Veronica Taylor, the original voice actor of Ash Ketchum in the Pokémon anime for eight seasons, held a Q&A panel at New York Comic Con today with her daughter, Rena. She answered any funny or outright bizarre question thrown her way about voice acting or her time in the Pokémon anime, and even for an extremely lapsed Pokémon fan like me, it ended up being a ridiculously entertaining time. Especially if you’ve ever really wondered what it means to become a Pokémon Master.
Taylor was extremely bubbly and cheerful, which I’m sure her fans are already intimately aware of but was new to me. She made even the most mundane topics into a great time. And as expected, approximately 400 different dudes thanked Taylor for shaping their childhoods before asking their questions. What was not expected at all, however, were some of the unique ways she answered questions.
Veronica Taylor on how one truly becomes a Pokémon Master
Players of the Pokémon games have often taken the idea of “Pokémon Master” to mean someone who collects all the Pokémon, but such a thing was never said outright in the anime. So when asked what it means to her personally, Taylor said, “I believe Pokémon Master is a level of spirituality,” and she explained that we all have a path in life, that we’re constantly learning, and that we’re always just trying our best. Thus, she concluded, becoming a Pokémon Master “would be the moment right before you die.” In effect, it’s the moment when you realize just how great and positive an effect you had on the world (… of Pokémon).
Though Taylor interrupted herself at one point to jokingly say, “Whoa, is it too early (in the day) for this?”
Favorite moments in the Pokémon anime and franchise
Taylor was asked the usual “favorite” questions, and she answered ’em all. Her favorite Pokémon is Pikachu, favorite Legendary is Ho-Oh, and favorite episode is the first episode. The first episode is her favorite because “It’s the most real — (Ash) waking up late and leaving his house late in his pajamas. … He gets stuck with a Pokémon he really doesn’t even think was possible.” It was an accurate reflection of how a kid behaves and how things don’t always go according to plan.
When asked about her favorite starter Pokémon, Taylor randomly selected Charmander, but she didn’t really seem to mean it; she likes them all.
Mixed impressions of Detective Pikachu, not excited for Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution
Of Detective Pikachu, Veronica Taylor said it was “scary and wonderful” seeing giant Pokémon walking around, though later on, she also said she wished there were “a better story” to the movie. You and me both, sister.
As for Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution, a film she has no involvement in, Taylor admitted that she doesn’t understand why they’re “revising” the original film with Evolution, and she doesn’t like “revisionist history” in general. (I think she’s referring to “retconning.”). She’s “not excited” for the movie in that sense.
The greatest accomplishment of Ash Ketchum, according to Veronica Taylor
No, Ash Ketchum’s greatest accomplishment isn’t winning any championship. Taylor spoke in the Ash voice to explain his true greatest accomplishment was “remembering to change my underwear every single day.” And then “Ash” added, “I would like to thank Brock for washing my underwear, ‘cause I didn’t go home often enough for my mom to do it.”
Veronica Taylor has not been asked back to voice anyone in the Pokémon anime, but she is always open to the possibility. Until that happens, let’s all try not to become “Pokémon Masters” too quickly. (You have so much to live for!)
Stay tuned for more insights and previews from New York Comic Con.