This section applies to the ILCOE.
Alan Ketchum is the son of Ash Ketchum and, from chapter 26, travels with Mark and May on their quest, making him the third most prominent human character of the story.
- Age (current)
- On the tall side, but not remarkably so.
- Dark and spiky, similar to Ash's but a bit longer.
- The cap Ash had in the original series and whatever non-attention-grabbing clothes he can get his hands on. If you draw him or something, I don't really give a damn what you make him wear as long as it is appropriately plain. Alan does not wear anything extravagant.
- None. Sorry.
Since Ash has become something of a celebrity in his adulthood, Alan has always felt like he had big shoes to fill. His first Pokémon was a pet Meowth he named Pamela, but she was of course not used for battling then. When he was nine years old and was with his father in Cleanwater City, he happened to walk around the back of Rick's Gym, heard some strange sounds coming from the garbage, and discovered a barely breathing legendary Pokémon hybrid cub - a failed genetically engineered fusion of Raikou, Entei and Suicune created by the Gym leader and mistakenly thrown out. He kept the cub, which they named 'Rainteicune', as a second pet.
Once he was ten, he received a real starter - Charlie the Charmander - and headed out for the Ouen League, but after obtaining five badges, Molzapart appeared before him and persuaded him to release Rainteicune, and after this, Alan decided to abandon his attempt the Ouen League, largely out of worry for Charlie's wellbeing after Molzapart's attempt to devolve him into a Charmander had left him in an unstable evolutionary state; he released those of his Pokémon that wanted to leave and went home. The next year, after Charlie had learned to control his evolutions, he made another attempt, this time in Hoenn, but after traveling the region and collecting all eight Hoenn badges, he realized he really wasn't interested in participating in the League and instead went home to retire from training altogether, again releasing those of his Pokémon that wished to leave.
Ever since, Alan has been met with an irritating amount of surprise when he tells people that unlike his father he could never really get into the whole Pokémon trainer thing. At the time of the story, he is fifteen years old and thoroughly tired of not meeting anybody's grand expectations.
Even though Alan is my least favorite and the least prominent of the three main humans, I really do love him in his own way. In a way he is the sort of typical nice, considerate, Pokémon-are-your-friends moral-high-ground hero character, except that he's not the main - and I think that makes a lot of difference, because Alan would probably be rather boring and often barely tolerable as a main character. As it is, he gets to sit on the sidelines unsuccessfully preaching to May while Mark technically agrees but refuses to actively take his side - nobody really listens to him, and for some reason I find that delightful to write.
Alan's problem, really, is that he cares too much. He has a bit of a hero complex in a way, a need to fix other people and make things right - perhaps it comes from his father - and the fact he usually can't do that so easily can make him wonderfully frustrated, something I also enjoy writing. Thus, my favorite part of him is the dynamics between him and May, the person he is most desperate to fix and yet the farthest from actually managing to fix.
The discovery of what happened to Taylor effects a pretty major change in his role, however, culminating in his sudden departure at the end of chapter 55. This is partly his discomfort around May after realizing she indirectly caused someone's death, but partly he is also running away from his own feelings of guilt over not having been able to "fix" her before it was too late. The thing is that his hero complex makes him feel responsible for everyone and everything - thinking he could have foreseen it, could have realized there was something off about Tyranitar or done more to change May, is what ultimately makes it unbearable for him to stay. With that, he tries to cast away his perceived responsibility for what happened and distance himself from May as far as he can.
Originally, I hadn't intended for Alan to leave. When I was writing that scene, however, all of a sudden he just stood up and announced he was going, surprising me as much as you. Clearly my characters know better than I do what direction the story should go, since I saw immediately that this was a much more interesting development. Let's see what comes of it.