Ash Ketchum just won the Alolan League and the Internet is on fire. From Twitter moments to all those articles claiming it to be Ash's first win ever:

All results from every League, Ash wins Pokemon League in the end

But my point is, what about the Orange League? I know it's an anime-only thing, but as per my knowledge, even the anime doesn't acknowledge it later.

Is the Orange League not considered an official Pokemon League even inside the anime canon?

  • The Battle Frontier just before Sinnoh raises a similar question.
    – J.G.
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 19:13
  • spoilers!!!!!!!
    – Nacht
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 2:58
  • 1
    So, uh... What happened to Ash's face between 2013 and 2016, and between 2016 and 2019? Did 15 years of not aging finally catch up, and they had to replace him? Or just one too many thunderbolts to the head? Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 9:26

2 Answers 2


In the anime, the main regions' Pokémon Leagues (Kanto, Johto, etc.) all have the same structure:

  1. Acquire the eight regional Gym Badges
  2. Travel to a stadium to compete in the regional League Conference
  3. Win the Conference, and earn the right to challenge the Elite Four and Champion
  4. Defeat the Elite Four and Champion, and become the new Champion.

The exception is Alola, which has never held a Pokémon League before and thus had no Elite Four/Champion. By winning its Conference, Ash therefore became the new Champion automatically.

The Orange League was a "filler arc", to stall for time until Pokémon Gold and Silver were released and they could begin adapting it. As such, it was much shorter:

  1. Acquire the four regional Gym Badges (most of which are acquired through challenges other than Pokémon battles)
  2. Beat the Supreme Gym Leader
  3. Become a Champion, but not the Champion (so you don't become the new Supreme Gym Leader and have to face challengers like the other leagues; it's purely an honorary title).

The Orange Islands arc is canon, as far as I can tell. But because the Orange League is

a) so much shorter, including omitting the Conference that was Ash's main stumbling block, and

b) not in a region from the games, it's generally considered to not count.

  • I thought the Orange Islands were in some of the games as a post-Elite-Four thing.
    – JAB
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 16:07
  • In Gold and Silver, yes Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 16:33
  • 7
    @JAB You may be thinking of the Sevii Islands, which were added in FireRed/LeafGreen. Their only resemblance to the Orange Islands is that they're a set of islands south of Kanto; they don't have a Pokémon League of their own, and have appeared in the anime independently of the Orange Islands.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 16:39

According to Sinnoh league rules in the anime you must win a minimum of one league to challenge so yes the orange islands are an official league

  • 2
    "According to Sinnoh league rules in the anime you must win a minimum of one league to challenge" - When is this stated? Bulbapedia makes no mention of this being an entry requirement and I'd be surprised if it was.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 13:56

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