Ash Ketchum started his journey when he was 10 years old and in every iteration of the franchise so far, he has been 10 years old. He remains 10 despite being here for more than two decades and according to what we know, he will forever remain 10 years old, simply because the producers of the anime have decided to portray him like that.
In the rest of this article, we are going to explain why Ash is still 10 years old, despite being on the air for more than twenty years. There are several theories and explanations that account for this fact and we are going to present and explain them in this article, as well as tell you a bit about Ash and his journeys.
Why Doesn’t Ash Ketchum Age?
Ash Ketchum is 10 years old. He was 10 when he began his journey and now, more than 20 years since the journey’s beginning, he is still 10 years old. Years have passed, both in real life and also in-universe, but Ash’s age doesn’t change and that makes sense in the world of Pokémon. None of the characters have aged and that is just how the anime functions.
You might disagree with it, but it is what it is. Ash Ketchum is 10 years old in every Pokémon series and will remain 10 during the anime’s run. In the next section, we are going to try and explain why that is.
As we have established, Ash Ketchum doesn’t age and he probably won’t age, regardless of how many seasons the anime gets in the future. Sure, there are some unofficial calculations that speak of him being roughly 17 years old, but this is not official and is a mere assumption, as Ash has been officially confirmed to be 10 years old.
In the following paragraphs, we are going to give you some possible explanations for this phenomenon.
Eternal Youth Theory
The eternal youth theory suggests that, as in many animated series, the characters never get old and are trapped in the age of their first appearance; in Ash’s case, it is him being 10 years old. The theory also suggests that the show has a floating timeline, a plot device used to “explain or explain away inconsistencies in the way that events and characters exist within a world.”
The official explanation about Ash’s age, as found in the Pokemon.com mailbag, states the following: [
Ash Ketchum was indeed ten years old when he started, but he is ageless – since the beginning of the show until now, Ash has become an icon, a legend, like Mickey Mouse. But Mickey Mouse doesn’t look 75 years old (although he is), and the same goes for Ash.
This theory seems particularly odd, though, as every now and then the passage of time is clearly referenced, but without mentioning a character’s birthday. The dub mentioned this in In The Shadow of Zekrom!, stating a lot of time has passed, but Ash still remains 10 years old.
One of the more common facts used in support of this theory is that Ash and May are said to be the same age when May begins their journey, although Ash had traveled two regions and competed in three leagues before encountering May.
This is also the case when Dawn begins her journey, since she is also the same age as Ash, although at this point he already has four leagues behind him and has crossed Kanto twice.
In the English dub, though, the voices of many characters have changed over time, most notably Ash’s, whose voice has noticeably deepened over the seasons and it feels like he’s growing old, although he isn’t really.
Brock and his family are often cited as proof of this idea, as Brock is still expected to be five years older than Ash, 10, and his younger siblings seem barely older between the Pewter City showdown and DPS02.
Slowed Time Theory
The so-called slowed time theory stipulates that the flow of time in the anime is significantly slower than in real life, as it only airs an episode of about half an hour each week. This theory is supported by the apparent, albeit minimal, growth in character, as well as the familiar traces of time. However, this theory still faces the same problems as the theory of eternal youth.
This theory could account for the slowed aging of characters in many other anime series, like Detective Conan, One Piece, or Bleach, where a lot of time obviously passes, but characters don’t seem to age at all, or if they do, they age only a bit.
Arbitrary Age Theory
Finally, the arbitrary age theory implies the age designation has a different meaning in the Pokémon world than in the real world. In their culture, a person’s numerical “age” is not representative of the number of years they have lived, but is representative of the person’s marital status.
When a person comes of age and is ready to venture into the world of Pokémon, they are marked “ten”. When a person has children, they are called “twenty”. If they have grandchildren, “fifty”. Other ages may exist, but there is not enough evidence to infer these ages and milestones in life.
The theory states that for things like (grand) children, this seemingly young age is similar to the surprisingly young age at which children come of age. Ash was alive perhaps eighteen years old but hadn’t gained the position of more than “ten”.
Brock’s family role is best described as being half the age of “fifteen.” He has no children but takes care of his younger siblings in the absence of his parents.
This theory seems, like its title suggests, rather arbitrary and it isn’t supported by any official statements or facts.
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