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Controversial opinions

I didn't say that this was a last minute decision. I just said based on how the series was handled during its first year, I don't think that this was their ultimate goal form the start. It felt more like a decision made around the middle of the series, possibly when the PWC started to have more prominent role. It certainly makes the first year of the series look even worse, especially with how the PWC was handled during that time, if they always planned to replace Ash.
 
I didn't say that this was a last minute decision. I just said based on how the series was handled during its first year, I don't think that this was their ultimate goal form the start. It felt more like a decision made around the middle of the series, possibly when the PWC started to have more prominent role. It certainly makes the first year of the series look even worse, especially with how the PWC was handled during that time, if they always planned to replace Ash.
The stakes were already drastically higher than previous series from the very beginning of Journeys. There was nothing done during the middle of the series that changed the end goal of the World Championships. That’s why I have a hard time believing this was not their goal from the start, because it was. We were given clear rules and expectations, and Journeys went with those rules from start to finish.
 
I didn't say that this was a last minute decision. I just said based on how the series was handled during its first year, I don't think that this was their ultimate goal form the start. It felt more like a decision made around the middle of the series, possibly when the PWC started to have more prominent role. It certainly makes the first year of the series look even worse, especially with how the PWC was handled during that time, if they always planned to replace Ash.
I echo this sentiment. It doesn't matter how grandiose the concept was, the execution left much to be desired with the world tour and region-hopping format that felt all over the place. Actually, outside of Goh's existence, I think the biggest complaint about Journeys among fans was the lack of direction for the series. If Ash's departure was planned from the start or whatever, I feel like we'd see a lot more foreshadowing and focus on his character, battles, and story arc. We wouldn't need a final 11 episode epilogue to wrap up loose ends or give final closure to a character or his friends.

Stakes means very little in the grand scheme of the series writing by the way - staff can make the biggest tournament in the world or catching an elusive Legendary feel inconsequential all in the same season.
 
The stakes were already drastically higher than previous series from the very beginning of Journeys. There was nothing done during the middle of the series that changed the end goal of the World Championships. That’s why I have a hard time believing this was not their goal from the start, because it was. We were given clear rules and expectations, and Journeys went with those rules from start to finish.
I'm not talking about the stakes. I'm taking about the execution of the PWC. The vast majority of Ash's PWC battles for roughly the first half of the tournament were one-on-one battles against one shot characters with random Pokemon. Ash defeating nobodies with Pokemon like Tauros and Elekid don't give off the impression that they were always planning on replacing Ash by winning the PWC. Ash had so many off-screen battles to boot during the first half of the tournament too. What changed around halfway through the series is that the PWC started to get more attention. Ash didn't have any off-screen battles and his remaining opponents were all characters from the games. His matches were the main focus of an episode as opposed to being a footnote or setup for the episode's real plot like most of his PWC matches during the first two classes were. That's why it feels like they could have potentially made the decision to replace Ash around this point when the tournament became a bigger deal. Despite how fans hyped up the PWC from the moment it was introduced, it did not feel like a big deal with how the first two classes were handled.

If they really did intend for this to be Ash's sendoff series from the beginning, that would really make the PWC look even worse. Wasting so much time on one shot battles instead of going all out from the start would make it feel even more of a poorly organized mess. When I saw Ash battling against random one-shot characters, I didn't think that they were setting up this grand stage for the climax of Ash's journey as the main character. I thought that they wanted Ash to have a goal where they didn't have to devote a whole episode to all of his battles. They wanted to give him quick and easy matches that they could wrap up as soon as possible so that they could move on to the next episode or the real plot.
 
I'm not talking about the stakes. I'm taking about the execution of the PWC. The vast majority of Ash's PWC battles for roughly the first half of the tournament were one-on-one battles against one shot characters with random Pokemon. Ash defeating nobodies with Pokemon like Tauros and Elekid don't give off the impression that they were always planning on replacing Ash by winning the PWC. Ash had so many off-screen battles to boot during the first half of the tournament too. What changed around halfway through the series is that the PWC started to get more attention. Ash didn't have any off-screen battles and his remaining opponents were all characters from the games. His matches were the main focus of an episode as opposed to being a footnote or setup for the episode's real plot like most of his PWC matches during the first two classes were. That's why it feels like they could have potentially made the decision to replace Ash around this point when the tournament became a bigger deal. Despite how fans hyped up the PWC from the moment it was introduced, it did not feel like a big deal with how the first two classes were handled.

If they really did intend for this to be Ash's sendoff series from the beginning, that would really make the PWC look even worse. Wasting so much time on one shot battles instead of going all out from the start would make it feel even more of a poorly organized mess. When I saw Ash battling against random one-shot characters, I didn't think that they were setting up this grand stage for the climax of Ash's journey as the main character. I thought that they wanted Ash to have a goal where they didn't have to devote a whole episode to all of his battles. They wanted to give him quick and easy matches that they could wrap up as soon as possible so that they could move on to the next episode or the real plot.
I stopped reading right after the second sentence, because I agree that the execution of the World Chanpionships was horrendous. However, it doesn’t change how I feel that the World Championships was always going to be the end of Ash’s story.
 
You can't say I didn't warn you.
I will fully admit my wrongness, as I was one of the people who said otherwise. And I also want to applaud you and anyone else who defended their opinions when most of the other users here, including myself, said otherwise.

When I was younger, I thought it possible and cool for each region to feature the player protagonists. They could even change it up, with giving some of the female characters the Gym Quest a la Adventures and so on. But, the more the series went on to star Ash in each new region, the more I began to firmly believe Ash would never leave. And while ridiculously incredulous, it was a model the writers could continue for forever more or less. So, yes - I was extremely shocked to see that the seemingly eternal status quo will now be shaken up for the foreseeable future.

It just still seems like a sudden decision and development though, which I think is the main reason behind my dissatisfaction with the handing of the reigns; especially with how Ash's final saga was handled for the most part.
 
I will fully admit my wrongness, as I was one of the people who said otherwise. And I also want to applaud you and anyone else who defended their opinions when most of the other users here, including myself, said otherwise.

When I was younger, I thought it possible and cool for each region to feature the player protagonists. They could even change it up, with giving some of the female characters the Gym Quest a la Adventures and so on. But, the more the series went on to star Ash in each new region, the more I began to firmly believe Ash would never leave. And while ridiculously incredulous, it was a model the writers could continue for forever more or less. So, yes - I was extremely shocked to see that the seemingly eternal status quo will now be shaken up for the foreseeable future.

It just still seems like a sudden decision and development though, which I think is the main reason behind my dissatisfaction with the handing of the reigns; especially with how Ash's final saga was handled for the most part.
As one of the people who'd suggested Ash might be replaced eventually I think my perspective was just that he was originally designed to last a fairly short time and there was really only so long the rubber band could stretch before snapping. Once Ash won a league and finally got that proverbial carrot on a string following up with a world championship makes sense as a way to cash in one last jackpot. It also opens up more writing freedom--people have discussed their willingness to write him differently between series' but I think there's some core traits they wouldn't feel comfortable removing, and of course he had to have Pikachu all the time which is another restriction.

The awkward-to-admit thing is that ultimately the show's most important job is selling merchandise, and a good chunk of that merch is the Pokémon themselves; Ash was the protagonist for a quarter of a century but he wasn't essential. I'd argue even the writers probably didn't think of him as the main draw of the series.

Plus they can bring him out once in a while if they wanted to; an old character no longer regularly appearing can still be very useful. Or they could transition him full-time to movies.
 
I've often said that it was twenty years too late to replace Ash and I still stand by that. He may not be the main draw to the anime for a lot of people, but he is still iconic, recognizable and marketable. Waiting this long to replace him just makes the transition more of a risk than it needed to be. I don't think it's better late than never like people have often said. Plus, I still really doubt that this was planned from the start of Journeys. Even if they say that it was in a future interview, I don't think that would necessarily make it any better, if only because they still couldn't give Ash's team better development or give better structure to the PWC despite having that end goal in mind.

Now it's more than possible that the mini-series will make the transition feel more natural or understandable than it does on paper for me right now. Having a fresh slate might provide more freedom for the writers since they don't have to write around Ash being an experienced trainer. Since I never really thought that keeping Ash the main lead for so long was really a problem, having new lead characters doesn't really excite me, especially when I have my doubts about it leading to better writing for the anime.
 
I just think there is way less restrictions now that they have a new lead. With Ash there is a constant way to find how to make each win and loss feel interesting after being declared the world strongest

With liko they can actually do the underdog story without nerfing or writing weird characterization
 
So about training and competing offscreen..
It seems like a bad call turning to be a good way to put Ash aside with his pokemon to evolve and let ua know later the results.. and not for nothing some of us thought Goh is here to stay as a character. For me it was the fear Goh will be the only protagonist after JNs.. So in away this bad call was good for us.. and there is a window for Future Ash to showcase his legendary status.

Personally I'm not going to continue the watch after the last 11 episodes of Ash. If wasn't finished traveling in the anime I would take a long break anyway and would catch up later. But here is a good spot to say goodbye to the anime in general.
 
Honestly the seeming suddenness of Satoshi’s departure (the writing of PM19 definitely did not scream ‘finale series’, at least not in the first half before I gave up the ghost) makes me wonder whether this is partly a cost saving exercise. I agree that his status was never irreplaceable but I equally don’t think this last win meant an inevitable end to his story. They could have kept him going in any of the various ways we’d all discussed, as they previously have done!

Rather, with the ongoing production issues, I imagine someone who has control over the purse strings thought the timing would be fortuitous to get rid of the 6 long-standing seiyuu who must each cost a bomb per episode. I’ve sometimes wondered this as a root cause for the TRio’s reduced roles. If they can get some relative newbies in to voice the main characters next series it’ll definitely be an efficiency saving.

Either way I guess we’ll never know…
 
Don't the Rockets' voice actors also voice regular Pokemon in the show as well? Maybe they get a reduced rate when it's just the monsters they voice compared to the humans, idk! I would believe that idea more in Sun & Moon when there was more care put into their appearances, but a lot of their lackluster showing in PM19 makes me think the bigger issue was the writers truly did not know (or care to know) how to use regular comedic relief villains.

I would love to one day learn the reasoning as to why Satoshi is leaving the series now, I'm still in the camp of PM19 was always planned to be the "end" since day one just executed terribly, but I could see that being wrong! Or maybe they decided it would be the end once they stopped the constant teasing of nostalgia and started giving us real cameos and return appearances? Idk.

I'm also super bummed I missed the Satoshi discussion a few pages back! I agree with the sentiments that the main group has not been interesting since Best Wishes. Say what you want about that series, and I probably agree with a lot of it, but man that main group could be very entertaining. Especially compared to all of the groups that came after them. It made it all the more frustrating when Iris and Dent's departure was as lame as it was.

XY's group just being the Satoshi Fan Club got on my nerves quickly, and I overall just did not like Satoshi's characterization in that series. He was just super boring and lame, and I will always say that the Satoshi-Gekkouga thing was probably the worst thing this show has ever done. It's Mega Evolution! But not really! Satoshi and this Pokemon he met like 2 months ago have such a strong bond you guys. Like, they share a heartbeat. And Satoshi feels physical pain when his Pokemon does. Isn't that just so cool, you guys? And look how over-the-top this stock animation is when they use their definitely-not-Mega-Evolution thing! Isn't it so great that only girls are allowed to compete in Performances? Seriously, this show hasn't always had the best outlook on gender, but XY took it to such a weird level and that series always leaves a bad taste in my mouth as a result.

The whole concept of this Mega-Evolution-But-Not-Really thing was dumb from the start, but I'd have been able to accept it more if it had been Pikachu instead. You know, this Pokemon Satoshi has known for longer than it takes to ship something internationally? I get they wanted to show off a Gen 6 Pokemon, but just give him a regular Mega Evolution then, geez.
 
I'm also super bummed I missed the Satoshi discussion a few pages back! I agree with the sentiments that the main group has not been interesting since Best Wishes. Say what you want about that series, and I probably agree with a lot of it, but man that main group could be very entertaining. Especially compared to all of the groups that came after them. It made it all the more frustrating when Iris and Dent's departure was as lame as it was.

Since BW, we've gotten better individual characters, but weaker groups. It's actually frustrating they haven't found a balance between them since.

Iris and Cilan had distinct personalities and strong views on things. Either could dominate a scene by themselves, sometimes even pushing Ash into the background. When the rivals were added to the mix for the Don George tournaments, the number of character interactions exploded and it was just fun to watch thanks to all the chaotic energy. You had Iris and Georgia constantly arguing and messing with one another, Burgundy trying and failing to one-up Cilan, Bianca being herself, and so on.

They've moved away from that since XY, giving us more characters with milder personalities who are focusing on self-improvement and discovering their place in the world. It's not a bad thing on its own, but it's noticeably less chaotic and more nice, for lack of a better word. I enjoy the wholesomeness of it but sometimes I want to see good friends bicker over something stupid because it's funny.

Like, they share a heartbeat. And Satoshi feels physical pain when his Pokemon does. Isn't that just so cool, you guys?

Yeah, I couldn't get on with this either. It was very cheesy in a show already full of cheese.

I'm guessing they were trying to drive the whole synchronicity thing home with the audience, but passing off shared pain as something cool is peak edgy YA fiction. In reality, it's a serious inconvenience and should be a downside to using the form but it never comes up and Ash ploughs ahead as if it's not even a thing anymore.

Isn't it so great that only girls are allowed to compete in Performances? Seriously, this show hasn't always had the best outlook on gender, but XY took it to such a weird level and that series always leaves a bad taste in my mouth as a result.

The simple solution to this would have been to establish female and male divisions of the event. Show one male event just to prove it's a thing, then switch focus back to Serena.
 
I just finished a binge watch of the Indigo League saga, and watched it in the original Japanese. Overall, I actually feel like when you take off the nostalgia goggles, it actually has a lot of issues. However, it’s also one of the funniest series next to Sun & Moon, and Team Rocket gets a lot of great moments. Here are some brief thoughts on the overall experience:

• Butterfree really doesn’t appear that much unfortunately. It’s only important in episodes 3, 4, 7, 8, 15, and 19, before it gets released in episode 21. It does not have much of a personality, so I found it hard to get attached to it compared to the Kanto starters.

• Pidgeotto rarely gets to battle, and its release in Pallet Party Panic comes out of nowhere. It’s best moment by far is when it cuddles Ash in Snow Way Out, with the rest of his Pokémon. Not very memorable overall.

• Primeape is only in three episodes, and one of those is just a gag where Ash does not want to use it against Erika. There’s almost no attachment to Primeape whatsoever, and Anthony completely robbed Ash.

• I was shocked that Squirtle and Bulbasaur barely had any bromance moments. It only happens in one episode, Island of the Giant Pokémon, as well as the Pikachu’s Vacation short film. I could’ve sworn there were way more moments of it, but there aren’t.

• When Charmander evolves into Charmeleon, it evolves into a Charizard three episodes later despite not having any battles in-between appearances. When Charizard does fully evolve, we only ever see it in its debut episode, the two Blaine gym battle episodes, It’s Mr. Mime Time, and its loss to Ritchie in the league. Pikachu’s Vacation and Mewtwo Strikes Back also gave Charizard great screen time. Overall m, though, I was shocked at how little Charizard appeared, and how it only used Seismic Toss exactly once, against Blaine’s Magmar.

• Ash’s Krabby is insane. After being caught in episode 13, we don’t see it again until the league begins, where it evolves into Kingler and proceeds to 3-0 the opponent. It also used 7 attacks in one match. Harden, Vice Grip, Leer, Stomp, Water Gun, Bubble, Crab Hammer, and Hyper Beam. How does Ash know it has all of these moves, and how does it learn three moves throughout the duration of one match? Probably best not to think about it much.

• Ash’s Muk is a last minute capture in Sparks Fly for Magnemite, then it destroys the Bellsprout in the Indigo League. The Muk clobbering Oak gag is also surprisingly rare. Not much to say here honestly.

• Some of Misty and Brock’s Pokémon don’t appear much at all. Most notably, Goldeen, Starmie, Horsea, Geodude, and Zubat. The inconsistent screentime with their Pokémon, eapecially with Golden and Zubat, who almost never appear, is pretty frustrating. When Misty gets Psyduck and Togepi, those along with Staryu become her most appearing Pokémon by far.

• As much as I love Misty’s Togepi, it is worth noting that it never uses any attacks at all.

• Why does no one talk about the fact that James is randomly revealed to have a Victreebel in The Breeding Center Secret? On top of that, James mentioned that it was actually a Weepenbell and evolved off-screen. I feel like I missed something, but no, this is the first time we ever see Jame’s Victreebel. It only appears two other times as a gag after this. Very confusing.

• Jessie’s Lickitung almost never appears. It’s only appearance is Princess vs. Princess.

• Brock felt like the weak link of the original series trio. I felt like Ash and Misty were more interesting characters than Brock was overall. Brock’s main things are: he cooks, he falls in love with girls, he breaks up fights between Ash and Misty, and… I’m having a hard time coming up with anything else. I always saw him as a mentor type of figure, but Misty gives advice to Ash just as often. He also rarely uses maps when they’re traveling, that surprised me. I would say the only major Brock episodes in Indigo League are The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak and the episode where he gets Vulpix. In every other episode, he doesn’t get many standout moments outside of talking to girls, and he blends in too much with Ash and Misty.

• Gary is all talk and no show, which cheapens his character drastically. He appears in about four episodes with no importance after his debut in episode one. After that, he finally gets importance in The Battle of the Badge, where we see his first-onscreen battle. Then, two episodes later, we get a lot more interactions between him and Ash, although his cheerleaders are completely absent. Frustringly, we see that Gary accepts a battle from Ash, but then Team Rocket interrupts it. He also loses before Ash does in the league, which is well deserved, but also feels hollow due to how little we see or know of Gary. Overall, Gary is an empty character that leaves a lot to be desired.

• Indigo League has a great atmosphere and world building, but the battles themselves are not that great. So many battles get skipped, and Team Rocket takes up so much screentime in each league episode. The most notable example is Ritchie’s first full battle, where we only see the last matchup. Some things never change.

Overall, I feel like the original series is one of the weaker series when you look at it with a critical eye. As a relax and unwind series, it’s among the best, and the episodes are really funny and have a lot of soul to them. But there’s also a bunch of things that fall apart when you binge watch multiple episodes in a day. Indigo League was clearly designed to be watched once-a-week, where you had time to remember the Pokémon and get attached to their few appearances. However, as a cohesive narrative, it’s not very strong at all. Continuity doesn’t really exist until Showdown at the Po-ké Corral, where a lot of the world building feels like it amounted to something. Other episodes, like Bad to the Bone and the league arc, also help with world building. However, it all happens near the end of the Indigo League.

I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if the Indigo League aired as-is in today’s fast paced, online connected world. A lot of issues people have with Pokémon Journeys, like Goh’s Grookey not doing anything, Pokémon evolving too fast with barely any screentime, and important matches being skipped over, all also happened within the very first series. Later rivals like Paul and Sawyer would also battle Ash more often than Gary did. Ash’s Kingler specifically gives me vibes similar to Ash’s Dracovish, where they both did incredible in their first battles despite never being used before.

It feels like the Indigo League gets a free pass because most of the people that first watched it are in their late 20s to mid 30s now, but I’m disappointed overall with how I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Some episodes are still among the best of all time, like Pikachu’s Goodbye and Go West Young Meowth, but others like Beauty and the Beach and Make Room for Gloom are not that good. There were also a lot of weird things in the first half of episodes, like real weapons and real animals. The tone of the show became compeltely different after Electric Solder Porygon, becoming much more tame overall.

In my opinion, later series, like XY and Sun & Moon, have much better world building and pacing overall. With that said, you can’t be too hard on the Indigo League, as it’s the very first one. The people working on the show were still figuring out its world, and what they wanted the world of Pokémon to be. However, the fact of the matter is that I simply like the later series more. More specifically, XY is my favorite due to moments like XY067, where the Kalos group puts their hands together as a truce. I also love the artstyle and animation of it. There’s not really any moments in Indigo League where I truly feel like Misty and Brock are best friends with Ash, in the same way I feel about the XY group. Misty physically attacks Ash way too much, and Brock is used as a gag too much for me to take him more seriously. This is shown with things like Bye Bye Butterfree, where only Ash gets sad with Butterfree leaving. Compare that to XY070, where Serena and Bonnie also cry at Goodra leaving in addition to Ash. I also feel like XY had a much stronger narrative, with the characters having better writing. I will say that Team Rocket is much better in Indigo League than XY though, and it’s not even close. Yes, it’s comparing apples and oranges, but that doesn’t mean I can’t like apples more anyway.

Sorry if this is all painful to read, but this is the controversial opinions thread. I feel like watching the episodes in the original Japanese removed any bias I would have towards these episodes. I was also shocked to see how much 4Kids rewrote so much of the dialogue, the original version feels much more organic due to that. I am aware of Dogasu’s Backpack and have looked at it over the years, but experiencing the episodes themselves really makes me appreciate his hard work on his episode comparisons even more. Overall though, I would say Indigo League, and by extension the greater Original Series, is one of the weaker parts of the Pokémon anime. It’s better than Black & White and Journeys, but that’s about it. I liked AG, DP, XY, and SM more than Indigo League, and that’s just how it is for me I guess.
 
The question of whether 2019 was always intended to be endgame is an interesting one, and the type of thing we might just get answered in a post-end interview.
The main thing I can't ignore is that making Leon world champion feels sort of pointless if the plan was just for Ash to go to Paldea (probably not named at the time) after, but they've done that sort of thing before.
Plus as much as this may feel a bit sudden we do have 11 more episodes to wrap things up; that's several hours worth of television.

I get they wanted to show off a Gen 6 Pokemon, but just give him a regular Mega Evolution then, geez.
Honestly, I really think GameFreak are the ones that led to the existence of Ash-Greninja since they're the ones that made no gen 6 Pokémon capable of Mega Evolution except Diancie, and I don't think Ash getting one of those was ever on the table.
So we got an awkward thing where a good portion of the last year of XY revolved around something the player doesn't have access to in the actual XY games.
 
You know, this Pokemon Satoshi has known for longer than it takes to ship something internationally? I get they wanted to show off a Gen 6 Pokemon, but just give him a regular Mega Evolution then, geez.
They could have brought his Charizard (or his Gible) back
 
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