Ash Ketchum

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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.
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Ash Ketchum
サトシ Satoshi
Art from Diamond/Pearl anime
Age 10 (as of debut)
Gender Male
Eye color Brown
Hair color Black
Hometown Pallet Town
Region Kanto
Relatives Delia, Unknown father (EP002), Unknown grandfather (EP002) (Japanese only) (anime)
Mom (manga)
Trainer class Trainer
Game counterpart Red
Anime debut Pokémon - I Choose You!
English voice actor Veronica Taylor (4Kids)
Sarah Natochenny (TPCi)
Japanese voice actor Rica Matsumoto

Ash Ketchum (Japanese: サトシ Satoshi) is the main character of both the Pokémon anime and the manga The Electric Tale of Pikachu. Ash is apparently based on the main character of Pokémon Red and Blue Versions, Red. He shares his name with the creator of the Pokémon franchise, Satoshi Tajiri. His Japanese name can be taken to mean "wisdom" or "reason" (智). His English last name is a pun on the original English Pokémon motto, "Gotta Catch 'em All!".

201 Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details. 201

In the anime


Ash's main goal in life, as described in the first episode, Pokémon - I Choose You!, 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 and unskilled Pokémon Trainer. He was forced to accept the irreverent 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 he showed his willingness to give up his own safety to keep Pikachu safe, he formed a strong bond of friendship with his Pokémon which would set his course for the future.

However, from that point, Ash still had a lot to learn about becoming a Trainer. He caught his first Pokémon by luck, knew nothing about Pokémon battle, and showed a reluctance to admit when he was wrong. Many of his first Gym badges were given to him merely out of gratitude for his assistance rather than claiming a 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, who 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, with matters being further hampered when his Charizard, his most powerful Pokémon, refused to listen to him due to his inexperience until he had proven himself to the powerful Fire-type.

Ash's dedication to his goal paid off over time, and after earning his first eight badges, he competed in the Indigo League, and advanced further in the rounds than Gary, making it to Round Five while Gary lost his fourth round. After recovering from his defeat, he continued on to improve his skill, 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 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 and learning 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, and defeated Gary's Blastoise with his Charizard by causing the field to overheat and have Charizard mount a close-range attack while Blastoise was blinded by the steam. He also prefers to train a Pokémon to be the best it can without making it evolve, and he is hesitant to let his Pokémon evolve to get stronger, as evidenced by his treatment of Gligar in Fighting Fear With Fear!.

Additionally, during the first season of the series, Ash originally trained not to further himself but instead to catch more Pokémon than his rival, 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, as 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.

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 using Aura inside the Tree of Beginning.

Ash apparently has a close connection with Legendary Pokémon, especially Ho-Oh, Lugia, Latias and Shaymin. 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. 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. However, these were one time deals, as Riolu had an unnaturally powerful aura.

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 also carries around a broken Poké Ball, of which the other half belongs to Gary and is a symbol of their ongoing, but now friendly, rivalry, as well as Misty's special lure, which she sent to him as a gift, and also half of a ribbon he received in a contest against May before she left the group to compete in Johto.


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 that began his journey in Pallet Town, but it is unclear whether he is still living. There has been much discussion in the fandom as to the identity of Ash's father, though the writers have chosen to not focus on this aspect of Ash's life. Common characters put forward by fans for the role are Giovanni, Professor Oak and Silver.

An interview with the series' storyboarder confirmed Ash's father is a Trainer on his own journey. According the same storyboarder, Ash's father may or may not be introduced at the series, depending 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's run. His philosophy on training is that Pokémon are individuals and that a combination of trust, friendship and hard work are needed to overcome the toughest of challenges. He seems to battle best with Pokémon that are similar to Pikachu: ones that are speedy and maneuverable, yet able to preform high-powered attacks, but he is willing to work with any Pokémon that comes into his care. Ash tends to battle in a fairly unorthodox manner as well, and his Pokémon often reflect this.

On hand

Starly → Staravia → Staraptor
Turtwig → Grotle
Gligar → Gliscor

With Professor Oak

Krabby → Kingler



Chikorita → Bayleef


164 s.png
File:Ash's Phanpy Egg.png231.png232.png
Egg → Phanpy → Donphan
File:Ash's Treecko.pngFile:Ash's Grovyle.pngFile:Ash's Sceptile2.png
Treecko → Grovyle → Sceptile
Taillow → Swellow
Snorunt → Glalie

In training

File:Ash's Squirtle2.png
Charmander → Charmeleon → Charizard


010.png011.pngFile:Ash's Butterfree.png
Caterpie → Metapod → Butterfree
Pidgeotto → Pidgeot

Traded away

190 f.png
  • Raticate: Received from Gentleman for Butterfree; subsequently sent it back again.
  • Aipom: Traded to Dawn for Buizel

Given away

  • Beedrill: Caught Beedrill in the Bug-Catching Contest, but subsequently gave it to Casey due to his knowledge of her fondness for black-and-yellow-striped Pokémon.


File:Ash's Larvitar Egg.png246.png
  • Haunter: Never officially caught Haunter, but it accompanied him back to Saffron City to aid in his Gym battle against Sabrina before it decided to remain with her
  • Larvitar: Cared for Larvitar as an egg and took it home to its mother; he never caught it in a ball, but he did use it in battle on at least one occasion.



Badges obtained

Indigo League

Orange League

Johto League

Hoenn League

File:Ashs hoenn badges.jpg
Ash's eight badges from Hoenn.

Battle Frontier

Sinnoh League

Pokémon Competitions

Pokémon League ranking

Ash placed in the Pokémon League competitions listed below.

Pokémon Championship battles

Ash challenged the following Pokémon championships as well:

Miscellaneous Competitions

Ash has also participated in the following competitions:

Voice actors

In the manga

Template:Mangastub The manga version of Ash Ketchum is based on the anime version, but there are many differences after both versions took different directions. For example, while anime Ash is indifferent to romance or members of the opposite gender (or same gender, some may argue), manga Ash has a big crush on Gary's sister, May Oak. He's also prone to quickly falling in love like Brock, but to a much less extreme degree.


Caterpie → Metapod → Butterfree
Charmander → Charmeleon → Charizard

Traded away


Slowpoke (giant)
  • Mankey: Given away for a map, which turned out to be fake.
  • Giant Slowpoke: Given away to Gary for May Oak's photo

In the TCG

This listing is of cards mentioning or featuring Ash or his Pokémon in the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Name Type Level Rarity Set Set no.
Ash's Torkoal Fighting - - 7th Movie Half Deck (no English release) 9/19
Ash's Grovyle Grass - - 8th Movie Half Deck (no English release) 1/20
Ash's Phanpy Fighting - - 8th Movie Half Deck (no English release) 4/20
Ash's Swellow Colorless - - 8th Movie Half Deck (no English release) 7/20
Ash's Aipom Colorless - - 9th Movie Half Deck (no English release) 10/19
Ash's Treecko Grass - - "ADV-P" Promotional cards (no English release) 36/"ADV-P"



  • Ash has caught 49 different kinds of Pokémon, including evolutions and counting Larvitar, Seaking, Beedrill, Haunter, and Raticate, even though Larvitar and Haunter were not officially his, Beedrill was given away nearly immediately, and Seaking was released as part of contest rules. The original tagline for the dub was "Gotta Catch 'em All!", but Ash has only caught 9.74% of the current number of Pokémon. This line was eventually dropped in 2003, when he only had 8.03% of the then total of 386.
  • Ash has caught or received 64 different individual Pokémon, 30 of which are his Tauros.
  • Ash's first choice of a starter was Squirtle. Later, it is revealed that Gary was the Pallet Town trainer who chose Squirtle. Ash's second choice was Bulbasaur, while his third was Charmander.
  • Ash has captured each generation's Template:Type2 starter Pokémon: Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Treecko, and Turtwig..
  • Ash has captured one Template:Type2 Pokémon from each series region that players can encounter early in different games: Pidgeotto, Noctowl, Taillow, and Starly.
  • In both the Kanto and Johto story arcs, Ash managed to capture all three of the starter Pokémon for both regions. This trend was broken in the Advanced Generation series, where he only captured Treecko, while the other two were May's and Brock's.
  • Ash has the most Pokémon that know moves that they can't learn in the games: Caterpie with Counter (although it apparently failed to use the move); Charizard with Tackle; Bulbasaur with Tickle (debatable), Dig, and Whirlwind; Raticate with Hi Jump Kick; Staravia with Gust; and Larvitar with Harden.
  • Ash has three turtle-like Pokémon: Squirtle, Torkoal and Grotle. Each corresponds to one of the three elemental types of the starter Pokémon, though Torkoal isn't a starter itself.
  • Three of Ash's Pokémon were caught by him after first premiering in Pokémon movies: Donphan (Mewtwo Strikes Back), Aipom (Spell of the Unown), and Buizel (Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea).
  • The last Pokémon that Ash has captured in every region are a part of one-evolution families, namely Phanpy in Johto, Snorunt in Hoenn, Aipom in Kanto and Gligar in Sinnoh. If the Orange Archipelago is also included, Snorlax also falls in this category.
    • All of them, except Snorlax, were caught in their base forms and has eventually evolved to its final form.
  • All together, Ash has seen at least twenty-seven different species of legendary Pokémon, and at least ten of them multiple times.

Challenges/Gym related

  • So far, every time Ash becomes the champion of something, he then battles and gets defeated by Gary a few episodes later, before heading off to a new region. This has happened after his championing of the Orange League and the Kanto Battle Frontier, which were both "filler seasons" before the start of even-numbered generations.
  • 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.
  • So far, Ash always befriends someone shortly before the regional tournament. That person will beat Ash later on in the semifinals.
  • During his adventures in Kanto, the Orange Islands, and Johto, Ash pinned his badges to the inside of his jacket. From Hoenn onwards, they have been kept in some form of case.
  • The most badges Ash has ever gotten in the first thirty-five episodes were six badges in Kanto, which makes sense considering that Kanto was significantly shorter than any other saga (aside from the Orange Island saga and the Battle Frontier saga). In every other region thus far, he has only won two badges in the first thirty-five episodes.
  • Each time Ash successfully wins his eighth badge, all eight are stolen, though are soon after returned.
  • Discounting Koga, who was a Gym Leader at the time of Ash's battle against him, Ash has so far battled three Elite Four members, namely Prima, Drake and Agatha, losing to all three.
  • The most number of episodes that Ash has gone without obtaining a badge was the 31-episode gap between The Grass Menagerie! and A Triple Fighting Chance!.

Pokémon in relation to others


  • Though not as touched on anymore, a running gag in the English version of the series involved his mother making sure that Ash changed his underwear every single day.
  • The only girl Ash has even shown a confirmed interest is named Giselle whom appeared in The School of Hard Knocks.
File:Ash maid.jpg
Ash crossdressed for a third time.


Language Name Origin
Japanese サトシ Satoshi Can be taken to mean 智 (wisdom; reason); named after Satoshi Tajiri.
English Ash Ketchum Ketchum sounds similar to catch 'em. First name can be found in Japanese name, Satoshi. The Satoshi in the Japanese name also sounds like Ash. Also, Ash is a default name for Red in Pokémon Red and Blue.
French Sacha Ketchum Similar to Ash.
Korean 한지우 Han Jiu 지 is from 智 satoshi.
Chinese 小智 Xiǎo Zhì 智 is from 智 satoshi.

Related articles

External links

On Bulbagarden forums

Games: BlueLanceRedStevenWallaceCynthia
AlderIrisDianthaTraceLeonAll player characters
Anime: CaptainDrakeAsh KetchumLanceCynthia
Origins: BlueRed
Generations: BlueCynthiaDianthaCalem
Adventures: Professor OakRedSidneyPhoebe
EToP: DrakeAsh Ketchum
Zensho: ShigeruSatoshi
Other: Ronald*Rald*Glenn*

Indigo Plateau Conference: MandiPeteGaryJeanetteMelissaAshRitchieAssunta
Silver Conference: DarrenSalvadorJacksonMacyGaryAshHarrisonJon
Ever Grande Conference: JumpVivicaGilbertGavinDominickClarkJohnny
Lily of the Valley Conference: JeffreyNandoBarryConwayPaulAshTobias
Vertress Conference: RadleyMikaelUltimoKendrickTripBiancaEmmanuel
Lumiose Conference: TrevorTitusAstridTiernoRemoSawyerAshAlain
Manalo Conference: HirokiPikalaMr. ElectricMad MagmarRappZipp
TuppPlumeriaDJ LeoMaster fishermanOluoluKahili

Anime characters
Protagonists Ash KetchumPikachuMistyTogeticBrockTracey SketchitMayMaxDawnPiplupIrisAxewCilanSerenaClemontBonnieDedenneLanaKiaweLillieSophoclesMallowRotom PokédexKoharu
Rivals GaryRitchieHarrisonDrewHarleyMorrisonTysonSolidadPaulNandoZoeyKennyConwayBarryUrsulaTobiasTripBiancaBurgundyStephanGeorgiaCameronVirgilAriaAlainMietteTiernoShaunaTrevorNiniSawyerGladionHoracioHau
Antagonists JessieJamesMeowthWobbuffetGiovanniButchCassidyDr. NambaMatoriPierceDr. ZagerGozuTabithaMaxieShellyArchieHunter JSaturnCyrusMarsJupiterCharonColressAldithGhetsisBarretMalamarLysandreMableCelosiaAlianaXerosicBryonyTuppZippRappPlumeriaGuzmaViren
Professors Professor OakProfessor IvyProfessor ElmProfessor BirchProfessor RowanProfessor CarolinaProfessor JuniperDr. FennelCedric JuniperProfessor SycamoreProfessor KukuiProfessor BurnetProfessor Sakuragi
Relatives Delia KetchumDaisyVioletLilyJames's parentsNanny and Pop-PopFlintLolaForrestBrock's siblingsNormanCarolineJohannaChiliCressGraceMeyerLana's fatherLana's motherHarper and SarahRangoSimaMimoKiawe's grandfatherMohnLusamineGladionSophocles's parentsMolayneAbeMallow's motherUlu
Supporting Ho-OhOfficer JennyNurse JoyMagikarp salesmanJigglypuffTodd SnapCharles GoodshowCaseyGranbullLizaSakuraLanceLarvitarRaoul ContestaMr. SukizoStevenVivian MeridianRobertScottLilian MeridianSolanaMarianLake guardiansYuzoRhondaCynthiaReggieAngieLookerIzzy and CaraLyraKhouryDon GeorgeAlderLukeFreddy O'MartianIngoEmmetMeloettaJervisNAnthea and ConcordiaPorterAlexaSophieCosetteClembotSanpeiMairinAstridDianthaGurkinnMonsieur PierrePalermoKeananMalvaSquishyZ2Guardian deitiesBewearSamson OakAnelaToucannon's flockStoutlandHobbesNinaAnnaLakiOranguruDanaYansuLight trioWickeFabaUltra BeastsGrandpa ForestIlimaAcerolaDiaGym LeadersElite FourCoordinatorsFrontier BrainsPerformersIsland KahunasRecurring wild PokémonMany temporary characters