Who Is the Father of Ash Ketchum?
There are a plethora of mysteries still surrounding the now 800-strong world of Pokémon and its various regions, yet one glaringly important character still remains unknown: the father of Ash Ketchum.
Aside from stuff like "what happens inside of a Pokéball" and "why doesn't Ash age," one of the biggest unanswered questions and most sought after conspiracies behind the classic anime and video game, Pokémon, is the identity of Ash Ketchum's father. We do know his mother is Delia Ketchum, a sincere, gentle, and always smiling saint of a woman still living in Pallet Town, but his father is only ever mentioned once. There are a many theories and a few hints as to who (or what) he may be, like a deceased Pokémon trainer or Professor Oak himself, but as you can see, not all of them are all that great. Despite this, some theories do offer us both a look into the Pokéworld, as well as at the people living inside of it.
I don't know about you, but Pokémon is a huge part of my life. I grew up on it, but the fact that more and more awesome Pokémon and characters and even places all have been added to this wonderful story, yet still nothing at all in the form of info on Ash's father makes me wholesomely intrigued, if not merely driven to great lengths in the quest to find the answer myself. I know there's no one quite like Ash and Pikachu, but you have to admit the father of this legendary character must hold some merit to the story. After 20 years of Pokémon and why I'm still a fan can easily be rendered here, in the cultivation of information on one of the biggest questions in anime history: Who is the father of Ash Ketchum?
People for long have wildly claimed that Professor Oak, a 60 plus year old Pokémon scientist, might actually be the father of Ash Ketchum. Though it might make sense, since it’s the same man to give Ash his infamous Pikachu, it’s not all too popular by most diehard fans. You don't need the original Pokémon anime now in HD to see the flaws in this theory.
Yeah, Oak may hang around Pallet town (and even with Delia for far too often), but the claim still has holes and is largely doubtful. There's also hefty evidence that proves otherwise by way of the fourth movie, Celebi: Voice of the Forest, wherein a young Oak is portrayed as "Sam." This younger iteration of Oak shares little similarities with Ash, giving rise to high doubts of his being his father, though speculations still continue to percolate.
He Hasn't Been Written Yet
Any fool out there who thinks Ash’s father hasn’t long been in the making, or kept purposefully hidden within the shadows, is not reading into the big picture. Creator of Pokémon, Takeshi Shudo, has said it himself: Ash’s father does exist, he just hasn’t appeared yet and has yet to have had a true meaning in the entire Poké-verse. Plus, even Masamitsu Hidaka, director of Pokémon, said in 2008 that Ash's grandfather is also a great Pokémon trainer.
There's also a bit of ancient lore written in the 1997 and 1999 works of Shudo's, two books called Pocket Monsters: The Animation Volume 1 and 2(which we will discuss later).These could actually mean that he hasn’t been written yet and was stalled since being written, or that he has been for a long, long time, simply waiting for the most opportune moment to show himself. Then again, he quite possibly even could be an it....
This is weird one and it gets even stranger the deeper one digs into the theory. Every Pokéfan and lover will know that Delila always has a Mr. Mime around the house. Why and for what purpose are beyond my knowledge, though "Mimey," as Delia calls him, has been seen cleaning and picking up things around the house on various occasions.
MetroTechUniverse raises the theory, positing that Mr. Mime is the father of Ash Ketchum not only for being around so much, but because of old Sinnoh legends. If you watch the video, it discuses how this can be broken down into how Pokémon evolve, plus how their relationship works with humans. While it may sound both interesting and gross at the same time, the likelihood is slim to none.
In the Pokémon Chronicles mini-series episode “The Search for Legend,” a character by the name of Silver is revealed—no, not the same Silver that actually is the son of Giovanni in the games. Silver not only has similar Haircut as Ash and a raspy voice, he’s also got a Pokémon that doesn’t live in the Pokéball, a Chikorita.
While all of this may be grounds for positive evidence, Silver being Ash’s father is still highly doubted by much of the fanbase. He does, however, seem to know of him, as he seems to show some interest in youngling when mentioned:
Richie: [laughs] "...it's just like this friend a mine, a Pokémon trainer named Ash."Silver: "Ah, Ash!"
That's about all we get on anything concerning the theory that Silver is the father of Ash Ketchum, which doesn't make his case very solid. He may be on a long Pokémon journey like Ash, plus have a Pokémon outside of its Pokéball like him, but there's no foolproof linkage between them yet to make a definitive answer.
This is my personal favorite theory in the long list of possibilities for the father of Ash Ketchum. The bad guy of all bad guys himself and leader of Team Rocket, a ruthless organization that kidnaps and abuses Pokémon, Giovanni does have ironic potential to be Ash's father by way of his and Delia's secret past, discussed in an off-anime play called The Pokémon Live Musical Show. Even still, the theory has been out there for years since even the anime series began, a Star Wars type of twist an a children's classic.
As awesome as the theory is, Giovanni probably isn't Ash's father only because Delia speaks of Ash's father as having high praise for him. Giovanni, on the other hand, isn't the type of dude to be proud of someone, even if they're doing and proliferating his evil deeds. And, to top it off, Ash and Giovanni have had some encounters, none of them pointing to any direct relation, and one of which even entertaining the likes of Mewtwo. You'd think the super-intelligent psychic Pokémon/Pokémon master might use the knowledge of Ash's parentage against Giovanni, but maybe he's just too busy being all-powerful.
In Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, one character by the name of Sir Aaron gives rise to another theory stipulating he's Ash's father, but many have some mixed feelings about this. They may share in similar (if not the exact same) auras, and also have a close bond together, in addition to a few similarities like hair and personality, but Sir Aaron as the father of Ash Ketchum just doesn't seem right to me.
First off, Sir Aaron is dead. It gets long and complicated, but fans eventually turned their attention to Riley, another Sir Aaron look alike who does look like Ash in some respects, but not all that closely. It's a loose theory that, if anything else, merely proves of Ash's relation to both Sir Aaron and Riley (probably a distant cousin or something), other than that not much else.
This is somewhat related to the Mr. Mime theory, in that Ash is of some kind of Pokémon/human-based connection, or could possibly be the result of evolutionary Pokémon/human genetics. As I said back with the Mr. Mime theory, this one gets not only a little creepy but altogether Creepypasta, if you know what I mean.
This comes also from Pokémon evolution and their relationship with humans, just like Mr. Mime's crazy theory. The basis is that Ash, since he has extreme talents of strength, immense popularity among both Pokémon and humans alike, and is non-aging, many have to ask the question: is a Pokémon the father of Ash Ketchum? Possibly, but also very unlikely (and, God, I hope not).
Doubtful as it is, the possibility for Ash Ketchum having a long deceased father is very possible. Probably more unlikely though, given Delia's limited acknowledgment of him and his absence. Add to that the fact Ash has never said a word about him, other than in "Pokémon Emergency!" the second episode of the entire series:
Delia: "It took your father four days to get to Viridian City when he started Pokémon training. Oh, he'll be so proud. You're the apple of his eye."Ash: "Yeah, a rotten apple."
First, Delia speaks of him in present tense, so he's probably still alive. Second, Ash's rash response seems a little too stricken, or self-defeating to have come from a child who's father has passed. No, I think if the father of Ash Ketchum were deceased, we would know about it and how he had died—though, that in of itself could be a sick plot point if ever taken into consideration. Again, highly doubtful though.
Another very possible but still unlikely candidate for the father of Ash Ketchum is Bruno. Yep, the same Pokémon League Elite Four Bruno we all know and love, who's strong mentality and fierce Pokémon elicits pure evidence alone for his being Ash's father, yet there's more. Like Ash, Bruno also has black, spiky hair, a hitchhiker's thumb, pointy chin, and acts goofy.
Besides these traits, and Bruno's absolute love for Pokémon training, there's nothing much else tying the two characters together, and while strong evidences they may be, they're certainly not groundbreaking. Unless you add the fact that Bruno is the very first person to appear in the TV show as a silhouette. This leads to—or, more accurately, raises—a whole new theory entirely...
No One, or a "Silhouette"
Remember those publications I mentioned earlier, Pocket Monsters: The Animation Volume 1 and 2? From one particular chapter a seemingly tearful, yet gratifying scene is displayed that reads as follows:
"I can’t sleep." Ash said.Delia answered, with striking Ash’s pillow:"Sure, I can understand your feeling. All 10 and over years old kids in this town aim to be a Pokémon trainer. Your dad, your grandpa…and you…”When she mentioned his father and his grandpa, Ash’s pillow was became a punching bag.
The Satoshipedia article goes far more in depth into the whole story, but basically the theory rests on old Japanese culture that surrounds parenthood. Similar to Ash, Takeshi Shudo did not have a present father, nor did he appreciate his son's career path. This goes for many like Takeshi. Imbuing some of this similar Japanese culture into the animation, Shudo gave Ash a father that's still out there, still alive, still around—but not present, almost existential. So, wait, then where is he?
Greatest Pokémon Trainer
This theory was taken from an old Japanese magazine, which claims that the father of Ash Ketchum can only be someone of high merit, possibly not just a trainer but among Pokémon masters. Ash is asked in the magazine where his father is and he replies:
"Because he said he was going to become a Pokémon Trainer, he left on a journey and hasn't come back home since. Eventually, our paths might cross!"
Bear with the translation issues, since these magazines were only published in Japanese and they're difficult to find to begin with, but it's clear from this alone that the father of Ash Ketchum is one of—if not the—greatest Pokémon trainer ever. The fact that we don’t know who or where he is and that his mentioning only occurs twice throughout the entire series proves that his identity may not mean much, but his person, his being, the still-lingering question of him is enough to prove that he’s special, to some degree, possibly being the only one capable of beating Ash and his fearsome Pikachu. Or, at least, the only one capable of showing Ash his greatest and most important potentialities.