I feel like Ash got turned into the side character just there to Brock-explain things during a gym battle or watch. Maybe this is them slowly weening Ash out of the series for good? Like, they knew peeps would be upset if Ash was just gone like that so they're having him stick around till some big sendoff happens at the end maybe?
Also, I can't help but get mad every-time they say their Japanese names and correct them to the English one's out loud. I know those are the original names of them, but translated... They're just gobbledegoop. At least with our own versions it makes sense on what the Pokemon is based off of. A poisonous Frog? Crogunk. Gunk being liquid poison and Cro being Croak, which is- Well what noise a frog makes.
Going to the Ho-Oh! Tower and his feather like in Gold/Silver khuh! :O?! Wonder if they'll encounter any old characters, since I'm sure Satoshi/Ash did visit that place during his Johto Journey... :-/
doubt it though... but we can hope next episode.