One of the biggest mysteries in the Pokémon franchise is what exactly happened to Ash Ketchum’s dad. The video games and the show only ever show Ash’s mom, Delia Ketchum, and often refrain from making any mention to his father. This led to a flood of theories which statched characters ranging from Mr. Mime or even Professor Oak might be the father. One theory in particular connects back to the supposed Pokémon War that happened long before Ash started his journey.

The Great Pokémon War, otherwise known as the Kanto War, refers to a supposed conflict that took place between the Kanto and Johto regions. The theory primarily looks at the blatant lack of middle aged males in the Pokémon Red & Blue games. Often the player only ever encounters kids, teens, and a few older men. Women are the only ones who seem to fit in the middle-aged category. This discrepancy is then put up against Lt. Surge, who speaks to how Electric Pokémon saved him during an unknown war. Knowing this, there’s a possibility that Ash’s father was a soldier in this Pokémon War and ultimately died.


This wouldn’t be the first time that Pokémon has directly discussed death and murder in the franchise. In the first season of the animated series, the show introduces a character simply known as the “Maiden.” She resides at Maiden’s Peak as a ghostly apparition who is said to be awaiting the return of her husband. What is interesting is that it’s said her husband died in a war. The war was said to have occurred about 100 years ago, but where it happened is unknown. This sequence does provides another canonical reference to the Pokémon War and the men who died in it. This could mean that the war lasted for many years prior and continued until Ash’s father was old enough to fight himself, finding himself as another casualty.

Ash’s Father Is Merely Another Casualty In The Great Pokémon War

Seeing as Maiden’s Peak is located in Kanto, and the Pokémon War is said to have occurred between Kanto and Johto, the settings line up. Ash and Delia Ketchum both have their original homes in Kanto as well, placing them on the side of one of the warring regions. With how rural of an area the pair live in, it’s possible that Delia chose to reside in the more peaceful countryside, away from the cities that were decimated by the war. In turn, she lived out her years with a young Ash, awaiting the return of her husband who would never return.

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Alternatively, she may have created a tale about her husband going on a journey to become a Pokémon Trainer, unlike what Ash’s personal goal is. In the process of starting his quest, his dad has simply yet to return and it’s possible he may never do so. Ash would then find motivation to pursue his own dreams of being a Pokémon Trainer as a way to be like his dad. During the war, battling and training Pokémon became a necessity, but dissolved into a more common hobby-like activity. With how long it’s been since the Pokémon War and with how few people are still left to tell it, Ash’s father may not be the only one who has gone on an endless journey.

Lt. Surge may have only survived due to his careful nature during the war. However, Ash’s father was likely not so lucky. The Pokémon franchise rarely gets too deep into the worlds’ politics and often keeps its darker overtones more subtle, especially in the televisions series. That has not stopped fans from theorizing the darkest of possibilities for Ash’s father and it’s likely the theory will continue to be avidly debated until Pokémon provides a direct answer on the subject.

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