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Do Fire Starters get too much Favoritism in the Anime?

Rainbow-Rain

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Well since I have done 2 Threads analyzing Water and Grass Starters portrayals in the Anime.

I think it's time to round out the Trio and finally analyze the way Fire Starters are treated.

Unlike Grass and Water Starters, Fire Starter almost never get the Short end of the stick


Charizard - Oh GOD. Where do I even begin?! This thing is THE biggest example of a Shillmon in the franchise. Ash's Ace in the OS, Red's Ace in Origins, Leon's Ace in the current Gen, Alain's Ace in XYZ. The list goes on....

Quilava - Admittedly didn't get much. Tho it still got to come back in DP and evolve as well as Dawn also getting her own Quilava. (Poor Typhlosion)

Blaziken - Was May's Ace and was done pretty well and could go toe to toe with Ash's Sceptile by the series end. Also the species itself was introduced by taking down Charizard. And it was also the very first Mega Evolution to be shown in the Anime.

Infernape - Do I even have to say it?

Pignite - This one is interesting. While none of the Gen 5 Starters were particularly handled well, Pignite stands out compared to Oshawott and Snivy. It got the most development out of the 3 and it's the only who got to Evolve.

Braxien - Another interesting case. While it wasn't the best handled Starter on the cast, it surely wasn't the worst one either. It got to develop into becoming a better performer with Serena. (Delphox on the other hand lol)

Incineroar - Oh here we go. Literally overshadowed Decidueye and Primarina in the Anime even to the point of being introduced by 1-Hit KO'ing both of them in the Ring. It was literally made to be the Champion's Ace of Alola. It inspired Ash's Litten into eventually become an Incineroar itself, and it was the ONLY Alola Starter to appear in a Movie.

Cinderace - This one is.... A rather odd case.. It started off pretty severely hyped up to be the next big shillmon during the 1st year. It's Goh's 1ST Pokemon, It appeared on a lot of merchandise, it is often shown being partnered with Lucario, etc...,
But it suddenly began to... kinda fade away from the spotlight early on in the 2nd year? It seems like it'll get more spotlight this year tho.
Other than that it is still the best handled Starter (development wise) of Gen 8 and arguably one of the better handled Pokemon on the cast in Journeys


You've probably also noticed this by now but unlike Grass and Water Starters, Fire Starters on the main cast ALWAYS will Evolve regardless of their popularity (Pignite)

I've also noticed the ones that get the most severe shilling in the Anime tend to be the ones who go to Ash.

So My question to you guys is do you think the Fire Starters get too much better treatment compared to the Water and Grass Starters?
Or do you think they're just fine?


Let's see how Fuecoco will follow up shall we?
 
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Short answer is: Yes, obviously.

Long answer - yes, but I would not blame Anime to have some sinister motive here. It is a simple logic - Fire Starters, meaning their final evolutions, are mostly the best designed, menacing looking...well monsters, since franchise is literally abbreviation of Pocket Monsters. Let's call it "cool factor".
Anime is primarily visual medium and from my experience, even casual viewers who saw some episodes of Anime as children remember the most impressive looking Pokémon.

Therefore as you listed, Charizard, Blaziken and Infernape are iconic - only Blaziken not being featured as Ash's ace simply because at that generation had alternative with probably the best looking grass starter so far - Sceptile.
Incineroar and Typhlosion/Cinderace are not that far behind.
Emboar and Delphox are rare exemptions, but they have at least cute/interesting starting and middle-evolution, so they used those.

This is probably different to gaming community, where stats matter the most I think.
But to sum it up, yes, IMHO they are obviously treated the best in comparison to grass and water starters. But it is not because of some malice or blind favouritism, Anime being visual medium simply prefers the most enticing design. That is probably the most important reason. So to change this, the game designers should spread the quality design more evenly. When they manage to do that - like with Sceptile and Greninja, the treatment in Anime follows. Although even here are exceptions like Samurott or Decidueye. But that may stem from the fact that Oshawott and Rowlet were nailed as personalities in their primary form, initial plan may well had been to evolve them.

Secondary reason may be, that various shenanigans like training and so, are more fun with fire than grass or water. But that is just intuitive impression from top of my head. It may very well be false bias and would require to look back at episodes more closely, whether similar scenes and character development could be achieved with different typing and being similarly interesting. (Episode from BW, when Pignite has clogged nose and could not perform fire attacks comes to mind)
 

Ghost Diplocaulus

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Short answer: yes, yes they do.

Long answer: Yeah, Fire-type Starters are greatly favored in comparison to their Grass and Water counterparts, but to be fair it is kind of understandable why, as Fire seems to be on average the most popular pick when it comes to Starters themselves. No doubt in part because the very first one was Charizard, and thus gave the type a very strong start, but also because compared to the other two types, Fire is rarer and/or not as easy to find options for early when compared to Water or Grass, meaning if you pick the Fire option as your starter, theoretically you fill a type diverse team much quicker.

Still, it does become a bit of a problem in the anime itself when so many Fire Starters have similar backstories and overwhelming focus. In my opinion, Pignite was by far the worst case, because although he didn't hog the spotlight anywhere near as much as his predecessors Charizard and Infernape did, he still got to have both a much more complete arc and much better battle showings than either Snivy or Oshawott, and seeing how he was a Fire/Fighting-type starter coming off the heels of Infernape, it really just feels like the writers got lazy and just recycled an overdone plotline instead of trying to do something more unique. Snivy in particular was dripping with potential, yet the most she did was play supporting character to Pignite because Fire-type must get all the glory I guess. That the Tepig line as a whole was already seen as repetitive for being the third Fire/Fighting in a row is just icing on the cake.

Even outside of all of that that, well, we all know how ridiculously elevated Charizard is in general when compared to Blastoise or Venusaur.
 

Unireon

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I usually try to fight against this favouritism.
Choosing any of the other Starters; Fushigidane, Waninoko, Kimori, Tsutaaja and Keromatsu.
Except in Sinnoh and Alola, although in the latter I almost picked Ashimari.

In the anime, I usually don't mind it if they are well-developed or have an interesting plot.
However, Chaobuu being the third with such backstory and typing was uninspired and overdone.
I did want more of their attempts at come up with something to be given to Mijumaru, instead.

Though, them doing even worse was thought impossible but it happened with the Galar Starters.
Those are seriously being mishandled, not even the Fire one is safe this time.

I'd say that only Lizardon is continously being shilled, but that happens when GF gives it such treatment too.
Goukazaru is not a shillmon, since it doesn't get that amount of focus and had a disappointing return.

Hoping that Scarlet and Violet The Series would neglect that ugly croc, what a terrible design.
It's the second time in a row that I dislike an Starter, though with the green gremlin it was due to its description and line theme.
 

Rainbow-Rain

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I usually try to fight against this favouritism.
Choosing any of the other Starters; Fushigidane, Waninoko, Kimori, Tsutaaja and Keromatsu.
Except in Sinnoh and Alola, although in the latter I almost picked Ashimari.
Lmao I'm the same I almost never pick Fire Starters. Except Gen 6 where I picked Fokko/Fenniken
Though, them doing even worse was thought impossible but it happened with the Galar Starters.
Those are seriously being mishandled, not even the Fire one is safe this time.
Cinderace would be fine IF he got more screentime. Also he needs to actually win some fights. Not just kick a Pyro Ball and call it a day

Hoping that Scarlet and Violet The Series would neglect that ugly croc, what a terrible design.
It's the second time in a row that I dislike an Starter, though with the green gremlin it was due to its description and line theme.
I don't care who gets shilled as long as my precious Kitty doesn't get completely ignored
 

Enzo

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Yep. They do.

As others have said, it's born in the games department. Fire is an extremely useful typing: at the same time where it's the most offensive of all the starter typings with 4 types, it's also the typing that gets the most resistances, with 6. And while I know the most defensive out of the starter triade is Water, as it's only weak against 2 while Fire is weak against 3, that doesn't erases just how good of a typing Fire is throught the entire game.

It's also important to note that, out of the triade, Fire is arguably the worst to find outside of the starter selection. I mean, you can just go in any location that has grass and find yourself a good Grass-type, or go into any body of water and snatch yourself a Water-type. But Fire has an extremely odd problem in the sense most Fire-types tend to only be found from the half of the game beyond in most games, surprisingly enough, which means that getting a good, reliable Fire mon might not be as easy.

And besides all those techinal stuff, it's also down to the ''cool factor'':
  • Charizard is forever gonna be a ''cool mon'' because hey, a fire-breathing dragon. That's a classic.
  • Typhlosion is... kinda of an odd ball. It's definitely thought of fondly, but it's almost never remembered by the fandom. At least Cyndaquil is widely considered to be cute.
  • Blaziken is adored by many. And it's also part of the Hoeen trio, a trio that managed a feat yet to be repeated: all 3 starters are very well loved, and I don't truly think any are put above others, at least in the community itself. Maybe Swampert is the one who gets forgotten the most by TPCi, but still, lol.
  • Infernape doesn't needs introductions. The gen 4 star and we all saw the love it got in the anime.
  • Emboar is obviously the black sheep of the Fire starters. People tend to not like it's design and being the 3rd Fire/Fighting in a row absolutely didn't helped, but not only do I think most people just don't think to fondly of the unovan triade itself, but the anime definitely tried with this line, as we've seen with Ash's Pignite.
  • Delphox is also in a rather bad position, as people got disappointed by it's design, and hey, it was the Greninja generation. This fox held no chances of survival. But Fennekin and Braixen tend to be well thought of, at least.
  • Incineroar is also another odd ball, as it started not being too loved, but as people saw it in the competitive scene, and after all the promotion by TPCi, I think people think of it more positively these days.
  • And finally, Cinderace. I don't think I need to talk too much about it, as we're currently seeing how it's being treated.

All in all, I do think the Fire starters tend to be the most well-treated of the anime. It's the type of the trio who has the least divisive of the fandom opinions, as they tends to range from "This Pokémon is incredible!" to "This is a Pokémon that exists", and I don't see this range happening on the other two typings, unfortunately. Which is why the Fire starters tend to receive the attention that they do: it's the safest bet 99% of the time.
 

Hidden Mew

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Generally speaking, yes, but I don't think it's specifically due to the writers of the anime. I think it's due to just how the Fire starters tend to be the most popular out of their respective generations. Charizard is obviously incredibly popular. The combination of its iconic status as one of the original Kanto starters and getting multiple different forms over the years make it easier for the anime to put it on a pedestal. Typhlosion really doesn't get enough love, which is a huge shame in my opinion since I like its simplistic design and I do have a huge soft spot for it as my first Pokemon. Still, Cyndaquil was pretty much the ace of Ash's Johto team and they did bring it back to evolve in DP, even though that sadly didn't lead to anything.

Blaziken was the first Hoenn starter shown in the anime and was the first out of the three to get a Mega Evolution too. May's Torchic didn't really get a lot of focus, but it was used pretty consistently after it evolved and waiting until the end of AG to give her a Blaziken made sense. Infernape is quite possibly the most popular out of the Sinnoh starters, at least as far as their final forms go. Piplup might be more popular by comparison, but people liked the Chimchar line in general and that made it easier to give it a huge role in the anime. Emboar might be the least popular of the Fire starters given it being the third Fire/Fighting type in a row, but it still has its fans. I think Tepig being the only Unova starter to evolve wasn't necessarily because of the popularity of its evolution line, but just that it made the most sense for it to evolve out of the three. Snivy was stagnant throughout BW and Oshawott was more of the comedy relief starter. Tepig wasn't Ash's ace of his BW team, but it did battle enough to where it becoming Pignite felt believable.

Delphox doesn't seem as popular as its pre-evolved forms, but it is hard for any of the Kalos starters to stand out who aren't Greninja. People were generally happy with it not being Fire/Fighting and Braixen seemed to be pretty popular if its appearance in Pokken Tournament is any indication. The initial reaction towards Incineroar weren't positive from what I remember, but I think it grew on fans more over time. Scorbunny was one of the most well received out of the Galar starters when they were first revealed. While I think Inteleon became more popular, people still really like Cinderace as well.

A lot of their final forms really popular, so of course the anime would want to capitalize on their popularity. The fact that Fire types can be rarer in the games is definitely a factor too. This was a huge issue for the third and especially the fourth generation. If you didn't choose Torchic or Chimchar, your options for Fire type are extremely limited. The D/P Pokedex is infamous for having such little Fire types available for players. There are a ton of Water types available in most games and usually a good amount of Grass types, but Fire types being harder to get can make the Fire starters stand out a bit more too.
 

Blob

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Pignite was the only Pokémon other than Pikachu to win against Camoron's Pokémon in the league. That shows how little the rest of his team made to the fight. Didn't help that Ash's already used his good fully evolved Pokémon on the previous fight.
 

nickdt

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Generally speaking, yes, but I don't think it's specifically due to the writers of the anime. I think it's due to just how the Fire starters tend to be the most popular out of their respective generations. Charizard is obviously incredibly popular. The combination of its iconic status as one of the original Kanto starters and getting multiple different forms over the years make it easier for the anime to put it on a pedestal. Typhlosion really doesn't get enough love, which is a huge shame in my opinion since I like its simplistic design and I do have a huge soft spot for it as my first Pokemon. Still, Cyndaquil was pretty much the ace of Ash's Johto team and they did bring it back to evolve in DP, even though that sadly didn't lead to anything.

Blaziken was the first Hoenn starter shown in the anime and was the first out of the three to get a Mega Evolution too. May's Torchic didn't really get a lot of focus, but it was used pretty consistently after it evolved and waiting until the end of AG to give her a Blaziken made sense. Infernape is quite possibly the most popular out of the Sinnoh starters, at least as far as their final forms go. Piplup might be more popular by comparison, but people liked the Chimchar line in general and that made it easier to give it a huge role in the anime. Emboar might be the least popular of the Fire starters given it being the third Fire/Fighting type in a row, but it still has its fans. I think Tepig being the only Unova starter to evolve wasn't necessarily because of the popularity of its evolution line, but just that it made the most sense for it to evolve out of the three. Snivy was stagnant throughout BW and Oshawott was more of the comedy relief starter. Tepig wasn't Ash's ace of his BW team, but it did battle enough to where it becoming Pignite felt believable.

Delphox doesn't seem as popular as its pre-evolved forms, but it is hard for any of the Kalos starters to stand out who aren't Greninja. People were generally happy with it not being Fire/Fighting and Braixen seemed to be pretty popular if its appearance in Pokken Tournament is any indication. The initial reaction towards Incineroar weren't positive from what I remember, but I think it grew on fans more over time. Scorbunny was one of the most well received out of the Galar starters when they were first revealed. While I think Inteleon became more popular, people still really like Cinderace as well.

A lot of their final forms really popular, so of course the anime would want to capitalize on their popularity. The fact that Fire types can be rarer in the games is definitely a factor too. This was a huge issue for the third and especially the fourth generation. If you didn't choose Torchic or Chimchar, your options for Fire type are extremely limited. The D/P Pokedex is infamous for having such little Fire types available for players. There are a ton of Water types available in most games and usually a good amount of Grass types, but Fire types being harder to get can make the Fire starters stand out a bit more too.

Except in the 2 generations and the current one, the Water Starter actually was the most popular in its run, especially in Japan
Gen 6 had Greninja
Gen 7 had Primarina as the most popular gen 7 FE starter, ranking at spot 3 in a popularity poll.
Then we have Inteleon in the most recent gen, who even placed first on a Galar mon only popularity poll in Japan.

We should also separate western and Japanese audiences, since obviously, their preferences are different. Generally speaking, it seems the Japanese tend to prefer Water types over Fire and Grass types (As seen with the popularity of the three above i mentioned in final form), but also with Mudkip and Piplup being the respective favorite base stages of their generation.

The Western audience however, tends to lean more towards Fire types than the other 2. I feel like this is mainly due to them being treated as shillmons than everything.

But the thing we need to look at as well, is which Starter type OLM (And the Pokemon Company in general), seems to like, which is obviously Fire over Water and Grass. They seem to prefer Fire over the other starters, but especially Water gets the short end of the stick, despite them having been more popular in gen 7 and 8, so you would assume they would get more preference in the latter stages of the anime and you can pretty much see this in the entirety of the anime since gen 3.
Swampert - Didn't get any love whatsoever compared to the other 2 starters
Piplup - Was used as comedic relief more than anything
Oshawott - Same
Popplio - Didn't get as much to do as Litten and Rowlet
Inteleon - Hardly shows up in the anime and was treated poorly as a Sobble and Drizzile.
 

Hidden Mew

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But the thing we need to look at as well, is which Starter type OLM (And the Pokemon Company in general), seems to like, which is obviously Fire over Water and Grass. They seem to prefer Fire over the other starters, but especially Water gets the short end of the stick, despite them having been more popular in gen 7 and 8, so you would assume they would get more preference in the latter stages of the anime and you can pretty much see this in the entirety of the anime since gen 3.
Swampert - Didn't get any love whatsoever compared to the other 2 starters
Piplup - Was used as comedic relief more than anything
Oshawott - Same
Popplio - Didn't get as much to do as Litten and Rowlet
Inteleon - Hardly shows up in the anime and was treated poorly as a Sobble and Drizzile.
I disagree that Piplup was used primarily as the comedy relief. It definitely fits that role, but I think that's underselling how frequently it was used in battle too. It was used a lot for Dawn's Contests for both appeals and battles. It overshadowed most of Dawn's other Pokemon and people could understandably find it to be annoying, but it was handled pretty much fine all things considered. Oshawott was used for comedic relief, but didn't have the consistent focus and frequent battles that Piplup had to show that it had more going on.
 

nickdt

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I disagree that Piplup was used primarily as the comedy relief. It definitely fits that role, but I think that's underselling how frequently it was used in battle too. It was used a lot for Dawn's Contests for both appeals and battles. It overshadowed most of Dawn's other Pokemon and people could understandably find it to be annoying, but it was handled pretty much fine all things considered. Oshawott was used for comedic relief, but didn't have the consistent focus and frequent battles that Piplup had to show that it had more going on.

Yeah thats true. I should have worded it better and should have said: Compared to Torterra and Infernape. Especially early on when Turtwig was just a Turtwig and Grotle. When it became a Torterra, it was treated the worst out of the tree.

Piplup wasn't that annoying either, especially compared to Rowlet and Oshawott.
 

Blob

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Yeah thats true. I should have worded it better and should have said: Compared to Torterra and Infernape. Especially early on when Turtwig was just a Turtwig and Grotle. When it became a Torterra, it was treated the worst out of the tree.

Piplup wasn't that annoying either, especially compared to Rowlet and Oshawott.
I found Pochama really annoying because he kept on needing to be the centre of attention and he even bullied Quilava when they first hatched.
 

Alola

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I appreciate my opinion being asked for, but I fear I can't add much here that has not already been said. I agree with a lot of what has already been posted.

Fire Starters collectively tend to get the most focus; I can't see a strong argument being made against that...
  • They tend to get the most battles of the three. And following that, they tend to be strongest or most used member of their party.
  • They're the ones who are allowed to evolve the most, especially fully.
  • They tend to get some degree of prior history or unique characterization compared to their peers.
  • I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Charizard is the Starter owned by most notable characters in the anime. There's Ash's, Charla, Kiawe's, Trevor's, Alain's, Leon's, etc. Which is just...telling.
I would imagine this all has to do with how popular members of Fire Starter lines tend to be. As others have also said, their uncommonness within the games may influence why they are so prominent in the anime.

I think too, and this is just pure speculation, a part may be because Fire-type moves are just fun to animate and can be visually impressive; when viewers and children see the three basic elemental moves, Fire moves would tend to be the most captivating in my opinion. Between moves like Ember, Fire Spin, Flamethrower, Flame Charge, Fire Blast, etc., visually the animators have a lot of creative room for depicting these fiery attacks:
1648508226153.png
1648508385395.png
1648508484153.png
1648508645984.png


Take Ember for example. Compared to the very static Water Gun, we've had Ember be shown as a literal shower of embers, mini fire balls, a singular fire ball, a stream of fire, and a flaming projectile over the sagas. There's just something powerful and uniquely malleable about the Fire element within narration, that Grass and Water (sometimes) lack in this series; it also has the added effect of lighting, which can be used for effective animation. There's also that "coolness" element Enzo mentioned that I think the writers and animators do consider; "What will children like to see the most right behind a Thunderbolt from Pikachu?" Granted that's all subjective and there have been plenty of Water and Grass type moves animated incredibly well in the anime - however, I think of the three, the Fire type tends to be the most dynamic on average.

Of course, this and the aforementioned reasons shouldn't hamper the other two types. Grass and Water Starters could be just as awesome if the writers put their minds to it, as we've seen with Greninja, Sceptile, and Piplup.
 

A Wild Luxray

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I think Fire types have definitely got more favorable treatment. I don't think its out of a writers preference or anything. I think they just tend to think that Fire type starters will generally be more popular among the target audience. Its a safe bet. Plus, a handful of times, Fire types have been hard to come by, which is definitely a factor. Don't even get me started on Diamond and Pearl's horrendous Fire type distribution. In most cases, the Fire type starter does tend to get the better treatment. They're used the most in battles, they usually get to evolve, and they often have some story that goes somewhere.

Some like Quilava or Pignite though didn't get it as good as Charizard or Infernape, but they still got the best of their trio. Ash's Quilava consistently performed well in gyms and did get to evolve (Though he did get screwed in the leagues). Dawn's even got to evolve. Poor Typhlosion though....Pignite certainly got the best treatment of Unova's bunch, and we had one with tons of wasted potential and one they consistently made out to be a joke. Cinderace even....Who certainly was handled better than Inteleon and Grookey, despite its evolutions being rushed...At least not as badly as Sobble's though.

Can we just get through this thread without constantly calling these Pokemon shillmon though? I've grown so tired of this insult to certain Pokemon.
 

Gengarzilla

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Usually, yeah, but if anything I'd argue the Water types are also getting too much of this lately. Greninja was a clumsy and fanwanky mess in its own right while Journeys clearly wanted to get Goh's Dizzile evolved as soon as humanly possible so they could ram an Inteleon into the main cast.

If I'll be honest, Journeys as a whole has not handled its starters that well, Grass, Fire, or Water.
 

Rainbow-Rain

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Usually, yeah, but if anything I'd argue the Water types are also getting too much of this lately. Greninja was a clumsy and fanwanky mess in its own right while Journeys clearly wanted to get Goh's Dizzile evolved as soon as humanly possible so they could ram an Inteleon into the main cast.

If I'll be honest, Journeys as a whole has not handled its starters that well, Grass, Fire, or Water.
Inteleon's evolutions we're handled very clumsily and he barely gets any screentime. I fail to see how it's been favored by the writers.
It feels like it's only on the main cast out of obligation for marketing reasons but otherwise the writers don't seem to care about it any more than any of Goh's Lab Pokemon


And even if you were right That would still be just 2 Water starters compared to the dozen fire starters that get way better handling
 
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