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Controversial opinions

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I don't know if Lana having Popplio would really hurt its popularity that much, especially when Primarina itself is still pretty popular despite having minimal appearances in the anime. Granted, Popplio doesn't get to do much besides making balloons since Lana doesn't battle that often, but Ash's Rowlet is borderline useless at this point, rarely does anything besides sleeping and it's still pretty popular. The Rowlet line has always been the most popular out of the Alola starters though, but I don't think Rowlet has really done a whole lot more during the series than Popplio despite Ash being a more battle active trainer.
It's not about whether Popplio gets to do much. It's more of like Popplio being part of the supporting cast as opposed to the main cast. Lillie is clearly the focus among Ash's classmates.

I also have no issues with Lana as a character. It's just that I don't think cuddly mammalian cryptids suit her.
 
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It's not about whether Popplio gets to do much. It's more of like Popplio being part of the supporting cast as opposed to the main cast. Lillie is clearly the focus among Ash's classmates.

I also have no issues with Lana as a character. It's just that I don't think cuddly mammalian cryptids suit her.
I don't think that they had a lot of options here. Given how Lillie was too afraid to touch Pokemon, I don't think that Popplio would have been a good fit for her. Mallow and Sophocles stand out even less than Lana and possibly have done less than she has in the series up to this point, so they wouldn't have worked. Kiawe getting a Water type Pokemon wouldn't really fit with his goal. Ash would have been a fine choice, but they probably didn't want to give him all three starters again or possibly even give him a full team considering how long he has only had four Pokemon on him. Lana was probably the only option for Popplio's trainer since she does like Water Pokemon, despite how rarely actually comes up, and none of the other characters would really fit for it.
 
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Clearly, Iris is Best Girl /s
Although in all seriousness, I don't strongly dislike her, I just think she was the biggest waste of potential.

Like this is just conjecture, but a lot of the time, it seemed like they were scared to make her "too cool/too strong", or scared to make her look better than Ash, even though her goal sounds the coolest on paper. Instead, it's like you only get to see like a watered down and underwhelming version of an aspiring Dragon Master.

They easily could've made her stronger and less annoying while still keeping her flawed and compelling, but they just kept dropping the ball on that. Also, giving her goal more actual structure would've helped a ton.
 
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I don't think that they had a lot of options here. Given how Lillie was too afraid to touch Pokemon, I don't think that Popplio would have been a good fit for her. Mallow and Sophocles stand out even less than Lana and possibly have done less than she has in the series up to this point, so they wouldn't have worked. Kiawe getting a Water type Pokemon wouldn't really fit with his goal. Ash would have been a fine choice, but they probably didn't want to give him all three starters again or possibly even give him a full team considering how long he has only had four Pokemon on him. Lana was probably the only option for Popplio's trainer since she does like Water Pokemon, despite how rarely actually comes up, and none of the other characters would really fit for it.
I'm not disagreeing with what you said. Based on what we have, my personal preference would be giving Popplio to Ash. But you know who would fit the best with Popplio? Look to the top left of this post ;)
 
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I'm not disagreeing with what you said. Based on what we have, my personal preference would be giving Popplio to Ash. But you know who would fit the best with Popplio? Look to the top left of this post ;)
Nah. It's not unheard of that other main characters than Ash get to have some of the starters. You're just mad that Ash didn't get a starter you liked.
 
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Nah. It's not unheard of that other main characters than Ash get to have some of the starters. You're just mad that Ash didn't get a starter you liked.
Interesting projection. Well the thing is, Lana is hardly a main character imo. Yea she's one of the main friends but I'd actually say that the main characters are Ash and Lillie only.
 
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Interesting projection. Well the thing is, Lana is hardly a main character imo. Yea she's one of the main friends but I'd actually say that the main characters are Ash and Lillie only.
Nah. All of them are main characters. Which one of them is the most important character(s) (besides Ash, of course) is debatable.
 
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Nah. All of them are main characters. Which one of them is the most important character(s) (besides Ash, of course) is debatable.
Have they all been in every episode so far? Does the overall story revolve around them all? No. Ash and Pikachu are main. Lillie is also a main character. Everyone else is supporting with debatable importance.
 
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I’d say Lillie is about equal to the other classmates on the status of main characters. She just got more focus during the Aether Arc because of her game importance. Rest of the times she gets around as much focus as the other classmates.
 
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I’d say Lillie is about equal to the other classmates on the status of main characters. She just got more focus during the Aether Arc because of her game importance. Rest of the times she gets around as much focus as the other classmates.
In other words, depends on the episode. Thankfully she has the benefit of having most of her development done during that Arc, which leaves with the other negative that I don't mind too much but I want to see more of. Lillie needing something to move forward to.
 
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In other words, depends on the episode. Thankfully she has the benefit of having most of her development done during that Arc, which leaves with the other negative that I don't mind too much but I want to see more of. Lillie needing something to move forward to.
Well, she still has the Z-Ring to get.
 
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Yeah, all of the classmates are main characters. Lillie has gotten probably the most focus out of the group and she is the only one thus far to get significant character development, but I don't think she's the only one out of the classmates to have main character status. She still blends into the background like the rest of them from time to time, there are long stretches of episodes where she doesn't get to do much and she doesn't appear in every episode either.

Honestly, I still think that the only reason anime Lillie is so well received is mainly due to the popularity of her video game counterpart. I like anime Lillie, but I do think her storyline is a bit more messy in SM than it was in the games due to the changes they made to her personality, her mother and their relationship. During the Aether Foundation arc, it felt like they kept trying to use all of the highlights of Lillie's video game storyline, but it just didn't have the same impact because SM Lillie is significantly different from her video game counterpart. The best example would be her Z-Powered form. It was a nice moment in the games because Lillie was becoming more confident after being more reserved and shy, but it doesn't have that kind of impact on the show. If video game Lillie wasn't so popular and well received, I doubt that SM Lillie would be nearly as popular as she is.

Despite how Lana doesn't get a lot of focus, she is still a main character. I would have loved for Ash to catch Popplio for quite a few reasons, but I'm not surprised that it didn't happen for a few reasons as well.
 
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Clearly, Iris is Best Girl /s
Although in all seriousness, I don't strongly dislike her, I just think she was the biggest waste of potential.

Like this is just conjecture, but a lot of the time, it seemed like they were scared to make her "too cool/too strong", or scared to make her look better than Ash, even though her goal sounds the coolest on paper. Instead, it's like you only get to see like a watered down and underwhelming version of an aspiring Dragon Master.

They easily could've made her stronger and less annoying while still keeping her flawed and compelling, but they just kept dropping the ball on that. Also, giving her goal more actual structure would've helped a ton.
They seemed pretty set on making Iris look a lot stronger than she actually appears to be. As early as the episode where Axew learns Dragon Rage, they wanted to make Iris look like an expert on Dragons, despite how her attitude and lack of training with Axew made her look no more than a rookie trainer. There was also Iris winning nearly one hundred battles before she officially became a trainer, making her handling of Axew worse/more questionable, and how she always was shown as this gifted special Dragon trainer whenever she had the spotlight.

For me, I think that the problem is that they made Iris looked flawed at the start of BW, but didn't really have any way to resolve them. Her goal not having any actual structure definitely didn't help matters. That is one of the reasons I dearly miss Contests since that gave the female lead a more solid goal than being the best at a specific type of Pokemon, but they also double backed on Iris seemingly being a rookie trainer, or at least giving off that impression, early on in the series to make her look like a much stronger trainer than she actually is. The show kept claiming that she was talented and that she had changed during the course of the series, but it was just talk and not enough action to really back it up.
 
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You're contradicting yourself. Lillie hasn't been in every episode either.
I suppose it is possible to interpret the way I phrased my earlier post as setting out two criteria for what makes a main character but no, I was just stating two factors that points towards a character being a main character. So no, I did not contradict myself. :)

Despite how Lana doesn't get a lot of focus, she is still a main character.
This on the other hand is a contradiction. A main character has to get the focus. The main character is after all the protagonist of the story, The supporting characters are characters who affect the story but they are not the focus. Lillie was the main character during the Aether arc so imo, that elevates her to main character status but I guess it is also right to say that she was only the main character during that arc and not for the rest of the series. In any case, the rest of the classmates are strictly supporting cast members. They may get featured in certain episodes but that still doesn't make them main characters as those episodes don't tie in with the main plot. It's like saying Team Rocket are main characters. They are not.

Whether a character is well received or not has nothing to do with whether they are main characters or not.
 
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This on the other hand is a contradiction. A main character has to get the focus. The main character is after all the protagonist of the story, The supporting characters are characters who affect the story but they are not the focus. Lillie was the main character during the Aether arc so imo, that elevates her to main character status but I guess it is also right to say that she was only the main character during that arc and not for the rest of the series. In any case, the rest of the classmates are strictly supporting cast members. They may get featured in certain episodes but that still doesn't make them main characters as those episodes don't tie in with the main plot. It's like saying Team Rocket are main characters. They are not.

Whether a character is well received or not has nothing to do with whether they are main characters or not.
A main character can be the protagonist, but I don't think Lillie qualifies as a protagonist for SM. She doesn't have that much more significance than the other characters, especially when her focus episodes are usually infrequent like everyone else's. She still gets more attention than the other classmates, but that doesn't mean that her focus episodes are that more frequent by comparison. Lana doesn't get much focus, but she is part of the main cast like all of the classmates are. I'm pretty sure that Team Rocket are main characters. They are the main comedic villains of each series at least.

I also don't agree with the notion that those focus episodes not tying into the main plot means that they aren't main characters. For starters, I'm not really sure what the end goal of SM is. I like the series, but there is a clear lack of focus more so than in other series simply because Ash isn't going for Gym badges and the Island Trial has been handled so poorly. I don't know what the main plot of the series could be aside from Ash and his friends have adventures in Alola while he sometimes does the Island Challenge and battles against Ultra Beasts. If we say that is the main plot for now, then there isn't a whole lot anyone besides Ash could do to contribute to said plot, especially when most of the classmates aren't really into battling. Plus, fleshing out characters is still important even if it doesn't connect to the main plot. I really hate how people tend to value plot progression so much that any character focus episodes or subplots are considered unnecessary or not as important by comparison. It's one reason why I don't think SM has as much filler as people claim. It definitely does have its fair share of filler episodes, but not really much more than with other Pokemon series.
 
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Plus, fleshing out characters is still important even if it doesn't connect to the main plot.
I agree...

I really hate how people tend to value plot progression so much that any character focus episodes or subplots are considered unnecessary or not as important by comparison.
Which is why I did not say this or even hint at this in my post.

I don't know what the main plot of the series could be aside from Ash and his friends have adventures in Alola while he sometimes does the Island Challenge and battles against Ultra Beasts.
Yes. This is indeed the main plot of the series so yes, Ash really is the only main character for this series.

A main character can be the protagonist, but I don't think Lillie qualifies as a protagonist for SM. She doesn't have that much more significance than the other characters, especially when her focus episodes are usually infrequent like everyone else's. She still gets more attention than the other classmates, but that doesn't mean that her focus episodes are that more frequent by comparison. Lana doesn't get much focus, but she is part of the main cast like all of the classmates are. I'm pretty sure that Team Rocket are main characters. They are the main comedic villains of each series at least.
Look there is a distinction between main cast and main characters. Main characters are the protagonists. You can disagree with this on a personal level all you want but the main character is always the protagonist. Just look up 'main character' on wiki and see where it brings you.

The main casts on the other hand includes the main characters and also the supporting characters such as the rest of the classmates, the professors and the TRio as well.

Anyway, I have already qualified my claims on Lillie to her arc so I'll just leave it as that.
 
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Which is why I did not say this or even hint at this in my post.
I didn't say that you did. I was talking about a general issue I have with people who think that plot progression is the only important thing in a series. I've seen it a lot and it just gets under my skin. The whole point about character focus episodes don't tie into the main plot and thus doesn't make them main characters just reminded me of that issue.

SerenaToAlola said:
Yes. This is indeed the main plot of the series so yes, Ash really is the only main character for this series.

Look there is a distinction between main cast and main characters. Main characters are the protagonists. You can disagree with this on a personal level all you want but the main character is always the protagonist. Just look up 'main character' on wiki and see where it brings you.

The main casts on the other hand includes the main characters and also the supporting characters such as the rest of the classmates, the professors and the TRio as well.

Anyway, I have already qualified my claims on Lillie to her arc so I'll just leave it as that.
A protagonist is a main character, but you can have more than one main character. Dawn was a main character in DP since she played a pretty key role in the overall storyline and contributed frequently to Ash's journey. Granted, none of the classmates, or arguably most of the previous travel companions for that matter, come close to the role Dawn played, but I'm just saying that you can have more than one main character in a series. I just wouldn't signal out Lillie as the only main character in the group, even for the Aether Foundation arc, especially when everyone did contribute to the resolution at the end. It wasn't just Ash and Lillie who saved Lusamine, but everyone fighting together. That's why all of them became Ultra Guardians instead of just Ash and Lillie.[/quote]
 
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