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Controversial opinions

martianmister

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Just because a character is a jerk doesn't make him/her a bad character. Characters like Paul and Burgundy has to act like that, otherwise there would be no conflict. Not everyone has to act nice like it's some kind of preschool show.
 

prog rocker

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Just because a character is a jerk doesn't make him/her a bad character. Characters like Paul and Burgundy has to act like that, otherwise there would be no conflict. Not everyone has to act nice like it's some kind of preschool show.
I'm not saying everyone should get along, it's just that he was way, way more unlikable than needed.
 

SerenaToAlola

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Ok yes I found him unlikable but what makes his character a poorly written character to me is how unbelievable his character is. There is no nuance. He is one dimensional. Sure he is significant to the plot but that, to me, is distinct from whether his character is well written. To illustrate, though Lana is not crucial to the SM plot, her character is better written to me cause she's complex and interesting but still believable.
 

FinnishPokéFan92

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He's an antagonist, you don't have to like him.
Not antagonist. Rival.
Ok yes I found him unlikable but what makes his character a poorly written character to me is how unbelievable his character is. There is no nuance. He is one dimensional. Sure he is significant to the plot but that, to me, is distinct from whether his character is well written. To illustrate, though Lana is not crucial to the SM plot, her character is better written to me cause she's complex and interesting but still believable.
Paul was far from one-dimensional. I think your bias against him is blinding you quite a lot.
 

Lone_Garurumon

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I personally won't say much here, since most of my thoughts have already been said by other people, but I will say that I'm on the pro-Paul side. He was a good rival who challenged Ash not only in battle, but also in terms of methodology, and wound up with each of them growing and learning to respect each other from it.

Not antagonist. Rival.
Same thing. An antagonist is just a character who goes against the protagonist. And that's pretty much what Paul did throughout the entire series. Rivals can be antagonists too.
 

FinnishPokéFan92

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Same thing. An antagonist is just a character who goes against the protagonist. And that's pretty much what Paul did throughout the entire series. Rivals can be antagonists too.
No. Antagonists are the active villains like Jessie, James, all the other villainous team members, J, and so on. Rivals are their own group of characters, which I guess you could say falls somewhere in between protagonists and antagonists.
 

Hidden Mew

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Ok yes I found him unlikable but what makes his character a poorly written character to me is how unbelievable his character is. There is no nuance. He is one dimensional. Sure he is significant to the plot but that, to me, is distinct from whether his character is well written. To illustrate, though Lana is not crucial to the SM plot, her character is better written to me cause she's complex and interesting but still believable.
I can understand finding Lana to be interesting and likable, but I don't really see how she's complex. I'm not sure if I would describe any of the SM cast members as complex aside from maybe Lillie and I'm not sure about even that one.

I also disagree with the notion that Paul was one dimensional. He was a jerk, but I don't think that made him one note or one dimensional. He often defended his training methods when other characters confronted him instead of just being the more typical bully/jerk character with just being mean for the shake of it. He wanted to get stronger and thought that getting Pokemon who are already strong would be more effective than training just any Pokemon. Despite how he treated Ash, Paul was usually respectful towards Gym Leaders, Professor Rowan and even Brock when he confronted him a few times. His reaction to Brandon calling him out during their battle also made him more emotional than he had been beforehand. Like I mentioned before, Paul did come to respect Ash by the end of the series. He seemed to have started to care more about his Pokemon based on how thanked Electrive for its battle against Infernape at the Sinnoh League. I think it was implied that Paul was about to complement Infernape for winning in the Japanese version before in nearly fainted. That doesn't change that Paul was abusive to it or abandoned Pokemon he thought were too weak, but I do think that showed some growth on his part and that he wasn't just a one note character.

Saying how Paul is so unbelievable is also kind of interesting to me since I remember at least a few comments saying how more people would be like Paul than Ash during DP's run if Pokemon were in our world. Part of that could be how his mentality is similar to how competitive players can see and treat Pokemon, but I don't think too many people found his behavior and actions to be unbelievable. If anything, people love that he isn't the typical friendly rival like the vast majority of characters Ash run into and actually provided good conflict throughout DP's run.
 

FluffleFi

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My main draw to Paul is that he and Ash are on equal footings. Ash may have lost numerous times, but he wasn't an underdog in this case and Paul is in no way a newbie trainer. They've both got multiple regions worth of experience under them and their Pokemon are just as strong. Ash has years(or in the anime's case, months) of training under his belt so he has no real business losing to people like Cameron, Trip or or Sawyer. But Paul has both the skills, knowledge and experience to be a challenge. People seem to think that if Ash used six of his strongest Pokemon he would have swept through Paul's team, but do we really know that? We know his Torterra and Electivire are strong, but what would be the next four? We don't know every single one of Paul's Pokemon, especially since five of the Pokemon he has used against Ash in the league were mostly new aside from his Aggron, which had shown up in a previous episode as a Lairon. So who's to say Paul can't but together a team of six Pokemon that could rival Ash's?
 

SerenaToAlola

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Saying how Paul is so unbelievable is also kind of interesting to me since I remember at least a few comments saying how more people would be like Paul than Ash during DP's run if Pokemon were in our world. Part of that could be how his mentality is similar to how competitive players can see and treat Pokemon, but I don't think too many people found his behavior and actions to be unbelievable. If anything, people love that he isn't the typical friendly rival like the vast majority of characters Ash run into and actually provided good conflict throughout DP's run.
In the game maybe but in the real world, Pokemon are equivalent to pets. Anyone who treats their pets like that would be a terrible terrible person.

Shinji is probably the most nuanced 10-year-old trainer character we have ever seen (and maybe ever will!) in the Pokemon anime. I don't understand how anyone who has actually seen the full run of DP could think otherwise.
Nah, there's Serena, Lillie and Gladion.
 

ii kanji

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Nah, there's Serena, Lillie and Gladion.
So you came up with 3 options, well done. Let's break this down.

Have nothing to say RE Serena except pffft.
Gladio is older, not around all that much and anyway...
... A traumatic backstory alone does not a nuanced character make. I like Lillie, I think she has more depth than many, but is her personality more nuanced than that of Shinji? I don't think so. Not in the anime at any rate.
 

Hidden Mew

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In the game maybe but in the real world, Pokemon are equivalent to pets. Anyone who treats their pets like that would be a terrible terrible person.
While I agree that someone treating their pet like how Paul treated Chimchar would make them terrible, that wasn't the point of that statement. It was the notion that Paul is unbelievable when I saw at least a few people saying that his approach was, for a lack of better terms, more realistic compared to the more upbeat friendly kind of trainers we see nearly all the time in the anime. There sadly would be a large amount of people treating Pokemon like tools in the real world, especially when animals and pets are treated as such by terrible people.

SerenaToAlola said:
Nah, there's Serena, Lillie and Gladion.
I like Serena as much as the next person, but she is not full of nuance or complexity. You could argue that Lillie has more depth than the rest of the SM cast, but I wouldn't really say she's nuanced or complex either. Her personality isn't particularly interesting and even Serena's storyline had better structure than Lillie's has despite her goal not staring until a year into XY's run. I haven't seen some of Gladion's recent anime appearances, but based on what I have seen, I wouldn't say he's complex either. He has less screentime in this series than he does in the video games and that really affects the quality of his character in my opinion. He's just kind of there and nothing has really stood out about SM Gladion compared to even SM Lillie.
 

SerenaToAlola

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While I agree that someone treating their pet like how Paul treated Chimchar would make them terrible, that wasn't the point of that statement. It was the notion that Paul is unbelievable when I saw at least a few people saying that his approach was, for a lack of better terms, more realistic compared to the more upbeat friendly kind of trainers we see nearly all the time in the anime. There sadly would be a large amount of people treating Pokemon like tools in the real world, especially when animals and pets are treated as such by terrible people.
Paul is believable as a competitive player yes but the thing is, Pokemon in the anime are pets. Powerful pets who are capable of battling but still living breathing creatures. They're not chess pieces. They're not toys. They're not just sports equipment that you wear out as quickly as you can just so you can swap over to use the next better equipment. So yes, to see someone treat Pokemon the way Paul does, in a manner that is completely void of compassion, when they are supposed to remind you of the animals around you and not toys, is just downright unbelievable for me. There's no way such cruelty would be endorsed or even tolerated.

Throughout his story we do not see him in other capacities as well, yea he is another character's younger brother but there was practically no development in that sense. All we got from him was how we went from an animal abuser to someone who can accept that its ok for some people to treat living breathing creatures like what they really are so yea, he is a hard pass for me.

I do give him credit for making Chinchar/Infernape's story amazing though. Since that's the only thing he does for me, he is unfortunately a one dimensional character for me.

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I knew citing Serena as a nuanced character would draw the ire of people here but whatever. I guess people here just find it hard to accept that storylines don't have to revolve around parameters defined by the Pokemon games or in her case, performances. I'm not sure how to phrase it properly but an example I can cite is school where it is not entirely about passing and getting good grades, it's about learning about yourself etc as well. There is the structural/societal and there is also the personal. And the personal is just as important as well. It is in fact, more appealing to me.

So really, her story didn't start when she made her decision to take part in performances. Her story started the moment she left home. Her conflict was with herself, how she was impatient and unsure and how she grew into an independent young girl, a dependable older sister and her own women altogether. Throughout her story she took on many roles, that of a daughter, a older sister, a artist, a girl in love, a girl with dreams etc.This is why so many girls look up to her and why she was so empowering. She was so inspiring because she overcame herself through the course of her journey. This is why I saw her as the co-protagonist of XY. The only thing they messed up was sending her to Hoenn to do contest. I try my best to not acknowledge that but guess I have to now to show that I'm not biased.
 
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Hidden Mew

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Paul is believable as a competitive player yes but the thing is, Pokemon in the anime are pets. Powerful pets who are capable of battling but still living breathing creatures. They're not chess pieces. They're not toys. They're not just sports equipment that you wear out as quickly as you can just so you can swap over to use the next better equipment. So yes, to see someone treat Pokemon the way Paul does, in a manner that is completely void of compassion, when they are supposed to remind you of the animals around you and not toys, is just downright unbelievable for me. There's no way such cruelty would be endorsed or even tolerated.

Throughout his story we do not see him in other capacities as well, yea he is another character's younger brother but there was practically no development in that sense. All we got from him was how we went from an animal abuser to someone who can accept that its ok for some people to treat living breathing creatures like what they really are so yea, he is a hard pass for me.

I do give him credit for making Chinchar/Infernape's story amazing though. Since that's the only thing he does for me, he is unfortunately a one dimensional character for me.
I know that Pokemon are living creatures in the anime. Considering that there are villains who treat Pokemon even worse than Paul, like the poachers we see sometimes and the evil team grunts/leaders, I just can't really see how Paul's treatment is that unbelievable. Not to mention there have been plenty of cases of Pokemon abandoned by their trainers before Paul showed up. It still doesn't make him one dimensional since that's just ignoring what changes he did go through by the end of DP. One dimensional characters don't tend to change like that.

SerenaToAlola said:
I knew citing Serena as a nuanced character would draw the ire of people here but whatever. I guess people here just find it hard to accept that storylines don't have to revolve around parameters defined by the Pokemon games or in her case, performances. I'm not sure how to phrase it properly but an example I can cite is school where it is not entirely about passing and getting good grades, it's about learning about yourself etc as well. There is the structural/societal and there is also the personal. And the personal is just as important as well. It is in fact, more appealing to me.
Or people just don't agree with the notion of Serena being a nuanced or complex character. The fact that her storyline revolves around a goal not featured in the games isn't really a problem, at least in terms of her characterization. Contests in AG and DP were barely similar to the Contests from the video games, so it's not like the writers had a lot to go on for May and Dawn's storylines. Having a goal with better structure helped them out, but it wasn't defined by the video games. They just took the concept of Contests and expanded on them to give the female leads a more battle active goal.

SerenaToAlola said:
So really, her story didn't start when she made her decision to take part in performances. Her story started the moment she left home. Her conflict was with herself, how she was impatient and unsure and how she grew into an independent young girl, a dependable older sister and her own women altogether. Throughout her story she took on many roles, that of a daughter, a older sister, a artist, a girl in love, a girl with dreams etc.This is why so many girls look up to her and why she was so empowering. She was so inspiring because she overcame herself through the course of her journey. This is why I saw her as the co-protagonist of XY. The only thing they messed up was sending her to Hoenn to do contest. I try my best to not acknowledge that but guess I have to now to show that I'm not biased.
I like Serena and despite the shaky writing in places, I like her development, but I do think that's overselling her storyline a bit. She didn't really do much during that first year of XY and not starting her goal until the middle of the series really hurt it in the long run. I can see where they were going by not giving Serena a goal for so long after her first Showcase defeat, but I do think it caused more problems than if she had started earlier in XY or if they had given her a goal right from the start. Not to mention Performances basically being watered down Contest appeals/popularity contests that just happened to feature Pokemon didn't help to make her storyline completely engaging for me either. Showcases never came off nearly as difficult as the show tried to make them out to be. If it wasn't for the good character moments Serena had during her Showcase journey, it would have been much harder to sit through them. I didn't like that they sent her off to Hoenn for Contests either, but I don't think that was the only mistake in her storyline.

I don't think that Serena is empowering, but I could see why others might feel differently if they really liked her and/or find her relatable. I don't think she was the co-protagonist of XY though. She didn't have nearly as much of a role in that series compared to Dawn in DP and Showcases were only relevant for a little over a year in XY's run. Serena does have some nice moments and character growth, but I don't think that's the same thing as being a character full of nuance and complexity. I don't think that Serena's storyline is nearly that deep either.
 

SerenaToAlola

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Or people just don't agree with the notion of Serena being a nuanced or complex character. The fact that her storyline revolves around a goal not featured in the games isn't really a problem, at least in terms of her characterization. Contests in AG and DP were barely similar to the Contests from the video games, so it's not like the writers had a lot to go on for May and Dawn's storylines. Having a goal with better structure helped them out, but it wasn't defined by the video games. They just took the concept of Contests and expanded on them to give the female leads a more battle active goal.
You missed my entire point. What I was trying to say is that stories don't have to revolve around taking part in a league or a competition. In some instances it can be (eg. for Ash and Dawn it was to take part in the league and contests) but it doesn't have to be the case all the time. A better indicator of what their story is, is their motive for going on the journey.

For Serena, she left home because she was unhappy. She didn't know what to do with her life. So no, her story was not about her performances (though it played a part in her story). Her story was about her personal growth and there was PLENTY of that in the first year, before she even took part in any performance. A huge part of the anime dealt with her tensions with her mum, ho she's unsure of her place in the world, how she tried to deal with it by trying to find love and how she understood how being in a relationship isn't everything. These are all important and very important aspects that add to the depth of her character. Serena is probably the most nuanced 10-year-old trainer character we have ever seen (and maybe ever will!) in the Pokemon anime. I don't understand how anyone who has actually seen the full run of XY could think otherwise.
 
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sc190191

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Paul is believable as a competitive player yes but the thing is, Pokemon in the anime are pets. Powerful pets who are capable of battling but still living breathing creatures. They're not chess pieces. They're not toys. They're not just sports equipment that you wear out as quickly as you can just so you can swap over to use the next better equipment. So yes, to see someone treat Pokemon the way Paul does, in a manner that is completely void of compassion, when they are supposed to remind you of the animals around you and not toys, is just downright unbelievable for me. There's no way such cruelty would be endorsed or even tolerated.
I think pets is not the correct comparison. Pokemon are partners and equals to their trainers. In the Pokemon world, Pokemon are at least equals (if not greater) to humans in many ways, including intellect. Although some of us (myself included) treat our pets as equals, there is no arguing the gap in intellect and the disconnect in terms of mutual understanding and comprehension. Paul is treating his Pokemon the way they want to be treated, although with a brashness that maybe isn't necessary, but is just his personality. The Pokemon Paul seeks out to catch are Pokemon that want to become as strong as they possibly can be and be competitive battlers. That is why Paul is so careful when catching Pokemon and so willing to release Pokemon. It is no different than Serena, who caught Pokemon that had similar goals and dreams to herself, who she could help reach the heights they wanted to reach. Just like people (and yes like pets) all Pokemon have very different personalities, but the main difference from pets is that Pokemon have the comprehension to have their own goals and dreams. The best comparison to Paul's Pokemon would be top tier athletes in the real world. Highly competitive athletes choose to train in very similar methods as Paul's Pokemon do, having coaches or trainers be as hard on them as possible to help them achieve new heights. There is no difference with Paul's Pokemon, Paul's Pokemon wanted to be pushed to their limit. It wouldn't be fair to them if Paul wasn't pushing them as hard as they wanted, then he wouldn't be doing his job as their trainer and helping them achieve their goals. This is the exact reason Ash's Froakie left multiple trainers before it met Ash. Even Chimchar didn't want to leave Paul and it is clear Chimchar had similar goals and dreams to be a top tier battler, but just couldn't reach those heights in the same manner as Paul's other Pokemon due to having a different personality. Now, I'm not saying Paul was perfect, he surely did make many mistakes, just like everyone else does and he went too far at times. He didn't really bond with his Pokemon on a friendship level as much as other trainers (although he did some, in his own way), and that had to do with him being immature and not realizing the impact those bonds could have on achieving new heights, but it was something he was beginning to understand towards the end of DP.

Arguably, Paul's greatest weakness, in comparison to Ash or other trainers, is that he is not very adaptable. Ash had learned (I say had because at DP he was still building off his prior journeys, which is more debatable since) to work with Pokemon with a huge variety of personalities and in a huge variety of ways. Ash even trained in similar ways to Paul with some of his Pokemon that responded to those methods (he just has a much more positive personality, so the same type of training will feel different to the audience, but at its root you will find many instances that are similar). Paul not being able to be adaptable in his training methods may have had him miss out on some potentially great partners, but he still was proven to be quite successful with his own methods. In order for Paul to take the next step and rival someone such as Cynthia, he would have to become a more well-rounded trainer, but remember he was Ash's age (or around it anyway) and still had a lot of maturing to do. Good development doesn't necessarily mean making a 180 degree improvement over the course of a series, for someone like Paul to become a giddy Ash-type trainer in the course of the DP series would have been unbelievable and disappointing. Paul did grow and learn some throughout the series, but he has a stubborn personality, and it is quite well known that stubborn people change at a slower pace than others, so like I said earlier "beginning to understand" is the right level of progression for Paul during the stretch of DP because of who he was and his personality.

Back to the pets topic, yes some people in the Pokemon world do treat their Pokemon as pets, and in my opinion that could be extremely cruel depending on that particular Pokemon, while being great for others depending on their personality and life goals. If that Pokemon had dreams of battling, or performing, or traveling but the trainer just keeps them at home, that could lead to a very disappointing life. Remember when Ash and Dawn traded Buizel and Aipom? Sure Aipom was a good battler and she could have continued to participate in gym battles and be reasonably happy, but she was much more happy performing (well and apparently playing ping pong...) so allowing her to perform was the right thing to do for her long term happiness and to achieve her own life goals. The same was true of Buizel, who certainly had the ability to be a good performer, but had a greater desire to participate in battles. This is why it is so imperative (and the anime usually shows us this) to get to know the Pokemon before capturing it, or in Paul's case releasing the Pokemon if they aren't a fit. So anyway, I think Paul would be far more cruel to his Pokemon if he treated them like a pet, it would be unfair and cruel to not treat them with the respect they deserve as partners and equals who want to achieve greatness. For a Pokemon like Paul's who wanted to train so hard, it would be disrespectful to not help them achieve their goals (similar to the disrespect of "going easy" on someone who wants to compete in, well, anything).

Paul wasn't perfect, but he was extremely interesting and brought a new method of training to the table that we hadn't seen before in the anime, made a lot of people think, and made for an incredible rivalry, while giving us a personality that was unlike any other we had seen before, and with so many recycled concepts, having Paul was a breath of fresh air and an incredible gift during the incredible DP series.
 
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