used to be a fishing boat owned by Ludlow that was then converted into the airship it is now. It's not exactly in the best shape, but it is lovingly cared for by Orla. Unfortunately, it gets badly damaged during the crew's rematch against the shiny Rayquaza, leading to Liko, Roy, and Dot all enrolling at Naraja academy in order to learn about Terastalization while the rest of the crew repair the ship.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song:
    • The English dub has an original song Becoming Me sung by Haven Paschall (Serena's voice actress) used as the opening theme instead of Dokimeki Diary.
    • The Korean dub uses the song We GoPokémon Horizons: The Series (7) by K-pop girl group aespa.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Friede discusses that there are many types of Pokémon Trainers, including ones who aim to become stronger, others who aim to catch every kind of Pokémon, or some who want to study Pokémon evolution. Those happen to be the exact goals of Ash, Goh, and Chloe respectively, but it's not clear if he's referring to them personally or just speaking in generic terms.
    • It also begs the question of whether or not Horizons is in the same universe as the previous series, or is set in its own continuity unrelated to Ash's journey. In For Sure! 'Cause Sprigatito's with Me!, Nurse Joy returns and sports the same design as the Joy from Kanto. While it might mean they could be from the same universe, it could also mean that Nurse Joy is a character exclusive to the anime in general, Ash's series or not. Additionally, a Hiker appears that looks like the one from "A One Stick Wonder!", but it's not confirmed if it's that same hiker.note
  • Ambiguously Related: It's been implied that Liko might be related to the ancient hero, Lucius, due to his Rayquaza giving her a look of familiarity before it flies off, and from what little has been seen shows they do share a similar look, but nothing has been confirmed yet to suggest a connection. Episode 25 suggests a further connection when Diana thinks that Terapagos has bonded to Liko because it may have been Lucius' partner, but it's speculation rather than confirmation on her part.
  • Amnesia Episode: Episode 15 is about Liko gradually regaining her memories of the Rising Volt Tacklers after Spinel erased them to make her forget about the pendent that he stole.
  • Animal Talk: Like in the previous series, Pokémon can speak to one another and understand human language, though this time there isn't a talking Meowth to translate some of it.
  • The Anime of the Game: ZigZagged. While this anime does feature elements of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, including its lead protagonist being from that game's region of Paldea, the leads using the Paldean starters, and its central mystery focusing on the normal form of Terapagos, it's taking a "World Tour" approach to allow various other regions and Pokémon outside of Paldea to get equal focus.
  • A Way Out of a Cave-In: Episode 38 lampshades this. Liko and the Pokemon with her are caved in, and while the other characters all team up to pull the rocks out of the entrance since they assume she's trapped...but it's then revealed that after they work hard to try to clear the entrance, Liko and company found a way out, and it was basically around the corner from where the group was.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: In Episode 18, when Liko and Roy start to get curious about how Captain Pikachu learnt to fly, Dot is interested too, to which Liko suggests to ask Friede about it and both she and Roy invite Dot to tag along. She rejects the offer saying it's a pain... but then whips out a portable streaming light and microphone because she thinks it'll make an excellent video that will go viral to the point where she as Nidothing will become more popular than Iono.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 42 brings the gang back to Paldea to have a relaxing day at the beach. The whole day leads to them meeting a Palafin, along with the audience learning that Ludlow is a superhero.
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • This is the first entry in the Pokémon series that:
      • Does not have Ash and Pikachu as the main protagonists (not counting Pokémon Chronicles or any of the other adaptions of the games), let alone a Pikachu who isn't the Pikachu.
      • Has a female protagonist— both the show's leading human as well as the Pokémon partner— as the lead character alongside the male protagonist.
      • Does not have a disembodied narrator, instead recaps are done by Liko herself and the audience often hears her inner thoughts.
      • Introduces its Champion character (Nemona) far earlier than they've been in previous series.
      • Has a group of adults that consistently receive major focus and travel with the kids, and are far more involved in the plot than even Cynthia and Kukui ever were. In fact, it is one of these adults who own the series' Pikachu rather than the child protagonists.
      • Restores the previous trend of having a protagonist catch the regional bird, which Roy does when he gets Wattrel.
      • Gives a lead protagonist a Psychic Type (not counting Ash's Mr. Mime, who mostly stayed at home helping his mother, or Serena's Delphox, which didn't obtain the typing until after she left the main group).
      • Puts the lead's grandparent in a much more significant role than prior series had.
      • The initial plot focus is far more on the adventuring aspect of the Pokémon journey, rather than self-improvement via battling others. Both protagonists lack some form of To Be a Master / competitive goal that involves battling powerful trainers. Liko is just a schoolgirl caught up in events centered around her pendant, and Roy wants to battle Pokémon mentioned in legends. Liko's lack of a goal in particular becomes a plot point when she realizes she's just trying to make others happy while not allowing herself to grow in the process, which is hurting her as a trainer.
    • The series has downplayed catching when it was a major part of all prior series. Ash usually captured a Pokémon or two by the tenth episode, but as of the twelth episode, Liko's only Pokémon was gifted to her, and Roy's willingly joined him without battle. It wouldn't be until the fourteenth episode that Roy would catch a Wattrel, and even then Liko wouldn't catch her first new Pokémon until Episode 21.
  • Breather Episode: Episodes 26 to 30, the first stretch of the second arc, The Sparkling of Terapagos is much less heavy than the preceding episodes, showcasing picnics and exploits on the ship, until episode 31 which begins the next stage of the quest in earnest.
  • Brick Joke: Friede and Amethio battle a lot in the first arc, but are never able to finish, to the point neither shows surprise when they get interrupted in their later battles. In their second battle, Amethio did not expect Friede to send out his Pikachu or that it would be that strong but states he won't get suprised again, so fittingly and ironically, Friede finaly defeats Amethio by again surprising him, Terastallizing Charizard into a Dark Type.
  • Bright Castle: Liko's grandmother lives in a secluded, hard-to-access castle, the first place outside the ship in a while the main characters can relax in. The Explorers make it a subversion fairly quickly by solving its puzzle then attacking, and causing enough damage that Liko's grandmother joins them afterwards for the next handful of episodes.
  • The Cameo: Larry shows up in the background in Episode 18 when Friede meets up with Lucca in the Treasure Eatery/Medali Gym.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Unlike Ash and most of his friends, who are explicitly based on game characters from various entries in the game series, the protagonists and antagonists are original creations to the anime. The only connections between this series and all previous ones are the presence of Pokémon whose species have previously been featured in the series before, and Nurse Joy, who was also a Canon Foreigner before being incorporated into games as a standard design for Pokémon Center Nurses.
    • There's also the Indigo Academy, a school that was created entirely for the series.
  • Canon Immigrant: Friede's Charizard, which could Terastallize into a Dark Type, was added into Scarlet and Violet as a limited-time distribution event.
  • Cats Are Mean: Liko's Sprigatito starts off this way, not wanting to really bond with her new trainer (even scratching her), but over time she just becomes more aloof like Garfield and shows that she's not as bad as she pretends.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Many characters from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet like Nemona, Brassius, and Larry are introduced early on as among the many minor characters that the protagonists hang with for an episode or two in the Pokemon Anime (Larry even less, just a cameo), but later became major characters in the third arc, that started airing about a year after they appeared.
  • Child Prodigy: Dot, the sixth member of the Rising Volt Tacklers, is the same age as Liko and Roy, but singlehandedly designed the entire systems that the group uses.
  • The Chosen One: Liko herself is this to Terapagos, though it's not explained why as of yet.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In episode 9, Liko sees Dot's Nidothing costume hanging over the ship's railing as well as the same recurring Quaxly, and the audience is later led to believe that she has figured out that Dot is Nidothing and even Dot herself is about to reveal the truth...before Liko interrupts and concludes that she is also a Nidothing superfan.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: The Explorers, like the Team Rocket trio, are a Canon Foreigner group exclusively made for the anime, but wheres Jessie, James, and Meowth were the infamous Goldfish Poop Gang that could occasionally venture into Not-So-Harmless Villain territory, all of The Explorers' admins are a lot more serious in their efforts and far more competent. That said, their boss, Gibeon, who is similarly hidden in the shadows like Giovanni originally was, will replace them with other admins if the ones initially assigned to a task fail him.
  • Can't Catch Up: Liko starts to fall behind Roy in ability as the series goes on, coming to a head in episode 20 where she loses to him in a competition and Kabu ends up focusing on him in their battle, though he still imparts some wise words of wisdom to her that she's trying too hard to make others happy, stunting her growth.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Each of the show's new characters are quite different from the ones previously featured on the series.
    • As the main replacement for Ash, Liko starts out the series as a naive rookie like he did, but she's notably a brilliant but shy girl looking for friends instead of the more air-headed yet sociable Ash. Her tutelage with the Rising Volt Tacklers allows her to learn from her mistakes a bit more quickly than Ash, who took years to stop letting his ego drive his battling and actually start training up his team, though she notably doesn't have the same goal To Be a Master as he does.
    • Roy is a bit more like Ash in that he isn't quite as knowledgeable as he'd like to be, but that's more to Roy being raised on an island with not as many Pokémon, while Ash is Book Dumb and retains his knowledge from experience. Roy is more explicitly wanting to challenge the Pokémon from the ancient legends, rather than partake on the competitive scene like Ash.
    • Professor Friede is the show's mentor figure and an established Pokémon Professor like Oak, but he's more involved and a fair-bit younger than Oak, not being quite as vested in his research. This becomes more evident in Episode 18 where it's revealed being a traditional Professor absolutely broke Friede and nearly drove him to stop researching, whereas Oak loved his job quite tremendously.
    • The other Rising Volt Tacklers are like the series previous adults (i.e. Cynthia, Kukui) who check in on the kids and help monitor their progress, though Orla, Murdock, Mollie, and Ludlow are much more involved in their training and care instead of being somewhat hands off. This is especially true regarding their last member, Dot, who's the same age as Liko and Roy, but a lot more socially awkward and not wanting to interact with her peers.
    • Even the Pokémon themselves are a lot different compared to their predecessors. Sprigatito is a disobedient starter who eventually grows to like its owner like Pikachu, although it was more aloof instead of just being an outright snot like the electric mouse, while Fuecoco and Quaxly were Pokémon under the care of the Rising Volt Tacklers, unlike the other previous Fire and Water Starters. Captain Pikachu, the replacement for Ash's, is a Badbutt with a desire to fly and acts more like a tough guy, whereas Ash's is more of an eager battle with a softer side off the field.
  • Cool Airship: A massive airship, named the "Brave Olivine", is the main form of transportation for Professor Friede and his crew. Apparently it was turned into an airship from a fishing boat.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • Kabu the Motostoke Gym leader is wise and capable, imparting good wisdom to Liko in episode 20.
    • Liko's grandmother Diana also certainly qualifies, implicitly intimidating the second highest ranking of the Explorers and having gone on many adventures before the series began
    • Ludlow is played this way to provide sage advice towards helping Liko. And then it turns out he's a superhero!
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In Episode 43 Liko and Roy get ambushed by Sidian and Coral, who demonstrate that without Friede, the kids are still pretty much powerless and only get saved by Sidian getting a "more important" phone call.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Liko's energetic roommate, Ann, has these and she's one of the most adorable and friendly characters in the show. It also gives her an Uncatty Resemblance to her partner Pokémon, Oshawott.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: When the Rising Volt Tacklers arrive in Paldea, the school at Mesagoza is called Naranja Academy, not Uva Academy.
  • Darker and Edgier: Downplayed. The series still maintains a relatively lighthearted tone like it did during Ash's tenure, but it depicts a more hostile and uncaring world that the characters live in as opposed to the Sugar Bowl that previous series depicted it as.
    • The latter stretch of the Ash saga usually depicted conflict as coming from a misunderstanding with no sides actually being evil, however, The Explorers are traditional villians whose motives stem from greed and other unholy motives. They are far more serious and threatening than the bumbling goofballs in Team Rocket, especially Spinel. To show how evil the Explorers are, one of the new villains, Coral, is outright excited at the prospect of using Explosion to knock out and capture her targets, and indeed tries to outright harm Friede and Pikachu with it in episode 25, which was something previous antagonists considered too far even for them, and she's probably not as bad as Spinel. Even the independent criminals are darker in this series, as in the past, they often had some sort of Freudian Excuse that made them somewhat sympathetic while they're usually just dirtbags here.
    • The two immediate predecessors, and Pokémon Journeys: The Series depicted wild Pokemon as very friendly and helpful, and the protagonists could always quickly team up with them if needed. Horizons depicts them as more aloof and often hostile, and the characters often have to fight or outright run away from them, a far cry from before. Notably, at one point, the series depicts a band of Pokemon that act as pirates who steal from ships, and while the characters make peace with them, the series never actually tries to justify them, with Above Good and Evil being the most a character offers as possible vindication.
    • In Episode 37, the excavation workers would have "exterminated" Desert Crocs for being a threat to the equipment, if Liko and Roy haven't figured out the problem. While the franchise emphasizes living in the harmony with Pokemon, this episode implies that to some regular people they are just wild animals.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Friede's Charizard can Terastallize into a Dark Type, and it certainly looks menacing, but it's firmly a good guy.
    • Galarian Moltres is a fierce Pokémon whom everyone else is afraid of, and it can suck the life out of its enemies to make them lose the will to fight, but it was once one of the heroes of legend under Lucius.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Like in the previous series, none of the Pokémon are given nicknames, with the slight exception of Captain Pikachu (and even then he's usually called "Cap" for short).
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Dot's storyline is the character slowly being removed from self-isolation in order to experience the tide-and-true bonds of friendship and the wonders it has to offer.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The ending theme for the first part of Horizons is done by Liko and Roy, with one of the Rising Volt Tacklers joining them each week.
  • Dragon Rider: Professor Friede owns the dragon-like Charizard as one of his partners, and flies in on it to save Liko from The Explorers.
  • Dub Name Change: Averted for the first time in the anime; the majority of the characters either keep their Japanese names or have Barely Changed Dub Names. Played Straight for the Rising Volt Tackler's ship, which goes from the Brave Asagi in Japanese to the Brave Olivine in English.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Shiny Rayquaza and the Pokémon inside Liko's Pendant, the Normal Form of Terapagos, both appeared in this series before Pokémon Scarlet and Violet made them obtainable with a Pokémon Home compatibility update and the release of The Hidden Treasures of Area Zero DLC respectively.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • For all his willingness to put Liko in harm's way, Amethio refuses to use Sprigatito as a bargaining chip, and tries making Liko come with him willingly.
    • Most of the Explorers can't stand Coral's Blood Knight tendencies, as she's far too crazy and unpredictable. One such case saw her use Self-Destruct while her teammates were still in the vicinity.
  • Evolving Credits:
    • Starting in Episode 7, the opening adds the shiny Rayquaza to the scene of Roy looking up at the sky in wonder.
    • Episode 9 has Dot joining on the end group shot of the Rising Volt Tacklers, and she later starts appearing in the final shot of the credits starting from Episode 16 as she goes through significant Character Development within that episode.
    • Episode 17 shows an evolved preview for the next episode at the end. Before that, it is always Nidothing doing the preview but since Liko and Roy now know it is Dot, they apparently will now sometimes try to do it themselves from her room, although she catches them at the end and says the 'Next time' part by herself, though she allows them both to ask the viewer to watch it with her.
  • Experienced Protagonist: The Rising Volt Tacklers have clearly been on many adventures before Liko and Roy join up with them, and are aware of who the Explorers are where Liko and Roy seem to be otherwise unaware.
  • Feud Episode: Episode 17 is centered on a feud between Roy's Fuecoco and Wattrel, with Roy trying to play peacekeeper between them.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the second episode, Murdock warns Friede to not do anything crazy because they have children on board. Children as in plural, when Roy had not been introduced yet. We'd be made aware of Murdock's niece, Dot, several episodes later.
    • In Episode 51, one of the wild Pokémon Roy encounters while at the riverbank is a Kilowattrel, which has his Wattrel flapping its wings in imitation of it. Guess what happens to Wattrel the next episode.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • It's mentioned in the Pokédex entry for Galarian Moltres that it drains the will of its opponents to make them unable to resist it. Such a Moltres appears, and it does just that to the heroes, taking almost every effort to snap themselves out of it.
    • In Scarlet and Violet, the Galarian Moltres doesn't have a Dex entry because it's a transfer-only Pokémon. When Liko tries to scan it with her Rotom Dex, it can't find any information on it.
    • In episode 31, when an Ambipom and Toedscruel appear on the Brave Olivine in a sea off of the coast of Galar, Friede notes that those two Pokémon aren't found in Galar. Both are not playable in Galar in the games, as Ambipom isn't just omitted from the Galar Pokedex, but isn't even coded into Pokémon Sword and Shield, and Toedscruel debuted in the generation after them.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The Rising Volt Tacklers, with the addition of Liko and Roy to their ranks, have four guys (Friede, Murdock, Ludlow, and Roy) and four girls (Liko, Orla, Mollie, and Dot).
  • Hereditary Hairstyle: Downplayed as their actual hairstyles are quite varied, but Liko's family going up her mother's side all have a very prominent spike of hair jutting out of the backs of their heads. It also adds to the Ambiguously Related status of ancient hero Lucius to their family, as alongside various other aspects he shares the back-spike.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The first human character from the old series to be featured in this one is Nurse Joy, who have the same jobs and roles as before.
  • Internal Deconstruction:
    • While previous series have made being a Pokémon Professor a rather glamorous job (with Professor Oak notably being revered for his research and enjoying it quite tremendously), Episode 18 reveals that Professor Friede found the job absolutely soul crushing, and actually quit being a Professor because he spent all day cooped up in a lab — the results of which completely burnt him out and left him unwilling to pursue any further research until he met Captain Pikachu.
    • In past series, Ash and friends demonstrating a complete willingness to help total strangers they just met was always played as a good thing, helping to cement them as heroes and rarely biting them in the rear. But when the key factor of them still focusing on their own personal goals while doing so is taken away, the results aren't so pretty; Liko finds herself bending over backwards to make others happy that it's stunting her growth as a Pokémon Trainer, which displeases her Sprigatito when she forfeits a match to Wakaba, while also displeasing Wakaba, who wanted to win by her own merit.
    • Roy himself is a similar Deconstruction to someone with Ash's Blood Knight tendencies, but lacking any of Ash's raw talent. For all that Ash struggled in Kanto, at least he had some skill that barely got him by until he picked up the slack and turned himself into a man worthy of becoming World Champion. Roy, sadly, lacks any ability as a trainer, and failed to win a single battle of his own merit until his rematch against Brassius.
    • Team Rocket infamous wore so many Paper Thin Disguises that Ash and his friends fell for every single time despite the fact they should have known better than to fall for something so obvious after so long. The Explorers infiltrate Naranja Academy, but the kids aren't fooled by how obvious they stick out; they choose not to take action against them though because unlike Team Rocket, the Explorers are considerably more dangerous and cunning.
  • Internal Reveal: The cast learns about the true name of Terapagos in Episode 24, while the audience had already known what it was for several months.
  • I Shall Taunt You: In episode 39, a wild Orthaworm steals a hammer from a Tinkatink that Dot befriends. When they battle it, it tries to mostly stick underground, only popping up to attack, or flaunting that it has the hammer to Dot, Quaxly, and Tinkatink.
  • The Juggernaut: The Shiny Rayquaza has been dominant every time it appears to the point where it hardly could be considered a fight when someone tries to battle it. Even Amethio's Pokemon couldn't put a dent in it after several weeks of training in episode 33. Roy is brought to tears upon realizing he still has a long way to go before even thinking of challenging it after similarly being ineffective.
  • Legacy Character:
    • Professor Friede has both Pikachu and Charizard as his main partners, just like Ash before him.
    • A few other Pokémon that are aboard the ship are similar species to some Ash had as well, such as a Snorunt, a regular Noctowl, and an Alolan Muk.
    • One of Lucius' six ancient Pokémon is a Lapras not unlike the one Ash owned, though the big difference is this Lapras is massive.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Liko and Roy, like Ash and his friends beforehand, don't usually wear any other outfit besides their usual ensemble.
  • MacGuffin: Liko has her pendant given to her by her grandmother that also contains a Pokémon later revealed outside the series as Terapagos in its Normal Form while Roy has his mysterious Poké Ball that housed a shiny Rayquaza. The Explorers are currently in pursuit of Liko's pendant in particular.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: From Episode 45, after repeated failures by Explorers, Gibeon figures since Rising Volt Tacklers have the same goal as them anyway, to stop attacking them and await for the right moment to snatch everything they need.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Liko's hair clip looks conspicuously like the emblem on Ash's hat from the Indigo League saga.
    • Roy's mysterious Poké Ball harkens back to the GS Ball, the very same Poké Ball that Ash carried with him throughout the Orange Islands and the Johto journey up to Azalea Town before it was dropped off at Kurt's and never mentioned again.
    • Nidothing's overview of Pokémon Centers shows not just Chansey and Blissey, but the regional exclusive helper mons of other regions such as Audino, Wigglytuff, Comfey, and Indeedee in the later seasons of the Ash-led anime.
    • Quaxly's English voice sounds a lot like Donald Duck, similar to Ash's Totodile.
    • Each time a gym leader has shown up, the characters have ended up doing something similar to their qualifying trials in the games:
      • When Brassius was dealing with artist block, they played Sunflora hide-and-seek to cheer him up.
      • A variant on "Where in Levincia is Mr. Walksabout" was co-hosted by Dot and Iono with an amnesiac Liko replacing Director Clavell.
      • Kabu had them do a variant of the catching trial in the Motostoke gym, but instead of catching Pokemon, they had to put out/ignite the flames on the Litwicks' heads.
    • A flashback in Episode 18 shows Larry eating at the Treasure Eatery, where the players in the games can meet him for the first time.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • While she hasn't admitted it yet and is seemingly proud of her minimalistic pill-based diet, Dot enjoys all the sweets that are made for her, eventually eating them when no-one is looking.
    • While the adults on the Brave Olivine seem to be mature and aren't too nosy, they all want to see how the feud in episode 17 play out.
  • Olympus Mons: One of the many mysteries in the anime is the appearance of a black Rayquaza. It was originally housed within Roy's ancient Poké Ball but flew off after getting out in the sixth Episode. There's also the Normal Form of Terapagos hiding in Liko's pendant, with how it got there and why it's hiding being another central mystery, as well as a Galarian Moltres and an Entei that were once owned by Lucius.
  • Origins Episode: Episode 18 is dedicated to showing Friede's backstory and how he first met Captain Pikachu.
  • Pokémon Speak: Just like before, the anime features numerous different species of Pokémon communicating by just saying their name.
  • Practically Joker: Spinel, one of the admins in The Explorers, is the closest analogy to the infamous clown prince of crime as the Pokémon franchise will get. He has a shade of green hair not unlike Mr. J, his organization's main uniforms are a shade of purple (Joker's signature colors), he's The Sociopath who takes pleasure in condescendingly mocking his peers and reveling in his evil schemes, is a master of unpredictable tactics, and he Would Hurt a Child, which he horrifically demonstrates by brainwashing Liko into thinking she has amnesia so he can steal her pendant. When he's pulled off the job after the pendant is reclaimed, he's shown to have a secret agenda all to his own, not unlike Joker during his team ups with other DC villains.
  • Public Secret Message: In episode 15, when Liko is missing, and the Rising Volt Tacklers have to find her without revealing info about the pendant, Nidothing enlists the help of Iono the two create a game that poses Liko as just a fan selected for a hide and seek game played by all the fans in Levincia, allowing the Rising Volt Tacklers to locate her without needing to give out any information. Not even her name, because they used Liko's username.
  • The Quest: The premise of the series is Liko, Roy and the Rising Volt Tacklers partaking on a quest to uncover the secrets of Liko's mysterious pendant and how it connects to the legend of Lucius and his Pokémon team.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Rising Volt Tacklers consists of two socially awkward children, a socially awkward shut-in who masquerades as a social media influencer, an eccentric, forgetful professor, an energetic engineer, an emotionally troubled Gentle Giant chef, a stoic but affable medic, and an enigmatic Cool Old Guy fisherman who owns the airship the group sails on.
  • The Reveal: Episode 18 reveals that Professor Friede was once a student of Liko's mother, Lucca, and became a Pokémon Professor before he quit due to be cooped up in a lab all day, taking a break before meeting Captain Pikachu reignited his passion and led him to found the Rising Volt Tacklers.
  • Running Gag:
    • The first three episodes have Friede blurt out something that he should have told Liko before, with one of the Rising Volt Tacklers exasperated that he forgot to tell her about it. Friede then brings up something else by "putting it aside". This comes up again when Friede forgot to mention to the rest of the group about his run-in with the Magneton in Levincia that had been disrupting the airship's electronics and that it was being directed by an unseen person remotely. He gets called out on his forgetfulness in Episode 15 when Liko goes missing.
    • Liko keeps missing that Dot is Nidothing, even when the evidence is right in front of her. This eventually stops in Episode 16, where Dot finally confesses the truth to her.
  • Sequence Breaking: Implied in episode 25. Diana gives Liko a notebook that reveals the rest of Lucius's Pokemon are Lapras, Kleavor, and Entei. Given that Liko's mother Lucca made sure to direct The Rising Volt Tacklers to Diana, it seems that Diana originally assumed Liko would need that notebook to even know of the existence of the Six Heroes, but Liko had ended up already meeting half of them (and possessing two) by the time they got to Diana's castle, since Roy had one of them and chasing that led them to two others.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Averted. Unlike the previous series where Ash himself and most of his friends didn't attend a school on a regular basis apart from Sun and Moon, Liko and Roy attend online classes via their Rotom phones. Liko is still enrolled at the Indigo Academy while Roy previously lived on a remote island that was too small to have its own school. Played Straight by episode 46 when Liko, Roy, and Dot enroll in Naraja academy in order to learn more about Terastallization while the "Brave Olivine" is still being repaired after the crew's rematch with the shiny Rayquaza.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Quaxly's voice in the English dub sounds like Donald Duck.
    • Ludlow being the superhero "The Mighty G" borrows heavily from All-Might, the Big Good of the My Hero Academia universe. Much like his inspiration, Ludlow has an impressive physique in superhero form, is drawn heavily in shadows, and can only maintain this form for only a few minutes.
  • Soft Reboot: After spending 25 years focusing on Ash and his friends, Horizons focuses on a new cast that may or may not be in the same universe, but nevertheless continues to focus on the joys and dangers found in the Pokémon world.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Zigzagged, mostly thanks to the Explorers. While Liko and Roy can deal with grunts Zirc and Onia just fine, admins are clearly way above their level, and unlike previous villainous teams, they don't wait to show up. Friede is the only one among the Rising Volt Tacklers that can handle them in a one-on-one match, but he isn't always present to help. It's telling that the children need to face Spinel 3-on-1 to have a balanced match, and even then, they still end up on the losing side before the battle is interrupted. The ancient Pokémon are similarly too strong to be defeated in battle, with victory against them being calming them down and befriending them. Having said that, the Explorers aren't present in every episode, and when they aren't around, Liko and Roy are given opponents closer to their own level, like wild Pokémon and other trainers.
  • Student–Master Team: While they aren't technically this, because of the show's format, The Rising Volt Tacklers seem like this a lot of the time from a viewer's perspective, with Liko and Roy joined by one or two of the adults wherever they go, who often try to impart some sort of wisdom to them, albeit often indirectly.
    • Kabu the Motostoke Gym leader has a kid apprentice, Wakaba.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: In episode 37, the main characters encounter a family of Sandile and Krokorok led by a Mama Bear Krookodile, who has eyelashes to indicate that she's female.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: The 3rd chapter of the series, "Terastal Debut", is centered around Liko, Roy, and Dot learning and mastering the power of Terastalization, which will have them facing the Gym Leaders of Paldea as a test of their mastery.
  • That's No Moon: In episode 11, while exploring a forest, Liko and Roy agree to meet up at a giant tree if they get lost. Said "tree" later turns out to be an enormous Arboliva.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The series is the same in tone as previous Pokémon entires, but The Explorers are a lot more serious and hell-bent on stealing Liko's pendant to a more dire extent than the Team Rocket trio's efforts to steal Ash's Pikachu ever were. And then when Spinel is introduced, he proves to be even viler than his teammates, being a Joker-esque sociopath who brainwashed Liko.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • Deconstructed. Liko is very eager to please the adults in her life, but constantly ensuring they and everyone else are happy starts to make her overly passive and stunts her growth despite having a ton of untapped potential.
    • Amethio is desparate to prove himself to his grandfather, Gibeon, as the heir-apparent to the Explorers. Apparently his father was this until he failed Gibeon, and Amethio is hell-bent not to make the same mistake.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 45 has the characters confront Rayquaza after getting several legitimate upgrades, and we see Friede's Charizard and Amethio's Ceruledge do real damage to it for the first time with Terastallization. Liko's Sprigatito even evolves. Unfortunetly, all of that still isn't enough to take Rayquaza down. And then it's revealed that the Brave Olivine is out of commission due to damage it sustained in the previous episode from Rayquaza's Draco Meteor. Friede decides to enroll Liko, Roy, and Dot at Naranja Academy to train to be able to Terastallize their own Pokemon, causing a Genre Shift for the next season where the kids stay in Paldea long-term and go on adventures related to the Terastallization course without the adults that had been with them up until then.
  • Wham Shot: After the Ancient Poké Ball was marketed as being Roy's one-of-a-kind MacGuffin like Liko's pendant, Episode 9 reveals the existence of another one on a giant Arboliva. As it turns out, there are at least 6 of them.
Pokémon Horizons: The Series (2024)
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