Ash Ketchum began his Pokémon journey at the age of 10 years, 10 months and 10 days.
We know this because it’s stated in the beginning of his story, written by the Pokémon anime’s chief writer Takeshi Shudō. The rules of what is and isn’t canonical in the world of Pokémon may not always be black and white, but this seems like a safe detail to assume is “real.”
So how old does that make Ash now that the show’s run for 1,020 episodes? It’s a big question, and the answer will change your life in exactly zero ways. Which is why someone online has spent an extensive amount of work trying to answer it.
The research process described in the video above, from the YouTube series Game Theory, involved looking at the lineup of Pokémon shown during Christmas episodes in order to place them specifically in the timeline — the Pokémon had to have been caught in a previous episode for them to show up during a seasonal episode, after all. This also included finding out when apples are in season in the real-world locations that serve as the inspiration for the show. That way, you can tell when the show’s episodes that involve apples took place.
And since we know Ash’s exact age when the show begins, all these details add up to provide at least some semblance of an accurate timeline.
Here are some of the other things that provided clues for the timeline: the size of bananas; information from Pickachu-themed short films that were only shown on Japanese airlines; and the official start and end dates of the Japanese school year.
This is only half the journey — and I can’t wait for part two — but if you’ve ever wondered how deeply someone can care about a detail that barely matters ... the answer is much too deeply.