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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 (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!."
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.
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.
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.
During his battles in the Suzuran Conference, he managed to advance to the Top 4, during which time he defeated his long-time Sinnoh rival Paul, and fought against Takuto, becoming the only Trainer to defeat his Darkrai. Though he lost later on in the battle, he seems to be okay with losing, as he has become closer to his Pokémon than ever before.
Ash is now currently in his venture to Isshu, bringing along only his Pikachu as he did in Hoenn.
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, and that 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.
This section is based on the Pokémon with Ash in the most recent episode to air in Japan.
With Professor Oak
Pokémon League ranking
Ash placed in the Pokémon League competitions listed below.
Pokémon Championship battles
Ash challenged the following Pokémon championships as well:
Ash has also participated in the following competitions:
In the manga
In the Ash and Pikachu manga
Ash is a starring character 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.
- 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 Magical Pokémon Journey manga
Ash, along with Misty and Brock, make cameo appearances in bonus chapters of the Magical Pokémon Journey manga. In the bonus chapters, Ash and co. have mistakenly wandered into the world Magical Pokémon Journey is set in. The bonus chapters chronicle their attempts to return to their own world (of the anime) and their encounters with various aspects of the Magical Pokémon Journey canon which differ from the anime's canon (such as the use of Poké Balls).
In the TCG
This listing is of cards mentioning or featuring Ash or his Pokémon in the Pokémon Trading Card Game.
Ash after catching a Pokémon
- Ash typically catches similar teams in each region he travels through.
- Ash's teams often feature the starter Pokémon of each region. In both the Kanto and Johto story arcs, Ash managed to capture all three of the starter Pokémon for both regions.
- Up until the Best Wishes series, he had caught each generation's Template:Type2 starter Pokémon: Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Treecko and Turtwig.
- He also caught the three Template:Type2 starter Pokémon whose English names begin with a 'C' and whose Japanese names begin with a 'ヒ' hi: Charmander (Hitokage), Cyndaquil (Hinoarashi), and Chimchar (Hikozaru).
- He always catches each region's local bird-like Pokémon: Pidgeotto in Kanto, Noctowl in Johto, Taillow in Hoenn, Starly in Sinnoh, and Mamepato in Isshu. Thus far, Ash has evolved each species to its final form, except for Mamepato, which was only captured recently.
- Ash has two fully-evolved Template:Type2 starter Pokémon (Sceptile and Torterra) and two fully-evolved Template:Type2 starter Pokémon (Charizard and Infernape). None of his Template:Type2 starter Pokémon have evolved at all, or even indicated their desire to.
- He has captured, befriended, used, or otherwise had under his command at least one Pokémon of every type except for Template:Type2 and Template:Type2.
- As of the thirteenth movie, Ash has encountered every legendary Pokémon from the first four generations at least once.
- Ash has only caught Pokémon when he does not have a full party of six with one exception: his capture of Krabby.
- 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.
- Ash has several Pokémon in common with Diamond & Pearl series 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.
- 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 battled four legendary Pokémon. He has defeated two of these.
- 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.
- 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 three times. 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. This name would later be given to a recurring character from Johto.
- In Ash's Isshu design, his eye irises are larger to match most other people in the anime, like artwork of Red from Generation III.
- Besides clothing, this is Ash's first physical change since his debut in EP001.
|| サトシ Satoshi
|| Can be taken to mean 智 (wisdom; reason); named after Satoshi Tajiri.
|| 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.
|| Sacha Ketchum
|| Similar to Ash.
| 지 is from 智 satoshi. Alternatively, 지우 can mean "close friend".
| 智 is from 智 satoshi. Can mean "young wisdom"*.
| Same as Mandarin name.
| Based on Japanese name.
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