- Dec 31, 2019
- Reaction score
It's a tricky one for the writing team because they're working within a strange space where the series is neither a continuation or a stand-alone thing. They inevitably write themselves into a corner where the narrative progression suggests Ash should win whatever league he's participating in but they have to transition into a new series where Ash is once again taking on gym leaders. It doesn't make sense for Ash to win the big one but return to doing gyms afterwards, but a lot of time it doesn't make sense for Ash to lose, either. All the staff know this, but it's not an easy dilemma to solve. The fact nobody wants to commit either creates a tonne of problems for the writers who have to maintain some form of consistent internal logic while at the same time introducing a whole bunch of new elements to the show that screw with that logic.For a work intending to have any sort of drama I think you need to either hide the wizard behind the curtain as much as you can OR make the wizard symbolic of something important (at least to the writer), and I feel that one of this series' major flaws (that I don't see vocalized much but I think is one of those things people notice without consciously thinking about) is that it's really, really bad at doing either; a number of things are either bordering on deus ex machina or require sudden character changes for the sake of convenience, and we all know "the wizard" symbolism is just about trying to sell merch and not wanting to give up an iconic character so it's hard to give unrealistic or strange story decisions a pass on that basis.
I think it's noticeable Ash won the Alola League when they knew Journeys would do away with the gym quest format entirely. There was no longer any concern about justifying Ash going from champion to badge collector, so they could go with the narrative choice that made the most sense. Because of this, Ash's losses were likely a result of being strong-armed into following the games' narrative structure as closely as possible without being able to swap him out as the protagonist. For instance, had they decided to follow Sword and Shield more closely, I truly believe Ash would have lost to Gladion. It's why I was happy they opted against that this time, as much as people have been disappointed by the lack of Gen 8 representation.