Pokémon: The Most Likely (and Unlikely) Candidates for Ash’s Father

The world of Pokémon is full of mysteries, big and small. However, one of the most enduring ones is the identity of Ash Ketchum's father. The puzzle has spawned some fascinating fan theories, from the logical to the strange. But who is the most likely candidate?

Ash's father is only mentioned a few times. It has been said that he is actually a Pokémon trainer who started his journey around the time Ash was born. The closest we've gotten to an official confirmation of the canon status of Ash's dad is in the recently released Pokémon: Secrets of the Jungle movie, in which Ash says his father believed in and supported his dreams.

Pokemon Ash And Delia

The most common candidate for Ash's father is Professor Oak. That makes a lot of sense, as the local Pokémon professor assumes the father-figure role in the series, offering Ash support and encouragement during his journey. That would also explain why Oak seemed so close to Ash's mother, and why he was willing to give Ash a unique Pokémon, rather than punishing him for being late to his meeting. While this is the most sensible and logical option, the big issue with this theory is if Oak really is Ash's dad, why didn't he come clean? If he and Delia Ketchum had to hide their relationship for some reason, they likely wouldn't be together so often. It's clear Ash respects Professor Oak, so he wouldn't react badly to the news, so it seems a strange secret to keep.

Another common fan suggestion is Bruno, the fighting type trainer, and Elite Four member. This theory seems to be based on the episode "To Master the Onixpected!" After seeing Bruno on TV, Ash said he wanted to train with the expert trainer. Out of nowhere, Delia said she knew that Bruno's secret training spot was on Mt. Hideaway. While it's easy to argue that knowing Bruno's location suggests Deliah knows him, it should be kept in mind that Bruno is famous enough to be on TV. Deliah could have simply heard a rumor about a visiting celebrity. Also, the episode revealed that Bruno is a bit of a fraud, so it would be weird for Deliah to send Ash to see him without warning him that Bruno isn't all he first seems.

Other fans point to Silver from Pokémon Chronicles. Users of the TVTropes Wild Mass Guessing page point to several pieces of evidence that support this theory. When Ritchie mentioned Ash, Silver seems to react as if he knows about him despite never meeting Ash on screen. On top of this, Silver is actually similar to Ash in many ways. Both trainers saw a legendary firebird early in their journey as Ash saw Ho-Oh and Silver saw Moltres. Also, both trainers have a Pokémon companion who lives outside of its ball and a friendly flying dragon. With Ash, this is Pikachu and Charizard. Silver has Chikorita and Salamence. However, while this theory is interesting, it has little supporting evidence, aside from one slightly unusual line delivery.

Pokemon Delia Mimey

A popular and memetic fan theory is that Mr. Mime is Ash's Dad, and it is easy to see why this theory caught the fandom's imagination as it is the right combination of silly and creepy. At the end of the first season, Delia befriended and adopted a Mr. Mime. This Pokémon lives with Delia, acting as a maid and a companion. It even goes on vacation with her in later episodes. Of course, it couldn't be Ash's father, as we know Mr. Mime didn't meet Delia until well after Ash was born. And while the pair are close, it is common for people to befriend their Pokémon in-universe. Nothing Delia does with Mr. Mime is different from what Ash does with Pikachu. Though it's easy to see why the theory caught on, as people love fan theories that put a strange or dark twist on their childhood favorites.

We will likely never learn the true identity of Ash's father. In fact, the writers themselves might not even know who he is. His absence is likely because the story being told doesn't need Ash to have a visible father. So the writers felt it was better to give Delia more screentime (and thus character development) rather than splitting that time across two blander characters. However, the fan theories about Ash's father are fun and will keep going viral for years to come.

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