4. Ash Ketchum
Sixteen years later, and I still got the Pokémon love. Allow me to geek out for a second and say something nerdy: if it weren’t for the Pokémon franchise, I wouldn’t be who I am today. You see, the game series was my first foray into RPGs. And without that initial hook, I would’ve never expanded on to the Final Fantasy series. If it weren’t for Pokemon, I wouldn’t have ever checked out other anime.
If I never checked out other anime, I would’ve never heard other anime theme songs. And if I didn’t have the exposure to toon tunes, I’d never check out the Japanese music scene: JPOP, JROCK, Visual Kei, you name it!
FYI, those are all dudes.
I could gush about how those connections led to love for Japanese TV shows, and even food, but I think you get the picture. The love and interest for Japan all starts with Pokémon.
But add to that, I’ve forged my strongest friendships because of the series too. After we caught the first movie in theaters (and got that sweet holographic Mew card), we’ve been inseparable ever since. Aside from that time we all went to different colleges. Or I guess, that time I moved away to Japan. Hm, and that time I came back and then moved to Boston.
At the center of the show, you have protagonist Ash Ketchum, who’s actually kind of dumb. But that’s okay, I can be kind of dumb too.
Ash dreamed big: “I want to be the very best like no one ever was…”
Man, those words floored me! Not trying your best, but being the best because no one’s ever been able to do what you do. This boy knew what it meant to be driven… to have the conviction that you can make something out of yourself even if you lack the smarts.
Adopting this kind of vocabulary was the first step in allowing myself to dream big. Dreams aren’t enough though. Once you’re on board to allow yourself to be creative, it can become a trap. Staying in a fantasy is way easier than accepting reality. And, I like to zone out a lot…
Now, what happens when reality hits and tries to burst your big dreamy bubble? I’ve cried and felt sorry for myself. I’ve beaten myself up. I’ve called myself names– saying I was an idiot for having such crazy ideas in the first place.
But Ash taught me the two foundations for achieving your dreams:
In one episode, a wild Mankey steals Ash’s hat. The pig-monkey (yes, you read that right) is just too strong for him to take on.
Misty writes it off as a lost cause and quips, “You can always get another hat.” Except he couldn’t! That hat was limited edition, winnable only through a contest. Ash filled out thousands and thousands of entries to get it. Misty’s taken aback, “No wonder I didn’t win. I only sent in one.”
When I’ve failed and said I did my best, I’ve had to re-think myself– did I really? The answer was usually no. I’ve always got lots more to give.