So what was going through the heads of the anime staff during the scene above?
Before reading this article, please note that this article may contain spoilers for the final episode of Pokemon XYZ anime.
This past Saturday marked the airing of the final episode of the Pokemon XYZ anime in the United States. It was an emotional episode that ended the run of one of the most popular and intense sagas of the Pokemon anime. Though this episode also involved a scene between Ash and Serena that have left many fans buzzing.
The scene in question involves Ash saying farewell to Serena at the airport as she departs for Hoenn. As Serena goes down the escalators, she heads right back up and the camera focus on Ash and Serena’s feet. You get to see Serena “floating” away from Ash as the escalator pulls her down once again. Eventually the the camera pans back up to a blushing Serena, Ash in awe, a surprised Clemont and gushing Bonnie and Pikachu.
Below is a screenshot of the “floating” moment in question.
Now the question that is being asked is: Did Ash and Serena kiss?
An interview with AnimeStyle010 may provide an answer to this question. Prior to the airing of this episode in Japan, the magazine conducted an interview with an Storyboard Director Tetsuo Yajima and Producer Shukichi Kanda. Below is a piece of the interview that was translated by Dephender on Serebiiforums.
Oguro (Interviewer): I haven’t watched the episode, so this might be a stupid question, but did Serena’s love (for Ash) come to fruition? (Note: This interview was conducted hours before the final episode)
Yajima (Director): It didn’t in the episode. I ended it in a way that her love will hopefully come to fruition in the future. Serena told Ash that she’s going to improve herself, and then come back to him. Afterwards, she did something that’s revolutionary-worthy (laugh). In the middle of production, I added in a scene intended to show them kissing. It’s just that I wasn’t allowed to have them kissing on screen, so I had Serena’s feet “floating” to show it instead.
Oguro: So depending on how you view it, it seems like they might be kissing, right?
Kanda (Producer): No, it should look like they were definitely kissing.
Yajima: (Laugh) Whether they kissed or she whispered something in his ear, that scene was supposed to be ambiguous.
Oguro: For Pokemon, the XY series is quite the transition. In XY, you guys included a scene where Serena was thinking if she was on a date with Ash when they were walking on the street, blushing and all. The drama itself is quite interesting, but it does make you think how her feeling will be brought to conclusion.
Yajima: I was the one who wrote the final episode, but I tend to put my pen down whenever it’s their parting scene. “How should I end it so that it’d be fair for her” tend to be the reason.
Kanda (Producer): The actual scene differed from the screenplay, after all.
Yajima: That is true (laugh). The scene had her riding on the escalator for a bit, and then she ran back up and kissed him. Naturally, the escalator will take her down again, right? So while she’s kissing him, she’ll be pulled away. That’s the scene that I wanted to make.
Kanda (Producer): Kids are the main target audience, after all, so among the things we can’t do, this series is definitely on the edge.
It sounds like the intention was for Ash and Serena to share a brief kiss. Though the scene had to be cut short and left uncertain due to the main audience of the Pokemon anime being children. The way that the anime staff did it was pretty interesting and sly. It certain was quite a scene to watch if you love reading between the lines.
The interview also went over a few other things regarding the XYZ anime involving the development of Alain and the creation of Ash-Greninja. You can read more about the interview on Reddit.