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Controversial opinions

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Ash getting Litten was perfectly fine for me. He was the only character in the main cast who attempted to reach out to Litten, it fits with his battle style and there weren't a lot of Fire types from this generation that could have fit with Ash's team. I do think that they resolved its grief a bit too easily. On one hand, they showcased how grief can affect people through Litten pretty well, but it's also something that takes a lot longer to actually deal with. They wouldn't want to linger on a depressing subplot for that long. It wouldn't fit with the tone of this series or the anime as a whole for that matter, but it was more of an issue for me than it might have been for other people.

It's still a good episode and it is emotionally effective. I just think that the limitations on what they can show of the grieving process, along with how Litten's connection to Stoutland hasn't really come up in a significant manner, brings it down a bit.
 
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On the topic of starters, I wish Rowlet would either evolve or start working harder to be impressive without evolving. Like yeah, it's adorable, but it's this late into the game and Razor Leaf is its best move... Plus, Ash has only 4 Pokemon who actually fight right now, so that's another reason it'd be nice for Rowlet to pick up some more slack.

Not to mention, his team building in general seems slow this time around. I actually went back to check to make sure it's not my imagination, and in Johto/Sinnoh/Unova/Kalos, he always had enough Pokemon to make a full team by now ('by now' meaning the same number of episodes within that region), although Goodra wasn't on hand for a large part of Kalos. I checked Hoenn too, and even then he had 5 Pokemon who actually fight by now.
 
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Not to mention, his team building in general seems slow this time around. I actually went back to check to make sure it's not my imagination, and in Johto/Sinnoh/Unova/Kalos, he always had enough Pokemon to make a full team by now ('by now' meaning the same number of episodes within that region), although Goodra wasn't on hand for a large part of Kalos. I checked Hoenn too, and even then he had 5 Pokemon who actually fight by now.
I think everyone's noticed how small his SuMo team is, but since this saga has few serious battles compared to other sagas, I feel like Ash's mediocre team is justified.
 
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I can kind of see why they're so slow with building Ash's team. They seem to like having all of the Pokemon out of their Pokeballs nearly all the time, so they probably didn't want to give Ash a full team at the speed they normally do. It would probably make the Pokemon part of the cast even more crowded. The fact the Island Challenge is treated as such an afterthought is probably another reason. Ash doesn't have to battle that often. He doesn't have a rival who he actively wants to defeat. There is Gladion, but he isn't working towards defeating him like he has with some of his other rivals. I'm also pretty sure that there are larger gaps between his Trials/Grand Trials than there were for most of his Gym battles in other series.

That being said, I still wish that Rowlet was shown to be more competent too. I don't mind that Rowlet most likely isn't going to evolve. It is the most popular Alola starter Pokemon and it's main gimmick is how it sleeps a lot, but it's practically useless. It rarely battles compared to Ash's other Pokemon because of how much it sleeps. It's really frustrating how Ash doesn't see Rowlet sleeping all the time as a problem. It was a cute gag at first, but when Rowlet couldn't even fly up a small hill to get a berry right in front of its face, it really should have been treated more like a problem rather just a cute little gag. I honestly wonder why Ash even has it at this point. They obviously wanted to market Rowlet, but it hasn't really done much since the second Grand Trial and Rockruff got more attention because they were building up to its evolution. Both Lycanroc and Torracat have gotten a good amount of focus and have been shown to be strong battlers, so it would be nice if Rowlet could be seen at least at decent in battle. It did a surprisingly good job during Ash's first Grand Trial, but it really hasn't been too impressive.

They may do something like Rowlet becoming stronger to face off against Hau's Dartrix since they're battling in the new opening theme, but a part of me also wonders if it's too little, too late to do even that.
 
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Kinda wishing they would have just given Rowlett to Lana and give Ash a Lurantis or something. Don't think a sleep-happy Pokemon would be detrimental for her.
 
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Kinda wishing they would have just given Rowlett to Lana and give Ash a Lurantis or something. Don't think a sleep-happy Pokemon would be detrimental for her.
I'd literally prefer for Ash to have any other Gen 7 Pokemon over Rowlet at this point. The thing simply isn't cute or funny to me, and since evolution for him is as likely as Hau turning down a malasada, I can't say that I see the good in Rowlet being on Ash's team. At least if Rowlet was with Mallow, he'd have Tsareena for a waifu company.
 
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Going back to the OS: From a moral perspective, I actually sort of agreed with Ash's criticism of AJ, but it was ruined by how a lot of Ash's real motivation for criticizing was just jealousy/insecurity, making Ash seem overly immature even in comparison to his usual level of Kanto immaturity.

Even outside of the training methods, AJ's personality still came off as kind of arrogant and annoying, so it seems odd that you're supposed to just sort of take the episode's word for it that AJ's methods are actually a good long-term option. Is there really nothing he could be rethinking just because his Pokemon are fine with it for the time being? Even though you could assume that they just don't openly resist to avoid consequences? Not all problems show up right away, after all.... as you later see with Charmander seeming fine before evolving. (Don't wanna start more Charizard discourse, it's just evidence)

Not to mention, it's just weird how you never get any further confirmation on whether his methods really turned out to be viable all the way up to the end. All it would take is one mention in the League or something. As it is, you're left to imply that Ash might've actually done better than him in the end.

And at first, AJ actually did briefly anger Brock and Misty by saying that Ash must've gotten his badges from weak Gym Leaders... only for them to turn around and be pretty much fine with him for the rest of the episode, leaving Ash to look even more like a whiny, unreasonable brat in comparison... and leaving AJ facing no real consequences for insulting people who didn't do anything to him rather than just focusing on Ash.

...Yeah, writers, you've reeeeally put me in a position to respect this guy... /s
 
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Warning: spoilers from a 15 years old movie below.

So regarding the big reveal at the end of "Celebi: Voice of the Forest" that Sammy is actually prof. Oak from the past... I actually prefer the changed dub version (where Sam remembers his adventure forever, gets inspired by it and many years later orchestrates the events of the first episode to make sure that the stable time loop stays... well... stable) than the original (where he assumes it was all a dream and forgets about it immediately, though still is subconsciously inspired by it). While normally I prefer the ending that leaves as little time travel shenanigans as possible, in this case I think dub version makes more sense.
Let's just start with the very fact that Sam just assumes that he just passed out and had a weird dream - despite the fact that the sketchbook with the drawings he did during that time is lying just next to him and all the sketches are intact. Then there is whole "keeping the time loop stable" thing. While most important and oft-pointed out element is giving Ash Pikachu as a starter, there are also multiple other events that need to happen in a very exact way, not all of which would just happen by chance if no one actively tried to make them happen. Perhaps most importantly - Towa never seeing Sammy again after he went into Ilex Forest and assuming he was taken into future by Celebi. Considering the fact that she was living just across from the entrance to the forest and specifically looked out for anyone venturing into or returning from the woods, it's rather doubtful that she wouldn't notice his return unless he specifically went out of his way to make sure he doesn't get noticed - for which he'd have no reason unless he tried to keep the time loop stable.
The very fact of giving Ash Pikachu also raises some questions if we go with japanese original. While it's a bit more plausible that it would happen by pure chance, it still seems strange that Oak, knowing that he needs four starters for four trainers, would only prepare three and one Pokemon that he considers too arrogant, cooky and wild to make for a good starter - unless he knew that Ash would have to get a Pikachu, but didn't know that he is the one who will give it out until a few days before the events of the first episode, thus leaving him with no choice but to go with first 'chu he got his hands on.
 
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I think the implication is that Yukinari simply forgot everything (thanks to magical effect of Serebii's time travel), similar to how you wake from a wonderful or scary dream but can't remember exact details. In that case, Serebii and Pikachu drawing from his sketchbook doesn't change anything. He already know that there is a Serebii in that forest and still remember saving it from a pokemon hunter.
 
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There is still however the question on where did that sketch come from in the first place. It's not like Sam/Yukinari would open his sketchbook, see a rather detailed drawing that he doesn't remember making (and not just drawing of any Pokemon, but of a legendary that he only ever saw once and in an adrenaline-filled moment, when he wouldn't be able to remember details) and think it appeared out of nowhere. Yes, it could be that he forgot much due to time travel - but even then he'd remember at least something - otherwise he'd assume that he simply passed out and not that he had a dream.
 
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There is still however the question on where did that sketch come from in the first place. It's not like Sam/Yukinari would open his sketchbook, see a rather detailed drawing that he doesn't remember making (and not just drawing of any Pokemon, but of a legendary that he only ever saw once and in an adrenaline-filled moment, when he wouldn't be able to remember details) and think it appeared out of nowhere.
Does that really matter? I mean, he could see that sketch and say "Wow, did I sketch that?" It wouldn't change anything.
Yes, it could be that he forgot much due to time travel - but even then he'd remember at least something - otherwise he'd assume that he simply passed out and not that he had a dream.
He's probably remembering some things, and feelings he had in the past. We don't know how much he remembers, how much he forgot. It makes little sense for him to remember Satoshi, considering how he treat him back then,

Biggest problem about the movie is the existence of two different sketchbooks. And neither the original nor dub version did anything to correct that.
 
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And at first, AJ actually did briefly anger Brock and Misty by saying that Ash must've gotten his badges from weak Gym Leaders... only for them to turn around and be pretty much fine with him for the rest of the episode, leaving Ash to look even more like a whiny, unreasonable brat in comparison... and leaving AJ facing no real consequences for insulting people who didn't do anything to him rather than just focusing on Ash.
I actually liked that scene because it was one of the few things that A.J. was right about: Brock and Misty were weak, especially Misty. I mean, Ash demolished her without even using Pikachu. So I can't fault the guy's brutal honesty.
 
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The fact the Island Challenge is treated as such an afterthought is probably another reason. Ash doesn't have to battle that often. He doesn't have a rival who he actively wants to defeat. There is Gladion, but he isn't working towards defeating him like he has with some of his other rivals. I'm also pretty sure that there are larger gaps between his Trials/Grand Trials than there were for most of his Gym battles in other series.
I feel like this is an unpopular opinion, but I feel like this is exactly where the SM series fails. The Island Challenge is more of an after thought, rather than a series of challenges that Ash needs to overcome to reach his final destination in the region, and his rival isn't someone he's continually looking to surpass or stay on top of. Ash isn't thinking of beating Gladion, or the challenge often. Also, it isn't set up so you have to defeat 1-3 Totem Pokemon before you take on the Grand Trial. It has tried way too hard to be a comedic slice of life anime, rather than an action-adventure anime. Don't get me wrong, I think the series has its good moments, but the way it handled the Island Challenge was just very poorly.
 
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Acrobatic Crobat said:
than the original (where he assumes it was all a dream and forgets about it immediately, though still is subconsciously inspired by it)
The "Sammy thinks Celebi was just a dream in the Japanese version" thing is an over-literal interpretation of the original Japanese line (one that the dub staff at the time believed, for some reason?). Yukinari doesn't *actually* think he dreamed up the whole thing, that's ridiculous.
 
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I actually liked that scene because it was one of the few things that A.J. was right about: Brock and Misty were weak, especially Misty. I mean, Ash demolished her without even using Pikachu. So I can't fault the guy's brutal honesty.
I know this reply is a bit slow, but I got busy and then needed time to think about how to phrase my issue with this.

There are situations where merely being factually right isn't what matters most, and brutal honesty isn't the best way. This is one of them, IMO.

Just because he's got a point doesn't mean he's suddenly not a huge jerk for saying it, which is a problem when the episode's moral is that he doesn't need his mind changed about anything, and that his approach should be respected. He was still criticizing people who didn't do anything to him, based only on his preconceived notions of Gym Leaders rather than knowing them as people. (He hadn't even actually fought or met any Gym Leaders beforehand)

Not to mention that Brock's a teenager, Misty's a kid, and both of them were largely pressured into their positions. Brock's parents are neglectful pieces of crap who had too many kids, and Misty's siblings are vain and irresponsible... Plus, the way they tear her down and insult her comes off as even worse than normal sibling stuff, considering that they should be trying to be more parent-like in the absence of real parents. From this perspective, offhandedly criticizing Brock and Misty like AJ did just comes off as a low blow. Of course it's still on them to improve rather than wallowing, but that doesn't change the fact that they were both dealt a shitty hand to start off with.

Plus the episodes weren't even in the double digits yet, so even in a best case scenario where you rewrite them to be more proactive, there's only so much improvement they could've realistically made by then.
 
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There are situations where merely being factually right isn't what matters most, and brutal honesty isn't the best way. This is one of them, IMO.
We'll have to agree to disagree. But I suppose that my admiration for A.J.'s honesty stems from the fact that I'd rather deal with what is factually correct most of the time than have to deal with something that's sugar-coated and beats around the bush. :X3:

On while on the topic of early OS, I loved Giselle from the Pokemon Tech episode since she poked fun at Ash's progress when his head was getting big, albeit in a passive-aggressive way.
 
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I'm gonna have to disagree with that. AJ isn't honest at all, he has no idea of who or how Misty and Brock are or how they battle, looking down at them and making disparaging comments about them are completely out of left field, as well as arrogant. His training as well, while knowing and understanding the utilization of whips and equipment for animals (or in this case Pokemon) it comes off as abusive rather than harsh. Giselle I can give a pass since unlike AJ, she GREW during her episode and acknowledging her faults whereas AJ remained the same.
 
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