Ash Ketchum, fearless, wide-eyed aspiring Pokémon Master, has achieved what most of us can but dream of — eternal youth. Introduced to our screens back in 1997 the enthusiastic ten year old has managed to defy the laws of time, remaining a pre-teen a whopping nineteen years and over nine hundred Pokémon episodes later. But this is all about to change.
With the eagerly awaited release of the upcoming Pokémon Sun and Moon anime series and accompanying video game, Japanese manga mag CoroCoro has leaked some exciting new information about the series, and it’s huge.
A Brand New Age
While we continue our journey through the Pokéverse with our beloved protagonists, Ash and Pikachu, the world around them is going to change drastically. The traditional gym-battle format which we’ve become so accustomed to over the past two decades looks like it’s going to be replaced by something entirely different.
Without battles, Ash’s quest to earn gym badges from every region and to qualify for the regional Pokémon League tournament becomes completely defunct and just what will Ash do if he can’t compete with his beloved Pokémon? That’s right — he’ll go to school! According to CoroCoro, in the upcoming game Ash will be attending a school in the Alola region of the universe.
Given that he’s managed to spend the past twenty years avoiding the classroom, it’s probably about time he pulled up his little white socks and got stuck into some deliciously entertaining text books - and this means he’ll finally be surpassing his ten year age-cap too.
However, it’s highly unlikely that either the game or the show will be focused around Ash trying to get through his trigonometry homework as he struggles with the waves of raw testosterone flooding his body, as entertaining as that sounds. Judging by the first promo image it would seem that Ash’s friends from Kalos — Serena, Clemont and Bonnie — will not be accompanying him on his trip to middle school, which comes as a devastating blow to all those hoping for a romantic union between Ash and Serena — the first character to have an ‘in-cannon’ attraction to him.
Instead, he will be joined by Rowlet, Litten, Popplio, Rockruff, and Tapu Koko, making them seem like likely candidates for his team, and Lapras and Charizard also appear in the promo meaning that he’s likely to be joined by some of the Poké classics.
What Does This Mean For The Pokémon Community?
This has huge repercussions for the Pokémmunity who have often speculated over how time functions in the Poké Universe. Consequently there are a host of elaborate theories as to why, until this point, Ash hasn’t aged. Here are the most common fan theories to date:
- The Ash In A Coma Theory
In the very first episode we see Ash get into a pretty nasty bike accident, and we also see him getting hit by a powerful bolt of lightning. This theory suggests that from either one of these events, Ash was put into a deep coma where in real time he is aging like everyone else, but in his mind he remains a perpetual ten year old, living a joyful Poké-filled life within his own coma-dream state.
- The Ho Oh Theory
At the very end of the first episode, Ash watches an incredibly rare Pokémon, a Ho Oh, fly over his head. The Ho Oh possesses seven-color wings, and all who see the Ho Oh are promised eternal happiness. This theory therefore suggests that for Ash, eternal happiness is always being on a Pokémon journey and always being a enthusiastic ten year old, never to be touched by the bitter gloom which often accompanies aging.
- The Ash Is Dead Theory
A more extreme twist on the ‘Ash In A Coma Theory,’ when Ash was flung from his bike, or struck by lightning in the first episode, this theory suggests that he actually died and his entire Pokémon experience is him just exploring his version of heaven.
- The Arbitrary Age Theory
This theory suggests that the concept of ‘age’ as we know it, is only relevant to our reality. In the Poké Universe, age is just a number used to signify at what particular stage of life someone has reached. So, for all those young adults who are ready to explore the world around them (i.e. Ash), they are ’ten.’ When a character is ready to settle down and possibly have children they become ’twenty’ and when they become grandparents they become ‘fifty.’ If this theory were applicable to the real world, this would also make me a perpetual ten year old.
With the release of the Pokémon Sun & Pokémon Moon series set for its Japanese debut in December, and its U.S. release in early 2017, we’ll finally be able to see for ourselves just how the Pokémon creators have decided to tackle the complex issue of Ash’s age.
Who knows, maybe this opens the possibility of one day seeing Ash with a beer belly and a couple of Ash-lets running around his feet as Pickachu sips on an prune juice and reminisces about 'the good old days.'
Do you think the Pokémon creators are making a mistake by having Ash age?