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Ash Ketchum

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Ash redirects here. For the item attached to Ho-Oh, see Sacred Ash. For the ash found at the foot of Mt. Chimney, see volcanic ash.

Ash Ketchum
サトシ Satoshi
Art from the Diamond and Pearl series
Age 10 (as of debut)
Gender Male
Eye color Brown
Hair color Black
Hometown Pallet Town
Region Kanto
Relatives Delia, Unknown father (EP002), Unknown grandfather (EP002) (Japanese only) (anime)
Mom (manga)
Trainer class Trainer
Game counterpart Red
Anime debut Pokémon - I Choose You!
English voice actor Veronica Taylor (4Kids)
Sarah Natochenny (TPCI)
Japanese voice actor Rica Matsumoto

Ash Ketchum (Japanese: サトシ Satoshi) is the main character of both the Pokémon anime and the Electric Tale of Pikachu manga, and is believed to be based on the protagonist of the first generation Pokémon games. He shares his Japanese name -- which can be taken to mean "wisdom" or "reason" (智) -- with the creator of the Pokémon franchise, Satoshi Tajiri. His English surname is a pun of the original English motto, "Gotta Catch 'em All!."

201 Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details. 201

In the anime


Ash's main goal in life, as described in the first episode, is to be the world's greatest Pokémon Master. Ash began his journey at the age of 10 as a warm-hearted and well-intentioned but stubborn, rash and amateurish Pokémon Trainer. He was forced to accept the cheeky Pikachu from Professor Oak as his starter Pokémon because he carelessly broke his alarm clock and woke up late on the day he was set to get his first Pokémon. He was determined to achieve his goal, however, and when Pikachu saw that he was willing to compromise his own safety to keep it safe he formed a strong bond of friendship with Pikachu. This would set his course for the future.

File:Ash fleeing spearow.png
Ash trying to keep Pikachu safe

However, from that point, Ash still had a lot to learn about becoming a Trainer. His first Pokémon was caught by luck, he knew absolutely nothing about battling, and was hesitant to admit it whenever he was wrong. Many of his first Gym badges were given to him merely out of gratitude for his assistance rather than claiming an actual victory in battle over the Gym Leaders; of his first five gym battles, only his victory over Lt. Surge was an actual victory. Every time he thought he was doing well, he would somehow cross paths with his childhood rival, Gary Oak. He always reminded Ash that he was always a step or seven behind, with Gary catching around forty-five Pokémon by the time Ash had only caught his seventh. This hampered matters further when, owing to his inexperience, his Charizard, his most powerful Pokémon, refused to listen to him until Ash could prove himself to the powerful Fire-type.

Over time, Ash's dedication to his goal paid off. After earning his first eight badges he went on to compete in the Indigo League, advancing to the fifth round - one further than Gary. After recovering from his defeat, he continued on to improve his skills; take on new challenges; and compete in more Pokémon League competitions - triumphing in the Orange League and the Battle Frontier.

Ash has changed a great deal over the course of the series, particularly in regards to his skill at Pokémon training, but his earnestness, rashness, and determination have remained. Never straying from his goal, he has remained loyal to his friends, his family, and his supporters, but most of all his Pokémon. Ash became a great Trainer by learning to find and use the inner strength of each of his Pokémon by bonding with them. For example, when he received a banner filled with prints from his Pokémon in The Unbeatable Lightness of Seeing!, he knew which Pokémon placed specific prints, showing his close bond with them. He also learns where their hidden abilities lie, as well as resorting to unorthodox strategies when fighting particularly challenging opponents. For example, he uses his Pikachu's speed to outmaneuver larger foes and attack. In another instance, his Charizard defeated Gary's Blastoise by causing the field to overheat before mounting a close-quarters attack while Blastoise was blinded by the steam. He also prefers to train a Pokémon to be the best it can without forcing it to evolve, as evidenced by his treatment of Gligar in Fighting Fear With Fear!. He is happy when his Pokémon evolve but lets them choose whether or not they want to evolve instead of forcing them.

Ash using Aura inside the Tree of Beginning

Early on, Ash originally trained not to further himself but instead to catch more Pokémon than Gary. He later slowed his pace which allowed him to focus on the individual traits of each Pokémon. At the Johto League Silver Conference, with great humility and maturity, Ash finally won a battle against his old rival, signifying a great milestone in his history. His maturity has also increased in his dealings with Pokémon. This is shown when a Mankey stole his hat in Primeape Goes Bananas, he screamed and yelled at it, even climbing trees just to get his hat back, but when an Aipom did the same in Slaking Kong, he stated merely that he would feel strange without a hat. When Aipom stole his hat again in Setting the World on its Buneary, however, while it was under his ownership, he chased after it in the same manner as before.

In most episodes of the anime, especially those during the Johto League saga, Ash befriends someone who will influence him and cause him to strive to become a better Trainer. Although he is not a dependent individual, he is still young and has learned to make his way relying on his friends, particularly the maternal skills of Brock. The honor of "best friend" is usually reserved for Pikachu but Ash has come to see his closest human friends in the same light over time; using the term for Misty and Brock in Gotta Catch Ya Later as well as May and Max in Battling the Enemy Within.

He has traversed much of the Pokémon world and has thus far participated in four Pokémon League regional competitions, but he is still learning new things about Pokémon all the time.

Ash has gained a close connection with many legendary Pokémon, including Mewtwo, Ho-Oh, Lugia, Latias, Azelf, Shaymin, Giratina and Arceus. In the English dub of the second movie, he was revealed to be "The Chosen One" - the one who would bring balance back to the world when it was disrupted. Although viewed as a normal human, Ash does have some special abilities, as he is said to have the same aura as Sir Aaron, a legendary hero, and is theoretically able to manipulate it in much the same way. However, he has not received any training in this field, opting to continue his Pokémon journey instead. He has also been likened to an ancient aura guardian in The Keystone Pops!, who also had a partner Pikachu. Later, in Pokémon Ranger and the Kidnapped Riolu! Parts 1 and 2, Ash uses aura again to locate a lost Riolu and read Riolu's mind as well.

He has a Contest Pass for the Sinnoh region, though he has stated that the contest he got it for was the only one he intends on entering. He also has one for the Hoenn region as it was required to watch one of the contests held there. Ash carries half of a broken Poké Ball with him everywhere, while Gary has the other half, as a symbol of their ongoing, but now friendly, rivalry; Misty's special lure, which she sent to him as a gift; and half of a ribbon he received in a contest against May before she left the group to compete in Johto. Ash also participated in the Wallace Cup on the suggestion of Wallace but he lost in the third round.


A young Ash

Ash lived with his mother, Delia Ketchum, until he left for his Pokémon journey at the age of ten.

His father was never introduced. The anime suggests that his father was once a Pokémon Trainer who began his journey in Pallet Town, but it is unclear whether he is still living. An interview with the series' storyboarder confirmed Ash's father is a Trainer on his own journey. According to the same storyboarder, Ash's father may or may not be introduced in the series, depending on its necessity to Ash's further maturity and development as a Trainer.

Ash is an only child, breaking from the tradition of several other main characters, with the exception of Dawn and possibly Tracey, whose siblings are often a foil or focal point in their lives.


As a Trainer, Ash has captured and befriended a sizable number of Pokémon over the course of the anime. His philosophy on training is that Pokémon are individuals and that a combination of trust, friendship and hard work are needed to overcome adversity. He seems to battle best with Pokémon that are similar to Pikachu: ones that are speedy and maneuverable, yet able to perform high-powered attacks; however, he is willing to work with any Pokémon that comes into his care. Ash's battle style is generally spontaneous and fairly unorthodox, and his Pokémon often reflect these traits.

On hand

This section is based on the Pokémon with Ash in the most recent episode to air in Japan. For the current tournament, he also has access to any Pokémon at Professor Oak's lab.

Ash Staraptor.png
Starly → Staravia → Staraptor
Ash Torterra.png
Turtwig → Grotle → Torterra
Ash Infernape.png
Chimchar → Monferno → Infernape
Ash Buizel.png
Ash Gliscor.png
Gligar → Gliscor

With Professor Oak

Ash Bulbasaur.png
Ash Kingler.png
Krabby → Kingler
Ash Muk.png
Ash Tauros.png
Tauros (x30)
Ash Snorlax.png
Ash Bayleef.png
Chikorita → Bayleef
Ash Quilava.png
Cyndaquil → Quilava
Ash Totodile.png
Ash Heracross.png
Ash Noctowl.png
Taillow → Swellow
Treecko → Grovyle → Sceptile
Ash Corphish.png
Ash Donphan.png
Egg → Phanpy → Donphan
Ash Glalie.png
Snorunt → Glalie

In training

Ash Primeape.png
Ash Charizard.png
Charmander → Charmeleon → Charizard
Ash Squirtle.png


Ash Butterfree.png
Caterpie → Metapod → Butterfree
Pidgeotto → Pidgeot
Ash Lapras.png

Traded away

Ash Raticate.png

Given away






Badges obtained

Indigo League

Orange League

Ash's eight badges from Johto

Johto League

File:Ashs hoenn badges.png
Ash's eight badges from Hoenn

Hoenn League

Battle Frontier

File:Ash Sinnoh Badge.png
Ash's eight badges from Sinnoh

Sinnoh League

Pokémon Competitions

Pokémon League ranking

Ash placed in the Pokémon League competitions listed below.

Pokémon Championship battles

Ash challenged the following Pokémon championships as well:

Miscellaneous Competitions

Ash has also participated in the following competitions:

Voice actors

Language Voice actor
Japanese 松本梨香 Rica Matsumoto
English Veronica Taylor (4Kids dub)
Sarah Natochenny (TPCI dub)
Kayzie Rogers (a/k/a Jamie Peacock; Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon only)
Arabic بثينة شيا Buthaina Shia
Catalan Enric Puig
Mandarin Chinese 賀世芳 Hè Shìfāng
李明幸 Li Míngxìng
汪世瑋 Wāng Shìwěi
Croatian Saša Buneta
Marko Torjanac
Czech Radek Škvor
Danish Mathias Klenske
Dutch Christa Lips
Filipino Klariz Magboo
Finnish Sari Moilanen
Hanna Savikko
French Canada Sébastien Reding
Europe Aurélien Ringelheim
German Caroline Combrinck (EP001-EP157, DP105-present)
Veronika Neugebauer (EP158-DP104)
Hebrew יהונתן מגון Yonatan Magon
דניאל מגון Daniel Magon
Hungarian Szvetlov Balázs
Ungvári Gergely
Italian Davide Garbolino
Korean 최덕희 Choi Deok-Hyi
이선호 Lee Seon-Ho
안현서 An Hyeon-Seo
Norwegian Nils-Martin Crawfurd
Polish Hanna Kinder-Kiss (EP001-AG040, DP053-present, all movies)
Grzegorz Drojewski (DP001-DP052)
Portuguese Brazil Fábio Lucindo
Portugal Maria João Luís
Sandra Faleiro
Sandra de Castro
Unknown voice actress
Cristina Carvalhal
Bárbara Lourenço
Ana Madureira
Spanish Latin America Gabriel Ramos
Irwin Daayán (DP091-DP104)
Emiliano Dionisi (movies 6 and 7)
Spain Adolfo Moreno
Rafael Alonso Naranjo Jr. (movie 3 and Mewtwo Returns)
Swedish Dick Eriksson
Turkish Ahmet Taşar

In the manga

In the Ash and Pikachu manga

Ash appears in Ash and Pikachu, a manga series based on the Johto saga of the Pokémon anime.

In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga

Ash Ketchum is a starring character in The Electric Tale of Pikachu, a manga series based on the anime. Ash's journey in The Electric Tale of Pikachu follows roughly the same plot as in the anime: first traveling the Kanto region to participate in the Pokémon League, before embarking on a journey around the Orange Archipelago.

While there are many similarities between the anime and manga versions of Ash, there are several differences as well. For example, while the anime version of Ash appears to be indifferent to love and romance, the manga version of Ash has a huge crush on Gary's sister, May Oak. He is also prone to quickly falling in love just like Brock, but to a much more subtle or less extreme degree.

Ash's appearance differs in the manga as well. He wears a red jacket, much like Red's, instead of the blue he wears in the anime. Also, for the duration of the first volume, he wears a different hat, which is solid red with a "PM" on the front. Beginning in The Human Race and the Pokémon Race, his hat is changed to match the one he wears in the anime.

Ash owns many of the same Pokémon as in the anime, with a few exceptions: he captures a Fearow and an Oddish. He also captures a Mankey, which he trades to a shady salesman for a map of Mt. Moon, and a giant Slowpoke, which he trades to Gary Oak.


Caterpie → Metapod → Butterfree
Charmander → Charmeleon → Charizard
Traded away

Slowpoke (giant)
  • Mankey: Given away for a map of Mt. Moon with false directions to find a Clefairy.
  • Giant Slowpoke: Given away to Gary for May Oak's photo.

In the TCG

This listing is of cards mentioning or featuring Ash or his Pokémon in the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Name Type Level Rarity Set Set no.
Ash's Torkoal Fighting - - 7th Movie Half Deck (no English release) 009/019
Ash's Grovyle Grass - - 8th Movie Half Deck (no English release) 001/020
Ash's Phanpy Fighting - - 8th Movie Half Deck (no English release) 004/020
Ash's Swellow Colorless - - 8th Movie Half Deck (no English release) 007/020
Ash's Aipom Colorless - - 9th Movie Half Deck (no English release) 010/019
Ash's Treecko Grass - - ADV-P Promotional cards (no English release) 036/ADV-P
Pikachu M Lightning 45 - Movie Commemoration Random Pack (no English release) 012/022
Staraptor M Colorless 41 - Movie Commemoration Random Pack (no English release) 018/022
Pikachu M LV.X Lightning X - DPt-P Promotional cards (no English release) 043/DPt-P



File:Ash catches a Pokémon.png
Ash after catching a Pokémon
  • Ash has captured each generation's Template:Type2 starter Pokémon: Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Treecko and Turtwig.
  • Ash has also captured every Template:Type2 starter Pokémon whose English names begins with a 'C' and whose Japanese names begins with a 'ヒ' hi: Charmander (Hitokage), Cyndaquil (Hinoarashi), and Chimchar (Hikozaru).
  • Ash has captured, befriended, used, or otherwise had under his command at least one of every type of Pokémon except for Template:Type2 and Template:Type2.
  • In both the Kanto and Johto story arcs, Ash managed to capture all three of the starter Pokémon for both regions. This trend was broken in the Advanced Generation series, where he only captured Treecko; instead the other two were caught by May and Brock.
  • The last Pokémon that Ash has captured in every region are a part of one-evolution families, namely Phanpy in Johto, Snorunt in Hoenn, and Aipom in Kanto. Of these three, Aipom is the only one not to evolve under Ash's care.
  • He always catches a local bird-like Pokémon of the region - Pidgeotto in Kanto, Noctowl in Johto, Taillow in Hoenn, and Starly in Sinnoh. Though not all of these Pokémon were captured in their first form, they all evolved into their final forms under Ash's care; the exception being Noctowl, who cannot evolve.
  • When Ruler of Illusions: Zoroark airs, Ash will have encountered every legendary Pokémon at least once, excluding Reshiram and Zekrom.
  • All of Ash's primate-based Pokémon have been under the control of someone other than Ash at some point (Primeape is currently under Anthony's command, Ambipom was under Dawn's ownership and is currently being trained in Vermilion City, and his Infernape was formerly owned by Paul).
    • All three of these primate-based Pokémon were also shown evolving on-screen, and none of them evolved in the care of their original Trainer (Primeape evolved in the wild just prior to Ash capturing it, Ambipom evolved under Dawn's care, and Infernape (also as a Monferno) evolved under Ash's ownership).
  • Ash also captured a member of each turtle-based evolutionary family.
  • Three members of Ash's Sinnoh party have evolved whilst battling Paul; these are Grotle, Staraptor, and Monferno. Of those three, Grotle and Staraptor both evolved while battling Paul's Honchkrow.
  • Ash has stopped capturing more than his limit of six pokémon.
  • Ash has two fully-evolved Template:Type2 starter Pokémon (Sceptile and Torterra) and two fully-evolved Template:Type2 starter Pokémon (Charizard and Infernape), however, neither of his Template:Type2 starter Pokémon (Squirtle and Totodile) have evolved at all, or even indicated their desire to.
  • Ash has several Pokémon in common with his current rivals; Paul and Barry. He and Paul both own a Torterra and have owned a Gliscor as well as both training the same Chimchar at some point. Like Ash, Barry owns a Staraptor and a Heracross. Other rivals of Ash's have had alike Pokémon; Gary has also owned a Squirtle and a Krabby, Morrison has a Gligar, and Tyson has a Sceptile and Donphan. Both had them on their league teams before Ash would later obtain them himself.
  • All of Ash's Flying-types that he still owns, except for Charizard, have two immunities. Gliscor is immune to Electric- and Ground-types. Noctowl, Swellow, and Staraptor are all immune to Ghost- and Ground-types.
  • Ash has traded away three Pokémon: Butterfree, Raticate, and Aipom. Of these three, Butterfree was the only one Ash got back, and also the only one that is not a Template:Type2.

Challenges/Gym related

  • In each region (except for the Orange Islands), Ash always loses against at least one of the Gym Leaders before challenging them to a rematch.
  • In the original series, Ash pinned his badges to the inside of his jacket. From Hoenn onwards, they have been kept in a case.
  • Ash has so far battled five Elite Four members, namely Lorelei, Drake, Agatha, Flint and Bertha. He has lost to all five without defeating a single Pokémon of theirs.
    • In all of these battles, except Bertha, Ash used Pikachu in each one.
  • The largest amount of episodes that Ash has gone without obtaining a badge was the gap between the Snowpoint and Sunyshore Gyms, ends in DP179, where Ash finally won the Beacon Badge. The gap was a total of 52 episodes. The shortest amount of time between badges was the one-episode gap between Showdown in Pewter City and The Water Flowers of Cerulean City.


Ash crossdressing for the third time.
  • The date of Ash's birth, according to Takeshi Shudo's anime novelizations, is 10 years, 10 months, and 10 days exactly prior to the day he began his Pokémon journey. Being that the same novelization declares that Pokémon Trainers obtain their first Pokémon in April of the year following their 10th birthday, and the anime itself began broadcast on the first of that month in 1997 in Japan, Ash's birthday, if April 1 was the first day of his journey, would be May 22.
  • Ash has crossdressed once in each anime series: The first time he did this was in Pokémon Scent-sation!, in the original series. He crossdressed a second time in Love at First Flight, in the Advanced Generation series. Tanks for the Memories! marked the third time he crossdressed, in the Diamond & Pearl series. Each time Ash has crossdressed, he was never willing to do so and was coerced or forced into it in some way.
    • In addition to dressing as a girl, Ash has dressed up as fruit on at least two occasions. The first time, he dressed as an apple in Pokémon Food Fight! while the second he dressed as an eggplant in Claydol Big and Tall. On both occasions he was used to lure a large Pokémon.
  • Several of the variety of ash trees, from which his name could be derived, are related to Kanto in some way: not only are there trees known as the "red ash", "green ash", and "blue ash", for the first three games, but also the "indigo ash", for the Indigo Plateau.
  • Arnold and Travis are both doppelgängers of Ash. His first meeting with both of their mothers was being mistaken for them and embraced in a hug as the boys were away from home at the time.
  • When Veronica Taylor was interviewed in the documentary "Adventures in Voice Acting", she stated that during her audition for the role of Ash, he was known as Casey at the time.


Language Name Origin
Japanese サトシ Satoshi Can be taken to mean 智 (wisdom; reason); named after Satoshi Tajiri.
English, German Ash Ketchum Ketchum sounds similar to catch 'em. First name can be found in Japanese name, Satoshi. Also, Ash is a default name for Red in Pokémon Red and Blue. Ash trees are suggested as another explanation as well.
French Sacha Ketchum Similar to Ash.
Korean 한지우 Han Jiu 지 is from 智 satoshi. Alternatively, 지우 can mean "close friend".
Chinese 小智 Xiǎo Zhì 智 is from 智 satoshi. Can mean "young wisdom"*.

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Project Anime logo.png This article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.