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Controversial opinions

Serena should have never gone to Hoenn. She should have sticked by Ash’s side and went with him to Alola and so on and so forth
So instead of having Serena go off on her own in order to become a better and more confident performer, you would have preferred for her to become an accessory to Ash? I understand liking Serena and the pairing between her and Ash, but it really doesn't make sense to keep her around just because you want them to get married with kids in a time skip. Serena would not worked in either SM or Journeys as a female lead since they were not going to keep Showcases around. That was still her goal, not to confess to Ash or to become his girlfriend. Her storyline was pretty much done by the end of XY, so it made much more sense for her to go off on her own journey instead of staying with Ash forever.
 
So instead of having Serena go off on her own in order to become a better and more confident performer, you would have preferred for her to become an accessory to Ash? I understand liking Serena and the pairing between her and Ash, but it really doesn't make sense to keep her around just because you want them to get married with kids in a time skip. Serena would not worked in either SM or Journeys as a female lead since they were not going to keep Showcases around. That was still her goal, not to confess to Ash or to become his girlfriend. Her storyline was pretty much done by the end of XY, so it made much more sense for her to go off on her own journey instead of staying with Ash forever.
Guess what? She’s never seeing Ash again. The last time they saw each other was for 30 seconds
 
Guess what? She’s never seeing Ash again. The last time they saw each other was for 30 seconds
So the solution is to keep Serena around just to be by Ash's side so that they can have more interactions together? One series apparently wasn't enough. Serena's growth, goal and storyline doesn't matter compared to her pairing with Ash either. She just has to stick around to be his trophy girlfriend or love interest despite the fact that they'll never have Ash in a romantic relationship. Again, I understand liking their pairing, but it shouldn't outweigh Serena's own character. Keeping her by Ash's side for multiple series not only would have ruined her character development, but it would have made people more convinced that her crush on Ash is Serena's main defining trait or the only thing about her character that makes her stand out. To be fair, the kiss at the end of XY already kind of did that, but keeping her through multiple series, especially when her goal would not have worked in either SM or Journeys, would have made that even worse.

And just because they only saw each other briefly in Journeys doesn't mean that she'll never see Ash again. They could still easily bring her back whenever they see fit, especially when they don't just limit themselves to bringing back the previous series cast back. Granted, I don't see her coming back within the near future, if only because I think that they'll cool down with the returns for awhile in the next series, but it is still plausible. They'll also most likely bring her back to promote the inevitable X/Y remakes, even thought that would be probably way down the line. My point is that assuming that they'll never see each other again is a bit of a conclusion to jump to and it doesn't mean that the only solution was to force Serena into staying as a permanent female lead just to have more shipping moments with Ash.
 
So instead of having Serena go off on her own in order to become a better and more confident performer, you would have preferred for her to become an accessory to Ash? I understand liking Serena and the pairing between her and Ash, but it really doesn't make sense to keep her around just because you want them to get married with kids in a time skip. Serena would not worked in either SM or Journeys as a female lead since they were not going to keep Showcases around. That was still her goal, not to confess to Ash or to become his girlfriend. Her storyline was pretty much done by the end of XY, so it made much more sense for her to go off on her own journey instead of staying with Ash forever.
Leaving at the end of XY was the best thing for Serena's character. We saw that she's grown more independent and she's using what she's learned from Ash to help inspire others. I genuinely like Serena and I don t mind the pairing either. She's a great character and she's more than a ship for Ash. The utter obsession people have with her and amourshipping though has gotten pretty ridiculous.
 
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You know, I saw some talking about their disappointment that Ash didn't get a party thrown for him back at Pallet Town. I saw a post talking about how a party was thrown for him when he reached the Top 16 in the Indigo Conference, and how a few Palett Town residents that weren't named Delia Ketchum or Professor Oak showed up. This makes me realize his truly lifeless the world can feel compared to back then. I mean let's look back at JN004 and JN048 when Ash and Goh were in Wyndon and Castelia City respectably. The cities were so empty. Go back to the days of the OS and you'd see cities like Goldenrod City protrayed as a large busy city with plenty of people. Nowadays it would be scaled back to appear smaller or closer to the games while there'd be maybe 1 or 2 extras wandering the streets. Now back to Ash's return to Pallet Town, seeing how they handled a Top 16 win in a regional conference compared to being declared Champion in a world wide tournament is a huge disappointment. I mean they couldn't at least have Brock, Misty, Tracy, and Gary? Maybe even a few nameless extras there for a party? Instead its just Oak and Delia, along with Ash's Pokemon. That's disappointing and truly shows how much lifeless the world can feel these days.

I think there are two reasons for this.

One is that a scene like that, with multiple unique character designs + Pokemon, is intensive for animators and would require a lot of voice work from actors/actresses they might not be able to get back in. Ash's Kanto league got a celebration when the only relevant characters outside of the main trio were Gary, Delia and Prof. Oak. The scale's completely different.

The other reason is too many cooks spoiling the broth. Even if it were just Brock, Misty, Gary and Tracy, that's four extra characters the story has to account for, give dialogue to, give a reason why they aren't going camping with Ash, etc. The episode was about Ash and Goh and what their future might be, so it's stripped back to the basic necessities for that story to happen. Imagine having all the companions there and then shoving them off screen because they're not relevant to the story.
 
Serena is one of my favorite characters in Pokémon. I'm getting exhausted of seeing people think of her as an object instead of a person, along with the constant arguments about her on this forum. I've been keeping quiet about it for the most part, but I feel like I need to say something at this point. Especially considering the fact that JN105 made my entire year, and caused me to seek self-improvement, like going to the gym, cooking new foods, and working on projects again. If Serena never separated from Ash, that episode would've never happened, and now it's one of my favorite Pokémon episodes of all time.

Serena's crush on Ash began because Ash helped her out at Professor Oak's Summer Camp, which Serena didn't even want to go to. Serena was clearly not happy with her life at that point, while it was established that Ash always remained happy and proud of who he is, even back then. Serena getting out of her comfort zone and meeting someone who is so optimistic and confident gave her hope, and sent a strong message early on that "when in doubt, give stuff a try". When Serena sees Ash on TV again years later, we can see that Serena is still not happy with her life at home, while Ash has been putting himself out there and doing exciting things for a long time at that point. Serena realizes that, if Ash is still putting himself out there, she can make up for lost time and try to put herself out there too. Serena taking risks and trying out new things is one of the defining aspects of her character.

Throughout XY, we can see that Serena takes what she learns from Ash seriously, and improves herself in the process. Through watching Ash's gym battle with Grant, we can see that Serena starts to understand how hard Ash has to work to win, and that anything in life can take a solid amount of work. We see Serena try out various activities, like the Poké Puffs competition, Poké Vision, and fishing, further getting her out of her comfort zone. When Serena attends Professor Sycamore's summer camp, we can see that she is now really determined to find a dream, after being surrounded by people that all have goals. Once Shauna introduces Serena to Pokémon Showcases, she gives it a try after practicing for multiple episodes. When the time comes, she ends up messing up in front of a large audience. She keeps her thoughts about the whole thing bottled up, and self-reflects while putting on a fake happy face for everyone. Eventually, when she cries at the pier, it's because she thought about how she took multiple risks just to get to where she is today, only to fail miserably. She remembered Ash's optimism, she argued with her mother on how much this dream means to her, she gave up an easy life at home to try out something difficult, and more, all for it to seemingly go to waste. Serena decides to stay strong though, as she realizes that she's a "challenger". The fact that she cares so much about her performer dream that she cried her heart out means that it has a deep meaning to her. She cuts her hair, and her character becomes more confident at this point.

After the haircut, we can see that Serena begins to take her career seriously. A lot of the best Serena episodes at this point don't even focus on Ash that much. When Serena meets Aria in XY064, she tries to figure out how she can trust her Pokémon more and have more faith in her abilities, with Ash not accompanying her. In XY080, after her skirt gets ruined, Serena gets flashbacks from XY060 and almost feels like giving up. However, she remember's Ash's "never give up until the very end" and pulls herself together. This scene shows how she used what she learned from Ash to motivate herself, without Ash actually giving her advice in that moment. When Serena catches Eevee in XY089, Ash plays a minimal role in the episode. Eevee's shyness can be seen as representing how Serena felt unsure at the start of her journey, and Serena came up with the idea of drawing out Eevee with a performance all on her own. Serena feeling confident that her skills can bring out the best in Eevee is symbolic of how Serena learned to become more confident earlier herself. There's also Serena's interactions with Palermo, which is notable because Ash, Clemont, or Bonnie never meet Palermo. Palermo is representive of Serena's inner demons, and Serena takes her advice seriously and tries to make sense of it on her own. After critically thinking about Palermo's advice, Serena learns on her own that she wants to perform because she wants to give back to others and make them happy. This is representative of how Serena was not happy before she began her journey, and by working hard on her dream, she is able to channel her newfound happiness towards other people. We can also see this again in the Team Flare arc, when Serena offers on her own to help Mairin find Chespie. She took something she learned from the Master Class, and channeled it into something unrelated to it through helping Mairin, because Serena just wants to give people hope and make them happier.

To sum everything up, Serena's crush on Ash gave her a positive outlook on the world, and motivated her to learn more about herself and how to move her life into a better direction. When she kisses Ash at the end of XY, it was to show that she's no longer the shy girl that can't even give back Ash his backpack. This was a new Serena that was willing to put herself out there, take risks, have confidence in herself, and never give up until the very end. If Serena stayed with Ash at the end of XY, it would completely change her narrative. It would make Serena seem insecure in my opinion, as it would imply that she can't be happy at all unless she's with Ash, as well as her relying on his guidance instead of taking what she learned from him to heart. Serena tackling Pokémon Showcases on her own already shows that she can find happiness in other ways, and it helps her self-esteem to not rely on someone for all of her life decisions. Ash has clearly demonstrated over the show's history that he's happy with who he is on his own, and Serena also deserves a happier life for herself than staying at home all day practicing Rhyhorn Racing. There's also the fact that, if she continued traveling with Ash, her options would be more restricted, as she would have to work her schedule around everything Ash does. It worked for XY because the Showcases were along the same route as the gyms, but Serena wouldn't be able to continue Showcases if she followed Ash to Alola, taking away her newfound dream in the process.

Overall, Ash and Serena can reunite once again at any point in the future. I believe that they will see each other at some point again, even after JN105. However, I do think it's important that Serena focuses on herself as a person. As she learned in XY, she has so much more to live for than just being Ash's love interest. She is a person who pushed herself outside of her comfort zone, took a risk and tried to find a passion, and wants to use that passion to make the world a better place. Serena feels like she wants to be an equal to Ash, as stated in the last XY episode, so making herself a better person is necessary if she doesn't want to feel lesser than Ash. Serena doesn't have a blind crush on Ash just because of fanservice or wish-fulfillment, it's because Ash improved her outlook on life and inspired her to make her life better. I feel like just seeing Serena as "Ash's wife" and nothing more takes a lot out of her identity, and just makes it seem like her entire character is just focused on Ash only. Instead, by becoming an equal to Ash, she can become someone who is happy with who she truly is, rather than only being happy just because she's with Ash.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge the arguments that frequently happen on these forums regarding Serena and Amourshipping. Specifically, something I notice a lot is people arguing things like "Serena's crush is one sided", or "Ash will never be in a romantic relationship". To this, I'll say that while people can believe whatever they want, shutting people down for enjoying Amourshipping can be just as toxic as forcing people to like it. Whatever I say regarding these comments won't change anyone's mind if they are already set in their ways, so I don't really care to argue about them myself. I personally choose to ignore these kinds of comments most of the time. However, if you do watch XY, you can see that Ash does genuinely care about Serena to some capacity. There is definitely some merit to scenes like Ash taking Serena to a clothing store in XY138, or him complimenting Serena's outfit in XY080. Ash wouldn't do those things for the sake of it. But I digress. My point is that Pokémon could always surprise us someday; the fact that Amourshipping exists at all to the extent that it does would be seen as alien in earlier seasons. To me, it has similar energy as things like "Ash will never win a league", or "Ash will never use his reserves again", and I don't think anything in this show should be entirely discounted. We don't know what the future has in store. For now, my mentality is let people think whatever they want. I could care less if people think Amourshipping is one-sided, or if Ash will never be in a romantic relationship, but what I do care about is people stating their opinions as facts and making others feel bad for thinking in a certain way. It's ultimately harmless at the end of the day, I don't see a reason to make it harmful for others.

One last thing. I do think the "Ash and Serena should get married" comments should stop being shoved into every thread. For some reason, it always brings out toxic energy in people, and turns entire pages of unrelated threads into these repeated arguments. As a Serena fan, it honestly makes me really sad. Serena is a fantastic character and deserves much better than that. I also think that threads for episodes should actually talk about the episodes themselves, not a character who isn't featured in them. That's all I'll say regarding that.
 
I am fully convinced someone on the writing team or whomever decides how these episodes play out firmly hates the Goodra line. They relish in showing it knocked out whenever the opportunity presents itself, with the species barely getting any clean wins if any at all.
 
Serena certainly is a more interesting character people give her credit for, and I'm glad some people recognise that. I do have a couple of points of contention, though...

Serena's crush on Ash began because Ash helped her out at Professor Oak's Summer Camp, which Serena didn't even want to go to. Serena was clearly not happy with her life at that point, while it was established that Ash always remained happy and proud of who he is, even back then. Serena getting out of her comfort zone and meeting someone who is so optimistic and confident gave her hope, and sent a strong message early on that "when in doubt, give stuff a try". When Serena sees Ash on TV again years later, we can see that Serena is still not happy with her life at home, while Ash has been putting himself out there and doing exciting things for a long time at that point. Serena realizes that, if Ash is still putting himself out there, she can make up for lost time and try to put herself out there too. Serena taking risks and trying out new things is one of the defining aspects of her character.

I don't think Ash throwing himself off a tower to his and Pikachu's untimely demise qualifies as "putting himself out there and doing exciting things". Well, I suppose it is exciting, in a morbid way.

In any case, Serena heads out for the express purpose of returning a handkerchief to Ash and meeting him again, not to try new things. Once she accomplishes her goal, she literally has no clue what to do with herself, which doesn't strike me as someone eager to take risks for the sake of self-discovery or to make up lost time. It strikes me as someone who just wanted to meet their crush again and had a convenient excuse to do.

This is why it's impossible to analyse her character without talking about the shipping stuff. Her entire starting motivation revolves around a crush which, strictly speaking, didn't have to exist. So when you say...

Serena doesn't have a blind crush on Ash just because of fanservice or wish-fulfillment, it's because Ash improved her outlook on life and inspired her to make her life better.

...you have to wonder if that's actually true.

Because we've established Serena's character works just fine without it. She can be inspired by people she isn't crushing on just fine. It's not like it's a requirement. Yet, it exists, for the same reason any shipping in Pokemon exists: because people like it when girls are crushing on Ash. Or, more specifically, your protagonist looks cooler when he's popular with the ladies, and Yajima was nothing if not intent on making Ash look like a cool little boy.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge the arguments that frequently happen on these forums regarding Serena and Amourshipping. Specifically, something I notice a lot is people arguing things like "Serena's crush is one sided", or "Ash will never be in a romantic relationship". To this, I'll say that while people can believe whatever they want, shutting people down for enjoying Amourshipping can be just as toxic as forcing people to like it. Whatever I say regarding these comments won't change anyone's mind if they are already set in their ways, so I don't really care to argue about them myself. I personally choose to ignore these kinds of comments most of the time. However, if you do watch XY, you can see that Ash does genuinely care about Serena to some capacity. There is definitely some merit to scenes like Ash taking Serena to a clothing store in XY138, or him complimenting Serena's outfit in XY080. Ash wouldn't do those things for the sake of it. But I digress. My point is that Pokémon could always surprise us someday; the fact that Amourshipping exists at all to the extent that it does would be seen as alien in earlier seasons. To me, it has similar energy as things like "Ash will never win a league", or "Ash will never use his reserves again", and I don't think anything in this show should be entirely discounted. We don't know what the future has in store. For now, my mentality is let people think whatever they want. I could care less if people think Amourshipping is one-sided, or if Ash will never be in a romantic relationship, but what I do care about is people stating their opinions as facts and making others feel bad for thinking in a certain way. It's ultimately harmless at the end of the day, I don't see a reason to make it harmful for others.

I don't much care for the ship, but I just want to play devil's advocate here for a moment. Ash genuinely caring about someone isn't much of a measuring stick, given it's a universal part of his character that's present in every single season of the show. For every instance of Ash doing something for Serena, I could raise you a similar instance with his other female companions.

By and large, I agree with the sentiment of the show "surprising" us by reversing trends and doing things we thought they wouldn't. However, the comparison here doesn't really work for me, and I'll explain why.

Ash winning a league was an inevitability, because we could see how he was good enough to do so, and how the show had to come up with increasingly nonsensical ways to stop him winning. The narrative had to bend itself out of shape so Ash couldn't win the big one.

The same cannot be said about Amour or any other ship in the show, because there's no compelling, in universe reason for Ash to enter a relationship with anybody. There's no inevitability to it, and the story doesn't have to do much to justify it not happening. It doesn't break people's suspension of disbelief, like losing to a random dude with legendries does.

So I don't quite get the same vibe about it you seem to do. Armour was as prevalent as it was because one director wanted it that way, but the show hasn't cared about it since. It HAS cared about Ash winning tournaments.
 
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Serena certainly is a more interesting character people give her credit for, and I'm glad some people recognise that. I do have a couple of points of contention, though...



I don't think Ash throwing himself off a tower to his and Pikachu's untimely demise qualifies as "putting himself out there and doing exciting things". Well, I suppose it is exciting, in a morbid way.

In any case, Serena heads out for the express purpose of returning a handkerchief to Ash and meeting him again, not to try new things. Once she accomplishes her goal, she literally has no clue what to do with herself, which doesn't strike me as someone eager to take risks for the sake of self-discovery or to make up lost time. It strikes me as someone who just wanted to meet their crush again and had a convenient excuse to do.

This is why it's impossible to analyse her character without talking about the shipping stuff. Her entire starting motivation revolves around a crush which, strictly speaking, didn't have to exist. So when you say...



...you have to wonder if that's actually true.

Because we've established Serena's characters works just fine without it. She can be inspired by people she isn't crushing on just fine. It's not like it's a requirement. Yet, it exists, for the same reason any shipping in Pokemon exists: because people like it when girls are crushing on Ash. Or, more specifically, your protagonist looks cooler when he's popular with the ladies, and Yajima was nothing if not intent on making Ash look like a cool little boy.



I don't much care for the ship, but I just want to play devil's advocate here for a moment. Ash genuinely caring about someone isn't much of a measuring stick, given it's a universal part of his character that's present in every single season of the show. For every instance of Ash doing something for Serena, I could raise you a similar instance with his other female companions.

By and large, I agree with the sentiment of the show "surprising" us by reversing trends and doing things we thought they wouldn't. However, the comparison here doesn't really work for me, and I'll explain why.

Ash winning a league was an inevitability, because we could see how he was good enough to do so, and how the show had to come up with increasingly nonsensical ways to stop him winning. The narrative had to bend itself out of shape so Ash couldn't win the big one.

The same cannot be said about Amour or any other ship in the show, because there's no compelling, in universe reason for Ash to enter a relationship with anybody. There's no inevitability to it, and the story doesn't have to do much to justify it not happening. It doesn't break people's suspension of disbelief, like losing to a random dude with legendries does.

So I don't quite get the same vibe about it you seem to do. Armour was as prevalent as it was because one director wanted it that way, but the show hasn't cared about it since. It HAS cared about Ash winning tournaments.
I don't really care to argue about this too much, especially considering you admitted that you don't care about Amourshipping. This will be my only time responding to you. It's not just the fact that Ash jumped off the Lumiose Tower, it's the fact that he's in Kalos to begin with. Serena remembers meeting him in Kanto, so just the fact that he left his hometown at all speaks volumes about how Ash is putting himself out there. He's not content staying at home like Serena was, and him being on TV was proof of that. Serena getting out of the house just to return the handkerchief is trying a new thing on its own merits too. At that point, it's implied that Serena has never done anything like that for anyone else before. Leaving her house just to meet up with a stranger is a bold move, but one that she impulsively took on regardless. She didn't even know if she would actually meet up with Ash again as a guaranteed thing, or if she did, what would come out of that encounter. However, she made the effort and tried to return it anyway.

I won't deny that her starting motivation relies on a crush. But I also don't see why that is a bad thing either. When Ash helps out Serena during the flashback, he says "never give up until the very end", which Serena repeats in episodes like XY080, XY113, and XY128. We can see that she remembered the quotes Ash told her in XY113 and XY138 as well, and how she made them a part of her identify by JN105. Serena lives by Ash's quotes because they helped with her mentality and self-improvement. That alone does not make it a blind crush to me, because her life genuinely got better thanks to Ash's advice. Also, Ash genuinely caring about someone is nothing new for his character, but those specific examples I mentioned are things he only did with Serena and no other companion. I watched all of Sun & Moon not too long ago, and Ash hated the idea of shopping with Mallow, Lana, and Lillie. He also never really compliments a girl's outfit that much ever, it's pretty rare. It's not a lot, but the fact that those scenes exist in XY to begin with make them outliers.

Lastly, the fact that romance is allowed in XY at all leaves the idea of a relationship in a gray area. The characters aren't allowed to age, so nothing will actually happen for now. However, the show actually did care to bring up Amourshipping since XY ended. JN105 could have still happened without the Ash and Serena scene at the end, so the writers deliberately chose to pick up that plotline again for whatever reason. For now, nothing is being done with it, but the fact that they opened the doors on it again means that it was never permanently closed to begin with.
 
Lastly, I want to acknowledge the arguments that frequently happen on these forums regarding Serena and Amourshipping. Specifically, something I notice a lot is people arguing things like "Serena's crush is one sided", or "Ash will never be in a romantic relationship". To this, I'll say that while people can believe whatever they want, shutting people down for enjoying Amourshipping can be just as toxic as forcing people to like it. Whatever I say regarding these comments won't change anyone's mind if they are already set in their ways, so I don't really care to argue about them myself. I personally choose to ignore these kinds of comments most of the time. However, if you do watch XY, you can see that Ash does genuinely care about Serena to some capacity. There is definitely some merit to scenes like Ash taking Serena to a clothing store in XY138, or him complimenting Serena's outfit in XY080. Ash wouldn't do those things for the sake of it. But I digress. My point is that Pokémon could always surprise us someday; the fact that Amourshipping exists at all to the extent that it does would be seen as alien in earlier seasons. To me, it has similar energy as things like "Ash will never win a league", or "Ash will never use his reserves again", and I don't think anything in this show should be entirely discounted. We don't know what the future has in store. For now, my mentality is let people think whatever they want. I could care less if people think Amourshipping is one-sided, or if Ash will never be in a romantic relationship, but what I do care about is people stating their opinions as facts and making others feel bad for thinking in a certain way. It's ultimately harmless at the end of the day, I don't see a reason to make it harmful for others.

One last thing. I do think the "Ash and Serena should get married" comments should stop being shoved into every thread. For some reason, it always brings out toxic energy in people, and turns entire pages of unrelated threads into these repeated arguments. As a Serena fan, it honestly makes me really sad. Serena is a fantastic character and deserves much better than that. I also think that threads for episodes should actually talk about the episodes themselves, not a character who isn't featured in them. That's all I'll say regarding that.
Just to clarify, I have no problem with people wanting Ash to end up in a relationship or to be with Serena. I do have a problem with people treating Serena as nothing more than an object for Ash, something that has been pretty consistent since XY, and demanding for them to end up married with kids in a time skip. That's why I've been saying that Ash won't be in a romantic relationship. I'm not trying to shut down people who like the pairing or want that to happen. I don't want to make people feel bad for liking the pairing, but I don't think it makes sense to demand for the anime to cater to their favorite pairing either.

I'd hesitate to call the energy from these discussions toxic exactly either. Maybe I just have a different idea of what a toxic discussion looks like after dealing with so much Journeys backlash, but as annoying as these off-topic "Ash and Serena should get married" discussions in the preview threads have been, I wouldn't call them toxic. It does make me sad though since I hate it when people treat Serena as just the girl with a crush on Ash though.
 
I don't have any problem with Amourshipping, but I don't like how people act like that's all there is to her character. She's so much more than the ship. She's someone with hopes and dreams. She's someone that wants to inspire others in a positive manner. She's not some object for Ash and she's so much more than her crush on him. She's a great character. I still remember we had a rather toxic user long ago that used to sit here and rant about how she was a horrible character simply for having a crush on Ash. It was pretty ridiculous to criticize her for that aspect, but even if you don't like the ship, there's so much more to her than it. I was so happy with her return episode because it showed that there really is more to her, if you never realized before. I love that she's making her own efforts to improve as a preformer and use what she learned from Ash and her own journey to inspire others.

I don't hate the ship though. I do get tired of it geing brought up at every opportunity though, even when its not relevant to the discussion. Too frequently discussions have gone from whatever to being about Amourshipping and how there should be a time skip and Ash and Serena should be married. I don't hate the idea at all. You shouldn't hold onto much hope though and expect stuff like a time skip with Ash and Serena getting married right now. Nothing is impossible, but this is the Pokemon anime. They've never shown an interest in exploring the series after a time skip. I just wouldn't expect it.
 
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I am fully convinced someone on the writing team or whomever decides how these episodes play out firmly hates the Goodra line. They relish in showing it knocked out whenever the opportunity presents itself, with the species barely getting any clean wins if any at all.
There's actually quite a few Pokemon who seem to exist almost exclusively to be punching bags and nothing else. Aside from Goodra, there's also:
  • Starmie hasn't appeared much since the Original Series ended, but back in the day it seemed to exist just to be brutally defeated every time it was used in a battle: Misty's Starmie has only ever won one fight throughout its career, and it's become pretty infamous in some circles of the Pokeani fandom because of this, and just to rub salt in the wound, Misty's Staryu has a much better win record and battle performance despite being the pre-evolved form; a boy's Starmie had its core shattered by Gentleman's Raticate; in the Orange Islands Misty defeated one with a wild Golduck (which she mistook for her Psyduck), and Ash's Squirtle defeated Rudy's Starmie in one of the Gym challenges, even though that one knew Thunderbolt. The fact that the species' appearances are so scarce and minor these days is honestly almost a blessing in comparison. Almost.
  • Machamp is another Pokemon that seems to exist almost solely to be knocked out, although unlike with Starmie, Machamp is at the very least usually meant to be seen as actual threat, so here it's more of a case of the Machamp species being a victim of what TVTropes calls "The Worf Effect", likely due to its status as the OG Fighting-type. However, I'd still argue that the writers have gone a bit too far here, because I actually can't even remember the last time a Machamp has actually been shown winning anything besides the one Jessie borrowed from Giovanni beating Ash's Squirtle; literally every other time a Machamp has been in a fight, it's lost without taking out even a single opponent. Heck, in the Johto League they even showed Harrison defeating a Machamp with his Sneasel of all things. So yeah, it seems that Machamp's main purpose in a fight is to put on a tough guy display so that whatever defeats it can look good. If only Machamp could actually, you know, back up said display every once in a while.
  • The entire Timburr line seems to be in a similar position to Machamp, although less egregious due to its appearances being significantly more minor. Perhaps the most notable example of this was the one Trip used, as it was always defeated every time Trip used it. And notably, the very first opponent that Ash's Farfetch'd beat in an official fight was a Gurdurr.
  • Jolteon seems to be TPCi's least favorite Eeveelution, if not their most outright disliked, if the way it's been treated whenever it battles is any indication. The only time a Jolteon ever won a battle was in the "Jigglypuff seen from above" episode, where one defeated Ash's rental Arbok. In Johto, the Kimono Girls' Jolteon lost to Pikachu in like two hits, and later in Sinnoh, Volkner's Jolteon was pummeled by Infernape. That all pales in comparison to the absolutely abhorrent way Origins treated it, though, but I've complained about that enough times already. The only thing that prevents Jolteon from being as egregious as the other examples is the fact that it's still an Eeveelution at the end of the day, so it does at least get plenty of prominent positive portrayals in non-battling roles. It's barely a consolation prize, though, because battles are the highlight of the franchise.
I'm probably missing a few others, but these four are the ones that stood out to me the most in terms of Pokemon that seem to have a lot of haters in the writing or executive team.
 
Guess what? She’s never seeing Ash again. The last time they saw each other was for 30 seconds
So honestly what? Why does the fandom even care about Serena instead of some other companion? Yes, because she’s shipping fodder.

At this point I’m sorry for the point blank rudeness but somehow, every topic shifting back to Amourshipping is annoying. It has reduced Serena to just shipping fodder, and some creepy fantasies where people can’t wait for just Ash to have a wife, and which by default is Serena. Firstly, Ash is supposed to be ten, and secondly, who marries the first girl who liked them at the age of 10? Other than not objecting to the kiss and blushing (which every 10 year old who got kissed is going to do, by the way) Ash has shown no special attachment compared to say Misty, or Go.
"Serena as a wife" is a troupe I feel like is popularised due to XY's shounen style, and I feel it reduces her character as just "Ash's girl" (yuck). Not to mention the unnecessarily heated passion over who a 10 year old is going to marry rings me the wrong way.
At this point I hope they show a flash forward of Ash marrying a faceless woman or Go just so it shows that not every crush gets fulfilled and the weird fantasies on here can end. Serena is not just a character meant to be Ash's wife.

If the kiss was removed from the narrative, half the discussions devolving to Amourshipping would end, and that is just enough evidence I need.

At this point if I were to support a ship, Ash and Go ironically enough have had the best character development moments where BOTH learn and grow with each other. I'm just annoyed of going into each thread and seeing an irrelevant Amourshipping discussion.
/rant
 
but those specific examples I mentioned are things he only did with Serena and no other companion.
When Ash helps out Serena during the flashback, he says "never give up until the very end", which Serena repeats in episodes like XY080, XY113, and XY128.
Serena lives by Ash's quotes because they helped with her mentality and self-improvement.
Except that Ash has helped out with motivation and such to MANY people and not just Serena. Ash has helped out Dawn, Go and others with identity and not giving up too.
Ash hated the idea of shopping with Mallow, Lana, and Lillie. He also never really compliments a girl's outfit that much ever, it's pretty rare. It's not a lot, but the fact that those scenes exist in XY to begin with make them outliers.
Well, you have picked a series that happens to be the polar opposite of XY in tone. SM has been pretty comedic and the very specific scenes you mention are used to further the (pretty sexist) troupe of "men do not want to shop". Using a conventional series gag versus a character moment in a tonally opposite series is for the lack of a better word, pretty picky.

In XY, the tone is of a conventional Shounen anime where the protagonist is depicted more like a teen, and the other party already has romantic intentions. Whereas, SM is the tonal inverse where romance is not the focus at all, Ash is more true to 10 years old, and none of the girls who mention hold romantic aspirations towards him. This is not a valid comparison. You might as well comparing Doraemon and Crayon Shinchan.

I'm not particularly opposed to Amourshipping but the fact that it comes at the expense of literally every discussion here, and the obsession with her being his wife, my opinion has been pretty sour.
 
Machamp is another Pokemon that seems to exist almost solely to be knocked out, although unlike with Starmie, Machamp is at the very least usually meant to be seen as actual threat, so here it's more of a case of the Machamp species being a victim of what TVTropes calls "The Worf Effect", likely due to its status as the OG Fighting-type. However, I'd still argue that the writers have gone a bit too far here, because I actually can't even remember the last time a Machamp has actually been shown winning anything besides the one Jessie borrowed from Giovanni beating Ash's Squirtle; literally every other time a Machamp has been in a fight, it's lost without taking out even a single opponent. Heck, in the Johto League they even showed Harrison defeating a Machamp with his Sneasel of all things. So yeah, it seems that Machamp's main purpose in a fight is to put on a tough guy display so that whatever defeats it can look good. If only Machamp could actually, you know, back up said display every once in a while.
Oh man, I just now remembered Squirtle defeating Raymond's Machamp with just a Bubble Beam in the first movie.

Jolteon seems to be TPCi's least favorite Eeveelution, if not their most outright disliked, if the way it's been treated whenever it battles is any indication. The only time a Jolteon ever won a battle was in the "Jigglypuff seen from above" episode, where one defeated Ash's rental Arbok. In Johto, the Kimono Girls' Jolteon lost to Pikachu in like two hits, and later in Sinnoh, Volkner's Jolteon was pummeled by Infernape. That all pales in comparison to the absolutely abhorrent way Origins treated it, though, but I've complained about that enough times already. The only thing that prevents Jolteon from being as egregious as the other examples is the fact that it's still an Eeveelution at the end of the day, so it does at least get plenty of prominent positive portrayals in non-battling roles. It's barely a consolation prize, though, because battles are the highlight of the franchise.
This one really stings because I love Jolteon.
 
There's actually quite a few Pokemon who seem to exist almost exclusively to be punching bags and nothing else. Aside from Goodra, there's also:
I'm quite fond of everything on that list other than the Timburr line.:(

It's barely a consolation prize, though, because battles are the highlight of the franchise.
Well, GameFreak seems to think captures are based off the recent games (the official site's announcement for Scarlet/Violet even openly said battling and capturing wild Pokémon is the "true joy of the series". Now the word battling is there but let's be honest 99% of wild battles are just hoping the RNG makes the ball work rather than much interesting happening).
I actually won't be too surprised if Ash is shifted to mass captures of barely seen Pokémon with minimal battles sometimes in the next few series' after him reaching the apex of single battles per Tomioka's interview.
 
Amourshipping actually affects me on a deep personal level, so that's why I care about it. I'm well aware of how Ash has impacted every main character in some way, I made a long comment about it back in the JN132 thread. However, when I had an emotional breakdown for a week after JN105 aired, I tried to figure out why. It got me thinking back to an actual dating experience I had during college a few years ago, which happened after XY aired. A girl I met in one of my classes liked me enough to ask me for my phone number, gave me a poster for Your Name from the movie theater she worked at, and took me out on a date one time. She was a nerd like I was too. I never had an experience like that before ever, so I felt as nervous as Serena does when Miette teases her. However, it was a crucial learning experience for me. Back then, I was too shy and nervous to make anything of it. However, in hindsight, I realized it's because she liked me for who I was. I was working hard on video game development at the time, I had positive energy around people, and I'm sensitive and considerate of others. Unfortunately, I felt some red flags about her. I hated how she skipped the finals of a class we were both in, I hated that she smoked, and she didn't seem to be completely reliable. I feel like I dodged a bullet by not seeing her more, but it was obvious that she did love me in some way. When you actually experience something like that in real life, shipping hits harder than ever before.

There's also the fact that I heavily relate to Serena as a character in general. I go into it a lot in the dub review thread for JN105, but to sum it up, I see a lot of qualities in myself in Serena. That feeling of embarrassing yourself on stage in front of everyone and feeling like giving up, only to come out stronger for it, reminds me of when I was presenting a video game I made one time. When Serena denies a mentorship from Palermo because she feels like she'll rely on Palermo too much, it hits really hard for me as well, because I did have a mentor that took complete control of my life, and I felt miserable. Serena's entire character is about overcoming hurdles in order to make people happy, and it embodies what I've been through as a person myself. I know what it feels like, since I have received many comments on the videos on my YouTube channel, and I've even seen one comment saying that they were having a bad day and used my video to escape their problems. The fact that I can bring a source of joy to people, in the same way that Serena can, brings me immense happiness. On top of all of this, Serena's crush on Ash is because she felt inspired by his positivity and "never give up" attitude. The fact that a girl in real life can like me for the same reasons, even though she wasn't the best person herself, gives me hope that I can find the one someday. I feel like I'm at a point in my life where I want to try dating more in general, so Amourshipping has been spiritually guiding me in figuring out what to look for in a relationship.

Overall, Amourshipping has more of an educational value to me than any of the other Ash ships. It taught me that core values are very important, as both people need to have a similar outlook on life. Ash and Serena both want to work hard to make their dreams come true, as JN105 reiterates, and they both want to do what they do to make their world a better place. It's also important for people to hear each other out on their problems and come to an understanding of each other, as XY121 shows. It teaches us about commitment and having confidence in yourself, as Serena went from being too nervous to ask Ash to be her date in XY105, to kissing him in front of everyone at the airport in XY140. It also teaches us that people can like each other for who we are as people, and enforces gender-equality and mutual respect. Yes, Ash has had many similar interactions with other female characters across the show's history. With that said, the fact that Serena has a crush on Ash because she feels inspired by his kindness, confidence, and outgoingness shows that we can have crushes on people in the real world for similar reasons. That's what makes Amourshipping so great to me, and why it's the only ship I care about. The fact that some people think Amourshipping only exists because "your protagonist looks cooler when he's popular with the ladies" comes off as sexist to me, and misses the entire point of Amourshipping's existence.

To me, I like Amourshipping because I can relate to both Ash and Serena individually on a personal level, and their motivations for improving their lives match mine. It has nothing to do with wish-fulfillment and seeing Ash with a girl for the sake of it. I have been going to the gym and working out a few days a week, I can cook my own meals, I use the laundry frequently, I go get groceries when I have to, I'm well aware of the public transportation system and how to use it, I'm working a job at home, I graduated from college in high honors, I have a YouTube channel with over 700 subscribers, and more. I feel like I really used this year to figure my life out, and I am very happy with who I currently am. Essentially, I figured out that Serena likes Ash because he figured himself out, compared to someone like Tierno, who only compliments Serena on her looks, is overweight, and never actually asks Serena about her life that much. I need to be more like Ash and less like Tierno. People are allowed to think whatever they want about Amourshipping, and they are allowed to dislike it or get nothing out of it. However, Amourshipping inspired me to move my life forward, and I can't really say any other ship has ever done that for me. Even if Ash has helped out other characters like May and Dawn, the way he specifically helped Serena stands out to me. No one can ever really take away what I learned and got out of Amourshipping, so even if people disagree with me, I own up to what I say and use it to move my life forward. If I ever get a girlfriend in the future, it won't be because I "look like a cool boy", it will be because I became the greatest person I can be, and found the right person at the right time. That's what I got out of Amourshipping at least.
 
This one really stings because I love Jolteon.
Yeah, same. Heck, sometimes I feel like even the games have something against Jolteon, since they seem to be on a crusade to make it as terrible as possible since Gen 8 due to the fact that they got rid of nearly all of its useable coverage moves and didn't give it anything new in return to make up for that (besides maybe Calm Mind, I guess)... I wonder if the franchise's bias against this precious spiky baby warrants the creation of a Jolteon Defense Gang. I would join in a heartbeat.

I'm quite fond of everything on that list other than the Timburr line.:(
Dang... that's rough, buddy. I mean it. :(

Well, GameFreak seems to think captures are based off the recent games (the official site's announcement for Scarlet/Violet even openly said battling and capturing wild Pokémon is the "true joy of the series". Now the word battling is there but let's be honest 99% of wild battles are just hoping the RNG makes the ball work rather than much interesting happening).
I actually won't be too surprised if Ash is shifted to mass captures of barely seen Pokémon with minimal battles sometimes in the next few series' after him reaching the apex of single battles per Tomioka's interview.
It'd be an interesting shift for sure, but idk if turning Ash into the next Goh is the best idea, given how polarizing Goh's reception was. Maybe if they show Ash interacting with these new captures more than Goh was shown interacting with his...
 
The fact that some people think Amourshipping only exists because "your protagonist looks cooler when he's popular with the ladies" comes off as sexist to me, and misses the entire point of Amourshipping's existence.

I know you said you wouldn't reply to me, but since you're basically calling me out for making a sexist comment, I feel I should have the right to respond.

Reading your comments on Amour, the actual romance behind it - that is, the tension between two people attracted to one another and how they act on it - is irrelevant to Serena's overall character growth. Ash inspired her to try live her best life, but that isn't something that's inherently romantic. Ash inspired Clement in a similar way, but you didn't see Clement crushing on Ash, did you? No, it was only the female character who manifested romantic feelings, and that's completely deliberate on the director's part.

When you see his other prominent Pokemon work (Power of Us) and read his comments on how he likes to portray Ash as a character, it's completely believable he'd include these shipping elements to reinforce that image. It's even more believable given how common this is in fiction in general. It's popular convention because people like it and I don't think there's anything wrong or even sexist about admitting that. Swap the genders round and the logic remains the same.

And to be clear, I have zero issues with Ash and Serena as a prominent relationship in the show. I just find the shipping part of it arbitrary.
 
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