Pokémon at 25: how Ash has grown up in the anime (even if he hasn’t “aged”)

Ash Ketchum,of Pokémon He’s been 25 years old, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t grown a bit in that time. From his beginnings as a child who fell asleep and barely got his starter Pokémon, to the Alolan Champion and current research assistant to Professor Cerise, Ash has been changing and maturing throughout his journey, becoming a better person. .

In the days of the Indigo League, Ash’s personality was almost unrecognizable compared to his current counterpart, aside from a few key traits. The first and most obvious of these key traits is his tendency to rush mindlessly, like when he tried to catch a Pidgey by throwing rocks at him in the first episode.

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Another possibly more important aspect of Ash’s character is his willingness to self-sacrifice – from protecting Pikachu in Episode 1 to dying multiple times in the movies, Ash has no problem risking his life if it means doing the right thing. He also cares a lot about his Pokémon and respects their decisions – whether it’s out of evolution or love, Ash won’t force any of his Pokémon to do anything he doesn’t want to.

But Ash’s love for Pokémon doesn’t necessarily translate into maturity, especially since at the beginning of the series he felt very little love for their fellow men. When the series began airing in the late 1990s, Ash was trapped by some of the ideas of the time and often teased Misty for her femininity, despite the fact that she was usually a much more capable trainer than he was. Similarly, the Ash from the original series struggled a lot with pride and overconfidence, bragging about his accomplishments while putting little effort into achieving them.

He was quite lazy, taking every shortcut he could think of to avoid the hard work required to earn his badges: out of his top five, only a He won it by defeating the gym leader in a fair match. Although his kindness earned him the loyalty of his Pokémon, it was its strength and not his ability as a coach which earned him a spot among the top 16 in the Indigo League.

Luckily for Ash, he had many opportunities to learn. Traveling with Misty through two regions allowed Ash to see how strong girls could be. When he met May, he regarded her as an equal and supported his goals, setting a precedent for the rest of his journey. Similarly, Charizard taught Ash that kindness wasn’t enough when it came to training Pokémon – he had to earn their respect, give them space when they needed it, and work with them to develop their own battle style. He stopped taking shortcuts in the Orange Islands, and throughout Johto and Hoenn, he began working on training with each of his Pokémon, not only to get stronger, but to deepen the relationship between himself and his Pokémon, a trait that has continued to this day.

Ash also began to notice others more as he left Kanto. Whereas before he was self-centered and boastful, he now discovered the joy of helping others achieve their dreams, such as animating Clemont’s inventions or helping Mallow find Yellow Nectar to make his restaurant’s legendary dish. As a result of growing concern for his fellow humans, he was not only able to accept defeat, but even sincerely congratulate his friends when they surpassed him, as was the case with Iris in episode 42 of season 14, “End of the Battle. of the club: The outcome of a hero “. In the same vein, Ash also became more independent as the series progressed – he went from relying on Brock to tend to his needs to becoming a coach who could comfortably travel alone. He was even able to take the lessons he had learned on his travels and use them to help others, teaching May the basics in Hoenn and confidently mentoring Dawn in Sinnoh.

However, perhaps the most important way that Ash has grown up is with respect to their rivalries. At the beginning of the series, Ash’s rivalry with Gary could conservatively be described as “toxic”, as Gary constantly berated and beat him in every possible way, perhaps leading the good-hearted young man to emulate bragging and arrogance. from Gary. Everything changed when Ash finally defeated Gary. He didn’t do it out of sheer power, but out of quick thinking and use of the environment – exactly the kind of unorthodox battle style that Ash is now known for. The defeat allowed Gary to see Ash as an equal and Ash to leave their rivalry behind. They have both gotten better because of it.

Nowhere is that foundation more important than in regards to Ash’s rivalry with Paul in the Sinnoh region, which helped solidify Ash’s training style and motivations. Paul believed that only strong Pokémon were worthy, and he released those who were not up to him regardless of the Pokémon’s feelings. Ash spent much of the series Diamond and pearl trying to prove that Paul and his harsh and callous methods were wrong, proving that any Pokémon can become strong through training, hard work and kindness. Although Paul’s methods showed immediate results, the bond of respect and love between Ash and his Pokémon allowed them to finally defeat Paul when it mattered.

Although Ash is still 10 years old forever, the truth is that he has grown a lot throughout the series, and he has not finished yet. He still rushes into things with the enthusiasm of a child his age, and has not yet learned the meaning of “touch.” Even so, Ash has softened a lot since his first appearance, has become more tolerant and compassionate towards others, and has even humbled himself in trying to become a better trainer worthy of the title of “Pokémon Master.”

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