Well, there's no doubt about it; I love Amourshipping. For those of you who don't know, Amourshipping is the shipping name for pairing Ash and Serena from the Pokemon anime as a romantic couple and I'm crazy about it. They're my ultimate OTP (one true parring), Amourshipping is the main reason Pokemon X&Y/XY&Z is one of my favorite shows and as I've established in my top 15 favorite animated female characters list, Serena is one of my favorite characters of all time. While they haven't become a couple in the show (so far,) the mere idea of them getting together is something I personally think gives fans like me a lot of hope on the simple concept of love despite the fact that Serena's the only one with official feelings and Ash has some hints of liking her but is still completely dense on the idea of romance. Seriously, I get they're still trying to make us buy the nonesense that he's still ten years old, but even I was able to pick up on a girl's feelings at that age, and I sucked at social interaction as an autistic person back then. Anyway, Serena is currently out of the show while Ash's adventures continue with Pokemon:Sun and Moon which is...well to be fair, not a horrible series - in fact it's way more entertaining than Pokemon:Black and White, but it's a very hit and miss take on the anime that nobody really asked for. But even with Serena's role in the anime currently over, many of us still strongly hold on to hope that the two of them will reunite and live happily ever after no matter what haters online say. So with so much love (pardon the pun) for this particular pairing, I'm going to count down my favorite moments between Ash and Serena in the Pokemon X&Y and XY&Z series. Now it goes without saying, but there are some major spoilers on this list and if you are a Pokemon fan and haven't watched the series yet, I strongly recommend it. It's considered by many to be one of the best if not the best series in the entire anime. With all that said, these are my top 10 favorite Amourshipping moments.
#10) The Second "Date"
Even though Ash and Serena never go on a real date what with Ash being so dense and all, there are two moments in the anime where they do spend quality time together that the fandom considers close enough to call dates. Please don't try to argue with fandom logic, it's not worth it. Anyway, this takes place in the third to last episode in the anime. After recently saving the world from Team Flare and Serena just held a Pokemon performace with Shauna and Jessie to cheer up the people of Lumiose City, Ash and Serena's friends go their own way, leaving the two of them alone. During this time, Serena has been debating where to go now that their journey is sadly over. She appears stuck on whether or not to take on Palmero's offer to train her to become a better Pokemon Performer. Ash notices her acting so sad and deep in thought and he decides to try to cheer her up. Thus we get a brief montage of them exploring the city and looking at dresses for Serena and grabbing snacks from local restaurants, but nothing seems to have any effect on what is on Serena's mind. Finally, Ash suggests they have a Pokemon battle, saying that it always helps him when he's worried. The battle is nothing too grand, but it leads to Ash saying some encouraging words that help Serena make her decision on whether or not to take Palmero's offer. What makes this moment so great is how determined Ash is help Serena. Even though he has no idea what is troubling her, he didn't hesitate to take initiative and attempt to ease her mind. Plus, unlike the first date (which I will go more into later,) this feels closer to acting like they actually are on a date. From admiring the city when they go on their walk to looking at their stores and restaurants, all that's missing is either of them saying it's a real date. It's one of the shorter Amourshipping moments, but it's still wonderful to see the two of them spend such quality time together and especially so see how much Ash cares for Serena even if he doesn't think of her that way.
#9) Wishing On A Shooting Star
This is a very brief moment that only lasts seven seconds during the end credits of Pokemon: Diance and the Cocoon of Destruction. As the credits roll, we have a montage of what happens to many of the characters that appeared just for the movie while Ash, Serena, Clemont and Bonnie continue their journey. About an minute and thirteen minutes into the sequence, however, the group is lying down on the grass and Serena spots a shooting star and thus proceeds to make a wish. We never find out what she actually wishes on that star; her lips don't move and even if they did, all he are hearing is the end credits music. For all we know, she could be wishing for suceess as a soon-to-be Pokemon Performer, she could be wishing good health and safe journey as they travel to whatever town they're heading to next, she could be wishing for diamonds and pretty dresses to fall out of the sky. But if you ask any fan of the series, most of them will say their interpretation of that moment is she's really wishing for something that involves her feelings for Ash. Likely, she's wishing something along the lines of having the courage to confess her feelings thus leading to the two of them to get together someday. What makes the moment even more charming to fans is Ash watching her making her wish, likely curious of what she's wishing for, not knowing that it's a wish for his heart. It's a brief moment that is left to interpretation, but that's how many people like me see this moment and why I like to watch this moment on repeat every time I watch the movie or watch the end credits sequence on YouTube.
#8) Serena Seeing Ash Again
This is the very first scene in the anime where Ash and Serena are in the same location and it's another moment I like to watch repeatedly whenever I watch episode 5 of Pokemon: X&Y. At this point, we know very little about Serena's feelings for Ash other than the fact that she apparently met him before and she started her Pokemon journey just to finally see him again. As Ash is on his first gym battle, Serena is heading toward the gym, enthusiastic to find him. As the gym battle rages on, the camera pans to the entrance and then cuts to a shot of just the door opening and we see Serena's legs enter before the camera tilts to her face, looking for him curiously. When she sees him from a distance she is so excited that she starts running over to him before Alexa stops her from interrupting the battle. A couple episodes later, we find out that she knows him from summer camp when they were little and he helped her when she was lost and injured in the woods and she wanted to see him again since. There's not much else to explain why I like this moment except that I simply love that while Ash is having his gym battle, the girl after his heart walks in and happily sees him for the first time since summer camp all those years ago and it is only the first of many moments that shows what he means to Serena. It's another brief moment, but I never get tired of seeing Serena so excited to see the boy of her dreams again.
#7) Serena's Transformation
I've talked about this moment before when I talked about Serena herself in my top 15 favorite animated female characters list, but it includes a moment between her and Ash that no fan of Amourshipping will forget. As I discussed on that list, Serena gets disqualified on the first round of her debut as a Pokemon Performer. At first, she acts okay to her friends, but very early the next morning she takes a moment at the docks to break down - a scene that contains one of the best voice acting performances I’ve ever heard. Shortly after words, she cuts off her hair as a way to start over and makes a new outfit for herself complete with the ribbon Ash gave her. When she presents herself to the group, Clemont and Bonnie are shocked and disapproving of her haircut, but Ash agrees with Serena that it looks cute, and when he sees that she's wearing the ribbon he gave to her, he's happy to see that she is, which makes her blush. It's one of the few moments that implies that Ash might develop feelings for Serena partly because he's complimenting her so much but mostly because he's never been so supportive of his past female companions when it comes to their looks before. He might have a moment where he says that they look nice or when he checked Misty out when she was wearing a swimsuit once, but with Serena he looks at her adoringly in a way that shows how he cares for her and encourages her. While there's nothing in this moment that shows that he thinks that way about her in a romantic way, his adoration and support in this moment is one of the major hints that he might think of her as something more someday. Serena's transformation is a wonderful moment for her as a character, and even if nothing is official, Ash's reaction shows the possibility that Amourshipping may not be as one-sided as it appears to be.
#6) Ash Giving Serena The Ribbon
From the episode right before Serena's transformation, we have the moment where Ash gives Serena the ribbon. This takes place during the end of their first "date" where it turns out Courmarine City is holding a festival that's kind of similar to Christmas where trainers put presents for their Pokemon under the city's giant tree called the Pledging Tree to celebrate the bonds between them and their Pokemon. The group decides that Clemont and Bonnie will look after everyone's Pokemon while Ash and Serena search for gifts. Most of their time together involves Serena trying to spend quality time with Ash while Ash just runs all over the place looking for gifts even to the point of just deciding that they should split up even though Serena clearly doesn't want to. Later that day, the two regroup and while Serena has found gifts for her Fennikin and Panchum, Ash hasn't found anything for his Pokemon. Suddenly, as Ash enters the monorail station ahead of Serena, he is approached by workers at the station and congratulated for being the millionth visitor to the monorail and is given a long blue ribbon as a prize. On the ride back to the Pokemon Center, Serena gives Ash good advice of what kind of gift he should give his Pokemon and that helps him find it just in time for the festival to start. Later when the festival is ending with a fireworks show, Ash thanks Serena by giving her the ribbon. This isn't just a big moment because the ribbon is a significant part of Serena's new outfit the next episode, but loosely similar to Spike giving Rarity the fire ruby in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, this is the moment where the ribbon became a symbol of their possible relationship. But while you can make the very easy argument that Rarity pretty much used Spike's crush on her to her advantage so that he would give her the ruby, therefore making that moment less meaningful for that particular ship, here it's Ash's own decision to surprise Serena with the gift making the gesture more meaningful and thus making the ribbon more valuable to the point that she promises to always treasure it.. Even if their first "date" didn't go the way Serena would have hoped, it's uplifting that it ended with a moment that both she and the fans will always remember.
#5) The Fight
While the least cheery moment between the two of them out of all the moments on this list, it's no less significant. In episode 28 of Pokémon:XY&Z, Ash runs into the forest alone, frustrated and confused after losing his gym battle against Wulfric. Pikachu, Clemont, Bonnie and Serena find out and Serena leaves to go find him without the rest of the group knowing. She finds him and tries to cheer him up by explaining how she understands from her experience as a performer, but then he blows up at her claiming she has no idea what he's going through and wants to be left alone. Serena gets so upset that she starts throwing snowballs at him yelling at how he's not acting like himself before she leaves in tears. In the original Japanese, she almost admits that he's the boy she loves before she angrily leaves. Now don't get me wrong, I can totally understand why some people are not overly fond of this moment. For a while, Serena has been the only female companion that Ash never gets annoyed with much less get in a fight with unlike Misty, May, Dawn and Iris and it is kind of sad that Serena no longer has that advantage over the other girls. But it's also great that it did happen because A) while Ash's fights with the other girls were more childish and petty (especially Iris,) this fight is much more serious and dramatic and B) it makes the idea of Ash and Serena as a couple feel more real because like any real couple, they're capable of giving into fights despite their feelings/possible feelings for one another. And while Ash's past arguments with his female companions involves them talking down to him, Serena actually tells him what he needed to hear to pick himself up. They also regret yelling at each other to the point that Serena feels guilty when Ash gets trapped in a terrible snowstorm later in the episode thus making it more meaningful when they make up in the end. Love doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be real, and this is a great moment to make the two of them feel more real than anything Ash as expereinced before. A bittersweet moment, but one that I admire.
#4) Serena Reaching for Ash's Hand
As much as I enjoy all the other moments of their first "date," the very beginning of it is my faovirte part of that episode. Ash and Serena have just left the Pokemon center to look for gifts for their Pokemon and Serena realizes how the fact that they are all alone to do something together is almost like they're on a date. She ultimately has to restrain herself from trying to take his hand so she can hold it like they actually are on a date. There's not a whole lot to say about this moment except the shyness yet excitement of the voice in her head when she restrains her hand just makes me wish she actually succeeded in grabbing his hand or he notices and decided to take her hand even if he doesn't understand what that would mean to her. It's a couple of seconds to both love and feel sad for how much she still needed to grow and how much I and many other fans wish she could have taken his hand.
#3) "I-i-iron tail, Pikachu"
This takes place in episode 22 of XY&Z which many praise as their favorite Amourshipping episode in the entire series. In this episode, Ash gets out of his tent sick which no one realizes it until he starts walking to the dining table weakly until he collapses in front of Serena and holds on to her. This is already a very bashful moment for Serena because he's so close to her, but then Ash starts looking at her and starts saying "I...i..." which sounds like he's about to say "I love you" in both the English dub and the Japanese translation. According to a friend of mine from DeviantArt, it sounds like he's about to say "Aishiteru" which means "I love You" in a romantic sense, and you could interpret it as him saying "Ai" which means "Love" in Japanese. Either way, Serena blushes fiercely almost afraid to hear him actually say the words she wants him to say but then he says "Iron Tail, Pikachu" instead and collapses. I ennoy how no matter which version you choose it really does look like he's about to say "I love you." Plus, it's cute to see Serena blush so much with Ash so close to her. Also, like her reaching for his hand on the "first date," it's a moment where you wonder what would have happened if he actually said the words. What else can you say except...well..."Iron tail, Pikachu?"
#2) Serena Disguising Herself As Ash
This is a Serena moment rather than a both Serena and Ash moment, but it's still the best part of episode 22 of XY&Z. After Ash collapses and the group discovers that he is sick, Clemont and Bonnie travel to a nearby town to buy medicine while Serena looks after Ash in his tent. But then suddenly a wild electric guitar player named Jimmy: The Pikachu Trainer comes to the campsite with his Pikachu, Spike and starts playing his music loudly, demanding a battle with Ash. Serena tries to tell him to stop playing so that Ash can rest, but eventually she claims Ash will accept his battle just so that he can stop. Because she said this and she knows Ash would want to battle if he find out even though he's sick, Serena is left with no choice but to disguise herself as Ash with his clothes and battle Jimmy with Ash's Pikachu. What follows for the majority of the episode is about as exciting, strange, and funny as you can imagine. Not only is it enjoyable to see Serena show how much she's learned about Pokemon battling from observing Ash despite the fact that she is a Pokemon performer and so doesn't partake in many Pokemon battles apart from fighting Team Rocket, but in the English dub, the voice actress for Serena, Haven Paschall does a both amazing and hilarious job of Serena trying to impersonate Ash's voice. It's also cool to see how Serena uses some of the moves and techniques Ash uses in battle with his Pikachu like using iron tail on the ground to force SPike out of hiding. The moment where her secret is almost revealed by Clemont and Bonnie and Bonnie teases Serena about it later is also pretty funny. The only downside is obviously Team Rocket trying to capture Pikachu and Spike which interrupts the battle. I mean who doesn't want to know how that battle would have ended if Team Rocket didn't interfere? Well whatever the case, it's still fun, it's still memorable and...well I hate to admit it, but Serena looks cute in Ash's clothes.
And the number one Amourshipping moment is....
#1) The Amourshipping Kiss
Because...how the dickens could it not be? Even though this moment was accidentally spoiled for me before I could watch the episode by the cover of a YouTube video discussing the moment, it's still wonderful that Serena did in fact kiss Ash. You see as the series progressed, a lot of people were becoming hopeful that Pokemon:XY&Z will give us the two things fans have been dying to see for ages: seeing Ash finally win a Pokemon league and falling in love with one of his female companions. With Ash become so powerful and so skilled with his Pokemon team and all the moments he's had together with Serena, it seemed downright stupid that the studio wouldn't grant us either of those things after almost 20 years of Ash's adventures. But after the studio used different writers so that Ash would forcefully lose the Kalos league despite EVERYONE including the official writers and animators of the show saying he should win, people grew scared that we might be supporting Amourshipping for nothing too. As the show continued after that dark day where Ash's defeat aired on August 18th, 2016 (fubar,) I became more and more worried about what was going to happen to Ash and especially Serena. After a while, I accepted the likelihood that she was not going to Alola with him in the Sun and Moon anime and started to hope that she would at least either admit her feelings for Ash in some way and/or kiss him on the cheek. I became less worried about her after episode 45 where after the second "date" she made the amazing decision to make a new path for herself thus showing that she isn't trapped with either going to Alola with Ash or taking Palmero's offer to be her only choices. And then came the last episode; episode 47 where before Serena left for Hoenn, she told Ash that he is her goal and when she grows up to be a more beautiful and mature woman, she'll come for him. Even though he doesn't understand what she's saying (man, they made that boy way too darn dense), he smiled and that was that until Serena decides to do one last thing in order to make her point clear and kisses him. At first it was left into interpretation as to whether she kissed him on the lips or the cheek because we only see their feet when it happens, but then the director of Pokemon XY&Z, Tetsuo Yajima confirmed that A) she did kiss him on the lips, B) they would have shown it if it wasn't for censorship and C) the moment is meant for viewers to understand that they aren't a couple but they will probably become one later. Regardless of whether or not we see the kiss, though, the fact remains that Serena showed how far she's grown and how determined she is to make Ash hers someday and even though Ash doesn't get it, you can tell by the smile on his face and the gleam in Serena's eyes that there's hope for them yet. It's up in the air right now as to whether or not the two of them will officially get together or if we will ever see Serena again in the anime, but while we're dealing with the mixed bag that is Pokemon:Sun and Moon, this scene will remain in the minds of me and other Amourshippers everywhere because it shows that the possible romance between Ash and Serena is still alive, strong and is something and will continue to be worth rooting for, for a long, long time.