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General Character Analysis/Discussion

Jewel the Quaxly

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Since there hasn't been a thread made(I think) for characters of the anime only, I thought I would make a general one so we can discuss all aspects of all characters throughout the anime. From side characters to members of the main cast, what are some noticings you have on them that you think deserves discussion? How do you analyze certain characters? What kind of potential is there for other characters? What about the pokemon? How well characterized are they? You can even discuss the relationships between certain characters(e.g Hawlucha and Noivern, Dawn and Ash, Brock and the members of the cast, Clemont and Bonnie, etc).

For instance, something I noticed when I watched The Rise of Darkrai the other day was that the movie included a small detail that didn't really affect the plot much and could easily be taken out of the movie, but they did anyway, and that was an aspect on Ash's character. What I mean is, the fact that when Darkrai gave Ash that nightmare in the beginning of the movie, it involved Pikachu in danger. I know, I know, it was a testament to their bond, but I dunno, the fact that Pikachu didn't really have much relevance to the plot-line regarding Darkrai and the town just made it feel rather odd to include. ESPECIALLY when you consider how fast Ash's nightmare switched from Darkrai telling Ash about Dialga and Palkia to "Pikachu being in danger" before he woke up.
 

Orchid

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This is a great idea for a thread and was definitely needed! Of course the second it's made I've forgotten everything on this topic I've ever thought of ( :bulbaFacepalm: ) but I'll be sure to come back here when I have something I want to analyze.

It's been a looong while since I've seen Rise of Darkrai so my memory of it is really vague, but I believe I remember the part you're talking about. I'll check it again a bit later to be sure, but I do agree that while it kinda makes sense in retrospect, it didn't really seem all too relevant at the time. It might have worked better somewhere else, just not there exactly.
 

J Bouken

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How do you analyze certain characters?

Basically, I have three aspects I assess characters on:
  1. Empathy - How relatable is the character?
  2. Motivation - What do they want and what flaws/limitations do they have that prevent them from getting it? Is this thing they want connected to the plot?
  3. Progress - How are they going improve their flaws/remove their limitations? What's their journey?
Note that not every question is applicable to every character because characters play different roles in stories. Certain roles don't require empathy, motivation or progress.

I've borrowed this idea from sci-fi/fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, where character arcs can be tracked with three sliding scales of Empathy, Competency and Proactivity. Some characters start out very empathetic but incompetent and inactive, therefore their story is about becoming more competent and proactive. Some characters are competent and proactive, but not very empathetic, so their story is about becoming a more likeable character.

Applying this to Pokemon, we have Ash and Gary from OS. Ash was highly empathetic and mildly proactive, but incompetent. Meanwhile, Gary was low on empathy but high of competency and proactivity. Ash's arc was about him becoming a more focused and better Pokemon trainer by overcoming his at-times delusional self-confidence, while Gary's arc was about him mellowing out having been humbled by a handful of big defeats.

As an aside, you might remember a lot of people disliking Ash because he was incompetent and prone to distraction, and liking Gary because he was a good trainer who got the job done. This is actually very common in fiction. Competency and Proactivity are attractive traits in characters, which is why a lot of people like villains. You're not supposed to empathise with them but because villains are usually highly skilled and always working on their evil plan, they're easy to like.

You can even have characters who place on all three scales. This is known as an "iconic hero". They don't change much during their story but they can still be entertaining and serve the story in other ways. Ever since XY, Ash has become one of these characters. He's empathetic, highly competent and also proactive about his goal. He's entertaining to watch in his own way, but his character arc no longer carries the plot of any of given season. So when it comes to assessing XY, SM and PM2019 as stories, it's really important to look at the new protagonists and supporting casts.

All of this helps me pinpoint areas where characters may be struggling in. Let's use Serena as an example. After finding Ash, she wanted to find a goal for her own (what she wants) but the reasons she couldn't do that (her flaws/limitations) were unclear. What was preventing her from finding something to dedicate herself to? We can say, nothing really appealed to her. But why didn't it appeal to her? Without knowing the answers to these questions, it became harder to track her progress in the story. It wasn't until she started doing the Showcases that people came around to her.

Meanwhile, why is it that some characters can become disliked/liked from season to season? It's usually because of changes to those scales I mentioned earlier.

In Best Wishes, Ash remained high in Empathy and mid in Proactivity, but slid down considerably on Competency. Likewise, Team Rocket remained mid in Competency and high in Proactivity, but slid down hard on Empathy. XY ramped up Ash's Competency and he was instantly well-liked again. SM dropped his Proactivity and people had problems. So we can see a problem here where characters are changing in unexpected ways that weren't foreshadowed.
 

Daren

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Great idea for a thread. :)

I referenced this in the headcanon thread, but I think there really is good evidence Sceptile was a teenager trying hard to be cool, though since it didn't really get run into the ground like some running jokes it might be unintentional. The main reasons I think of him like that:
*His introduction episode has him butting heads with the elder.
*Gotta Dance has a joke where compared to everyone else he is putting a lot of effort into not joining in, then when he does is clearly enjoying himself.
*First thing he does after evolving? Get a new, bigger twig to cooly stick into his mouth.
*A crush not being interested in him causes him overly dramatic shock that results in him losing his moves until friend gets endangered and he snaps out of it.
 

Jewel the Quaxly

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So, I believe I mentioned in some other thread somewhere that I've always seen Ash and Pikachu's dynamic a little differently than most people do. While the show tries to make it so that they're in a "best friends" dynamic, I think they more so succeed at making their dynamic being specifically "older brother to younger brother". Why? Well, I'll start off with OS.

Pikachu had his own character arc in OS, but one of those things in said character arc was a slow burn in his relationship with Ash. Over time he started listening to Ash more, getting more considerate towards Ash, worried, etc. For instance, Episode 30(Sparks Fly For Magnemite). In that episode, Pikachu gets sick, and in his delirious fever-brought on state(added with Ikue's excellent as ever voice acting), he comes across as a young child as he calls out to Ash. Not to mention that repeatedly throughout the series, Ash is seen taking care of Pikachu in a way that isn't like his other pokemon-most notably in how Ash tended to scold Pikachu over certain things. In fact, those certain moments even come across as a scene between a parent and a difficult child(e.g EP005, EP014, EP060, etc).

Then there's DP, where we have Ash's relationship with Dawn and Pikachu's relationship with Piplup. Now, here is where the Big Brother; Little Brother dynamic really started to show, in my opinion. Ash's relationship with Dawn is more closer to being best friends than Ash and Pikachu, and Pikachu seems more like a best friend to Piplup than to Ash. Consider the episode Steamboat Willies, where Ash and Dawn leave both Pikachu and Piplup in charge of the boat filled with Pokemon. Consider the scene where Pikachu and Piplup immaturely laugh at Mamoswine and Ash lectures both of them sternly. Consider both of those, which showcase the bond between Ash and Dawn compared to the bond between Pikachu and Piplup. For one thing, Piplup influences Pikachu and Pikachu influences Piplup, just like best friends do: and just like Ash and Dawn do. Ash and Pikachu's bond isn't sidelined in this series at all, but they have separate best friends and by default, separate lives. Doesn't it remind you of how siblings are? Sure, they aren't exactly on equal ground in terms of being like siblings-such as the dynamic between Korrina and her Lucario has shown-which led me to believe that they have the dynamic similar to siblings of vastly different ages: hence, an older brother and their younger brother specifically. Heck, remember the Buneary capture episode? Need I remind people that the main reason Ash wanted to catch Buneary was because she saved Pikachu???

Heck, this actually comes into play in XY as part of the plot, in regards to Ash-Greninja specifically. Now, I've mentioned my gripes about this plot-point in the past, but I have to begrudgingly admit that it was interestingly thought out. Right in the first episode, we have the typical scenes of affection between Ash and Pikachu, and here is where the similarities between Ash and his ninja frog begin to show. In the first episode, Ash is seen rescuing Pikachu from a high fall, and what happens after? Froakie saves Pikachu by jumping in front of an attack and catching him from a high fall(like he's actually seen carrying Pikachu). Next episode? Ash jumps off a tower to save Pikachu, Froakie witnesses this, which was also the catalyst for numerous people's development(well, mostly Clemont, but it works for Froakie here too...). Quite a large number of episodes later and what do we see happen again? Froakie saving Pikachu yet again and learning the move Cut in the process. Ash's gratefulness to Froakie for rescuing Pikachu specifically should be noted here, as so far, both Ash and Froakie have repeatedly been shown protecting Pikachu specifically of all pokemon. Later on, Froakie learns the move Double Team to save the other pokemon from Team Rocket, including Pikachu, who they were after in the first place(yes, you could write it off as coincidence, but this is starting to get a bit too coincidental to me at this point). Froakie evolves into Frogadier protecting, yup, Pikachu and Sanpei's Greninja. Then comes XYZ05, and what do we have here but Froakie showing open concern for Pikachu...in a dream. Then there's Ash being as gentle as ever with Pikachu on the outside(which, actually shows Ash's growth in his part of the relationship between him and Pikachu, as in OS he was hardly this gentle with Pikachu). THEN there's THE EPISODE. Froagadier evolves into Greninja and first unlocks the Bond Phenomenon...how did he evolve? By saving Pikachu. (And don't even get me started on how Ash and Greninja snapped out of Lysandre's controlling attempts in XY133...it was because Pikachu called Ash's name that they managed to break free and activate the Bond Phenomenon again...)

There's also the fact that in BW onward, Pikachu's had this increasing tendency to be more reckless. In BW048, Ash has to hold Pikachu back from nearly attacking Team Rocket(yet another show of development on Ash's part-him showing maturity that they didn't need to attack Team Rocket in this instance). In XY002, Pikachu charges forward on top of Lumiose Tower before Ash stops him from using Thunderbolt. XY024 was another instance of this, only Pikachu's recklessness actually had a consequence. XY061 was another, Ash preventing Pikachu from attacking the Spoink. Then there's XY069, where Ash has to stop Pikachu from helping Goodra! XY097 brings this back when Ash once more has to stop Pikachu from helping the Litleo(I think...it's been a while since I saw the episode, but I'm pretty sure that happened). XY104...only this time it was both Ash and Hawlucha stopping Pikachu from defending Noibat(as this was Noibat's fight specifically).

Sure, I'm probably just saying what everyone's already seen, but I always felt like Ash and Pikachu's bond was a lot more special than the show makes it out to be(though, admittedly, it gets annoying when they pull the Pikachu controlled shtick...it inevitably stopped working after AG...). See why I think of the two as brothers now? Or rather, seeing Ash as the older one and Pikachu as the younger? ;):bulbaLove:
 

Enzo

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(This thread is dusty old but I figured it would be the best place to put this on. Besides the fact that this is too good of an idea for a thread to not be used to the fullest imo)

In the JN078 preview thread, I discussed how Ash has a (rather bad, imo) tendency of sorta of ''forcing'' (not the best wording here I admit it) his Pokémon to fit in one battle style: the ''hyper offensive speedy and agile physical all-out attacker" type of battling style. Ofc, this is obviously Ash's prefered style and the one he knows and shines best on, so it's not unreasonable for him to keep on doing what always worked, right? And I also suspect this comes to reality because this is Pikachu's prefered method of attacking. Pika being his oldest Pokémon means that this was the first way of battling Ash knew how to use, so it's only natural he would focus on that.

But the problem rises because not every Pokémon is a ''Pikachu'' in this sense. If you look closely, you can see the most successful of Ash's Pokémon tends to fit this box rather snuggly: Charizard, Swellow, Pikachu himself, Sceptile, Infernape, Staraptor, Buizel, Greninja, Lycanroc, just to name a few. But it seem the less snug the fit is, the worst perfomance they do under Ash: Goodra, Torterra, Torkoal, Palpitoad, Boldore, etc. Ofc this is not exactly a hard rule, before anyone comments. Take Unfezant and Pignite as examples: the former is significantly faster and more agile than the latter and yet the pig has a better track record.

My point being: it could (and should!) be a series-long plotline for Ash to learn how to work with other battling styles his Pokémon natively have. Why not give him an slow, Goodra/Torterra-like Pokémon that has extremely high defenses and can tank hits for days for him to learn how to use more defensive tactics? Maybe a physically-frail Pokémon in both offense and defense but that excels in long-distance moves, so he cannot rely on brute physical strenght alone to win or sheer endurance, like a Pokémon such as Gardevoir or Espeon or how a bunch of Psychics and Fairies are? And these are just some examples.

Like, hyper offense is not innherently bad, but Ash pretty much only uses that and when he mets a situation where it doesn't works for whatever the reason, the guy folds like a lawn chair and more likely than not either loses or the victory comes in a way where it's nowhere near as clean as it could be. What I'm trying to say is that this could be the next step for Ash's character arc and I'm so surprised and mad the writers never tried to go deeper on that.
 
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Jewel the Quaxly

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The disregard for Serena's character arc in favor Amourshipping is starting to get frustrating for me, honestly. There's so much more she has to offer as a character and it's saddening people don't see her potential.

You can hardly call who she was at the end of the series the same person at the beginning. I don't think Episode 1 Serena would've decided to break into a Flare Base just to cheer her friend up. Not only is that brave and selfless, it's also a proactive action that early-Serena wouldn't have done. Serena at the very beginning of the series wasn't exactly the most perfect character. Her crush on Ash largely seemed shallow, she rarely made decisions for herself, and early on you can even notice how she tries to distract Ash from his gym battles to focus on her.

And it isn't until the Summer Camp arc that it really hits her. She's known for a while now, that she doesn't have a clear path in life, but it isn't until this point that the implications really have an impact on her. She wants to do something. And here's where things get juicy. She doesn't actively try to search for something she wants to do-she just tries something out because she finds it to be neat. And better yet, it was something that appealed to her tastes, which is a very realistic path that many take when trying to find their goals in life. Even when she decides on Pokemon Performing as her career, she's still growing as a character throughout. She needed to prove she was dedicated to this. That she had passion. That this really WAS what she wanted to do in life. And...she did. Her moments as a character shined when she gained a newfound respect from her mom and stood up to her-her first step towards gaining independence as a person. That race against her mom has even more of an impact when you consider the fact that Serena actually isn't that bad at Rhyhorn racing as you might think she is. That was the entire purpose of XY007-she had enough knowledge, but her lack of passion for the sport is what held her back: she didn't want to do it. It was why A Race For Home has all that much more of an impact: the one time she won a race against her mother, a professional Rhyhorn racer, was because she had enough passion to do so-which was what she lacked in the first place.

And even then, she still has stuff to work out as a person before she can become stronger. During her first performance, she lost in a way that was not only humiliating, but was because of her obsession with style. That in itself is not an inherently bad thing, but Fennekin tripping over the ribbon she cut was perfectly reasonable given its length. And that was the biggest sign that Serena needed to let something else go: her hair. In Japan, a girl cutting there hair is supposed to signify an important event of some kind, or a change, if I recall correctly-and her hair being cut was a much needed change. You can see the signs in previous episodes, even, that her hair had to go: she's used her hair as a defensive tactic on multiple occasions, hiding behind it any time she would get shy or flustered, and because she simply just liked to "look her best". But when Fennekin trips because of this mentality, she steps up, and realizes she has to take the first step. So, right when she lets all her feelings out about getting all hyped to finally start doing something only to be seriously let down because of her stylish approach to everything, she decides right then and there to just cut it off. She was going to change, and that started with facing the world instead of hiding behind her bushy hair. She still liked to look her best, but I don't think it was as much of a priority to her anymore.

Of course, changing as a person isn't going to happen overnight, so up comes XY064. This episode showed that Serena still had that mentality of prioritizing her appearance, when she gave into her frustration and actually lashed out at her pokemon...and when she realizes this, that once again, something she genuinely liked to do held her back in a negative way, she's seriously bummed out. Not to mention, the major sticking point, she hurt her partners, when she was supposed to be the one to help them. And that's when we meet Aria. I personally really liked this episode, because of how Aria was portrayed in regards to Serena. It wasn't until Aria arrived that Serena really started to try and smile, and not only was Aria's motivations fore-shadowed in this episode, but Serena's entire future development is hinted at here as well in the biggest difference between her and Aria. The "thing she doesn't have" that Palermo speaks of later is a parallel shown multiple times throughout this episode. Serena is still relying on other people to make her own decisions and still doesn't have an exact clear goal yet, at least, not like she thinks.

As episodes go on, we witness a slow change in Serena from that episode. She speaks up a bit more, isn't in the background as much as she used to be in the first thirty episodes of XY, and is shown actively working towards her goal with her pokemon. Slowly, she's starting to break out of her shell, and yet...it still isn't entirely complete. Hence, the introduction of Eevee. Eevee was the final step in Serena becoming more independent, because Eevee was essentially Serena. And now, when she caught Eevee to help it break out of its shyness, she had to help it overcome the same issues she did-in a sense, she had to play the same role Aria did for her in XY064. And it really pays off as episodes go on and we see stuff like how in XY101, Eevee made the same exact mistake Serena did in her first performance, and her growth is shown off in all its glory here when she goes and comforts her pokemon on her own accord, without hesitation, because she went through the exact same thing and knows how her pokemon feels. This connection is essentially what leads to Eevee's evolution in Party Dancecapades, where Serena's entire focus throughout the episode was how Eevee was doing...and Eevee was actually doing fine. Just like her, all Eevee needed was a chance to break out of its shell, and "broke out of its shell" it did when it finally evolved into a Sylveon, becoming incredibly sociable as a result.

...and her development STILL is not done. Because there is still something she lacks. She's changed and developed as a person, but one thing is missing, and it's how she hasn't truly found what her actual motivations are. She only wanted to do performances because she wanted to and thought it was fun, and also because...she wanted to do something because others were. It all goes back in a beautiful circle. She's changed in every other aspect, but she needed to find out what really separated her from Aria; what really made Aria a "Queen" and the difference between her and all those other girls in the performances. And there's a reason Palermo is so focused on Serena, too, even if it isn't outright stated. All the other girls entering performances...they just wanted to beat Aria. Like, Serena, they didn't have a real motivation that would keep them going...but the difference between Serena and those other girls is that Serena just wanted to try out performances. Just like Ash told her, in his own words, "nothing is pointless". And this entire debacle with performances wasn't pointless, because it helped Serena figure out that all she really wanted to do...was to help people. Make them happy. Make them smile.

She fully understands all of this during the Master Class arc, and when its over, she tries to take the next step in her career with Palermo. But there's still one more push to take here. She shows off her confidence and determination in episodes following, and shows how she's grown during the Flare Arc, where she plays an active role and forms a fast friendship with Mairin. She helped Ash when the opposite usually happened at the beginning of the series, she helped support Bonnie, she helped Mairin cheer up and helped her find Chespie-all of this leads up to how XY138 showed her doing a performance with Jessie and Shauna...just to cheer people up. To help with the disaster relief in the most unexpected way: by distracting the people from the terrible events that had just occurred. She realizes she wants to find her own path at this point, and then her character arc finally comes to a complete closure, with her telling Palermo about her decision to go on her own way and ultimately earning the strict woman's respect for it.

There's still an epilogue to Serena's arc, with her having enough confidence to kiss Ash on the lips, which is essentially a confession, so...yeah.

And, good lord, I didn't even talk about her relationships with other characters. Her mother, Braixen, Pancham, Sylveon, Bonnie, Ash, Clemont, Pikachu, Miette, Shauna, Nini, Palermo, and Aria...some are more prominent and clearer than others, but they all play some important role in establishing her character some way or another, no matter how minor it is. Amourshipping is not all there is to her character, because you'd have to ignore a hell of a lot of stuff to come to that conclusion. What about her relationship with her mom? She had to earn her mother's respect and stand up to her. What about Palermo? Again, a woman she had to earn the respect of by establishing her passion. What about Sylveon? Sylveon was literally an analogy for Serena herself, and in order for her growth as a character to truly shine, she had to help Sylveon overcome her development. What about how she actually became Ash's friend, and her crush evolved from being over a small gesture to loving Ash as a person and really getting to know him? What about how she bonded with Pikachu(and led to her understanding him, funnily enough)? What about her sisterly relationship with Bonnie? Bonnie has shown to come to her many times when wanting comfort, when she wasn't able to go to her brother, and it's far more interesting than whatever Amourshipping has to offer.

I get not liking Amour very much, but I don't understand why Serena has to be the brunt of the hate because someone doesn't like that ship. It isn't that hard to separate her character from her shipping, and saying that Amour is the only thing about Serena is ignoring literally everything I wrote above...and more. I'm not even talking about the group dynamic she holds with her pokemon, which is, in my opinion, one of the best parts about her. I personally find Serena's team to have the most amazing feel of a team ever, and the fact that they genuinely feel like a family working together on becoming performers...in a goal that requires humans and pokemon to work together...just makes them feel so much more genuine to me. They have amazing dynamics and development, and all of them share traits that really mesh well off of each other, and Serena just completes the dynamic the four of them have, which I just really love.

Serena deserves better.
 

cricketlaxwolvesbandy

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@AnimeJewel246 you might like this one :)
Butterfree's Character Arc was Short but Sweet
We all know Butterfree: The first Pokémon Ash ever caught. The first Pokémon Ash ever released. Bye Bye Butterfree is an iconic and heartbreaking episode to many, as both Ash and the viewers witness the first time Ash has ever had to part with a Pokémon- and an emotional one at that.

But besides Butterfree’s goodbye, not much is talked about this Pokémon, which is what I’m here to talk about today.
Butterfree was first caught as a Caterpie easily as it was such a weak Pokémon. Right away, Ash cherished his first Pokémon, even though it suffered abuse through the hands of Misty. The first night, Caterpie looked up at the full moon and started talking to Pikachu. We don’t know exactly what they are saying, but I interpret that Caterpie was stating his desire to evolve. This is such a heartwarming moment, even though no words are shared. Caterpie then evolves into Metapod and then into Butterfree. As a Butterfree, it wasn’t used much, which brings its character a bit down, but it still had a stupendous beginning and end. In the end, Butterfree was released to be with its mate, which expressed maturity and a lesson for Ash as he learned just how hard it is to let your loved one’s go.

In my opinion, Butterfree’s character arc is better than Greninja’s. I am not a genwunner, and in fact, XY is my favorite series and I love Ash Greninja. I just think that Greninja’s whole character arc of becoming stronger got wasted when it lost when it mattered the most and then subsequently getting released.
 

Jewel the Quaxly

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Honestly, aside from Butterfree, Ash's first official team of six just all had super interesting stories and character potential that I don't think any other team had(or to that degree). Take Squirtle, for example. Its story felt special to me because of how interesting it was, and also how it provided insight into the pokemon world. Squirtle's capture episode had it causing problems for humans with its gang, but in its release, it was helping humans as a firefighter. Bulbasaur is similar in that regard. Bulbasaur's story as a leader of a hidden village of pokemon who were wronged by humans makes its loyalty to Ash all the more genuine. And the episode where he leaves the main cast even comes back full circle with him taking charge of a group of pokemon; this time not ones who have been wronged by humans, but those who work alongside humans. I don't think I need to explain Charizard's story, but its development was incredibly important to Ash's, and once again provided more insight into the pokemon world. Charizard was abandoned by a human and got attached to Ash and became quick friends with his teammates-if you notice in Island of the Giant Pokemon, Charmander is pretty much the nicest one in the St. Anne arc and until its evolution is still the nicest pokemon there-but when it evolved, there was a serious shift in its personality, which affected its own relationships, as well as Ash's character. Butterfree was already explained, but I loved its arc largely because of how simplistic it was. It wasn't unnecessarily over-complicated, but its characterization was done well enough that I cared about it and was genuinely sad to see it go. Not to mention, it felt very real to me with its mating story. It got stronger like it wanted to, but in its release episode, finally found something worth fighting for: its mate. Pidgeot got the lower end of the stick when it comes to stories, but I really liked how it was incredibly loyal and even got an interesting parallel to Charizard in that regard. Not to mention, Pidgeot's release established some interesting details about the type of world pokemon was, like how the Spearow from Episode 1 waited all this time just to get revenge over a rock; how pokemon work together in groups; and its release was all the more interesting to me because Pidgeot left out of an obligation-the pidgey flock needed a leader, so Pidgeot took a stand, and Ash understood that. Pikachu's bad attitude in the early seasons was a highlight to me, because its development was pretty major, but was subtle and built up over time. It genuinely felt like how humans change without actively trying to, and felt all the more realistic to me.

My favorite stories about pokemon generally rely on how it affects the world-building, basically. It's why I liked Goodra's story with the wetlands, Sceptile's story with its tree, and Snivy's very wasted potential story of abandoning its own trainer. Like, how interesting are these? All of them provide interesting tidbits into the type of world this is, which makes their stories more interesting to me than any other story.
 

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I wanna rant about Ash a bit: I think one of my favorite aspects of Ash's character is the fact that everything he ever accomplished came from his own hard work and dedication.

There's something that Ash isn't, and this is pretty surprising considering how strong this trend has always been for MCs, but I love the way Ash is not a ''Chosen One". It's not like the universe itself or some sort of ommipotent higher being decided to make Ash into a Pokémon trainer. I mean, being a Pokémon trainer is extremely mundane in his universe. You don't need any sort of "recomendation letter" or anything of the sort to be one. Even his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master is something tons of other kids might have.

And this is what precisely sets Ash apart. He has to actually get up and do things by himself. Capture his own Pokémon, work with them, build relationships and strategies and what not. Heck, if he wants to go somewhere he literally has to walk by foot throught all sorts of terrain, sleep and cook on the outside, unless he finds the odd place to stay. If he loses a battle? He can cry all that he wants, but he's the one who has to put himself up and together again and train himself and his Pokémon. Of course he has his friends and team as his support system, but they can't force him to do anything, it comes from within.

This is one of the main reasons why I love him: pretty much everything he has earned feels earned because he worked for it with tooth, nail, sweat and blood.

Going on a slight tangent a bit, but I believe this might be why I have some problems with both XY's and SM's stories. Both implement this "chosen by destiny" thing on Ash's story that I just don't like. Admitelly, XY did it a bit better by making Greninja being more of a CO than Ash, but still. SM, unfortunately, did worse by having Tapu Koko suddendly and inexplicably giving him a Z-Ring and a Z-Crystal out of nowhere. And before anyone comes for me, I know this beat is from the beginning of the SM games, but in the games, the player gets a Z-Ring because they proved themselves a hero before Koko by saving Nebby. Ash just,,, existed and I... guess Koko liked him???

I don't want people to think I'm saying Ash didn't deserved these things, cuz I'm absolutely not saying that. He deserves all of this and he worked his butt off to control the Ash-Greninja form and to use the Z-Moves. But I just feel like it kinda sucks that in the first occasion, "destiny" just wrote on the stars he was the one supossed to train Greninja and on the second, a deity just decided to give him a Z-Crystal for the fuck of it. Kinda damages one of Ash's most defining themes.

But all in all, Ash is an excelent example of "dedication pays off". I'm not even 20 yet, but I look at this lil' guy and I feel like a proud dad for all that he has accomplished.
 
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