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With Team Rocket retired, are these the Pokémon anime’s new villains?

They’re part of a mysterious group called ‘Explorers’

New Pokémon trainers Liko and Roy are taking over the Pokémon anime from Ash Ketchum, who starred in more than 1,200 episodes over the past 25 years. It makes sense that a new team of villains would take over, too — and it seems like The Pokémon Company waited until Team Rocket’s apparent retirement to introduce the new characters to fans.

The Pokémon Company introduced three new characters in a video published on the games’ Japanese YouTube channel. The Pokémon experts at Serebii said these characters — Amethyo, and Conia — are part of an organization called Explorers. It’s not explicit that these new characters are villains, but the YouTube clip introducing the group is accompanied by fairly menacing music.

A neon title screen for the Explorers group on the new Pokemon anime Image: The Pokémon Company

Amethyo’s Pokémon partner is Pokémon Scarlet and Violet newcomer Ceruledge, while Zir and Conia are paired up with Rhydon and Golduck, respectively. The YouTube video only gave a brief look at Zir and Conia, but Serebii’s published images from The Pokémon Company that showcase the two in further detail.

Beyond the Explorers, The Pokémon Company shared details on another new character called Gurumin, a streamer who wears a Nidoran suit. It’s very cute! These characters add to those The Pokémon Company shared in February: Professor Friede and Captain Pikachu.

Nidoran costume  from the new Pokémon anime Image: The Pokémon Company

Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series is the 25th and current season of the Pokémon animated series, and will bring Ash Ketchum and Pikachu’s adventures to a close later this year. After 25 years of training, adventuring, and meeting new friends, Ash achieved his dream of becoming the world’s best Pokémon trainer in an episode that aired in November. Ash defeated Leon in the Pokémon World Coronation Series, thus becoming the No. 1-ranked trainer in the show’s world.

English-language dubs of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series are streaming on Netflix.

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