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This article is about Ash's main and temporary traveling companions. If you were looking for a general list of people Ash has met on his journey, see Character of the day.
Ash's friends are the traveling companions that Ash Ketchum has had with him on his journey on his quest to become a Pokémon Master. While he started his journey alone, many people have joined his party while touring the Pokémon world; usually at least one new companion joins—and another leaves—every time a new region is visited.
Johto is the only region where Ash did not acquire a new friend that would travel with him, excluding Brock, who came back after his absence, and Todd Snap and Ritchie, who both traveled with him temporarily.
- Main article: Misty (anime)
Misty joined Ash in Pokémon Emergency!, traveling with him because she wanted him to replace her bike, which was destroyed by his Pikachu. She would continuously travel with him until Gotta Catch Ya Later!, when she returned to Cerulean City nearly full-time to lead her family's Gym, though she briefly traveled to Hoenn and met up with Ash's Advanced Generation group, and again to "escort" her back home.
- Main article: Brock (anime)
Brock first joined Ash in Showdown in Pewter City after Ash battled him in the Pewter City Gym. After his father Flint offered to take over the duties of Gym Leader, Brock followed Ash through Kanto, leaving briefly from Poké Ball Peril to A Tent Situation to work for Professor Ivy. After this episode, Brock returned to be with Ash and Misty until Gotta Catch Ya Later!, though he, unlike Misty, would return shortly, in You Can Never Taillow, sticking with Ash until the end of the series. He would again return in Two Degrees of Separation!, and so traveled through Sinnoh with Ash until Memories are Made of Bliss!.
- Main article: Tracey Sketchit
After Brock left to work for Professor Ivy, Ash's traveling group was down to two, as it had been for the first five episodes of Kanto. However, this would not last very long, as in The Lost Lapras, Tracey essentially invited himself along for the rest of the Orange Islands saga. Traveling with Ash, he wished to attain his ultimate goal of meeting Professor Oak, which he did when Ash returned to Kanto in A Tents Situation. After this, he remained in Pallet Town to be Professor Oak's assistant.
- Main article: May (anime)
Ash may have traveled to Hoenn alone; however, shortly after his arrival, he met May, a young girl who desired to travel around the world and a fellow Trainer who was just starting her journey, and then ended up destroying her bike just like that of Misty. Though she initially did not care for Pokémon battles, she eventually found Pokémon Contests, in which she competed while in Hoenn and then later in Kanto. May traveled with Ash through the entire Advanced Generation saga, from Get the Show on the Road to Home is Where the Start Is!, after which she went off to Johto to compete in Contests there. She, like Misty, reappeared briefly during the Diamond & Pearl series to compete in the Wallace Cup.
- Main article: Max
Max is May's younger brother. He does not have any Pokémon of his own because he is too young, but he often befriends certain Pokémon. He traveled with the group from There's no Place Like Hoenn until Home is Where the Start Is, when he went home to Petalburg City. However, he made a promise to Ash that as soon as he got his own Pokémon, he would battle Ash.
- Main article: Dawn (anime)
Like his journey into Hoenn, Ash ventured to Sinnoh alone, where, in When Pokémon Worlds Collide!, he would meet Dawn. From that point, after saving Ash's Pikachu and having her bike fried in a similar way to May's and Misty's, Dawn would travel with Ash and Brock through Sinnoh, which she did until Memories are Made of Bliss! when all three friends split up.
Dawn rejoins Ash's group in the Best Wishes series in Piplup, Pansage, and a Meeting of the Times! to compete in the Pokémon World Tournament Junior Cup. Dawn would leave the group in Goodbye, Junior Cup - Hello Adventure! and travel to Johto to compete in the Wallace Cup.
- Main article: Iris (anime)
Iris is said to be a wild girl, as proven by the fact that she swings on vines. She decided to travel throughout Unova with Ash.
- Main article: Cilan (anime)
Cilan, a Pokémon Connoisseur and one of the Gym Leaders of the Striaton City Gym, travels with Ash and Iris in their journey through Unova.
Temporary traveling companions
- Main article: Todd Snap
Todd Snap accompanied Ash, Misty, and Brock from Pokémon Paparazzi to The Breeding Center Secret. He later meets up with Ash again in Moving Pictures during his journey through Johto, trying to take a photograph of the legendary Articuno. They meet an elderly couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and Todd has the honor of taking their anniversary photo for them. Later on, in Freeze Frame Todd finally finds Articuno and manages to get a photograph of it. He then departs from the group once more.
- Main article: Ritchie
Ritchie accompanied Ash, Misty, and Brock from The Mystery is History to A Promise is a Promise while he was searching for a mysterious Pokémon that can be found in the Whirl Islands, which turned out to be a Lugia.
- Main article: Professor Birch
Professor Birch accompanied Ash, Brock, May, and Max as they traveled through the forests of Dewford.
- Main article: Cheryl
Cheryl accompanied Ash, Brock, and Dawn through the Eterna Forest.
- Main article: Barry (anime)
Barry accompanied Ash, Brock, and Dawn while Ash was trying to earn the Relic Badge.
- Main article: Lyra (anime)
Lyra met Ash, Dawn, and Brock during the Johto Festival in An Egg Scramble!. She and Khoury accompanied them to Lilypad Town and left the group in Bagged then Tagged! when she returned to Johto.
- Main article: Khoury
Khoury met Ash, Dawn, and Brock during the Johto Festival when Lyra introduced them in An Egg Scramble!. He and Lyra accompanied them to Lilypad Town and left the group in Bagged then Tagged! when he returned to Johto.
- Main article: Bianca (anime)
Bianca first met Ash in Minccino Neat And Tidy where she gave him his Badge case from Professor Juniper. She later accompanies him, Iris, and Cilan for a short time on their way to Nimbasa City. However, upon hearing that Ash had three Badges, she was inspired to catch up to him and left to collect Badges on her own. Since then, Bianca has temporarily joined the group numerous times during their journey.
- Main article: Luke
Luke first met Ash, Iris, and Cilan in his hometown where they helped him produce a movie. He later accompanies them to Nimbasa Town where he stays with them during the Club Battle tournament before heading back home at the end of The Club Battle Finale: A Heroes Outcome!.
- Main article: Meowth (Team Rocket)
After reportedly being disbanded from Team Rocket, Meowth was found unconscious by Ash's Tepig and Iris's Axew. The group nursed him back to health and invited him to accompany them so as to protect him from Trainers wanting to capture the only talking Meowth in Unova. He used his ability to speak to humans and Pokémon many times during their travels together.
He later revealed their travels to be a facade to gain their trust for a mission, and reunited with Jessie and James in Crisis from the Underground Up!.
- Main article: Stephan
Stephen decided to travel with Ash and co. in Climbing the Tower of Success! after taking part in a competition with them. He left the group after winning the Clubsplosion tournament.
- Main article: Meloetta (anime)
- Main article: Cameron
After Dawn left the group after the Junior Tournament, Cameron decided to join Ash, Iris, and Cilan. He left the group after he won his eighth and final Badge against Marlon.
- Main article: N (anime)
After meeting with Ash and the others again in Saving Braviary, he began traveling with them. After an encounter with Team Plasma, N was forced to leave the group.
- Each of Ash's main female friends make temporary returns, but only during the series following their departure.