• 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

DP never build up anything like that between Shirona and Satoshi.

She was far more invested on what would come up from Satoshi and Shinji's encounters.

Journeys is so emotionally-detached, it is almost like Akagi's Ideal World.
DP191 sure hyped up the concept of Ash vs Cynthia. It is definitely a hyped moment for long term fans.
 
I actually think the battle with Leon could be thematically important even if Ash doesn't have as much of a personal link as he did with Paul or Kukui. Here's just one spitballed idea (this is not a prediction).

In the games Leon's whole thing is he was basically the player character of an unseen Pokémon adventure; ten year old who becomes unbeatable champion with their starter. Even his poor sense of direction is probably a joke about the player wandering around a lot poking for items and subquests. However, there's a big difference between Ash and the game player characters (and by extension Leon) that could be used here:
Ash isn't a born winner. He lost six leagues before finally winning in Alola, nobody had especially high hopes for him when his adventure started, he had atrocious luck at times, made serious mistakes, and had to crawl and fight for every inch.
Ash's isn't Leon 2.0 like the game character.

Leon gets worshipped (in the games) for winning a bunch of sporting events in a place that's taken very seriously (happens in real life if you live in a sports city). He doesn't really take anyone seriously as a rival because he has never, ever lost. His major rival is someone said to be strong enough to be champion in another region but he still seemingly can't even get that close to beating Leon. Even when you get to him in the end of the game Leon is 100% expecting to win again despite seeing your role in the Darkest Day.

Here is where Ash and Leon do have a subtle link; Leon's defeat animation in the games where he pulls his cap down to cover his face, grimaces and shakes a bit, then recovers to announce the birth of the new champion. It's actually not that different from when Ash lost to Ritchie way back in the indigo league and had to hide his tears but offered Ritchie a congratulation, but with the benefit of Leon being older he bounces back more quickly than Ash did.

So work with that.
Show that Leon is winning his PWC full battles by a good margin while Ash struggles to barely win each one, like always.
When they meet in the finals Leon isn't insulting or anything but he doesn't really take Ash seriously as someone who might end his streak; he's expecting to win another PWC and continue his record. Like in the game he encourages Ash to have a great battle and mentions his role in the darkest day--because it'll make Leon winning even more memorable.

Over time Leon's confidence starts to shake a little.
It's not going quite as well as he expected. Maybe they're tied and he was expecting to have pulled ahead by now.

Still, he's not worried.

Then he starts to fall behind--he makes a small mistake and it's now 4-3 in Ash's favour. He starts to get a tiny bit reckless because he's never been pressed this hard in a full battle (or at least not for a long time), he makes another mistake and now it's at 4-2.

He wasn't expecting this. Even Raihan has never done quite this well.

His second last (Dragapult?) comes in and gets it to 3-2, but then goes down. It's 3-1, now.

Still, Leon's not too worried yet.

He's had to make comebacks before in his one on one battles, and Charizard is still on-hand. Charizard comes in and manages to even the score (we all know they won't let Charizard not look like the strongest thing on the field). Leon's bravado is in full force--he's complimentary and calls Ash a great rival that'll make this victory go down in history but he's sure Charizard has the advantage against Pikachu.
...then Ash pulls a sudden reversal and Charizard goes down.

Cue a variation on Leon's loss animation from the game.
 
Last edited:
I agree. They need to go back to the usual format of Ash (or a new trainer) going through the region and competing in the league. I still question why they chose to go with this direction for Gen 8 of all of things when Galar has the most competitive league out of any region. It would have been perfect for a badge run.

They've done that story six times already. It wouldn't surprise if they thought the time was right for something different. When you look at the franchise as a whole, the past six years have seen a lot of experimentation with new ideas to keep it fresh and relevant, whether that's expanding in the mobile space with Masters and Unite, launching a new take on the main series games with Legends Arceus, or taking on alternative animated projects with Twilight Wings and Evolutions. It really feels like they want each arm of the franchise to have its own distinct identity and Journeys segregating itself from Gen 8 is a part of that.
 
Last edited:
The Gym formula was old-hat by the time we were in DP even. By BW and XY it was pushing it. The last two sagas that followed the Gym formula basically did the same thing the first 4 did just with some slight tweaks here and there.

Seeing Ash beat Gym leaders with unevolved starters, the regional bird, and two other pokemon has been done to death. While I want to see the Gym leaders themselves, Ash doesn't have to challenge them like a rookie trainer would anymore.

And given BW tried a back to basics approach, and even XY despite all it tried to change still did the same 8 Gym formula with losing at a league again, it's really evident it's nothing worth going back to. Watching Ash beat 8 Gym leaders with the generic starter formula we sat through for 16 years. There's nothing even exciting about it because even if some of the Gym battles themselves are good, it's all routine since we know he'll get the 8 badges eventually even if he loses to 1 or 2 of them along the way. Even as far back as DP I was already ready for the formula to change.
 
They've done that story six times already. It wouldn't surprise if they thought the time was right for something different. When you look at the franchise as a whole, the past six years have seen a lot of experimentation with new ideas to keep it fresh and relevant, whether that's expanding in the mobile space with Masters and Unite, launching a new take on the main series games with Legends Arceus, or taking on alternative animated projects with Twilight Wings and Evolutions. It really feels like they want each arm of the franchise to have its own distinct identity and Journeys segregating itself from Gen 8 is a part of that.
And that would be fine if it was written well and it wasn't. It doesn't matter how good or bold your idea is if the execution is awful.
 
The Gym formula was old-hat by the time we were in DP even. By BW and XY it was pushing it. The last two sagas that followed the Gym formula basically did the same thing the first 4 did just with some slight tweaks here and there.
I think that's underselling them a bit. BW and XY Gym battles were pretty noticeably different, in large part because most of the XY Gym battles were actually good. It isn't like every Gym Quest is that identical either. I didn't really see them as just having slight tweaks here and there at least. It isn't like you've seen one Gym badge quest, you've seen them all. Even with the formula in mind, Ash was still battling new characters with brand new Pokemon and using his own new Pokemon. I think that was more enough to make every Gym quest feel distinct instead of just the same old story six times. Considering that the DP Gym battles got quite a bit of praise back in the day, it's also a bit hard for me to see the Gym formula being old hat back then too.

Seeing Ash beat Gym leaders with unevolved starters, the regional bird, and two other pokemon has been done to death. While I want to see the Gym leaders themselves, Ash doesn't have to challenge them like a rookie trainer would anymore.
To be fair, aside from the original series and BW, they were much more willing to evolve Ash's starters, even if it took awhile for them to become fully evolved. He nearly had a fully evolved team in DP and aside from obviously Pikachu, all of his Pokemon evolved in XY, so Ash hasn't relied on a team of mostly unevolved Pokemon for quite some time. I never really had a problem with Ash beating Gym Leaders with his starters, regional bird and two other Pokemon before. His teams aren't really identical despite that setup in mind. They still have more distinct personalities/roles and storylines to make them all come off as pretty unique. I don't think people really had that much of a problem with Ash often getting at least one starter or the regional bird. People definitely would have loved to see Ash with a Corviknight and people still wanted him to get one of the Galar starters too, so I don't think that people really have that much of an issue with his team being more formulaic before. Not to mention having the freedom to catch any Pokemon hasn't really helped his Journeys team.

That being said, I'd be okay if we had someone else challenging Gyms. I really don't know how that would work when it still feels out of character for Ash to not even be slightly interested in Galar Gyms. It made sense for Ash to not take part in Contests when those required skills he wasn't really into, but that wouldn't really work for traditional battles. I don't think that winning the Alola League could or should mean he has no need for Gym battles and I've made my feelings on the PWC quite clear. Still, if they had another trainer taking part in a Gym quest, that would at least make it easier for them to focus on the newest region, showcase the newest Gym Leaders and feature the newest Pokemon. That's a huge reason why people are still upset over the Galar Gym Leaders appearing so infrequently in Journeys. Their appearances aren't guaranteed now that Ash isn't battling them and even if they do all appear, I have my doubts that Ash is going to battle any of them apart from Raihan.

And given BW tried a back to basics approach, and even XY despite all it tried to change still did the same 8 Gym formula with losing at a league again, it's really evident it's nothing worth going back to. Watching Ash beat 8 Gym leaders with the generic starter formula we sat through for 16 years. There's nothing even exciting about it because even if some of the Gym battles themselves are good, it's all routine since we know he'll get the 8 badges eventually even if he loses to 1 or 2 of them along the way. Even as far back as DP I was already ready for the formula to change.
I really disagree. We would still get some potentially good battles against new characters, flesh out the region/Gym Leaders and give Ash new Pokemon to actually train, as opposed to giving him mostly fully evolved Pokemon right off the bat. Obviously, it isn't a guarantee since not all of the Gym battles or even whole badge quests were good, but I think that there's more potential to make them good and engaging than you're giving them credit for. Sure, we know that Ash is going to get all eight badge, but the anime has always emphasized the journey moreso than the destination. Seeing the journey, how well he trains his new Pokemon and how good the battles are more important. I would probably understand this issue more if I was one of the fans who was always upset with Ash losing, but sinc I stopped caring about that ages ago and just enjoy the ride itself, it kind of falls flat for me. If the PWC is any indication, it doesn't give me much hope for Ash's future goals to be engaging if they aren't interested in going back to the Gym badge quest either.

I think it's also important to keep in mind that people like us who have watched multiple series aren't really the target audience here. I highly doubt that they really care about the adult fans who have watched Ash go through a Gym badge quest multiple times, especially when the anime is still formulaic to a degree. They would be more interested in kids watching the show and plenty of them probably wouldn't be familiar with Gym badge quests at this point either.

I still don't think that they decided to not return to the Gym formula in Journeys because they find it to be boring, stale or overdone. I still think it was more of a matter of wanting to give Ash a goal that would match with the world tour gimmick of the series and/or a way to give him quick battles. Most of his PWC matches in the first two classes weren't the main focus of an episode. Not to mention Ash had so many off-screen battles too. His battles have gotten more focus since he got into the Hyper Class rank and as far as I know, he hasn't had more off-screen battles yet. It's hard to say if this was always the plan, mainly due to the director change, but my initial impression of the PWC wasn't to give Ash a new exciting goal. It was to give him quick battles for Ash to do regardless of where he and Goh are so that they wouldn't have to devote as much time for his battles.
 
I really don't expect the Gym formula to come back next gen either, unless they have one of Ash's companions try them. The writers are clearly more free to experiment and do different things without being forced to cover 8 Gyms of a specific region and go through the same formula of beating them with pokemon a rookie trainer would have while trying to downplay Pikachu's power at the start of every new series so it doesn't beat everything easily.
 
I really don't expect the Gym formula to come back next gen either, unless they have one of Ash's companions try them. The writers are clearly more free to experiment and do different things without being forced to cover 8 Gyms of a specific region and go through the same formula of beating them with pokemon a rookie trainer would have while trying to downplay Pikachu's power at the start of every new series so it doesn't beat everything easily.
I'm not sure how well the experiment of doing different things really works out though. I'm definitely not nearly as upset about Journeys as a lot of other people here are. I have my fair share of issues with it, the PWC probably being one of the biggest ones if I'm being honest, but I generally like it and I think that some of the complaints can get out of hand. However, I don't think that this world tour gimmick really works. It doesn't really make use of older or newer regions effectively when they feel just kind of boring. That doesn't necessarily mean that they have to do the Gym badge quest. They could just have a reason for Ash to stay in the newest region to flesh it out, much like what happened with Alola and depending on the execution, that could work. Honestly, they really should have had Journeys set in Galar instead of Kanto since that could have helped it out in the long run.

I am saying that being more free to experiment and doing different things doesn't automatically make it good or even better than the Gym quest. It might be a bit much to say that the writers were forced to do the Gym quest. It just comes off as a bit melodramatic, especially when they didn't have a lot of other options for Ash to do at the time when they weren't interested in letting him win a League, which was the real problem people had with the old formula from what I remember. The PWC doesn't really seem that well received, even with the improvements it has seemingly made since the Hyper Class. People tend to like the idea behind the PWC more so than the tournament itself. At least going through a new region gives the writers structure to work on, which I think they really need to make a more engaging storyline, and allows for them to showcase new characters, locations and Pokemon quite easily.
 
And that would be fine if it was written well and it wasn't. It doesn't matter how good or bold your idea is if the execution is awful.
The execution isn't awful, though. Journeys does plenty of things well and its weaknesses are no bigger than what I've seen from Pokemon before. But even putting aside the writing quality, I don't follow the logic that experimenting is only okay if you do it well. Taking risks on something different is only the way for anything to progress.
It isn't like you've seen one Gym badge quest, you've seen them all. Even with the formula in mind, Ash was still battling new characters with brand new Pokemon and using his own new Pokemon. I think that was more enough to make every Gym quest feel distinct instead of just the same old story six times.
That bold part is exactly how I feel, actually. What you describe - new characters and Pokemon and such - are superficial changes. They don't alter the trajectory or outcome of the story. They don't force Ash to approach things any differently to how he normally would. For example, Ash loses to Roark in DP, does some extra training to learn a new strategy, goes back and wins. He then loses to Viola in XY, does some extra training to learn a new strategy, goes back and wins. Different characters and Pokemon, but what's actually changed? The stories are identical. OS is the only series to do anything interesting with its badge quest while the rest play it completely straight.
I think it's also important to keep in mind that people like us who have watched multiple series aren't really the target audience here. I highly doubt that they really care about the adult fans who have watched Ash go through a Gym badge quest multiple times, especially when the anime is still formulaic to a degree. They would be more interested in kids watching the show and plenty of them probably wouldn't be familiar with Gym badge quests at this point either.
This is a large misconception I keep seeing in the fandom.

The show being accessible for kids, insofar as having a simplistic storyline which requires no prior knowledge to understand, does not mean it is specifically made for kids.

The show not catering specifically to its older fans does not mean they don't care about those older fans.

The show is for families to watch. Ash and Pikachu and Team Rocket are kept around as recognisable figures for the benefit of older fans, not for children. Cameo appearances of characters like Dawn, Gary, Iris, Volkner, Cynthia, Korrina, Lance, and so on, do nothing for new kids, but will do something for the parents, aunts/uncles, and older siblings who used to watch the show and know who those characters are. Keeping these demographics, aka people like us, engaged is a significant part of their strategy. Hell, Jessie, James and Meowth were created with older viewers in mind.
 
That bold part is exactly how I feel, actually. What you describe - new characters and Pokemon and such - are superficial changes. They don't alter the trajectory or outcome of the story. They don't force Ash to approach things any differently to how he normally would. For example, Ash loses to Roark in DP, does some extra training to learn a new strategy, goes back and wins. He then loses to Viola in XY, does some extra training to learn a new strategy, goes back and wins. Different characters and Pokemon, but what's actually changed? The stories are identical. OS is the only series to do anything interesting with its badge quest while the rest play it completely straight.
Oh geeze a lot to unpack here. Frankly I sometimes question how people can watch and keep up with a anime like Pokémon with so many repeated plot structures, conflicts and character arcs and act like because things have a similar outcome (the two instances provided are like 7 years apart in air dates ANYWAY) they have no merit. The saying "It's about the journey not the destination" matters a lot in a anime like Pokémon it just comes with the territory with a show with over 1000 episodes, like what do you expect by that point?

I mean yeah on the surface the Roark and Viola gym battles have the same idea,but how they're executed, the reasons behind them, the character motivations involved are completely different. It's like complaining about Chimchar being to similar to Charmander because it's "the same plot" of abused fire starter

Of course this is ignoring how OS is probably by far the worst badge quest (which I don't hold it against os to much it was the first one) because there was barely any actual battling, cheap wins, contrived outcomes, pity badges galore, the whole nine yards. Surge and Blaine are the stand outs because it was the only time where they actually put genuine effort into having intense battles.
 
Last edited:
That bold part is exactly how I feel, actually. What you describe - new characters and Pokemon and such - are superficial changes. They don't alter the trajectory or outcome of the story. They don't force Ash to approach things any differently to how he normally would. For example, Ash loses to Roark in DP, does some extra training to learn a new strategy, goes back and wins. He then loses to Viola in XY, does some extra training to learn a new strategy, goes back and wins. Different characters and Pokemon, but what's actually changed? The stories are identical. OS is the only series to do anything interesting with its badge quest while the rest play it completely straight.
I wouldn't really consider new character and Pokemon as superficial changes. Those are new characters effectively and would have different strategies. The storylines of both of those Gym battles are similar, but I think that's just looking at them from the surface level. The reason Ash lost to Roark was significantly different than why he lost to Viola and his training method for the rematch was different too. Not to mention the spinning dodge was further developed later on into the Counter Shield strategy. The basic outcome is the same and if you're more interested in that, then the differences may not matter, but those differences exist and it helps to make the Gym battles still feel distinct enough from each other, at least in my opinion.

I think part of why this never felt like an issue to me was because Pokemon has always been rather simplistic. It isn't about saving the world all the time, making Ash's battles full of tension or anything like that. It's just been about Ash traveling around with his friends catching and battling Pokemon along the way. So going through similar plot threads or having a similar structure for every series never really seemed like a problem to me. The anime from the start has always emphasized that it was about the journey, not the destination. It's one of the reasons why the outcome being similar for the badge quest didn't bother me. Sure, Ash kept losing, but since I usually enjoyed the journey to that point, it didn't really matter to me.

This is a large misconception I keep seeing in the fandom.

The show being accessible for kids, insofar as having a simplistic storyline which requires no prior knowledge to understand, does not mean it is specifically made for kids.

The show not catering specifically to its older fans does not mean they don't care about those older fans.

The show is for families to watch. Ash and Pikachu and Team Rocket are kept around as recognisable figures for the benefit of older fans, not for children. Cameo appearances of characters like Dawn, Gary, Iris, Volkner, Cynthia, Korrina, Lance, and so on, do nothing for new kids, but will do something for the parents, aunts/uncles, and older siblings who used to watch the show and know who those characters are. Keeping these demographics, aka people like us, engaged is a significant part of their strategy. Hell, Jessie, James and Meowth were created with older viewers in mind.
I figured that Ash, Pikachu and Team Rocket were kept around in large part because of how iconic they are. I understand that they would also be recognizable to older fans too, but I think that they would have stayed regardless. I'm also not sure about keeping people like us engaged is a significant part of their strategy. Returning characters showing up would naturally have more meaning for long time fans than most of the kids watching, but my thought process has always been that if they cared about what long time fans wanted out of the anime, the anime would have become significantly different ages ago.

Admittedly, the anime has the same issue that the games have in that they can't possibly make everyone happy. The fact that there are such loud groups of fans wanting different things might make it difficult for me to believe that they'd want to keep us engaged that much too.
 
This is a large misconception I keep seeing in the fandom.

The show being accessible for kids, insofar as having a simplistic storyline which requires no prior knowledge to understand, does not mean it is specifically made for kids.

The show not catering specifically to its older fans does not mean they don't care about those older fans.

The show is for families to watch. Ash and Pikachu and Team Rocket are kept around as recognisable figures for the benefit of older fans, not for children. Cameo appearances of characters like Dawn, Gary, Iris, Volkner, Cynthia, Korrina, Lance, and so on, do nothing for new kids, but will do something for the parents, aunts/uncles, and older siblings who used to watch the show and know who those characters are. Keeping these demographics, aka people like us, engaged is a significant part of their strategy. Hell, Jessie, James and Meowth were created with older viewers in mind.
This extends to the whole franchise; Masuda said the games are not targeted specifically towards kids but so everyone can play them, and a lot of GameFreak's modern strategy clearly leans in that direction; the increased focus on competitive multiplayer and large amounts of Kanto focus are pretty clearly not aimed at a ten year old whose first Pokémon game is Shield.
I mean, Charizard being a big fiery dragon makes him an easy sell to a young new fan so that makes sense to use as Leon's ace, but Bulbasaur and Squirtle as DLC bonus starters? Most regional variants being of Kanto mon?

Also the show made a joke in Sun and Moon about how much sexy fanart there is of certain species, so yeah...

Of course this is ignoring how OS is probably by far the worst badge quest (which I don't hold it against os to much it was the first one) because there was barely any actual battling, cheap wins, contrived outcomes, pity badges galore, the whole nine yards. Surge and Blaine are the stand outs because it was the only time where they actually put genuine effort into having intense battles.
Honestly, although Kanto had some issues I'm willing to cut the OG quest a lot of slack for having by far the most meaningful character development for the series' main leads (Ash and Pikachu) and the only league defeat that led to long-term character development and a satisfying follow-up where he resolves to do better and actually does by finally regaining Charizard's trust and winning the Orange League (which was a great battle).
 
For the record, the "Gym formula makes no sense because it is repetitive" argument makes no sense.
The anime is not made for longtime fans. It’s made for the target audience of children. The current target audience hasn’t grown up to see even a single gym challenge because the last one was 6 years back.
 
Last edited:
I just don't like the gym formula because I think it's boring. Sometimes it isn't even wanting the anime to change, it's just as simple as preference. I watch Pokemon for two things: the pokemon and the crazy or meaningful adventures that the cast goes on. Both are present regardless of if there is a gym quest or not.

Unfortunately, given how Journeys has not given me what I watch pokemon for(or is lacking in some areas), I'd rather go back to a formula I don't like, if only to force the writers into a hole where it would be absurdly hard not to show the pokemon. That, and, while I do dislike the badge quest, I actually really like Galar's gym leaders...the lack of Galar is sorely disappointing.

Actually, speaking of target audience, who the hell is all the returning companion promotion for? Why is any of that in Journeys in the first place? No kid is going to know who the hell Dawn is. Or Iris for that matter. All they know about Iris, for instance, is that she is the champion and Ash knows her. The episode treats her growth like its something the audience should care about but they don't even know who she is.
 
Actually, speaking of target audience, who the hell is all the returning companion promotion for? Why is any of that in Journeys in the first place? No kid is going to know who the hell Dawn is. Or Iris for that matter. All they know about Iris, for instance, is that she is the champion and Ash knows her. The episode treats her growth like its something the audience should care about but they don't even know who she is.
This sort of thing is more common in general than you'd think, where something targeted at younger audiences brings back older characters and concepts either because the writers/designs like them or to get some mileage out of the periphery of veterans.
The Pokémon games themselves are no stranger to it, with characters who hadn't appeared for over a decade coming back.

Edit: And of course kids could have caught older episodes on streaming/reruns/DVDs. As a kid I saw a number of shows older than me, and a few older than my parents.
 
Anipoke should stop experimenting.

And the staff, realise that they are unable to come up with any game-changing idea and execute it properly or at least in a satisfying way.

I like classic animes, and cartoons, more than recent ones.
This is a bizarre take. Every saga after Johto has experimented with something new. Johto for the most part aside from doing more proper Gym battles was the only saga that didn't experiment much. You sound like you're 20 years late with this argument. AG was the most experimental saga at the time it debuted.

AG at the time had the most changes at that point of the series and everything it did was an experiment. Bringing in a secondary female lead and taking the focus away from Ash with her own quests like Contests was completely unheard of at the time. Back then nobody believed giving a companion their own quest would work.

Or not giving Ash all the starters and dividing them up among the cast. Or having Ash's Pokémon mostly evolve for the first time. Or having a little kid on the cast and a group of 4. Or Ash leaving all his pokemon behind but Pikachu. Or Misty leaving. Or Ash and Brock having new clothes. Etc.

Saying the show shouldn't experiment when every saga after Johto has tried something new or changed something considerably from the previous is strange. If the show never experimented every saga would be exactly like Johto and Misty/Brock would still be here to this day. I think you get the point.
 
Back
Top Bottom