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That’s a good point, blank slates are a good way of experimenting with tone and personality without making a mess out of the protagonist. I’m fond of both XY and SM’s iterations of Ash individually, but nobody can tell me there’s any character continuity there.
Not to mention that between plot characters, gym leaders and the obligatory mascots in the main cast, a new series will never be able to do anything without everyone convulsing on the floor screaming “THIS IS NOT THE CHARACTER I GREW UP WITH”
If anything, I’d say Roark’s battle is a perfect example on how to have Ash believably beat an overwhelming opponent. He got his ass kicked once but did manage to get a grasp on Roark’s shortcomings, so he planned accordingly and managed to have both Aipom and Pikachu still standing to soften...
Well, Dragonite was caught in that awkward period when Journeys was allergic to continuity, so I doubt they would be willing to squeeze Larvitar in then. But true, it would have been a very sweet addition.
I feel like the Darkest Day arc could have benefited if Rose and the pup knights had been introduced in a previous episode. It would still be awkwardly shoved in, but at least the arc could breathe more.
I think it’s partially for casual audiences. Many of Ash’s pokemon that don’t move the plot end up in the background when they show up, so sprinkling some random ones in there might confuse people that aren’t caught up.
I mean, this battle has literally been in the opening lines this whole saga, no writer/producer with half a brain cell would pull out something like this… hopefully.
Ludicolo did get used, actually. It battled Sawyer’d Aegislash.
I know the company is stingy with full battles, but they oughta throw us a bone for what’s essentially the climax of the whole anime.
… phrasing it like that makes it sound so much more exciting than it is.