It has recently been revealed that the late Takeshi Shudo, the head writer for the first three seasons of the Pokemon anime, had a surprising ending in mind for the series, Comic Bookreports. According to a recently translated blog post, Shudo planned for the ending of the series to depict Ash (Satoshi in the original Japanese version) as an old man and reveal that the adventures with Pokemon were all just his imagination and embellished memories. Then the old man would wander off into the woods on one final Pokemon adventure, which might very well be a metaphor for death.
Here's an excerpt from the translated blog entry:
Months and years having passed, Satoshi, who has become an old man, suddenly remembers the old days. It is an embellished memory of childhood. A fantasy…The imaginary creatures, Pokémon, and their adventure. Friendship. Coexistence. That is, in the real human world, something Satoshi could not possibly encounter. However, somewhere in childhood, surely Pikachu and the other Pokémon are there, Musashi (Jessie) and Kojiro (James) are there, Mewtwo is there…"
The blog post is translated here by Redditor NAveryw. This post was written in 2010, which is about a year before Shudo himself passed away. Shudo previously shared other surprising deas for the series on his blog, including one where Pikachu led a revolution, freed the Pokemon living in captivity and fought Ash.
This proposed ending is weirdly similar to the super dark and edgy theories floating around, like the one where Ash is in a coma and all his adventures are some sort of fever dream. It's not surprising it was rejected, considering that it's sort of depressing. Of course, one could argue it's also sort of depressing that Ash has turned into an eternal ten-year-old who can never grow old and die...
Still, why I can see how it could be written in a profound way, I'm generally not a big fan of fantasy series ending with "but actually it was a hallucination all along". It generally seems unnessecary and takes the magic out of the story. What about you? Would you have been okay with this ending?