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Pokémon Master Journeys: Is Goh A Better Trainer Than Ash?

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Pokémon Master Journeys: The Series, and the storyline of Ash and Goh as trainers.

Goh's rapid learning curve in Pokémon Master Journeys: The Series is forcing comparisons with Ash's skills as a trainer. Ten months after its debut in Japan, Pokémon Master Journeys is now available in the US, streaming exclusively on Netflix, with new episodes slated for quarterly release. Pokémon Master Journeys is far more ambitious in its narrative scope than previous Pokémon anime installments, with the Master Journeys story including all eight Pokémon regions.

Pokémon Master Journeys: The Series centers around the Pokémon Go-inspired Goh, a novice trainer mentored by the legendary Ash Ketchum on his latest adventure. Both characters are tasked with joining Project Mew by Professor Oak, an aptly named research project dedicated to finding mythical Pokémon. Goh shows rich promise in the fledgling stages of his Pokémon career, capturing 80 Pokémon, including the legendary Suicune, with nonchalant ease.

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Yet despite Goh displaying a clear knack for catching "em' all," Ash is categorically a far superior trainer than his mentee in Pokémon Master Journeys. Ash's wealth of experience as a trainer dwarfs Goh's, meaning he roundly beats his companion in almost every facet of Pokémon training. Ash's affinity for the Pokémon he catches and raises further sets him apart from Goh, who displays little affection for those he adds to his Pokédex.

Goh's meteoric rise as a trainer in the Pokémon Master Journeys episodes has led some fans to question whether he is a better trainer than Ash, but this query belies an important distinction. Goh is, undoubtedly, an excellent Pokémon collector, able to obtain 80 Pokédex entries, including legendary Pokémon, without breaking a sweat. Goh's style of catching Pokémon bucks a Pokémon anime trend stretching back to 1997, as he does not weaken the creatures he catches. Despite Goh's unique and impressive skill, Pokémon training is a multi-faceted discipline, meaning Ash beats Goh hands down in a straight match-up. In Pokémon Master Journeys, Ash acts as Goh's mentor, actively teaching him all he knows about the world of Pokémon. Pokémon Master Journeys is the 24th anime edition to be released, meaning Ash has won countless battles, including the Pokémon league, while Goh is still learning the basics of Pokémon training.

It is also critical to note that while Goh is a strong Pokémon collector, he has no real skill at battling, nor does he show much interest in it. Whereas Ash has fought countless skilled enemies, including subduing many legendary Pokémon, Goh has predominantly relied on Ash's skills and knowledge as a trainer to guide him through the Master Journeys narrative. The Pokémon canon has always taught trainers that the bonds they share with their Pokémon make them strong in battle, and this is another area Goh falls short in. In Pokémon Master Journeys, Goh has been expanding his Pokédex entries at such a rate that he does not interact with the creatures he catches, instead sending them instantly to the PC. While Goh interacts with Pokémon like the video game character he is based upon, Ash continues to treat every Pokémon he catches with the utmost care, making his Pokémon far superior in battle. Goh is undoubtedly a character with potential for further growth in Pokémon Master Journeys: The Series, but until he addresses the other facets of being a Pokémon trainer, he cannot be considered in the same class as Ash Ketchum.

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