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Ash reassures May

AdvanceShipping (Japanese: サトハル, SatoHaru) is the belief that Ash Ketchum and May are a couple. This ship is very popular, perhaps second only to PokéShippingShipping.

This ship is not unlike ApprenticeShippingShipping as Ash is seen by AdvanceShippers as the tutor to May.


There are many points in the anime that seem to support AdvanceShipping. Below is a list of some of the more famous examples during the two sagas in which Ash and May appear.

It should be noted that these events are not necessarily agreed upon by all as supporting AdvanceShipping.

Hoenn Saga

After Ash destroys May's bicycle accidentally, she angrily goes to tell him off while he is resting in the Pokemon Center. As she quietly opens the door, she watches Ash and Pikachu resting contently together, and she forgives him without telling him. Later on, May figuratively talks Ash into letting her travel with him. Once he says she could come along, May strikes a pose by the camera and yells "YES!" to show her enthusiam to the audience. This coupled with the previous scene where she secretly spies on him and forgives him for his kindness with Pikachu, shows that may perhaps be taking a liking toward him.
Ash decides to become May's mentor for the very first time, teaching her on how to capture and battle with Pokemon. The two have dinner together in a Pokémon Center, and when Ash wants to find out about the Petalburg Gym leader, May frantically pulls him by the arm to prevent him from finding out. It would appear that she was far more content with traveling with Ash alone before revisiting her family.
When Ash and May discover that a Team Aqua intruder is in the building and Max could be in potential danger, she clasps her hands and asks Ash for reassurance and support. Once Ash comforts her, she is relieved. This is the first of many scenes where May continually looks toward Ash for support and reassurance, further expanding on the mentor/student dynamic.
On Dewford Island, May decides to strip into a bikini right on the beach. However, instead of just running down to the shore to take a swim, she purposely poses in her bikini in front of Ash and her brother and asks what they think. Ash appears to be embarrassed by the situation.
  • Win Lose or Drew

After witnessing May lose her first Pokémon Contest, Ash takes the blame for her loss. He says, "It’s my fault. I wish I’d spent more time with May, teaching her." Later, May is crying backstage as Ash tries unsuccessfully to cheer her up.

  • All Torkoal No Play

While May is clutching Torchic in her arms, the ground underneath her collapses and she falls into a chasm. Luckily, she grabs ahold of a brand that was sticking out of the wall. When May frantically calls for help, Ash steps up to rescue her. He tied a rope around his body as Max and Brock lower him down, where he grabs ahold of May's arm and reassures her that everything will be alright. Further expanding on the heroism, where May thanks Ash dearly for saving her life.

  • Go Go Ludicolo

When confronted by Max whether she wants Ash to win over her Dad, Norman of the Petalburg Gym, May gives flustered responses. While Max is quick to make up his mind and cheer for his father, May on the other hand sides with Ash. Max yells, "What, how can you want Ash to win over our Dad?" to which May blushes nervously and says, "Well I want Dad to win....but I don't want Ash to lose!"

May's choice was made up from the beginning to cheer for Ash over her father, and each time Max confronts her about it, she blushes nervously and doesn't want to give a clear answer to her brother.

  • The Bicker, The Better

Considered to be the first episode where AdvanceShipping was made completely blatant to the audience, Ash and May are confronted by Oscar and Andi, a young couple who are obsessed with the idea of love and romance.

When Oscar and Andi call Ash and May a "happy couple," the two of them quickly deny it and turn their backs to one another, crossing their arms. Ash says sarcastically, "That's a laugh!" and May adds, "Hardy har har!" Oscar and Andi do not stop there, and continue continue to call them a couple. Ash and May scream, "We're not a couple!" in unison, with the same body language, followed by, "And we're not happy either!" in the same tone.

As the episode pours on, Ash and May continue to argue and bicker back and forth, presumedly to get their minds off the idea of being called a couple by Oscar and Andi. After a team up battle against Jessie and James at the end, Ash and May sincerely forgive each other for their argument, and deeply apologize as they stare at each other while the sunset closes behind them.

  • Grass Hysteria

When May is lost in the forbidden land of the Grass Pokémon, Ash once again steps in to save her. After his tarzan-esque entrance to save May from the fierce and threatening Grass Pokémon that were about to attack her, he grabs her by the hand and runs with her to clear a path to safety. Ash and May continue to hold hands as they are running away from the menacing Pokémon, a rare sight between them.

  • Hokey Pokeballs

This episode further brings up the parallelism between Ash and May, by having their two Bulbasaur meet each other. However, the two Bulbasaur show signs of liking one another, a ship that is called Vineshipping. Throughout the episode, May makes several comments about how their Bulbasaur are such a great team, and how they are, "Two peas in a Pokepod." Before Ash sends Bulbasaur back to Oak, it pats May's Bulbasaur on the head sweetly with its vine, saying goodbye. May's Bulbasaur is impressed as Ash's Bulbasaur is sent back. Vineshipping is one of the parallels that is used to push Advanceshipping, as canon characters such as Professor Oak and Brock have said in the past that Pokémon represent the feelings of their masters, and when two Pokemon fall in love, there is a good chance the trainers will too. While the Bulbasaur haven't fallen in love with each other yet, it is the first step in their parallel romance.

  • Cruisn' for a Losin'

May is sulking on a bench outside the Contest hall because she lost her match. Ash comes alone to comfort her, cheering her up compassionately while patting her Bulbasaur on the head and sitting next to her on the bench. This is followed by a, "Thank you Ash," from May.

  • The Scuffle of Legends

When Ash is about to hop on top of Dragonite and go with Lance to save Pikachu from its bonding with the blue orb and Groudon, May approaches Ash and says, "Don't do anything crazy Ash," in a sweet and very concerned tone.

  • Once in a Mawile

In another love-themed episode, Ash is confused about the concept of love. May teases him and says, "Spoken like a maaaaaan," in the dub while she says, "And he doesn't get it," in the original raw. As the episode continues, Ash says, "No sense in going out of your way just to make somebody like you," in which May responds, "And he still acts like a man," in the dub while in the raw, "And he reeeaaaally doesn't get it." This is the second episode where May teases Ash about love.

  • Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snorunt

May holds onto Ash's hat while he is lost with Snorunt in a blizzard. May holds onto his hat during the entire search, frantically hoping to find him again, which is seen as a romantic gesture. Once they meet up again, she says, "I believe this is yours!" and kindly hands Ash back his hat.

  • Date Expectations

As May is about to be crushed by a Donphan using roll-out attack, Ash launches his body toward May and brings her to safety. The two fall down to the ground with his arm around her torso. This is the third time Ash has saved May from danger. In the middle of the episode, Ash and May are seperated from the group. May does her expedition routine and thinks about the concept of being lost with Ash in the woods forever. This idea causes her to have little red blushes on her cheeks. During the last act of the episode, May misses her chance to catch the ferry to her final Contest. In despair, she starts to cry. Sensing her pain, Ash puts his hands on her shoulders and stares at her deeply in the eyes, giving her the courage to go on while he takes care of her little brother. This is the first time in the series that Ash had ever put his hands on a girl in such a serious and compassionate manner.

Battle Frontier Saga

  • The Right Place at the Right Mime

May decides that she wants to continue traveling with Ash after Hoenn ends, which compels her to travel from the Hoenn region on her own to meet up with Ash in Pallet Town. This was before she found out there were Contests in Kanto, so she decided that she wanted to be by Ash's side even if it meant not continuing her coordinator dream for the time being. Ash and May share a scene on the couch together, where Ash asks her if she wants to come along with him through Kanto. May of course agrees, while Delia is watching them converse, and blushes due to how close the two are.

Meanwhile, May decides to leave her Bulbasaur with Ash's Bulbasaur at the lab, further following up with the concept of Vineshipping over 50 episodes ago. The two Bulbasaur again show signs of liking one another, which could be used to push Advanceshipping in the future.

  • Fear Factor Phony

When May hears sounds of scary Ghost Pokémon, she frantically goes to Ash and tries to wake him up in his sleeping bag. She presses her hands depserately against his chest to wake him up, yet she didn't do the same for Brock, who could have come to her aid just as easily. A further example of May choosing Ash over anyone else when she is in fear or doubt.

  • On Olden Pond

As Ash is fishing, the line is being pulled into the water. To prevent him from going overboard, May quickly wraps her arms around his torso and presses her chest against his back. Ash puts on a flabbergasted expression as he feels May's chest pressed up against his back.

May falls off a rope bridge and clutches for her life. Once again she cries out for Ash several times, despite the fact that Brock is standing with Ash as well. Ash calls out May's name as he pulls her to safety, but not once does May give any gratitude toward Brock for saving her, only Ash.

Ash tries to pick a fight with Tory. In order to stop him, May throws her body on top of Ash and tells him to please stop. She places her hands on his shoulders and desperately tries to convince him to calm down. Ash is surprised with her action, and quickly says, "Sure,"

Ash once again loses his cool and is mad at {p|Lucario}}. May quickly rushes down into the lake where Ash is standing and clutches to his arm, trying to prevent him from getting himself in trouble. May holds onto him frantically until the situation is resolved. Afterward, May]] follows Ash around "mothering" him, telling him to get himself dry before he catches a cold.

Notable Advanceshippers

  • Oscar and Andi
  • Scott85, a.k.a. Cybercubed
  • Archaic (Only likes AdvanceShipping for the "cuteness" factor, and does not believe it will happen in the anime)

Alternate names

AdvanceShipping has also been called AdvancedShipping, though this name is not as widely-used.

The four-letter abbreviation is actually six letters long: AAMayL, to distinguish it from AAML, or Ash and Misty Love.

The Japanese name is サトハル, or SatoHaru.Template:Shippingstub