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Preview JN109: VS Kibana! Battle for Masters Eight!!

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FinnishPokéFan92

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To be fair, that's with most leagues. I mean Alola is a bit of an exception, but every 200ish person at Indigo, Silver, Ever Grande, etc wanted to win. Only one of them can.
Going on a bit of a tangent, but this is what really irked me about Max's debut appearance, where he keeps rubbing it in Ash's face that he lost the Johto League, when all but one Trainer in the whole tournament also did.
 

Enzo

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To be fair, that's with most leagues. I mean Alola is a bit of an exception, but every 200ish person at Indigo, Silver, Ever Grande, etc wanted to win. Only one of them can.
That's actually the thing with every sort of competition, really. Everyone who enters one wants to win, that's obviously their goal, but there can be only one winner at the end.

It's sad, yes, but well,,, it is what it is.
 

Reborn Talonflame

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I do find it weird how last episode implied this was the final opportunity for participants to raise their rank.

Prior to that, I genuinely thought they were finally going to make Ash lose, which he desperately needed. Of course I wasn’t 100% sure, but compared to fights against Dransa, Volkner and Marnie, it was a welcome sense of tension. Now, I’m going into this expecting Raihan to just be swept under the carpet, barely scratching his mindset.
To make it worse, that loss Ash warrants is probably going to be against Paul in a friendly, or not, which kind of makes it feel as though Ash isn’t the special one Leon is looking for, when an old rival of his is surpassing him. Of course if Ash kept winning it suggests Ash is indeed the worthy challenger to the throne, but from a viewer perspective, it makes Ash’s goal look way easier than it is - Ash hasn’t had any development at all, so what separates him at the end of Sun & Moon to the present? And, if he does beat Paul, I don’t see him losing before Leon in the Masters Eight.

Would be better if Ash lost here, beat Paul for entry, and then comes up against Raihan in the Masters Eight for revenge.
 

Daren

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To make it worse, that loss Ash warrants is probably going to be against Paul in a friendly, or not, which kind of makes it feel as though Ash isn’t the special one Leon is looking for, when an old rival of his is surpassing him.
I think Paul is going to be Dragonite's Hyper-class win, like Alister for Gengar, Bea for Lucario, and Drasna for Sirfetch'd and Dracovish. I doubt Paul is going to beat him because I suspect we've reached Ash's point of momentum and he's going to win every fight, either until his last round defeat in the PWC or he wins the rest of JN.

It's honestly not something that uncommon in fiction for the protagonist to reach a point where the momentum favours them and everything goes right and they carry it to a major win (really common in episodic shows, video games have the part where you get past the last plot mandated failure, I can think of a few examples in longer-term shows too) but it almost never happens to Ash for long, since Sun/Moon was the only series where he won the final battle, so it might feel strange for many in that regard.
 
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KrspaceT

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I find it strange so many people want to see Ash lose
 

Shadao

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I kind of feel sorry for Raihan. It's likely he'll lose against Ash although it was revealed in this week's episode that he wants to win the PWC just as much as Ash does.

I think that Raihan is a deconstruction of the whole "Ash is a loser because he never wins the League" mantra that went on since 1998 to 2019 and explains why Ash no longer makes a big deal about of winning or losing a Pokémon match as he once would in OS. The mentality of Raihan is unhealthy and with enough prodding from his opponent, he will make easy, exploitable mistakes because of his emotions and desperation to win. If Leon resents his status as World Champion because he could never be himself or have a worthy challenge, then Raihan resents his status as the guy who is "second-best" and seek vindication by solely defeating Leon rather than forging a different path altogether. Either fate is inevitable for Ash due to his nature, yet both fates are undesirable for him because of the pressure that comes with it.

I do find it weird how last episode implied this was the final opportunity for participants to raise their rank.

Prior to that, I genuinely thought they were finally going to make Ash lose, which he desperately needed. Of course I wasn’t 100% sure, but compared to fights against Dransa, Volkner and Marnie, it was a welcome sense of tension. Now, I’m going into this expecting Raihan to just be swept under the carpet, barely scratching his mindset.
To make it worse, that loss Ash warrants is probably going to be against Paul in a friendly, or not, which kind of makes it feel as though Ash isn’t the special one Leon is looking for, when an old rival of his is surpassing him. Of course if Ash kept winning it suggests Ash is indeed the worthy challenger to the throne, but from a viewer perspective, it makes Ash’s goal look way easier than it is - Ash hasn’t had any development at all, so what separates him at the end of Sun & Moon to the present? And, if he does beat Paul, I don’t see him losing before Leon in the Masters Eight.

Would be better if Ash lost here, beat Paul for entry, and then comes up against Raihan in the Masters Eight for revenge.

I don't think Ash needs a loss for character development. He hasn't been arrogant enough to warrant humiliation. I think his winning streak lately is supposed to be a curse rather than blessing, but Ash won't realize it until he's in the Master Rank.

Ash still thinks himself as this upstart trainer who enjoys the battling and overcoming the odds. By XY, he doesn't care if he didn't defeat Alain because he knew he gave his all and the thrill of being this close to victory motivates him to do better next time. It's all part of the next step to be a Pokémon Master. But what Ash doesn't realize is that... he's has accomplished many small steps in his career as a trainer that they have accumulated into a massive mileage up to the top. He's at the Master Rank, yet doesn't seem to realize that his road to being a Pokémon Master may in fact be finite if beating the strongest trainers in the world is all he has for his stepping stones.

The wake-up call for Ash wouldn't be a loss, it would be a victory. An easy victory. An anticlimactic victory. A victory that reveals to Ash that he's no longer being treated as a regular Pokémon trainer and challenger. Rather, he's being treated like the ultimate challenge, a trainer that must be defeated at all costs, no fun allowed. What Ash really fears isn't defeat, it's reaching the peak and being stuck there forever. If none of his opponents could defeat him, much of joy he had during his Pokémon Journey would evaporate.
 

Daren

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Ash still thinks himself as this upstart trainer who enjoys the battling and overcoming the odds. By XY, he doesn't care if he didn't defeat Alain because he knew he gave his all and the thrill of being this close to victory motivates him to do better next time. It's all part of the next step to be a Pokémon Master. But what Ash doesn't realize is that... he's has accomplished many small steps in his career as a trainer that they have accumulated into a massive mileage up to the top. He's at the Master Rank, yet doesn't seem to realize that his road to being a Pokémon Master may in fact be finite if beating the strongest trainers in the world is all he has for his stepping stones.

The wake-up call for Ash wouldn't be a loss, it would be a victory. An easy victory. An anticlimactic victory. A victory that reveals to Ash that he's no longer being treated as a regular Pokémon trainer and challenger. Rather, he's being treated like the ultimate challenge, a trainer that must be defeated at all costs, no fun allowed. What Ash really fears isn't defeat, it's reaching the peak and being stuck there forever. If none of his opponents could defeat him, much of joy he had during his Pokémon Journey would evaporate.
!
Oh Arceus this just made something strike like lightning.

What you're describing here?
It's what happened to some of us old-school players in the games.
The single player story has gotten too easy, and multiplayer/battle facilities are honestly close to a different game in a lot of ways. There's no anticipation before boss fights anymore because we already know the outcome. We start handicapping ourselves in various ways, but it leads to the nagging knowledge that we're not actually trying anymore.

I doubt this connection is intentional on the writers part but it sure hit me hard just now.

Admittedly this still raises the question of what--if any--plan they have for after the PWC. Too many unanswered questions to speculate with much accuracy right now, though.
 

puddleths

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The most recent episode makes Ash's undefeated streak strange, to me. Greninja was shown to be far above the level of Lucario, yet Ash hasn't had any difficulty rising through the ranks. Would Greninja really mop the floor with every opponent Ash has faced to this point?

Is this supposed to be a mirror to the games where once you have a full team, every battle becomes mostly trivial?

!
Oh Arceus this just made something strike like lightning.

What you're describing here?
It's what happened to some of us old-school players in the games.
Hah! You beat me to it.
 
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KrspaceT

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It isn't impossible it was intentional. Pokemon has done that commentary before. Cross Paul ORAS Wally.. .just hope they don't do a Digimon
 

Beatsy Ray

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I find it strange so many people want to see Ash lose
It's because you learn and grow from failure. Despite his low win rate, Ash was a better trainer in DP because every loss ended up being a valuable lesson that he carried for the rest of the series. His winning streak in Journeys is hype, but a healthy amount of setbacks and opportunities for growth make for a better story.

That's also why Gou's near-endless string of success and instant gratification has made him into a very uncompelling character.
 

A Wild Luxray

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It's because you learn and grow from failure. Despite his low win rate, Ash was a better trainer in DP because every loss ended up being a valuable lesson that he carried for the rest of the series. His winning streak in Journeys is hype, but a healthy amount of setbacks and opportunities for growth make for a better story.

That's also why Gou's near-endless string of success and instant gratification has made him into a very uncompelling character.
They could have done this earlier, but anytime he did lose, they didn't show him learning from it. All that development happened off screen.
 

Enzo

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They could have done this earlier, but anytime he did lose, they didn't show him learning from it. All that development happened off screen.
It's actually pretty telling that the only JN ep where Ash got visibly and explicity stumped by defeat was the same ep that treated it as some sort of "joke" in an absolute batshit insane tone and instead of focusing on Ash overcoming it, decided to focus on Goh capturing 3 whole ass Pokémon and that made Goh look better than Ash by inexplicably making him into this "badass trainer" (that funnilly enough only lasted 1 ep) and had him "reminding Ash of who he is", which ultimately didn't worked well and came off as, frankly, insulting to Ash's character.

I'll forever loathe JN036.
 
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A Wild Luxray

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It's actually pretty telling that the only JN ep where Ash got visibly and explicity stumped by defeat was the same ep that treated it as some sort of "joke" in an absolute batshit insane tone and instead of focusing on Ash overcoming it, decided to focus on Goh capturing 3 whole ass Pokémon and that made Goh look better than Ash by inexplicably making him into this "badass trainer" (that funnilt enough only lasted 1 ep) and had him "reminding Ash of who he is", which ultimately didn't worked well and came off as, frankly, insulting to Ash's character.

I'll forever loathe JN036.
That episode will always be one of Journeys worst episodes to me (Along with some like the 2-in-1 fillers and the Slowking rap battle.) The bigger problem is they don't even show him bouncing back in the next few episodes. By the time he's facing Bea again, he's made it back to the super class off screen.
 

CharizardFan7

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It's because you learn and grow from failure. Despite his low win rate, Ash was a better trainer in DP because every loss ended up being a valuable lesson that he carried for the rest of the series. His winning streak in Journeys is hype, but a healthy amount of setbacks and opportunities for growth make for a better story.

That's also why Gou's near-endless string of success and instant gratification has made him into a very uncompelling character.
The difference? Goh just started his journeys not that long ago, whereas it's looking very likely that Ash is near the end of his. It would make more sense for Goh to fail more; he's still just a beginner. Ash is a top-tier trainer at this point. Him not losing much (or at all,) anymore is much more understandable.
 

Rath

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JN108 said that this is the final promotion match before the Masters 8 tournament starts.
IgIpQ5a.jpg

So that pretty much spoils the outcome of this battle. Ash has to win because this is the last chance to enter the Masters 8.
 

Shadao

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It's because you learn and grow from failure. Despite his low win rate, Ash was a better trainer in DP because every loss ended up being a valuable lesson that he carried for the rest of the series. His winning streak in Journeys is hype, but a healthy amount of setbacks and opportunities for growth make for a better story.

That's also why Gou's near-endless string of success and instant gratification has made him into a very uncompelling character.

Learning from defeat is a tired trope when it comes to Ash. Boy has been through many defeats in his career to the point it rarely affects him these days. Bea is a rather rare exception to the rule.

Honestly, what is new for Ash to learn from defeat? We all know what his answer would be. Find new inspirations for battle techniques, train himself and his Pokémon to be better, regain confidence, and then rematch. It's always been that route since 1997.

But you know what we haven't seen that much in comparison? Ash's reaction to winning. He definitely enjoys success and victories in career, but it has never gotten to the point where he starts to get bored of it. We know that boredom will hit many elite trainers as seen with Drake in the Orange League or Volkner or even Leon. They're not content with victory, they want challenge. Actual challenge. A challenge that would tell them that they haven't reached their peak and they can still improve further.

That's something you don't see with Ash... yet. The fear of victory is an acquired taste yet a necessary one for one to become a Pokémon Master. Ash is just so used to losing that he doesn't understand that the feeling of sweet victory is a fleeting one once it becomes common. That victory can become boring. That is a lesson that cannot be learned from defeat.
 

Reborn Talonflame

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Learning from defeat is a tired trope when it comes to Ash. Boy has been through many defeats in his career to the point it rarely affects him these days. Bea is a rather rare exception to the rule.

Honestly, what is new for Ash to learn from defeat? We all know what his answer would be. Find new inspirations for battle techniques, train himself and his Pokémon to be better, regain confidence, and then rematch. It's always been that route since 1997.

But you know what we haven't seen that much in comparison? Ash's reaction to winning. He definitely enjoys success and victories in career, but it has never gotten to the point where he starts to get bored of it. We know that boredom will hit many elite trainers as seen with Drake in the Orange League or Volkner or even Leon. They're not content with victory, they want challenge. Actual challenge. A challenge that would tell them that they haven't reached their peak and they can still improve further.

That's something you don't see with Ash... yet. The fear of victory is an acquired taste yet a necessary one for one to become a Pokémon Master. Ash is just so used to losing that he doesn't understand that the feeling of sweet victory is a fleeting one once it becomes common. That victory can become boring. That is a lesson that cannot be learned from defeat.
I like this, I really do, probably because it reminds me of One Punch Man, but the only issue I have is how Ash got there.
I can’t really see the path Ash took to get to this level from Sun & Moon, and quite frankly the PWC & Journeys has messed up scaling forever.
At the start of the series, it wasn’t like Ash was dominating, in fact he’s never really controlled a fight’s tempo once this series. You’ve got him competing against gym-leaders, who now are apparent to being scaled at around the same level of E4 members, with how much difficulty they gave Ash. So, again, how did Ash go from gym-leader level, all the way to E4 and Champions within a few months? Arguably, his Pokemon were inexperienced? Maybe, but the anime has always made sure these trainers (E4 & Champions) are in a different league, with them effortlessly dispatching Pokemon like Ash’s Infernape.

Sure, on paper Ash has stronger Pokemon, he knocked out a Tapu-Koko and Kukui could be compared to an E4 member, however something feels missing. Perhaps canonically Alola didn’t just help Ash with Z-Moves, but how to prepare every one of his Pokemon, and that would explain why his training is so efficient now. Yet, that’s a presumption, I really can’t tell what Ash is doing differently, and saying there’s more intensity to it sounds as though anyone can get to Ash’s level with effort. It’s like we have to accept he’s there now, and I don’t personally feel proud of it because there was no real strings attached to showing it.
In relation, this is why I can’t even get excited for the PWC anymore. If Ash steamrolls, then what’s the point? If feel as though it would be better for the writers to make a suspenseful and engaging story of struggle, rather than a issue of being too strong; at this point of time, I’m taking the League Arcs over the PWC.

Another thing is that this doesn’t bode well for Ash’s Pokemon. It’s not just Ash that gains from losing, but his Pokemon. I could see Pikachu being in the same boat, each battle becoming stagnant for it, and on the off-chance Lucario too, perhaps even Sirfetch’d. However, having Lucario seemingly master that Aura-Bond within one episode, and Mega Evolution, and whatever the hell Sirfetch’d’s training was to become a Leek Master, is underwhelming for me, espcially cooped with the fact it won’t lose with these techniques. It’s not like I feel anything for them once they achieve it, it’s practically a given now.
So, have Lucario lose somewhere thanks to it losing control, and Ash doesn’t go through development, but Lucario does. This route of Ash realising his strength is restricting an already depleted squad of development.
 

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I think Leon being undefeatable sort of throws a curveball here; they might believe--and I can't honestly disagree--that if Ash is having a lot of defeats now than it becomes impossible to buy him defeating Leon. If he'd gotten destroyed by Raihan now than how could we expect him to defeat the guy Raihan could never defeat so shortly after? They don't have a year between now and the PWC starting like they had with Lake Acuity.

I can't exactly blame the writers here; they probably relish the chance to write some sort of plotline other than the slight variations of the same one they wrote in every series from Kanto to Kalos.

Besides, there was that recent interview with Yonemura where he openly said Ash forgets things he's learned--reading that from the actual writing staff makes it quite hard for me to really care about him losing so he can learn something when we have straight from the horse's mouth that he'll forget before long.
Even if they don't go with Shadao's idea of exploring the downsides of being the strongest it's at least kind of cool to see him finally come this far after so long being stuck on a treadmill.
 

Queen Cynthia

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JN108 said that this is the final promotion match before the Masters 8 tournament starts.
IgIpQ5a.jpg

So that pretty much spoils the outcome of this battle. Ash has to win because this is the last chance to enter the Masters 8.
That's another example of why the concept of the PWC (which per se is one of the greatest ideas the show has come up with) seems kind of flawed. Not only that we don't really understand the ranking system, I don't understand why the Masters Tournament has to "start" in the first place, either. Isn't the Master Class supposed to be a constant, (continuous) institution where trainers can enter any time? If not, how come it'll start exactly when Ash is ready to enter? That's a bit too obvious and convenient if you ask me.

But you know what we haven't seen that much in comparison? Ash's reaction to winning. He definitely enjoys success and victories in career, but it has never gotten to the point where he starts to get bored of it. We know that boredom will hit many elite trainers as seen with Drake in the Orange League or Volkner or even Leon. They're not content with victory, they want challenge. Actual challenge. A challenge that would tell them that they haven't reached their peak and they can still improve further.

That's something you don't see with Ash... yet. The fear of victory is an acquired taste yet a necessary one for one to become a Pokémon Master. Ash is just so used to losing that he doesn't understand that the feeling of sweet victory is a fleeting one once it becomes common. That victory can become boring. That is a lesson that cannot be learned from defeat.
I really like the way you explain things. However, I don't think this will be the case. Ash has always played the role of the underdog and I can't see why the writers would change that all of a sudden ( We don't even know if he will win the PWC) But I agree with you there's still a huge question mark with regards to how Ash will be handled after the PWC. That's why I started a threat dedicated to that question a few month ago. If Ash really wins the the PWC, I even think the writers will have no other choice than to replace Ash as the main protagonist.
 
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