Ash Ketchum has caught a fairly large number of Pokémon during his journeys. Being a trainer who doesn’t focus on specific types, he has caught various Pokémon from all generations. Some of them are just regular Pokémon, but some are part of some specific groups, such as Starter Pokémon or Pseudo-legendary Pokémon. Yet, we cannot but ask ourselves – has Ash ever caught any Legendary or Mythical Pokémon, the rarest Pokémon in existence? This is a question that has been bugging fans ever since Ash’s adventures ended (as he has caught a great deal of Pokémon), and in this article, we will provide you with an answer to this question.
Legendary and Mythical Pokémon are part of the series’ lore
Before we answer the main question, we thought it’d be good to explain what Legendary and Mythical Pokémon are and what constitutes a Legendary or Mythical Pokémon.
Unlike some groups (e.g., Pseudo-legendary Pokémon), Legendary and Mythical Pokémon are official groups within the Pokémon universe. They are both groups of exceptionally rare and usually very powerful Pokémon that exist in the universe. Although the two groups are related, they are separate from each other. The group of Mythical Pokémon was introduced to the franchise during Generation V (except in Korea, where the group existed before), after which Legendary Pokémon were divided into “real” Legendary Pokémon and Mythical Pokémon.
What is the difference between these groups? Well, there are no official criteria for classifying a Pokémon as Legendary or Mythical, so there are also no official criteria for distinguishing them. The only reliable source is the official information provided by The Pokémon Company, whose world is final on this issue. Legendary Pokémon are exceptionally rare and are prominently featured in various legends and myths about the creation and evolution of the world of Pokémon. They might be rare, but their existence is generally not disputed.
On the other hand, Mythical Pokémon are so rare that their very existence is doubted by many, which is why they are usually perceived as mythological beings rather than actual Pokémon.
In the games, Legendary Pokémon were usually mascots of the different versions of generation-specific games, each being obtainable only in the game whose mascot it was. Sometimes, more than one Legendary Pokémon could be obtainable in a game, but some were version-exclusive. What is important to note is that they were regularly obtainable in the game.
Mythical Pokémon, on the other hand, were never obtainable in the games and could be caught only via special events (usually ticketed events) that would make them available for catching legally. In the anime, both Legendary and Mythical Pokémon rarely appeared in the TV series (although they have had some appearances) but were heavily featured in the movies, usually being the central Pokémon in them.
Has Ash ever caught a Legendary or Mythical Pokémon?
This section will be divided into two sections, one dealing with Legendary Pokémon and the other with Mythical Pokémon.
Regarding Legendary Pokémon, Ash hasn’t caught one, neither in the anime series nor in the movies. He has befriended practically all of them, as he aided the Legendary Pokémon in the movies and protected them from harm, but he hasn’t actually caught one.
The closest he came to “owning” a Legendary Pokémon was when he was traveling with the Cosmog named Nebby, who later evolved into Solgaleo. Ash never actually caught Nebby, but he traveled with it for a while, and the two of them became so close that they were practically partners. But no, Ash never caught it, so his Legendary Pokémon tally remains at zero.
Mythical Pokémon are even more difficult to catch, and based on what we know of the in-anime universe, most of them might even be impossible to catch. Still, Ash has indeed caught one Mythical Pokémon – Meltan! The new Pokémon was actually a Generation VII Pokémon introduced to the general public in the Pokémon Go mobile game, and it soon appeared in the anime as a newly-discovered species. Interestingly enough, Meltan doesn’t actually “work” as a regular Mythical Pokémon – it can evolve, it is not unique, it can be caught, etc. – which accounts for why Ash had caught it.
Ash offered the Meltan he encountered to join his team, and it did. Later, it would evolve into Melmetal, thus becoming the first and so far only Mythical Pokémon caught by Ash. Ash’s Melmetal currently resides with Professors Kukui and Burnet.