There are more Pokémon theories out there than Ratattas in Pokémon Go, but now one popular theory has been well and truly debunked! It is time to take off the tin foil as we get one step closer to unravelling the mystery of just who Ash Ketchum's father is. As the star of the anime series, Ash's daddy issues have formed one of the franchise's biggest mysteries since the series' creation - did the show go full Goku and tragically killed him off, or is Ash's father some deadbeat dad who abandoned his family? Back in 2008 the anime show's director Masamitsu Hidaka even teased that we may meet Mr. Ketchum if Ash needed to "grow". Eight years later and we are still waiting, Hidaka! We're still no closer to the mysterious father of Ash.
Although we still don't know who Ash's father is, we recently learned one person he isn't. Amongst the Charizard cosplay and gangs of Pokémon Go-ers at this year's Comic Con, The Huffington Post snagged an interview with Hidenori Kusaka and Satoshi Yamamoto - creators of the Pokemon Adventures manga. The duo put the kibosh on the theory that the anime's Ash Ketchum and the original game's protagonist, Red, are in any way related:
The two worlds and the two mediums are different...But if there were to be a link between them, Red and Ash, maybe. But I think for the fans to go with their creativity and have fun with that is one way of appreciating it.
Ash and Red undoubtedly share some similarities: they share the same hat, look, and even the infamous red cheeked Pikachu. Theorists held out that Ash's completed Pokedex actually belonged to Red, and that it (along with Pikachu) was left in the care of Professor Oak before Red abandoned his family. With Pikachu having been previously owned by Red, this would explain his and Ash's strained relationship to start with. Red's abandonment of Ash forms the ranks of Pokémon's morbid list of theories, including ghosts, cannibalism, and a famous dead Raticate.
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Who's the Daddy?
After 20 years of being the very best, like no one ever was, the Ash/Red theory is considered done; however, the comments do offer hope to another popular theory. Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire established that alternative realities exist in the Pokéverse, with games that include Mega Evolutions existing in a separate world to those which don't. So, whilst Red may not be the father of Ash, he could in fact be the young boy Ketchum himself in an alternate timeline. It has all gone a bit Flashpoint for us, but we will leave you to ponder that one. With Red out of the way, who else is stepping into the baby daddy saga? Here are a couple of options for Ash's daddy!
Age difference aside, there has always been a flirty quality between Ash's mother and Professor Oak, with the two spending A LOT of time together whilst Ash is on his quest. Ash's arch nemesis Gary is the grandson of Oak, which obviously would cause some trouble at home between the quarrelling boys, but add an interesting layer to their dynamic. We never get much of Deliah Ketchum's backstory, and the same goes for Oak - is he married, does he have children? Even if Oak isn't Ash's biological father, we still think his mother and the Prof should hook up!
Appearing in the episode "The Search for the Legend", Silver was the Chikorita-owning trainer who was on the hunt for Moltres. In the show, Ritchie says that his friend Ash looks a lot like Silver, who seems to give Ritchie a knowing look. Ash has some fame as a trainer, but how would Silver know of him unless he had met him before? He is about the right age, shares Ash's raspy voice, and c'mon...they both are drawn pretty much the same!
Now, for the most popular theory out there - could Ash be the heir to the evil Team Rocket fortune?!? In a Star Wars twist, one theory proposes that Ash is the Luke to Giovanni's Vader. If Ash really was related to Giovanni it would explain why Jesse and James are constantly following 'the twerp', despite being beaten at every turn! Adding fuel to the theory fire, the American Pokémon Stage Musical revealed that Deliah Ketchum and Giovanni had once dated when she was younger - Deliah was also about eighteen when she had Ash, so the timelines fit. Could Ash really be the unwanted offspring of the evil dictator?
Maré Odomo's comic series 'Letters to an Absent Father' chronicles Ash writing open letters to his father (wherever he may be) with hilarious consequences. No matter what, Ash's father certainly provides some interesting backstory to Pokémon. The franchise has always maintained that Mr. Ketchum is also on a trainer quest somewhere in the world, whilst the commentary for the Pokémon film The Spell of the Unknown promised that they would explore the identity of Ash's father in the show's fifth season...that turned out to be a lie too. So, It is back to the drawing board at Prof. Oak's (sorry Willow's) lab and to trawling the boards of Reddit- we are no closer to finding out who the former Mr. Delia Ketchum actually is...On the plus side, Deliah is single and ready to mingle boys!
Who do you think Ash's father is? Sound off below!