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Professor Samuel 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.
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 when he discovered 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 on Valencia 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 traveled to Johto on a couple of occasions for conferences, most notably during Ash and Gary's battles in the Pokemon League Silver Conference.
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's side story episodes.
In Gonna Rule the School, he was lecturing the students of Rustboro's Pokémon Trainers' 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.
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.
In The Unbeatable Lightness of Seeing!, when Ash was still recovering from his defeat at the Battle Pyramid, Professor Oak brought him a special package meant to cheer him up, containing a poster with the prints of his Pokémon, a fishing lure from Misty, and food from his mother. He also handed Ash a postcard from Gary and told him that his grandson was doing research in the Sinnoh region and that many Pokémon who live there cannot be found anywhere else. Later, he was asked to judge the impromptu Contest Battle between May and Drew. Along with Scott, he judged their battle, which ended in a victory for Drew after his Roselia and Butterfree knocked out May's Combusken and Skitty.
Diamond & Pearl series
Ash spoke to Professor Oak regularly over the phone while he traveled through the Sinnoh region. Dawn was able to recognize him from television, but it was because of his Pokémon poetry and not his research.
In Get Your Rotom Running!, Oak suggested that Ash and his friends should visit the Old Chateau to sample its famous delicacy, the Old Gateau.
In Strategy Begins at Home!, Ash called Professor Oak while staying at Johanna's house and said he would be training in Twinleaf Town for a while. Oak told him to use this opportunity to learn from Johanna, as her experience as a Top Coordinator could be helpful to him. Oak also announced that he would be attending the Twinleaf Festival as a special guest.
In A Faux Oak Finish!, he traveled to Sinnoh to give a lecture on "the interrelation of Pokémon and Evolutionary stones" on the first day of the Twinleaf Festival. However, on his way to Twinleaf Town, his car got a flat tire and forced him to make a stop near a marshland. While the driver was replacing the tire, Oak decided to explore the area. He found a group of wild Pokémon who led him to a cave where a depressed Lombre was hiding. Oak found out why Lombre was so sad and gave it a Water Stone, allowing it to evolve into Ludicolo and immediately taking it out of its depressed state.
Meanwhile in Twinleaf, James was in the town's auditorium disguised as Oak plotting to steal all of the attendees' Pokémon. When Oak arrived there, everyone in the auditorium looked confused as James insisted he was the real Professor Oak. Seeing this, a Trainer in the audience sent out his Tyranitar and asked for help, saying he was having trouble with the Armor Pokémon. James failed to figure out what was the cause of the problem and was sent blasting off by Tyranitar, but Oak was able to help the Pokémon by removing a thorn from its foot. After that, Professor Oak proceeded to give his lecture.
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 Charizard came 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; Ash contacted Oak to get Leavanny sent to him to help a Caterpie evolve. 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.
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 in Battling on Thin Ice!, where it was revealed that Ash and Serena both attended his Pokémon Summer Camp during their childhood; and in A League of His Own!, where Ash mentions he was thinking of asking him to send one of the Pokémon at his corral. In Till We Compete Again!, he joined in on a video call with Delia to Ash and his friends, where he learned Ash was going to return to Pallet Town later that day.
Sun & Moon series
After winning a trip to the Alola region, Delia and Ash headed to Professor Oak's lab, where he received Ash's on-hand Pokémon and took the opportunity to entrust Delia with a Pokémon Egg. He asked her to deliver the egg to his cousin Samson Oak, at the Pokémon School on Melemele Island.
After meeting with Delia in Alola to New Adventure!, Samson made a video call to Professor Oak and notified him the egg arrived safely. Professor Oak did not tell Ash what Pokémon it was, so only after hatching in Getting to Know You! was it revealed to be a Vulpix, which Samson kept.
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 known relatives are his grandson Gary and his cousin Samson.
His often-forgetful attitude and other antics are also notorious. He also has a hobby of composing senryū, haiku-like poems about 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, while Samuel himself gained prominence after he published a research paper on Pokémon at the age of 20. It is also stated that he became a professor at Celadon University at the age of 25. According to Professor Elm, Professor Oak's studies and research mostly focus on how humans and Pokémon interact with each other.