Ash Ketchum is Still the Worst Pokemon Trainer Ever

Our previous post about Ash Ketchum, shamelessly titled “Ash Ketchum is the Worst Pokemon Trainer Ever,” is far and away the most popular post on the site. We’re talking 125,000+ views and 200+ comments as people discuss a 10-year-old from Pallet Town and his repeated failings.

Amazingly, it’s been three and a half years since then. The Pokemon anime continued, and as episodes kept rolling out in Japan, a new title presented itself on the horizon: “Kalos League Victory! Satoshi‘s Ultimate Match!!” Making the Pokemon League finals was already a first for Ash (named Satoshi in Japan after the series creator), but winning? Finally realizing his dream? Accomplishing what he set out to do 930(!) episodes ago?

Nope, he lost. And that’s because Ash Ketchum is still the worst Pokemon trainer ever.

Silly Ash! Every day is chest day!
Silly Ash! That’s not what human bodies look like!

Unova

Before we dive into Ash’s latest failure, I need to go back and talk about his defeat in the Unova League. When the original article came out, all I had to go on were pictures of the episode as it aired in Japanese — there were no subtitles and certainly no dub yet. But as a couple people pointed out in the comments, Ash’s loss against Cameron in the quarterfinals is waaaaaay worse than I originally thought.

Ash has a team that’s best described as a hodgepodge of underwhelming nonsense, but he’s still managed to win three battles in the League so far. His match against Cameron is a back-and-forth affair where Hydreigon sets the tone early, but Ash’s Pignite and Pikachu do work to gain the advantage. With four of his six Pokemon fainted, Cameron sends out his Riolu, saying that the battle is in his hands.

Even Ash is confused by this. Don’t you have another Pokemon left as well? Turns out no, because this idiot kid thinks full battles are 5-on-5, not 6-on-6.

Excuse me for one second while I reach over here and push this caps lock key.

THIS DUMBASS GOT THREE ROUNDS INTO THE TOURNAMENT AND DOESN’T EVEN KNOW THE FREAKING RULES???

“But Chris!” you protest, trying to stop me from bullying a preteen. “He hasn’t needed his full team yet! It’s not his fault!”

Nope, not buying it. If Cameron had ever watched a full battle match in any of the leagues of any region, he would know better. And failing that, there’s a GIANT SCOREBOARD IN THE ARENA that shows their dumb pictures and how many Pokemon they have remaining.

Everyone in the stadium is literally shocked that this kid thinks he’s supposed to have five Pokemon on his team instead of six. But you know what hurts the worst? Despite all that, Ash loses anyway.

We talked in the last post about Cameron’s Riolu conveniently evolving in the middle of this particular battle, and how bad it is that Ash is running stuff like Snivy and Oshawott when he has powerhouse options at his disposal. But losing a 6-on-5 match to a kid who might actually be the dumbest boy on the planet? Yikes.

Silly Ash! No one's jealous of you!
Silly Ash! No one’s jealous of you!

Kalos

Two weeks ago, Ash made it all the way to the finals of the Kalos League at the Lumiose Conference. As the episode title leaked, speculation ran rampant: Is Ash finally going to win a Pokemon League? Is this his moment?

Standing in his way in the finals is Alain, a formidable opponent. Ash has faced Alain twice before, with our hero’s Greninja squaring off against a powerhouse Mega Charizard. Ash came up short both times, but seemed to be making progress as his bond with Greninja increased.

Ash isn’t playing around this time: he has a team full of beefcakes ready to go. Goodra, Greninja, Talonflame, Hawlucha, Noivern, and his level 1,296 Pikachu. Of course, Alain is no slouch, rocking a Bisharp, Weavile, Tyranitar, Unfezant, Metagross, and his trusty Charizard.

The battle is an absolute slugfest, with both employing masterful strategy and powerful moves to see who blinks first. It ultimately comes down to Greninja and Charizard once again, and the pair go at it in relentless combat. At the end, we get the old Pokemon trick of both landing a hard-hitting move, standing and staring at each other across the battlefield, before Charizard seems to stumble…only Greninja goes down first, and Ash loses.

Now, to be clear, Ash’s loss in Kalos is not an embarrassment — he made it the farthest he’s ever advanced in a Pokemon League tournament and fought a great battle against a strong opponent. It’s the expectations that kill here. If that episode title hadn’t leaked, maybe fans wouldn’t have gotten their hopes up. But it did, and they did, and Ash lost. Again.

Don't worry, Ash -- we understand.
Don’t worry, Ash — we understand.

Overview

So here we are, approaching a thousand episodes and 20 years of the Pokemon anime. It looks like Ash will return in the Sun/Moon chapter of the show, but anything beyond that is a question mark at this point.

Ash has added several tenacious Pokemon from the Kalos region to a growing list of strong options at his disposal: Charizard, Snorlax, Heracross, Sceptile, Infernape, Torterra, etc. Coming off his highest placement ever, he should be a threat in the Alola region. But remember, winning the League isn’t enough — there’s still the Elite Four and the Champion to deal with, and we know these exist in the anime.

At the show’s current pace, Ash’s next attempt at the Pokemon League (if he even gets one) wouldn’t happen until 2019 or 2020, by which point I’ll be in my mid-30s.

These posts are meant as humiliation not for an eternally 10-year-old cartoon character, but for the writers who continue to dangle his goals in front of him like a carrot on a stick, only to cruelly pull them away over and over again. When I wrote the original post, it was primarily satire. Ash isn’t literally the “worst” trainer of all-time — he’s come across many who were less smart, less kind, less adaptive and less creative.

But when you consider his success (or lack there of) relative to the opportunities he’s had, and the fact that his goal from the beginning was to be a Pokemon master and he’s come nowhere close, that’s when reality sets in:

Ash Ketchum is the worst Pokemon trainer ever.

9 thoughts on “Ash Ketchum is Still the Worst Pokemon Trainer Ever

    1. You mean the rational people on the Internet not wasting their energy senselessly hating on a fictional character like the sheep. lol Honestly, mob mentality never ceases to surprise me.

  1. boomwolf97: :))) so much hate for an anime character lol it’s really ridiculous of you, guys!!!

    He’s a winner in his own heart and doesn’t need any throphy to know that…
    Most people don’t accomplish their dreams either but maybe they will give it one more try one day….
    I think he’s starting to realise that winning is not as important as being a great man for his Pokemon and doing what is right…. also without travelling all these regions he would never got to know soo many people and places and that’s also counting….

    Let’s just hope that one day we will be fine with him the way he is as he was at the end of episode 38…. let’s forgive writers one day….

  2. Someday. Someone will beat Ash with a caterpie. I mean, if you are taking part in a league, obviously you want to win it. If you want to win it, then WHY THE FOCK WONT YOU BUILD A TEAM OF STRONGEST POKEMONS YOU HAVE????? With all the powerhouses ash has by the time he reaches unova or kalos, he should be rampaging through leagues. So yeah, morals, values and friendships and adventures put aside, when it comes to being a Pokemon trainer and winning battles, Ash sucks. If all he cares about is treating Pokemon with love, he should be a breeder and not a trainer.

  3. Oh hey look, look who it is? It’s the blinded mob downvoting people trying to add some positivity to this cesspool of a discussion. lol Honestly, I’m not surprised people are downvoting people trying to so-called “defend” Ash. I mean, it’s the Internet. People are going to be ignorant morons over-simplifying everything for their own inconvenience. I understand. In fact, as of now, they’ve over-simplified this very statement into “Omg, Ash fanboy crying over article! Boo hoo!” You know what would really make my day? If someone actually comments that. It would affirm the stupidity of Internet denizens. Go ahead.

    But on a serious note, even if I did say that I used to dislike Ash, and even if I did say that I’m disappointed in the changes in Ash’s character in the latest season, I don’t think it would really matter. People are going to hate what they want, and no level of reasoning or rationality is going to change that biasness.

    If you bother to keep reading this far, however, and if you are willing to stomach some level of civility, then let me just say that “defending Ash” is such a generalized description. I don’t like some of Ash’s methods. I know he’s naive and makes stupid decisions. You know what my favorite Pokemon are? Not Pikachu. Tyranitar, Metagross, Garchomp; all top-tier Pokemon I wish Ash is using. Still with me? Or have you been triggered already?

    Anyway, over the seasons, he did win me over little by little. And the thing is, what bothers me the most about Ash-haters isn’t the fact that they’re saying he sucks as a trainer, but the blatant ignorance of his improvement as a character in XY&Z, and how this reflects on real life athletes who also lose all the time, not to mention getting second place. And really, I think it’s more embarrassing that people are behaving that way towards the whole mentality of “winning” and “losing”.

    tl;dr: If you’re reading tl;dr, then just downvote and GTFO. I have no interest in entertaining you.

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