Pokémon Ash Vs. Red: Who is the better trainer?

Ash and Red are two well-known leading characters in the Pokémon franchise. But when I was still new to Pokémon, I often used to confuse the two, given their shared similarities when it came to fashion sense and their loyal companion Pikachu. It was not until the two characters were featured in the Pokémon Masters Ex that I first realized the two are worlds apart. Ever since then, I’ve often gotten caught up in the debate of who is better between the two.

My curiosity led me to a deeper analysis of the two characters. So, for those of you who have always wondered which trainer is better, in this article, I will share the insights I discovered about the two characters. Hopefully, this will put an end to the long-standing debate of who is better between Ash and Red. So, keep reading till the end to find out my final verdict.

Pokémon Ash vs. Red – How They Compare

But first here is a quick look at the summary of how the two compare:





  • Better developed character
  • Defined personality
  • Originally a character in the anime series
  • No defined personality
  • Originally a character in the video game series


  • Not as skilled in battle
  • Uses one main strategy
  • Skilled in battle
  • Learns new moves and tricks to use against opponents.

Pokémon team

  • Contains unevolved Pokémon
  • Pokémon are from different regions
  • Contains fully evolved Pokémon
  • Pokémon are limited to the Kanto region


  • Won several regional championships
  • Traveled to more regions and won several of their badges.
  • Started with an empty Pokedex and filled it.
  • Captured 150 Kanto Pokémon and trained them.
  • Defeated Team Rocket and disbanded them.
  • Became the official Kanto League Champion

What are the differences between Pokémon Ash and Red?

Pokémon Ash Vs. Red
Pokémon Ash. Image source: Pinterest

As I mentioned before, at face value Red and Ash share certain similarities so it is easy to confuse the two. But I discovered certain differences between them that led me to conclude who was the better trainer:


Both Red and Ash play the role of a protagonist. But on the one hand, Red is a character that was developed for the Pokémon game series and was actually featured in the first generation release. Ash on the other hand is a fictional character developed for the Pokémon anime series which was based on the Pokemon video games. So, I guess you could say that Ash was kind of based on Red’s character.

But, seeing as the two belong to different universes, their characterizations differ greatly. For starters, it is easier to see the development of Ash’s character as you progress from one season to another. Additionally, his personality is more defined as a naïve but enthusiastic trainer with a dream of becoming a Pokémon Master.

On the other hand, I do not like how Red is a player-controlled character in the game. Because of this, he is more of a silent protagonist with no defined personality. Also, because his appearance is mostly limited to the games, especially the earlier generations, there is not much of a development in his character, unless you read the manga.

So, overall, I would say Ash is the better character, given his defined personality and the fact that you can follow his growth as a character from being a novice trainer and growing in skill.


Pokémon Ash 
Pokémon Red. Image source: Pinterest

Speaking of growing in skills, this is another area where the two trainers differ. On the one hand, Red is known to be a prodigy from the very start. In battle, he knows how to strategize and learn new moves and tricks to use against his opponents. Ash’s main strategy, however, is to use Pikachu against any new Pokémon he encounters. Granted this works best for the Animated story, it would not work in his favor in the role-playing video game.

Additionally, Red has a history of catching every Pokémon he meets, while this is not always the case for Ash. For example, both trainers encountered Mewtwo but whereas Ash’s encounter did not go too well, Red was able to catch the beast. Also, I must mention, that despite being in a world where Pokémon are like people, Ash has a harder time catching and bonding with Pokémon. On the other hand, Red comes from a world where Pokémon are more animal-like but still manages to catch and bond with them.

Therefore, undoubtedly, I would have to say that Red is the more skilled trainer seeing how he uses his intelligence and strength to go up against the strongest Pokémon and win. Whereas, Ash usually gets lucky in most of his battles.

Pokémon Teams

Another difference I noticed between the two trainers is the kind of Pokémon they have on their team. Red is mostly known to battle in Kanto, so his team usually comprises the same Pokémon from the first generation. He never lets go of his Pokémon or switches them out. This is probably why he can fully evolve them and use them in winning many battles.

Ash on the other hand has travelled to many regions and is known to let go of some of his Pokémon and often creates new teams when he gets into new regions. This gives him a wider experience with dealing with Pokémon from different generations but he lacks a proper bond with them, which is probably why Charizard keeps disobeying him in battle. Additionally, he mostly has unevolved Pokémon in his team whose moves are simply added on because they would look great when animated. Otherwise, Ash does not have much experience in training his Pokémon.

Still, I would say in terms of experience, Ash has interacted with more Pokémon from different regions, whereas Red is only limited to the Pokémon in Kanto. But Red has a stronger team with fully evolved Pokémon.


Pokémon Ash Vs. Red
Pokemon trainer red. Image source: Pinterest

When I compared the achievements gotten by both trainers, this was perhaps the largest disparity between them. Red seemed to have achieved more than Ash by a great deal. To start with he was able to disband the Team Rocket and prevent from terrorizing the region. Red also managed to catch over 100 Kanto Pokémon and train them including legendaries. Additionally, he has won more battles than he has lost and even though he wasn’t trying to, he became an official League Champion while at it.

Ash, on the other hand, while he is considered a skilled trainer, who won several regional championships, is yet to achieve his goal of becoming a Pokémon Master. He never seems to be able to get rid of the Team Rocket, unlike Red. He’s also never managed to capture a lot of the Pokémon in one region before moving to the next, starting with Kanto.

So, I would have to say, Red has the most achievements despite being in a more challenging Pokémon world compared to Ash’s world where the challenges are way easier.

Final Verdict: So, Which is better? – Pokémon Ash or Red

Truthfully it was difficult comparing the two trainers since one is predominantly in the video game series, while the other is mostly in the anime series. Also, depending on who you ask, both Red and Ash appear to be good trainers in their own right. While Ash may not be a skilled prodigy like Red, he is resilient and always seeks to improve despite losing. Additionally, he is always ready to sacrifice himself for the sake of others. Not to mention, his character is better developed and more widely known.

But if we are being objective, I would have to say that Red is the better trainer regardless of whichever media you look consider. This is purely based on the fact that he is more skilled in battle, as proven by his many achievements. Plus, he has a team of fully evolved Pokémon whereas Ash mostly has unevolved Pokémon with moves added to them for animation benefits.

FAQ Section

Who is more popular Red or Ash?

Ash is a more widely recognized character globally, thanks to the Pokémon animated series.

Is Red more popular than Ash?

No, Ash is more popular since he is the long-running lead protagonist in the Pokémon anime series. Red is mostly limited as a character in the Pokemon video games, so unless you’re a player or read the manga, you may confuse him for Ash.

Is Ash different from Red?

Yes, despite their similarities in fashion sense and looks, Ash and Red are completely different characters. Red is originally a character from the first Pokémon video game whereas Ash was a character developed for the animated series that was based on the video game.

Are Red and Ash the same story?

No, their story is not entirely the same. Ash’s story revolves around his adventures as he travels to different regions on a quest to become a Pokémon Master. Red’s story follows his journey toward becoming a Pokémon Champion by collecting and training Pokémon as well as defeating the villains in the plot.

Do Ash and Red exist in the same universe?

No, Ash and Red do not exist in the same universe. Red is predominantly in the role-playing video game world, whereas Ash is mostly in the anime world.

Who came first between Ash and Red?

Red would seem to have come first since he was a character featured in the very first generation of the Pokémon video game series. Ash came later as a character in the Pokémon animation series that was based on the video game.

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