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Ash Ketchum: Because We All Want to Leave Home and Become a Pokémon Master

5 Minute Read
Apr 11 2024

For twenty-five years, Ash Ketchum was the eternally ten Pokémon trainer who made ten-year-old us want our own Pikachu.

For kids of the 90’s Ash Ketchum was the kid living the dream. Leaving home at ten to capture, train, and fight wild animals? Sure, looking back on this with adult eyes makes the premise of Pokémon something of a nightmare. But for somebody who wasn’t much older than Ash, his adventures were the ultimate fantasy. So let’s take a few minutes to feel nostalgic about Pokémon, Ash Ketchum, his successes. and if he ever became a Pokémon master.

Who is Ash Ketchum?

Ash Ketchum was the primary protagonist for the first twenty-five seasons of the Pokémon series. He’s a ten-year-old boy who leaves his home in Pallet Town in the Kanto region with the dream of becoming a Pokémon master.

Ash is also one of the few Pokémon trainers to start with one of the non-starter Pokémon. On his tenth birthday, he overslept, and after rushing to Professor Oak’s laboratory to choose his first Pokémon he found that Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmander were all chosen, and only a Pikachu left for Ash to train. How many children in Pallet Town have Ash’s exact birthday? Why didn’t they know how many children would be choosing starters that day and have at least that many? It’s never explained.

“I want to become friends with every Pokémon all around the world! I’m sure that will make me a Pokémon Master.”

– Ash Ketchum

At first, Pikachu is resistant to Ash’s training. He refuses to get in his Pokeball or work with Ash. But after Ash attempted to save Pikachu from a flock of wild Spearows—getting attacked himself in the process—Pikachu came around on Ash. The two became immediate best friends and inseparable partners.

Ash’s Accomplishments and Pokémon

Pokémon has been running for more than 1,200 episodes by this point. And in that time Ash has trained man Pokémon and earned many, many achievements. So many that listing them all here would be long, boring, and effectively meaningless. But some of the highlights include:

  • All of the badges from the Kanto, Orange Island, Johto, Hoenn, Kanto Battle Frontier, Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos leagues.
  • Nine trials of the Alola Island Challenges.
  • Normal, Great, Ultra, and Master Class rankings from the World Coronation Series.
  • Champion and Runner-Up titles in numerous Pokémon tournaments and league championships.

Despite his many accomplishments and many years as a Pokémon trainer, Ash only has somewhere in the area of 105 Pokémon. Additionally, he doesn’t have representation from some of the Pokémon types in his collection. For example, no fully evolved Electric, Psychic, or Fairy types have ever traveled with Ash. Nor any pure Dark, Fairy, Fighting, or Ghost types.

Some of the most famous Pokémon Ash has trained include Pikachu, Charizard, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle—meaning that he did end up with some form of all three original starters after all. He also has had Mr. Mime, Snorlax, Bayleef, Totodile, Sceptile, Torterra, Infernape, Oshawott, Rowlet, Incineroar, Dragonite, Gengar, and thirty Tauros,


Throughout his adventures, Ash has also encountered more than 60 of the Legendary Pokémon.

Wait, How Old is Ash Ketchum? How About at the End of the Series?

The first ever episode of Pokémon takes place on Ash’s tenth birthday, and throughout the series, he is never shown to significantly age.

He is the main character for 25 seasons of the show, so if each season were a year, Ash would be in his thirties by this point. But that is very much not the case.

If instead, each episode was about one day, three to five years would have passed, making Ash a teenager. Which is possible.

But Pokémon includes a number of markers of the passage of time such as off-hand mentions of a year passing, seasons, and holidays. And those would indicate the passage of at least seven years. Which is again, possible, but probably not the case.


But realistically and canonically, Ash Ketchum is unaging and eternally ten years old.

Why Do the Children Leave Home at Ten to Fight Animals?!

I truly have no idea how this is legal in the Pokémon universe and I think the entire series hangs on all of us agreeing not to scrutinize it too hard.

Who is Ash’s Dad?

We don’t know. We, as the audience, never meet Ash’s father. A few of the fan’s favorite theories are Professor Oak and Team Rocket leader Giovanni. But neither of these seems likely.

In the 2023 episode “The Distant, Blue Sky”, Ash’s mom mentions that his father will be there the next day. But while traveling home Ash is held up and gets back too late to see his father. And as a result, we never meet Ash’s father either.

Who Voices Ash Ketchum?

In Japanese Rica Matsumoto has voiced Satoshi (Ash) since the start of the series.

In the English dub, Veronica Taylor voiced Ash for the first eight seasons. In season nine, Sarah Natocheny took over the role of Ash Ketchum when Pokémon’s release transferred from 4Kids Entertainment to The Pokémon Company International.

This movie made me sob as a child.

How Strong is Ash?

While he doesn’t look like much, Ash is seen lifting a huge amount of weight many times throughout Pokémon. We see him pick up lots of heavy Pokémon, but the heaviest is Cosmoem. Cosmoem is a tiny little guy that looks like an entire galaxy inside of a gold eye. It canonically weighs about 2,200 lbs, and Ash holds it in his hands like it’s weightless.

Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Four Pounds.

Happy adventuring, Pokémon trainers!

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