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Controversial opinions

Journeys had explicit continuity as early as episode 2.

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I know. But if people (including me) pointed at this specific example you are now giving as an example of continuity others said it wasn't explicit enough. Just a quick scene where we saw Ash's old badges, trophies, battle frontier symbols wasn't enough for them. Now, those days are definitely over. No one can still make those claims.

I would even say Journeys had explicit continuity as early as episode 1. We did see the scene again when Ash obtained Pikachu, this time mostly from Pikachu's point of view.

season23_ep01_ss02.jpg


I think some people made their own headcanon already with the 'world journeys' concept and they hoped we would have big pieces of continuity every couple of episodes. Others were set on the soft reboot theory because this was a popular rumor before the start of Journeys. And I'm sure others were just trolling.
 
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I know. But if people (including me) pointed at this specific example you are now giving as an example of continuity others said it wasn't explicit enough. Just a quick scene where we saw Ash's old badges, trophies, battle frontier symbols wasn't enough for them. Now, those days are definitely over. No one can still make those claims.

I would even say Journeys had explicit continuity as early as episode 1. We did see the scene again when Ash obtained Pikachu, this time from Pikachu's point of view.

I think some people made their own headcanon already with the 'world journeys' concept and they hoped we would have big pieces of continuity every couple of episodes. Others were set on the soft reboot theory because this was a popular rumor before the start of Journeys. And I'm sure others were just trolling.
That sadly doesn't surprise me. I remember people being so certain that SM was set in its own universe until Misty and Brock showed up. Even afterwards, I remember a couple of times where people were trying to claim that only the original series was canon to SM. That didn't come up too often, but the idea that people were set on Journeys being its own universe despite the shot of Ash's trophies in episode two reminded me of that aspect of SM. I'm not sure why people need super solid confirmation that each series are set in the same continuity.
 
That sadly doesn't surprise me. I remember people being so certain that SM was set in its own universe until Misty and Brock showed up. Even afterwards, I remember a couple of times where people were trying to claim that only the original series was canon to SM. That didn't come up too often, but the idea that people were set on Journeys being its own universe despite the shot of Ash's trophies in episode two reminded me of that aspect of SM. I'm not sure why people need super solid confirmation that each series are set in the same continuity.
Most of the people who argue a series is not canon fall into three camps based on the interactions I’ve had online.

Camp 1: Defenders of Dignity
These fans borderline project themselves onto Ash. Any offense against Ash is an offense against themselves or their childhoods. It is much easier to simply prune the branches they don’t like in order to preserve their vision of Ash. It is why so many people say that XY is the true continuation of DP. It is a branch break to preserve Ash’s dignity. No amount of evidence to the contrary will convince them what they hate is canon because they have a bit of a sunk cost fallacy.

Camp 2: Satoshipedia Followers
For those who don’t know, Satoshipedia is a wiki dedicated to Ash and upholding his dignity. Basically, they’re Camp 1 except they have a wiki to spread their misinformation and disinformation. Serebii Joe and Dany from Centro Pokémon have actually argued with the webmaster (I think her name is Greta) because the former was dragged into a conversation for stupid reasons and the latter is Italian and thus has more interaction with vandals caused by Satoshipedia’s nutty mental gymnastics.

If you want to read (English is a bit poor since they - yes plural - are Italians), here is the mental gymnastics for why BW, SM, and JN aren’t canon: Ask Pokénerd - FAQ | Answers to frequently asked questions

The longer form mental gymnastics for SM not being canon: Sun&Moon is NOT a continuation of XYZ series | Pokénerd

The currently in Italian multiverse theory used as an in universe justification for the above: Come il multiverso può aggiustare l'anime Pokémon | Satoshipedia

They are actually pretty amusing to read while wearing a tinfoil hat.

Camp 3: Logicians
While Death of the Author is a valid form of literary analysis, these guys take it too far. Thankfully, they are a rare bunch. Death of the Author may give you leeway in an analysis, but these guys use it as an excuse to declare things non-canon left and right over a logical inconsistency, refusing to acknowledge that there are limits to a Watsonian explanation.
 
Most of the people who argue a series is not canon fall into three camps based on the interactions I’ve had online.

Camp 1: Defenders of Dignity
These fans borderline project themselves onto Ash. Any offense against Ash is an offense against themselves or their childhoods. It is much easier to simply prune the branches they don’t like in order to preserve their vision of Ash. It is why so many people say that XY is the true continuation of DP. It is a branch break to preserve Ash’s dignity. No amount of evidence to the contrary will convince them what they hate is canon because they have a bit of a sunk cost fallacy.

Camp 2: Satoshipedia Followers
For those who don’t know, Satoshipedia is a wiki dedicated to Ash and upholding his dignity. Basically, they’re Camp 1 except they have a wiki to spread their misinformation and disinformation. Serebii Joe and Dany from Centro Pokémon have actually argued with the webmaster (I think her name is Greta) because the former was dragged into a conversation for stupid reasons and the latter is Italian and thus has more interaction with vandals caused by Satoshipedia’s nutty mental gymnastics.

If you want to read (English is a bit poor since they - yes plural - are Italians), here is the mental gymnastics for why BW, SM, and JN aren’t canon: Ask Pokénerd - FAQ | Answers to frequently asked questions

The longer form mental gymnastics for SM not being canon: Sun&Moon is NOT a continuation of XYZ series | Pokénerd

The currently in Italian multiverse theory used as an in universe justification for the above: Come il multiverso può aggiustare l'anime Pokémon | Satoshipedia

They are actually pretty amusing to read while wearing a tinfoil hat.

Camp 3: Logicians
While Death of the Author is a valid form of literary analysis, these guys take it too far. Thankfully, they are a rare bunch. Death of the Author may give you leeway in an analysis, but these guys use it as an excuse to declare things non-canon left and right over a logical inconsistency, refusing to acknowledge that there are limits to a Watsonian explanation.
Or they don’t think that a series is canon because Ashs Journey should’ve ended after XY and SM Ash is a complete embarrassment to his character and to the franchise.
 
Early Sun/Moon was weird since we had that period where statements from actual anime staff were being debated as to whether or not they suggested it was a new continuity as we had people giving different translations for what was being said.

In any case fictional canon is funny since sometimes it comes down to having to figure out which version of events is real when we get flashbacks that contradict the episode as aired, like Lt. Surge's redesign in early JN, or how seriously to take author statements that don't appear in the work itself.
 
I can imagine that there are genwunners who consider the Kanto Saga and the Orange Island League to be the only one, with everything else being non-canon.
I do recall reading there were people who like to consider Ash beating Drake the ending, though this was back before the Alola league and I believe was framed less like "everything after gen 1 is bad" and more of "this is a good place to stop watching because there's no place after this where you can jump off with a satisfying conclusion".
 
They include Orange Islands?
I guess I was a bit quick to assume that... My bad. I really don't know.

I do recall reading there were people who like to consider Ash beating Drake the ending, though this was back before the Alola league and I believe was framed less like "everything after gen 1 is bad" and more of "this is a good place to stop watching because there's no place after this where you can jump off with a satisfying conclusion".
I guess I can see that perspective of things. After all, was Kanto meant to be the last region, or was it Johto? I don't remember...
 
Or they don’t think that a series is canon because Ashs Journey should’ve ended after XY and SM Ash is a complete embarrassment to his character and to the franchise.
That seems pretty harsh. I can understand not liking SM or how Ash's personality was like during that series, but to say that SM Ash is a complete embarrassment to both his character and the entire franchise feels like such a huge exaggeration. I don't think XY Ash was the best, but I don't think that SM Ash was the worst either.

Early Sun/Moon was weird since we had that period where statements from actual anime staff were being debated as to whether or not they suggested it was a new continuity as we had people giving different translations for what was being said.

In any case fictional canon is funny since sometimes it comes down to having to figure out which version of events is real when we get flashbacks that contradict the episode as aired, like Lt. Surge's redesign in early JN, or how seriously to take author statements that don't appear in the work itself.
There were some statements from the staff that made it sound like SM Ash was a different character, which really added fuel to the discussions on whether or not the series was canon, but the different translations made it harder to take it as any solid confirmation. Nothing in early SM contradicted the previous series or established Ash as a rookie trainer, so I thought that counted more than questionable translations of statements from the anime staff.
 
The theory SM wasn't a continuation of XY was pure copium, let's be real.

It's interesting how SM is lambasted for its depiction of Ash despite being so good to him throughout its run. As if making Ash the butt of a few more jokes cancels out the facts he was given a Z-Ring by a Tapu, was the first known trainer to have Dusk-Form Lyconroc, owned a mythical Pokemon and two legendary Pokemon, and became the regions first Champion by defeating a legendary. Journeys showed us he is a genuine hero in Alola, loved and respected by pretty much everyone. But nah, because he got his nuts destroyed by a Milotic and shook his booty that one time he was a terrible character.

I don't know, I'm misrepresenting the argument a little there, but I feel like a lot of the things people liked about Ash in XY are still present in SM. He's admired and liked by a lot of people, he helps out his friends by giving them good advice, he's a strong battler, etc. It comes down to presentation and aesthetic, things you can't really dismiss an entire series over.

I guess I can see that perspective of things. After all, was Kanto meant to be the last region, or was it Johto? I don't remember...

In the beginning, the show was intended to end with Mewtwo Strikes Back, but the explosive popularity of the franchise changed plans. The anime staff knew about Gold and Silver, hence Ho-oh appearing in the very first episode, but they didn't know the anime's run would be extended beyond Kanto.
 
The theory SM wasn't a continuation of XY was pure copium, let's be real.

It's interesting how SM is lambasted for its depiction of Ash despite being so good to him throughout its run. As if making Ash the butt of a few more jokes cancels out the facts he was given a Z-Ring by a Tapu, was the first known trainer to have Dusk-Form Lyconroc, owned a mythical Pokemon and two legendary Pokemon, and became the regions first Champion by defeating a legendary. Journeys showed us he is a genuine hero in Alola, loved and respected by pretty much everyone. But nah, because he got his nuts destroyed by a Milotic and shook his booty that one time he was a terrible character.

I don't know, I'm misrepresenting the argument a little there, but I feel like a lot of the things people liked about Ash in XY are still present in SM. He's admired and liked by a lot of people, he helps out his friends by giving them good advice, he's a strong battler, etc. It comes down to presentation and aesthetic, things you can't really dismiss an entire series over.



In the beginning, the show was intended to end with Mewtwo Strikes Back, but the explosive popularity of the franchise changed plans. The anime staff knew about Gold and Silver, hence Ho-oh appearing in the very first episode, but they didn't know the anime's run would be extended beyond Kanto.
I get your point but I also see where people are coming from. sM Ash isnt the worse, but a series treating him good with all those accomplishments doesn't mean you have to like the characterization of Ash

For example, I find JN Ash my least favorite Ash. And DP my favorite. Yeah in terms of accomplishment, JN Ash triumph over DP. But DP Ash was fun. He had flaws. He was arrogant, temperamental, a bit snarky, his dynamic with his mons, especially chimchat was heartwarming.

JN Ash I find really dull. All those flaws he seems to had seem really dulled down. His other traits seem a bit flanderized. Wheb they try to give him an arc, they give that laughably bad Bea depression arc showing they don't even know what to do with him writing wise outside of accomplishment. His team is boring despite being his strongest

Yet the traits of Ash are still there. He gives advice, helps others etc. And I don't even think that means all that much, considering all version of Ash do that. Even the movie ones that are an alternative world.
 
Honestly, I thought that Ash was more arrogant, temperamental and snarky way more in AG than in DP. He would get upset a few times when they chose to go to May's Contests before his next Gym battle, which is practically out of character in every other following series, he lost his second badge because he was set on winning and had that episode of being overconfident when he battled against Drake. Part of the snarky behavior might have been just from the dub though. DP Ash could get temperamental whenever Paul showed up, but I wouldn't really call him arrogant or snarky at least.
 
JN Ash I find really dull. All those flaws he seems to had seem really dulled down. His other traits seem a bit flanderized.

In fact, the dulled Ash dates back to the time of Pokémon X and Y. It was a common criticism, at the time, that the protagonist, despite maintaining the characteristics and quirks typical of the central character of the franchise, lacked soul and personality.

The anime wanted to give Ash an air of maturity and, to do so, removed several of the protagonist's flaws and made him densely focused in battle and in accomplishments. However, for many, part of the character died there.

And, although the protagonist, and especially the anime, underwent significant changes from there, the character's gist was somehow lost.

In my impression, JN's Ash looks a lot like an exact mix of X/Y's with Sun/Moon's, that is, quite focused on winning battles and chunk bland as an individual, plus quite childish and active in off-field activities at the institute/ school.


I mean, I take your point about Ash appearing less flawed in Journies, but this isn't a new issue. Ash hasn't been genuinely flawed since OS and most attempts to present him as such are shallow and short-lived.

With each generation Ash seemed a little less flawed, but he still had significant personality flaws up until BW. His own relationship with Iris, that season, is proof of that. The anime was slowly maturing him, but, along the way, something got lost.
 
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Honestly, I thought that Ash was more arrogant, temperamental and snarky way more in AG than in DP. He would get upset a few times when they chose to go to May's Contests before his next Gym battle, which is practically out of character in every other following series, he lost his second badge because he was set on winning and had that episode of being overconfident when he battled against Drake. Part of the snarky behavior might have been just from the dub though. DP Ash could get temperamental whenever Paul showed up, but I wouldn't really call him arrogant or snarky at least.
I mean my point still stands. Ag is my 2nd version of Ash lol. Heck it switches to #1 at certain types. That Ash was just fun to watch. Even os Ash I absolutely loved. Sure even tho some snark was due to the dub

I prefer all those 3 ashes over XY, sm, and JN Ash. These ash's aren't bad per se, but I don't find them as enjoyable. Even tho the series treats them better. What I'm trying to say is that the series giving them alot of accomplishment doesn't mean it's a more better version of Ash. Imo

And saying Ash helps people, loves battling, etc isn't a good defense to the argument, because ALL versions of Ash have this. OS Ash was the most immature yet he went to a burning building and saved a Mon.

That's why I think OS-DP Ash had a pretty good straight forward arc. After that, it feels like speculation,as the writers just make him whatever the series needs him to be at times.
 
I personally don't mind how many Legendary Pokémon have been caught during Journeys. I think the anime has moved past the point of depicting them as these elusive things that are practically impossible to catch and train. You could maybe call it anime's equivalent of a power creep.

On the subject of Legendary Pokémon, I don't like the complaints I see on places like YouTube comment sections about how Goh is catching Legendary Pokémon but Ash isn't. The thing is, Ash isn't trying to catch 'em all, and he doesn't need Legendary Pokémon to be successful and strong. That's been proven in many series now. I wouldn't mind him getting one, as long as it's not too OP, but it's not a necessity.
 
With each generation Ash seemed a little less flawed, but he still had significant personality flaws up until BW. His own relationship with Iris, that season, is proof of that. The anime was slowly maturing him, but, along the way, something got lost.

I didn't see that at all. The whole point of Ash and Iris' relationship is that they're both dumb kids, just that one leans into it and the other pretends she isn't by teasing. If anything, the flawed one in this exchange was Iris; Ash was just being himself most of the time and the show never treats that as a real flaw.

I prefer all those 3 ashes over XY, sm, and JN Ash. These ash's aren't bad per se, but I don't find them as enjoyable. Even tho the series treats them better. What I'm trying to say is that the series giving them alot of accomplishment doesn't mean it's a more better version of Ash. Imo

And saying Ash helps people, loves battling, etc isn't a good defense to the argument, because ALL versions of Ash have this. OS Ash was the most immature yet he went to a burning building and saved a Mon.

Nobody's saying accomplishments = better, though. At least, I certainly wasn't. Rather, I'm against the idea a show has "ruined" a character when the core of the character has remained the same for ages and continues to this day. I'm against the attempts to dismiss anything past a certain point in the show as "not canon" because people's ideal version of Ash doesn't exist even though the Ash you see in XY and the one you see in SM and the one we have in JN really aren't at all different.

This brings me back to the idea of flaws, because the only thing that's been lost over time is Ash's confrontational nature. It's tempting to say Ash has "matured" out of this, but I'd point out that the number of antagonistic characters has greatly decreased over the years and thus the opportunities for this trait to appear has also decreased. There's no one moment in the show where Ash realises he has to chill out a bit more, so I've every reason to think if another character like Gary or Paul came into the show, we'd see that side of Ash again.

That's why I think OS-DP Ash had a pretty good straight forward arc. After that, it feels like speculation,as the writers just make him whatever the series needs him to be at times.

Yet this happens in every season.

Here's an example from the AG-DP era. In early DP, Ash and Dawn got into an argument over whether Nando should do gyms or contests. Both insisted their chosen path would be better. Yet in AG, when May told Ash she didn't want to do gyms, but wanted to do contests instead, Ash gave her his full support without any question. He never tried to convince her otherwise by extolling the virtues of gyms. He just supported the decision, like a friend would. And Ash had known May for roughly the same amount of time he knew Dawn at this point.

So, why the inconsistency? Why is Ash suddenly more adamant about doing gyms in DP? Because the writers wanted a scenario where a new character was doing both and thought it'd be a dull episode if Ash simply said "it doesn't matter, do what you feel like". That's it. It never comes up again. Ash watched Dawn's contests, borrowed plenty of ideas from them, and otherwise had no issues with them in the slightest, but on this one occasion, he did.

There are so many other examples we can dig up. Ash hadn't been arrogant since Kanto, but one episode in AG he needed to have a big head just so big bad Drake can come along and show off. There was zero build to that moment. He beats Tate and Liza, then boom, he thinks he's the best. Ash was notably more patient with May's early blunders than he was with Dawn's. Ash used his past experiences to help May when she was struggling but said nothing about Dawn's issues with Mamoswine despite going through the exact same experience.

I just don't see the arc that's supposed to be taking place here. If we examine his set-backs in DP, they're not because of some great flaw he possesses. His loss to Paul at Lake Acuity caused some introspection, but didn't lead to any change in how Ash did things. If anything, he doubled down on those things, ultimately proving himself correct by winning when it counted most. He lost to Roark and Fantina because of their respective strategies, adjusted his training accordingly, then came back and won. He lost to Tobias because the universe wanted him to lose. At no point does arrogance, temperament, being snarky, or whatever other flaws he's supposed to have, actively contribute to his failures.
 
I didn't see that at all. The whole point of Ash and Iris' relationship is that they're both dumb kids, just that one leans into it and the other pretends she isn't by teasing. If anything, the flawed one in this exchange was Iris; Ash was just being himself most of the time and the show never treats that as a real flaw.



Nobody's saying accomplishments = better, though. At least, I certainly wasn't. Rather, I'm against the idea a show has "ruined" a character when the core of the character has remained the same for ages and continues to this day. I'm against the attempts to dismiss anything past a certain point in the show as "not canon" because people's ideal version of Ash doesn't exist even though the Ash you see in XY and the one you see in SM and the one we have in JN really aren't at all different.

This brings me back to the idea of flaws, because the only thing that's been lost over time is Ash's confrontational nature. It's tempting to say Ash has "matured" out of this, but I'd point out that the number of antagonistic characters has greatly decreased over the years and thus the opportunities for this trait to appear has also decreased. There's no one moment in the show where Ash realises he has to chill out a bit more, so I've every reason to think if another character like Gary or Paul came into the show, we'd see that side of Ash again.



Yet this happens in every season.

Here's an example from the AG-DP era. In early DP, Ash and Dawn got into an argument over whether Nando should do gyms or contests. Both insisted their chosen path would be better. Yet in AG, when May told Ash she didn't want to do gyms, but wanted to do contests instead, Ash gave her his full support without any question. He never tried to convince her otherwise by extolling the virtues of gyms. He just supported the decision, like a friend would. And Ash had known May for roughly the same amount of time he knew Dawn at this point.

So, why the inconsistency? Why is Ash suddenly more adamant about doing gyms in DP? Because the writers wanted a scenario where a new character was doing both and thought it'd be a dull episode if Ash simply said "it doesn't matter, do what you feel like". That's it. It never comes up again. Ash watched Dawn's contests, borrowed plenty of ideas from them, and otherwise had no issues with them in the slightest, but on this one occasion, he did.

There are so many other examples we can dig up. Ash hadn't been arrogant since Kanto, but one episode in AG he needed to have a big head just so big bad Drake can come along and show off. There was zero build to that moment. He beats Tate and Liza, then boom, he thinks he's the best. Ash was notably more patient with May's early blunders than he was with Dawn's. Ash used his past experiences to help May when she was struggling but said nothing about Dawn's issues with Mamoswine despite going through the exact same experience.

I just don't see the arc that's supposed to be taking place here. If we examine his set-backs in DP, they're not because of some great flaw he possesses. His loss to Paul at Lake Acuity caused some introspection, but didn't lead to any change in how Ash did things. If anything, he doubled down on those things, ultimately proving himself correct by winning when it counted most. He lost to Roark and Fantina because of their respective strategies, adjusted his training accordingly, then came back and won. He lost to Tobias because the universe wanted him to lose. At no point does arrogance, temperament, being snarky, or whatever other flaws he's supposed to have, actively contribute to his failures.
I'm not saying his flaws have to contribute to every single one of his failures. I was just saying it being there is what made it fun to watch. If I said his arrogance was the reason for the Paul rivalry, I mispoke. I just meant that those negative side of Ash was way more prominent in the OS-DP era. Wether they contribute to his fault or not. Not every flaw needs to have some big character arc about it. People are just imperfect . Also calling Ash arrogant in DP was a stretch on my part. Been a while since I saw the DP show.

And yeah I agree Ash core traits are still there, but that's my point. That doesn't mean you may like that iteration of ash. Every single version of Ash has those core traits of loving people and Pokemon, battling, helps others etc, but there is a reason why some gravitate to versions of Ash than others. JN Ash and DP Ash and AG Ash have the same core traits, but they still feel like different versions of Ash. And yeah I agree, I'm mix on sm Ash but he definitely wasn't ruined at all.

And yeah missteps in Ash character can be seen all over the franchise. But I found a much more linear character in OS-DP. It's by no means perfect, and you can find faults in the writing like I just did.

And eeh, idk. I think the show has definitely made a point that Ash is way past the snarky impatient person he was. I find those traits completely gone for the most part in the newer version

But I think this goes back to my issue where they don't know where to even take Ash character wise for a long time. Outside of battles and accomplishment. I found JN Ash the most stagnant and I don't even know if he even had an arc
 
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