In spring, the Pokémon TV anime will undergo significant modifications. In order to make room for a new set of protagonists named Liko and Roy, the series' human lead, Satoshi/Ash, is stepping aside after focusing on his journeys and struggles for the last 26 years.
Given that Satoshi ultimately fulfilled his goal of being the best by winning the Pokémon World Championship in November, the change is logical. The final few episodes starring Satoshi are being referred to as "the concluding chapter of Satoshi and Pikachu's story," thus Pikachu is also standing down.
Friede is the most recent in a long series of Pokémon professors, but as his goggles, aviator jacket, and rough-edged grin suggest, he's not the type of scientist who works only in a lab. He is referred to as a "fighting Pokémon Professor" in the announcement in Japanese, and he will "accompany our characters during their adventures" in the announcement in English.
Ikue Otani has been Pikachu's voice actor since the beginning of the series, but it is unclear whether she will also be voicing the Captain. Normally, all Pokémon of the same species have the same voice, but after more than 25 years of recording for a weekly TV show, Otani, 57, could need a break from vocal work, especially since portraying Pikachu is trickier than it sounds.