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Pokémon Master

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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."

Theories

175Togepi.png 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 Pokémon Master. This theory may have some backing in Lance's calling of the player in Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, and LeafGreen a Pokémon Master upon his defeat, before making an addendum to said claim; revealing that there is yet another to be fought. Yet (at least in the context of the anime) it seems as if this may not be the case, for Ash Ketchum emerged as the victor of the Orange League and did not appear to attain any such title or position to anyone's knowledge. It should also be noted that Pokémon League Champions haven't actually ever been specifically referred to as Pokémon Masters in either battle or dialogue (whether in the games or in the anime). It is, however, alternatively possible that the title of "Pokémon Master" may simply refer to one who has officially defeated all members of an Elite Four at some point in time (in contrast to one who is currently the reigning Champion). This may be supported by both the fact that Lance never outright redacts his claim that the player is a Pokémon Master in Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, and LeafGreen, he only states that the player's rival is the true Champion, and also by the fact that Ash Ketchum has never defeated all members of a single Elite Four at any point in time.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Ash states that if he became a Champion Master, he could finally become a Pokémon Master.
  • In The Legend of Thunder!, Marina called Lance a great Pokémon Master.
  • In The Name's N!, N shows displeasure in hearing that Ash dreams of becoming a Pokémon Master. This seems to indicate, or at least in N's point-of-view, that a Pokémon Master is someone who captures and battle Pokémon explicitly for the purpose of the trainer's own glorification. Thus the Pokémon are exploited, objectized and kept as trophies, stripping them of their freedom and freewill, which is something N is strongly opposed to.