Rica Matsumoto, the veteran Japanese voice actor behind Ash Ketchum in the “Pokémon” anime, admitted she experienced difficulty completing the final recording session for the iconic character.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Matsumoto, 54, revealed she had to ask for a short break before she could finish the final recording for Ash — known as Satoshi in the Japanese version — in January, months before the character’s last episode aired.
In her post description in Japanese, the voice actor said she would “never forget the last recording session,” according to SoraNews24.
“It was on January 27. At the moment when I had to record Satoshi’s last line, ‘Once I say these words, it’ll be the end of me playing Satoshi,'” she said.
After the realization, Matsumoto said her “chest tightened” and she “could not speak,” which required her to ask for a short break from recording. She said after her break, she “put everything I had into Satoshi’s voice.”
Ash’s English dub voice actor, Sarah Natochenny, had already said her goodbyes to the character in a tweet in December 2022, writing that “No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he’ll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come.”
The final episode of “Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series” aired in Japan on Friday.
Matsumoto also revealed in her post that she has been “crying nonstop” after reading the messages fans had sent her after Ash’s 25-year-long journey ended.
“Life is all about looking for tears of happiness,” she wrote.
Thank you all so much, from the bottom of my heart. I am filled with gratitude for all of your thoughts. At the same time, I honestly still haven’t sorted out all of my own feelings [about the role ending]. I’m going to give myself time to work through them naturally, like the winter snow melting in the spring.
As for the future, Matsumoto said: “I’ll be happy if Satoshi can live on in everyone’s hearts. As a performer, I will put my heart and soul into continuing to do my best as a way of thanking you for the love you have shown me.”