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I know that feeling. Its like most people, many well informed and interesting members left bulbagarden. I mean bulbagarden forums weren't so lonely like they seem to be nowadays, its almost like they turned into wold(especially anime section). Although for some of my friends which left i can understand and respect their decision. Ash regression and stagnant storyline, repreated ideas and many older characters being forever buried in past leaving them unfinished and deprived of chance to ever get update(for example many Misty fans i knew in here left after their favorite not having any in flesh return for 9 years losing any hope and respect for this show) contributed in people losing interest.
But still i wish there were more people in here.
p.s. With me things are relatively good i guess. I had some turbulent period for last few months but now life has returned to normal, taking more relaxed, stress free streak.
Oh i just used that as example how sometimes replacing long stay iconic characters can lead to downfall of viewers interest and negative repercussions. And replacing Ash after 15 years isn't something which would pass without negativity.
You know whats hilarious? All those whiners wanting Ash gone because they are sick of no notable growth. Don't they realize how problem isn't in character but writers with addition of new one not changing anything, while at same time killing only stable source of profit and marketability. Ash is to pokemon like what Goku was to dragon ball.
I remember when writer Toriyama thought of replacing Goku with Gohan with backlash from fandom being so massive that he was forced to abandon such idea .