Professor Oak has been taking care of his trainer’s Pokémon for years, but what does he actually do with them?
It’s quite strange that most services in the Pokémon world are… free. Professor Oak would probably make a lot of money if he charged trainers who used to put their Pokémon in his care! Ash himself has kept more than 60 Pokémon at Professor Oak’s lab, including 30 Tauros, and in addition to him, many trainers from Pallet Town have done the same. With countless Trainer Pokémon living at his lab, it’s unclear how well Professor Oak takes care of their daily lives.
Trainers are only allowed to bring a maximum of six Pokémon, which means creatures that are rarely used must be kept somewhere. In Ash’s case, his Pokémon are usually left in Professor Oak’s lab. The Professor has a large area called the Oak Corral, a diverse environment, designed to allow all types of Pokémon to live comfortably.
Professor Oak certainly owns a lot of creatures, as he started doing this more than 20 years ago, having traveled through 7 lands with over 750 Pokémon. Although Ash helps to “offload” this by regularly releasing Pokémon before taking them to Professor Oak’s lab, as his journey continues, the number of Pokémon Ash possesses remains still continue to increase. Luckily for him, Professor Oak doesn’t seem to have set a limit on the number of Pokémon trainers are allowed to leave in the lab.
Pokémon are living creatures that need to be taken care of, so Professor Oak can’t leave them free all the time. A Pokémon in the wild defends itself, but once caught, it is quickly tamed and needs to be fed appropriate food. Fortunately, Tracey Sketchit is always there to help, otherwise Professor Oak’s day would be spent feeding the Pokémon. Hopefully Ash is the only trainer to leave the Snorlax there, as it needs to eat 900lbs a day!
Unlike Charizard in Charicific Valley, Ash’s Pokémon in the lab are usually not stronger when they return. They sometimes learn new moves, but it’s clear that Professor Oak doesn’t train these Pokémon. However, Pokémon Journeys has shown that some creatures will train on their own, as Ash’s Infernape has become more powerful.
Infernape also shows that Professor Oak doesn’t keep a close eye on his trainer’s Pokémon. When Ash and Goh returned to the lab, he questioned his Infernape, to which Professor Oak replied that he hadn’t seen it in several days. So when the Trainer’s Pokémon leaves Oak’s lab to do his own things, he doesn’t seem to actively seek them out.
Whenever Ash returns to visit his Pokémon at Professor Oak’s lab, they are always overjoyed to see him. Maybe the creatures loved their trainers, or perhaps Ash’s visit was the only attention they received. Despite the fact that most of Ash’s Pokémon spend more time with Professor Oak than with him, it seems that only Muk has feelings for him.
This is not to say that Professor Oak treats these Pokémon badly, just because they are so numerous, feeding them is all he can do every day. After all, Oak is a professor, most likely spending more time on research, rather than sticking with them. Perhaps Oak Corral will help Professor Oak observe the Pokémon when it is closest to its natural habitat.
On top of that, Professor Oak’s job of taking care of Pokémon has aided aspiring young trainers on their journey. He was always there when the coaches wanted a roster change, and Professor Oak usually took good care of the creatures. He is actually the MVP of the Pokémon anime, so it’s completely safe for Ash to leave his Pokémon in the care of Professor Oak.
>>> See also: The privilege of being Ash’s Pokémon
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