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Ash Ketchum

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Ash Diamond and Pearl

Ash Ketchum as seen in the Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl series (Season 10+)

Ash Ketchum, known as Satoshi in Japan, is a fictional character and one of the main protagonists from the Pokémon anime. He is voiced by Rica Matsumoto in the Japanese version and by Veronica Taylor (for the first eight seasons), Sarah Natochenny (the ninth season onwards), and Kayzie Rogers ) inThe Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon only) in the English dub. There are also incarnations of him in a plethora of manga adaptations, of which include The Electric Tale of Pikachu, Pocket Monsters Zensho, and Ash & Pikachu. He is loosely based on Red, the protagonist of the games Pokémon Red and Blue. The family name "Ketchum" is a pun on the series' franchise's former tagline and slogan, "Gotta catch 'em all!"

Character biograghy and personalityEdit

At the start of the series, Ash Ketchum, was 10 years old, starting out as a beginner Pokémon trainer in Pallet Town, his hometown. After receiving Pikachu, his starter Pokémon, from Professor Oak, Ash left Pallet Town to start his journey. Since his departure, Ash has traveled the World of Pokémon, competed in many challenges, and caught newer Pokémon.

Ash Ketchum seasons 1-5

Ash Ketchum as seen in the original series (Seasons 1–5)

At the beginning of his journey Ash saw a mysterious flying Pokémon, which was later identified as Ho-Oh. It was believed in ancient times that Ho-Oh would appear only to a human that truly cared for his or her Pokémon, and that they would be promised eternal happiness. Ho-Oh has appeared for Ash twice more; when Ho-Oh flew towards Hoenn which gave Ash inspiration to journey there, and appeared again after Ash lost to Brandon.

Ash has matured greatly over the course of the series, and has considerably improved his abilities as a trainer, but his earnestness and determination remain the same. During the first season of the series, Ash trained to catch more Pokémon than his childhood rival, Gary Oak, although Gary caught more. He soon begins to focus more on each of his Pokémon's abilities. He also impresses many trainers by winning battles in which his Pokémon has a type disadvantage. At the Johto League Silver Conference, Ash finally won a battle against Gary.

Ash's primary nemesis is a group of Pokémon thieves named Team Rocket. Ever since the second episode, "Pokémon Emergency!", two Team Rocket operatives named Jessie and James, along with a talking Meowth, have tried to steal his first Pokémon, Pikachu, as well as many others, but have always failed. Despite their constant antagonism, they occasionally put their differences aside and work together against a common adversary, such as in Pokémon: The Movie 2000, where they aid Ash in retrieving the three treasures in order to save the world.

Ash's mother is Delia Ketchum (Hanako in Japan). She is a caring and thoughtful woman, though occasionally oblivious as her son, and in the English version of the anime often pesters him to change his underwear every day, a gag throughout the early episodes of the first few series.

The identity of his father has remained unknown. One reference to him exists in the anime. During a phone conversation between Ash and his mother in the second episode, she states to her amazement that he got from Pallet Town to Viridian City in one day. "It took your father four days to get there when he started Pokémon training", she says, "He'll be so proud!". A line from the play, Pokémon Live!, suggests that Delia, at one time, had a relationship with the leader of Team Rocket, Giovanni, when she was a teenager, which indicates that Giovanni may be Ash's biological father. However, this has not been addressed in any other Pokémon media and is presumably non-canon.

Character designEdit

Ash's design is based on the main character known as Red in Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Crystal, and FireRed and LeafGreen. "Ash" is one of the optional names for him in the first three games, and is a westernization of "Satoshi", taken from famous creator of Pokemon and founder of Game Freak Satoshi Tajiri. For the Game Series, Ash's character design was overseen by Ken Sugimori and Atsuko Nishida. For the anime, Ash's character design was overseen by Sayuri Ichishi (OS~AG), Yamada Toshiya (DP).

Appearances and references in other mediaEdit

The only video game that Ash has truly appeared in to date is Pokémon Puzzle League, where he tries to become a Pokémon Puzzle Master. While Ash is loosely based on Red, the protagonist of Pokémon Red and Blue, the protagonist in Pokémon Yellow is based on him. Furthermore, in Pokémon Gold and Silver, Red acts a sort of "final boss" of the game, residing in Mount Silver. He carries a team comprising of Pikachu and the final evolutions of Pokémon that the player can catch without random battles in the original games (Squirtle, Charmander, and Bulbasaur are starter pokémon, and Eevee and Snorlax can be obtained through special events in the main story). As a nod to how powerful Ash's Pikachu is, Red's Pikachu is at level 81. Red's Pikachu was the strongest Pokémon, level-wise, to have appeared in any Pokémon handheld game before Pokémon Platinum: in Platinum, the protagonist can fight their rival's Pokémon, whose starter is level 85.

The portrayals of Ash in the manga The Electric Tale of Pikachu, Pocket Monster Zensho, and Ash & Pikachu, are very similar to the one in the anime. There are key differences in the manga, though. In The Electric Tale of Pikachu, it is based on Ash's journey up until the end of the Orange Islands travel. Ash is usually seen traveling by himself during the course of this manga, although he is joined by Misty and Brock in Indigo sometimes. Misty is the only one to join Ash in the Orange Islands. And at the end of the series, Ash travels with Gary Oak. Ash has other Pokémon in addition to some of the ones above including Fearow and Oddish. The Ash & Pikachu manga is similar, although it has the episodes from the anime like "The Fortune Hunters" and "A Goldenrod Opportunity" combined, but with a couple of changes. In Pocket Monsters Zensho, Satoshi (as Ash is known in Japanese) starts with Charmander instead of Pikachu. The manga ends at the Indigo Plateau, where Satoshi defeats the Elite Four.

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