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Ash/Satoshi as the main protagonist

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Do you like Ash as the main protagonist of the Pokemon anime? What do you wish that the writers did/should do with him to improve his character? Do you think that he's a good trainer?

I personally think that Ash is the Pokemon anime. He's been there since day one and he's pretty much become as iconic to the series as Pikachu in my opinion. He can make stupid mistakes sometimes but overall I love how compassionate he is with his pokemon and the way he interacts with his friends. Now with that being said, I feel that if it weren't for his traveling companions then he wouldn't be nearly as interesting. Ash is the type of character who works best with a group of other people. I feel that if he were traveling alone then he wouldn't be interesting, and that probably wouldn't be very interesting to watch either ^^'

Mod note: Please note that this is not a thread to discuss whether or not Ash should be replaced from the Anime. Discussion of replacing Ash will be considered off-topic.
 
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The best way to describe Ash would be "simple"; simple motivations, simple personality, simple ambitions. This is both the best and worst thing about his character, in my opinion. He's easy to understand and follow, and you never have to question why he acts the way he does. He's the sort of character who, through his simplicity, will make the other characters stand out more by contrast, and that makes him a very good fulcrum for the show. On the other hand, there are times where I wish there was a bit substance to his character; maybe something deeper about his motives, or something different about his personality. As he is, he doesn't have many layers. So it's good that he's never on his own for long, because without those layers he wouldn't be able to hold the audience's interest for an extended period of time.

If there's one way they could improve his character, it would be to just add a couple of layers to his personality. For example, he often says that the tougher the opponent, the harder he'll fight, so why not turn that into a love of battling, or link it to a constant need to prove himself? Then they could link that back to something in his background. Maybe all those league defeats have gotten to him, and he's picked up a label as that perennial nearly-guy who'll never step up. Something like that, I feel, would enhance his character without changing any of his core characteristics.
 
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This recent season (XY), Ash has become quite wooden. Looking back at the earlier seasons, he was expressive, driven, and showed a range of emotion. Sure, he's still driven, but he hardly seems to do anything else but smile, state that he's gonna win the day, and remains optimistic. He has no depth. Come to think of it, the only character that really has any depth is Serena, and that's primarily because she has this crush on Ash that drives her.

I'm sure they can fix the writing, but for the moment, Ash just seems like a cookie-cut character.
 
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personally i like Ash although some of decisions frustrate me greatly however the one thing that annoys me is the lack of things he wins i haven't watched as much of black and white and xy, however i know there have been some mini/ regional tournaments and that is progress, personally i would like to see ash win more of them or at least get to a final in the pokemon league, i think they should of done this in sinnoh where he had progressed as a trainer and had a strong team i understand him not winning the league but it would be nice to see him win things maybe they could do another orange islands thing or more regional tournaments for him to win
 
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I like Ash, in fact quite a lot. He's actually my favorite character on this show. As much as I like him, I feel that he should have more development as a person not a trainer. We've seen that we can have both character and power like in AG. OS and BW gave Ash a lot of character which was a good thing, but for the latter it messed my opinion on him. I mean he shouldn't be making this many mistakes now. But DP and XY gave him power, but his characterization there isn't so strong. I don't really feel like there is a person on screen, just someone going through the motions.

I'll edit this as more thoughts come into mind.
 
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Originally starting out in Kanto, Ash Ketchum was made to be a typical naive-type Shounen protagonist that is energetic yet immature; curious about the unknowns and hence often get himself into trouble; values the friendships and cares for the feelings of his Pokemon; will not allow Pokemon suffer for anything outside battles. Especially for the last one, the anime portray that by actually showing that he will rather defend the Pokemon using his very own body under any any circumstances that is not sporting battles.

His character consistently follows as such also for Orange Islands and Johto. But for AG, because he is has a different group role of mentoring May, it rather feels a bit OOC because the Kanto/OI/Johto Ash is not the senpai-type character that gives advice to newbies. As I still remember back in those sagas, even newbies doesn't hold him in respect.
I understand that a character will grow, so I back at that time I just take that characteristic incongruity as a grain of salt. But now when I learned more about character development from literature viewpoint, Ash development seems rather unrealistic in my eyes.

In DP saga, Ash is not very much a mentor like AG, because his is on equal ground with Dawn. More importantly his rivalry with Paul makes me rather feel he is back to becoming mentally immature, more severe than the time he just started out in Kanto. Paul is the cool-head type rival up to the point of being unemotionally practical, outsmart Ash everywhere using actual strategies, hence just making Ash look more impetuous and too emotional to the point of negatively affecting his in-battle judgment and discernment. Many people said Ash's battle skills is at the top during DP, but I really don't think so, because in this saga the percentage of Ash giving inappropriate instructions is the highest. Instructing the intrinsically slow-speed Torterra to use moves of speed-related, doesn't call back his Pokemon during battle when their fatigue can be seen significantly, winning many battles using mere daredevil impulse and luck of guts, not much tactics and strategies can be seen, except a few occasions.

Now for the BW saga, that is the time I realize Ash will never grow up due to marketing reasons, and hence his inconsistent in characteristic become more unacceptable in my eyes.
I didn't watch any of the BW episodes, so I'll drop my opinions for this. But, I heard many fans that this time, his battle skill is at the lowest of all sagas.



Now, as an overall opinion, Ash as a protagonist, he is....... unimportant. He doesn't have anything outstanding, his skills are average of an average trainer, his in-universe existence is not anything special, his goal of wanting to become Pokemon Master is also nothing special from in-universe viewpoint, he is not causing a big impact to the surrounding, rather he is impacted by the surrounding. Even his design is not anything special because he is copying from the in-game protagonist. Also after Johto saga, the show's focus is not only on him, but more to the sidekicks. Even the CoTD can solve the problem of the day by themselves. So he seems more like a background character that can or cannot be there.

And because of that, IMO he gives out an aura of "ordinary commoner", just a man in the street that has no major achievements to brag to the public nor even to his friends, and has no dramatic memorable story worth to be remember from both the real-life and in-Pokeuniverse standard.

And hence, it just feels odd because for XY saga, such a plebeian became the Gary Stu that is honoured by his sidekicks......


I don't think there is any possible way to improve his character nor his role, because he is not the winner-type that possible any potential to win a regional league. To focus on his battling skills, I think it might be better rather for the story to focus more on his personality. Ash is friendly and kind to Pokemon, so focus and show us more on his interactions between Pokemon. Because the prerequisite to become Pokemon Master is never mentioned, so it is possible that becoming Pokemon Master doesn't require any battling, only provided that if the scenario writers and directors of Pokemon anime are creative enough to go to that route.
 
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Ash is a difficult one for me, if only because his character seems to change every few seasons at the drop of the hat. What I WILL say is that I'm glad they dropped his attitude from the first season (claiming how awesome he was and then throwing tantrums when he lost), because looking back, that was just painful.

....he does his job as the main protagonist well enough, and that's the important thing.
 
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A thing to note: I don't have a photographic memory like some people may have, I really don't recall most of the episodes in great detail, I've forgotten most of it, I only remember the feelings I experienced then... hell, I can't remember birthday dates and phone numbers of my own family and friends lol.

With that said, the little I can tell is that he almost has no personality whatsoever lately. The only thing he is interested in are Pokemon. For those who say he cares about his friends... really? Because I'm yet to see him come after one of them and ask: "do you feel alright?" "what are your reasons for following me?" "what do you want to accomplish as a trainer?" etc.
Ash is simply a one-sided character, completely bland. As mentioned, the only moments he shines are literary those when he throws himself in front of Pokemon to take the hit. Too bad he cares more about Pokemon than people though.
 
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A thing to note: I don't have a photographic memory like some people may have, I really don't recall most of the episodes in great detail, I've forgotten most of it, I only remember the feelings I experienced then... hell, I can't remember birthday dates and phone numbers of my own family and friends lol.

With that said, the little I can tell is that he almost has no personality whatsoever lately. The only thing he is interested in are Pokemon. For those who say he cares about his friends... really? Because I'm yet to see him come after one of them and ask: "do you feel alright?" "what are your reasons for following me?" "what do you want to accomplish as a trainer?" etc.
Ash is simply a one-sided character, completely bland. As mentioned, the only moments he shines are literary those when he throws himself in front of Pokemon to take the hit. Too bad he cares more about Pokemon than people though.
I'm with you on that one. There have been some nice moments with May and Dawn in the past where Ash has helped them through a loss, but even then they were kind of few and far in between. For me, the knock-on effect of this is that Serena annoys me more because she's a girl after the approval of a boy whose only real interest in anyone else is to declare their goals "Aaasome"
 
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Meh I prefer Team Rocket. I hated Ash in the first season(s) because of how he treated them, he literally let them die in some episodes (the shipwrecked one and also the power of one movie are good examples) even if they were trying to steal his Pokémon, they were never going to succeed anyways. The writers never gave them a chance and that made me sad and angry. Team Rocket have always been my favourite characters as I saw myself in them, they're trying so hard for something that, in a way, doesn't really exist. Or not for them, anyways. They were never given a chance because they were seen as bad. That's how I felt about myself for quite some time.
I feel that in the X and Y anime they have been given a chance. There's been some pretty close fights between them and the protagonists recently and I love that they're actually doing something for once. In some of the previous movies they didn't even meet the protagonists, and I kind of like that too because that way they're not being abused by the main characters, but they're not doing anything but saying they'll do something? I do like the Power of One movie because THEY saved Ash's butt, but afterwards he just stood there looking like a hero.. They'd just given up what could've been their lives and he's just stood there smiling?

Sorry, my opinions are really... I don't know. I get really defensive over Team Rocket because they've been there since I was a kid and I'm really attached to them. I want them to do some awesome things in the next movie.

Maybe Team Rocket aren't getting stronger.. As you guys said, Ash is getting more wooden.. Maybe it's Ash getting stupider or weaker lol.
 
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For those who say he cares about his friends... really? Because I'm yet to see him come after one of them and ask: "do you feel alright?" "what are your reasons for following me?" "what do you want to accomplish as a trainer?" etc.
He shows concern for his friends when they need it, but to be fair, there could be more of them.
 
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The anime lacks some drama and real chemistry. Imagine a situation like Ash's mother Delia becoming very ill with Ash having to return home from a trip etc. just some twists and turns here and there once in 10 years would be nice I think.
 
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To be fair, the Pokemon anime isn't really supposed to be "drama" based. It's light-hearted, for the most part, a lot like the games. Although it would be interesting to see an occasional twist.
 
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Well, there were twists and drama in the past. It's just they are missing lately. They were present the most in the movies, like Ash getting killed by Mewtwo and then revived, him saving May from drowning in one of the AG movies, Lucario's death in AG movie and the war past and so on. Original series also had moments like Ash thinking about leaving Pikachu with his species in the forest, the Safari guy pointing gun at Ash and so on. The "wow" factor is missing since Best Wishes. Diamond and Pearl at least had the stuff about destroying and recreating universe, but I feel like the anime has become more simple-minded lately.
 
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Wouldn't call those "twists" personally, but not entirely drama, but that's just me and beside the point.

As I said, Ash is a bit too inconsistent for me to REALLY like him, but he's still pretty decent, and does his job as main protagonist well enough.
 
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As others have said, it's really difficult to describe Ash as a main protagonist. To compare him to other main Anime Protagonists, he doesn't really fit into a common trope. Some protagonists are known for their skill from the beginning and their constant ability to trump their opponents with or without ease, sans a particular recurring rival. Other characters begin as noobs, but after a few initial failures, seem to do nothing but constantly improving after that, even surpassing those who originally topped them in skill. Ash doesn't really fit anywhere. In fact, Ash seems to be the one protagonist that loses more often than he wins. Even if he improves greatly as a trainer and begins to match the trope I mentioned first (such as in DP), he can very quickly go back to being a complete beginner (as was the case in BW) making you truly wonder where his skill lies due to the inconsistencies present in the Anime regarding it. He's constantly making boneheaded decisions that you wouldn't expect from him considering the time he's been on the show and it honestly feels as if he’s in a permanent state of where his skills lie as a trainer. This is a bit disappointing as you always want to see your protagonist get better and succeed. Ash…sort of…struggles in that regard.

As for his personality...I mean, he wants to be the best like no one ever was...apparently. Like other male leads in other Anime, he's pretty hyper, always raring to do the things he loves, and wants everyone he encounters to know it. He loves all Pokémon greatly and will even risk harming himself to protect them. He makes friends easily, is very helpful, and is very trusting...too trusting, as we can tell by being tricked by Team Rocket to the extent that you'd think Ash's brain has the inability to recognize anyone unless they wear the exact same thing every day. What others have pointed out does seem to hold some truth to it, however, as Ash really doesn’t have a particular personality of his own, which is rather disappointing. It seems that he had more of his own personality back in the Original Series, but nothing that I find that anyone could say is strictly defining of Ash Ketchum, as you could say for characters like Naruto or Luffy. It seems like they were trying to help him out a bit in that regard in X and Y regarding what he told Serena when they first met, but, even that isn’t really original.

So…as a main protagonist…I suppose Ash isn’t bad, but he’s just not got much going for him to make him stand out from others, which is really sad to say considering how long he’s been on TV. At the very least, he's memorable and recognizable.
 
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Actually, give a guy a hat and a Pikachu on his shoulder and you've got yourself an Ash Ketchum incarnate... his style of clothing and an electric rodent that is as bland as himself define Ash perfectly.
 
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More or less one of the reasons I hate Dawn so much, ironically enough.
 
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To me Ash is someone who is pokemon anime. His spirit, unswerving tenacity. Lot of passion, care and selfless attitude expressed toward pokemon treating them as equal beings or friends from which he leatned alot on his journey (such as Brock, Misty or to smaller extent Dawn). Brash, hotheaded nature, childish nature and enthusiasm in discovering new places, big appetite and sometime easy going nature taking things lightly mixed with over the time more mature, selfcritic and responsible approach toward people, battles, life and different ways of raising pokemon are recipe which on paper gives character with lot of potential.

Character who reminds me of myself in some aspects when i used to be a kid, someone who has interesting ideas, plot and personality traits surrounding character bringing requires passion, energy and thrill of journey in this show.

Someone who reporesents many children or grown up people idealistic desires, dreams, hopes and curiosity in learning new things. Getting
to experience unknown, explore on various aspects of life, world and society you live in with each of us having aspirations, personal goals and adventurous nature(some less, some more)in enriching on our knowledge, thoughts and discovering abilities of which we may not been even aware of posessing them. Staying dormant as hidden potential which just never had chance to emerge on surface until than.

Something Ash himself promotes in traveling through vast expanses, meeting all kind of communities and individuals with duifferent tradition, customs and ways of living. Seeing new landscapes, mystical creatures, mysteries of pokemon world which are waiting to be discovered and new tough opponents. Tournaments, special quests and challenges serving as test to his own maturity, resourcefulness and ability to think outside the box discovering along the way unknown skills he himself wasnt even aware of. Such as fact of posessing power to project and control aura, ultimate essence of life to extent. Being portrayed as chosen one, special human due to seeing Ho-Oh, powerful and mysterious pokemon which most people in life do not see even once(let alone multiple times).


Or shaking up Ash beliefs, methodology and personal views on pokemon life and surrounding. Like presence of Paul who seriously put damper on his strategy, knowledge and way he trained pokemon utilizing them in battle staggering his identity as trainer. Making Ash reconsider if his way is truly "the only right way" and if he should start modifying his tactics, choice of attacks and taking advantage of terrain, special abilities pokemon posess etc to have chance in overcoming this issue.

Confronting his problems, learning from mistakes and looking for ways to improve himself drawing paralel to real life where each of us strive in bettering ourselves. Surpass our limits and work harder on achieving our aims and come to realization how to get there.

Thats in nutshell one of attractions behind having Ash as main protagonist. In having stable hero with who you can affiliate yourself, develop interest and follow him on one big giant adventure. Set in same timeline and universe, introducing story which gives you thought of potentially following character which developes over long period of time. Has consistent following and continuity, throwbacks to past and previous people he met on his journey present around himself and progression forward by using past as guideline to determine in which direction main protagonist is going to go. With that choice deciding his faith and whether things will go for better or worse,

Character for who you crave to get more, see how will new world, obstacles and temptations faced in new regions affect Ash, what new pokemon, people and challenges he may need to be faced with to grow stronger, more sure in his abilities and wiser making sure to avoid doing same thing again.

But unfortunately character who also due to limited nature under which this series are written, status quo not changing formula and breaking barriers to push characters like Ash on deeper, more dimensional development is hurting his appeal and appeal in my opinion. Because with so much accumulated experience and knowledge Ash fulfilled each and every requirement to go on next step reaching entirely new heights as trainer, dealing with more challenging and refined issues in life, diving deeper under Ash skin and introspecting his own emotions and thoughts about battling, what trainer occupation truly represents to him and questioning if this is truly onoy thing he wants from his life. Expanding on Ash past, father, childhood and what defined his growing up bringing more realism to personality and purpose behind story.

And most of all introducing missing piece of puzzle of what his quest fully entails, what procedure and tasks are required to be fulfilled to get Ash there making it feel like his journey and following it was rewarding, evoking and satisfying to follow.

Which is something i wish we got to see, because while i do like and enjoy Ash, his incredible persistence and spirit in becoming pokemon master, as well top recognized and honored trainer. I also dont like current stagnation his character found himself into not moving forward.
 
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