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Controversial opinions

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I wanted to make a post about what a fourth year of the XY series would have looked like. Prior to SM games being announced there was some people who thought XY would last 4 years, while some people argue that a 4th year wouldn't have been possible without a filler arc. I personally wouldn't have minded a filler arc, since I loved this group, but I also personally have believed such an arc wouldn't have been necessary based on the pace of XY and the content in XYZ seeming rushed. I think it is a bit controversial, so I wanted to put it in here. I just finished re-watching XY (and I loved it even more the second time - like I usually do, still drying the tears from the finale) and so I wanted to take a stab at taking a look at what the fourth year could have looked like. This isn't a "wish list" of additional episodes/storylines, if I did that I could come up with hundreds of additional episodes, I am actually trying very hard to take a realistic look at what the series looked like before it sped up and what additional types of episodes would have seemed likely if there was a 4th year. I am entering into this without an outline or plan, so I really consider it an experiment, I want to see if I think a filler arc would have been necessary or not.

I thought about making this a thread, but I think it would have been a dud because I don't think a lot of XY fans remain active in A&M section anymore, and there is a lot of XY hate flying around these days, but regardless of if you like XY or not, the point of this isn't to say would you rather have had a 4th year or not, its to take a look at what that 4th year would have looked like if it did occur, and see if a filler arc would have been necessary.

So in my opinion the pacing and balance of the series changed from the leisurely pace of the XY series, to the quick pace and lack of balance of the XYZ series. As far as I can tell, many people agree this happened at some point, for me I think it was just a bit before XYZ started, but for argument's sake we can just say XYZ. I don't want to get into conspiracy theories of Game Freak springing on the anime that they only had a year left or anything like that, I'm just saying the series definitely felt quite a bit different in pacing and balance, so I always wonder what a fourth year would have done to improve that.

As far as what the 4th year would have looked like, I get there would have been a gym battle gap, and I know people complained about the DP gym gap, but people complain about EVERYTHING, so I think some of us were perfectly fine with it as well. It was pretty well established during XYZ that a lot of time was passing during short spurts of episodes, if we look at the pace Ash and Serena's rivals moved forward at. Typically rivals can move faster because of all the random stuff the main cast deals with, but that is typically explained by us actually seeing the random stuff happening. In XYZ we didn't really see that stuff, we had some huge advancements in keys and badges during some very short spans, so I think a slower pace would have made that stuff make more sense, even though it was offscreen, while also adding additional balance in the onscreen treatment of storylines, main characters, and Pokemon.

Before I start listing additional episodes I think would have existed, I want to establish how many total episodes we could have expected, because its a bit less than the other 4 year series. At 2 years DP had 95 episodes and wound up with 191, and at 2 years AG had 103, didn't even go quite 4 years, and got 192. At 2 years XY had 92, so I think 184 or 185 would be a better estimate for total episodes (It wound up having between 140 and 142 depending on if you count specials, so another year should be about 45 or less).

The following sections are the amount of episodes I feel would have likely been added to the 4th year for certain storylines that seemed to get sparse attention come XYZ. If I add 1 that doesn't necessarily mean I think it would be one whole episode, in some cases it would be spread over the series, but amount to an episodes-worth of time, and sometimes I add less than one as well, its just about how much total time it would take up. I think the order and spacing would have needed to change in a lot of cases, but I'm really not getting too much into that here, I guess the assumption being everything that happened in XY stays the same, the below is additional episodes to XYZ (My personal claim is the pace sped up more in the range of XY 80s, but its a lot harder to prove so I will go with what I think is a more commonly agreeable theory that XYZ is where it sped up). And like I said before, this is what I actually think would have happened based on how the series behaved prior to XYZ and how other series behaved in the past, it is not a wishlist:

Additions to main storyline:
+2 Serena showcase losses (I think this is pretty key because it got to the point where it seemed like she had improved too quickly and made her rivals seem less of a threat, and in general the showcases need to be way more spread out, because towards the end it was showcase overload. The master class should be at least as close to the end of the series as it was, if not closer, I think they tried to get it out of the way early so they didn't have to worry about it anymore...)
+1 Jessie showcase win (Only adding one episode because one of them would have been her beating Serena, and the other would have been an ep mostly dedicated to her win with some flashes to a random subplot with the main crew)
+1 Sawyer battle (We really needed one more battle so he didn't go straight from pushover to force to be reckoned with, so just a level in between where he was emerging as a threat, overall all his battles would be more spread out over the 2 years)
+2 Kalos League training (like some past series, the league isn't immediately after the 8th badge, so quite a few episodes happen in between, two of them based on training. I personally think a re-visit to battle chateau as league training was a missed opportunity, but either way we needed some more training/preparing for the league)
+1.5 Visit Vaniville town (Serena is the only main character (other than Tracey, but we don't even know where he's from) who's hometown wasn't visited by the group, sadly just like she seems likely to be the only main character to never exist after their own series.... Anyway, I see this happening pre-league, post badge quest. Twinleaf festival was 4 episodes so I see this as conservative)
+2.5 Kalos League (I know how long a typical league is, but Ash didn't typically get to the top 2 either. With more time we would have had the chance to see Ash's flying types get some more wins, see interesting new competitors, have a little more non-battle drama, calls home (I get why they didn't have Oak/Delia show up because of how Flare arc came right next, but at least a call...), etc. I personally think Astrid should have been the first full battle, then Goodra could have gotten a win and at a minimum we needed to see all of Hawlucha and mega Absol, since beating a mega was quite a big deal at that time, plus actually giving a girl some desperately needed league screen-time, that would have led to Sawyer and Tierno being full as well, and we would just see a little less than all of it, but give Tierno's full team a chance (since we know he has nearly a full team, but didn't see almost half of them do anything), without revealing everything about Sawyer's).

Total: 10 additional episodes

Additional character development:
+1 to Ash's "Losing streak" (Remember when Ash said he had to end his "losing streak" after losing to Sawyer, but before losing to Wulfric. Uhh, yeah that was 1 loss, would have meant a lot more if another episode would have increased the struggling).
+1 to Jessie practicing for showcase (not a whole episode by itself, but over the course of the additional year, an episode's worth of having this be a thing - this isn't unheard of - see Sinnoh)
+1 to Serena half for practicing for showcase and coming up with something new, half for more confidence building in non-showcase development
+1 Serena catching a fourth Pokemon (I personally like my main girls getting 6, but I know that isn't a reasonable expectation anymore, but I think we could expect one more for Serena in a 4th year).
+1 Bonnie befrieding a wild Pokemon (this was more frequent pre-Squishy, so I think without the speed up there would have been another one of these, that would have worked well for Bonnie to gain even more respect from Squishy and see how Squishy interacted with the new friend).
+1.5 Clemont focus episode (again I think we could ask for even more, Clemont's focus went way down in XYZ until the Flare plot)
+1 Random amour episode (I don't even want this, but we all know if they had another year we would have gotten at least one more of these)
+1 Alexa episode (remember the woman who brought Ash to Kalos? She appeared semi-regularly during XY, then had no role at all beyond cameo in XYZ)
+1 James/Inkay development (I think a lot of us wanted to believe James could get another catch, but doesn't seem reasonable anymore to believe this, but at the very least he didn't get a lot of development once XYZ rolled along)
+1 Trevor development (He really wasn't ever even established as a league-type competitor and had no meaningful appearance in XYZ until league and post-league)
+.5 Tierno development (He got more time than Trevor, but he was a more important rival, would have been good to see him during XYZ run as well, since he also was absent until league and post league)
+1 Trio focus episode (In another year I think at least one would need to occur, again I think I could go even higher)
+.25 Something additional with Miette for Serena (for Serena's first rival, she was very minimal in XYZ, she was very fun in non-performance episodes)

Total: 12.25 additional episodes

Additional Pokemon development:
+1.5 Noibat training and battles (sorely needed)
+2.5 Serena new Pokemon development
+.5 Pancham learns a new move (tons of options)
+1 Luxray post evolution development (This really isn't unreasonable, pre XYZ Clemont's Pokemon all had focus episodes semi-regularly, but Luxray lacked a solid focus episode post evolution)
+1 Sylveon post evolution development and new fairy type move (either dazzling gleam, moonblast, or misty terrain)
+.5 Braixen learns psychic type move (preferably psychic) - this could possibly be even a whole episode, could become really interesting, but i'll keep the estimate conservative
+.5 Hawlucha new move and general development (Hawlucha had a lot of focus pre XYZ and then very little, so I think this is fairly conservative as one of the most entertaining Pokemon we've ever had (Fact, not opinion, lol))
+.25 Chespin new move
+.25 Talonflame learns flare blitz (Talonflame did learn moves at a good clip originally and was always learning really good ones, so it really seemed to make sense that this jump would have been made, similar to how Staraptor eventually got close combat)
+0 Greninja learns night slash (I think this should have happened, I guess it doesn't because of the Japanese name, so I came back and decided to not count it, plus Greninja got more than enough time anyway)

Total: 8 additional episodes

Additional Locations: (I want to add a lot here, because there was some great missed locations, but I will remain conservative and only include places that make sense)
+1 Travel through Santalune Forest (I want to go with like +10 here like Ilex got since I love the forests, but I think an episode in the forest on the way to Vaniville is perfectly reasonable).
+.25 Aquacorde Town (They would at least stop here somewhat heading to Vaniville, could easily have a plot here, but I'm trying to be as conservative as possible)
+.75 Various traveling/camping out (This is spread out over the entire year, again pretty conservative because we used to see a lot of traveling back in the good ol' days)

Total: 2 additional episodes

Additional Balance to the "fun" aspect XY had before XYZ

+1 Articuno episode (Come on, we all expected this, it totally killed me to not get an episode from my favorite of the Kanto leg bird trio)
+3 various light-hearted fillers/other (Ok I am trying to be as scientific as possible here. I went through and counted the number of episodes during XY and during XYZ that weren't any of the above type of episodes (so I don't double count) and were basically a light hearted not main part of the regular storyline. I also tried to be very conservative in my count for the XY portion, so I didn't overestimate, of course anyone may have a different opinion of this, but its what I came up with. I got 29/93 for XY and 10/47 for XYZ. 29/93 is about 31%, 31% of 47 is about 14.65, so I will round down and add 4, then considering some of the above, like portions of episodes for new moves, can mesh into these, I will reduce it another and only add 3. I can think of a lot of fun ideas for stories for these, but that would be for a different day.

Total: 4 additional episodes

Post league and Flare Climax additions
+.5 Let Clemont's episode actually give him the main focus and have the Alain party take up part of another episode
+1 Xerosic conflict more in-depth, because it was a lot more complex and difficult to defeat in games and it was really rushed into half an episode, barely feeling like a legitimate threat (maybe even include the great Looker)
+.75 most of an episode actually spent in Pallet town (This comes essentially after the finale to retain the emotion, almost like a special - similar to what we had seen most other series)

Total: 2.25 additional episodes

Optional:
+1 Malamar returns (I think a lot of people expected this, but I don't really think it was ever all that likely, so I didn't want to include it above)
+2 A better reward from Sycamore than silly medals, he takes group (with Alain and Mairin included) by train to Kiloude city where they relax and have fun and experience a little bit of what the Maison has to offer, including a chatelaine battle, some safari exploration seeing Pokemon that hadn't been seen in the series, etc.
+.5 Azure Bay visit
+.5 see Xerneas again that was hinted in Summer Camp
+1 Serena actually gets a special! (In this case occurs before SM, is why it adds to episode count)

(Optional) Total: 5 episodes

So here is the result:

Additional Episodes: 38.5
Optional Additional: 5
Total: 43.5

So I was thinking an extra year would need about 45 episodes, and I got to 38.5 with what I conservatively thought would likely happen based on what was missing from XYZ, how the XY series had gone, and evidence from past series. I think this is quite close, so I think they could have easily stretched it out into a fourth year without a filler arc and without feeling slow (considering I actually pared down a lot of my estimates in order to be as conservative as possible). Also, if including specials (which did lead up directly to SM) and add in a Serena special, then the regular episodes really only needed to add about 42, so we're even closer. I also think it possible Ash could have had another catch (a la Gible), but I thought I would leave that out. Anyway, I believe this shows that the series could have easily lasted 4 years, and I think it would have been more complete and more satisfying. I really didn't even factor in that completely new material could be introduced, something we pretty much always have, so again I think there would be no trouble whatsoever in this being a 4 year series based on what we had seen through the XY portion.

Thank you for reading if you made it through this. I tried really hard to be conservative and fair in this and put forth a lot of effort, but let me know if something is totally off base or doesn't make sense. Clearly I wish this would have happened, but I tried very hard to not let that influence how I determined the above. So yeah its all irrelevant, but I enjoyed putting this list together and I feel it is a good effort at showing what a 4th year could have been like for the XY series.
I really loved this post! I wish there was a proper place to discuss things like this. It really bugged me how Serena kept winning festivals after her first attempt so your suggestions really help fixed things.
 
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I don't know the exact definitions, but I think the main characters are Ash + Pikachu + compagnons + TR (I wish Bulbapedia had an article about this). The protagonist has always been Ash (even tough Dawn was a co-start in DP).
 
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I don't know the exact definitions, but I think the main characters are Ash + Pikachu + compagnons + TR (I wish Bulbapedia had an article about this). The protagonist has always been Ash (even tough Dawn was a co-start in DP).
You're absolutely right. Bulbapedia's definition of "main character" includes the protagonists (i.e. Ash and his non-temporary traveling companions) and the Team Rocket trio.
 
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Ritchie isn't an Ash clone. All their personality traits they shared were very generic. There was enough differences to make their similarities interesting. He needs to return and I'm still salty he didn't compete in the Johto League despite wanting to be a master.

Misty should have done the Johto badge quest. If elite 4 specialize in one type I see no reason why a competitor can't. Also the fact that she had a lot of anti specialization rhetoric despite specializing in a specific type is pretty dumb. Like the princess day episode for example, if she doesn't think her Pokemon have enough variety to win why should she only use one type?
 
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Also the fact that she had a lot of anti specialization rhetoric despite specializing in a specific type is pretty dumb. Like the princess day episode for example, if she doesn't think her Pokemon have enough variety to win why should she only use one type?
That's... actually a good point. It's not like she was forced to have only Water Pokémon, hell, so far there has been only one Gym Leader that got forced to use a specific type, and that was Cheren in the games. The rest of them are pretty comfortable with their own types.
 
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Ritchie isn't an Ash clone. All their personality traits they shared were very generic. There was enough differences to make their similarities interesting. He needs to return and I'm still salty he didn't compete in the Johto League despite wanting to be a master.

Misty should have done the Johto badge quest. If elite 4 specialize in one type I see no reason why a competitor can't. Also the fact that she had a lot of anti specialization rhetoric despite specializing in a specific type is pretty dumb. Like the princess day episode for example, if she doesn't think her Pokemon have enough variety to win why should she only use one type?
Misty was never really an intelligent person to begin with.
 
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Ritchie isn't an Ash clone. All their personality traits they shared were very generic. There was enough differences to make their similarities interesting. He needs to return and I'm still salty he didn't compete in the Johto League despite wanting to be a master.
I couldn't agree more. He and his team was a huge wasted opportunity.

Misty should have done the Johto badge quest.
Maybe not necessarily Misty and not necessarily Johto - but after 20 years we're still yet to have a companion that shares Ash's goal of collecting badges and challenging the League (which would make for far more interesting dynamic than Ash having a rival who travels separately and only occasionaly runs into him), and Misty actually having ANY goal definitely would make her at least a little more likeable. It wouldn't make her any less of a jerkish brat and a creator pet (I have a weird feeling that only reason she's so beloved by fandom is because she was member of the "best" original team), but at least seeing her actually work towards something rather than stalking Ash & Pika for 5 seasons straight over a broken bike would help show that she does actually have some redeeming qualities. I mean, we have Brock, who wants to become a breeder, we have Tracey, researcher in training, we have Todd, who aims (and succeeds) to be a renowned Pokemon photographer, we have Ash and Ritchie, both working towards becoming champions, with every single of them doing at least something in this direction (one could argue that Brock also does nothing meaningful, but in his case it's more of his character arc getting derailed by his casanova wannabe running gag. Still better than Misty - he at least HAD a character arc that could be derailed)... and then there's Misty with her extremely ambiguous, poorly defined and hardly ever really acknowledged outside of her introducing herself or boasting goal to "Be a water Pokemon master", that we never see her try to realise in any way and - as I mentioned earlier - she's only actually there because of a broken bike (and don't get me strated on "the same applying for May and Dawn". In their case broken bikes were catalyts, but they quickly found other goals... well, the same for both of them, but you get what I mean).

Also the fact that she had a lot of anti specialization rhetoric despite specializing in a specific type is pretty dumb. Like the princess day episode for example, if she doesn't think her Pokemon have enough variety to win why should she only use one type?
The worst part is, at first they actually tried to do away with this part of her character - which might also help to make her more likeable. An early episode ("Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village", IIRC) had her try and fail to catch an Oddish, with her explictly noting that as cool as "I only train one type of Pokemon" sounds, it's not really a good strategy. It was only after that that writers decided "Nah, whatever" and had her suddenly start treating water types like überpokemon for no apparent reason.
 
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Ritchie isn't an Ash clone. All their personality traits they shared were very generic. There was enough differences to make their similarities interesting. He needs to return and I'm still salty he didn't compete in the Johto League despite wanting to be a master.
I don't know if I was that upset over Ritchie not being in the Johto League, but it would have been interesting to see a rematch between them and having a League only rival appear for two different Leagues would have probably helped to make him stand out a bit more.

Harmful Heron said:
Misty should have done the Johto badge quest. If elite 4 specialize in one type I see no reason why a competitor can't. Also the fact that she had a lot of anti specialization rhetoric despite specializing in a specific type is pretty dumb. Like the princess day episode for example, if she doesn't think her Pokemon have enough variety to win why should she only use one type?
I think part of that decision was due to how most of her Pokemon weren't suited for battling on land. Among her team at the time, only Staryu, Starmie and Psyduck could really battle on land and she needed four Pokemon for that episode. Still, it is strange to think about how she asked to borrow their Pokemon for the competition when she gets more excited over Water Pokemon as the original series progresses.
 
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I don't know the exact definitions, but I think the main characters are Ash + Pikachu + compagnons + TR (I wish Bulbapedia had an article about this). The protagonist has always been Ash (even tough Dawn was a co-start in DP).
I don't want to sound like a broken record but main character = protagonist. So Ash and Pikachu are the main characters. Dawn and Serena were also the co-main characters in their own series. I don't know about May since I didn't watch her series.

The companions and Team Rocket form the supporting characters. The main characters together with the supporting characters make the main cast.

Take Parks and Recreation for instance, Leslie Knope is the main character though everyone else is a supporting character. It's just how things are literally speaking so I hope we can let this rest now. In any case, I don't think the intended purpose of the Controversial Opinions thread is to mock, sneer, be rude or get passive aggressive towards anyone who has a different opinion.
 
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I don't want to sound like a broken record but main character = protagonist. So Ash and Pikachu are the main characters. Dawn and Serena were also the co-main characters in their own series. I don't know about May since I didn't watch her series.

The companions and Team Rocket form the supporting characters. The main characters together with the supporting characters make the main cast.

Take Parks and Recreation for instance, Leslie Knope is the main character though everyone else is a supporting character. It's just how things are literally speaking so I hope we can let this rest now. In any case, I don't think the intended purpose of the Controversial Opinions thread is to mock, sneer, be rude or get passive aggressive towards anyone who has a different opinion.
I appreciate and understand a difference in opinion, but you literally just claimed your opinion regarding what constitutes a main character as fact and want to "let this rest." That comes across as biased-ly decisive to me, which is a good way to earn ire and scorn from others.
 
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I don't want to sound like a broken record but main character = protagonist. So Ash and Pikachu are the main characters. Dawn and Serena were also the co-main characters in their own series. I don't know about May since I didn't watch her series.
The protagonist is a main character, but like I mentioned before, you can have more than one main character in a story. I wouldn't say that Serena had a proactive role in XY akin to Dawn. She was the main female lead just like Misty, May, Dawn and Iris were for their respective series, but giving her co-main character status doesn't quite sit right with me if only she and Dawn could be considered main characters among the traveling companions. She didn't get a lot of focus during the first year of XY, her Performance goal was really relevant for a little over a year and I don't think it had a huge impact on Ash's journey through Kalos. I'm not saying that Serena didn't do anything during XY, but I don't think it was akin to the focus and role Dawn got in DP.

SerenaToAlola said:
The companions and Team Rocket form the supporting characters. The main characters together with the supporting characters make the main cast.
While it's true that main characters together with the supporting characters make up the main cast, I don't think I agree that all of the companions besides Dawn and Serena are just supporting characters. I can kind of understand that argument with the SM cast, but other traveling companions were featured in nearly every episode, usually had at least a decent amount of focus in their series and helped Ash through his journey in some fashion. This especially doesn't really work for Team Rocket. Up until BW, they were featured in every episode aside from the first one. They are the main antagonists of each series. I'm not saying that supporting characters can't make significant contributions to the plot, but if your characters are the main antagonists that the protagonists deal with practically every week, I don't think they qualify as supporting characters.

SerenaToAlola said:
Take Parks and Recreation for instance, Leslie Knope is the main character though everyone else is a supporting character. It's just how things are literally speaking so I hope we can let this rest now. In any case, I don't think the intended purpose of the Controversial Opinions thread is to mock, sneer, be rude or get passive aggressive towards anyone who has a different opinion.
Well I don't think people are trying to mock you for your opinion, but responding back by saying that your opinion is a fact does come off a bit too dismissive for my tastes.
 
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I don't really understand why people say that Lillie and Serena are equal personality-wise. Lillie feels flat (even flatter then Serena,just joking)
 
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About Misty, while I'm not one of the "She should've stayed forever" fans, I do think the reason she had to leave was selfish and annoying on the part of her sisters.

Like, not even one of you can set aside your own desires and just run the Gym? You have to abruptly, with little warning, thrust it on your younger sibling and hope she accepts out of some forced sense of obligation? Not to mention that you haven't even talked much since you finally decided to start respecting her, but now you suddenly expect her to do this huge thing for you? It's just annoying, and I definitely wouldn't have agreed to do it if I were her. You're the older ones, and you were usually jerks to boot, so handle your own problems.
 
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About Misty, while I'm not one of the "She should've stayed forever" fans, I do think the reason she had to leave was selfish and annoying on the part of her sisters.

Like, not even one of you can set aside your own desires and just run the Gym? You have to abruptly, with little warning, thrust it on your younger sibling and hope she accepts out of some forced sense of obligation? Not to mention that you haven't even talked much since you finally decided to start respecting her, but now you suddenly expect her to do this huge thing for you? It's just annoying, and I definitely wouldn't have agreed to do it if I were her. You're the older ones, and you were usually jerks to boot, so handle your own problems.
I had no problem Misty left, I just disliked the way it was done.
 
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About Misty, while I'm not one of the "She should've stayed forever" fans, I do think the reason she had to leave was selfish and annoying on the part of her sisters.

Like, not even one of you can set aside your own desires and just run the Gym? You have to abruptly, with little warning, thrust it on your younger sibling and hope she accepts out of some forced sense of obligation? Not to mention that you haven't even talked much since you finally decided to start respecting her, but now you suddenly expect her to do this huge thing for you? It's just annoying, and I definitely wouldn't have agreed to do it if I were her. You're the older ones, and you were usually jerks to boot, so handle your own problems.
I think she agreed to do it because deep down she wanted to be the Gym leader and have that responsibility. So sure, she was surprised to have this sprung on her and upset with the rude treatment and upset to leave her friends because she enjoyed her travels, but this also meant her sisters respected her enough to be the sole gym leader and she was proud of being a gym leader and wanted this responsibility/position. It actually was one of the better departures in that she improved a lot as a water type trainer and then was able to use that improvements gained from her travels to do something she always wanted to do and be a good gym leader, gaining the respect of her sisters. So yeah, it would have felt better if the sisters had been more respectful and asked her if she wanted to do it, but that just wasn't their personality.
 
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