Professor Oak is a Pokémon Professor and a major supporting character of the Pokémon anime who lives and works at his research lab in Pallet Town. He appears semi-regularly to give Ash Ketchum advice to help him achieve his goal of becoming the greatest Pokémon Master.
In the Anime
Professor Oak lives up the road from Delia Ketchum and her son, and he and Delia often appear together as they are good friends. His only known relative is his grandson, Gary Oak.
His often-forgetful attitude and other antics are also notorious. He also has a hobby of composing haiku-like poemsabout Pokémon or Pokémon-related themes.
In the novelizations written by Takeshi Shudō, Professor Oak comes from a prestigious family. He has two brothers, one of whom is the mayor of Pallet Town while the other is its postmaster, and his grandfather was the first Trainer from Pallet Town to receive widespread recognition. According to Professor Elm, Professor Oak's studies and research mostly focus on how humans and Pokémon interact with each other.
In the original series
Professor Oak made his debut in Pokémon, I Choose You!, appearing on a late night television show explaining the three starter Pokémon that Pokémon Trainers would receive. The next day, three Trainers from Pallet Town, including his grandson, Gary Oak, came to his lab, ready to become Pokémon Trainers. Oak gave them each a Starter Pokémon, including giving Gary his Squirtle, though this wasn't revealed until much later in the series. Later that same day, Ash came to him as he was also starting his Pokémon journey and needed his first Pokémon as well. But because he was so late, the only Pokémon Oak had left was a rebellious Pikachu.
He appeared again in Pokémon Emergency where he called the Viridian City Pokémon Center after hearing that Ash had already made it there from his mother. He stated how he was surprised that he had made it that far, and expressed doubts he had when Ash first left. Mentioning making a bet of a million dollars with Gary that Ash hadn't captured any new Pokémon, he was disappointed to hear that this was indeed true and he had lost the bet with his grandson. When Ash told him that he had seen an unknown Pokémon, which resembled the stone carving above him, he waved it away as nonsense, saying that Trainers have searched their whole lives for that Pokémon, and none have succeeded.
Over the course of Ash and Gary's journeys, Professor Oak took care of the Pokémon they captured that were sent to his lab. He would often gloat about how much farther ahead his grandson was to Ash, which often caused him to be extra competitive. During the Indigo Plateau Conference, Oak became greatly disappointed to find out that Gary had lost in the third round, but decided to look on the bright side, telling Misty and Brock that it would do Gary good to learn that "every road, no matter how smooth, has its bumps along the way". He had arrived with Ash's mother with the goal of cheering Ash on in mind.
After the end of the Indigo Plateau Conference, Professor Oak asked Ash to pick up a mysterious Poké Ball from his friend, Professor Ivy, who lived onValencia Island in the Orange Archipelago. He wasn't at all surprised when Ash called him asking if he could compete in the Orange League. Though he wanted to study the GS Ball, he also wanted Ash to compete in the league so that he can get more training. During Ash's adventures in the Orange Islands, he befriended a Pokémon watcher by the name of Tracey Sketchit who was a great admirer of Professor Oak. When they arrived back in Pallet Town, Tracey asked if he could become his assistant which he graciously accepted.
Not being able to discover the mystery behind the GS Ball, Professor Oak called for Ash's assistance once more and asked him to travel to the Johto region and give the Ball to his friend Kurt. He also explained that there were many new Pokémon out west which made Ash all the more eager to go and catch up with his rival, Gary.
Professor Oak travelled to Johto on a couple of occasions for conferences.
In the Advanced Generation series
Professor Oak made a few appearances during the Advanced Generation as well and was in a few episodes of the Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station'sside story episodes.
In Gonna Rule the School, he was lecturing the students of Rustboro's Pokémon Trainer's School via satellite. Oak traveled to Hoenn in A Six Pack Attack! to meet with his friend, Professor Birch and brought along the Kanto starters as they interacted with the Hoenn starters.
Professor Oak in the Diamond & Pearl series
In The Right Place and The Right Mime, Professor Oak noticed that one of his Squirtle felt most comfortable being with May. That was when he suggested that May keep the Squirtle and raise it into a strong Pokémon. He also said he would watch after her Bulbasaur.
While Ash was trying to earn his final Frontier Symbol from Brandon, Professor Oak visited him and told him about Gary's research in the Sinnoh region. He recommend that he should travel there after earning his final symbol so that he can learn about the Pokémon that lived out there.
In the Diamond & Pearl series
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Ash spoke to Professor Oak frequently over the phone while he traveled through the Sinnoh region. Dawn was able to recognize him from television, but it wasn't because of his Pokémon research. He traveled to Sinnoh in A Faux Oak Finish! to give a lecture in Twinleaf Town.
In the Best Wishes series
Professor Oak in the Best Wishes series
Professor Oak was given a major redesign in the Best Wishes series, using a different shirt collar style and wearing his labcoat above it. His hairstyle also changed, becoming more boxy. These changes make his look closely resemble his most recent game counterpart artwork.
Oak made plans to travel to the Unova region to meet with his friend, Professor Juniper, in In The Shadow of Zekrom! and invited Delia and Ash to go with him. He has since returned to Kanto as seen in Crisis from the Underground Up! where Ash calls his laboratory from Nimbasa City.
In New Places... Familiar Faces!, Ash called Professor Oak to inform about his loss at the Vertress Conference. In The Fires of a Red-Hot Reunion!, the Professor appeared again in a video lecture about the Kanto starter Pokémon that was presented at the Kanto Fair, accompanied by Tracey. Later, Ash's Charizardcame to his lab from the Charicific Valley so Ash would switch him for his Unfezant. Oak liked the idea of Unfezant being with him, as she could make good friends with Ash's Noctowl and Staraptor.
In To Catch a Rotom!, he appeared in the Decolore Islands, having traveled to Torom Island. Professor Oak wished to capture a Rotom to study, and eventually succeeded after helping Ash and his friends defeat Team Rocket.
As seen in Butterfree and Me!, Professor Juniper sent Ash's Pokémon caught in Unova to Oak's laboratory.
In The Dream Continues! Professor Oak was interviewed by Alexa, a reporter from the Kalos region which gave him a chance to see Pokémon from there much to his delight. He was later present when Ash announced his intention to return with Alexa to Kalos to challenge its league. As usual, Professor Oak was entrusted with the care of the Pokémon Ash had caught in Unova, as well as Charizard who would be remaining at the lab permanently from then on.
In the XY series
Professor Oak appeared briefly in A Battle of Aerial Mobility!, where he was introduced to Froakie before being shocked by Rotom. He was later mentioned inBattling on Thin Ice!, where it was revealed that Ash and Serena both attended his Pokémon Summer Camp during their childhood