By Amanda Steele
On Friday, October 4 at New York Comic Con, fans were treated to a Q&A with Veronica Taylor, who voiced Ash Ketchum and May in the Pokémon anime for more than eight seasons. The Q&A panel was to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series.
It was clear that people in the audience were very excited about this panel and had a lot of insightful and unique fan questions. Luckily, Taylor was also on their level as far as excitement, and she also brought her daughter with her. This was rather sweet, since she was pregnant with her daughter when she was doing the voice acting for the first season of Pokémon, and the two had an endearing relationship.
While there were many fan questions, there were a few highlights that are of particular interest. With Detective Pikachu released this year, and the continued popularity of Pokémon Go, Pokémon is still going strong since it first debuted in the US (in 1998).
Taylor was asked if she knew who Ash’s father was since this has still not been revealed in the series. She said, “I have no idea, honestly… But part of Ash not knowing who his dad is propels him. Part of who he is, is not knowing.” She also noted that the journey is about Ash finding his family, and how Pokémon fans are like his family in a way.
Next, she was asked one of the most important questions of all: what her favorite Pokémon is. Her answer will definitely please many fans, as it was Pikachu. She talked about how she spent so much time with Pikachu and how her daughter was born during the series, so she sees her daughter as her own Pikachu in a way.
Another fan wanted to know if she thought that Pokémon would be as a popular as it has been. She said, “No, no one anticipated it to last for 20 years… Ultimately, the story is real. It has real emotions. Being out on the road with friends is universal.”
One fan asked another pertinent question: What is her favorite episode?
Taylor replied, “The first episode is my favorite. It’s the most real… It makes me want to cry every time because of how real and wonderful Ash is.”
While many people might not realize that Pokémon fandom also has shipping and ship wars, there is a contingent of fans interested in this. One fan wanted to get Taylor’s take on Ash’s love life and who she thinks he would be with, Serena or Misty. Her answer was definitely a great one: “Ash, as a 10 year-old, is not a good person as a boyfriend for anyone at all. He only thinks about himself, his next meal, and winning a badge. He wouldn’t remember her birthday.”
While her answers to all of the questions were insightful and engaging, and it’s clear she loves the character of Ash, one of the best answers she gave was in a response to a fan who asked about what it means to be a Pokémon master.
Taylor responded with a rather thought-provoking and inspiring answer for all fans of the series: “All of us, no matter how old we are, we are on a path. We’re trainers constantly learning, trying out best, picking up people to help us along… Ash winning Pokémon league is not enough; he has to set a goal and continue on. It’s about trying to be the best, and you can’t be the best alone. No one is a Pokémon master but that’s a good thing. It’s all about improving our community and the world.”