It is the goal of Ash Ketchum, as well as many other Pokémon Trainers, to become a Pokémon Master, sometimes known as Champion Master. However, exactly what this position is and how one attains it is vague and never fully explained. This, however, is done intentionally, as explained by a Nintendo representative in response to an email sent to Pokémon.com's mailbag;
"I'm very sorry, but the Pokémon Company does not answer questions of this nature. It is the intent of the Pokémon creators that such questions be left to the imaginations and interpretations of Pokémon fans, adding more excitement and mystery to the Pokémon universe."
| This section contains fan speculation.|
There is no solid evidence for or against some parts of this article.
- It has been theorized that when one becomes a Pokémon Champion of a regional Pokémon League, one attains the title of Master—however, this might not be correct, as Ash won the Orange League without attaining the position to anyone's knowledge. Indeed, other Pokémon League Champions haven't ever been referred to as Pokémon Masters, either. Another theory is that, in the context of the anime, Pokémon Masters are the members of the Elite Four. Extreme Pokémon: The Guide for the Ultimate Fan calls Prima a Pokémon Master.
- In Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, and LeafGreen, upon defeating Lance, he declares the player a Pokémon Master.
- After defeating Giovanni at Viridian Gym, when he gives the player the Earth Badge he says it is "evidence of your mastery as a Pokémon Trainer" which may imply that a Pokémon Master is one who has collected all of the Badges in a region.
- The Official Pokémon Handbook states that a Trainer would deserve the title of Pokémon Master upon defeating or capturing Mewtwo, which would, in terms of the anime, obviously be very impractical, if not impossible. But the handbook also refers to the Elite Four members as Master Trainers, implying that any Elite Four member can call themselves a Master.
- This would mean that Giovanni would be the first and only Pokémon Master in the anime. It would also mean that there are 3 Pokémon Masters in the Pokémon Adventures manga: Blaine, the original owner and creator of Mewtwo, according to Tauros the Tyrant, And Mewtwo Too?! and And Mewtwo Three!; Red, who caught Mewtwo with a Master Ball in And Mewtwo Three!; and Yellow, who used Mewtwo in Aerodactyl Redux.
- According to A Sneak Peek at Pokémon, the very first official promotional video, one of the tasks to become a Pokémon Master is to capture all Pokémon. Likewise, The Official Pokémon Collector's Sticker Book implies that one is made a Pokémon Master by catching all Pokémon. In theory, Ash almost had all of the Pokémon in the world on his side in The Power of One, but did not officially own them. This task, however, would in practice seem impossible, especially taking into account certain legendary Pokémon. The franchise dropping the "Gotta Catch 'em All!" motto may indicate that this is no longer the case, however.
- The Power of One is also notable for making this goal in the anime seem problematic, since a major plot point in the film was Lawrence III capturing the legendary birds and disrupting the balance of nature. If these three Pokémon were the only ones of their kind in the anime, then the title of Pokémon Master could possibly not be achieved without putting the world at risk. However, the same Pokémon had appeared in other episodes of the anime as well.
- The book Charizard, Go! states that a Pokémon Master must catch one of every kind of Pokémon and become a member of the Pokémon League.
- According to The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga, however, which is based on the anime, a Pokémon Master is simply an elite Trainer who is considered a professional and regularly takes part in Pokémon League competitions.
- A Pokémon Master is possibly a Trainer that has become unbeatable. This is supported by the fact that in Mewtwo Strikes Back, Nurse Joy (while brainwashed) invites the Trainers to have a battle against the world's greatest Pokémon Master on New Island, who is later revealed to be Mewtwo.
- In Memories are Made of Bliss!, Cynthia is defined as a "Champion Master," someone who has defeated all opponents including the Elite Four and defends their title against all opposing Trainers. In a sense, they are undefeated by any Trainer that has officially challenged them to claim their "Champion Master" title, though it is unspecific whether it is a regional or national title, it is implied to be a national foundation.
- In The Legend of Thunder!, Marina called Lance a great Pokémon Master.