Nostalgia & the “Fridge” by Brady Wilkinson

It is a fascinating thing to watch your own perspective change over time. There are many things that go unnoticed by a younger mind, which when it becomes older can’t help but become fascinated by that which it did not see before. Nostalgia plays a huge role in how we view the world, that which you first associate with, typically what you saw or experienced as a child, shapes your world view like nothing else. This does not apply only to the basic survival, familial/social interaction, and education but also to entertainment. The stories we are told and the shows that we watched wind up defining our world views until they otherwise changed, effectively serving as a mental default setting. Even as your perspective changes, you will be left with a deep emotional connection to your nostalgia. In not so many words, if you loved something as a child you will tend to defend or justify it as an adult.

Now I am not talking about the adult material put into work that goes over the heads of children. That would be a work suitable for children with an intentional deeper meaning for the adult audience, most of the Disney Renaissance films of the 90’s are an example of this. I am talking about shallow minded works, and the errors wherein constitute as plot holes and oddities.

When we are children most plot holes or oddities are forgiven, mostly because they go unseen. As a person matures and looks back on those shows with new found perspective, “geeks/nerds/fans” will justify the newly seen holes or oddities. The first method is by far the most common, apologetics. Also very common amongst fans of abstract art pieces, apologists will insert exposition that was not originally in the work itself. They attempt to explain away inconsistencies or errors by denying their existence or justifying it on the creator’s behalf (i.e. they were pressed for time.)

The second method is catching unintentional deeper meanings, or “fridge” for short. What is seen as something simple with a child’s perspective can be seen as something radical with an adult’s perspective. What the creators only intended as silly/sweet may be seen as “fridge” brilliance/horror. Being a child of the 90’s and early 2000’s I know can’t help but find such “fridge” perspective within the shows of my youth, and judging by the number of theories pertaining to those show I am obviously not alone. Two such examples are the “Dead Ed’s” and “Pokémon Coma” theory, the first being an example of “fridge” horror and the latter “fridge” brilliance, neither of which I came up with but do have my own variations on. I apologize for citing the original authors, I could not find out who they are.

The Dead Ed’s

Ed, Edd n Eddy was a cartoon created by Danny Antonucci, premiering on Cartoon Network in 1999. The show followed the title characters of Ed, Edd, and Eddy who hang out in a suburban cul-de-sac, trying to scheme money off of their peers so they may buy jawbreakers candy. Ed, being the loyal buffoon that he was, could be considered an odd cross between Forrest Gump and Hercules. He was a good hearted brute with almost no mental capacity beyond loyalty, obedience, and his love monster movies. Edd, or Double D as he was more often called, was brilliant, introverted, and often times sniveling. His shy demeanor and helpful nature often kept putting himself into unfortunate circumstances. Eddy, the unofficial leader, was ambitious, determined, and conniving. He was the driving force of the show, almost all the actions taken by the main characters were performing a scheme Eddy had come up with. Respectively each played an equal part; Ed was the muscle, Edd the mind, and Eddy the ambition.

In addition to the Ed’s, the show featured a large supporting cast; Rolf: an older boy from an Old World farming family, Johnny: a boy who’s best friend is a piece of wood with a smile drawn on it called Plank (that actually predates Wilson from Cast Away by more than a year), Sarah: Ed’s foul tempered, Hit Girl violent little sister who has a crush on Edd, Jimmy: the weak, sickly, and easily frightened boy who is Sarah’s best friend, Nazz: the cool chick who all the boys wanted, and Kevin: the stereotypical jock who is cynical, sarcastic and occasionally cruel.

All the above mentioned characters where featured in almost every episode, but there were a set of villains who appeared less frequently, the trailer trash Kanker sisters. Despised and feared by all the children in the cul-de-sac the Kankers are found of causing suffering and the Ed’s. The eldest and unofficial leader, Lee, prefers Eddy, Marie prefers Edd, and May prefers Ed.

Danny Antonucci has made it clear that the characters are based on himself and people he knew, but certain oddities in an already odd show have allowed for potential “fridge” viewing. The oddities are as follows, the setting never expands beyond the cul-de-sac or the immediate area surrounding it, no adults are ever seen or heard or acknowledged beyond reference, and there are no other characters than one’s previously listed. When I say no other characters I mean absolutely no other characters, not even any others in the background.

One “fridge” theory is that each character is representative of a deadly sin; Eddy greed, Ed sloth, etc.…

But the theory that has caught my attention, so much so that upon re-watching the show I can’t help but see it, is the theory that all the characters are dead. The cul-de-sac is some kind of phantom zone replica of a cul-de-sac in the living world. All the children who died prematurely and whose spirits can’t yet come to terms with their deaths come to this “purgatory” until they are ready to move on. They come from different times but their memories are intact, hence the references to their parents though they are never seen, heard, or felt, and have created an image of the cul-de-sac from their collective subconscious so that they do not have to acknowledge the limbo they are currently in. This is the theory in broad strokes, it goes into more detail as to when each child died and how they died but this is where I offer up my own variation in response. Oddly enough I don’t consider this murdering my childhood as many would; rather I see my childhood with a new perspective and appreciation, a grim one to be sure.

Just as in life, Rolf came to the cul-de-sac of purgatory first. His family of eastern European farmers likely immigrated and settled the land before any semblance of the cul-de-sac took shape. Rolf takes great pride in caring for his animals and often proudly declares himself a “son of a shepherd” because in life, in the late 1800’s that was a very proud profession and acquiring farm land would be quite the measure of accomplishment for an immigrant. I cannot find anything in Rolf’s behavior that would indicate a particular death, but given the time I’d assume disease. I’d also assume his grandmother he called “Nana”, tended to him while he was sick because she is the absent adult he most acknowledges and given his love of cooking I assume that is an interest he expresses in death after picking it up from her in life.

Though I cannot determine when he died, there is something I would like to say about Johnny. In the cul-de-sac he has an imaginary friend called Plank, though no one else can hear him Johnny clearly acts as if Plank is speaking to him. Is it possible that plank is in fact real? In life Johnny’s best friend was a boy named Plank who was his only real social interaction and the two became very close, being otherwise introverted. When Johnny died of X Plank survived but the boy’s bond remains intact. The children of the cul-de-sac see Johnny talking to a piece of wood, while in the living world people see Plank talking to “nobody”.

Like Johnny, I can’t say when Ed and Sarah came to the cul-de-sac, but I do believe Sarah’s behavior provides a hint of how they got there. She is ridiculously controlling, indicating her death was something consciously beyond her control, something she could see coming but could not prevent. Her propensity toward violence suggests a violent death. But what of her brother Ed, why is his outlook so different if they both came to the cul-de-sac at the same time? Always optimistic, how could the same brutal event that killed Sarah have killed him? My answer is that he slept through his death, blissfully unaware and passing away in peace. I feel his stupidity could also be explained by his death. Had Ed suffered severe brain damage before he died that would explain his hindered intelligence. Given the above assumptions it is my conclusion that Ed and Sarah were killed in a car accident, Sarah saw the oncoming car and Ed was asleep in the back seat next to his sister when it hit. Though I have no real definitive evidence of when they died, Ed’s love of old fashioned monster movies leads me to believe that they died sometime in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s when such movies were gaining popularity.

The original theory states that Eddy’s scheming and greed were the result of his growing up in the Great Depression, and the lack of money in his life. But given his “eclectic” taste (lava lamps, bowling shirts, 50’s style cars and sunglasses) it is my belief that Eddy was a child of the 50’s and likely died in that decade. The family member he references most is his older brother who he adores and wants to be “cool like him”. Every indication is given that Eddy’s brother is a scheming, cheat or criminal. It is my opinion that Eddy’s older brother was either part of the criminal element or got involved with it. Had there been any contact with the mob then Eddy’s death could have been meant as a message but I don’t have enough information to infer a specific death.

Nazz’s death is relatively easy to infer a time but almost impossible to infer a cause. Given that she is a laid back, fan of old rock, flower child I infer that Nazz was in fact a flower child of the late sixties. Sometime later in that decade or early in the 70’s is when she died. One variation of this theory infers that she was raped and killed by a serial killer similar to a Charles Manson; however there is no real evidence that allows this to be reasonably inferred. She shows no fear or resentment toward men in anyway, nor does she seem overly concerned with safety or trust, given that her character was little more than a vague love interest for the boys, especially Eddy and Kevin, to fight over this leaves us little to infer about her. So that forces me to admit that I have no idea how she died unless I take a big logical leap, which means that anything could fit. Hell, if I said she was killed by a falling toilet seat that would make as much sense as the rape/murder death scenario.

The polar opposite of Nazz is Jimmy. The boy is routinely maimed and sickly. The only other character as accident prone as he was Eugene from Hey Arnold!, Jimmy died of sickness brought on by an accident. As macabre as it sounds, I’d bet money on that. But what makes it impossible to determine time is that his characteristics are, for lack of better wording, timeless. Without making any big logical leaps I can only say that Jimmy died sometime after gigantic, head wrapping retainers were invented.

Double D is studious, brilliant, shy, and is often overstressed. He always references his parents together, never separately or individually. They only communicate with him through sticky notes. In life we can infer that Edd’s connection to his parents was almost entirely business in nature, and the expectations he sets for himself indicate a life that demanded a lot of him. From this I infer that he is the only child of two business professionals, possibly from the 80’s. His introverted nature is the byproduct of expectation and isolation. It would be easy to say that those got to be too much for him but there is a much more important factor in Double D’s equation, his hat and whatever he’s hiding underneath it. He has one very specific hat which he is very attached to and is deathly afraid of letting anyone see what is underneath it. The audience of the show was never shown it. Whatever killed Edd had something to do with his head, probably disfiguring it in some fashion. Maybe it got lit on fire a la Michael Jackson in that Pepsi commercial.

Kevin is another vague and relatively bland character. He has kind of a 90’s punk attitude and fashion sense, so he likely died sometime not too long before the show aired in 1999, possibly being the newest addition to the cul-de-sac. The one adult Kevin references is his father, so I assume that in life his father was the most influential person on him. Kevin is showered with gifts from his father in the cul-de-sac, this is either a straight presentation of how his father was or, more likely, wish fulfillment. Beyond inferring a detached father I can’t really surmise a cause of death. Kevin is almost never without his bicycle, so it is an easy assumption that Kevin could have died in an accident.

The Kanker sisters are defined differently than the rest. Their purpose in the show is also very different as well as their setting. They live on the fringe of the cul-de-sac but not within it and only appear periodically, typically only when other characters approach the edge of the cul-de-sac. In accordance with the purgatory theory, the Kankers are not children who lived in the cul-de-sac. Given their strictly villainous role it can be inferred that they are demonic spirits who are there to keep the children contained to the phantom zone cul-de-sac, thereby preventing them from coming to the realization that they are in fact dead and then moving on.

The “Dead Ed’s” is what one may call “fridge” horror, an unintentional meaning with the whole idea behind Lavender Town, the town of the dead but perhaps the most terrifying is the Mystery No. glitch from the games. In the games you face a glitch that flies you away to hidden island where you face an invincible bunch of undefined pixels on your game screen that deletes your saved game when it defeats you. In context of the game world, that means a rip in reality sends you to a forbidden city where an eldritch abomination, an incomprehensible terror from beyond the universe, is waiting for you. Once there it kills you then it destroys all reality. Those are some horrifying consequences.

Speaking of Pokémon, the many childish or negative qualities of the TV series and movies when put together add up to “fridge” brilliance known as the “Coma” theory.

Dreams from a Child

Now let me be clear, I am certainly no Pokémon apologist. This is not intended by any means. The plot holes and failures are the failures of the writers and producers and by no means did they intend to convey this, hence why this is a “fridge” understanding of Pokémon. This is only what an adult mind can infer from viewing a show he previously watched with a child’s perspective. Once again I say that this theory’s original conception is not mine to claim, I happen to think it is brilliant and have formulated my own version of it which borrows heavily from the original.

In broad strokes the “Coma” theory says that after the first episode of the TV series the main character Ash Ketchum is put into a comatose and all that follows is a coma dream. Many of the irregularities in this world can be easily justified by explaining that they are psychological creations of a 10 year old boy. Even the most glaringly obvious logical flaw in the series, the passage of time, can be explained. Ash Ketchum left Pallet Town at the age of 10 and after 15 years of travel he is 12 years old. In his self-constructed dream world time moves differently.

Before I get too far ahead of myself I need to address how Ash got into a coma. The theory states that at the end of the first episode, when Ash got struck by lightning while on the bicycle his mind locked him into a coma so that the shock would not kill him. His body was found shortly afterward and rushed to hospital where he has been unconscious for x amount of time. This dream world he has built for himself centers on his dream of becoming a Pokémon master, which is the quest he just started just the day before. Because of this the dream world is extremely Pokémon centric and idyllic. Had Ash dreamt of being a sports star the dream world would have revolved around that particular sport.

This also explains the world wide socialism. His young mind has no idea of how governments or economies work, so he just chalked it up to things work because they do. Ash took things he knew from his home town and expanded them. The best example of this is Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny. Why does every population center in the world have a twin/clone of people Ash knew from his home town? Simple, so that Ash could have a friendly face of authority where ever he went on his dream quest. This is also why the gyms serve as the defining and driving engines of the town’s economies and politics. Because Ash was on a journey to collect all the gym badges their significance in his dream world is exponentially greater than what it would be in the real world. Be sure, that in the “real”/non dream world of Pokémon the gyms exist but are not institutions that border on “temple”/military base influence upon society. Take the Cerulean Gym, I’m sure it is a water gym and attracts a lot of trainers but in reality it has not shifted the entire economy of a large town to being solely water based, or the leader of a gym being the de-facto feudal lord, like Sabrina of Saffron City, does not allow a benign socialist state to function like this.

Ash’s Inception

So if Ash is living his fantasies through a self-constructed dreamland, then who are all the other characters to him? The short version is that they are all manifestations of either his psyche or previous emotional experience. This is where the broad strokes end, from here on out we are going to venture into the nitty gritty of most major characters throughout the series, including relevant Pokémon. We can say that different characters represent aspects of Ash’s own personality, his dreams, and fears, but before we can begin to psychoanalyze Ash’s dream world we must look at his real life.

What do we know about Ash before he set out to be a Pokémon trainer? He was born and raised in a small sea side community called Pallet Town, in the Kanto region. Many young trainers leave the town and wind up never returning to set up their lives there. They often set their lives up in larger cities. Those who do return are relegated to working for Professor Oak, seeing that it is the only job center in town. Ash’s mother, Delilah, was probably a nurse at the very small clinic and his father was one of the few trainers who returned to town, unsuccessful in his quest. Mr. Ketchum married Delilah and they had one child, when his only son was 5 years old Ketchum left his family to pursue his ambitions. They have not heard from him since. Professor Oak started looking after Ash and his mother afterward. Oak became a father figure to Ash and his grandson, Gary, developed a sibling rivalry of sorts with Ash. Gary could be considered the favorite child of the two, something that did not go unnoticed by either him or Ash.

In this world, dream or not, the trainer’s quest is a very important journey that many young people make. Trainers seek to become masters of gyms and from that gym they can make a successful and secure life for themselves in an otherwise dangerous land. The Team Rocket Ash deals with in his fantasy land repeatedly are manifestations which are little more than petty thieves, but in the real world there is a very real, very dangerous, very powerful criminal force known as the Rockets. The rough equivalent in our world would be the La Costa Nostra or the Russian mob. A ten year old boy would know of them but not really understand the threat they pose.

In addition to the Rockets, hundreds of animal species have supernatural abilities or the ability to bend the elements to their whims in addition to many of them being quite large, territorial, and predatory. This is something else a young mind would know of but not really comprehend. I imagine that many trainers die and that makes those who achieve the rank of master all the more influential and renowned. Which is why given Ash’s many accomplishments, he should be much more known then he is. He is a virtual unknown after clearing at least 5 gym leagues from 3 different regions, placing in the top 8 trainers in the world, routinely humiliating the most dangerous criminal organization, being the chosen one of prophecy to bring balance to the force (I’m not joking, watch Pokémon TheMovie: 2000), battling the 3 legendary birds (Articuno, Moltres, & Zapdos) who are basically gods, battling the great fire dog Entine (who is basically a demigod), and more or less saving the world at least three times! My point is that in the real world anyone of these things would have killed him and if he did in fact do all these things he would be better known than not at all. How could a boy do all these fantastic things but not suffer any of the consequences? It’s like he’s in a dream, living out every single fantasy he could concoct in a world that revolves around him…but I digress.

The people in this world are manifestation and projections, major characters being significant manifestation. Let’s start with the leader of the Rockets and the gym master of Viridian City. He is almost never seen but his influence can be felt almost every single episode. He maintains the Rocket headquarters just outside of Pallet Town. He is the gym leader of the city Ash’s father ruined himself trying to get to. Do you see where I’m going with this? Giovanni is the manifestation of Ash’s father, supreme ruler of evil rockets, the most powerful and evil man in the world. All of Ash’s resentment and hate for him made this manifestation. By extension we can say that Team Rocket (Jesse, James, &Meowth) is the part of him that longs to please his father, reconcile, and prove that it was a mistake to abandon him and his mother. This is seen as a negative but largely non-threatening, but it is persistent. Team Rocket as a result is a hollow threat that is none the less unyielding. They will continue to pester Ash until they capture his Pokémon, he admits that he wants to reconcile with his father, or they give up, ash gives up trying to reconcile.

In addition to his Pokémon Ash has two companions, initially consisting of Misty and Brock. Brock is both a desire and a psychological manifestation. The desire he represents is that of paternal love. Brock was the leader of the Pewter City gym, where he raised his many siblings after his mother’s death and father’s absence. After his Brock’s father helps Ash defeat his son, he returns to the family so that Brock would be free to continue his own journey. This is a reconciliation of father and son that Ash wishes to have for himself but also it allows Brock to accompany Ash and be an older male figure to guide as he travels, like a father he never had and a helpful big brother that Gary never was.

Once he begins traveling with Ash, he changes from a desire to an aspect of Ash as he is incorporated by Ash’s psyche. Brock becomes the manifestation of Ash’s unexplored sexuality. At the age of 10, Ash was too young to more fully understand his sexuality but it had started to emerge. In the show Brock is shown to be an unrepentant horn dog that pursues any woman of interest to absurdist ends, the only concept of attraction possibly familiar to a boy Ash’s age. Brock’s obsession with the Nurse Joy’s and Officer’s Jenny’s can be explained by Ash thinking of the real girls from his home town as attractive but not quite ready to think of them in those terms. Through Brock he can and is willing to think of them in that way. As the series progresses Ash shows more and more interest in girls as he matures, eventually reaching the point where he is ready to think of girls in such ways, this is when Brock goes off to live with Professor Ivy. Simply said, Ash’s psyche no longer needed him so it “wrote him out of the show”. Brock only returns much later as the older brother figure he had previously been, with his flirtatious nature curbed nearly to non-existence.

Outside of Giovanni, Misty just might be the most powerful aspect of Ash’s mind manifested as another person. Misty is the red headed Ash met on his way to Viridian in the real world. To escape both him and Pikachu being gored to death by a flock spearow, he stole her bike. While on that bike, Pikachu used his thunder attack to thwart the attacking birds but unintentionally knocked Ash into his coma in the process. Misty is both the last human Ash ever spoke to or saw, and is the first girl he ever met outside of his home town. She is based on a very real person but since they had no chance to get to know each other that well, the details about her had to be filled in by Ash’s mind. What his mind wound up doing is filling in all the blanks with what he wanted. Through Misty Ash could explore what type of girl he was attracted to. The same could be said of the female companions that replaced her in latter seasons, but unlike the others (May & Dawn) Misty always returns, has a basis in reality, and even when she is not present she is never far from Ash’s thoughts. This leads me to the conclusion that Misty is Ash’s ideal of what the perfect woman should be. Should Ash ever wake up, he would be looking for “Misty” in every single girl he talked to.

Capturing Part of Yourself

Just like the major human characters, Ash’s original collection of Pokémon has their own significance on his psyche. I imagine that this portion of my opinion will be the least sympathized with. Most of the Pokémon were given little character outside of their powers, notable exceptions being Pikachu and Charmander, thereby forcing me to make some logical jumps. Feel free to disagree, because outside of Charmander and his evolutions I’m not sold on my own opinions here. I’ll go through this list in the order of the first 7 Pokémon Ash trained, because after Crabby their importance fell off the map. When these Pokémon left the show, their absence had an impact on Ash and the show at large (aka the dream world.)

Ash’s original Pokémon, the one he was given by Professor Oak and therefore the only real one, was Pikachu. Pikachu is a yellow rodent about the size of a cat who has the ability to wield electrical energy as a weapon. Seriously if you don’t know who Pikachu is, then where have you been hiding? Pokémon are kept in high tech containers called Pokeballs, which most Pokémon don’t mind. Ash’s Pikachu hated his and refused to get inside it. For me it’s had to say whether or not Pikachu is just a projection of something from real life or if he is also a manifestation of a part of Ash. The original theory states that he is Ash’ humanity and that is why Team Rocket is obsessed with stealing him for Giovanni. I’d say that Pikachu is representative of something Ash is deathly afraid of losing to his father and his father desperately wants, but I cannot say that I know what that is. While not quite Ash’s humanity, I say that Pikachu is actually his hope. When confronted by Pikachu’s evolved form, Raichu, in a gym battle Ash and Pikachu got soundly defeated. In the aftermath was left with a moral dilemma, evolve Pikachu or not? Should he give up his hope or not, was he cut out for this? It was the encouragement of Team Rocket that persuaded him not to. Had he’d given up his hope it would be worthless and their pursuit of it would have been in vain. With the rockets set up as a non-threatening enemy this allows for hope to always triumph over them, essentially Ash’s mind is rigging the game in his favor. (That dirty cheat!)

Caterpie, a small green caterpillar, was the first Pokémon Ash caught and is the first one created by his mind. The original theory states that caterpie was a manifestation of Ash’s loneliness and I agree. Being an only child abandoned by his father and being constantly mocked by his pseudo brother Gary left Ash with a crushing sense of loneliness. Much like how Ash saw himself, Caterpie was weak and needed friendship to survive. Misty’s irrational fear of it was Ash’s mind playing around with the idea of rejection. In time Misty came to like Caterpie, and accept Ash, after being accepted Caterpie quickly evolved into Butterfree, its highest evolutionary state, and Ash no longer needed to fear being lonely. In the dream world, as Ash and Misty grew closer together it came time for Ash let Butterfree go so that it could be with its mate. You can make the obvious connections for yourself.

The next Pokémon Ash caught was a pidgeotto, and I’m not going to lie…I got nothing.

The fourth Pokémon was Bulbasaur. Unlike Pidgeotto I do have a thought, a not very strong one but one none the less. Bulbasaur was a manifestation of Ash’s stubbornness. Why, because it was stubborn and steadfastly refused to evolve. Not a lot, I know.

Next came Charmander, and do I have a lot to say about him. For starters, this relatively tiny fire lizard would make a stronger protagonist than any other Pokémon. Originally he belonged to another trainer but was left to die in the wilderness. He became Ash’s after he saved his life. As Charmander he was loyal and reserved. After evolving into Charmeleon his personality radically changed as his fighting prowess grew. After becoming the strongest Pokémon on Ash’s team he grew wild and uncontrollable. The original theory says that he is representative of Ash’s sex drive and his evolutions were Ash growing into it. I infer that he was a manifestation of Ash’s pride and his further evolution into Charizard better illustrates this. As Charmander, Ash had not yet accomplished much but as he accomplished more his ego grew, manifesting Charmeleon as arrogance. It was not until his accomplishments matched his ego that allowed Charmeleon to fully evolve into the fire dragon Charizrad. While still at times obstinate, Charizard is the manifestation of Ash more mature pride, no longer desiring to humiliate lesser opponents but defeat worthy opponents.

If Ash awakens he will be a very proud man, if Charizard’s prowess in the dream world is any indicator. His top 8 trainers ranking is largely due to Charizard going up solo against gym leaders’ entire teams and winning. This suggests that Ash relies on his pride more than anything else. He overcame and beat Gary because of Charizard, despite Gary’s Blastoise (16 foot tall water turtle) having a significant elemental advantage over him. Charizard has also gone mano-y-mano against Entine the legendary guardian of fire & fought it to a draw and Articuno the bird god of ice and snow and outright beat it. Ash is extremely proud.

I should have more on Squirtle than I do. He actually has a character, whenever he’s not taking orders from Ash. Squirtle was originally a leader of his own gang but quit it to be one of Ash’s Pokémon, which is when he gets bland. I see the connection between him and Giovanni. Both are gang leaders but one is very influential and is the most dangerous villain, where the other is little more than mischievous and is a stalwart ally. Given my inferences I think that Giovanni is how Ash want’s to remember his father but Squirtle is the repressed memory of what he actually was. Note: as soon as he joins Ash he gives up the gang life, possibly also making him wish fulfillment for what Ash wishes his father had done.

Lastly we have Crabby. Crabby was the sixth Pokémon caught by Ash and trainers can only carry six at a time, so it was sent to Professor Oak’s lab for storage. Unlike Gary who regularly rotated the Pokémon he caught, Ash largely kept his original 6 on him at all times. Oak looked after Crabby and quickly became closer to the Pokémon than Ash. Crabby is the manifestation of Ash’s sense of abandonment. After reuniting with Ash much later, it evolved into Kingler and became a regular on the team. This fulfills Ash’s desire to be accepted by inserting himself into the role of the acceptor.


Through this “fridge” viewing Mewtwo becomes much more than a villain for the first movie. The original theory says that Mewtwo was radical shock therapy used to try to snap Ash out of his coma. This is my biggest departure from that theory. Mewtwo and Ash are one in the same. Ash is the lower, subconscious mind that is unaware that is dreaming while Mewtwo is the higher, conscious mind that is aware of the oddities in the world. It’s like that scene in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, where Cobb is telling the target that he is dreaming and shows him the gravity shift. It’s like Mewtwo notices the gravity shifts when no one else does. He was created as a clone of Mew, the progenitor of all life and has never felt like he “fit” anywhere in this world. The actual “Mew” would be Ash himself since the entire world is a creation of his unconscious mind.

Mewtwo has clones of all of Ash’s Pokémon, versions of the same manifestations. He even has his own Misty in the form of Amber, the girl he came to consciousness with. Unfortunately she was dead, aka not of the same world as him, so she vanished as he woke up in the dream world.

The biggest connection between Mewtwo and Ash is Giovanni, who is Ash’s father and the man responsible for Mewtwo’s creation. (aka his father) This is the man who manipulated him into being his tool for world domination, originally calling him a partner but soon revealing that he never saw Mewtwo as anything more than as a weapon. Rejecting the purpose designated for him by Giovanni, Mewtwo fled and began building his own identity. In his pursuit of purpose he was drawn to the conclusion that whatever this world was, he did not belong to it and it must be destroyed.

Being Ash’s conscious mind, Mewtwo can consciously manipulate the world in the same way that Ash’s unconscious mind rigs outcomes in its favor. Mewtwo created his storm as a means of destroying the world, breaking himself out of the coma. When he met Ash he was actually meeting himself. When his conscious mind threatened to overwhelm him Ash’s unconscious mind manifested itself in the form of Mew to combat it. The battle in the first movie between Mew and Mewtwo is actually the conscious part of Ash’s mind that wants to wake up is battling the unconscious part of his mind that does not want to wake up and remain in the dream world. Even after the “victory” of the unconscious mind in the end did not satisfy Mewtwo. 

Though he stopped trying to destroy the world he still is lost in a world he knows that is not real but can’t 
quite realize that because his hatred of Giovanni blinds him. Mewtwo will not be able to fully realize that he is Ash and snap himself out of the coma until Giovanni is defeated. Ash’s hatred of his father is just too strong.
This also explains why Ash is not yet the greatest master there ever was even though it is his dream and he is living in a dream world. His unconscious mind loves living in a dream and doesn’t want to wake up anymore, Ash is lost. Though in the dream world he seems lost, Mewtwo knows deep down exactly what he is and wishes to live in the real world. These two equally strong forces will grind against each other indirectly until the issue is brought to another head. Should Mewtwo find the answer to what he truly is, it is likely that he would consciously use his powers to rig the championship so that Ash would face Giovanni for the title. After achieving his dream by defeating his father face to face would be total fulfillment of Ash’s dream and Mewtwo could then break the world because it had served its purpose. This would snap Ash out of his coma and his higher, Mewtwo mind would merge back with his lower, Ash mind to find the real world very different from the one he lived in.

In the end I imagine Ash would call it the end, but Mewtwo would call it the beginning. This my friends, is “fridge” brilliance.

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