Ash Ketchum has been a staple of the Pokemon anime since it first started airing in 1997. His adventures throughout the Pokemon world have seen him befriend a number of Pokemon, be introduced to numerous companions, and develop as a character through various trials and tribulations. Fans have gotten to know a lot about Ash while watching him progress through his quest to become a Pokemon Master, but there are some aspects of his life that remain a mystery.
The majority of the series focuses on Ash’s relationship with his Pokemon and friends, but what often isn’t touched upon is Ash’s home situation. Though fans are well acquainted with Ash’s mother, Delia, one prominent member of the Ketchum household who has never appeared in the series or its films is Ash’s father. Little about him has been revealed in the series and its many films, and while he has little to nothing to do with the anime’s narrative, fans still can’t help but wonder who this mystery man is.
What We Know About Ash’s Dad
Ash’s dad has rarely been mentioned in the Pokemon anime. The series hasn’t really given all that much information on him, save for a few lines of dialogue here and there. It’s clear that the writers never thought it necessary to introduce the character, as storyboard artist Masamitsu Hidaka claimed that he would only be given a larger role should he be needed to aid Ash’s development as a trainer and character. So far, there’s been no need for that, as the series has done a good job of developing Ash through his Pokemon and friends.
From what has been said about the character, fans know that Ash’s dad is himself a Pokemon Trainer, presumably from Pallet Town, who is on his own Pokemon journey. This seems to be a common calling for the Ketchum family, as Ash’s grandfather was mentioned to have also followed the same path.
In Takeshi Shudo’s Pocket Monsters: The Animation novelization, Ash’s dad comes off as much more of an absentee parent. In what little information is provided, the elder Ketchum set off for his Pokemon journey right after his son was born and was never heard from since. Having failed to register his name alongside the other Pokemon Trainers, tracking him down is outwright impossible unless he reaches out.
Ash mentions his father in Pokemon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle. Though brief, Ash recalls his father being supportive and encouraging of his son’s dream to become a Pokemon Trainer. The original series hasn’t made use of the character in the twenty-plus years it’s been airing, but the alternate continuity films just might.
Who’s That PokeDad?
Given the lack of information, plenty of fans have tried their hand at solving the mystery behind Ash’s parentage throughout the series’ decades-long run. While entertaining, these theories can range from being somewhat plausible to completely ridiculous, with some fans getting very ambitious with their reasoning.
One popular fan theory is that Team Rocket’s Giovanni is actually Ash’s father. Though Giovanni was Silver’s father in the games, his anime counterpart isn’t known to have any children, with Madame Boss being his only confirmed relative. The theory proposes that Giovanni knowingly put the incompetent Rocket Trio in charge of stealing Ash’s Pikachu as a way of having them constantly watch over him. While it’s an interesting premise, Ash and company have been put in plenty of life-threatening situations over the years, sometimes by the Rockets’ own hands. Meaning that if Giovanni is actually Ash’s father he’s not only abandoned his son but is responsible for some pretty serious child endangerment.
Another theory throws the series’ Narrator into the mix, claiming that the Pokemon anime is just a father’s proud retelling of his son’s adventures. It’s a nice sentiment, but there’s nothing that’s led viewers to believe that the Narrator actually exists in the Pokemon world. Other fans have speculated that Sir Aaron, Bruno, the anime-exclusive Silver, and even Professor Oak might be Ash’s dad. Each of these would make for interesting narrative developments but are ultimately just speculative guesses.
Though he’s likely to never be revealed or shown in any meaningful way, Pokemon fans will always ponder on the identity of Ash’s father. While many other prominent characters have not had their parentage explored, the mystery of Ash’s dad’s identity has always been one that fans were eager to solve. Unless the character is formally introduced in the future, expect viewers to remain curious.
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