Ash Ketchum, known as Satoshi (サトシ?) in Japan, is a fictional character in the Pokémon franchise owned by Nintendo. He is the main protagonist of the Pokémon anime and manga series, as well as on various merchandise related to the franchise. In Japanese, the character is voiced by Rica Matsumoto; in English, he was voiced by Veronica Taylor from 1998 until 2006 and the eighth season of the anime series, replaced by Sarah Natochenny for the remainder of the anime and Kayzie Rogers in The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon television special. His name is derived from the Japanese name (as the letters 'ash' are included in 'Satoshi') and his English motto, "Gotta Catch 'Em All". Ash's dream is to become a Pokémon Master. He is loosely based on Red, the player character from the Generation I games Pokémon Red, Green, Blue and Yellow, as well as the Generation III games Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen versions. The character's first official appearance in a game was in Pokémon Puzzle League.
Ash enrolled in Professor Oak's Pokémon Summer Camp when he was young. One day, another camper named Serena got lost in the forest and wounded her leg after getting startled by a Poliwag. Ash, who was looking for the Poliwag, came to her rescue and wrapped a handkerchief around the wounded knee to brace it. He then helped her up and guided her out of the forest.
Years later, Ash began his Pokémon journey at the age of 10 as a warm-hearted and well-intentioned but stubborn, rash, and amateur Pokémon Trainer. He was forced to accept a stubborn Pikachu from Professor Oak as his starter Pokémon because he 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, the two of them formed an extremely strong bond that has been noticed and remarked upon by many characters in the anime. This unbreakable friendship would set his course for the future.
However, from that point, Ash still had a lot to learn about becoming a Trainer. The first Pokémon he caught was caught by luck, as he knew absolutely nothing about battling, and he was hesitant to admit when he was wrong. What more, his journey was made even more complicated due to the presence of Jessie, James and Meowth of Team Rocket, who after witnessing Pikachu's power, made it their primary objective to steal him for their boss, Giovanni.
Thankfully though, Ash did not go on this journey alone, as soon after he left Pallet Town, he met Misty, who followed him on the pretense that he owed her a bike (which Ash 'borrowed' to save Pikachu, and which the Electric Mouse destroyed whilst protecting Ash). Ash then met Brock, the Pewter Gym Leader, whom he fought and lost to. However in his rematch, Ash nearly defeated Brock, but refused to give the final blow, due to the intervention of Brock's younger siblings. Touched by Ash's kindness to Pokémon, and with the return of his estranged father, Flint, Brock decided to go with Ash and pursue his dream of being the world's best Pokémon Breeder. Shortly afterwards, when Ash reached the Cerulean Gym, he was shocked to learn that Misty was one of its Gym Leaders. After Ash earned his Cascade Badge, he continued his journey with Misty, who dreams to be the worlds greatest Water Pokémon Master.
Unfortunately, many of Ash's 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. Furthermore, every time he thought he was doing well, he would somehow cross paths with his childhood rival, Gary Oak. Gary always reminded Ash that he was always a step or seven behind; indeed, by the time Ash had caught his Kingler, Gary had caught more than forty. Ash's troubles were not made any easier when, owing to his inexperience, his Charizard grew too powerful and refused to listen to him until Ash could prove himself to him.
Over time, Ash's dedication to his goal paid off. After earning his first eight Badges, Ash went on to compete in the Indigo Plateau Conference, advancing to the fifth round - one further than Gary - and ending up in the Top 16.
Following Ash's defeat in the Indigo League, Professor Oak asked him to travel to Valencia Island in the Orange Archipelago to retrieve the GS Ball from a Pokémon Professor named Ivy. While in the Orange Archipelago, Ash learned of the Orange Crew - an elite group of Trainers not unlike Gym Leaders that provided challenges for Trainers to overcome in the Orange League. After Brock decided to stay with Professor Ivy and help her with her work, Ash and Misty were joined by an enthusiastic Pokémon watcher named Tracey Sketchit. Ash, Misty, and Tracey then traversed the Orange Islands on the back of a lost Lapras whom Ash caught. He eventually defeated the four members of the Orange Crew and finally won the Orange League by triumphing over the Orange Crew Supreme Gym Leader, Drake. Before leaving the Orange Archipelago though, Ash managed to find his Lapras's pod and released it back into the wild. Upon returning to Pallet Town, Ash discovered that Brock had returned due to some unknown incident that left the aspiring Pokémon Breeder in dread of even hearing Professor Ivy's name. Tracey, meanwhile, stayed at Professor Oak's laboratory as Professor Oak's assistant, and Brock rejoined Ash and Misty. After his victory in the Orange League, Ash encountered Gary again, and after being defeated in a one-on-one battle, he learned that his rival had been training hard in order to participate in the Silver Conference in Johto.
Excited at the prospect of meeting new Pokémon and facing Gary again, Ash and friends left for the Johto region to collect eight Badges from the Gym Leaders there and compete in their Pokémon League. Much like his travels through Kanto, Ash, Misty, and Brock impacted the many people and Pokémon they met along the way, one of them being Kurt, to whom Ash delivered the GS Ball. In the middle of his travels, they visited the Whirl Islands, who, along with Ritchie, helped save Silver, a child Lugia, and its parent, from the evil machinations of Team Rocket. Ash along with Misty then competed in the Whirl Cup, with Ash placing in the top 8, who was defeated by Misty in a 3-on-3, though she also ended up losing in the next round.
Ash encountered Gary occasionally in Johto, and while they were still rivals, Gary seemed to view Ash with slightly more respect than before. Indeed, Ash's growth of character was evident throughout this story arc as he continued to think more and more about his Pokémon and less and less about himself. After earning eight Johto Gym Badges, Ash entered the Silver Conference along with Gary. Finally, the two rivals battled in the tournament in a Full Battle. Although it was very close indeed, Ash emerged victorious against his rival for the first time in his career as a Pokémon Trainer, marking one of the biggest turning points in said career. After the battle, Gary and Ash departed on good terms with each other, finally overcoming their boyhood animosity and recognizing each other as equals. However, Ash's journey through Kanto and Johto came to an end when he was forced to split up with Brock and Misty when the two of them received messages to return home.
Advanced Generation seriesEdit
After hearing about a more distant region called Hoenn from Harrison, the opponent he lost to in the Silver Conference, Ash decided to journey there and take only Pikachu with him this time. In Hoenn, Ash met a girl named May and her brother, Max, who he later learned were Norman's (the Petalburg City Gym Leader) children, and both of whom decided to join Ash on his travels. Shortly after the three companions left Petalburg City, Brock rejoined the group when he saved them from a flock of angry Taillow and their Taillow. From that point onward, Ash journeyed through Hoenn with one old friend and two new friends, collecting Gym Badges in much the same fashion as before. Once May set her sights on becoming a Top Coordinator, Ash supported her whenever he could while maintaining his focus on winning Badges. During these journey's Ash and his friends ended up being entwined in the plots of the regions two rivaling villainous teams, Team Aqua and Team Magma, with Pikachu actually getting possessed by Groudon in the summit of their conflict. However, thanks to theirs, as well as TRT's (unintentional) help, they actually helped save the entire Hoenn region.
While Ash had no major recurring rival in Hoenn, he did encounter certain Trainers multiple times and form friendly rivalries with them. One such friend is Morrison, who is very similar to and just as competitive as Ash and was first introduced close to the end of the group's travels in Hoenn. Just like the Indigo Plateau and Silver Conferences, Ash did not win the Ever Grande Conference, although he came very close before losing to Tyson, who went on to win the tournament. After parting ways with May, Max, and Brock, Ash returned to Pallet . As he passed through Viridian City on his way back home, where he met Scott and Agatha and learned about the Battle Frontier in Kanto. He decided to take on the Battle Frontier and was surprised but happy to learn that Brock, May, and Max would join him on this adventure as well. Eventually, Ash conquered the seven Frontier Brains and was offered the opportunity to become a Frontier Brain himself, but declined in favor of continuing his Pokémon journey.
Diamond & Pearl seriesEdit
Following Ash's victory over the Battle Frontier, May set her sights on Pokémon Contests in the Johto region and traveled there while Max returned home to Petalburg City in Hoenn. After encountering and battling his old rival, Gary (who has now become a Pokémon researcher), and learning of a new region with new Pokémon, Ash decided to leave for the Sinnoh region to earn the Gym Badges available there. Like before, he took only Pikachu with him at first, but brought his Aipom along when she snuck onto the ship Ash was leaving on. While Brock did not accompany Ash to Sinnoh, he did travel with him through Sinnoh like he had for Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn. This time, they were accompanied by another aspiring Pokémon Coordinator named Dawn. Like he did for May, Ash enthusiastically supported Dawn in her endeavors to become a Top Coordinator, just as she supported him in his Gym battles.
While traveling through Sinnoh, Ash formed a heated rivalry with a Trainer named Paul. Throughout Ash's journey, Paul would constantly put him down and the two often argued over their nearly opposite training styles. While Paul was harsh, distant, and sometimes plain cruel to his Pokémon, Ash insisted that the best way to raise Pokémon was through patience, caring and friendship. Their rivalry came to a head after they competed in a Tag Battle Tournament together, when Paul released his Infernape after it failed to meet his expectations. Ash then decided to take in the Chimp Pokémon, and promised to make it strong using his own philosophy.
While in Sinnoh, Ash competed in two Pokémon Contests - once in Jubilife City and a second time in the Wallace Cup upon Wallace's recommendation.
As Ash and his friends journeyed through Sinnoh, they ended up becoming heavily involved with legends of Sinnoh, with Ash being personally chosen by Azelf of the Lake guardians. Along with Cynthia, Looker and Team Rocket, they faced of against Pokémon Hunter J as well as the evil Team Galactic. Thanks to their efforts, the Sinnoh region was spared from Cyrus's insane scheme.
Ash eventually obtained all of the Sinnoh Gym Badges he needed to enter Sinnoh's Pokémon League Conference. During his battles in the Lily of the Valley Conference, he managed to advance to the Top 4. For the second time since meeting Paul (the first being in a PokéRinger tournament during which Ash's Staravia evolved into a Staraptor and defeated Paul's Honchkrow), Ash managed to defeat his bitter rival, using Infernape (who had evolved from the Chimchar Paul abandoned) to deal the finishing blow. This caused Paul to finally acknowledge Ash as a Trainer of some merit, thus ending their arguments. Ash later fought against Tobias, becoming the only known Trainer to defeat his Darkrai. Although Ash ultimately lost the battle, he was not overly upset, as he was closer to his Pokémon than ever before. At the conclusion of the Diamond & Pearl, Ash, Dawn, and Brock split up and went their separate ways, with Brock confirming that he would not be joining Ash on his travels to Unova as he decided to pursue his new dream of being a Pokémon doctor.
Best Wishes seriesEdit
In the Best Wishes series, Ash traveled with Professor Oak and Delia Ketchum on a trip to the Unova region. After losing in a battle to Trip and seeing the power of the Legendary Pokémon Zekrom, Ash became interested in traveling Unova to meet new Pokémon, as well as new friends. In Unova, he brought along only his Pikachu as he did in Hoenn.
Soon after he started his journey, Ash met Iris a wild girl who is (as he later learns) a possible successor of the Opelucid City Gym and wishes to be a Dragon Master, and Cilan, one of the Striaton Gym Leaders, who aspires to be the world's greatest Pokémon Connoisseur. After Ash earns their interest by telling Iris of his encounter with Zekrom, and battling Cilan for the Tri Badge, the three decide to travel together. During his time in Unova, along with his quest for the Badges, the three friends also competed in the local competitions Club Battle, Clubsplosion and Pokémon World Tournament Junior Cup. Despite battling quite well, Ash failed to win any of the tournaments and managed to be the runner-up of two of the three. Despite these mishaps, he was not upset to see his friends win the competitions instead of him.
As they journeyed, Ash and friends ended up again being caught up in Team Rocket's new plot, which was personally being supervised by Giovanni. This time, Team Rocket planned to take over the world using a Meloetta that Ash befriended to unleash the power of the Forces of Nature. Fortunately, thanks to Cynthia and Ridley, Ash and his friends managed to thwart Team Rocket's evil plot.
After managing to obtain eight Unova Gym Badges, Ash was allowed to participate in the Vertress Conference along with his current and some new rivals. In the preliminary round, Ash battled Trip one-on-one, defeating him for the first time and ending their rivalry. Ash also defeated his friend and rival Stephan in the tournament. He then battled one of his newer rivals, Cameron, where he lost in A Unova League Evolution!, ending in the Top 8 of the Vertress Conference.
After the Conference, the three friends decided to check out some ruins that Professor Juniper's father, Cedric Juniper discovered, and on the way they met with a strange young man named N. They soon became entwined in the plots of Ghetsis, Colress and Team Plasma as they sought to takeover the world using Reshiram's power. However Ash and his friends, along with Looker, the Team Rocket trio, Professor Cedric, as well as N, Anthea and Concordia, managed to foil Plasma's evil scheme.
As their adventures started coming to a close, Ash and his friends decided to take the long way back to Kanto, by sailing on a series of luxury liners through a chain of islands called the Decolore Islands. On the way, Ash met Alexa, a Pokémon Journalist, from whom he learnt of the Kalos region. Soon after they reach Kanto, Ash splits up with Iris and Cilan, who wish to go in separate directions to follow their own dreams.
In the XY series, Ash traveled to the Kalos region with Alexa, first visiting Lumiose City in Kalos, Where Dreams and Adventures Begin!, where he parted ways with the journalist and tried to challenge the Lumiose Gym at Prism Tower. He was forcibly ejected from the tower when the computerized security system, later revealed to be the Clembot, found out that he didn't have any Kalos Badges. He was rescued by Clemont and Bonnie, who started to travel with him after he calmed down a rampaging Garchomp at the top of Prism Tower with the assistance of a brave Froakie. After the incident was resolved, the Froakie allowed itself to be captured by Ash. In Battling on Thin Ice!, Ash won his first Kalos Badge, the Bug Badge, after defeating the Santalune Gym Leader, Viola.
The group was joined by Serena, who still remembered Ash rescuing her in her childhood and decided to start her own journey to reunite with him, although he initially did not remember the two of them meeting. Ash and Serena learn that Clemont was actually the Lumiose Gym Leader, who was exiled from his own Gym by his own invention. They help Clemont face Clembot, and after the issue was resolved, the two boys promised to battle after Ash fulfilled the original conditions set by Clembot (even if it was no longer necessary), to earn four Badges. With that, the group set off on their journey again. During their travels, they occasionally met the ninja boy Sanpei, whose presence always led to a progress in Froakie's (and later Frogadier's and Greninja's) strength. The four Trainers later attended Professor Sycamore's Pokémon Summer Camp, where they met the party of Shauna, Tierno, and Trevor, with whom the group started a friendly rivalry with.
As they traveled, the group started to learn the secrets of Mega Evolution after meeting Professor Sycamore, Diantha, and Gurkinn, as well as briefly travelling with Korrina. During their journey, Ash caught a lost and traumatized Goomy, which he raised into a Sliggoo, and later, a powerful Goodra. After earning his fourth Gym Badge, Ash eventually faced Clemont in their promised Gym Battle, and won with Goodra's help, gaining his fifth Badge. Later, Ash and friends come across Goodra's old home, where they discovered it was taken over by a Florges and her companions. After saving Goodra's swamp from Team Rocket while simultaneously solving the issue concerning Florges, Ash left Goodra in the wetlands so it could act as the protector of its swamp and the Pokémon living in it. Sometime afterwards, when Ash reached Laverre City to challenge the Gym, he made a new rival in Sawyer, a novice trainer hailing from Hoenn. Along the way, Ash would also support Serena in her quest to become Kalos Queen, and gave her some helpful advice when she eventually lost, telling her that losing is simply another step towards victory.
Later in their journeys, Ash and friends reached Anistar City and, together with Professor Sycamore, they met the Psychic Gym Leader, Olympia. She revealed his Frogadier's past as a Froakie from before meeting Ash and a glimpse of Frogadier's, his friend's, Sycamore's, Team Rocket's, and his own fate, indicating that they will all play a vital role in Kalos's future. Ash challenged her to a Double Battle, which he won using Frogadier and Talonflame. Shortly after, the group came across a mysterious Pokémon, dubbed Squishy by Bonnie, who was being pursued relentlessly by the villainous organization, Team Flare, prompting the group to put it under their own protective custody. Some time afterwards, Ash and his friends got involved in a conflict in Sanpei's home town, which led to Frogadier evolving into Greninja, as well as unlocking a hidden Forme.
Later on, Ash met up with Alain, who became intrigued by Greninja's unique Forme and requested to battle Ash. Ash put up a decent fight, but eventually lost. Afterwards, Clemont vowed to help Ash master Greninja's new forme. When Ash later on had a rematch with Alain, he and Greninja did significantly better and even gained the edge after Greninja transformed, but Ash eventually passed out from exhaustion from using the forme. Having a dream in which Greninja leaves him, He wakes up and resolves to fully master the forme.
Later on Ash and his friends were informed by Diantha that Team Flare had been experimenting on a remote island, and they were told about the Legendary Pokémon Zygarde. When Bonnie told Diantha about Greninja's unique forme, the Champion requested another match with Ash. In a stark contrast to his past battles against Elite Four members and Champions, Ash and Greninja put up a great fight, with Greninja eventually reaching it's final transformation but not perfecting it. However, before the battle could be finished, Ash passed out again.
Ash later on had another rematch with Sawyer, but he lost when he and Greninja failed to transform. This seemed to leave Ash doubtful of his ability to master the transformation. Ash's confidence was shaken further after losing to Wulfric, the eighth Gym Leader, who told Ash he didn't fully trust his Pokémon. After seeing how badly Greninja got hurt during their battle and blaming himself for the loss, a depressed Ash left the Pokémon Center, into the cold night. The next day Serena met up with him and confronted him with how different from before he was, but Ash yelled at her out of depression. Before Serena left, she angrily threw snowballs in his face and told him that the way he is now is not what he used to be. This caused Ash to realize that he was going about his depression the wrong way. Trying to get back on his feet, he then left further into the forest until a snowstorm forced him to hide in a cave, while a group of wild Pokémon watched on. This reminded Ash of one of his early field trips, when he was forced to hide in a tree trunk in a rainy forest. Ash then let the Pokémon join him in the cave, but left whan he saw a group of Spewpa, were almost falling off a tree over a cliff due to the storm. Ash nearly fell off the cliff helping them, but was saved by Greninja. When one Spewpa fell off anyway, Ash and Greninja fully synchronised their feelings and used the Ash-Greninja forme to save it. Ash then made amends with Greninja. Afterwards Ash returned to his friends and thanked Serena, telling her that without her he wouldn't have been able to get out of his depression and apologized for yelling at her. Greninja then gave its Pokéball to Ash, just as it had done back when it was a Froakie, and Ash and Greninja then vowed to start all over again. He then defeated Wulfric in a rematch, even after Wulfric Mega Evolved his Abomasnow. He then thanked his Pokémon and friends for helping him get this far.
Ash has earned eight Kalos Gym Badges, and therefore qualifies for participation in the Lumiose Conference.
Sun & Moon seriesEdit
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. In fact, several of Ash's Pokémon were captured because they allowed him to, after he befriended them. 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. He has been shown to use unusual strategies, such as during the Diamond & Pearl series he incorporated a twisting-spinning type maneuver in his Pokémon's offensive and defensive techniques, which eventually lead to him creating the original technique, Counter Shield. The majority of his Pokémon also shares Ash's stubborn nature, persistently attempting to rise and continue the battle, even after they've received a great amount of damage and are at the end of their rope.
Though Ash normally catches five or more Pokémon per region (not including when he traveled through the Orange Archipelago and challenged the Battle Frontier in his second tour of Kanto), he rarely ever switches the Pokémon in his current party with those in storage at Professor Oak's Laboratory. He usually only did so when he participated against powerful opponents (such as trainers in the Pokémon Leagues, and Battle Frontier Brains), or when attending certain events that requires a specific Pokémon (like Tauros at the Pokémon Swap Meet or Snorlax at the Sumo Conference). However, during the Best Wishes, Ash actively cycled through the nine Pokémon he managed to catch in Unova, although these Pokémon, when not in his party, were instead kept in storage at Professor Juniper's lab in Nuvema Town. Near the end of his journey in Unova, Professor Juniper transferred all of Ash's Pokémon to Professor Oak's lab. Ash has not yet used this system of training in the following series.
Ash currently has ownership of 68 Pokémon, including all 30 of his Tauros. Including pre-evolutions, traded, released and given away Pokémon (and not including the additional Tauros), in total, Ash has currently officially owned a total of 80 different Pokémon species.