Pokemon Fan Theory: Ash is A Series of Clones
I stopped watching the Pokemon anime after the Johto region arc, because I lost interest in the anime, but not the games, when they went to the third region. This was because they replaced Misty and changed too many things, and they seemed to show Ash going back to square one in terms of ignorance. They also had to have him release or forget he had a lot of Pokemon so they could show off new Hoenn region ones.
But it made me think, with what's happened with the show since then, that if there are human clones in the form of the Nurse Jennies and Nurse Joys walking around (I don't really buy the "sisters and cousins" thing because they would have more genetic variability.) in the Pokemon world, maybe Ash is also a clone? Maybe Ash's Pikachu isn't the original Pikachu, or maybe it is and it gets shipped electronically to a new Ash whenever an old one completes his Pokemon journey and retires.
I believe that there is one Ash, Ash A, who travels to the Orange Islands and Johto Region after defeating the Indigo League in the Kanto region, who then goes on to do other things. Meanwhile, Ash B starts out in the Hoenn region with some of Ash A's borrowed Pokemon, to start his own journey, with his own friends. Ash C does the same thing in the Sinnoh region, and so on.
If they are all clones, it would explain why they all still have the same mother, but no father. Obviously, they were made in a lab and Ash's mother would have been their birth mother, but not their biological mother (look at Ash and his mom, do they even look that much alike?).
Cloning and genetic experimentation are all over the Kanto region, which becomes abundantly clear when you explore it for yourself in the games. Science is practically the dominant religion in Kanto, promising to store Pokemon electronically, heal Pokemon, and even bring fossilized remains of Pokemon back to life. Giovanni is involved in the creation of Mewtwo, a clone of Mew. In the first movie, Mewtwo escapes and creates his own army of cloned Pokemon by stealing DNA from trainers' Pokemon. One fan even speculated that Ditto may have been failed attempts in the process of trying to clone Mew. Pokemon like Magnemite, Voltorb, and Grimer seem like byproducts of this Pokemon science that's so common at least in the Kanto region. Lavender Town is riddled with dead Pokemon who became the amorphous ghost, Ghastly. More genetic experimental failures? And it seems obvious that the Indigo League, which is basically the government, also does human cloning. Jennies and Joys seem like human clones created by the government for the performance of necessary tasks, ie, being the police force and taking care of injured Pokemon, respectively. If Pokemon are the basis for the economy, it would make sense as to why the government would invest in Nurse Joys, Chansey helpers, and Pokemon Centers. And of course it's also important to them to set up at least one police officer in every town. Perhaps they used clone Officer Jennies as a cheap way to produce a police force in the general absence of young men after the war (which I'll talk about more later).
But why would the government make clones of Ash and send one to each region? Well, what does Ash accomplish in his adventures, other than getting the crap beat out of him by his own Pokemon, failing at strategy, and stumbling his way through things while his more competent friends bail him out of messes he gets in? He fights Team Rocket, and other criminals who defy League rules in terms of battling, stealing Pokemon, or who commit other Pokemon-related offenses. So basically, if Officer Jenny is like the county sheriff, Ash is like an elite FBI agent tracking down a specific type of offender. He chases Pokemon thieves and Pokemon rule-breakers, and hunts down gangs who want to take over the entire region.
That's right. Ash is not only a clone, but working for the government. He might be genetically or cybernetically enhanced too, explaining his ability to survive in a Pokemon-filled wilderness with little to no survival training. He's practically Motoko from Ghost in the Shell, but less sexy. It also explains why he doesn't age, if you consider that maybe all the Ash clone's stories are happening simultaneously in actuality, or perhaps within a few months of each other.
So who are his friends? Normal children, but they might have been assigned to follow him. Misty didn't have much of an excuse to be with him, the bike thing getting kind of worn out after like 300 miles. But it does make sense if she was actually being paid by the Indigo League to follow him and make sure he does his job correctly and to help him learn how to fight the people he's assigned to fight. Maybe, they weren't even supposed to tell Ash anything specific, just to guide him to certain places to "fight gym leaders" = staged matches or places where League agents check up on his training and train him for the sake of furthering his mission. There, he becomes strong enough to be at a certain level with his Pokemon before they allow him to move forward to the next city, making sure that his Pokemon will become consistently better so they can beat Team Rocket, Team Plasma/Magma/Mario Galaxy/Spaghetti/Frisbee etc., becoming, the League hopes, eventually strong enough to take down their leader.
In the Johto region in the games, you get help from Lance, dragon tamer and Elite Four member, in fighting Team Rocket pretty early on in your story. This seems to indicate to me that the Pokemon League is watching your progress and development very carefully, and also notice that even though Lance is undoubtedly stronger than you at that point, they still send you in to fight. He's there to intervene in case something goes wrong, but he's the general, you're the soldier.
Speaking of soldiers, another popular fan theory is that the Kanto region was, before Ash would have been born, but fairly recently, devastated by a big war, and perhaps all the regions were affected. There are fewer middle-aged men at least in the Kanto region in the games than there are old people, women, and children. Hm... Where did the men go? Lt. Surge says his Raichu saved his life in such a war. This leads me to think maybe the Ashes are clones of Lt. Surge, or maybe that they cloned Lt. Surge's Raichu to create the various Ash's pikachus. When Ash defeats Surge in the anime, he almost seems proud of pikachu rather than upset or angry. The kind of pride you would expect from someone who saw their beloved Pokemon's clone become strong enough through love and dedicated training to surpass the original. And the pride of seeing the government's cloned hero becoming stronger, biological connection to him or not (I doubt there would be).
Ever notice how often in the anime, gym leaders seem to go easier on Ash or give him badges because they feel sorry for him or because he helped them out? Maybe their job is to check on whether his Pokemon skills have improved, but unlike with other child Pokemon trainers, they don't have to necessarily be defeated by a battle as the only possible criteria for deciding that.
Ash as a clone explains a lot, especially him losing competence, and old friends, between regions. But, I'll admit that it raises some questions as well. What do you think? Could Ash be not one person, but several clones created by the government to fight Pokemon-related crimes and to break up gang activity?
More by this Author
A look at which anime shows and types of anime are most common and popular in America, and a discussion of their cultural impact.
I took great pains to explore all anime series in the "sci-fi" category. This is my exhaustive list of the best sci-fi anime that I've found.
The timeless kimono is Japan's oldest and most uniquely Japanese style of clothing. I discuss the parts of the kimono, things usually worn with it, and other forms of traditional Japanese dress.