From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
- 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 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 Pikachu saw that he was willing to compromise his own safety to keep it safe he formed a strong bond of friendship with his Pokémon. This 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 battling, and was reluctant 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 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. 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 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 making it evolve, as evidenced by his treatment of Gligar in Fighting Fear With Fear!. At first, he was hesitant to let his Pokémon evolve to get stronger, but, as shown in the Advanced Generation series and Diamond & Pearl series, he has no problem at all in allowing his team members to reach their evolved forms, except for Pikachu.
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 apparently has a close connection with legendary Pokémon, especially Ho-Oh, Lugia, Latias, Azelf, Shaymin and Giratina. 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.
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 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.
With Professor Oak
- Raticate: Received from Gentleman for Butterfree; subsequently sent it back again.
- Aipom: Traded to Dawn for Buizel due to an interest in Pokémon Contests.
- 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.
- 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.
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
The manga version of Ash Ketchum featured in Electric Tale of Pikachu is based on the anime version, but there are many differences between the two. For example, while the anime version of Ash is indifferent to love, romance, or members of the opposite gender (or arguably, the same), the manga version of Ash has a huge crush on Gary's sister, May Oak. He's also prone to quickly falling in love just like Brock, but to a much more subtle or less extreme degree.
The Ash featured in this manga follows 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 Islands.
Ash's appearance is very different in the manga, too. Ash wears a red jacket much like Red. He also wears a very different hat throughout the first volume. However, in the sixth chapter of Electric Tale (To Evolve or Not to Evolve, That Is the Question!) he wears a hat that resembles the hat he wears in the Pokémon anime. He appears with his Pikachu on his shoulder.
- 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.
- Ash has captured each generation's Template:Type2 starter Pokémon: Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Treecko and Turtwig.
- 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.
- However, he always owns the starter Pokémon not owned by another of his friends.
- The last Pokémon that Ash has captured in every region are a part of one-evolution families, namely Phanpy in Johto, Snorunt in Hoenn, and Aipom in Kanto.
- Of these four, Aipom is the only one not to evolve under Ash's care.
- However this does not hold true Sinnoh as Gible is part of a three-stage evolutionary line.
- He always catches a local bird-like Pokémon of the region - Pidgeotto in Kanto, Noctowl in Johto, Taillow in Hoenn, and Starly in Sinnoh.
- Though not all of these Pokémon were captured in their first form, they all evolved into their final forms under Ash's care; the exception being Noctowl, who cannot evolve.
- All together, Ash has seen at least twenty-seven different species of legendary Pokémon, and at least ten of them multiple times.
- All of Ash's primate-based Pokémon have been under the control of someone other than Ash at some point (Primeape is currently under Anthony's command, Ambipom was under Dawn's ownership and is currently being trained in Vermilion City, and his Monferno was formerly owned by Paul.
- All three of these primate-based Pokémon were also shown evolving on-screen, and none of them evolved in the care of their original trainer (Primeape evolved in the wild just prior to Ash capturing it, Ambipom evolved under Dawn's care, and Monferno evolved under Ash's ownership).
- The three Template:Type2 starter Pokémon Ash owns are each at a different evolutionary stage. Cyndaquil is in its first, Monferno its second, and Charizard its third.
- Ash has a tendency to capture crab-based Pokémon when new ones are available - Kingler and Corphish.
- Three of Ash's current party have evolved whilst battling Paul; these are Grotle, Staraptor and Monferno.
- 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.
- 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 a case.
- Ash has so far battled three Elite Four members, namely Lorelei, Drake and Agatha, losing to all three.
- The second longest time between episodes that Ash has gone without obtaining a badge was the 31-episode gap between The Grass Menagerie! and A Triple Fighting Chance!. The longest gap honor goes to the gap from the Snowpoint Gym to the Sunyshore Gym which is currently 34 episodes. The shortest was a one-episode gap between Showdown in Pewter City and The Water Flowers of Cerulean City.
Ash crossdressing for the third time.
- Ash has crossdressed once in each anime series: 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.
- Ash's clothes are predominantly red and blue, in comparison to Ritchie's outfit, which features the colors green and yellow.
|| 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. The Satoshi in the Japanese name also sounds like Ash. 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.
|| 한지우 Han Jiu
|| 지 is from 智 satoshi. Alternatively, 지우 can mean "close friend".
|| 小智 Xiǎo Zhì
|| 智 is from 智 satoshi.
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