If you have followed Pokémon over the years, then you are likely familiar with the character Ask Ketchum. You might know him as Satoshi. In both the manga and anime series, he is the primary protagonist. His dream is simple: to become a Pokémon master.
Ash Ketchum has been see in every anime episode, every film, and most of the TV specials that have been produced for the Pokémon canon. He has also been included in several Pokémon games over the years.
With the Pokémon canon, we’ve seen Ash’s childhood in Episode 28 of Season 19 of Pokémon XYZ. What we haven’t seen is him age throughout the canon. With more than 25 years passing in real time, the Ash Ketchum theories look at how it might be possible for the character to remain the same age throughout the entire series.
Here are some of the most popular ideas to explain this phenomenon.
1. Ash Is Injured: Option 1
In one episode, Ash is on a bicycle that crashes off a small cliff. The bike is damaged and there is the possibility that Ash could be injured. He could even be in a coma. The entire series would therefore be a progression of the dreams he is having while lying in a hospital bed somewhere. At the end of the series, Ash could feasibly wake up, discover his quest to be a Pokémon master wasn’t real, and he’s really 40 years old now.
2. Ash Is Injured: Option 2
Ash often carries Pikachu around on his head. It is possible that the electrical charge that Pikachu produces could also injure Ash to the point where he is in a coma as well. It might also be possible that the electrical output could have damaged Ash’s mind so that he thinks he is still 10 years old, but is really not.
3. Outside Interference
It may be possible that Ash Ketchum is stuck in a time loop where he just stays 10 years old until the end of eternity. In one of the Pokémon movies, Celebi is shown to have the ability to transport people to different eras and timelines. Pokémon 4Ever shows us that this can cause the same people to have different ages than what would normally be possible in “regular” time. Celebi could be sending 10-year-old Ash to the future for some unknown reason.
4. He Really Is Aging
Another Ash Ketchum theory is that the aging process in the world of Pokémon is based on their skills and talents instead of the number of rotations that they survive going around the sun. The number could be based on the fact that he hasn’t achieved master status, had children, or found a specific job that suits his vocational skills.
5. Time Dilation
There is a scientific theory where an increased level of gravity, such as what would be found around a black hole, produces a time perspective that is slower. People caught within that perspective would experience time more slowly than people outside of that perspective. It could be possible for the Pokémon world to be near a black hole, which would alter that world’s time, so we still see Ash at the age of 10 even though 25 years have passed.
6. He’s Still Frozen
In one of the earliest Pokémon movies, Mewtwo actually turned Ash into stone. It’s entirely possible that he is still frozen as a statue. Viewers are simply experiencing his memories with each new episodic adventure and that’s why he is staying the same age. This theory is backed by the idea that Gengar, Haunter, and Ghastly have tried to play with Ash in the past and how Ash could see a ghost waiting for its significant other.
7. He’s a Ditto
Ditto is a Pokémon that can take on the shape of anything. That usually means other Pokémon, but “anything” does include Ash Ketchum. Ditto could reasonably shapeshift into the young Ash whenever it was desired and this idea is backed by the official Pokémon canon. In the library of Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, there is a Pokémon that has the ability to shed its skin to become human.
8. Granted Wishes
In the Pokémon canon, Ho-Oh is listed as being able to grant eternal happiness with its feathers. We do know that Ash, in the first episodes when we begin to follow his journey, saw a Ho-Oh. If Ash had the definition of being eternally happy as living life as a 10-year-old boy forever, then it is entirely possible that the powers of Ho-Oh would cause him to stop aging. That would make it possible for Ash Ketchum to fulfill his quest of being a Pokémon master and catching all of them.
9. He’s an Angel
In one of the Pokémon films (#20), Ash was defeated by Cross. To be fair, Ash loses a lot, so that isn’t what is notable. As part of the conclusion of the story after the battle, he became an angel. Although he was resurrected, it is entirely possible that the qualities of being an angel stayed with him afterward and that causes his appearance to remain the same.
10. He’s Immortal
Most stories that give a character immortality do not show the character aging from the moment they achieved everlasting life. In a modification of the Ho-Oh theory, Ash’s wish for eternal happiness could have been to never die. If immortality was granted when he was 10 years old, then it is entirely possible that he stayed at that same age and will continue to do so until the universe dies.
When Mewtwo turned Ash to stone, Mew also recreated him. Mew doesn’t evolve into any other evolution and is a psychic-type mythical Pokémon that has been around since Generation I. It is possible that Mew could have endowed Ash Ketchum with immortality as well. Mew could have also created a unique perspective for Ash with its powers to make Ash feel like he is always 10 years old and it is that perspective which the viewer gets to watch.
Is There a Correct Ash Ketchum Theory?
When it comes to a good story, the concept of time doesn’t need to be introduced as a literary element. There are many stories in modern animation, manga, and anime that provide no concept for the passage of time. The Simpsons often say that years have passed, but the characters show no signs of aging and remain in the same grades at school.
Stories are often continued in the same manner because they are marketed to a specific demographic. It may create story holes and logic problems, which offer opportunities for fan involvement and ideas like the Ash Ketchum theory. It also means the world is imaginary and literally anything can happen.
That is why it is such a perfect story.