The new one Pokémon Anime Horizons has shown a slightly different side of the Pokémon world than what fans are familiar with in Ash’s adventures. One way things have turned out is that Riko and Roy have the latest modern technology on their side – like viewers at home.
For Ash, being on the road meant being cut off from everyone except his companions. Ash only makes calls home to his mother or Professor Oak while at the Pokémon Center for most of the series, leaving him with no way to contact if that option isn’t available. This remained true for an absurdly long time, even when Ash and his companions received upgraded gear like the PokéGear which had some in-game communication features. Although Ash has used a Rotom Phone throughout the Journey, he rarely uses the device as a phone but often just as a Pokédex, like he is used to. Now, in some cases, Riko has used her phone to contact others while traveling, eventually breaking with that particular tradition. However, there is an even bigger example in the fourth episode of Horizons.
Pokémon Horizons finally adopts modern technology
In episode 4 of Pokémon Horizons, Roy is seen sitting in the woods with a Rotom Phone (or Tablet, as the case may be) talking to some friends. However, these aren’t just friends on a regular call; Turns out that Roy and the others were actually waiting for their distance learning to begin. Roy, who lives on a remote island near Kanto, most likely doesn’t have a physical school he can attend on the island, so learning in a virtual classroom is his only educational option. It does have one big benefit, though: when Riko and Roy start traveling the world, they can still take classes in the hot air balloon the exact same way.
It’s important to remember that the audience for the Pokémon anime is primarily children, and many of these children have only spent the last few years learning in a virtual classroom environment due to the COVID lockdown. For some of them, distance learning is essentially the only way they’ve ever experienced school. These virtual classrooms are just a part of kids’ lives these days, so seeing it reflected on the screen instantly makes Roy an even more relatable character. It also neatly removes the idea that school doesn’t matter in the Pokémon world – echoing Ash’s time at Pokémon School Alola during that era of the anime.
All in all, the characters using distance learning is a pretty minor detail, but it can make a difference for kids who love it. Pokémon and attended online school.