Convincing Pokémon Fan Animation Features May and Others in the Journeys Style

A lot of Ash’s old friends came back for Pokemon Journeys. Not just traveling companions, but also old rivals, Gym Leaders, and Champions have returned to the series for the first time in hundreds of episodes. For all of Ash’s friends who are in Journeys, however, some of them have unfortunately not been featured yet. This is where fan animation comes in handy.

Artist Lukas Thadeu took it upon himself to animate May and a few others from Hoenn in the Journeys stylish art. May herself hasn’t made a physical appearance in the anime since Diamond and Pearl, so this was a good way to pay homage to the fan-favorite traveling companion. Here’s everything there is to know about Thadeu’s work.

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The animation is a short, two-second GIF. Its central focus is May dressed in her outfit from Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. She’s turning to the camera while doing her own camera frame hand gesture, a common habit of hers. Thadeu not only understands how much people want to see May again but also what makes her so charming.

Besides May, there are a few more familiar faces from Hoenn. First, there’s May’s little bother, Max. Not everybody likes Max, so it’s good to see that Thadeu went the extra mile by adding him for the sake of authenticity.

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Behind Max are two of May’s Pokémon Contest rivals, Drew and Harley. The former is stylishly moving his bangs while the latter is turned away from the camera cross-armed and smirking. If these Coordinators were to be featured in an episode of Journeys, they’d probably be competing against May in a Contest. It would be just like the good old days of the Advanced series.

What’s really amazing about this fan animation is how well it fits into the current, fourth opening of Journeys. Not only is it in the Journeys art style, but it even has lyrics at the bottom of the shot. The only sign that it’s not official is in the top-left corner; “fan animation” is written in katakana and LUKAS THADEU is written in the Latin alphabet. Besides this, the GIF could fit seamlessly in the opening.

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To further prove how good Thadeu’s fan animation is, a fan of his, Ezequiel Montaña, posted a quick edit of the opening that features his GIF. It’s placed between the shots of Paul and Ash’s Greninja. The lyrics even sync up perfectly with the song. Another fan, ラティオス, posted another version of this video with the latest version of the opening, which features Ash’s Lucario instead of Greninja. If one didn’t know any better, one might assume this GIF was actually part of the opening.

Unfortunately, there are people who were fooled by this edit. Several YouTubers posted Thadeu’s GIF proclaiming it to be confirmation of May’s return. To make matters worse, some posted even more of Thadeu’s convincing art featuring May and Serena interacting. As authentic as Thadeu’s art looks, none of it is official, nor does it confirm that May is coming back.

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As for whether May is actually coming back, that’s another issue entirely. Her voice actress Kaori has been on an indefinite hiatus for medical reasons. As cool as it would be to see May in person again, she likely won’t be back any time soon, much less in time for Journeys.

With that said, Thadeu’s art and animation should be appreciated for what it is. It’s a professional-level homage to a beloved character whom everybody misses. Whether she comes back for Journeys or not, fans will always have this to look back on.

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