Pokémon: A Fan (Conspiracy) Theory

Pokémon: A Fan (Conspiracy) Theory
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One of the biggest Cubones fans pick with the Pokémon anime universe is the staggering incompetence of Ash Ketchum as a trainer. This child, who has been 10 years old for decades, is almost impressively bad at his one life goal. After watching about 60 maddening hours of the series, I think I might have figured out why. If you want to learn the truth, read on…

There is no one Ash Ketchum. The character we think of as Ash Ketchum is merely a collection of clones with memories (very poorly) implanted into their brains, sent out into the world whenever one of the Ashes inevitably kicks the bucket in a spectacularly dumb way.

Death becomes him. (Screenshot: The Pokémon Company)

First, let’s start with the evidence of Ash being unable to remember basic shit about the world he lives in. Like when he forgot what a Gengar was, even after one helped kill him with a chandelier. Or when he had to ask his Pokédex what a Koffing was after battling James’ Koffing hundreds of times. Or when he keeps putting Pikachu, an electric type Pokémon, up against ground-and rock-type Pokémon. Or when he couldn’t tell the difference between human women and Pokémon!

With trainers this messed up, Pokémon need to repeat their own names.

Ash’s incompetence isn’t the only evidence; he’s also canonically died at least a couple of times. He goes through ordeals that have either actually killed him or really should have (that chandelier falling on him, being turned into stone, being electrocuted and set on fire constantly). But hey! Not a big deal when there’s a whole army of Ash-clones to replace him.

We already know that cloning is canonically a thing in the Pokéworld. In Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, the Pokéworld’s scientists are capable of cloning — or imperfectly cloning — strong Pokémon. Although Mewtwo is not a 1:1 perfect clone of Mew, we know that the technology definitely exists.

Mewtwo is certainly not the only clone in the Pokémon series. Oh no. It’s been long-speculated that Ditto is a failed clone of Mew. The technology of the Pokémon world appears to be finicky; attempts to clone a legendary Pokémon resulted in either creating grouchy ultra-powerful Pokémon that obey no human masters, or grinning, shapeless globs of pink amoeba. If you think about it, Ash really lucked out.

Hello darkness my old friend (Screenshot: The Pokémon Company)

What’s more, Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny have set off alarm bells for years. If you’re unfamiliar, each town has one police officer and one nurse apiece. They are all identical, and are all named “Nurse Joy” or “Officer Jenny.” Wake up, Mareeple!

Canonically, the Joys and Jennys explain that they are identical cousins, all with the same name—which, as a concept, makes no fucking sense whatsoever. (It’s also been theorised that Joy and Jenny are Poké-clone-hybrids of the Chansey and Growlithe evolutionary lines, respectively, but let’s skip over this for now.)

“Cousins.” (Screenshot: The Pokémon Company)

Joy and Jenny aren’t the only characters in the Poké-world who have alarming similarities to one another. You’ve got Jessie’s diva doppelgänger Jessebelle and the extremely strange trainers who are so bonded to their Pokémon that they look eerily similar. Are you handling these truth-bombs? Has your mind been blown yet?

Fashion? Or something more sinister? (Screenshot: The Pokémon Company)

We even meet one of Ash’s doppelgängers, Travis, in the episode “Double Trouble.” Travis himself set out in the world with naught but a backpack and a Pikachu, just like Ash. Travis’ own mother mistook Ash for her son. She probably knows the truth, just as I do.

And the Poké-world is nothing if not an enthusiastic propaganda machine. Here are some excerpts from the Pokémon albums:

It takes a certain kind of skill

And I won’t stop until

150 Pokémon are mine

I must define the art of capture (of all Pokémon)

– “2BA Master”

What kind of Pokémon are you? How do you do the things you do?

Share with me your secrets deep inside

– “What Kind of Pokemon Are You”

This propaganda fed to the “human” trainers serves to maintain dominion over their more powerful and volatile cousins, the Pokémon. Untrained, uncontrolled, or wild Pokémon are considered to be dangerous. (Think Ash’s poorly-trained Charizard, or the Tentacruel that destroys a city.) That’s why trainers capture them. Control them. Manipulate them. Trick their own society into thinking Pokémon want this, that they’re happiest being indentured servants. It goes all the way to the top, man. All the way to the top.

But honestly, what other option is there? The Poké-world’s stratocracy appears to be based entirely on battling prowess. Only the very best trainers rise to the top of the heap to become the de facto heads of local governments. But it’s all sort of pointless if the dipshit trainers bumbling around the wilderness can’t remember why they were doing this in the first place, so the Poké-nation has to remind all the clones what their objectives are. Thus: gotta catch ‘em all!

The Ash-clones and the other citizens of the Poké-nation never had a chance to break free with all this propaganda being fed into their skulls. They’re as trapped as the hosts from Westworld, Agent Smith from The Matrix, or humanity in They Live.

And by supporting this system, you’re part and parcel of keeping the Ash-clones mollified. Yes, you, Pokemon fan. Every time you pick up a Pokéball, you’re part of it. Welcome to the Pokénation.


  • You seem to be on the level so I’m going to tell you something that will change your life and how you look at anime forever.

    Anime is real.

  • In a world where children are sent out into the wild before puberty sets in, in a world full of monsters. Clones is your best conspiracy… go deeper, their is some real paranormal and supernatural forces at work in this world, as well as living machines and computer code that becomes alive. Despite the cartoonish asthetic, this is Cabin in the Woods level of creepy, he merely exists for the entertainment of higher beings until he dies from his slapstick-esque levels of incompitence. There is probably a betting pool!

    P.S. They also probably genetically engineered him with Super Effective resistance to electricity after the 100th time he died to his Pikachu!

  • I thought it was brain damage from being electrocuted, set on fire, drowned, etc.

  • Wow. The way this started I felt for sure that the conclusion would be that Ash was actually Rei Ayanami.

  • I find these kind of fan theory’s so annoying, there’s no theory, just an answer… it’s a show for kids.

    Any given episode could be the viewers first episode, so when Ash doesn’t know what a Koffing is because the new young audience doesn’t remember the monster from the episode from before they were born.

    I find this akin to trying to find deeper meaning in Dora the Explorer or Play School.

    Also, what’s wrong with sending a Pikachu out against a rock type? They both damage each other neutral. Sure the rock type may have ground coverage, but Pikachu will be faster than most rock types and can learn iron tail and grass knot (a move that does damage calculated on the opponents weight, rock pokemon are generally pretty heavy).

    • Or set of the fire alarm covering the rock type in water then use thunderbolt, result, damage multiplier.

      Note: this strategy only works inside a building with fire sprinklers.

    • I find this akin to trying to find deeper meaning in Dora the Explorer or Play School. Have you seen the show Bing where the toddler children of animal hybrid clone supersoldiers are raised by AI-controlled androids made to look like stuffed toys?
      Have you not wondered what horrors lurk during’s night’s darkness on planet Tellytubby that force the inhabitants underground before the sun sets?
      You can find hidden lore in anything if you look hard enough, and for some people, it’s a fun exercise, even if it is a complete waste of time for all involved.

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