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He’s a kid because that’s how he looks, behaves and how he’s officially called several times throughout the show. By the end of the day, this is a power fantasy showing kids that you can go to the stars if you try hard enough, applying age related logic doesn’t work.
Also, I don’t get the beef...
For all the care they put into introducing older characters to new audiences and reminding older fans what they were all about and what their relationship to Ash was… they really just dropped Alain in with barely any context, gave him little to no lines outside of battle commands and just had...
Thing is, Alain didn’t organically beat Ash due to Mairin. He beat Ash because the writers telegraphed it would happen, execution be damned. Blaming anyone in-universe for what was clearly solely a higher up decision doesn’t add up.