|Tagline||Ash is battling Cynthia to finally become a Master, but something has destabilized the Pokemon World...|
|Posted At||Fanfiction.net, BMGf, Serebii Forums|
|Began||Chapter One published September 6th, 2007 (FF.net)|
|Finished||September 5th, 2008 (FF.net)|
|Number of Chapters||41 + Epilogue|
|Genre(s)||Action, Adventure, Friendship, Romance|
|Preceded By:||Road to the Championship (prequel)|
|Followed By:||None (sequel planned)|
|Point of View||3rd|
Final Challenge is the first fanfiction written by Matkin22, and was regularily updated on Fanfiction.net. It brings an end to Ash Ketchum's journey as a Pokemon trainer. It has received almost unanimously positive reviews. The story is a length of 41 chapters (not including the epilogue), and was completed on September 5th, 2008 - one year to the day after the story began.
The author has always loved literature, and has written several short stories and one novel (all unpublished). He was drawn into the world of fanfiction in August of 2007, reading PKM Rangers, May's Crush, and May's Crush: Final Frontier. Realizing that he possessed a similar talent for writing as the authors of these acclaimed works, the author decided to begin his own fanfiction. Within hours of this decision, the basic plot was formed.
Final Challenge takes place approximately ten years after Ash began his journey as a Pokemon trainer. For this to occur, the author decided to act as though the Pokemon anime did not take place within a floating timeline. Through editing this Wiki, the author has revealed the following timeframe for the events preceeding the bulk of this story.
- Kanto: 1 year, 3 months
- Orange Islands: 6 months
- Johto: 2 years
- Hoenn: 1 year, 6 months
- Battle Frontier: 6 months
- Sinnoh: 1 year, 6 months
- Training: 9 months
- Elite Four Challenge: 2 years
Given the above timeframe, the characters are assumed to be of the following ages:
- Ash: 20
- Brock: 24
- May: 17
- Max: 14
- Dawn: 15
- Rey: 20
List of characters
Final Challenge contains a wide cast of characters; some appear for only a few chapters, others for the duration of the story. Most are characters taken from the Pokemon anime, although there is one original character. Each of these characters also has multiple Pokemon. For the sake of length, only the characters - and not their Pokemon - are listed here.
All characters are listed in alphabetical order.
- Ash, Bashou, Brock, Brandon, Buson, Butch, Damian, Drew, Forrest, Gary, Giovanni, Harley, James, King of Pokelantis, Kurt, Lt. Surge, Max, Namba, Noland, Norman, Paul, Professor Oak, Ritchie, Sebastian, Silver, Tracey, Tucker, Tyson
- Anabel, Brianna, Caroline, Cassidy, Clair, Cynthia, Dawn, Delia, Greta, Hunter J, Jessie, Latias, Liza, Lucy, May, Misty, Nurse Joy, Rey
- Ho-Oh, Lugia, Meowth, Mewtwo, Pikachu, Wobbuffet
Main article: Plot of Final Challenge
The plot of Final Challenge is exceedingly complex, and intricately woven.
Ash is getting ready for the most important Pokemon battle of his life. He won the Sinnoh League two years and undertook the Elite Four challenge afterwards, defeating one of the most powerful trainers from each region. He has also attained the rank of Frontier Brain following Spenser's retirement and is in charge of the new Battle Frontier facility known as the Battle Colosseum. Now he will battle Cynthia to obtain the rank of Champion, a match that will be televised globally. He is disappointed when he learns May will be unable to attend due to her being stranded in Cianwood City because of a hurricane. However he is overjoyed when she arrives unexpectedly on the back of his old Pidgeot, along with Charizard and Latias.
He gets off to a good start in the match, but just past the halfway point a Rayquaza shows up unexpectedly and demolishes the Colosseum, blasting off Team Rocket and Wobbuffet in four separate directions in the process. As the crowd evacuates Ash gets worried about his Pokemon inside the facility and rushes off to find them, unaware that the Rayquaza's attack has set off a fire. He is saved by Gary and Tucker, but horrifed when he discovers that the same Rayquaza also destroyed Professor Oak's laboratory, almost killing Tracey in the process.
At Ash's home in Pallet Town they discuss the sudden attack, and Professor Oak deduces that the Rayquaza was infected with the disease known as the Pokerus. At that moment Latias collapses, and it is revealed that she has also been infected. Ash is the only one able to calm her down, and so he takes careof her for the rest of the day with the aid of Professor Oak, Brock, and May.
Meanwhile, Butch and Cassidy are ordered to track down Jessie, James, and Meowth; due to their exorbitant spending practices, they are ordered to kill the trio. James gains consciousness in a tree and is attacked by a pair of Fearow. The Fearow are driven off by Paul and his Electivire, but James gets knocked out of the tree along with a baby Fearow. He saves and captures the Fearow, and Paul tricks him into going to Team Rocket HQ with him. A badly hurt Meowth is found by Ritchie and his disobediant Tyranitar, Cruz, although Ritchie manages to convince his Pokemon to take Meowth to the Pokemon Centre after capturing him in a Poke Ball. Jessie gains consciousness in a bush and is found by Drew; the two decide to travel together temporarily.
After 24 hours, Latias has recovered from the effects of the Pokerus and Ash decides to travel across the region for one last time. He is joined by May, Brock, Dawn, and Latias after having a long overdue match against Max. On the way to Viridian City they are attacked by Drew and Jessie. Drew tries to kidnap May and she is saved when Ash's childhood friend, Rey, appears. Jessie is blasted off in he battle.
Having been betrayed by Paul, James is captured by Giovanni and a horde of Grunts. He is thrown into a holding cell and encounters an enraged Silver. He is saved from certain violence when Paul intervenes and subdues Silver with his Electivire. Paul - who is revealed to be a member of Team Rocket and Giovanni's son - has been ordered to go to Hoenn and capture a Celebi with a Dark Ball. He elects to take James with him, promising him freedom in return, but neglects to lock Silver's cage door, enabling him to escape.
Ash and co. encounter Noland on the way to Viridian City; with his aid and the help of the other Frontier Brains, they sneak the group into the city in order to avoid the massive press coverage following the destruction of the Battle Colosseum. On the way, Anabel explains the histroy of the Cyas Wars to the group. Having reached the Pokemon Centre, the group are stunned to see both Ritchie and Nurse Joy being attacked by Ritchie's Tyranitar. Ash defeats the Pokemon with his Sceptile on route to a makeshift press conference to explain with Cynthia what the plans regarding a rematch are. In Hoenn, Paul and James are searching for Celebi, but instead of finding the legendary Pokemon James is reunited with his Wheezing. They then discover a large stone - the Insect Plate - and James decides to take it with him. Ash decides to travel to Vermillion City, and Paul finally manages to capture Celebi. Ash and May then realize their mutual attraction and share a kiss.
In a flashback to 400 years ago, the King of Pokelantis orders Ho-Oh to be found and captured. He then terrorizes his Smith, who has just returned from the city of Pokemopolis. The Smith reveals that he gleaned information on a way to trap Pokemon inside objects, citing the Smith of Pokemopolis who did so with his Haunter. Returning to Pokelantis he crafted similar devices out of rocks; the first Poke Balls. The King tests one of the objects on a Claydol, which he then sends as a gift to his brother in Hoenn.
There are plot elements introduced at various stages in Final Challenge which, for varying reasons, were left unresolved or forgotten. The most prominant of these is the baby Fearow captured by James. While the scenario detailed in the book is impossible according to both game and anime mechanics, the author intended to develop it as belonging to a very rare subspecies of Pokemon; the Pygmy. This plot point would later be included in the sequel.
Originally the author intended to introduce Pokemon species of his own creation, as evidenced in the author note at the end of the first chapter on Fanfiction.net. This idea was later scrapped, although a new region named Frayen was referenced several times throughout the earlier chapters.
A shipping fan, the author decided to incorporate his favourite ships into the story, although the main plot would focus on the end of Ash Ketchum's journey. The primary shipping in the story was AdvanceShipping, but the story also contained minor elements of AbilityShipping, AltoShipping, and ContestShipping.
At various points within the story VineShipping and LagomorphShipping were intended to be included, but due to plot restrictions they were left out.
Through Final Challenge the author created and introduced PewterPearlShipping (the pairing of Dawn and Brock's brother, Forrest) into the mainstream.
Reviews of Final Challenge on Fanfiction.net, BMGf, and SPPf have been almost unanimously positive despite mixed opinions regarding the conclusion. Many readers felt that ending the story with Ash's death was an incredible twist whilst others believed that, when taking into account the deaths of Delia and Professor Oak in the epilogue, it made the conclusion too depressing. There was also backlash on the abrupt ending of the story, with the fates of Giovanni, the legendary Pokemon, Team Rocket being left up in the air, although the author has promised that those particular plot points would be resolved in the eventual sequel.
In the author's final author note, he revealed that his goal throughout the writing process had been to create a story that would surpass two well-known AdvanceShipping stories, May's Crush and PKM Rangers: Rise of the Dark Gems. Comparisons to these two stories were favourable, with several people stating that Final Challenge was on par with both of them, despite belief that it belonged in a different genre.
The following is a sample of reviews submitted for the final chapters of Final Challenge, explaining reader's opinions on the story as a whole.
All I have to say to this is that this cannot be compared to either May's Crush or Dark Gems, it deserves a class of its own. You have single handedly created an epic that is far different from those two. The ending has exceeded all of my expectations for this...I'm basically speachless, and with the amount of reviews that I've done and stories that I have read this is a first. The small turn at the end was what made this go like that...this is in serious consideration of being my favorite fic. - LuciferIX
What a sad beautiful ending - Aipom4
The end...the ending of it...god, I'm actually about to cry...This chapter, is one of the best chapters that I have ever seen written out of all of the stories that I have read, including the completed ones...It's sad that this story is finished, but, anyways...this story will be one of the few that I will never forget. - mwc01
As LuciferIX said, your story can't be compared to May's Crush or Dark Gems. It's a different type of genre, and your story is my favorite by far in that genre...in the same way May's Crush and Dark Gems inspired you, your story first inspired me nearly ten months ago with the idea that I am now making into a story. - Amphlosion
The ending really had me, I almost started to cry, and great words of wisdom from the Author of what could be the greatest Poke Story Ever... - timoteyo7
You should seriously think about writing novels of your own. I'm sure they could easily be better than Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, and Pendragon combined. I think you are probably the best author...You're definitely going on the top of my top five favorite authors list. - ReaderADV
That...that was friggin intense. Amazing job. This should be the last Pokemon movie, seriously. Whenever they end the series this is how they should do it. - Thrushflight
I hate you for making it so depressing... - JbstormburstADV
The way you ended it was EPIC. Depressing, yes, but EPIC. - MagmarFire
These last chapters are your best yet, and I'd have to say that overall, the story was better than most published books I've read. - BlazikenEX
Awesome story. But I kind of disliked the ending. - dragonite24
This was quite possibly the best use of 'Ash's father is a pokemon!' that I've seen ^^. It was cliche and yet somehow new at the same time... - Emerald_Dragonite
Why, why did you have to go for the self sacrificing and sad end. Its well writtin, it was intersting right up to then end...BUT WHY!!!! - Caeser
Portions of chapters one and four, involving May's sudden appearance at Ash's match against Cynthia, were plagiarized by another author for their fanfiction, Pokemon: Final Frontier. After over a month of heated discussion, a mediated discussion involving two administrative members of BMGf resolved the conflict peaceably, and the plagiarized piece was modified so that the plagiarism was no longer present and the plot of the story was not affected.
- Although the numerous shippings are listed in the story's description on Fanfiction.net, there is very little shipping involved with the main plot. The author has described it as being "a shipping story without the shipping."
- With the exception of the final two chapters - which are considered to be a two-part chapter - the title of every chapter is only one word in length.
- The author periodically inserted several U2 lyrics and references into the text.