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I stopped following the Pokemon anime a while ago, but I know the series has had Ash go through many regions, including retreading at least one of them. When Ash was about to get his eight badge, Misty mentioned that they'd been on the road for a year at that point.

I saw some recent episodes, and Ash looks nearly identical to when he first started as a trainer. Normally I'd attribute that to cartoon sitcom logic, where the characters never age; but in a series with continuity and references to earlier seasons, this makes no sense.

What's the official word on a timeline for the Pokemon anime?

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    Since Ash was 10 when he left Pallet Town, assuming the each Pokemon League meets once a year, Ash has gone to three Pokemon Leagues, the Orange League, and the Battle Frontier (which are half a year each). So after the Sinnoh League, Ash should be 15. However, at the beginning of the Pokemon B/W (Best Wishes in Japan) series, the narrator says that Ash is 10... – кяαzєя Feb 5 '13 at 5:17
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    I honestly don't think Ash is allowed to grow up. If he was, Nintendo would have to address each and every female heroine in his life up to this point, in typical Shonen fashion. – Makoto Feb 5 '13 at 6:43
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    Also, in the third movie, he celebrates the day Pikachu and he had met: Don't you know what today is, Pikachu? This is the day we first met. The day we first became friends. I think that's pretty special, don't you? That means, that either he must be twelve there, as he must be eleven after the first season. – looper Feb 5 '13 at 9:13
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    It's like the Simpsons. – VISQL Feb 17 '13 at 6:15
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    Dialga got really drunk on the day Ash was born – IG_42 Oct 12 '15 at 23:26
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Both of the comments by looper and Krazer are correct, and they tell pretty much the whole story. As of episode 658, Ash (Satoshi) is 10 years old, the same age he was when he began his journey. However, based on reasonable assumptions for how often the Pokemon leagues meet, he should have aged at least 5 years.

The strongest indication that time has passed is probably the short from the 3rd movie, Pikachu and Pichu. What Ash says implies very strongly that they've been together for at least a year:

Don't you know what today is, Pikachu? This is the day we first met. The day we first became friends. I think that's pretty special, don't you?

There are a few other instances where the passage of time is referenced in the anime. In Episode 063, Ash says in the dub that it's been a year since they last visited Viridian City. In the original, Satoshi just said that it's been a long time. Also, in Episode 469, Team Rocket says they've been chasing Pikachu as long as Dawn's been alive, which would be 10 years. That's probably better interpreted as breaking the 4th wall, since the anime had been running for 10 years at that point. There may be other instances, but the fact that a lot of time has passed since the first episode is indisputable.

This is one of the most glaring plot-holes in the anime, though it's understandable why the writers don't want Ash to age. Presumably it could send problematic messages if Ash were 20 years old when he first started travelling with 10-year-old Dawn (or Iris, though I don't know her age), though it's honestly still problematic if he's 10 years old. Of course, Pokemon is marketed to children, so having a 10-year-old protagonist is also better than having someone at least 15.

However, there isn't any official explanation for this. The writers have never answered why Ash and the other characters aren't aging even as time passes. In my opinion it's best just to regard this as a plot hole and ignore it as much as possible. There are some fan theories for why Ash wouldn't age even as time passes, but honestly they're a little bit Farfetch'd, if you know what I mean.

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    ... I'd have +1'd this anyway, but the "Farfetch'd" pun made it all the more worth it. – Killua Feb 16 '13 at 4:20
  • Well I think this answer covers it pretty well. Thanks! :) – TurkeyFried Feb 16 '13 at 6:56
  • Team Rocket break the 4th wall all the time. The rest of the cast haven't aged as well. So another explanation could be that in the world of Pokemon people don't age as fast. – Mindwin Apr 12 '14 at 4:06
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There is also the coma theory, in which Ash doesn't age because after the Spearow attack with him and Pikachu in the first episode, Ash falls into a coma, and the rest of his adventures are just dreams. Although this is pretty morbid, there is another theory attached to this one in which all of the characters Ash meets (not including the pokemon) are interpretations of parts of Ash's personality. Take this as you will, there is another, more reliable theory for why Ash is still ten when he should be 16 (see MandJTVpokevids on youtube.com). It's called: Target Audience. The target audience of pokemon is 10, so Ash remains 10 as long as Pokemon keeps running.

protected by Ashishgup Jan 3 '16 at 20:30

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