I want to stress that the anime isn't faithful to the game logic when it comes to attacks through effects, advantages and disadvantages in some cases, and the power of the script weighs in many decisions of the course of the stories. Of course, in some moments, these points are spot on and bring wonderful joyful experiences, be it for the nostalgia or the development of a character.
This list is based on logic and, in my personal view, it is not absolute truth – especially since the theme is quite subjective. In case you have a different opinion, we can talk about it in the comment section!
Top 10 Ash Ketchum Pokémon
Underestimated and quite a surprise in Indigo times, Snorlax was extremely useful as a Pokémon and did excellent battles and turnarounds as the victory piece for Ash in some battles. We can't forget its main moves, such as Mega Kick, Mega Punch, Ice Punch, Body Slam, Protect and Hyper Beam.
One of this Pokémon most funny moments is precisely in the Johto region episode, in which Ash, Misty and Brock go to Rikishii Town, where a Sumo Conference is happening, called Ring Masters, in which the prize was a year of free food, and which Snorlax wins by defeating its opponent Feraligatr.
Besides that, it is also iconic due to its fight in Clair's Gym, a water and dragon type specialist, in which it wins her Kingdra and is defeated by Gyarados.
A curious fact is that from all fights shown of Snorlax so far in the anime, one of its few defeats was precisely against this Gyarados, besides Gary's Scizor in the Johto League Championship and Harrison's Houndoom, which reverted Hyper Beam against Snorlax.
The most curious fact is that even when at a disadvantage against the fighting type, Snorlax was capable of being very efficient against this archetype during the Battle Frontier era in Hoenn's region, in which Ash was challenging the Frontier's Brains and his opponent was Greta, a fighting type specialist with Hariyama and Medicham, and surprisingly Snorlax wins against all of them.
A big Pokémon with a great heart in Ash's team in Johto, alongside Bayleef, was for sure Heracross. With great presence and charisma, it performed big deeds in the anime being a decisive element in a few matches, and one of the strongest bug type Pokémon that Ash has ever had by far.
One of the greatest marks of Heracross' deeds was having faced Gary's Magmar in Johto's League, and even it being super effective against Heracross due to its weakness, it managed to take it down.
There was also the most iconic one, that surprised everyone and was the last shard of hope that Ash could have an advantage against the feared Tobias, during Sinnoh's League semifinals. When Ash recruited some of his old Pokémon to fight, he faced Darkrai which used its sleeping move, and even so, Heracross kept its attack with determination even when sleepwalking; however, it was unfortunately the target of Darkrai's "Dream Eater", which was super effective and took it out of the match.
Stylish, charismatic and upbeat, besides being the only Pokémon with a final evolution stage from Black/White era.
Considered one of the weakest times in the cartoon, Ash's Pokémon also didn't have much highlight regarding a nostalgia factor by themselves, except for Krokodile.
Besides being extremely strong, it fought against Iris' Dragonite, Ash's travel buddy from the time she wasn't yet region champion.
It's worth noting that in this particular battle, Krokorok evolved to Krokodile exactly during this fight, and might be one of the most iconic episodes for Ash in this arc.
Among the new Pokémon from Galar's batch, Dragonite got a lot of notoriety precisely due to having faced Iris, Ash's old pal, in Unova, and currently region champ. In this battle, there was the fight between the two Dragonite, which was a very interesting achievement for this episode. And finally, Dragonite faced her signature Pokémon, Haxorus, in which it used its "Dragon Meteor" attack and enhanced the move, and thanks to that Ash was the winner.
This Dragon Meteor move would become a frequent staple of this Pokémon, with it using even its own body as a form of impact alongside the meteors, surprising many in the final battles of Galar's Championship Top 8 finalists.
One of the best grass starters Ash has ever had, Sceptile and all its evolutionary line were very relevant for the Hoenn era as a whole. There is also the relatively notorious point in its favor because it had faced Legendary Pokémon.
In the Frontier Battle arc, Ash faced the strictest of the brains, Brandon, which on top of it had the Regis trio (Registeel, Regirock and Regice) in his team, in which Sceptile was responsible for facing Regirock. The problem was that Ash was under "King of Pokélantis" evil influence, in which he coordinated in a malicious way the Pokémon's move, which of course, was defeated by Brandon, until he then later figured out a way to remove Ash from that possession situation and put him back into his original conscience.
Still, Sceptile went to battle with Deoxys in a Battle Frontier episode called Pokémon Ranger! Deoxys Crisis! (448-449), in which a Ranger Pokémon wanted to capture it with the help of Ash, May and Brock during the event. But even though most of Ash's team was engaged, Sceptile had the spotlight.
And we can't forget its return in the Sinnoh region to help Ash build a team that was heading for finals, but that unfortunately didn't make it due to Tobias, in which even though it had an excellent battle with Tobias' Darkrai and defeated it, Ash's team was practically defeated, with only a few Pokémon left, and Darkrai was still Tobias' first Pokémon, until Sceptile was caught by surprise by the enemy Latios and defeated.
As a bonus, we have the battle between Ash and May, with their evolved starters, in which even at a type disadvantage, that is, Sceptile with weakness to fire by Blaziken, it didn't do a bad job in this presentation battle, which deserves highlight.
One of the Pokémon with the best story and development, it shows resilience as a once rejected Pokémon to a loved Pokémon.
In the events of Diamond/Pearl, it is discarded by the Trainer Paul, who considered it weak and unworthy of being in his team, minimizing the Pokémon's feelings, which provoked indignation in Ash, Dawn and Brock who were witnesses to this boy's attitude.
With that, Ash felt empathetic with his new friend and decided to adopt it into his team, as he had done with Charmander, and in a certain way, Chimchar always had resentment for Paul in all its life, even after receiving Ash's love, and it wanted at all costs to show it was better and that Paul would regret having underestimated and humiliated it, besides proving that it was stronger than its training rival, Elekid, which would eventually evolve to Electivire, just like Chimchar to Infernape.
So, during Sinooh's Championship, at the quarter-finals, it came the moment in which every Pokémon fan got chills. Infernape showed its pain, suffering, resentment and brought its immeasurable power, hard work and Ash's love which made it one of the best Pokémon he has had in his whole life.
And there's more! In Episode 68 of the Galar arc, in "Pokémon Journeys", Gary was going back to Kanto, and he met Ash and Go once more as they were doing local research regarding the apparition of a possible Moltres in town, and Infernape went after him to challenge him, so it could refine itself in the fire archetype (even though it didn't win, it was an experience).
This is practically the second Ash Pokémon with the most experience in this list, alongside Pikachu.
Its story is similar to Chimchar's, which was abandoned by its own trainer, only unlike Chimchar, when it was a Charmander, it was almost left to die.
Ash took care of it and the rest is history: it evolved to Charmeleon in episode 43 of the Indigo era, "The March of the Exeggutor Squad", when it faced many Exeggutor, and from Charmeleon to Charizard in the episode "Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon", in which Charmeleon wanted to face Aerodactyl, which was holding Ash hostage, and have wings to reach the skies, therefore getting the evolution that would allow it to do so and save him.
It is a very stubborn and disobedient Pokémon, and the one responsible for his defeat in the Indigo Plateau, in its first Championship, by just simply laying down and ignoring its battle against Richie.
Gradually, Charizard started to respect Ash more, becoming one of the greatest Pokémon in his team in the three classic arcs (from the Indigo Era).
Its redemption with maturity was achieved in two moments: when it goes training in Charicific Valley, which was a nest for Charizard species and in the Johto Championship battle, in which Charizard faces Gary's Blastoise in a much awaited for battle by fans in which Ash has his mature battle against his rival, and even with a type disadvantage, it won.
We also can't forget Ash's battle against Drake, the Orange Islands champion, in which it guaranteed a close match (even though it was knocked out and Pikachu won against Drake's Dragonite), and the battle it had against Blaine's Magmar in Kanto, in Cinnabar, which also made many fans very happy.
Johto League - Gary VS Ash
Indigo League - Blaine VS Ash
Charizard met Legendaries such as Mewtwo, Lugia, Moltres, Zapdos, Articuno and a fake "Entei" (this one it actually fought for real in the third movie, Spell of the Unown), and it has in its curriculum the fight against Noland's Articuno, another Frontier Brain in Hoenn, in which even though it had its wing frozen and had a type disadvantage due to the flying and ice type (even though fire has advantage over ice), Charizard had an excellent battle against a legendary, guaranteeing the victory.
Besides a few key participations in some episodes such as in Diamond/Pearl against Flint's Infernape, and a few apparitions in Black/White, it shows up in some cameos in the series, which bring back the importance of this Pokémon, besides it, Infernape and other fire Pokémon helping Ash's Gengar learn "Will'o Wisp".
One of Ash's Pokémon that without a question almost made him a champion in Kalos' finals against Allain with his Mega Charizard X.
Though in my opinion it was something written in the plot because Greninja had type advantage due to being water against fire, unfortunately it wasn't what happened, as we have a series of OVAs explaining Allain's training when he was in contact with the Legendaries and their forms with the Mega Stones, in the media called "Pokémon Mega Evolution".
It's with this Pokémon that Ash had a connection so strong that it rivaled its intimacy with Pikachu, in which Greninja had its own special and unique "Mega Form", and conquered many battles for this Pallet trainer, being in one of the best teams he has ever had in all existing seasons, concerning power and strategy.
As a great promising Pokémon in Ash's current Galar team, it still had the Aura power connection with Ash, which was also already explored in the franchise's eighth movie called "Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew", in which Ash had a similar connection with that movie's Lucario's old trainer.
With this reference and this hook recycled in the script, they also used the link question between him and this Pokémon, the same symbiotic connection Ash had with his Greninja from the Kalos region, which guaranteed this one's enhancement when it came to developing its Aura powers, besides making the Mega Evolution link easier, of course, with Korrina's tips and advice, which also had a Lucario, as a fighting type Gym Leader.
With memorable battles against Bea, Roy and Cynthia, it was formidable enough to be in Ash's team as champion of the Galar region, and it's worth mentioning that there were three battles against three Pokémon with the Dynamax mechanics (for Togekiss) and Giagantamax (with Duraludon and Machamp).
Galar League - Roy VS Ash
Galar League - Bea VS Ash
Of course, without a question, it was obvious that Pikachu would get this title!
Accompanying our protagonist since the early Indigo era seasons (all throughout Kanto, Orange Islands and Johto), Pikachu has, of all of them, more battle experience and the requirements to have its own ZMove and Gingatamax, and has witnessed events beyond the scope of any Pokémon in the presence of Legendaries, which was shown in movies and even in some of the TV episodes.
It was so important that, for instance, in the animation Pokémon: Mastermind of Mirage, the villain uses Pikachu's memories (which are shown in the villain's laboratory display with the scenes of the first five movies) to create a "Perfect Pokémon" which formed a Mewtwo and Pikachu was still strong enough to fight this anomaly for a bit.
And even once in a while, speaking of Legendaries, it has faced one of them, as we have Brandon's example as a Frontier Brain with his Regice; Gladio's Sylvally and Tapu Koko which showed up in Alola in the finals being "borrowed" by Professor Kukui; having faced Ho-Oh in a friendly match in the movie "Pokémon: I Choose You" and Tobias' Latios (even though it ended in a draw and meant Ash was defeated).
But here its spotlight is due to being Ash's trigger to victory in the last Galar Champion Tournament, which was an event that aimed at gathering the best Pokémon Trainers in the whole world to see who was best, in which Pikachu at the classifier bracket faced Steven Stone (Hoenn's champion) against his Metragross (and there we have the joke about Pikachu being a Metagross obliterator because it performed a similar strategy in Hoenn with Tyson and in Kalos with Allain).
Even so, it was present in the battle against Cynthia (Sinnoh's champion) in the semifinals and its performance helped Ash a lot.
What we can't forget is its victory against Leon, the current Galar champion, which thanks to its spark of Force of Will it led Ash to the Champion Cup with this thrilling scene, which I'm sure made everyone emotional:
This is my Top 10 list of Ash's Pokémon, and again, it is an opinion and not absolute truth.
Do you agree with the list? Disagree? If you were to build your own, what would it be?
See you in the next article with more curious facts and information. Bye!