5 things I learnt from Ash Ketchum, as he leaves Pokemon after 25 years
Gotta learn ‘em all.
Ash Ketchum and his companion Pikachu will leave the Pokémon franchise after 25 long years of catching ‘em all.
The iconic duo were the protagonists of the Pokémon anime, which first aired in 1997. Over the many seasons, Ash travels with various Pokémon and human companions, with the only constant being Pikachu.
They have also been the source of some popular memes, such as the surprised Pikachu meme, which originated from Season 1, Episode 10, Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village.
In their time together, they managed to teach countless viewers meaningful lessons to carry with them for the rest of their lives. Here are five things I’ve learnt from Ash Ketchum and Pikachu:
Ash started off his journey, as an optimistic 10-year-old, 25 years ago. His goal was simple: To be the greatest Pokémon trainer in the world.
Despite facing countless obstacles, including the series’ antagonists Team Rocket and other Pokémon trainers, Ash never gave up on his dream.
After going through all the trials and tribulations, Ash finally achieved his goal – after 25 long years! – of becoming the world’s best Pokémon trainer when he won the Pokémon World Championship in November.
Ash has taught me that setbacks do not mean the end of the world. The perseverance he exhibits is a quality that we can apply in our day-to-day lives as we manoeuvre various challenges.
2. Being understanding and nurturing
Ash treats his Pokémon as individuals, going to great lengths to gain their trust to convince them to travel with him.
Throughout the series, Ash also takes in Pokémon that have been abandoned by their trainers, such as Gengar and Charmander. Both Pokémon initially belonged to trainers who told them they would return for the Pokémon, despite never intending to.
After Charmander joined Ash’s team, it eventually evolved into Charmeleon and later, Charizard. Charizard, however, exhibited signs of disobedience towards Ash.
Its disobedience led to multiple defeats, including an instance where it got frozen in a battle against a Poliwrath. Despite this, Ash lit a fire and rubbed Charizard with his hands to help it regain its body heat. Ash did that so vigorously that Pikachu pointed out that his hands were raw, but Ash replied that he didn’t mind.
This act reminded Charizard of all that Ash has done for it since it was a Charmander. Upon reflection, Charizard decided to be loyal and respectful towards Ash.
The care and concern Ash showed towards Charizard is something that we can learn from when faced with difficulties working with others.
When others around me make mistakes, I try to be more understanding. It is important to remember that we should treat everyone with the care and respect they deserve, even if we do not get the same.
Ash as a trainer often forges strong bonds with his Pokémon, becoming very attached to them over their journey together. Despite this, he still tries to do what’s best for his Pokémon, even if it means leaving them with other trainers to get stronger or releasing them if that’s what they desire.
He even goes as far as to give his Pokémon the choice to evolve. His kindness is recognised by many of his Pokémon in the series, with one in particular being Gengar, who willingly allows Ash to capture him in a Poké ball after fighting alongside him.
His actions differ from many other trainers in the series, such as the Eevee brothers and Lieutenant Surge, both of which believed that Pokémon should evolve as soon as possible, whether they want to or not.
Another example of his selflessness is in one of the most heart-wrenching moments in the series, where Ash releases Butterfree after a long journey together. He does this so that Butterfree can be with the pink Butterfree that it has been trying to impress.
These actions show that he is willing to consider the wants and needs of others above his own, even if he has reasons not to.
While my life isn’t as action-packed as Pokémon, leaving the last donut for my younger cousin or sharing my study notes with a sick friend who couldn’t attend a lecture are also acts of selflessness. These are crucial when it comes to our relationships with other people and, honestly, it just feels good to do something nice for others.
The Team Rocket trio, commonly known as Team Rocket, are the series’ antagonists and often run into Ash along his journey. Ash constantly thwarts their evil plans – including attempts to steal trainers’ Pokémon, or even Ash’s very own Pikachu. They usually end up losing to Ash in a Pokémon battle.
At one point in the series, they stole many Pokémon and Poké Balls from the passengers of the St. Anne with the help of other members of Team Rocket. Ash and his friends were able to lead the passengers in a fight against them and retrieve their Pokémon.
In another instance, during the Mulberry City Pokémon Contest in Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire, Team Rocket helped a contestant, Harley, in an attempt to sabotage another contestant’s chances of winning. Ash found out and was able to stop them in time, and May won in the end.
Through this, we can see that Ash is willing to fight for the right thing. I’ve learnt to stand up for what is right and not use underhanded means to get what I want. Greed and desperation are simply not a good basis to lose our morals.
In battle, Ash often uses unusual strategies, ignoring type advantages and taking his own path to victory. He was even able to create an original technique, Counter Shield, in his battle against Fantina in Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl.
In another instance, Ash’s Charizard was having trouble against Gary’s Blastoise, which could dodge its attacks and counter Charizard with its own attacks. Ash was able to come up with an idea and told Charizard to superheat the battlefield, forcing Blastoise to spend time cooling the molten rock and creating a giant steam cloud. This allowed Charizard to gain the upper hand.
His ability to adapt and come up with strategies on the spot earned him victories in both battles, as well as many others.
Coming up with creative solutions to difficult problems is something I have also had to do in my life, especially during projects when budget restraints and schedule conflicts can cause things to change at any moment. This is a skill that is becoming increasingly important considering how fast things can change in today’s day and age, such as the shift we experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ash and Pikachu may be leaving the franchise, but the legacy they leave behind will echo in generations to come.
The lessons they have taught to Pokémon fans all around the world will certainly be something we will remember even after they are gone.