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Controversial opinions

Something that always bothered me was how untouchable Drew's Roselia was whenever it battled against May's Pokemon, from its first fight against Beautifly to its last Double Battle against Combusken and Beautifly (where two regions worth of experience had essentially passed). It would often go up against moves that its Grass-type moves should have fallen prey to (such as Gust, Fire Spin, Blizzard, Silver Wind, Psychic-enhanced Fire Spin, etc.), yet still have its Magical Leaves or Petal Dances inexplicably power through every disadvantageous opposition. I'm fully aware this is anime and that video game logic isn't always applied, but Drew's Roselia is most egregious example of this phenomena; I don't think any other Pokemon in the anime comes close in regards to how often their moves overpower moves they shouldn't.

Thus, admittedly, I was elated when Grace's Medicham absolutely thrashed it at the Fallarbor Contest.
It also beat down Ash's Tailow at one point.
 
Ash losing to Alain in the Kalos League was the right choice narratively

Yeah, I think that this was the most probable, even obvious, outcome. I understand people's frustration, everyone wanted Ash to beat Allain and win a Pokémon League. But, what I don't understand, is people's indignation.
 
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People weren't at fault for having expectations especially with the way things were marketed at the time. The backlash was deserved for their own faults.

Maybe. Ash's team certainly looked strong and Greninja superb. However, Alain always seemed more powerful, his Charizard even defeat a Elite Four member. I was sure that Ash would do really well in the League, but also that he would not win it. Yet, I believed that he could knock out Alain's Charizard and still lose the battle.

In short, the battle between them was what I expected, electrifying, very closed and with good graphics and animations.
 
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People weren't at fault for having expectations especially with the way things were marketed at the time. The backlash was deserved for their own faults.
The more they hyped up Ash winning the more obvious it was that Alain would be the winner. That's why I noticed Ash winning the Alolan league had noticeably less hype behind it.

Also Alain winning was more beneficial to his character arc
 
But, what I don't understand, is people's indignation.
Ash-Greninja got hyped like crazy by the show.
They tell us if their Bond was perfected he'd have beaten Diantha, he takes up tons of screentime in the last year about how amazing he is.
Then Ash-Greninja amounts to absolutely nothing. Ash already got honorary second place in Sinnoh. The story is the exact same as every previous region--Ash loses a league, the evil team fails, everyone gets sent to Oak/released, and nothing that happened in XY means anything in the next series.
Narrative language was setting this up as Ash's big win, then it wasn't and the "twist" was "we're doing the exact same thing we always do!"
If they're gonna use hype marketing it's their own fault there's a backlash when it turned out to be leading nowhere, and they knew the whole time they were talking about how awesome Greninja was that he wasn't gonna deliver.
He beat Sawyer? Great. Ash already beat Sawyer twice. Sawyer's not a super strong trainer or a personal foil, he's a walking ad for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

The more they hyped up Ash winning the more obvious it was that Alain would be the winner. That's why I noticed Ash winning the Alolan league had noticeably less hype behind it.
They tried to hype up Alola. They released a video commemorating all the previous leagues, the director openly stated in an interview that there would be no powerful trainers coming out of nowhere to win it, they held a contest to guess the winner for a trip to Hawaii, there was a match with Kukui on the line where Torracat had a rivalry of sorts with his Incineroar. They did everything short of stating "Ash is going to win this time."

Despite all that they failed to build up much hype because Kalos left viewers rightly cynical. It's unlikely they will ever have that much hype again. That's the price of building up expectations than ripping the rug out. Look at how after the Game of Thrones finale people cheered when the creators lost their Star Wars deal.

Also Alain winning was more beneficial to his character arc
The issue is we're not talking about the arc of a long running character with a huge following. Alain only existed to stop Ash from winning in the first place--the fact we had no one comparable to him or Harrison and the others in Alola (a very powerful anime exclusive character) makes that clear.
A win in Kalos would have meant significantly more for Ash's arc; he was coming into his own as a trainer and it felt like a continuation of his gradual development from Kanto.

Instead he won the league with no entry requirements, a three on three finals, and a low enough competition level that James got top 8. Are we gonna try to pretend James is a better trainer than Gary and winning Alola meant just as much as winning any previous league?
So the benefit to Alain's arc came as the cost of Ash's twenty year league plot ending with a disappointing whimper.
 
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On the topic of Ash’s league performances, I hate the way the writers have been handling the Alola League.

Why? Because it feels utterly meaningless.

Yes, in an out-of-universe standpoint, it was huge. It’s a milestone on Ash’s journey and a stepping stone for a change in formula that many have been craving for years, but it changed nothing in universe.

Ash didn’t decide to join the World Tournament because it was a champion exclusive event. It’s a tournament that allows any rando to enter, and Ash’s victory had no relevance on his decision to join whatsoever. Rather than “I guess I’ll step up my game and see if I can compare to the big guns”, him entering the PWT felt like a “eh, not doing anything, might as well join.”

He isn’t given any special treatment on the tournament for being the Alola champion. He’s once again not using his old pokemon and his past experiences are scarcely applied (not going into that topic further). Even in the big worldwide PWT matches, his opponent was introduced as a gym leader, while he was still introduced as some kid that’s passing by.

Hell, even if the Alola League is somehow unofficial and therefore his title means nothing here, you’d think somebody would mention that he’s the first kid to win that tournament. Even the boy he’s constantly travelling with doesn’t ever acknowledge that. Korrina saw him placing second in her region’s league and at no point congratulated him from stepping up, nor did anyone in Kalos look at him and think “oh hey, isn’t that the runner up from a while ago? Who also happened to fight in the frontline against a world threatening maniac?”

The Alola league meant much for old time fans and for people who like the anime at all, but... it means nothing in terms of development. By the end of the day, Journeys is still Ash wandering around as an unknown trainer (mostly, anyway) who builds up a team from the ground up with the same vague goal.
 
I'm going to wait for the first Alola episode to see if they acknowledge it or not, but I do agree it's disappointing the only sign of it so far is him not resetting to the normal degree and having a trophy in his bedroom. I haven't entirely given up on reserves because of that one part of the poster but I'm definitely not holding my breath for it.

I actually felt sort of similar in DP; his winning the Battle Frontier was referenced when Brandon appeared but he was still treated like a random kid for the most part.
 
Also Alain winning was more beneficial to his character arc
Even though I’m fine with Ash losing to Alain, I’ll disagree with this one. Alain desperately needed a lesson on how winning a battle isn’t the only way to go or everything in life. The only push his character arc got was during the Flare attack, which he’d have got even if he lost, so it isn’t relevant to his victory. Always winning isn’t the only way of becoming the strongest.

I agree that using what we know his Charizard did, him winning makes sense but a loss delivered by anyone would be much better for his character. He has a drive to become the strongest, and he desperately needs to know what a loss isn’t the end of the world.

And showing him curbstomping people like Tobias wasn’t a good idea narratively. If they wanted to hide more of his Pokémon (since let’s face it, everyone knew he’d have a full battle with Ash), they could've simply greyed out some Pokémon icons beyond recognition, or at least show one or two more Pokémon other than Metang. Let us know they existed even if they didn’t want to reveal their species.

And Noivern should've fought Metagross and won instead of Pikachu.
 
everyone wanted Ash to beat Allain and win a Pokémon League.
Not everyone. With the way Ash was portrayed in the series, being praised by everyone and getting super powerful Pokémon that within few weeks matched strength of E4 and even Champion ace level Pokémon (with years of training), I was waiting for him to take the L.
The only problem I have with the Kalos League results is that he didn't lose to Sawyer. It would be much more satisfying to see Ash get a taste of his own medicine.
 
The only push his character arc got was during the Flare attack, which he’d have got even if he lost, so it isn’t relevant to his victory.

Hm I don't really agree with this. I think him winning the league is key to the learning point "on how winning a battle isn’t the only way to go or everything in life". If he had loss the league, he would have learnt his lesson then, making what happened after the league somewhat unnecessary.
 
The only problem I have with the Kalos League results is that he didn't lose to Sawyer. It would be much more satisfying to see Ash get a taste of his own medicine.

That actually would have been a lot more interesting and plausible narrative-wise, for Sawyer. He literally spent most of his journey studying Ash's battle style and Pokemon; notably, the only Pokemon he was caught off-guard by was Goodra as he had never seen Ash use it before. Like you said, for Sawyer to pull "an Ash" where after routinely being beaten back by his rival again and again, only to come from behind at their rivalry's apex (the League battle) and manage a win would have been cathartic; in any logical scenario, Mega Sceptile should have trounced Ash Greninja. I think this outcome would be more appreciated than Alain suddenly developing an interest in the League, as a proxy to battle Ash again, only to bulldoze his way to victory with his poorly-written Charizard. All they had to was play up the analytical nature of Sawyer more along with maybe a couple episodes showing his rivalry with Ash from his point of view. Ash has never lost like that to someone before; it's always been someone better than him inexplicably by the journey's end complimented with plot-armor (here's looking at you, Cameron).

I would have had no complaints. And if the Alain battle still needed to happen, Ash and Alain could have had a farewell battle for the last couple episodes of XYZ after all was said and done with Team Flare and Zygarde.
 
Hm I don't really agree with this. I think him winning the league is key to the learning point "on how winning a battle isn’t the only way to go or everything in life". If he had loss the league, he would have learnt his lesson then, making what happened after the league somewhat unnecessary.
He'd probably end up believing himself a complete failure after losing the league and the Flare plan blowing up in his face. There was simply no time to deliver the lesson, so he’d probably get his "redemption" during the Flare crisis still. He'd learn that fighting back against a Team Flare was ultimately more important than being the strongest.
 
He'd probably end up believing himself a complete failure after losing the league and the Flare plan blowing up in his face. There was simply no time to deliver the lesson, so he’d probably get his "redemption" during the Flare crisis still. He'd learn that fighting back against a Team Flare was ultimately more important than being the strongest.
Initially, I shared this perspective too. However, upon reflecting, I don't think Alain would have minded losing to Ash at all. His drive was to battle Ash simply because he enjoyed it, the challenge his Pokemon potentially brought, and the authenticity Ash had within the experience. It's one of the reasons why, despite having defeated him multiple times prior, Alain still showed the same appreciation and eagerness to battle Ash during the League; he even complements him, privately, several times during their last clash, when Ash defeated or hurt his Pokemon. Then there's the ending, where he, privately again, confides to himself that Ash ended up being the one Trainer he couldn't best (despite Alain being the one to defeat him, again-in the most grandest fashion). Also, that Ash is one of his inspirations for starting over again as a Trainer.

Thus, even if Ash did defeat him, I honestly don't think he would have had any negative feelings about the matter at all. If anything, he'd be content and most likely happy, as personal happiness and a life outside of Flare was something he lacked until the two met.

Then, the Flare plot would have happened as usual.
 
There was simply no time to deliver the lesson, so he’d probably get his "redemption" during the Flare crisis still. He'd learn that fighting back against a Team Flare was ultimately more important than being the strongest.

In that sense, I guess the lack of time was probably a big reason why they let him win the Kalos league anyways. I also agree with @Alola on how it wouldn't really be different if Ash had won. I guess they just weighed the possibility and thought there was more story with Alain winning. Ultimately, Ash was still the hero of the day with the whole Team Flare arc.
 
In retrospect, the league ending with the most popular Kalos Pokémon losing to Charizard had thematic resonance with how TPCI developed gen 6. :p

Honestly, I think Sawyer beating him would have been worse unless they rewrote him to the point he was a different character. He didn't have nearly the level of buildup as Alain, he seemed to be a new trainer, and it would also still leave the problem of spending way too much time building Greninja up for no narrative gain because, frankly, winning the league was the only way to actually live up to that much hype. A lot of the backlash was because they kept the result hidden more than usual and spent too much time talking up Greninja (and that ad or whatever talking about it being his strongest team).

Edit: Also this is the only fandom I have ever seen that thinks a main character with twenty years of experience doing really well is a problem.
 
Also this is the only fandom I have ever seen that thinks a main character with twenty years of experience doing really well is a problem.
I don't think it would be a problem if said character kept his team for twenty years so they'd have believeable level of experience to pose a threat to Champion and E4 level Pokémon.
 
Ash losing to Sawyer would have been an interesting twist, but I think they would have needed to introduce Sawyer much earlier in the series for that to work. Granted, I think that would have been more helpful to their rivalry anyway given the impact it had on Ash near the end of XY. Ash getting a rookie rival by the time he was going for his sixth badge wasn't a good idea, although their hands were tied given that Sawyer was meant for OR/AS promotion to begin with. If Sawyer had been more present throughout XY and we saw him slowly become stronger with each battle against Ash, as opposed to just suddenly being good enough to beat him, Sawyer defeating Ash in the Kalos League could have worked. I think that they also would have had to alter the events of the Snowbell City Gym since Ash losing to Sawyer prior to that match had a huge impact on him.

As for Alain, I honestly don't really see how winning the Kalos League benefits his character. The Team Flare arc has an understandably bigger impact on his character arc than winning the Kalos League and that would have happened regardless of the outcome of his battle against Ash. Being the Kalos League Champion wasn't even really relevant for Alain afterwards beyond that informal award ceremony after defeating Team Flare. There was just too much hype in Ash's favor not only with his team and Ash-Greninja, but Alain being ridiculously overpowered. Keeping almost all of his Pokemon a secret until the final round was borderline a Tobias move on the writers' part. After losing to Alain twice before and seeing how broken his Mega Charizard X had become, it was understandable why some fans thought that they were building up to Ash taking down Alain instead of losing to him for a third time.

I think losing to Alain was good for Ash in the sense of how he was able to handle a defeat. He had a brief losing streak against Alain, Sawyer and then Wulfric. That had a huge impact on him where he isolated himself from his friends, most of his Pokemon and had to rediscover why he loves Pokemon and reaffirm his bond with Greninja in order to move forward. The Kalos League finals was such a huge moment for him, but he accepted his defeat and was able to just enjoy being able to give his all in a battle. I don't think it was absolutely necessary for that to happen, especially when they hyped up the Kalos League way too much just to stick with the status quo yet again, but I do like that it showed what Ash had learned during the Snowbell Gym arc. I do wonder how SM would be different if Ash had won the Kalos League instead or if there would be any differences at all for that matter.
 
As for Alain, I honestly don't really see how winning the Kalos League benefits his character. The Team Flare arc has an understandably bigger impact on his character arc than winning the Kalos League and that would have happened regardless of the outcome of his battle against Ash. Being the Kalos League Champion wasn't even really relevant for Alain afterwards beyond that informal award ceremony after defeating Team Flare.
I saw it suggested once that some parts of the Flare arc--like Lysandre's interest in using Battle Bond for his device and Alain's comment about never surpassing Ash--suggest Ash did win originally and it was rewritten very late in development, though I don't believe it myself because we were told Alain was always his last opponent and the lack of anime exclusive powerhouse rivals in the Alola league makes me sure "we need someone to win the league" came up way before "let's have a misguided Anakin-esque character manipulated by Lysandre".

I do wonder how SM would be different if Ash had won the Kalos League instead or if there would be any differences at all for that matter.
They couldn't do the league the same way but I'm not sure how much else they'd have to change.
Honestly, the premise of Sun and Moon would have made more sense to me if Ash had won in Kalos. I can't speak for anyone else but I'd have been a lot more receptive to him attending school if it felt like him unwinding and trying to do something a bit more normal after a big moment. As is it seemed like XY may as well have never happened since even the huge leaps forward in how battles were portrayed was rolled back (for budget reasons? I'm not sure).
Edit: Sadly, I guess that sums up most of XY; lots of cool things that go nowhere and won't last.
 
I believe the only reason of Alan's winning was executive meddling. Going through those last XYZ episodes made me realise it makes way more sense for him to eventually lose to Satoshi (especially since in all their battles (I think it was 2 or 3?) Alan won), but I guess because OLM decided to bring him to the Kalos league and being in the finals he had to win.

For me XY was building up to the first league win, more than SM if you will.
 
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