Ash-greninja is Back, and Here’s Why It’s Ash’s Favourite Pokémon!

In celebration of the 100th episode of Pokemon Journeys, a new opening title sequence was aired, hinting at a number of upcoming narrative lines and Pokemon that will appear in the series’ likely final stretch. Ash’s Greninja, a fan-favourite Pokemon that hasn’t been seen in the anime for nearly six years, is one of the Pokemon included in this fresh introduction. Greninja is only seen for a second, so it’s impossible to guess what part it will play, but knowing that Ash’s Greninja will make a return is reason enough to get excited.

When Ash initially arrived in the Kalos region, the first Pokemon he captured was a Greninja. While Ash and Team Rocket is fighting, Froakie jumps in between Wobbuffet and Pikachu to shield the latter from harm. When Ash takes his hurt Froakie to Professor Sycamore’s lab, he finds out that its trainer dumped it since it wouldn’t perform what he wanted it to do. It turns out the Froakie has been through a number of trainers, all of whom it has disliked. Ash and Froakie became inseparable for the next 138 episodes after they had another argument and Froakie decided to let Ash be its new trainer.

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It took some time for Froakie to realise its full potential, as it did for most of Ash’s Pokemon. The Sylveon of Penelope, the Frogadier of Sanpei, and the Hawlucha of Ash, who would eventually become its best buddy, all gave it a rough start. After suffering a defeat at the hands of Grant’s Tyrunt in the Cyllage Gym, it finally evolved into Frogadier in a rematch against Sanpei.

Frogadier quickly rose to prominence as one of Ash’s most effective combatants after that. It was largely responsible for Ash’s success at the Courmarine Gym, where he earned the Plant Badge, at the Anistar Gym, where he overcame Olympia’s Meowstic, and at the Anistar Desert, where he earned the Psychic Badge from having used Grovyle to overcome Sawyer’s Treecko.

Before Ash and his pals faced the Ninja Army in A Festival of Decisions, Frogadier had a nearly perfect record. Heidayu’s Bisharp destroyed Ash’s squad the first time, but in the rematch, Frogadier once again sacrificed itself to protect Pikachu by evolving into Greninja. A few seconds later, it changed into a brand-new, mysterious form that shared Ash’s outfit’s colour palette. Even now, this temporary form of Ash’s Greninja is the most extraordinary event in all of Pokemon lore.

As seen in the games, Ash’s relationship with Greninja is a Bond Phenomenon or Battle Bond. At the peak of Ash and Greninja’s mutual trust, Greninja can briefly evolve into Ash-Greninja. While in this form, Ash may experience the world like Greninja does, including its suffering as it is attacked. While the link is in effect, Greninja’s strength is increased as well.


There has never been any other Pokemon with this peculiar trait uncovered. Not only is it a Greninja-exclusive feature, but it’s unique to this particular Greninja. There has only ever been one Pokemon with the ability to Battle Bond, and that Pokemon was Ash’s Greninja.

Why It’s Ash’s Favourite Pokémon?

It stands to reason that as the X and Y series progressed, Ash’s connection to Greninja deepened and the Pokémon’s strength increased. Ash has been successful with Ash-Greninja throughout the Kalos area, losing only when the two of them became too exhausted to continue. With time and practice, they were able to perfect the form and use it to advance to the Lumiose Conference finals, where they faced up against the series’ last enemy, Lysandre and his Zygarde-like Giant Rock. Parts of the Giant Rock survived, so Greninja abandoned Ash to aid the genuine Zygarde in tracking it down and destroying it. Since then, we haven’t seen Ash’s Greninja, but he’s probably still in Kalos with Squishy and Z2.

Ash-Greninja stands out among all other Pokemon as the most recognisable character in the franchise due to its distinctive design. It was featured in the Sun & Moon demo and has its own Black Star promo card in the Pokemon Trading Card Game. The reappearance of Greninja to the anime and Ash’s subsequent meeting with it will surely be a watershed moment in the series canon. It will be awesome to have Ash’s former ninja partner, Greninja, back on Team Ash, even if we never find out anything more about the Bond phenomena.

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