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The “Ash is Really in a Coma” Theory

written by some guy in /a/

Did one ever know the reason why the Giovanni leads Team Rocket. How could
pacing and story development change after Paul, the rival of the Sinnoh area, not know
Ash was hit by lightning in the beginning of someone who has placed in at least the top
episodes? How Ash and his world were rela- 16 of all three leagues and has destroyed the
tively normal until after the incident? I have Orange league and Battle Frontier?
a theory. The accident with the bike put Ash
in a coma. Days later he was found and was Ash’s travelling partners are actually aspects
hurried to the hospital and treated with heavy of himself he can enjoy, but doesn’t like to
medications. This is why Team Rocket became associate with himself. Team Rocket are his
less menacing. The medication took effect and qualities that he deems “negative”, but is
stabilized his coma dreams, instead of being coming to terms with. Jesse and James want
terrifying, they became idyllic, and he’s able to to appease Giovanni, Ash’s Father. Meowth
live out his Pokémon master fantasies. especially wants to appease him because he
remembers the good times with Giovanni. This
If one had noticed, the early episodes of Poké- Places meowth in a category known as ash’s
mon were of amazing quality. The rest of the (corrupted) innocence, and another fragment
series is just the results of his subconscious of ash’s humanity. If you note that meowth can
mind fulfilling his desires, as well as attempt- speak this quickly becomes apparrent. In fact
ing to escape them. Should Ash realize he’s the whole reason for meowth’s speech is so
in a coma, he would wake up, but suffer brain he can help Ash accept Team rocket as part of
damage. So he has to take down all his mental himself eventually.
barriers one by one until he can come to grips
with what he is and escape his coma. Brock is Ash’s repressed sexuality. He fell
into the coma a virgin and needed an outlet for
This explains why he doesn’t change much his growing sexual frustrations. Since he can
physically. Also, the worldwide socialism can never experience sex, Brock must never suc-
be explained if you once again realize that this ceed. Brock is a projection of his sexuality,
is a dream world; he thought up a safe system and is constantly shot down because Ash could
of government that would run smoothly and never “know” sex. Brock isn’t just Ash’s
keeps the world going allowing his adventures latent sexuality, he’s also his fatherly instincts,
to work like they do. It also explains a few neither of which Ash can come to terms with.
other things, such as how a child can go off on Brock leaves his siblings to “journey” with
his own in a world full of dangerous untamed Ash. because Ash can’t cope with having that
animals, and why every Pokémon center has much responsibility, much as his foray with
the same exact nurse. Joy and Jenny he knew a real relationship ends on mysterious terms.
from his hometown, and they act as a safety Ash just cannot handle commitment at his
net or anchor, allowing him to feel safe no mental level. Brock’s Stay with professor Ivy
matter where he goes. The professors, like was an.attempt to outright suppress his sexual-
the Joy’s and Jenny’s represent stability, and ity. You’ll notice that James got much more
ash’s ideals. This is why Gary became a pro- dialogue in this part of the series, as well as
fessor. It’s also the reason that every time getting more touchy feel-y with his pokemon
he enters a new region, virtually no one has and getting most of his backstory. Ash didn’t
heard of him, despite his conquests, and why enjoy this much, hence the reasons Brock
comes back all horrified, and refuses to speak
about it. (ash’s subconscious was repressing Dawn is Ash giving himself a chance to love.
him at the time, so other than a general feel- since he already established Misty as someone
ing of dread he has no idea of what went on he’s not likely to go anywhere with, he created
then.) This is also why brock keeps coming a new super female, one that was more like
back to the series....Usually AFTER Ash meets him, and less violent all the time. (One will
a new girl aspect of himself.Misty is an image note that both May and Misty had no tolerance
that Ash had of a girl. This is why she plays for Brock whatsoever whereas dawn seems to
so prevalently in the series but is ultimately try and shrug it off.) .
unattainable because he never really knew her
before the coma. Likely the one that helped get Tracey, The Breeder was a possible future for
him to a hospital. I have a theory in line with Ash that he discarded. It was one that he sent
this: Since Misty was his initial love inter- off to work with the Professor (the professors
est (if only subconsciously), he needed her being Ash’s ultimate ideal of a father figure)
to reach a level of womanhood. He felt that when he disrupted the dynamic Ash had with
people could only have relationships when his other possibilities. Ash’s mind is fighting
they’ve matured. But in practice, it turned out the coma and since Ash viewed this one as
he couldn’t cope with it and just wanted the a companion he was quickly replaced with a
normal, pushy, arrogant Misty he knew, and more threatening Rival.
wouldn’t let her keep Togepi anymore.
Pikachu obviously represents Ash’s Humanity,
Misty is Ash’s first attempt at a girl he hence the episodes where they get separated,
could love, however, being a girl from the and ash wants desperately to find him, even to
real world, all he really he knew of her was the point of working with the rockets ( aspects
her anger, as a result she ended up quite hot of himself he woould never normally associate
headed in his mind. Constantly berating his with) but for some reason cannot. They want
sexuality, but eventually mellowing out until to steal Pikachu (Ash’s humanity) and hand it
she had faded into the background. This was over to his father, Giovanni. Jesse and James
also traumatizing to him, being attached to it. will always oppose ash because ash is terri-
Since then, the thought of anyone around him fied of the thought of his humanity lying in the
maturing to adulthood has been blocked, and hands of his father. However this is the same
anyone who shows signs of it will quickly end reason that he will work with those aspects of
up leaving for another, more naive fill-in. himself in order to save his humanity from just
becoming flat out LOST. He couldn’t evolve
Max came with May, she played the Id with his Pikachu without challenging his concept of
great aspirations, and he played the sensible who he was, something he wasn’t comfortable
Ego that “Session”. They worked for a little with while he was still working through his
while but Ash, being a teenager, eventually original issues.
had his sexuality had to come back into play.
He kept reinventing himself and eventu- Another thing is the narrator. The narrator is
ally wrote new aspects, but his mind slowly Ash’s higher mind, recapping and explaining
brought back the old ones as a crutch to make the progress he’s made and the tribulations he
the transition easier. will face allowing itself insight into how best
to awaken him. disguises are always believed. He knows it’s
them (on some level), but chooses to ignore
it, so he can better himself, in a sense the Ash
who wants to escape is sabotaging the ash who
Ash has issues With his Father; so he put him wants to stay lost in his mind. So that there can
atop the evil corporation, and demonized him. be more conflict, and hopefully an eventual
There may be an actual team rocket, and I’m escape. The filler episodes that don’t focus
positive they’re quite dastardly, but I doubt on Ash and the gang are his mind working
that ash’s father is their leader, in fact the through, and humanizing the parts of himself
head of the rockets wasn’t really identified as that he demonized. It’s a way for him to deal
anyone until later on in the series. The split with issues that Ash and crew wouldn’t touch,
between ash’s parents was likely over ash’s because it involves treading ground he him-
homosexuality and some sort of incident as a self had sworn not to go near. As I said, Team
catalyst, forcing his father to disown him and Rocket and the episodes they occupy are Ash
his mother to move out of the city and down dealing with ground he feels uncomfortable
to pallet town. This is why Giovanni runs the with tackling on his own. Jessie is Ash’s van-
faceless Vile corporation, and Why he Berates ity and gullibility, she will trick Ash’s submis-
Jesse, James, and Meowth as much as he does, sive homosexuality into doing her bidding so
and why they keep trying to please him. An- she can please father. James’ troubled child-
other thing to notice is the difference in uni- hood is his way of justifying his latent homo-
form, The rockets Wear Black and Red, where sexuality. Now James is Ash’s latent homo-
Team Rocket wears White....a symbol of their sexuality, hence why he is constantly punished
purity and naievete. They’re willing to please by Pokémon and attacked by random attractive
father despite his utter hatred of those parts of girls. I believe the split between Ash’s par-
Ash . ents was caused by this part of Ash, maybe
an incident at school, bringing shame on the
Team rocket are aspects of Ash’s personality family and forcing them to move to the small,
that he has deemed “bad” James implied ho- country town of Pallet. Ash’s motivations for
mosexuality, and Jesse’s vanity. You’ll remem- his journey were to escape mounting pressure
ber that Meowth has the potential for reha- at home.
bilitation, and doesn’t want to be evil, so yet
again this fits in with the conflicting personali- So in a way, Ash IS Team Rocket. The rest of
ties and demonized self theory. Team rocket the whole organization Including Butch and
started cross-dressing because ash had to come Cassidy is symbolic of his inability to escape
to terms with that part of himself. It was some- his father’s machinations.
thing he was able to allow his gay/vain side to
experiment with (and by virtue of that himself) Mr. Mime is actually a stand in for Ash’s
When he found that it wasn’t something for father, one that can’t emotionally abuse him
him, his “Free” side stopped playing with it. or his mom. He is a Pokémon, a peace loving
Further, their methods of capture become more creature that’s oddly humanoid, but that can
and more ludicrous (and physically impos- never hurt a human. Ash’s was never really
sible) because Ash is just a kid dreaming these hurt by a Pokémon, so he sees them all as
things up. This is the reason Team Rocket’s harmless; whereas, in the real world they may
be quite feral or vicious (as seen in the early into the background because he has no real
episodes). Again falling back to the theory interest in them.
that the only real Pokémon are the ones from
the first season, and everything else is just The Pokémon in Ash’s team are his issues, for
further speculation coming from his mind on example Charmander represents his sex drive
what new species would look like. (not his sexuality like Brock) at first it’s a cute
easy to control thing, but eventually becomes
The new teams ( magma, aqua, and galactic) a raging inferno of disobedience. Acquiring
are Ash attempting to work out the problems his team means getting at his issues, but as he
he has with his father. to do that he first needs trains them, he works said issues out. Other
a new “bad guy” to feel good about beating, trainers are more direct forms of his issues,
and if Giovanni isn’t leading a criminal orga- ones that he must either come to terms with
nization he can more easily relate to him. or outright supress. Gym leaders are more
primary aspects of his personality with each
If one recalls, there were real animals early Pokémon being stronger than the last, to dis-
in the show and references to animals in the play a level of skill he could be capable of
game and show. For example, a clear case to if only he gave into it. In effect, he is doing
point out is the aquarium of fish in the Ce- battle with a part of him that he would rather
rulean City Gym or that by the Pokédex that not have in control. Bulbasaur was Ash’s
Pikachu is a “rat-like” Pokémon. But they unwillingness to change, this is reflectedwhen
don’t matter to Ash’s psyche so they don’t it declines to evolve and how it almost decided
come into play much. If Ash had loved pup- to stay behind unless he battled it. Squirtle
pies, everything would be about different was his willingness to follow the lead of oth-
breeds of dogs, and a dog fighting circuit. But, ers, as evidenced by the gang it ran with, even
as the series goes on longer, we’ve been seeing though he ran the gang, they were viewed as
less realistic animals and more Pokémon. This one group, and ash’s subconscious just gave
could be a sign of Ash’s mind deteriorating. As him the strongest one. Butterfree was his
he’s in this coma, he’s losing concepts of some crushing loneliness, which he dealt with when
animals and machinery and replacing them he released it to join a flock. His bird types
with Pokémon. It could explain things like are his recklessness, always willing to sacrifice
electric Pokémon working as power genera- something at a moment’s notice for the win.
tors. A sign that his memory of the old world When Ash is trading Pokémon, it’s an attempt
is slipping more and more as time goes by. The to push his own problems away on someone
Pokémon realm will be idealized continuously else; however, he realizes this and usually
the longer he has no stimulus from the real trades back fairly quickly. Originally ash had
world. He may or may not be mentally deterio- the battles, which evolved into team battles
rating , but he is becoming more accustomed and contests. The explanation for this is that
to his fake world’s rules. The wild Pokémon his issues became more and more complicated,
are his rationalizations of the functioning of and the means of dealing with them needed to
the world. It’s the “A wizard did it” Syndrome. become more complex. the fact that he uses
If he doesn’t know how it works, his mind issues that he has already dominated to win
says Pokémon. He justifies anything he can’t these are signs that he’s growing stronger.
explain with Pokémon, and real animals fall
Not only are Ash’s Pokémon are a manifes- that he loses them, and unless he’s desperate
tation of different parts of himself, so are (such as with Charizard) he can’t get them
Pokémon of other trainers as well. Koffing back. It’s basically his mind forcing him to
and Ekans were symbolic of Team Rocket’s deal with his issues. It would also be a good
willingness to change; hence, their evolutions. reason why Paul has shown up at this point,
Once his mind beat that roadblock down and and Ash has been forced to work with him on
allowed them to change once, it gives him the at least one occasion: It’s his mind’s last ditch
chance to truly change. Pupitar is a rational- efforts to snap him out of this, to force Ash to
ization, a Pokémon that a rival caught before actually come to terms that this perfect world
he met him. Even Ash would become suspi- is not the best option and he needs to wake up.
cious if everyone he met had no carry-over Paul is Ash’s dark side, one that wants to push
from pervious places he had been to. on even harder and harder, and the part of him
that will stop at nothing to escape this coma
Ash releases his Pokémon because his mind world.
is forcing him to let go of them. The second
he raises an overpowered team, a tournament Ash’s rivals and the Elite four are ultimately
comes up, and after fighting his way through it the strongest part of this cycle. Having Poké-
he has to go to a new land for new challenges, mon that are essentially godlike, they repre-
but with an overpowered team, there won’t be sent both what can be attained and what is
any challenges, and no way to motivate him unattainable. Gary Oak is what Ash wants
further, part of Ash wants to stay in the coma, to be. He is wish fulfillment. He succeeded,
and keep journeying. and settled down to a normal life. Ash needs
someone to succeed in his world or he won’t
Ash’s travelling also never really nets him be able to validate it and will start questioning
any fame, no matter what he does, or where why he’s where he is. It’s a subconscious trap
he goes, and the answer for that is simple. to keep him from becoming too aware of his
Ash just can’t picture himself as famous, so situation. His mind must have figured out that
he essentially adopts a new identity every few awareness of the coma would snap him out of
months. it, but it would cause major brain damage, so
it took something the boy already loved and
The reason he never truly becomes a master built a way out for him with it. However Ash
is because that would mean he’d have noth- is too complacent to finally fight his way out
ing left to dream, and would wake up from of it, and cannot escape. This is why he keeps
his coma. Ash’s dual personality is one that encountering Legendary Pokémon, they’re his
wants to maintain his fantasy world and slowly mind’s way of showing him he can do great
sort his thoughts out carefully. The other part things if he tries, and it’s a way to encour-
wants freedom, and to return to his real life, age him to push forwards. The Legendary
to finally become a real Pokémon master. Pokémon are Ash’s mind telling him that he
However if he’s allowed to keep his powerful has greatness in him and thus, can escape his
team there’s no reason to meet and tame new happy–go–lucky reality.
Pokémon(Issues), he’ll lose interest, and the
chance of becoming self-aware comes around Ash’s Rivals are all possible futures he envi-
again. So it’s not that he gives them up, it’s sions for himself (note that they are all older
than him). This originated with Gary Oak, him comatose; the Pokémon of his world. The
someone Ash knew from real life, and built clones were counters to Ash’s mental safe-
up into a sort of god within his mind. Gary ties, and so each appeared to Ash as the exact
however progressed and changed to suit Ash’s copy of his defense, intended to take it down
vision of himself and ultimate desire, eventu- by Force. The clones didn’t play by the rules
ally settling down into a professor after beat- of Ash’s world, they didn’t use any special
ing the Elite Four. With Gary in retirement Pokémon attacks or moves – they just beat
his mind needed a new rival for him Thus the down their counterpart by brute strength. The
births of Richie (the Good aspect of his rival- treatment was working, but there were side
ry) and Paul (as the darker aspect, a cut-throat effects. The electric jolts were beginning to af-
Ash, willing to do anything to escape the coma fect Ash’s nervous system, and if the treatment
world). continued, he would be paralyzed. His mind
realized this and manifested it to Ash by petri-
Richie and his Pikachu were another success fying him in his dream. Were it not for the end
story for Ash, but he wanted one he could be of the treatment by Ash’s mother (knowing
closer with. One nearly identical to him. One her son would never want to live in a world he
that even used a similar roster to him. Paul and couldn’t explore) Ash would have remained
his Chimchar are the polar opposite of Richie, as stone in his dream. After this, Ash needed
Paul wants nothing to do with any kind of to recover from the damage of the electric
weakness, and is almost aware of his situation. therapy. Obviously it was greatly dangerous to
He’s always pushing for something more. him, and in order to reduce the danger Ash’s
consciousness felt from it, Ash’s subconscious
The reason he discarded his original hat and began downplaying the effects of electricity in
the elements of japanese culture so prevalent Ash’s world, which is why Pikachu’s electric
in the first season is simple. He wanted to attacks -once noted for their strength by Team
travel and broaden his horizons, every time Rocket – no longer have any effect on Ash,
he reinvented himself to do so; he lost touch other than comic relief.
with his original self. If he ever does escape
the coma he’ll likely have achieved a sort of Even the world Ash lives in evidences this.
Zen state. Considering the amount of personal The sprawling forests and eco friendly cities
issues he deals with inside his head, it’s en- are all his childish innocence. He never travels
tirely likely that he was the next Buddha of the on a bike despite the distance due to the acci-
Pokémon world, and that the lightning strike dent having given him a phobia of them.
and subsequent coma are a way for him to
realize his true self, and destiny. As one could see, it is very likely that Ash is
trapped in his world. But like every dream,
Mewtwo was a new form of treatment, done everything, there is a beginning and an end.
with electric impulses and a machine to knock What would happen if Ash could fully re-
Ash out of it, taking down every last one of cover? What would happen if he never does?
his mental guards (the original Pokémon in There are infinite branches of possibilities that
the movie). In Ash’s mind, Mewtwo and his spiral upwards and intertwine towards the top
clones were the treatment for the mental safe at a single point, both in his “world” and the
guards that were protecting Ash and keeping real world. In his hospital room, we see De-
lia, obviously distraught talking to a doctor ing a silhouette of the figure at the center of
with a grim look in his eye. He’s saying that his turbulent emotions, his mother, her face
their insurance is up, and the boy has had no obstructed by her hands wiping away tears. He
change in brain activity for seven years. That a makes contact with her eyes and lets out one
shock like this may awaken him. She tearfully last tear before losing all strength. She breaks
agrees. down in hysterics.

Professor Oak is there to comfort her as they The worst part of all this is that Ash will die,
take Ash off life support. never having experienced actual love, imag-
ine if you will, having lived in a world like
his, completely shut off from all things but
yourself, and your perception of yourself, with
In Ash’s “world”. nothing but better yourself. No other people to
interact with and issues to solve with no guid-
ing hand.

Ash has finally defeated the elite four, and one The boy will die, never having known his
by one the people around him start disappear- dream, except as naught but a dream. The
ing. eventually everything is black. Pikachu second he gets out into reality for that last
comes dashing towards him glowing brighter moment, part of him knows it was all a lie, his
and brighter in the darkness. Eventually Pika- faithful Pikachu? His friends? All his imagi-
chu reaches ash and the two embrace one last nation, and maybe, he could have fought and
time. clung to life, maybe even made a full recovery.
But knowing that his efforts and ambitions
had all been for naught, he just gave up and let
the motion carry him away, just so he could
Back in his room, as his life signs fade, Ash be with Pikachu, in a place where his friends
mutters his genuine, final words. were waiting.

I would like to think that he’ll realize that his

mother loved him and was holding out hope
I...Want...To...Be, that he’d recover all that time. On the flip side,
though, when he sees her he knows that the
hope she had is totally broken and she’d come
to the crushing realization that the worst thing
The...Very...Best. that can befall a parent has happened to her:
outliving her only child. At once he knows he
is loved and that it means that the one closest
to him is utterly crushed.
The image of his gaunt, tube-fed, ten-some-
year bed ridden body on the bed. His head
appears bulbous from atrophy. As he utters
his last words, he barely opens his eyes, see- Still, there are other possibilities. The foun-
tain of time flows in mysterious ways. One
could not go back, against the current such as He vows to “them”.
Gatsby; but, one could never see what is wait-
ing for him downstream. Ash finally defeats
Lance, only to be confronted by not Gary Oak,
but a mute, mirror image of himself. I WILL be the very best!

The voice of the narrator speaks to him, telling

him that now he can finally escape the prison
of his own mind. One by one, his friends ap-
pear and melt away into more copies of him,
all cheering him on. After a long tough battle
against himself with the assistance of all of
his Pokémon he had ever befriended, he jolts

In his hospital room he sees his parents asleep;

he finds himself unable to speak.

Ash pushes forward towards his recovery. Go-

ing through physical therapy, training harder
and harder with rehabilitative Pokémon, until
he can walk on his own again. This time, an
older and wiser ash sets out on a journey. Just
like last time, he’s late getting to Professor
Oak’s laboratory. And when there’s only one
Pokémon left....He suddenly recalls all his
memories of his “life” and realizes that all his
friends are gone forever.

As he sets out with his new companion, he

finds the world is darker than he imagined.
More “real”, Pokémon and people die; he too
has aged.

He vows to become the Master he dreamed he

was. He vows to himself.