I don’t know how unpopular this opinion is, but I consider XY to be worse then S&M and DP for a couple of reasons: (Warning: essay ahead) As the series progressed, Ash went from being the mix of goofy and serious that we know and love him for to becoming a generic shonen protagonist that had none of his sillier traits except his love for food. The entire idea of Pokémon showcases. I really hate beauty pageants, so showcases- which are essentially Pokémon beauty pageants- being added to the show made me want to die inside. The fact that showcases are both anime-exclusive and female only just really rubs me the wrong way, and the fact that it’s basically just Appeal Round: The Competition made it a little boring to me. At least contests had battles after the initial appeal round to spice things up and make it livelier. And it’s not like performance battles aren’t a thing, because when Serena battles Aria, she specifically mentions that it’s a performance battle, which begs the question; if performance battles are a thing, why aren’t they a part of showcases? Next we have Team Rocket, who struggled with their character throughout the show. In the past, they were the comic relief for most of the series, acting as villains but having amusing personalities while carrying out their plans. They also had a softer side, as well as a loose code of ethics that they managed to follow. Even as they got more annoying as the series progressed, they managed to be somewhat tolerable. In B&W, while their personalities changed drastically, their character was still consistent throughout the series. In XY, they could go from helping mend a Pokémon’s branch back together to almost killing a girl within the span of a couple of episodes. Honestly, Team Rocket was at their lowest in XY. Then there’s the issue of Noivern, who was a clusterfuck from beginning to end. First off, his egg was just found in the middle of nowhere, without any explanation of why it was there or how it was abandoned. He got only 3 focus episodes and didn’t develop that much as a Pokémon or show a lot of personality. His evolution was also completely undeserved, as he didn’t have enough character buildup, like Goodra, or wasn’t around long enough, like Braixen or Greninja, and his personality completely disappeared after he evolved. He’s easily one of Ash’s most forgettable Pokémon in the entire series. Another issue are Ash’s four rivals, who were all pretty bad in their own ways aside from Sawyer. Let’s look at each rival individually: Sawyer is the best rival, as he was the first rival that had a Teacher-Student relationship with Ash, and it was interesting to see him learn from Ash and then surpass him after a while so that Ash then had to play catch-up to Sawyer. He was pretty good, and I have no real issues with him. Tierno was also decent, but his issues were that he didn’t have a Mega Stone, and besides his love for dancing, his personality was pretty bland for the most part. Trevor was fucking awful, and top 3 worst rivals in the series. He got almost no spotlight, his entire personality revolved around taking pictures, he had barely any battles with Ash, and to add insult to injury, his battle at the League was almost entirely glossed over and his MEGA-EVOLVED CHARIZARD died in one hit. Then there’s Alain. Alain, while not the worst rival in the series, is the most despised, for some very good reasons. He wasn’t introduced to Ash until the final season of the series, and had a Charizard that was OP for no reason. Then, he beat Ash in one of the most BS plot armor situations I’ve ever seen. He was the complete personification of a Gary Stu, and I hated his existence. Lastly, there’s Serena. While she had some amazing sides to her, there were some other sides that were terrible. A large part of her personality revolved around her crush on Ash, which wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t so one-sided, due to Ash being one of the most love-blind people I’ve ever seen. She’s also the worst of Ash’s companions when it comes to battling, where she would’ve lost to Team Rocket once if it wasn’t for the help of Bonnie, who was a better battler then Serena. Now, I will say that XY does have positives, like how the battles are the best in the series, Serena has a great character arc, the main cast’s personality bounces off each other extremely well, Goodra’s entire arc, the Team Flate arc, and Bonnie every time she’s on screen. However, I still think that there major issues with the series that kept me from fully enjoying it, and I’m honestly confused why everyone calls it the best series of the anime. Edit: Something I’d also like to mention is that people complained about Ash using Torracat’s Flame Charge over and over again against Incineroar, citing that there wasn’t any strategy. That is an entirely fair criticism to make. HOWEVER, when almost the exact same situation happened in XY with Fletchling, people just completely ignore it. Let’s take a look at the similarities: The base forms of a fire type evolve into their mid forms, they battle against their fully evolved forms, they both learn to use Flame Charge, they both evolve in a ball of fire, and BOTH Ashes spam Flame Charge. Do you know what the only difference is? In XY, Ash somehow fucking wins the battle. In S&M, Ash uses this strategy against Incineroar because he assumed it would work like the last time he used the strategy, and it fails miserably, as it should. Listen, I realize that I’m ripping XY a new one right now, but I’m tired of people saying that the series is the gold standard for the anime when XY has such glaring flaws and, at least in my opinion, DP and S&M are much better.