Ash Ketchum

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Name: Ash Ketchum (Satoshi)
Occupation: Pokémon trainer
Relationships: Delia Ketchum (mother)
Fandom: Pokémon (anime)
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Ash Ketchum, or Satoshi in Japan, is the main character of the Pokémon anime. He begins the series when he is 10 years old and, fourteen seasons later, has not aged.

Name Etymology

Ash's English surname is a pun on the the original English motto for the anime, "Gotta Catch 'em All!" His given name may have been derived from his Japanese name, Satoshi. "Satoshi" is also the given name of Pokémon's creator, Satoshi Tajiri, and means "wisdom" or "reason."[1]

"Ash" is also a default name for "Red," the playable character in the Generation I video games Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue, on whom Ash is probably based.

Alternate Personas


Ashley fanart by GNTS.

"Ashley" is the name given to Ash when he is crossdressing. In canon, Ash crossdresses only once as "Ashley," in Episode 26, Pokémon Scent-sation!, as a disguise to fight the Gym Leader Erika.

Ash crossdresses twice more in subsequent seasons (episodes Love at First Flight and Tanks for the Memories!), but he does not go by "Ashley."[2] However, fans have adopted the name to refer to any instance of crossdressing!Ash, and some even use the name for a genderswapped!Ash.


Ashachu fanart by lilmarisa.

"Ashachu" (or Satochu) is a fannish term used to describe Ash as a Pikachu, which happened once in canon during the episode Hocus Pokémon. Though this was a minor occurrence in the anime, "Ashachu" has generated significant fan attention.

Ashachu appears in numerous fanworks (including those in the DeviantArt group dedicated to him), and has been shipped with various Pokemon, including Pikachu. The Ash/Pikachu ship, known alternately as "AshachuShipping" or "SatochuShipping," has since accumulated moderate support.

Fandom reception

While Ash has a decent-sized fanbase, he has just as big of a hatedom.

In the early days of fandom, Ash would catch flack for every mistake he made, usually from older teenage/adult fans who thought he was stupid and immature and obnoxious. Team Rocket fans hated him not just because they found him stupid and annoying, but because he was the one to send their favorite characters blasting over the horizon. In response, Ash's fans would always point out that a) he was ten and kids weren't always perfect, b) he was usually a kind and caring sort, and c) when he blasted Team Rocket off, he was doing it in self-defense after they tried to steal his Pikachu.

Cori Falls was well known for her hatred of Ash and her demonization of him in her fanfics.

Later fans would gripe about Ash being stuck at ten years of age as well as his continued failures to win any regional League challenges. The latter was finally mitigated when Ash won the Alola league, however.

A good chunk of the fandom liked to speculate about his missing father. The most popular theoretical choices were Giovanni (leader of Team Rocket), Professor Oak, and Lance of the Elite Four.


As the main character, Ash has been shipped with nearly every other character in the series. The most infamous shipping debates have been between fans who pair him with one of his female traveling companions: Misty (PokéShipping), May (AdvanceShipping), Dawn (PearlShipping), or, as of the most recent season, Iris (NegaiShipping). Palletshippers, who pair Ash with his hometown rival Gary Oak also tend to make their voices heard. Another ship is Ash and Anabel (AbilityShipping).

Many fans are frustrated by the amount of shipping in the fandom and believe that Ash will never be paired with anyone in the anime because its intended audience is young children. One fan artist says:

There's a whole lot of conflicting schools of thought out there regarding which girl Ash should be dating by now - Misty, May, or Dawn. These conflicts are basically fueled by the people who don't realize that the anime doesn't create serious romantic relationships for its main characters (which renders their arguments completely moot anyway), but it's always entertaining to watch the three competing groups bicker amongst each other.[3]

Nonetheless, Ash has been paired with everyone from Professor Oak to Jynx.[4]

The Kalos anime from the mid-New Tens introduced Serena, a childhood friend of Ash's who had real feelings for him. The series ended with her kissing him goodbye, leading to both joy among fans who came away shipping them and rage among people who shipped Ash with other people.

Notable Fanworks

External links


  1. ^ Bulbapedia. Ash Ketchum: Names. Accessed 19 April 2011.
  2. ^ Bulbapedia. Ashley. Accessed 19 April 2011.
  3. ^ jbwarner86. The Many Loves of Ash Ketchum. DeviantArt. 21 October 2007.
  4. ^ Bulbapedia. Shipping:List of shippers. Accessed 19 April 2011.