Ash Ketchum

Anthony Keovongkoth

Ash in his outfit from the most recent series.



Ash's main goal in life, as described in the first episode, is to be the world's greatest Pokémon Master. Ash began his journey at the age of 10 as a warm-hearted and well-intentioned but stubborn and unskilled Pokémon Trainer. He was forced to accept the irreverent Pikachu from Professor Oak as his starter Pokémon because he carelessly broke his alarm clock and woke up late on the day he was set to get his first Pokémon. He was determined to achieve his goal, however, and when Pikachu saw that he was willing to compromise his own safety to keep it safe he formed a strong bond of friendship with his Pokémon. This would set his course for the future.
However, from that point, Ash still had a lot to learn about becoming a Trainer. He caught his first Pokémon by luck, knew nothing about battling, and was reluctant to admit it whenever he was wrong. Many of his first Gym badges were given to him merely out of gratitude for his assistance rather than claiming a victory in battle over the Gym Leaders; of his first five gym battles, only his victory over Lt. Surge was an actual victory. Every time he thought he was doing well, he would somehow cross paths with his childhood rival, Gary Oak. He always reminded Ash that he was always a step or seven behind, with Gary catching around forty-five Pokémon by the time Ash had only caught his seventh. This hampered matters further when, owing to his inexperience, his Charizard refused to listen to him until Ash could prove himself to the powerful Fire-type.

Ash with his main Pokemon partner, Pikachu.
Over time, Ash's dedication to his goal paid off. After earning his first eight badges he went on to compete in the Indigo League, advancing to the fifth round - one further than Gary. After recovering from his defeat, he continued on to improve his skills; take on new challenges; and compete in more Pokémon League competitions - triumphing in the Orange League and the Battle Frontier.
Ash has changed a great deal over the course of the series, particularly in regards to his skill at Pokémon training, but his earnestness, rashness, and determination have remained. Never straying from his goal, he has remained loyal to his friends, his family, and his supporters, but most of all his Pokémon. Ash became a great Trainer by learning to find and use the inner strength of each of his Pokémon by bonding with them.
In most episodes of the anime, especially those during the Johto League saga, Ash befriends someone who will influence him and cause him to strive to become a better Trainer. Although he is not a dependent individual, he is still young and has learned to make his way relying on his friends, particularly the maternal skills of Brock. The honor of "best friend" is usually reserved for Pikachu but Ash has come to see his closest human friends in the same light over time.

Erik Erikson’s Life span Identity and Identity Crisis

In the perspective of Erik Erikson’s Identity and Identity crisis theory, Ash would be all the way towards the Intimacy vs Isolation phase, though he his age is around only 10 years old [or older. The show never really gave him a specific age, he is still considered 10, but by watching it he should at least 12 with reference to season one episode, “Battle of the Badge” and the short episode before the third Pokémon movie.] The reason why he is at that stage at so young, at age 10 children are allowed to leave their homes on a journey to pursue a career in Pokémon Training [which includes, but is not limited to: Pokémon Coordinator, Pokémon Trainer, Pokémon Breeder, etc.] and this journey sped up Ash’s growing process mentally.
Trust versus Mistrust
With consideration of how Ash is presently and how his relationship with his mother, Delia Ketchum, is, Ash would have been satisfied as an infant thus following the Trust path of this stage. It is said that after Ash’s mother, Delia, gave up her own dream of becoming a Model and Pokémon trainer to take care of Ash when he was born (bulbapedia). With consideration to what I know, Ash is able to trust people to a high degree, including his own enemies when the time calls for it. An example of this trust would be when seeing a disguised Team Rocket, usually the disguise would play as the Rocket members as being in trouble, and Ash coming to the rescue with his willingness to help.
Autonomy versus Shame/Doubt
In this stage, Ash would have achieved Autonomy, considering he left home in order to pursue his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master. So at this stage he should have been able to establish independence, but he still relies on his friend’s support, but that does not take away from his own autonomy. As Ash’s journey progresses, he is more and more confident in his skill as a Pokémon trainer. Ash’s journey doesn’t just include a dirt path but jungles, caves, various other environments where he has to be able to shelter himself and find certain foods to eat. So his survival relies on his autonomy. Ash also relies on his sense of righteousness, which he sees in most of the people he meets. He can be a little niave, though, when making decisions to not really think things through until it has already happened.
Initiative versus Guilt
Ash would be described as one who achieved the “initiative” status of this stage. He tends to carries his goals on until he can complete them. He does not like to give up, and likes to take on new challenges in order to grow toward his goal of being the best Pokémon Trainer, in other words a Pokémon Master, he can be. He also wants to grow the relationship between his Pokémon, so that also drives him to do the right things, take on different styles of training, and become better at learning about his relationship to him and his Pokémon.
Industry versus Inferiority
Though it seems Ash has not really been to school during his Pokémon journey, he could have been home schooled. He still learns more things everyday he journey’s, but in this stage, this is when kids are in school and start worrying about their performance in school. Even though Ash does not go to school, it could still apply to him through Pokémon battle experience. Since he trains and is able to win battles, he can accomplish more as a trainer. He never over battles, though, or just picks the strongest Pokémon, he looks for Pokémon who feel they have potential to grow like he is. He may have felt inferior towards his Rival Gary Oak, grandson to a professor Ash looks up to as a teacher, but that changed after Gary and Ash figured out their actual goals; That as still wanted to be a Pokémon master, but Gary wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become a Pokémon Researcher.
Identity versus Role Confusion
Ash has a very clear goal in mind and it seems he doesn’t plan on giving up. Of course he has trained in different ways, testing out the different styles of training, but the only path he is choosing is the path of a Pokémon master. He chose to grow with his Pokémon and get better as a trainer from the beginning, and still has that goal in mind after 10 or so seasons. He never has actually thought of being any other way, mostly because as an audience, the producers let us read what Ash says through his thoughts.
Intimacy versus Isolation
Though this should have been far beyond Ash’s age group if he was a real life person, Ash still manages to establish extremely close bonds with the friends he meets along with the Pokémon he captures. He always says he will never feel alone, and it is as though his friends are with them when they are apart. Especially during the time when Misty, one of Ash’s human companions, leaves Ash for good for the rest of the series, having a few comebacks one or two episodes later on, they still establish that they would remember each other and never forget the bond they have as friends.

Trait Approach

On a scale of 1-10, Ash Ketchum would be rated 8 in Extraversion. Not an extreme extrovert, but he is a very social person. Going around different regions of the world, he is bound to run into many people, so if he was really shy, he wouldn’t be able to perform as well in certain areas, such as Pokémon tournaments because there would be too many people, and he would feel over stimulated. Instead he performs well under the close eye of an audience and does not mind along with the fact that he makes friends very easily and is willing walk up to anyone just for a fun Pokémon match. Also, he wants to establish a relationship with as many Pokémon as he can, so even then he has to be able to communicate with them and show he’s confident and approachable to work with.
external image pokemon_indigo_league_-_026_-_po-1.jpgOn a scale of 1-10, Ash Ketchum would be rated 7. Though he is able to work with a lot of people, he works towards a huge goal, and sometimes doesn’t feel as though he should detour from them. An example is when Misty was afraid of going back to her hometown to face her sisters who control the Pokémon Gym without being a Pokémon master; she tried to move him away from that path towards another city instead. Ash was very stubborn, though, and headed towards Misty’s hometown. The situation ended up good for both parties, Misty reconciling with her sisters and Ash getting closer to the Pokémon League. So Ash’s agreeableness is on a set level where he is still cooperative, but he still can get into heated arguments with people to get his way.
On a scale of 1-10, Ash Ketchum would be rated 7. Ash is definitely set on his goals, and aware of his surroundings. He can also be quite impulsive, running into things that may be of interest. He tends to be oblivious to how people feel sometimes, and who’s behind the mask when Team Rocket has disguised themselves in order to steal his Pokémon. He also get’s distracted from his dream, but it evens’ out when he has to help people who are asking for help. So he’s at least aware that he must do the right thing, even if it means putting his goals aside for a while.
On a scale of 1-10, Ash Ketchum would be rated 4. Ash likes to win battles, though he doesn’t mind losing as long as it is strictly a casual Pokémon match. He has to deal with many people trying to steal his Pokémon, or losing a battle that could either have him closer to his goal of being a Pokémon master or farther from it. So he becomes very stressed out. The things that keep him very calm and level headed are his friends. He relies on them when he really needs someone to keep him motivated and positive.
On a scale of 1-10, Ash Ketchum would be rated 9. He does not discriminate when it comes to who he meets or the kinds of Pokémon he captures. No matter what he treats them all equally the way he would want to be treated. He does have a very strict sense of righteousness, so he is not agreeing when it comes to mistreating people or Pokémon, but he is very open to different training styles. He has tried many of them, and each of which he’s grown better at being a trainer himself.

The most interesting thing about Ash is that he is not from our Earth, he’s from a different world with different resources and different ways of living. We don’t see that today we will let our children travel on their own at ten years old in order to achieve a goal. That would change the whole psychological view of things. Erikson would have to think of more ways stages of life and identity through that world. Freud would, though he shouldn’t be talking of sex on a kid’s show, would have to revise much of his material. The few people who wouldn’t have to change their theories on personality would be most likely the trait theorist and the biology theorists, because those values won’t change. Since Trait theory is basically a scale of measuring personality, and biology is something you just cannot control. The biggest change is the environment, and since in Ash’s world, kids grow up rather quickly, it is different from our modern day world, so it would disrupt most theories. So the nurturing style of this world is extremely different, but much of the biology stuff can still be exactly the same.


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