It's a question that has plagued us for years. You've probably woken up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, mind wandering back and forth over the possible answer to this Rubik's Cube of a conundrum. How can we ever get to the bottom of it?

That question, of course, is how come Ash never seems to age in the entire duration of the Pokémon TV show. Well, if you're prepared for an entirely new way of looking at one of your childhood favorites, check out this fan theory that suggests the whole story gets a lot deeper than the main character's age.

In the first episode, Ash is getting to know his newfound friend Pikachu as he starts his adventures through Kanto

The theory argues that the tone, pacing, and story development of the entire series differs wildly from its opening episode. At this point, everything is a little more realistic and grounded than later episodes, and Pikachu and Ash have a strained, even antagonistic relationship.

Everything changes when Ash pisses off a flock of Spearrows

Without Pikachu under control, Ash is helpless and can do nothing but flee.

When the weather turns nasty, it looks like Ash gets struck by lightning

At the very least, he and Pikachu are knocked out after the Pokémon electrocutes the flock to protect his new companion.

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