Last month in Pokémon Journeys, the iconic protagonist Ash Ketchum momentously fulfilled his dream of becoming a Pokémon master and won the Masters Eight Tournament of the Pokémon World Coronation Series, becoming the top-ranked trainer in the entire world. After the satisfying yet heartbreaking conclusion to Ash’s 25-year adventure, the Pokémon franchise announced a new anime project and introduced 2 brand-new protagonists: a female trainer named Riko and a male trainer named Roy. An illustration showing a glimpse of them was shared and it quickly made rounds and sparked thousands of fan theories about who exactly the new Pokémon heroine is. While we still don’t for sure, many fans agree that she might be Ash’s daughter.
What seems to be the most popular theory is that Ash is Riko’s father and Serena, his former female traveling companion back in Pokémon X and Y, is her mother. Fans believe that Ash settled down in his home in Kanto, decided to start a family after some time, and ended up having a daughter with all same dreams as her parents (similar to Boruto and Naruto storyline). With Pokémon making it clear it is heading in a new direction, a time skip is definitely not out of the question. Our forever 10-year-old boy may actually grow up!
Why do fans believe Riko is Ash and Serena’s daughter? This is because Riko’s green hair clip represents the same symbol as the one on Ash’s iconic hat in the first Pokémon anime, and her eyes have a very similar color and shape to Serena’s.
On top of that, Serena shows obvious romantic interest in Ash at the end of Pokémon XYZ when she kisses him before the two part ways.
While this theory is valid and reasonable, allow me to point you to another possible direction, which I believe holds more water. My theory is that the new Pokémon heroine might be Ash and Dawn’s daughter. In case you aren’t familiar, Dawn is a cheerful and strong traveling companion of his and the main heroine from Pokémon: Diamond & Pearl (2006) to Pokémon: Sinnoh League Victors (2011). She makes a few appearances in the later Pokémon: Black & White and Pokémon Journeys, and is the main character in Pokémon: The Arceus Chronicles.
Logically, Ash, who has black hair, and Serena, who has brown hair, couldn’t have a daughter with blue hair – but Ash and Dawn could. The two have the same-shaped and colored eyes as well. Anime certainly has a pattern of giving children the same-colored hair as their two parents; take the Todoroki siblings from My Hero Academia, for example.
Dawn and Ash have always been very close, and unlike his relationships with Misty, May, and Iris, the two rarely come into disagreements. The pair have an exclusive exchange where they always high-five each other before and/or after battles to show encouragement. The blue-haired coordinator even wears a cheerleading outfit during many of his Sinnoh gym battles while happily rooting for him, and her Pokémon Buneary has a huge crush on Ash’s Pikachu – a possible hint about the trainers’ future together. The anime also teases their relationship in Pokémon: Diamond & Pearl episode 147 when Lyra asks Dawn if Ash is her boyfriend before their tag-team battle. If you’ve watched Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai, you know they have plenty of adorable moments there too.
We might discover the truth about who Ash ends up with, if anyone, in the upcoming 11-episode Pokémon: Aiming To Be a Pokémon Master special, directed by Daiki Tomiyasu, which will showcase the final chapter of Ash’s journey. It premieres on January 13, 2023, and you can watch the trailer below. The video features glimpses of classic characters like Brock, Misty, Gary, some of Ash’s iconic Pokémon, and even Team Rocket:
Hopefully, we’ll soon find out if our theories are correct and if the mysterious girl is truly Ash’s daughter in the upcoming Pokémon series. No matter who exactly the new protagonists are, we are sad to say goodbye to Ash but excited to see what’s next in line for the Pokémon anime and the adventures that await in the Paldea region.