For 20 years, we’ve all wanted to be the very best. But while we’ve been busy watching, reading the comics, and now being tricked into exercising in order to catch them all with Pokémon Go (damn you, healthy lifestyle), one mysterious question has lingered.
Are Ash Ketchum and Red related?
Though we’re now celebrating two decades of Pokémon, the question still baffles even the greatest Pokémon masters. Could Red, the hero from the manga (Japanese comics), have any relation to Ash, the protagonist of the TV series?
Variations of the theory say Red could be Ash’s brother or father, and that he sent Pikachu back to Professor Oak for Ash to use. If true, that may explain why Pikachu is so powerful in the anime and why the character resisted Ash at first. He could’ve had a previous trainer.
The Huffington Post traveled across the land, searching far and wide, and eventually we wound up at San Diego Comic-Con. There, we talked to Pokémon manga writer Hidenori Kusaka and artist Satoshi Yamamoto through a translator to get to the bottom of this mystery, and now we finally know the truth.
“The two worlds and the two mediums are different,” said Kusaka. “But if there were to be a link between them, Red and Ash, maybe. But I think for the fans to go with their creativity and have fun with that is one way of appreciating it.”
The writer says he would have to get the request from the “higher ups” in order to link the two worlds together. While technically that could happen, Kusaka says the probability is low.
Sorry, Pokémon conspirators, but what’s the point of catching ‘em all if you don’t know the truth?
In addition to the theory, the pair chatted with HuffPost about everything from their surprising inspirations to which Pokémon they would want to have in real life.
What are your inspirations for making the manga?
Yamamoto: Lots of different inspirations. My inspiration often comes from music, punk music or folk music. A lot of times, we’ll get inspiration from music and songs and put it into dialogue.
(Yamamoto then plays Japanese punk song that he uses as inspiration.)
What’s the title in English?
Yamamoto: There are a lot of meanings for the title, but the lyrics mean, rather than die for someone that you love, why not live for them? So no kamikaze pilots. Just live for that person.
What’s your favorite Pokémon to write about?
Kusaka: One thing I do want to do, since there are 720 of them, I want to make sure all 720 appear in this comic. It would be impossible to give them each a main story, but I do want them to have some appearance. That being said, one that I’m interested in right now is Volcanion, so Volcanion hasn’t appeared in the manga yet, but I am excited to think about how to incorporate him.
Since there are already 720, will there ever be a cap on new Pokémon?
(Kusaka and Yamamoto joke about having to draw even more Pokémon.)
Kusaka: The fans want more. They want more stuff. They want new stuff. If the fans want 800, 900, 1,000, I guess we just have to answer to that.
If you had to start with a Pokémon in real life, which one would it be?
Kusaka: That’s a tough question.
Yamamoto: Of the ones we’ve already drawn in the comics, I’d want Latias and Latios because they can talk.
Kusaka: They can also transform into a cute girl. [Laugh]
Yamamoto: No. That’s not true.
Kusaka: I’m always looking to write an interesting story, so when you ask me what Pokémon I’m interested in right now, it’s Volcanion. I guess I would want a Volcanion so I could write an even better story.
They just want to write the very best. Like no one ever has.