• A new LGBTQ+ forum is now being trialed and there have been changes made to the Support and Advice forum. To read more about these updates, click here.
  • Hey Trainers! Be sure to check out Corsola Beach, our newest section on the forums, in partnership with our friends at Corsola Cove! At the Beach, you can discuss the competitive side of the games, post your favorite Pokemon memes, and connect with other Pokemon creators!
  • Due to the recent changes with Twitter's API, it is no longer possible for Bulbagarden forum users to login via their Twitter account. If you signed up to Bulbagarden via Twitter and do not have another way to login, please contact us here with your Twitter username so that we can get you sorted.

Controversial opinions

I feel like people need to understand the difference between storytelling and writing. Like, you don't need to write well in order to tell a good story, because there are different aspects to each of them. When people talk about writing in particular, it's referring to more technical aspects like structure of narrative, dialogue, and pacing. But when we refer to storytelling, we look at aspects like character depth and creative liberty. It's why Journeys has been given so much shit over its episodic nature: the writing is criticized there because there is a loss in structure, which previous series had. Alternatively, you have BW making characters stop to give five minutes of exposition and introductions when they're in a life threatening situation: the writing is crappy here because of the dialogue and pacing.

Then there's the famous Mallow's mom episode, which is the highest rated pokemon episode. The storytelling here is good because it fleshed out a character and appealed to people's pathos(their emotions) which far more often is going to be more impactful than say, Greninja vs Sceptile. Alternatively in this case, The Power of Us movie is paced to perfection, making it well done on a writing aspect, and is praised for its storytelling as well.

Of course, you can't always separate these two, because then you'll have a problem. A "story" can be well-written in that the prose itself is well written, but that doesn't make it a story by itself. It's kind of why writing classes always have that one unit spent on writing poems. Good prose and storytelling go hand in hand, yes, but the two are still separate.

I say "nobody looks to the pokemon anime for quality writing" largely because of its technical aspects overall. A lot of things just don't click, and some things fail in the storytelling department as well. As a whole, what story has the anime told? Ash's quest to become a pokemon master, right? But that goal isn't clearly defined, which is why you see many people being turned off by Pokemon, because the story it's following might not seem interesting because people don't know what it even is. In regards to technical aspects, SM is praised for its world-building, but the pacing for the whole show is really off. It's a strange mix between episodic and linear, in which this orthodox method of writing may appeal to many and I personally believe to have helped the show in the long run(even if it constantly ran the risk of hurting its narrative). In contrast, Journeys is strictly episode sans the Darkest Day arc and the Darkrai-Cresselia two-parter. That narrative structure is why the writing-technical aspects-of Journeys are constantly picked on.

There are a lot more layers to it than that, since like I said, writing and storytelling do go hand in hand together, which muddles that fine line between them, and is in my eyes what makes the practice of writing to be an art. Writing is objective, people say, but there are more layers to it than that, and I think at the end of the day, all this talk about what is "well written" and what isn't comes down to people's subjective opinions. Like, Alexander Hamilton is a famous writer from the US in America, but trust me when I say nobody talks about the guy writing fairy tales.

Basically, the key difference is writing tends to refer to the prose, whereas storytelling refers to the more creative aspects.
 
Last edited:
SM is praised for its world-building, but the pacing for the whole show is really off. It's a strange mix between episodic and linear, in which this orthodox method of writing may appeal to many and I personally believe to have helped the show in the long run(even if it constantly ran the risk of hurting its narrative). In contrast, Journeys is strictly episode sans the Darkest Day arc and the Darkrai-Cresselia two-parter. That narrative structure is why the writing-technical aspects-of Journeys are constantly picked on.
I agree with this, SM had a lot of problems with the pacing, especially after the Aether Foundation arc. Season 21 had not that many relevant moments outside of like the Ula-Ula arc and the Necrozma arc at the end, and then during S22 it was packed with a lot of stuff that could happen during the previous season, especially the "buffs" to Ash's companions teams for the Alola League, for example, they could get their Z-crystals during season 21 instead of during almost 3-4 episodes in a row between the Poni Island arc and the Alola League.
 
If the current target audience likes what the staff is doing now, then they don't have any sense of quality standards.

Or maybe you haven't a clue what kids are into, not being a child yourself anymore?

What's the problem if kids like current Pokemon? Is a new generation getting into a franchise not a good thing?

I say "nobody looks to the pokemon anime for quality writing" largely because of its technical aspects overall. A lot of things just don't click, and some things fail in the storytelling department as well. As a whole, what story has the anime told? Ash's quest to become a pokemon master, right? But that goal isn't clearly defined, which is why you see many people being turned off by Pokemon, because the story it's following might not seem interesting because people don't know what it even is. In regards to technical aspects, SM is praised for its world-building, but the pacing for the whole show is really off. It's a strange mix between episodic and linear, in which this orthodox method of writing may appeal to many and I personally believe to have helped the show in the long run(even if it constantly ran the risk of hurting its narrative). In contrast, Journeys is strictly episode sans the Darkest Day arc and the Darkrai-Cresselia two-parter. That narrative structure is why the writing-technical aspects-of Journeys are constantly picked on.

The lack of definition for a Pokemon Master is actually compelling on its own. It's very open to interpretation, but the name itself implies something grand and powerful, which stirs the imagination and makes it a strong hook for newcomers. The vagueness of it only becomes an issue when you've watched Pokemon for a long time and are invested specifically in that one goal, but chances are you've discovered other reasons to watch so it doesn't actually matter.

It's interesting because one specific interpretation of a Pokemon Master is to be the strongest trainer, and to be that Ash has to win all the Pokemon Leagues and beat the toughest trainers. We see lots of viewers invest a lot of energy into this single aspect of the show and prioritise it over others. But actually, the story Pokemon wants to tell isn't "Point A to Point B". It prioritises the journey first and foremost. I think this dissonance gives the impression Pokemon is a poorly paced show at the best of times.

Good pacing requires a clearly defined destination. When we knew where the story has to go, we can focus on the things that are important, the parts of the story that need to be fast to create momentum and the parts that needed to be slower to allow for reflection. If Ash's stated aim is to participate in a Pokemon League, then distractions are going to throw the pacing off for viewers who just want to see that part of the story. Pokemon doesn't really care about this though, because it's priority is to tell a variety of different stories within its world, the majority of which will have nothing to do with battling or competition. Hence, Pokemon can be at once linear (Ash needs to go Point A to Point B) and episodic (Ash can be involved in a story that ultimately has nothing to do with his actual goal), two things that don't usually go well together.

This is what makes Pokemon such a bizarre show, structurally. The linear storyline of Ash participating in some competition or another creates an expectation that he will, in fact, do that, and everything he does has to be in service of that. But this on its own cannot sustain a show over three years without significant padding. It's a particular problem as far as Journeys goes because the PWC requires time to pass, which makes it inherently passive. It requires Ash to wait for the next event to happen so he's left with little to do besides all the episodic stuff that some viewers aren't interested in seeing. In the past, Ash was always travelling to his next gym battle, so there was a sense he was still active even if he took a long time to get anywhere. People were more tolerant of distractions knowing the gyms were always there to pull things back on track. I feel like people have a harder time when those distractions are very much the point of the show.

Pokemon is beyond the point of being able to commit to any one thing now. It's not going to full Shonen and design its narrative to last a long time, but it's not going to full Sazae-san and remove any sense of linearity entirely. Hence I believe Pokemon is best enjoyed in chunks, watching the parts you specifically enjoy, and not consumed as a whole.
 
I agree with this, SM had a lot of problems with the pacing, especially after the Aether Foundation arc. Season 21 had not that many relevant moments outside of like the Ula-Ula arc and the Necrozma arc at the end, and then during S22 it was packed with a lot of stuff that could happen during the previous season, especially the "buffs" to Ash's companions teams for the Alola League, for example, they could get their Z-crystals during season 21 instead of during almost 3-4 episodes in a row between the Poni Island arc and the Alola League.
I still stand and say they should have introduced Hau way earlier than what they did. But they didn't and instead he became the most nothing "rival" that should have just stayed in video game land.
 
I think the older seasons stuck to formula for so long because any change in the anime used to cause a huge uproar. Tracey replacing Brock, Ash’s Charizard leaving in early Johto, and especially Misty leaving and being replaced after Johto were 3 of the biggest uproars I remember during the OS era.

If back then simply swapping out characters or Pokémon caused a large chunk of original fans to drop the anime, of course they weren’t going to move on from the Gym plot or Team Rocket formula back then. I think it’s only now that the anime has been airing for over 20 years and most of the original fans have moved on from the show they’re able to change the formula more easily. Like imagine if the SM art style change happened in the early 2000’s instead? The outrage would have been 10 times worse than after XY because most of the original fanbase was still around. Or it Serena’s crush happened closer to when Misty left, especially with the shipping wars with May/Dawn fans despite them not liking Ash in that manner? You can see why the writers were so reluctant to change things for so long back then. I’m honestly still surprised they managed to get rid of Brock as a main character due to how long people were used to him around.
 
I think the older seasons stuck to formula for so long because any change in the anime used to cause a huge uproar. Tracey replacing Brock, Ash’s Charizard leaving in early Johto, and especially Misty leaving and being replaced after Johto were 3 of the biggest uproars I remember during the OS era.

If back then simply swapping out characters or Pokémon caused a large chunk of original fans to drop the anime, of course they weren’t going to move on from the Gym plot or Team Rocket formula back then. I think it’s only now that the anime has been airing for over 20 years and most of the original fans have moved on from the show they’re able to change the formula more easily. Like imagine if the SM art style change happened in the early 2000’s instead? The outrage would have been 10 times worse than after XY because most of the original fanbase was still around. Or it Serena’s crush happened closer to when Misty left, especially with the shipping wars with May/Dawn fans despite them not liking Ash in that manner? You can see why the writers were so reluctant to change things for so long back then. I’m honestly still surprised they managed to get rid of Brock as a main character due to how long people were used to him around.
I don't think the writers (Ed: Or whoever makes these decisions) really cared about those backlashes or Ash would have won a league a lot sooner.
 
Last edited:
I think the older seasons stuck to formula for so long because any change in the anime used to cause a huge uproar. Tracey replacing Brock, Ash’s Charizard leaving in early Johto, and especially Misty leaving and being replaced after Johto were 3 of the biggest uproars I remember during the OS era.

If back then simply swapping out characters or Pokémon caused a large chunk of original fans to drop the anime, of course they weren’t going to move on from the Gym plot or Team Rocket formula back then. I think it’s only now that the anime has been airing for over 20 years and most of the original fans have moved on from the show they’re able to change the formula more easily. Like imagine if the SM art style change happened in the early 2000’s instead? The outrage would have been 10 times worse than after XY because most of the original fanbase was still around. Or it Serena’s crush happened closer to when Misty left, especially with the shipping wars with May/Dawn fans despite them not liking Ash in that manner? You can see why the writers were so reluctant to change things for so long back then. I’m honestly still surprised they managed to get rid of Brock as a main character due to how long people were used to him around.
I highly doubt that they really care that much about backlash from long time fans. People were upset over Misty being replaced, but that didn't stop them from replacing the female leads with every series and Misty didn't have a proper appearance after AG until SM either. Plenty of fans were happy about Brock being replaced since many people thought that he overstayed his welcome.

I just think that's reading way too much into why they made these changes. They aren't making the show with original fans or long time fans in mind. They're making it for kids and they know that they get a new group of kids watching the series every few years, so how many original fans have stuck around is probably kind of moot to them. If they really cared about what long time fans thought of the anime, then I think Ash would have been replaced ages ago. As much as people complain about how he has been handled in Journeys, I've seen plenty of people say that he should be replaced for years. I just think that the anime would be significantly different if they really cared about appealing to long time fans.
 
2. Team Plasma was the only evil team with a reasonable purpose and program. If I were a human living in the pokemon world, I could easily buy into its ideology and become a member. I don't know about you, but the fact that people can just go around and capture a wild creature in the nature is kind of awful. Also a lot of pokemon end up being abandoned. Just think about Paul. He just pick up the strongest pokemon (remember the episode in which he cought a lot of Usarings?), and treat them like trash. Pokemon clearly get hurt when they're battling, so, why not leave these creatures living their lives? N is a true leader.
Little note but half of Team Plasma was full of shit and knew it, since Ghetsis was the actual brains behind everything while he played everybody like fiddles. Sure, half of them were truly convinced they were doing right but they weren't exactly the only team with reasonable purpose since Rocket was a straightforward crime mafia which is kind of expected from a... well, mafia. Also it's been shown multiple times that Pokemon love to battle and in fact love it so much they will attack humans on sight to either be caught or just to harm/kill them so Pokemon battling practically prevents them from going on murdersprees and since Pokemon gain levels even in the wild, it is pretty clear that fighting is something that always happens and gets worse when there's no trainer to recall them

Plus Paul caught a bunch of Starlies and he never kept anything weak besides one battle. Only the stronger Pokemon stayed on his team and he didn't exactly treat them always as trash, since he had his Torterra groomed, his other Pokemon are loyal to him.
 
The difference is that the writers in the past had much less liberty about what they can do, so they were stucked with the old formula. Things only started to change a bit until BW, but it wasn't until SM when they had a lot more of liberty, and IMO, it was for the best.
I don't know. I think they took more liberties than you may give them credit for during that era when you consider several things:
  • Ash didn't earn most of his Gym Badges from actual, legitimate Gym Battle wins, like players did in the games; half of them at least were given to him for one reason or another. They didn't even follow the formula correctly that you're championing for as an argument.
  • When a Pokémon was put to sleep or frozen, that could count as a knockout in battle.
  • And speaking of battling, there were inconsistencies with moves, their applications, type-matchups, and the like.
  • I believe the only saga to feature actual fire-arms, pointed at Ash no less.
  • A lot more slapstick comedy.
  • They had bizarre things like a school where if you graduated from it, could be the same thing as a Trainer having earned eight Badges.
 
When a Pokémon was put to sleep or frozen, that could count as a knockout in battle.
To be fair on the bolded part, in Gen 1 the freeze status effect was insanely broken because it was impossible to cure without being hit by a Fire-type attack (which the opponent obviously won't be doing if you're frozen because why would they break you out and ruin a guaranteed KO?), or a healing item (which can't be used in PvP matches), so that means that a frozen Pokemon was effectively a KO'd Pokemon.
 
Honestly, the "gym badge is stale" argument seems to focus more on the older fan base who actually saw those. The current target audience wasn’t even alive for those gym quests, and like I pointed out, probably haven’t watched a full series with a proper gym quest. The older fanbase is irrelevant for the anime's major decisions, so the badge quest being a thing for 21 years should lose any amount of relevancy. The anime, at its core is a method of promotion for the franchise, and JN a is failing at promoting the major Pokémon property of its time: Sword and Shield as much as other sagas promoted their contemporary games.
 
I don't know. I think they took more liberties than you may give them credit for during that era when you consider several things:
  • Ash didn't earn most of his Gym Badges from actual, legitimate Gym Battle wins, like players did in the games; half of them at least were given to him for one reason or another. They didn't even follow the formula correctly that you're championing for as an argument.
  • When a Pokémon was put to sleep or frozen, that could count as a knockout in battle.
  • And speaking of battling, there were inconsistencies with moves, their applications, type-matchups, and the like.
  • I believe the only saga to feature actual fire-arms, pointed at Ash no less.
  • A lot more slapstick comedy.
  • They had bizarre things like a school where if you graduated from it, could be the same thing as a Trainer having earned eight Badges.
Those things were (mostly) mainly used during the Kanto arc of OS (because they were never used again with the exception of the "legitimate" Gym Battle wins), so they are more of an exception instead of the normal for the Gym Quest formula, which had for the most part the same basic structure for over 20 years.
 
It took almost 20 years for the Gym Quest to, supposedly, get 'stale'.
Even when, as many pointed, the target audience has never watched it due to the formula shifting more than five years ago.

The staff mutilated the Island Challenge and banished it to the sidelines.
And now they are repeating the process with the PWC, an idea that actually was innovative and had potential; to the point that we've had rushed and off-screen developments, convenient rank-climbings, DeM/Plot-Armors, and the dragging of a 'rivalry' that started forced and never should have existed.

How are you supposed to care about it, least be remotely interested, if it is a mess?
 
I know the anime staff is against bringing Ash's older Pokemon onto his new teams, but there are three Pokemon I wish could have been included on his Journey's team; Gible, Scraggy and Incineroar.

Gible came pretty late into Sinnoh and was the very last Pokemon he caught in the region. He could definitely use some more time in the limelight, especially with the Sinnoh remakes coming out next month. And just imagine this towering Garchomp with a goofy personality always trying to affectionately bite people on the head.

As for Scraggy he could have gotten some development if he was included in the Journey's team. First, Iris returned and revealed that Axew had since evolved all the way into a powerful Haxorus. Seeing his best friend so much more powerful could have inspired him to take his own training much more seriously(Hell, getting a letter from Iris at all should have gotten Ash to bring Scraggy along).

Incineroar..for the simple fact that Torracat evolved at the tail end of the Alolan saga and hasn't gotten a chance to battle at all. It made sense for it to finally evolve once it beat it's rival, but the last battle of the series was pretty much reserved for Pikachu vs Tapu Koko.
 
10MV is simply put, the definition of a gimmick. It appears out of nowhere and has no explanation to it at all, and it never fails. Ever. It would have worked better if there was a story for it and not just an asspull. It should of have appeared and Ash and Pikachu had to work to master it and have more battles against Tapu Koko, with it failing before ultimately succeeding against Kukui. That would feel more natural than what it is treated as now: an instant win button. This is one of the reasons why I dislike Z moves.
 
10MV is simply put, the definition of a gimmick. It appears out of nowhere and has no explanation to it at all, and it never fails. Ever. It would have worked better if there was a story for it and not just an asspull. It should of have appeared and Ash and Pikachu had to work to master it and have more battles against Tapu Koko, with it failing before ultimately succeeding against Kukui. That would feel more natural than what it is treated as now: an instant win button. This is one of the reasons why I dislike Z moves.
The same can be say about Ash-Greninja, it doesn't even makes sense to Ash to have a unique bond with Greninja instead of with his Pokémon with equal or more travelling time like Pikachu or Charizard.
 
with his Pokémon with equal or more travelling time like Pikachu
You know what, you actually just reminded me of the main reason why Pikashunium-Z bums me out. You're seriously telling me that the writers can give an entire goddamn story-line to Greninja about his bond with Ash yet can't do the same for Pikachu? When Ash and Pikachu are literally known for their close bond??? The amount of baffling decisions the anime makes around Pikachu specifically just genuinely makes me frustrated because of how much wasted potential there is. Like, the whole "Pikachu controlled" shtick only got annoying to me because it literally never affected Pikachu long term. At this point, it really freaking should, considering how many damn times it's happened. I wouldn't even mind it happening again if they finally made use out of it and used it to flesh Pikachu out as a character, but nooo of course that's never gonna happen...
 
Back
Top Bottom