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As hints and evidence for ships are mostly speculation, this page may contain personal points of view.
Ash and Dawn holding hands
PearlShipping (Japanese: サトヒカ SatoHika) is the belief that Ash Ketchum and Dawn belong in a romantic relationship. This Ship is among the more popular anime-based Shippings, along with PokéShipping, AdvanceShipping, and ContestShipping. The name itself was coined from the belief that Dawn's game persona would be linked to the Pearl name upon Diamond and Pearl's release, as was the case for Ruby and Sapphire, before much was known about either the anime saga or Dawn's character.
- Dawn displayed worried expressions when one of Team Rocket’s Machine Tentacles hit Ash, even though she had just met him. Later she suggests that she should travel with Ash and Brock, saying that she could spend more time with Pikachu. She may have used Pikachu as an excuse to get to know Ash better. Also, Dawn didn't apparently tell Ash about Pikachu burning her bike with an electric attack (she will later do in DP038).
- Dawn feels Ash does not respect or acknowledge her, and both argue with one another throughout most of the episode. Hoping that in doing so Ash will come to recognize her abilities as a Trainer, Dawn challenges Nando to a battle. In the end, after Nando manages to explain to them that their argument is baseless, Ash and Dawn exchange apologies, thereby strengthening their new friendship.
- During a particularly bad hair day, Dawn becomes self-conscious and refuses to let Ash or Brock see her until after Piplup is able to address the issue with BubbleBeam. Her problem remedied, Dawn next asks a hygiene-illiterate Ash if he would like his hair done too.
- Dawn comments on how awesome Ash looks when making his appeal in the Jubilife Contest. Later, while running to the stage to perform her own exhibition, she meets Ash and the two exchange their first high-five (even if looks like Ash started to raise his hand first). Noticeably the scene where they clap their hands is slowed and has a full-white background; also, in the japanese version there's no background music and the sound of the hands meeting is very loud.
Dawn in the cheerleading outfit she wore to cheer for Ash
- When Ash starts a new training with the Pokémon he used in the first battle against Roark, Dawn offers him to use her Piplup for the battle, since it's a Water-type Pokémon (however, Ash refuses, saying that he wants to use the same team). Later, just as Aerodactyl is about to severely injure Ash and Pikachu with its Hyper Beam, Piplup and Buneary used Bubblebeam and Ice Beam, respectively, to stop the attack. Dawn rushes over with her Pokémon and specifically asks Ash if he is okay.
- Dawn dons a cheerleading outfit while she and her Pokémon cheer for Ash. Ash is thus able to find find the confidence necessary to winning his first gym badge in Sinnoh. Neither Misty, May, nor Iris ever went to such lengths in any of Ash's battles, instead choosing to more passively sit on the sidelines when cheering. Dawn reprises her role as Ash's cheerleader twice over series' run.
- After Dawn has won her first Pokémon Contest, she exchanges the second high-five with Ash.
- When the gang meets the Champ Twins and they ask for a double battle, Dawn offers herself as Ash's partner for the tag battle, insisting even Ash is unsure because she's a bit unexperienced. After they lost the first battle they continuely argue, stopping when they see that also Piplup and Turtwig were quarreling for the battle. Dawn is the first of the two to apologize. When they win the rematch, they have a double high-five.
- Dawn tells Ash she doesn't mind of Ash burning her bike before the beginning of their journey, because it was a warning situation and they had Team Rocket following them.
- Dawn has just lost the HeartHome Contest, but Ash has bought her a ticket for the HeartHome tag tournament. After having some doubts, she acceptes Ash's inviting, getting temporarily over her sadness for the loss, probably because Ash insisted.
- Dawn witnesses Ash leaving to train with his Pokémon and follows out of curiosity. Later, Dawn finds herself inspired by Ash's training, but, reflecting upon her recent Contest failure, suddenly begins crying. Ash, upon noticing Dawn's tears, asks whether she is okay and whether she has something in her eyes, the latter inquiry an (albeit faulty) assumption to which Dawn quickly agrees. Eager to avoid the possibility of having him worry over her, Dawn immediately follows this exchange with an invitation to snack on ice cream. A hungry and clueless Ash eagerly accepts.
- Dawn attempts to convince Maylene to take up Gym Leading again, perhaps finding herself able to relate with the Gym Leader's confidence issues. Dawn admits to Maylene that she wonders if her Contests are holding Ash back, suggesting the possibility that she may worry for his success almost as much as she worries for her own.
- For the second time, Dawn cheers for Ash and his Pokémon in her cheerleading outfit. She even goes so far as to include some dancing, and also continues to cheer while it's raining.
- Ash asserts that his victory over Maylene owes to the training Dawn undertook with Buizel when it was still in her possession. Dawn quickly blushes and responds somewhat sheepishly, "Well, let's just say that I was going to do anything I could to see an awesome Gym Battle between Ash and Maylene!"
- At the episode's start Dawn comments on how Ash does very well in training his Pokémon and notes that "Ash is incredible!"
- Dawn seems impressed while watching Ash's performance in the Wallace Cup. Later, she meets Ash in the hallway while going to the stage and, very similarly to the DP011's scene, she has a high-five with Ash.
- Dawn is proud of Ash because he and Buizel, by turning the opponent's Ice Beam against it, successfully pulled off the Aqua Jet-Ice Beam combination, "Ice Aqua Jet." Dawn had previously attempted to perform this combination with Buizel in A Stand-Up Sit-Down!.
- Ash tries to restrain his Blaze induced raging Chimchar and his Pokémon bites him on his right shoulder. Dawn attempts to run to Ash's side, but is blocked by Brock. She protests to Brock that Ash needs help, but Brock tells Dawn to let Ash handle Chimchar.
- In another scene, Dawn becomes so frightened by the numerous advancing Croagunk that she clutches Ash's arm and hides behind him.
- Dawn tells Monica that Ash "won an amazing victory at the Pastoria Gym" and how she admires all of his success as a trainer.
- When Byron's Gym assistant exclaims that Byron has the upper hand during Ash and Byron's gym battle, Dawn angrily objects, "I am telling you you're wrong! Ash is going to win it for sure!" thereby revealing how confident she is in Ash's abilities.
- When Ash asks Dawn which Pokémon she will use in the upcoming Pokémon Contest, Dawn responds with a wink, slyly asking him, "Well who do you think I would use?"
- Dawn states that she wants to enter Ambipom in the Sandalstraw Contest so that it might win for both her and Ash.
- Ash, upset over his Pokémon team's injuries, runs off. Dawn, concerned, attempts to follow but is stopped by Brock. Nevertheless, Dawn later puts on a complex show for Ash, trying hard to improve Ash's mood and self-confidence. While Ash is initially oblivious to the Dawn's motivations, Nurse Joy soon informs him that Dawn went through so much trouble solely on behalf of him and his Pokémon.
- When Ash, Dawn, Brock, Khoury, and Lyra are trapped in a storage room at the Valley Windworks, Lyra asks Dawn if Ash is her boyfriend. Dawn quickly denies this, expressing not only bewilderment but shock and defensiveness as well. Lyra nevertheless continues drilling Dawn on the subject, pointing out what she believes constitute Ash's strong points. Dawn appears to ponder some of Lyra's statements, perhaps realizing that Lyra has put him in a light she hadn't contemplated before.
- After Ash falls into a Trapinch's Arena Trap, Dawn becomes worried and scolds him for endangering himself. While the two argue, Lyra looks on and thinks to herself how nice it is that both Ash and Dawn care for one another as much as they do. Later, Dawn is once again startled by Lyra's talk of romance, although this time Lyra discusses the possibility of dating Khoury herself.
- During the night, while Ash is training Gliscor for the Air Battles, Dawn wakes up and reaches him, giving him some shredded tin foils she prepared to help them in the training. Apparently, Ash never asked her to do that, so she projected the thing herself. She also spends the whole night outside with Ash (they're seen to stop training at the sunrise).
- When Ash gives Dawn a cup of hot milk after her fainting, she seems surprised, and gently smiles at him telling it's been a very nice gesture from him. Probably, because of Ash's usual denseness, Dawn didn't expect him to be that tender with her. She thanks Ash, but doesn't say anything to Brock also when Ash tells her it's been Brock's idea. Later in the episode, after the appeal round, she has a high-five with Ash.
- After the conclusion of the Grand Festival, Zoey asks Dawn if she would like to accompany her back to Snowpoint City. Dawn declines, saying she has something to do. Zoey assumes that this "something" is cheering for Ash in his upcoming battles, an assumption that Dawn soon confirms is correct.
- Dawn again cheers for Ash and his Pokémon in her cheerleading costume for the third time.
- Kenny invites Dawn to a journey together, but she's unsure about her future; she tells Jasmine that the only thing she's sure of is that she wants to support Ash during the Sinnoh League, without knowing what to do after that. When Ash and Kenny are battling, Dawn is supporting Ash as she used to do in every battle, and she looks sad when Kenny wins. Later, even if Kenny insisted, Dawn decided to stay, at least temporarily, still with Ash at the Sinnoh League. However in the last episode she will tell Ash she wants to come to Kanto with him, indicating that maybe she had already made that decision after the Ash-Kenny's battle.
- When Ash and Paul find Dawn and Paul walking together, Dawn looks awkward for a moment, and then runs to Ash's side as if embarrassed to be caught by Ash talking with another boy.
- As Ash and Brock prepare leave the Sinnoh region, Dawn initially proclaims that she would like to accompany Ash to his hometown in Kanto now that her Contest run has concluded. This plan is quickly derailed, however, when an opportunity for Buneary in Sinnoh presents itself. Near the episode's conclusion, as Ash and Brock walk away, Dawn calls out for Ash one last time, prompting a startled Ash to turn around and see her right arm raised high above her head. The two high-five for the last time ((in the DP series) this seems to be the first time that's Dawn "asking" for the high-five). The camera pans down to show Pikachu and Piplup high-five and then hug one another. Dawn begins to cry as the boat departs but, upon hearing Ash yell words of encouragement, regains composure, quickly running after the boat and waving alongside a tearful Piplup.
- When Ash enters Cynthia's villa in Undella Town, Dawn playfully hides behind him while giggling when he cannot find her. She then surprises him with her appearance.
- Dawn begins to mimic Iris in calling Ash a kid in order to tease him. When Iris and Dawn get separated from Ash and Cilan, Dawn seems worried about Ash.
- Just like Dawn, after Nando told them that their arguing was baseless, Ash apologizes to Dawn, saying he hasn't been very nice with her.
- After his performance Ash meets Dawn in the hallway, and wishes her good luck giving her their first high-five.
- Dawn dresses in a cheerleading outfit and cheers for Ash. Ash notices this and, with a grin on his face, remarks, "Gee, thanks Dawn."
- Ash calms Dawn's nerves after she makes what she thought had been a bad appeal and consoles her through the use of Dawn's frequent catchphrase, "No need to worry!" (Japanese: "Daijōbu!"). While doing so, Ash expresses an encouraging look.
- After Paul tells Ash that he has not seen either Brock or Dawn, Ash wonders if his friends have gotten lost in the maze. He then imagines Dawn yelling, "No need to worry!" while being binded by an Onix and immediately yells out, "That's when I worry the most!" In the original Japanese episode, Hikari/Dawn yells painfully, "I'm all right! I'm all right!" while Satoshi wryly says "You're not all right at all!" He quickly tells Pikachu that they need to go find everyone.
- Ash enrolls Dawn in the Hearthome Tag Battle Tournament in an effort to cheer her up following a recent Contest loss. Informed of this, Dawn objects on the basis that she won't do well, but Ash counters with his belief that she will do great and asks her to simply try her best. Dawn agrees, and Ash, with a big grin on his face, raises his hand to to give her a high-five.
Ash showing emotion over Dawn's second Contest loss
- Ash is deeply saddened when Dawn loses in the appeal round for the second time. After the loss, "Jessilina" walks up to her and tells her to leave. Dawn refuses, telling "Jessilina" that she wants to stay, while the camera focuses on Dawn's slightly shaking fist. The camera then cuts to Ash's face. The brown in Ash's eyes can be seen; this usually happens only when Ash is very upset. Ash lowers his head and hides his eyes behind his hat.
- Ash credits the training Buizel underwent with Dawn while still in her possession for his recent earning of a badge from Maylene. Dawn blushes and replies, "Thanks, but it was all worth it to see an amazing battle between you and Maylene, Ash." Ash smiles widely at her.
- Ash asks Dawn to dance during the Croagunk Festival.
- Ash and Dawn climb onto Team Rocket's robot, but Ash falls off. As he does so, Ash yells Dawn's name twice, once while falling and again after losing sight of her.
- Dawn infuriates Ash by suggesting that Ash treat his Pokémon as Gary does. Some PearlShippers consider that to be jealousy over Dawn's supposed feelings for Gary.
- Dawn becomes frustrated while designing outfits for the collection. Ash assures her that all of her designs are good and tells her to just do her best.
- When Brock comments on how great Conway is with his Venonat, Ash begins to worry and yells, "'Kay Dawn, hang in there!" Later, Ash is happy to see Dawn win the prize for being closest to her Pokémon.
- Dawn's Piloswine, hungry for more Poffins, charges her. Ash quickly responds, saving her from injury by placing his arm around her waist and pushing her to safety.
- Ursula insults Dawn, angering her. Dawn prepares a retort but Ash beats her to the punch, yelling to Ursula that Dawn is a much better Coordinator and Trainer than she is.
- Ash discovers that Dawn has fallen into the river and thus becomes worried. He continues to express concern over her well-being until she is found. Meanwhile, Brock does not show nearly as much concern.
- Dawn puts on a show for Ash and his Pokémon, but Ash does not know why. Nurse Joy informs him that it Dawn is trying to cheer up not only his Pokémon but him as well. Ash quickly gives Dawn a weird look as if to say, "Is this true?" Dawn responds with a smile and a wink and starts the show. Ash and his Pokémon enjoy themselves.
- When Lyra invites Dawn to battle with her Chikorita, Ash exclaims, "Yeah, go Dawn!" and pushes her to the podium by the shoulder.
- Lyra tries to play matchmaker with Dawn and Khoury as the target couple. Later, Ash and friends are separated by a flock of Zubat while exploring a cave. Dawn is shown alone and scared with her Piplup, but, soon after, Ash is shown running up to her and calling out her name.
- In this episode, Ash states Dawn is awesome and "number one."
- In this episode, Ash is seen giving Dawn many kind gestures. First, after Dawn faints, Ash gives her some warm milk to make her feel better—though it is revealed Brock told Ash to go get it—and comments on how worried he is about her well-being. These kind words touch Dawn, prompting her to note that he is being really, almost uncharacteristically, nice to her. Later, during the Contest, Brock worries aloud that Dawn's performance might not go well; Ash objects and tells Brock that he thinks Dawn will be fine. Finally, after the first round of the Contest, Ash runs into the contestant area (Brock behind), telling Dawn that she was awesome and complimenting her Pokémon pair. Dawn is touched and she and Ash high-five. At the episode's end, Ursula comments on how close Ash and Dawn have become.
- Dawn tries on a princess outfit leaving Ash with a visibly stunned face (though some say it's because she looks so much like Princess Salvia). Ash praises Dawn, commenting that the dress looks good on her.
Ash and Dawn's final high-five
- Throughout the episode, Ash was constantly joking around with Dawn. Some PearlShippers think that this was his way of making the goodbye not as heartbreaking. At the beginning of the episode, Ash tells Dawn's mother that traveling with Dawn was a lot of fun and that he enjoyed her around. At the end of the episode, Ash becomes worried about Dawn when she was crying as he left so he yells her catchphrase and cheers her up.
- In this episode, Ash challenges Dawn to battle. At the end of the episode, Dawn's Piplup and Ash's Oshawott bid a teary farewell. Both Professor Oak and Brock have stated that Pokémon represent the feelings of their Trainers.
- Unlike Misty, May, and Iris, Dawn asks in a straightforward manner to come along with Ash in When Pokémon Worlds Collide! rather than coming up with some reason to hide her intentions. In return, Ash accepts her request. While Ash felt some obligation to Misty and May due to Pikachu ruining their bikes, Iris invited herself.
- Since Mounting a Coordinator Assault!, Ash and Dawn are often seen exchanging high-fives whenever one of them accomplishes something, which might possibly portray a special friendship.
- Ash and Dawn are the only main characters to trade Pokémon with each other: Ash's Aipom for Dawn's Buizel. This may symbolize they highly trust in themselves.
- Dawn's Buneary has a crush on Ash's Pikachu. This could be a sign that Dawn may have a crush on Ash, since Professor Oak and Brock have said in the past that Pokémon represent the feelings of their masters and when two Pokémon fall in love, there is a good chance the Trainers will too. It is to be pointed out that Buneary developed this crush before Dawn caught it. The claim has also been refuted at various points during the series, so the feelings of the Pokémon are not always definitive to the feelings of the Trainers.
- Ash has watched all of Dawn's Contests. He did not do this with May because he would sometimes be training his Pokémon instead of watching her.
- Dawn is the source of some of the moves and strategies used in battle by Ash, which include Ice Aqua Jet & Spin. Ash watching Dawn's Contest may (in part) be so he can learn new things to apply in battle, though some say this is because of advice given to him by others.
- One of the movie posters for Giratina and the Sky Warrior depicts Pikachu and Piplup sitting on Ash's and Dawn's heads, respectively. Some fans have pointed out that the distance portrayed between Dawn and Ash is very small. However, other fans point out how Ash's hair, which can usually be seen from the sides of his hat, is not present. This may mean the Trainers are not really wearing their hats.
- The opening is sung by Ash and Dawn. The lyrics show how close their friendship is to each other and their Pokémon. But, mainly to each other.
- While Dawn battled a revived Aerodactyl, Ash is fascinated with Piplup and Buneary's new dodging tactic that he asks Dawn to help him practice for his rematch. He then has Pikachu, Aipom, and Turtwig use them in O'er the Rampardos We Watched in his rematch with Roark, again in Getting the Pre-Contest Titters in his match against Kenny, and a few other times since, the tactic becoming a regular (if not frequent) feature in Ash's strategy.
- When Ash and Dawn were in the submarine, they saw a school of Luvdisc. Some PearlShippers consider this a hint because Luvdisc's Pokédex entry says if two people see a school of Luvdisc, they will be blessed with eternal love (however, there's been long-debated discrepancies about how much the anime and the game are relatable, and should not be taken at face value. Also, AdvanceShippers have a similar hint from the ninth movie).
- When Darkrai first appears in front of Ash and company, Dawn runs over to Ash's side. Several other scenes feature Dawn reacting to Ash's predicaments: when Ash is about to fall off the tower, Dawn rushes over to save him. When Ash saves her from falling of the platform, Dawn looks at him with a thankful expression on her face and is holding his hand. And when Ash begins to cry, believing he lost Darkrai, Dawn looks at him with a worried expression and begins to cry as well.
- When Ash tries to defeat Marcus, he has trouble beating Heatran and Bronzong. As soon as they both attack Pikachu, Dawn and her Piplup protect Ash and Pikachu, and help him fight. During this time, Brock is not with Dawn and Ash but with Sheena and Damos.
- When Ash became electrocuted, Dawn right away comes to his side to comfort him and make sure he is okay.
- When both Ash and Dawn are falling off the tower together, Ash holds Dawn tight so that she doesn't fall.
- When Dawn gets sucked into the Reverse World, Ash yells "Dawn!" and runs after Dawn into the portal. Brock, for some reason, does not follow Ash's lead.
Other movie hints
- Throughout most promotional posters of Diamond & Pearl movies, Brock seemed to be excluded, leaving only Ash and Dawn in them.
- Both Ash and Dawn have owned Pokémon that refused to obey them at one point (Ash's Pikachu, Charizard, and Primeape, and Dawn's Buizel and Mamoswine).
- Both also have a Pokémon they caught in its earliest form, which began to disobey them after evolving once, and then evolved again rather quickly. Eventually, both Pokémon started obeying their Trainers (however, it took Ash's Charizard longer to obey than Dawn's Mamoswine).
- They both released the second Pokémon they caught: Ash released Pidgeot and Dawn released Pachirisu. However, Dawn recaptured Pachirisu and Ash said he would come back for Pidgeot (though he has yet to do so).
- In Doc Brock!, Pachirisu becomes ill from having too much electricity, which also happened to Ash's Pikachu between Hoenn Alone! and Get the Show on the Road!.
- Just like Ash's Bulbasaur, Dawn's Piplup stopped evolving in the middle of the evolution process.
- Both own a Quilava.
- Both released a fully evolved Pokémon from their current team for training during the the Diamond and Pearl saga.
- Both are part of a two-evolution family and their base forms relate to Generation II.
- In Camping It Up!, Dawn rented an affectionate Grimer whose behavior is similar to that of Ash's Muk.
- In Get your Rotom Running, while communicating with Professor Oak, Grotle and Piloswine tackle Ash and Dawn down with affection.
- These two are newly evolved Stage 2 Pokémon.
- Both Ash and Dawn have a primate Pokémon in training. Ash's Primeape is training for the Pokémon Grand Prix, while Dawn's Ambipom is in training for Pokémon Ping-Pong.
- Dawn and Ash both owned a Cyndaquil that knew Flame Wheel, SmokeScreen, Swift, and Flamethrower. Both of their Cyndaquil evolved into Quilava and learned Eruption right after their evolutions.
- Both Ash's Oshawott and Dawn's Piplup fell for Meleotta in Piplup, Pansage, and a Meeting of the Times!.
- AADL - occasionally used, standing for Ash And Dawn Love
- ShinouShipping (please note that this name conflicts with FortuneShipping, the pairing of Lucas and Dawn in the games, also referred to as ShinouShipping)
- Sakari - also occasionally seen, a name taken from Satoshi and Hikari
- SatoHika - often used, this name is taken from Satoshi and Hikari