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Anime & Manga General Discussion

Ghost Diplocaulus

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The BF was odd though. You could argue they sort of needed Brandon to use the Regis but Noland's Articuno was rather left field.
I'm not sure if even Brandon using the Regis in battle was strictly necessary, seeing how literally all the Frontier Brains' rosters were altered anyway, sometimes even having completely different teams to what they actually use in the games (such as Spencer and Greta, the latter of whom was even straight up turned into a Fighting-type specialist in the anime despite not actually being one in the games. She does use Fighting-types, but literally only one per team, and in fact her most prominent Pokemon is ironically enough a Dark-type), and they even saw fit to remove Spencer's and Anabel's Legendaries altogether.

With how Brandon was made into an archeologist, I think a team mostly or entirely made up of Fossil Pokemon or even have some sort of "ancient" theme would've suited him. He could've still had the Regis, but just doesn't use them in battle because he's aware of how unfair that is for challengers and he's also only catching them for study and plans to release them once he's finished with his research (of course in this scenario, Reggie wouldn't have lost to him anywhere near as badly), but then when Paul challenges him he insists on fighting the Regis because Paul is just that adamant to show his "inner strength", with Brandon initially being reluctant because Legendaries, but when he sees how badly Paul needs to be knocked down a peg he accepts. The rest is history.

It's just as I posted above; AG Ash can defeat "roughly Elite" trainers like Frontier Brains with a good success rate while DP Ash loses every time he tries to fight one. His newbie companion even scored higher than him.
I understand not everyone thinks this way but I am very outcome focused in cases like this where the writing isn't consistent enough, so if they wanted me to think Ash improved in DP he'd have needed accomplishments in it superior to those he had in earlier series'--and he didn't. Both OS and AG gave him better concrete achievements.
To be fair to Dawn, she didn't have to deal with an action replay user steamrolling every Coordinator with his totally-not-hacked gods. Plus, while she may have technically scored higher than Ash in her goal, Ash did get a very crucial win over Dawn: he was able to defeat his primary rival whereas Dawn was not able to beat hers. In fact, pretty much all of Dawn's wins over Zoey are indirect in the sense that she's beat people who beat Zoey, but never actually got to beat Zoey herself.

As for the whole "was DP really a regression or not" discussion, I can perfectly see and understand both sides of the argument: like you said, Ash's accomplishments are on paper not as good as those in the Advanced saga, but one could argue they're more than made up for with how much the quality of the battles themselves shot up, the fact that DP is the series that had the most strategies used in battle and not just from the main characters either, a very well-written and compelling storyline for Infernape, and the fact that almost nobody ever gets oneshotted unless they're fighting a ridiculously powerful opponent (in fact, I'm pretty sure DP has the least amount of oneshots among sagas, but I could be wrong), which in turn makes battles much more action-packed and exciting to watch.

Oh, and DP's arguable regression being overlooked also probably has to do with BW coming immediately afterwards and doing an even worse regression that was also far more blatant. Plus, DP allowed Ash to actually end in a very high note (regardless of if it wasn't as high as Advanced) while BW infamously gave Ash possibly the most embarassing defeats he's ever suffered. In both the beginning and the end, funnily enough.
 

puddleths

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So the writers realized they were driving straight into a dead end street and had to resort to making Tobias on the spot, which is why he's a DEM, as he's an external element added in the last second so the writers wouldn't crash and burn.
Tobias is a pretty bad character from the standpoint DP generally had a decent amount of thought put into the story. Never even alluding to such a character existing prior to the league comes across as a pretty massive oversight.

But we seem to be in agreement. There wasn't much else they could do. Having an E4 or Champion competing would have been strange and difficult to justify. And I'll reiterate, a guy with a team of regular 'mons, even if it was filled with pseudos, seems like something even the staff felt wouldn't have worked as a proper roadblock.
 
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Daren

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Tobias didn't need to be so absurdly overpowered, though. Ash barely losing to Harrison and Tyson was okay, and it's not like he was a juggernaut in the Sinnoh league; his pre-Paul opponents were still pushing him hard and Kenny beat him just a few episodes before. I'd find it entirely plausible there'd be some other trainer there just a bit better than him and Paul without needing to have someone with at least two Legendaries show up and steamroll the whole tournament.
 

Sai

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Tbh Ash could have won leagues from Hoenn onward. It also would have made more sense for Scott to invite Ash to challenge the Battle Frontier if he won the Hoenn league. Because Ash only came in Top 8 back then so getting invited to private challenges with the Battle Frontier seems like it was for prestige trainers.

Really as early as AG the writers were screwing Ash over from winning leagues he should of won. It just falls under the radar because the losses to Tobias, Cameron and Alan caused much more controversy.
 

Daren

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Tbh Ash could have won leagues from Hoenn onward. It also would have made more sense for Scott to invite Ash to challenge the Battle Frontier if he won the Hoenn league. Because Ash only came in Top 8 back then so getting invited to private challenges with the Battle Frontier seems like it was for prestige trainers.

Really as early as AG the writers were screwing Ash over from winning leagues he should of won. It just falls under the radar because the losses to Tobias, Cameron and Alan caused much more controversy.
I was very annoyed about Tyson at the time, but all his successors were so much worse I view him almost nostalgically now.

In general I wonder if they didn't know how to handle a victorious Ash or if it was just sticking to the formula Kanto set up and part of that was Ash having to lose.
I sometimes wonder how Ash's reputation would be if he was the exact same except he won all the post-Indigo leagues instead of losing them. It could be argued that would make his decision to replace his team more sensible, honestly, instead of the actual one where most teams just get screwed while others get all the glory based soley off which gen they were created in.
 

Enzo

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Tobias didn't need to be so absurdly overpowered, though. Ash barely losing to Harrison and Tyson was okay, and it's not like he was a juggernaut in the Sinnoh league; his pre-Paul opponents were still pushing him hard and Kenny beat him just a few episodes before. I'd find it entirely plausible there'd be some other trainer there just a bit better than him and Paul without needing to have someone with at least two Legendaries show up and steamroll the whole tournament.
But the issue with that is, while more believable to have someone being slightly better than Ash and Paul to bring Ash down, is that, on the grand scheme of things... it just wouldn't be... exciting, you know?

Because here's the thing: Ash x Paul at the League was, essentially speaking, the climax of the DP anime. It was a highly waited battle that, to this day, is still heavily praised in pretty much all of it's aspects, and many of the fandom consider it the best battle of the entire anime to this day. It's clear that this is not something that is easy to surpass, and they had a giant problem in that this specific battle was not allowed to be the finale for the League, as the status quo forbed Ash of actually winning in the end.

So the deal is that the best battle of the series was not allowed to be the ending of the League, therefore, a battle against an (then) unknow enemy right after that couldn't just rely on the narrative factor (which was largely the main fuel for making Ash X Paul what it was) to make it just as good as the "Battle to end all battles", so they resorted to giving Tobias a Mythical and a Legendary so Ash could ''''''end it on a high note'''''' and use the Cool Factor (that I have mentioned here before) as the main fuel.

Well, at least that's what I think the writing team's train of thought was, because we know reality was much, much different.
 

Ghost Diplocaulus

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But the issue with that is, while more believable to have someone being slightly better than Ash and Paul to bring Ash down, is that, on the grand scheme of things... it just wouldn't be... exciting, you know?
You know what would've also been exciting? Teasing the upcoming new Generation. They'd even already done this back in the Johto league, so I'm not sure why it couldn't have been done again, especially since one of the Gen 5 mons that appeared early was Zoroark, which fits Tobias's design fairly well, so I can easily imagine him using one. Plus, Zoroark's illusory abilities could easily explain why the other challengers have so much trouble beating him, as they can never be sure if the Pokemon Tobias is using is the real thing or a disguised Zoroark until it's potentially too late, and a wrong guess can easily spiral into a loss.

In other words, Tobias didn't really need Legendaries to be a threat. They could have used Zoroark plus maybe one or two more Gen 5 mons to build hype.
 

Hidden Mew

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Honestly, a big reason why Tobias never bothered me was because Ash losing to a regular trainer after finally defeating Paul would have felt more anticlimactic or at least less noteworthy. As infamous as the Tobias battle was, Ash at least went down in a blaze of glory, defeating two Legendary Pokemon in the process, and I always thought that was a sign of how strong he was in DP. He was basically an honorary runner up of the Sinnoh League since he was the only one who defeated Darkrai. Using brand new Pokemon like Zoroark would have been cool too, but I don't think that losing to brand new Pokemon would stand out as much as drawing against a Latios.
 

Broseph08

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But I do agree that introducing Tobias did make it seem like Ash was farther away from his goal than AG even though he improved seemingly onscreen. AG did make it seem like Ash was just a tier or two below the top trainers when he used his reserves but his battles against Flint and Tobias basically made it seem like he's too far. In other words, there was a power creep when it came to opponents that pushed Ash back in terms of where he seemed to be.
 

Enzo

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You know what would've also been exciting? Teasing the upcoming new Generation. They'd even already done this back in the Johto league, so I'm not sure why it couldn't have been done again, especially since one of the Gen 5 mons that appeared early was Zoroark, which fits Tobias's design fairly well, so I can easily imagine him using one. Plus, Zoroark's illusory abilities could easily explain why the other challengers have so much trouble beating him, as they can never be sure if the Pokemon Tobias is using is the real thing or a disguised Zoroark until it's potentially too late, and a wrong guess can easily spiral into a loss.

In other words, Tobias didn't really need Legendaries to be a threat. They could have used Zoroark plus maybe one or two more Gen 5 mons to build hype.
Oh, seeing Tobias using Zoroark would be amazing because Zoroark is a strong Pokémon that is considered to be very rare while still not being a mythical nor a legendary, which I think would've helped "ground" Tobias a bit more, besides that sweet Unova sneak peek.

But I think it's actually pretty funny to think that, at the end of the day, Ash X Tobias was essentially a Darkrai/Sceptile Pikachu/Latios 2x2, as someone above me has said. I just think the ultimate problem is because Ash's other Pokémon just went down too quickly and too easily. Swellow should not have been defeated as easy as it was. Besides, fuck me Ash, Heracross, Gible and fucking Torkoal for a semifinal match? Babe I love you, but you had better choices.

Still, I guess they just decided to play the Cool Factor to let Ash defeat both a Mythical and a Legendary just because he couldn't win the whole thing. But oh well.
 

Beatsy Ray

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Besides, fuck me Ash, Heracross, Gible and fucking Torkoal for a semifinal match? Babe I love you, but you had better choices.
No way, Heracross decking Darkrai in it's sleep is the highlight of the battle for me. Probably the first canonical mon in Sinnoh to actually land a hit on it.
 

Enzo

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No way, Heracross decking Darkrai in it's sleep is the highlight of the battle for me. Probably the first canonical mon in Sinnoh to actually land a hit on it.
Weel, that was admitelly cool and clever, but still, I think there were better picks.
 

Ghost Diplocaulus

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Besides, fuck me Ash, Heracross, Gible and fucking Torkoal for a semifinal match? Babe I love you, but you had better choices.
Heracross was not a bad choice at all, though. In fact, out of all the Pokemon Ash had on him at the time, Heracross was by far the most adeptly-equipped to fight Darkrai typewise, what with being a Bug/Fighting-type and all. He also knew Sleep Talk, which was a very neat way to get around Dark Void, and could even be seen as a reference to how Sleep Talk Heracross was actually one of the premier Darkrai checks in competitive Ubers tier at the time. So yeah, Heracross if anything is actually one of the best choices Ash could've made for this fight.

Torkoal and Gible are definitely weird choices, though, and I do think that the former should've been replaced by Charizard and the latter maybe by either Corphish or Glalie. Snorlax and Infernape, despite how often people bring them up when criticizing Ash's lineup, would've actually been pretty terrible choices here: Infernape would've ordinarily been a fantastic pick, but seeing how much punishment it had taken in literally just the round before there's no way the poor monkey didn't need bench time. As for Snorlax... well, a Pokemon whose entire thing is sleeping a lot going up against a Legendary whose entire thing is that it causes damage-dealing nightmares to any sleeping opponents kinda does put Snorlax at a very clear and obvious disadvantage.

But even Torkoal and Gible aren't completely unreasonable choices: Torkoal did put up a great fight against Brandon's Registeel back in Advanced, so Ash did have reason to believe it'd manage to do something against another Legendary user... even if that turned out to not be the case. And as for Gible, Tobias himself said that its Draco Meteor could've injured Darkrai very severely if it had hit, and might've even knocked out any other opponent.

In other words, while it's true that the lineup Ash chose to fight Tobias was not the absolute best one whe could've made, it was still a very good one, likely one of the better lineups with what Ash had at the time, and certainly not an awful one like many seem to believe.
 

Daren

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To be honest I think the question of whether Ash could have used a better team vs Tobias is sort of moot because it's clear nothing he could do would be enough; when even a powerhouse like Swellow drops like a sack he's just too badly outgunned.
You could argue a better team would have brought him in a win against Harrison, Tyson, Cameron, even Alain.
But Tobias?
Nope; criticizing an ant's tactics against an elephant can be an interesting intellectual exercise but the ultimate result is going to be a smear on the ground.
 

puddleths

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I thought I'd add, even though Tobias is a dumb character, the moment Latios gets sent out has always stuck out in my mind as one of the most unexpected, and kind of awesome, things the anime has ever pulled. Maybe I'm not remembering, or didn't look into it enough, but I don't remember any leaks about it at the time.
 
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Charizard and Glalie really would have been the best choice to replace Gible and Torkoal, maybe Quilava or Bulbasaur if either were unavailable. The one other non beaten up powerhouse was Snorlax, who, as mentioned above, is a bad choice by default in this case (unless Ash managed to weaponise its waking crankiness like with Harrison, but that’s one hell of a wildcard).
 

Ghost Diplocaulus

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Charizard and Glalie really would have been the best choice to replace Gible and Torkoal, maybe Quilava or Bulbasaur if either were unavailable. The one other non beaten up powerhouse was Snorlax, who, as mentioned above, is a bad choice by default in this case (unless Ash managed to weaponise its waking crankiness like with Harrison, but that’s one hell of a wildcard).
Not only that, but it's also much riskier here, since Darkrai is simply a far more powerful Pokemon than Hypno, and that enormous power combined with the Bad Dreams Ability and Dream Eater all stacking with each other (by contrast, Harrison's Hypno had only that last one to really punish Snorlax) just means that for all Ash knows, Snorlax would wind up defeated before it could even get angry.
 
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