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Pokémon anime

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Overview
From the [[EP001|very first episode]], Ash has been the central character, making his goal of becoming a Pokémon Master known to all he meets. Though initially, he only became a Pokémon Trainer with the goal of beating his rival, [[Gary Oak]], the many Pokémon Ash has met over his journey have shown him what being a Pokémon Master really is. Unlike most Trainers from Pallet, and indeed, unlike players of {{game2|Red|Green|Blue}} and {{game|FireRed and LeafGreen|s}}, Ash did not start his journey with {{p|Bulbasaur}}, {{p|Charmander}}, or {{p|Squirtle}}, as he arrived late to {{an|Professor Oak}}'s [[Professor Oak's Laboratory|lab]] to receive his [[starter Pokémon]]. Instead, Ash was given the only Pokémon Oak had left to give, a {{AP|Pikachu}} that did not enjoy being inside his [[Poké Ball]], and from there Ash learned to treat his Pokémon as partners, earning Pikachu's trust by keeping him safe from a flock of {{p|Spearow}} he angered.
 
Since then, Ash has journeyed across all sixseven of the regions that appear in the [[core series]] [[Pokémon games]], as well as the [[Orange Archipelago]], a region he visited before beginning his journey in [[Johto]] until it was closer in time to the real world release of {{game|Gold and Silver|s}}. In each, he battles against the native [[Gym Leader]]s for their [[Badge]]s, as do Trainers in the core series games, to compete in the regional [[Pokémon League]], a [[Pokémon League Conference|championship tournament]], rather than five battles straight against the [[Elite Four]] and {{pkmn|Champion}}. While his initial strategy was to continue using the same party over the course of his {{pkmn|journey}}, letting some Pokémon go when they were required to do something or wanted to train, he has, since his journey in Hoenn, changed strategy, and now uses only those Pokémon which he has caught in the region, alongside Pikachu, to battle against Gym Leaders, with his explanation to Dawn being that he wants to prove to the young, unevolved Pokémon he meets in each new region that ''they'' can win if they try.
 
Over the course of the series, Ash has had several {{AP|friends}} who travel with him, typically across one region, who assist him in his journey as much as he assists in theirs. {{an|Misty}}, the Gym Leader from [[Cerulean City]] in the games, joins him in the [[original series]], as does {{an|Brock}}, [[Pewter City]]'s Gym Leader, in [[Kanto]], [[Johto]], [[Hoenn]], and [[Sinnoh]]. [[Tracey Sketchit]], an amateur [[Pokémon watcher]], joins Ash during his Orange Archipelago journey, but leaves him on Ash's return to Pallet to become an assistant to Professor Oak, his hero. {{an|May}} and {{an|Dawn}}, rookie {{pkmn|Coordinator}}s, join Ash for the duration of the {{series2|Advanced Generation}} and {{series|Diamond & Pearl}}, respectively; in these he mentors them much as Brock and Misty did him, while [[Max]], May's brother, who is too young to own Pokémon, looks up to Ash for the duration of the ''Advanced Generation'' series. {{an|Iris}} and {{an|Cilan}} travel with Ash in the {{series|Best Wishes}}. {{an|Clemont}}, his sister {{an|Bonnie}} and Ash's childhood friend {{an|Serena}} travel with Ash in the {{series|XY}}. Like Max, Bonnie is too young to own Pokémon, but cares for her brother's {{p|Dedenne}}. In the {{series|Sun & Moon}}, Ash attends the [[Pokémon School]] instead of traveling around the [[Alola]] region. As such, his new friends—{{an|Lillie}}, {{an|Mallow}}, {{an|Kiawe}}, {{an|Lana}}, and {{an|Sophocles}}—are not traveling companions but classmates.
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