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SPOILERS: Masters Eight Discussion/Speculation Thread

puddleths

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I did say that, though:
I know you did. I should've said more people.
Throwing my 2 cents about Paul and a little Iris
I'll say my piece one last time. I think they are comparable in that they are two characters who hadn't appeared in a while, and both lost to Ash in their last on screen appearance. My problem is with those who say Iris getting into the Masters 8 is deserved because she's Unova champion, but Paul isn't strong enough because he doesn't have a prestigious title of his own. Yet, Iris became champion off screen, but Paul has been gone even longer and has no game counterpart to tie his character down. He's a traveling trainer like Ash, so he could have won a regional league tournament just like Ash won the Alola league.

If you didn't want him in because you don't like the character, be like Ghost and admit it. It's fine.
 
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Sai

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I think Paul was left out of Masters 8 because the writers just had no place to fit him in. If Ash is only going to battle 3 or 4 people at best, Paul doesn't have much space since Cynthia and Leon are safe bets and Alan or Lance are there too.

I get the feeling had Ash beat Alan back in XY, he wouldn't have been here though. Probably have him appear in a random ep like Paul is now. So again the Kalos League loss stigma impacts the show to this day.
 

Ghost Diplocaulus

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Regarding Iris, I do have to admit that literally the biggest reason I don't mind her position in the Masters 8 too much is because game!Iris is actually my favorite Champion. If that had not been the case, I'd be staunchly against her being in the Masters 8 because it is absolutely true that her "growth" during the BW saga was just executed really poorly. It really does say a lot that despite Iris supposedly being a Dragon specialist, the Dragon-types she had during BW are actually her worst-handled Pokemon.
 

Turbo

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If you didn't want him in because you don't like the character, be like Ghost and admit it. It's fine.
Lol I wasn't saying I didn't like him or didn't want him in he's actually one of my fav characters

I was one of the ones on here who made a prediction he would of been in the Masters 8 or at least a gate keep battle over other choices like Alain

All I'm saying is the role of Paul the rival and someone like Iris the traveling companion will get handled differently

As traditionally characters like Paul are left behind in the series they were in where main characters like Iris get shown growth one way or another as time goes on

And in journeys they “gamefied” a lot of characters so Iris got a push because of her game counterpart where Paul doesn't have a game counterpart so it doesn't weigh him down but it doesn't elevate him either

Especially since they we're going for all champions in the Masters 8 leaving two oddballs Ash and the other they chose Alaon

I'm all for Paul to keep getting stronger and to keep being relative to Ash as he was my pick to be in the M8 I just also see a scenario where they treat it so Ash strong that even Paul couldn't catch up

I hope that clears things up
 

puddleths

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Lol I wasn't saying I didn't like him or didn't want him in he's actually one of my fav characters
I apologize. That wasn't directed at you, it was for those I've seen say Paul isn't "Masters 8 material" or something. (And waving away criticism over Iris being in)
 

Daren

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I honestly think that the writers don't consider Paul as important as some of the fanbase does, and that's why he isn't in the Master Eight: He was the rival of a single series out of eight, and has been replaced several times since then.
At least he's getting one episode. That's better than May seems to be getting.

I would not be annoyed if Paul was in but I genuinely think Alain was a better choice. The one major rival Ash never defeated and managed to overcome an Elite Four (in fact I think he was the first character we saw defeat one who wasn't in the E4/Champ club themselves) makes sense from both Watsonian and Doylist perspectives.

I'm pretty sure I do remember people either complaining or mocking Ash for that loss to Gary, so that battle actually was seen as a "disservice", which renders your argument moot. It probably only goes unmentioned now because the loss to fresh-out-the-lab rookies Trip and Snivy is way more infamous.
I still wonder why they ended AG like that. It made some sense in the Orange Islands to set Gary up for Johto (and at the time Gary was likely going to be the final antagonist of the series before AG ended up happening) but in DP Ash's main rival was someone else.
Were they just unwilling to let Ash end a series on a high note?
 

Nicolas721

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I would have been okay with Alain returning if his XY goodbye would have been about him going to compete in the Unova League or something instead of semi-retiring to do research, his character arc was supposed to be about how winning isn't everything, so him coming back to battles feels like a derailment. It doesn't help either that according to his presentation in JN109 he hasn't done anything noteworthy since the Lumiose Conference. Also, add the fact that Steven is mostly remembered (anime-wise) for his XY role and you get what it feels like too much XY representation.

I would have chosen Paul, Tobias or even Tyson over him. Paul DID say that he was going to become stronger and be more prepared for Ash's style in a future battle (and he's one of the few battlers who have competed in multiple leagues, so he still stands as an Ash equivalent), and Tobias is a no-brainer, the writers would have to tone down the legendaries but I doubt he's the kind of person that would have become weaker over time.
 

FinnishPokéFan92

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I would have been okay with Alain returning if his XY goodbye would have been about him going to compete in the Unova League or something instead of semi-retiring to do research, his character arc was supposed to be about how winning isn't everything, so him coming back to battles feels like a derailment. It doesn't help either that according to his presentation in JN109 he hasn't done anything noteworthy since the Lumiose Conference. Also, add the fact that Steven is mostly remembered (anime-wise) for his XY role and you get what it feels like too much XY representation.

I would have chosen Paul, Tobias or even Tyson over him. Paul DID say that he was going to become stronger and be more prepared for Ash's style in a future battle (and he's one of the few battlers who have competed in multiple leagues, so he still stands as an Ash equivalent), and Tobias is a no-brainer, the writers would have to tone down the legendaries but I doubt he's the kind of person that would have become weaker over time.
Alain did say he was going to find a new new Key Stone for himself, so him coming back shows that he's managed to d o it.
 

Ghost Diplocaulus

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I honestly think that the writers don't consider Paul as important as some of the fanbase does, and that's why he isn't in the Master Eight: He was the rival of a single series out of eight, and has been replaced several times since then.
At least he's getting one episode. That's better than May seems to be getting.

I would not be annoyed if Paul was in but I genuinely think Alain was a better choice. The one major rival Ash never defeated and managed to overcome an Elite Four (in fact I think he was the first character we saw defeat one who wasn't in the E4/Champ club themselves) makes sense from both Watsonian and Doylist perspectives.
Yeah, the fact of the matter is that there's no way that there would've been room in the Masters 8 for more than one former rival. I've seen a few people outside of this forum blaming Iris as the reason why Paul wasn't in the rankings when it's almost certain that the Masters 8 was always going to have all the current Champions of each region, meaning that even if Iris hadn't been the Unova Champion, then the one who would've been in her place would've 100% been Alder, which means that no matter what there would've only been one free spot left, so it does baffle me that there actually are some people out there who blame Iris for the lack of Paul when Paul almost defnitely wouldn't have been in the Masters 8 regardless, since a rematch with Alain would generate way more hype.

That being said, maybe they could've squeezed in a battle against Paul in an earlier phase of the PWC. There's controversy over Ash battling and beating Iris in the Super Class, so maybe that battle could've been Ash vs Paul instead? Tbh, I don't mind that it was Ash vs Iris, but at the same time I don't think I would've minded if it had been Ash vs Paul either....

I still wonder why they ended AG like that. It made some sense in the Orange Islands to set Gary up for Johto (and at the time Gary was likely going to be the final antagonist of the series before AG ended up happening) but in DP Ash's main rival was someone else.
Were they just unwilling to let Ash end a series on a high note?
Not to mention that Ash and Pikachu weren't nearly as powerful back then: sure, Pikachu did defeat Drake's Dragonite, but it was made abundantly clear that the only reason he even managed to do so was because half of his teammates had already greatly softened it up for him, and even then Pikachu was seconds away from fainting himself, if the way he collapsed after he'd been declared the winner is any indication. So it's obvious that none of Ash's Pokemon would've been able to beat Dragonite in a 1v1 fight. Because of all this, Pikachu losing to an Eevee after such a win feels less jarring (though it does also help that Brock and Misty did point out that Gary's Eevee was very well-trained. There's a very good reason that the loss to Trip's Snivy is widely considered Pikachu's worst loss despite it not being the only time or even the last time he lost to an unevolved mon; we've been shown time and time again that in the anime unevolved Pokemon can be trained to be powerful, and I think most of the fandom has laregly learned to accept this, but Trip's Snivy had quite literally never even been in a fight before which is why that moment gets far less lenience). That being said, the fact that the only battle Ash ever won against Gary was one where he didn't use Pikachu is the main reason I like to joke that Gary is Pikachu's kryptonite XD

That being said, I'm pretty sure that Ash losing to Gary after winning the Battle Frontier was probably intended to demonstrate that as strong as Ash had gotten, he still had a long way to go. Also possibly just to hype Gen 4, seeing how Ash fought an Electivire and all. Sort of a "Look how powerful and awesome these new Pokemon are! Why, this one just took out a Pikachu that beat a Legendary!"

I do think that the battle still could have been written better while still having Ash lose: after all, Electivire is a Pokemon whose main Ability is one that negates Pikachu's STAB altogether and gets a huge speed boost on top, so if they'd made Ash's loss be a result of him simply not knowing his opponent had such an advantage (which would've been understandable seeing how Ash had never seen an Electivire before) it would've probably gone down much better and felt more justified than Electivire just brute-forcing its way through Pikachu. To be fair, I do suspect that the writers were simply unaware of Electivire's Ability at the time, which is why the battle was written the way it was but still.
 

puddleths

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I still wonder why they ended AG like that. It made some sense in the Orange Islands to set Gary up for Johto (and at the time Gary was likely going to be the final antagonist of the series before AG ended up happening) but in DP Ash's main rival was someone else.
Were they just unwilling to let Ash end a series on a high note?
I thought it was explicitly about how it's a big world out there with more powerful trainers and Pokémon to overcome. Gary wasn't exactly the best choice to demonstrate that, but I can understand why they used him at that time.

Might need to draw on this "lesson" at the end of this series.
 

FelipePR

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I still wonder why they ended AG like that. It made some sense in the Orange Islands to set Gary up for Johto (and at the time Gary was likely going to be the final antagonist of the series before AG ended up happening) but in DP Ash's main rival was someone else.
Were they just unwilling to let Ash end a series on a high note?

- Well, that's part of the setup for Ash to go to Sinnoh, which started five episodes before when Gary sent him a postcard from the region. The fact that Gary's Electivire defeats the franchise's mascot is, at first, intended to draw the attention and interest of Ash, as well as the viewer's one, to the "power" of the new evolutions discovered in Sinnoh, as Gary later explains.

- But yeah, the producers didn't want Ash to end the season on a high, as Gary declares that Ash may have won the Battle Frontier but he should not take any battle result for granted. That is, he insinuates that the protagonist underestimated him and his new Pokémon, demonstrating that Ash still has a lot to evolve as a trainer.

- And, at the end of the day, while this battle doesn't have much relevance for Ash, if you look at it from Gary's point of view, this victory over its main rival has the symbolic meaning of ending the character's journey as a pokémon trainer, in addition to confirm the appearance of one of the most iconic characters in the next season.
 
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Daren

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I get why they had him lose right after Brandon to advertise DP by showing off a new mon as amazing (like with Blaziken in Johto) and do the generic "can't take anything for granted" but why Gary? If anything his old rival being the one makes it feel like a smaller world, and since he'd become a researcher it felt silly he somehow surpassed Ash while the latter had been having intense battles in hoenn and the BF. It felt like forced character shilling to me; Gary is the big rival so he's always super strong even if he really shouldn't be anymore.
 

Ghost Diplocaulus

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I get why they had him lose right after Brandon to advertise DP by showing off a new mon as amazing (like with Blaziken in Johto) and do the generic "can't take anything for granted" but why Gary? If anything his old rival being the one makes it feel like a smaller world, and since he'd become a researcher it felt silly he somehow surpassed Ash while the latter had been having intense battles in hoenn and the BF. It felt like forced character shilling to me; Gary is the big rival so he's always super strong even if he really shouldn't be anymore.
Yeah, Gary was a very weird choice, but then again it's not like there were many viable options for Ash to lose to anyways. I guess it could have been a new character, like, Paul but introduced early, but presumably the writers just didn't want Ash's new rival to use fully evolved Pokemon against him right out the gate, seeing how Ash was going to start fresh.

Of course, the other option could've just been to not have a battle at all and just have Gary showcase his Electivire through different means and have it go:

Ash: "Wow, Gary, that's a cool Pokemon!"
Gary: "Thanks! This is Electivire and I got him in the Sinnoh region!"
Ash: "Sweet, I wanna go there!"


Then again, maybe the writers just thought it wouldn't have been hype enough without a battle.
 

puddleths

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but why Gary?
Narratively convenient his research led him to Sinnoh. And it probably worked a lot better to have someone Ash knows to talk to him about his next step. Plus, even though Gary stopped being a trainer, not seeing him in AG left his strength up in the air. Though his looking pretty weak in DP makes the battle look worse in retrospect.

As a complete aside, I always liked Gary having an Electivire. DP started with Ash losing to one, and (essentially) ended with him winning against another.
 

Beatsy Ray

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I personally like the idea of Ash's rivals keeping up with him offscreen. Gary was already a prodigy, so it's really no stretch for him to get stronger despite shifting focus. Not to mention, studying Pokemon and expanding your knowledge should go a long way in improving your battling skills, especially considering Pokemon battles are just as much about strategy as they are brute strength.

You also become physically better at training Pokemon when you know more about them. We see a good example of this in the episode where Ash's Gligar evolves. Ash hit a wall when training it, however Gary's advice and knowledge that Gligar's strength comes from it's tail allowed them to make progress. He also taught it how to evolve, which is something Ash is generally clueless about. Gary's interest in Sinnoh evolution would of course explain why he has an Electivire.

I also don't think it's bad writing for rivals or villains to acquire essentially "free" power boosts, because their main purpose is for the protagonist to measure themselves against. Someone we're supposed to be rooting for being written like that (cough cough) is another story.
 
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FelipePR

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Yeah, Gary was a very weird choice.

I don't think it was a bad choice at all. Up until then, Gary was the only great rival Ash ever had. In addition, in Silver conference, Gary lost to Ash by very little, which shows that he was not exactly an inferior trainer to the protagonist. Finally, the fact that Gary later defeats Ash shows that the protagonist's opponents have not stopped in time either and are evolving and seeking their goals, even if new goals. And, as I said, the battle should be understood as a farewell to the rivalry of both, that is, of Gary as a trainer.

Otherwise, it was a quick battle, 1v1, in which Electivre had the advantage, either because of its ability or because Ash tried to win on the basis of brute force, at which point the Pokémon obviously has an advantage over a Pikachu.
 
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Daren

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Obviously it's going to vary indivdually, I just personally think Gary managing to keep up with Ash while not focusing on being a trainer anymore contributed heavily to the "Ash is stuck on a treadmill and not allowed to meaningfully improve as a trainer" problem that struck me as becoming very obvious during DP and never really stopped until Sun/Moon or JN.
 

Ghost Diplocaulus

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I don't think it was a bad choice at all. Up until then, Gary was the only great rival Ash ever had. In addition, in Silver conference, Gary lost to Ash by very little, which shows that he was not exactly an inferior trainer to the protagonist. Finally, the fact that Gary later defeats Ash shows that the protagonist's opponents have not stopped in time either and are evolving and seeking their goals, even if new goals. And, as I said, the battle should be understood as a farewell to the rivalry of both, that is, of Gary as a trainer.

Otherwise, it was a quick battle, 1v1, in which Electivre had the advantage, either because of its ability or because Ash tried to win on the basis of brute force, at which point the Pokémon obviously has an advantage over a Pikachu.
I'm not saying it was a bad choice. Just that it was weird. If anything, out of all the possible returning characters the writers could have used in this scenario, Gary is honestly probably the best option by far.

It's just that, like @Daren said, it's a tad awkward since Gary was no longer a Trainer by that point, so I can see how it could come as difficult for some to believe that he could've been keeping up with Ash. And regarding the "farewell to the rivalry" part... wasn't that already done with their Johto League battle? Just saying, I feel like that one was a fine conclusion to their rivalry all on its own, considering that was a full 6v6 and all.
 

FelipePR

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I'm not saying it was a bad choice. Just that it was weird. If anything, out of all the possible returning characters the writers could have used in this scenario, Gary is honestly probably the best option by far.

It's just that, like @Daren said, it's a tad awkward since Gary was no longer a Trainer by that point, so I can see how it could come as difficult for some to believe that he could've been keeping up with Ash. And regarding the "farewell to the rivalry" part... wasn't that already done with their Johto League battle? Just saying, I feel like that one was a fine conclusion to their rivalry all on its own, considering that was a full 6v6 and all.

Unless I'm mistaken, the only previous episode that reveals that Gary had become a Pokémon researcher is the episode 15 of Pokémon Chronicles, a spin off series that many may not have even seen. So honestly, I don't think the audience found the battle and the outcome of it strange. In fact, I remember thinking it was super cool and happy that Gary would reappear in the next season.

Furthermore, the outcome of the battle does not show that Gary was on par with Ash. Gary used a Pokémon that Ash didn't know and, despite that, Ash wanted to show his capability by trying to win with brute force, instead of using Pikachu's nimble characteristics, that is, he disrespected the opponent.

In addition, Gary may have mainly focused on training Electivire, while Ash was training an entire team, or even more, as he used several other Pokémon in the Battle of the Frontier. We must remember that the battle was just a 1v1.

In short, we don't know about Gary's time off-screen, what he did, whether or not he continued to train his Pokemon, how dedicated he was to research, or when he started doing it. What we do know, as others have pointed out, is that Gary is a prodigy who, despite no longer being a Pokémon Trainer, as shown in the anime, still retains his passion for Pokémon Battles.
 
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Broseph08

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I'm not saying it was a bad choice. Just that it was weird. If anything, out of all the possible returning characters the writers could have used in this scenario, Gary is honestly probably the best option by far.

It's just that, like @Daren said, it's a tad awkward since Gary was no longer a Trainer by that point, so I can see how it could come as difficult for some to believe that he could've been keeping up with Ash. And regarding the "farewell to the rivalry" part... wasn't that already done with their Johto League battle? Just saying, I feel like that one was a fine conclusion to their rivalry all on its own, considering that was a full 6v6 and all.
I don't mind it that much since researchers are still shown to be great trainers in their own right throughout the franchise and it made sense to me that Gary himself would improve at battling even if he doesn't do it competitively anymore. He probably still had to battle wild Pokemon and trainers now and then. Hell, I think in Journeys, if they wanted to retcon Gary as a researcher and have him as Kanto Champion to match him up with his game counterpart, it would have been more believable to me than Iris although I like the route they took with him instead.
 
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