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Controversial opinions

The cold is nigh
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A lot could have been done to make Alain’s arc more interesting. What we had gave no compelling motivations or sense of consequence, which makes his story fall flat.

His reason to being obsessed with getting stronger and beating every Mega was because he was fooled into thinking it would save Mairin’s Chespin, whose condition he felt responsible for. Why? Because edge. He had no involvement in Zygarde’s escape and Chespin got ill on its own act, so Alain blaming himself might seem compelling on his account, since he apparently cared that much about Mairin, but it felt flat for an audience that understands he did nothing. Had Alain attacked Zygarde and it fighting back infected Chespin, it would make more sense.

There’s also his DETERMINATION to fight megas and get energy for Lysandre, which was treated as a big deal... except this is the exact thing he had been doing thus far only with extra angst and no consequence. He was already kicking down every mega he saw so nothing changed there, and the fact that he was syphoning energy off of them never came into play. What if he had unkowingly been weakening his opponents with Lysandre’s device every time they fought and that’s how he won so often? What if Charizard absorbed a fraction of it and that’s why it suddenly got so overpowered while its opponents weakened? What if that was the reason it beat Greninja, because of an unfair advantage? How would Alain feel upon finding out his whole quest for power had been because of cheating and not merit? It would be a far more impactful outcome than “oopsie, I helped a wacko make a monster, lemme punch the floor in anger.”

There’s also the lame dynamic he had with Ash. The openings implied he would be actively in the baddies team and opposing the main group, which would have made for a compelling arc. Alain could have fought Ash and co. again to defend Lysandre not realising who the bad guy was, he could have known the stakes but still wanted to follow through thinking it was for the best, he could even have thrashed Sawyer (who did jack in the entire arc despite being so present beforehand) in battle and served as a catalyst for Ash to do his last stand against Lysandre, but... nothing of that happened. The one time he did something bad was when he helped the scientists capture Z2, something that wasn’t witnessed by anyone he knew and that never had any repercussions. Hell, Z2 didn’t seem even mildly bothered by having the guy that attacked and helped enslave it standing right there while it was having its “humans nice” epiphany.

Had they gone through with this all, it could have lessened the backlash from the league. Even better, Alain having unknowingly sabotaged Ash could lead to a do-over where Charizard and Greninja fought once more on equal grounds and Ash won fair and square, cementing him as champion.

So much missed potential...
 
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I thought that he chose to give up his Mega Ring and Charizardite X after the Team Flare arc. If that is the case, then I'm not sure if that would really count as facing consequences for his actions. Feeling hurt and upset for Mairin losing Chespie isn't really a flaw either. It was more like motivation for him and showed that he did care about Mairin despite being initially stand off-ish with her. I've never heard of the smooth sailing part of the definition of a Gary Stu either. Alain did lose to Siebold, but I don't think that really changes things either. His only on-screen defeat was against an Elite 4 member and then he was eventually shown to defeat another Elite 4 member after defeating multiple other opponents in a row. One on-screen defeat against an Elite 4 member doesn't really balance out with how he was practically unbeatable throughout the rest of XY, so I think he would still fit the bill of a Gary Stu.
His consequence was him realizing he had allowed Team Flare to unleash their plan, but admittedly, that wasn't necessarily all he would've deserved.
 
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So much missed potential...
There was a LOT of missed potential in the series. Even back in OS. I honestly still can't get over how they discarded the GS ball carrying Celebi plot because of the 4th movie. How interesting would that have been???
There's BW's Team Plasma vs Team Rocket two-parter that we never got to see in fruition.
Pikachu just had a bunch of potential with the way his character is regressing more and more after his development arc. Team Rocket and Ash...
 
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I honestly still can't get over how they discarded the GS ball carrying Celebi plot because of the 4th movie. How interesting would that have been???
I perfectly agree with this (all that buildup abandoned for the sake of a movie, seriously?). Especially when all they replaced it with was pointless filler. But Johto also had a bunch of other missed opportunities. Like having the Legendary beasts and/or Ho-Oh actually play a more major role in the main series. Raikou also got robbed of a movie due to Latios and Latias taking over the movie that was likely meant to be Raikou's.
 
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What if Charizard absorbed a fraction of it and that’s why it suddenly got so overpowered while its opponents weakened?
Even better, Alain having unknowingly sabotaged Ash could lead to a do-over where Charizard and Greninja fought once more on equal grounds and Ash won fair and square, cementing him as champion.
I recall at the time both of these were being pushed as theories for that initial week right after the finals--Alain had unknowingly cheated based off something Lysandre said (I cannot recall what) and since Ash was going to have to defeat Alain during the crisis (when people thought Alain was going to be a villain, not a protagonist) he had to lose during the league.
Then, of course...

I perfectly agree with this (all that buildup abandoned for the sake of a movie, seriously?).
To this day I'm not sure why they didn't come up with something to do with the G/S ball, even if it couldn't be Celebii.

There was a LOT of missed potential in the series. Even back in OS. I honestly still can't get over how they discarded the GS ball carrying Celebi plot because of the 4th movie. How interesting would that have been???
There's BW's Team Plasma vs Team Rocket two-parter that we never got to see in fruition.
Pikachu just had a bunch of potential with the way his character is regressing more and more after his development arc. Team Rocket and Ash...
To this day Kanto+OI feels like the most overall cohesive part of the series, possessing clear character arcs for the main leads, a shocking (at the time) plot twist when Ash's reliance on heart and hope fails and he gets booted out of the league when all his flaws catch up to him, and a reversal and triumph moment when his and Pikachu's arcs finally reach a payoff when they defeat Drake. The only real loose ends were the G/S ball (which went nowhere) and Ash never facing Gary.

After that the show started to slowly but surely shift to a more plot-based focus where the characters are moved about to fit whatever current story line needs to be done.
 
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Team Aqua and Team Magma weren't really handled as well as they could've been. We saw them doing mysterious, ominous things, until suddenly, they had just caught the Legendary Pokémon out of nowhere and off-panel. And their team leaders also didn't appear outside of the climax.
 
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To this day Kanto+OI feels like the most overall cohesive part of the series, possessing clear character arcs for the main leads, a shocking (at the time) plot twist when Ash's reliance on heart and hope fails and he gets booted out of the league when all his flaws catch up to him, and a reversal and triumph moment when his and Pikachu's arcs finally reach a payoff when they defeat Drake. The only real loose ends were the G/S ball (which went nowhere) and Ash never facing Gary.
Honestly, OS is kind of underrated. It isn't perfect, but Ash and Pikachu, the long running protagonists of the series received their best development here. I know I'm kinda stuck on Pikachu but like...I am seriously starting to get sick of people talking about Ash's pokemon with character and story development...and NOT MENTIONING PIKACHU.
 
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I thought that he chose to give up his Mega Ring and Charizardite X after the Team Flare arc. If that is the case, then I'm not sure if that would really count as facing consequences for his actions. Feeling hurt and upset for Mairin losing Chespie isn't really a flaw either. It was more like motivation for him and showed that he did care about Mairin despite being initially stand off-ish with her. I've never heard of the smooth sailing part of the definition of a Gary Stu either. Alain did lose to Siebold, but I don't think that really changes things either. His only on-screen defeat was against an Elite 4 member and then he was eventually shown to defeat another Elite 4 member after defeating multiple other opponents in a row. One on-screen defeat against an Elite 4 member doesn't really balance out with how he was practically unbeatable throughout the rest of XY, so I think he would still fit the bill of a Gary Stu.
Alain spends quite a lot of time feeling responsible for what happened. If he were a Gary Stu he’d be going with the flow, but every moment we see him trying to do the best, and then messing up. A Gary Stu would not be messing up as much as Alain did, and giving up the Charizardite X isn’t something a Gary Stu would do imo. If we were truly dealing with an utterly perfect character we’d be seeing stuff like "Alain should keep the mega ring, he deserves it."

Alain basically self inflicted the consequences on himself for me. He gave away the things he thought he earned unfairly, and a Gary Stu would have never done that. Alain often feels tormented, no Gary Stu would be showing that emotion so much. That’s my personal opinion formed in accordance with the Gary Stu definitions I’ve seen thrown around, though.
 
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i remember making a post about this just yesterday and might as well add on since its semi on topic: i really like alain!! but i'll also 100% agree that so much more couldve been done to make his story more impactful and truly shine....... i'll agree that his dynamic with ash felt kinda blah in some aspects and before the team flare arc his place in the main series felt a little weird?? it was nice to see him in the main series i guess but alain thrives in the mega evo specials

what i wouldve loved to see were either more mega evolution specials that focus on just how HARD alain worked towards his goal of making mairin smile by helping chespie wake up, or more space dedicated in main series episodes to do the same thing. it would make his goal and "stu-ish" power levels seem a bit more justified in the long run and make people really get invested into his storyline. and his dynamic with ash shouldve been handled a lot better!! maybe alain couldve met ash a few times more before the lumiose conference and kinda been friends?? that wouldve been cool

but on a related note, i dont think alain counts as a gary stu. i know that xy(z) fans love to say he is to somehow deny the fact that ash lost fair and square (because alain is proven to be a very good pokemon trainer) but if he REALLY was a stu, he wouldve wiped the floor with ash instead of their battle going down to the thinnest of wires. and even if his "i must be powerful" thing went a little too far in some places, he wasnt doing it for the sake of being able to say he was better than anyone else like most sues ive seen, but rather to help out a friend he cares deeply about. also from what ive seen, sues are never wrong and everything they do is "the right thing" but alain genuinely felt guilty for the team flare takeover (and by lesser extent chespies coma....... he seems to blame himself a lot, poor guy) and he realized that what he was doing was wrong (even if he didnt know it). alain has a backstory, a motivation thats deeper than it looks, and is willing to admit where he went wrong to the point of starting all over again when he gives up his key stone. he may not be the most interesting character in the anime and so much more couldve been done to help his storyline in the main series but cmon are we REALLY gonna call him a stu when tobias is right there
 
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Alain spends quite a lot of time feeling responsible for what happened. If he were a Gary Stu he’d be going with the flow, but every moment we see him trying to do the best, and then messing up. A Gary Stu would not be messing up as much as Alain did, and giving up the Charizardite X isn’t something a Gary Stu would do imo. If we were truly dealing with an utterly perfect character we’d be seeing stuff like "Alain should keep the mega ring, he deserves it."

Alain basically self inflicted the consequences on himself for me. He gave away the things he thought he earned unfairly, and a Gary Stu would have never done that. Alain often feels tormented, no Gary Stu would be showing that emotion so much. That’s my personal opinion formed in accordance with the Gary Stu definitions I’ve seen thrown around, though.
Wait, really? Not trying to add anything, but I'm pretty sure most of the definitions thrown around usually include guilt as a flaw, when really it makes a character look good. I've rarely seen self-inflicted guilt actually affect other people in negative ways that make it an actual flaw. Guilt usually comes from something good-why feel guilt unless you care a lot, which is why it is typically used as a cop-out for those kind of characters.
 
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Mairin’s Chespin, whose condition he felt responsible for. Why? Because edge. He had no involvement in Zygarde’s escape and Chespin got ill on its own act, so Alain blaming himself might seem compelling on his account, since he apparently cared that much about Mairin, but it felt flat for an audience that understands he did nothing. Had Alain attacked Zygarde and it fighting back infected Chespin, it would make more sense.
Rarely in anime like this is the feeling of guilt rational. My personal interpretation was that even though Alain didn’t personally cause Chespie's coma, he felt guilty due to his overall involvement in Team Flare. Like a Team Plasma grunt not approving of what Ghetsis does, and feeling guilty of being complicit in such operations.

He was already kicking down every mega he saw so nothing changed there, and the fact that he was syphoning energy off of them never came into play. What if he had unkowingly been weakening his opponents with Lysandre’s device every time they fought and that’s how he won so often? What if Charizard absorbed a fraction of it and that’s why it suddenly got so overpowered while its opponents weakened? What if that was the reason it beat Greninja, because of an unfair advantage? How would Alain feel upon finding out his whole quest for power had been because of cheating and not merit?
I’ve seen this idea thrown around, and honestly, I personally hate it. This is the thing which sounds edgy to me. "Oh, the protagonist wasn’t able to defeat him? It’s not his fault! The opponent was cheating all along!"

The one thing I liked about Alain is, that he actually has a work ethic. He was actively training to get his charizard stronger. And yes, while he came off as being overpowered and should’ve lost here and there, truth is that when Kalos league hit, I think it’s fairly justifiable that it won over Greninja. It doesn’t need to siphon power from other Pokémon because Charizard has trained more than Greninja ever did. Ash had the occasional rival battles here and there, but Alain was borderline grinding with his Charizard.

I don’t want Alain's entire effort to demonised as "cheating" because for cheating, you willingly look for short cuts. Alain has taken the long way, however many opponents he needed to defeat, and he is, in the end a good person, who doesn’t like unfair means as shown by how he gives up his Mega Stone at the end.
 
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Wait, really? Not trying to add anything, but I'm pretty sure most of the definitions thrown around usually include guilt as a flaw, when really it makes a character look good. I've rarely seen self-inflicted guilt actually affect other people in negative ways that make it an actual flaw. Guilt usually comes from something good-why feel guilt unless you care a lot, which is why it is typically used as a cop-out for those kind of characters.
I haven’t really heard of that aspect before, so that sounds interesting. I’ll take the point and will probably need to think about it to come up with an opinion.
Alain was outsmarted, and basically made into a pawn by Lysandre. I can’t imagine calling a character who ended up fuelling the destruction of Kalos after that a Gary Stu. A true Gary Stu from what I imagine would be too smart to be manipulated,
 
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I think part of it is the disconnect where Ash's flaws caused him to lose a bunch of battles in a row cumulating with Wulfric, while Alain's flaws do not hinder his performance at all.
 
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I think part of it is the disconnect where Ash's flaws caused him to lose a bunch of battles in a row cumulating with Wulfric, while Alain's flaws do not hinder his performance at all.
What are his flaws, though? I haven't watched the Mega Evolution specials, so I don't know if any of his flaws were showed there. Overuse of Mega Evolution? But when did that have a negative affect on his battling abilities or anything else in a negative way? I'm missing something, right?
 
The cold is nigh
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Rarely in anime like this is the feeling of guilt rational. My personal interpretation was that even though Alain didn’t personally cause Chespie's coma, he felt guilty due to his overall involvement in Team Flare. Like a Team Plasma grunt not approving of what Ghetsis does, and feeling guilty of being complicit in such operations.
I understand, but if misplaced guilt is the only thing we have to support him, it’s kinda hard to get invested (for me, anyway).

I’ve seen this idea thrown around, and honestly, I personally hate it. This is the thing which sounds edgy to me. "Oh, the protagonist wasn’t able to defeat him? It’s not his fault! The opponent was cheating all along!"
I don’t want Alain's entire effort to demonised as "cheating" because for cheating, you willingly look for short cuts. Alain has taken the long way, however many opponents he needed to defeat, and he is, in the end a good person, who doesn’t like unfair means as shown by how he gives up his Mega Stone at the end.
I may have expressed myself poorly, but my point is that Alain’s Flare arc felt weak and with little impact by the end of the day. These suggestions were meant to show alternatives that could be made to make it more interesting, Ash winning simply a byproduct of this specific example.

While I don’t really like Alain as a character, I’m far from demonizing him. He’s a very skilled trainer, he works very hard and has lots of experience, and I understand that most of the bullshit about his victories were a result of writing and executive issues.
 
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I may have expressed myself poorly, but my point is that Alain’s Flare arc felt weak and with little impact by the end of the day. These suggestions were meant to show alternatives that could be made to make it more interesting, Ash winning simply a byproduct of this specific example.

While I don’t really like Alain as a character, I’m far from demonizing him. He’s a very skilled trainer, he works very hard and has lots of experience, and I understand that most of the bullshit about his victories were a result of writing and executive issues.
I’m all for more suggestions to improve Alain’s arcs... this one just didn’t do it for me xD. “Demonised” was meant to be a literary device but reading it I can see how it came off as excessive so I’m sorry if it came across that way.
 
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In case you don't know or remember, Alain's relationship with Lysandre was purposefully modeled after Anakin Skywalker and Palatine from Star Wars.
 
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