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SPOILERS: Masters Eight Discussion/Speculation Thread

Longer post about why battle between Leon and Alain did not work. And how it probably affects other battles.

I am no exception, found Leon vs Alain underwhelming. Yep, pacing was the obvious problem on the surface. But since I am recapping it in my head more and more, I think the writers approach to battles in general in Journeys is the main culprit. It was similar with Ash vs. Drasna, but many were oblivious to it, because different circumstances.

Problem n. 1 - Journeys seems to treat battles similarly to games and doing it badly (contrary to let's say Diamond and Pearl)
Disclaimer - I do no play the games, but been watching some videos of Pokémon Championships and Game walkthroughs lately.
As we all know, Pokémon is at its core strategy numbers game. All those Pokémon and their typing, attacks and abilities are just very functioning wrap under which pure mathematics takes place and virtually unlimited numbers of variations. The facade, if you will, makes it engaging, approachable, easier to remember and attach to. It is easier to comprehend/remember that some "fire" attack is more effective on grass than water. But some of those typings-matchups do not follow that strict obvious relatable real-world logic, but they simply need to be set up some way - some are better fitting, some are less. Why should "dark" be neutral to "psychic" for example? It has some allegory, but we all virtually know, because creators decided so. It's game. But when that info is crucial to understanding Anime battle...

Problem is and always to some degree has been, Anime is a visual medium. We had a clear example in the last episode - Rillaboom finishing Chesnaught with Acrobatics. Now, in games, that would be simple I reckon, that move is 4x effective on Chesnaught, with speed boost after G-Max, very good candidate for OHKO. Hiccup - that does not work so simple in Anime. First, taking these factors into the account is sometimes difficult to properly show ("yeah, Rillaboom is speedy somehow"), so we have characters narrating it for us. Diantha took the pleasure here, in DP it was mostly Brock explaining. Problem is some of these work good in Anime, like those famous toxic spikes, some of them not so much.

Then, in game you call the move Acrobatics, give it some stats and sprite. Here...the way the made Rillaboom use it, how many people not familiar with games would tell you that was flying move? I would say the way it was animated, many would presume fighting move. And do not let me start on, how they should infer from Chesnaught and his typing that he should be very weary of such moves? Not even mentioning explaining that proper fighting move would have done far less damage, they would probably not understand why. To human eye, one very sturdy Pokémon evaded and strongly punched other sturdy Pokémon.

Then you have things like tough claws with Charizard X, taxing Flare Blitz and other things. In the end, that battle could probably go similarly being it two gamers with said Pokémon. But that's the problem, the everlasting problem. This is Anime, not game.
To have your visual medium engaging, realism is not always the best way to go. Imagine realistic historic battles (unfilmable due to their slowness) or sword duels lasting 2-3 slashes.

So to wrap this point up - I think what Journeys is doing badly is forcing on (what seems to be) quite strict game logic and numbers, but trying it to show in very visually appealing way of Pokémon wrapped in fierce battle, overcoming themselves, trainers shouting. We know both approaches could work - in DP the strategy and tactics were paramount, in XY we had very engaging flowing battles, blow for blow. Ash-Greninja vs MCX was choreographed mostly like 5'/90lbs ninja frog vs 7'/240lbs flying dragon in intense, often close combat. Typings were secondary. You may prefer one or the other, that's not the issue.
Journeys is trying to mix them, so they could look stunning and have ton of emotional moments, but also having the mathematics behind work. They are trying to have the best from both sides, especially when it serves their desired brevity, but are unsurprisingly ending with more negatives. The result is this uncanny valley. Leon vs Alain was rushed, but remembering Ash vs Drasna, I do not think it would be that much better nonetheless. It needed to be much slower strategic fest constantly interrupted by explaining or flowing brawl where typing and matchups does not account for that much and both Monsterzards are just purely narratively required to give and suffer multiple hits before even imagining them going down.
But with this not-functioning approach, it was always destined to be letdown.

Problem n. 2 - showing Leon's strength in convincing way
First of all - there has been established way how to show champion's ace before. Cynthia's lady Garchomp was paramount I would say. It was simple - reasonable tank-iness, convincingly over-powered attack and ability to evade/cancel move out of nowhere. Garchomp demonstrated it against Paul, was affected by attacks less than Paul anticipated, finished his mons quicker. And when his strategy card came, it was nullified by Garchomp being able to evade Torterra's Giga Drain. But Garchomp was still affected by logic and her typing, just less so and had one Joker in her cards. That was reasonable.

Now, Journeys seems not to settle its mind why is Leon the best, although at the beginning it seemed well communicated. Maybe not satisfactory, but well communicated. Leon's been saying it himself. He (a) learns from every battle, (b) does not underestimate his opponent and (c) aims for super-effective hits.
Showed quite well against Lance and also Raihan.
Leon's Charizard seemed tanky, but not over-powered. His flamethrower lost clash with Gyarados's Hyper Beam and also Duralodon's Steel Beam. He was hit by effective Aqua Tail and Stone Edge respectively.
But Leon was sporting 4x effective Thunder Punch against Lance and waiting for right opportunity before showing it and also super-effective moves against Duralodon. And well done G-Maxing with finishing G-Max Wildfire has done the rest.
On the other hand. Ash's Pikachu was just simply over-powered in their sparing match and hard to say for Flint's Infernape, as we have seen just bits of that match.

Now with Alain, it seemed they are going the same way, but then dropped ball or what.:unsure:
Leon's been obviously studying Alain, knowing his Ace is MCX. So he adjusted his Charizard's moveset - one obligatory Fire and one Flying move, but rest is Rock and Dragon, to be super-effective. G-Max is less appealing here, because G-Max Wildfire does not do its repeated damage on Fire types (and they are resistant anyway). So better to flex Rillaboom (also pleasing the crowd), to wipe up the rest.
Now, seems that Alain anticipated this and comes better prepared, avoiding Max Moves almost entirely. Leon uses G-Max and that gives Rillaboom the edge to finish Chesnaught, but then Alain's uses Charizard to wipe him out with single blow and at that point Alain's is theoretically winning - with single strike he evens the number of fallen Pokémon and has taken out Leon's gimmick.
But Leon sends out his Charizard and he wipes up the rest quickly, because clock is ticking. Again, we are shown that his Fire Blast does not overpower Malamar's attack, but then he pulls out Champion's Ace Joker by grabbing him (similarly like evading Flint's Infernape) and finishes him off. On the other hand his Dragon Pulse overpowers Flare Blitz and wins...

So to wrap this up - dear Anime, what makes Leon the best? It is strategy, him preparing moves deliberately and not panicking when opponent lands some attack and feels powerful (especially against Raihan). It is sheer strength and agility of his Charizard? Because sometimes is and sometimes is not. With Cynthia's Garchomp it was at least consistent. And that is the key - it is convenient to say that Leon's wins by what means are available to him at that moment. One match it is tactics, other sheer strength. And for some real world unbeatable champion, that would probably be the exact case. To be hard to read, had flexibility to win all matches. But again, works terribly in Anime. Leon's obstacle for Ash, therefore it must be telegraphed where are his strengths and how to beat him. Which takes us to very connected last problem...

Problem n.3 - how will Ash defeat Leon?
This one is not yet on table, but maybe very soon and threatening to be even more disappointing.

As we discussed above, Leon seems to be preparing very carefully for his matches and also not panicking during the match. With presumably also sheer strength on his side, how on earth will Ash win? Since Ash usually does not bother to research his opponent much. At least they are making him use more or less suitable Pokémon lately (especially against Raihan). But here, expecting it 6v6 there is not much to speculate with Pokémon Roster - especially with him not using reserves.
And Leon has been present for many Ash's battles - he has seen almost any trick Ash has pulled out so far - Lucario's defense and gigantic Aura Sphere, Gengar's ingenious use of mouth and tongue during G-Max. And probably also seen 10 Million Volt Thunderbolt against Volkner.
Ash is packing some new moves after visiting Oak's, but even those would have been revealed before finals.

If Ash is not winning by sheer strength, has limited options have to think outside of box (Leon has seen many occasions and will be counting on it, terrain is also non-factor in PWC for some time it seems) and even then Leon's Charizard has been pulling out his Joker lately, when he simply evades or stops something, because he is Leon's Charizard...how is Ash winning this convincingly exactly?

Yep, pulling out reserves would be strategically brilliant, but since we are not doing that and with writers simplifying too much when they are pushed (presumably by themselves) in the corner...I am half expecting 100 milion Volt Thunderbolt and half-stadium-sized Aura Sphere to communicate it visually. And that would be hardly satisfying. Hopefully they have some better ideas.
 
I can't agree here. Even a full episode isn't enough for a showdown of the strongest trainers in the world. Each battle should at least be two episodes, if not three.
Look at Ash vs. Kukui in Alola. It was a three-episode battle and that was intense for sure! You would at least expect the same amount of time being spent for each battle of "the greatest tournament in the world" (as it was described today).
Although I'm a little less angry than before when I watched the episode, I really doubt the following battles won't have the same issue. Or maybe the writers will come up with totally new and "creative" ways of messing those battles up and thus showing their disrespect for the other (real?) champions... (Sorry for the irony)

I don't think the anime have the budget (or the time) for three-episode battle for each Champion.

The first round is 3vs3, so I think one episode is enough for an interesting battle.
 
Was a downer, to speculate now is abit useless. We will 95% see in the final 3 vs 3 with Ultra instinct Mega Lucario Spirit bomb, or regular + Pika 100mv or more than that.

If they want us to be satasfied they will make it 6 vs 6, and/or bring reserves to shift things up after Leon saw all his big moves, and/or making Ash actually plan his way to win this with the perfect build up and pickings.
 
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6 vs 6 is for me a must have that we can see all of Leons Skills and pride. 3 v 3 is for a final fight not enough and double is cool but not appropriate. Over a 1 v 1 i will be really angry. 2 v 2 nah nothing for me! I will see Leons full Team of Champion Pokemon.
 
Perhaps a controversial take but, after re-living my childhood by watching the first two seasons of the original anime, I feel like instead of Alain, the anime might have been better served in using Drake from the Orange Islands. After all, he is (or at least was) a Regional Champion so he should be strong enough to compete and the fact that Ash has already beaten him means I don't think anybody would have been upset to see him be fodder for Leon's first match.

Obviously that would have meant there would have been four Dragonites in the M8, but I would have been okay with that. :unsure:
 
All I'm saying is, if it led to a powerful moment where Leon is sad and says "looks like even other Champions can't beat me" and then Drake retorts with "no one's invincible, no matter how many victories you win, kids these days can sneak up and surprise you" and as he's speaking his gaze slowly tracks to Ash in the audience.

It would have been super worth it is all I'm saying. :bulbaLove:
 
Perhaps a controversial take but, after re-living my childhood by watching the first two seasons of the original anime, I feel like instead of Alain, the anime might have been better served in using Drake from the Orange Islands. After all, he is (or at least was) a Regional Champion so he should be strong enough to compete and the fact that Ash has already beaten him means I don't think anybody would have been upset to see him be fodder for Leon's first match.

Obviously that would have meant there would have been four Dragonites in the M8, but I would have been okay with that. :unsure:
All I'm saying is, if it led to a powerful moment where Leon is sad and says "looks like even other Champions can't beat me" and then Drake retorts with "no one's invincible, no matter how many victories you win, kids these days can sneak up and surprise you" and as he's speaking his gaze slowly tracks to Ash in the audience.

It would have been super worth it is all I'm saying. :bulbaLove:
Drake wasn't honestly that much of a character. He was just a strong Trainer who gave Ash his first full battle. As a character, he was very bland.
 
Perhaps a controversial take but, after re-living my childhood by watching the first two seasons of the original anime, I feel like instead of Alain, the anime might have been better served in using Drake from the Orange Islands. After all, he is (or at least was) a Regional Champion so he should be strong enough to compete and the fact that Ash has already beaten him means I don't think anybody would have been upset to see him be fodder for Leon's first match.

Obviously that would have meant there would have been four Dragonites in the M8, but I would have been okay with that. :unsure:
You make a good argument, and it would have been great for the OI to get some representation in Journeys considering how vital it was to Ash's gen 1 character arc.
 
Perhaps a controversial take but, after re-living my childhood by watching the first two seasons of the original anime, I feel like instead of Alain, the anime might have been better served in using Drake from the Orange Islands. After all, he is (or at least was) a Regional Champion so he should be strong enough to compete and the fact that Ash has already beaten him means I don't think anybody would have been upset to see him be fodder for Leon's first match.

Obviously that would have meant there would have been four Dragonites in the M8, but I would have been okay with that. :unsure:
That would have been really cool, if only to have more acknowledgement of the Orange Islands' existence. I'm not too surprised that it didn't happen. Aside from the rare reminders of Tracey's existence and shots of the Orange Islands trophy, they don't really acknowledge that arc that often. Even in a series that is on a surface level about traveling around the world, they never went to the Orange Islands. It made sense when it was created as a gap between the first two generations and there are plenty of regions from the games for them to go to instead, but seeing Drake among the Master Class would have been a cool and unexpected twist.
 
Problem n. 2 - showing Leon's strength in convincing way
First of all - there has been established way how to show champion's ace before. Cynthia's lady Garchomp was paramount I would say. It was simple - reasonable tank-iness, convincingly over-powered attack and ability to evade/cancel move out of nowhere. Garchomp demonstrated it against Paul, was affected by attacks less than Paul anticipated, finished his mons quicker. And when his strategy card came, it was nullified by Garchomp being able to evade Torterra's Giga Drain. But Garchomp was still affected by logic and her typing, just less so and had one Joker in her cards. That was reasonable.

Now, Journeys seems not to settle its mind why is Leon the best, although at the beginning it seemed well communicated. Maybe not satisfactory, but well communicated. Leon's been saying it himself. He (a) learns from every battle, (b) does not underestimate his opponent and (c) aims for super-effective hits.
Showed quite well against Lance and also Raihan.
Leon's Charizard seemed tanky, but not over-powered. His flamethrower lost clash with Gyarados's Hyper Beam and also Duralodon's Steel Beam. He was hit by effective Aqua Tail and Stone Edge respectively.
But Leon was sporting 4x effective Thunder Punch against Lance and waiting for right opportunity before showing it and also super-effective moves against Duralodon. And well done G-Maxing with finishing G-Max Wildfire has done the rest.
On the other hand. Ash's Pikachu was just simply over-powered in their sparing match and hard to say for Flint's Infernape, as we have seen just bits of that match.

Now with Alain, it seemed they are going the same way, but then dropped ball or what.:unsure:
Leon's been obviously studying Alain, knowing his Ace is MCX. So he adjusted his Charizard's moveset - one obligatory Fire and one Flying move, but rest is Rock and Dragon, to be super-effective. G-Max is less appealing here, because G-Max Wildfire does not do its repeated damage on Fire types (and they are resistant anyway). So better to flex Rillaboom (also pleasing the crowd), to wipe up the rest.
Now, seems that Alain anticipated this and comes better prepared, avoiding Max Moves almost entirely. Leon uses G-Max and that gives Rillaboom the edge to finish Chesnaught, but then Alain's uses Charizard to wipe him out with single blow and at that point Alain's is theoretically winning - with single strike he evens the number of fallen Pokémon and has taken out Leon's gimmick.
But Leon sends out his Charizard and he wipes up the rest quickly, because clock is ticking. Again, we are shown that his Fire Blast does not overpower Malamar's attack, but then he pulls out Champion's Ace Joker by grabbing him (similarly like evading Flint's Infernape) and finishes him off. On the other hand his Dragon Pulse overpowers Flare Blitz and wins...

So to wrap this up - dear Anime, what makes Leon the best? It is strategy, him preparing moves deliberately and not panicking when opponent lands some attack and feels powerful (especially against Raihan). It is sheer strength and agility of his Charizard? Because sometimes is and sometimes is not. With Cynthia's Garchomp it was at least consistent. And that is the key - it is convenient to say that Leon's wins by what means are available to him at that moment. One match it is tactics, other sheer strength. And for some real world unbeatable champion, that would probably be the exact case. To be hard to read, had flexibility to win all matches. But again, works terribly in Anime. Leon's obstacle for Ash, therefore it must be telegraphed where are his strengths and how to beat him. Which takes us to very connected last problem...
It's not like Leon's opponents haven't been able to land super effective hits, as you pointed out with Aqua Tail and Stone Edge. It's just that if such moves come from Leon, they usually get that additional, annoying plot armor boost and appear to be extra powerful.
And, of course, guys like Lance and Alain can be considered smart enough and will also prepare themselves meticulously for such an important battle. That's not some insider knowledge exclusively reserved for Leon.

To sum up, it's not a question of super-effective moves or preparation that make Leon "special", (every member of the Masters eight can and will do that, too). It's that unrealistic boost he is getting from the writers because they want to portray him as that last obstacle for Ash at all costs. Case in point: Alain's ace MCX falling to one Dragon Pulse from a non-megaevolved Charizard. It's that exaggerated portrayal of Leon that will make all the other characters look stupid which is not acceptable if you ask me.
 
Problem is and always to some degree has been, Anime is a visual medium. We had a clear example in the last episode - Rillaboom finishing Chesnaught with Acrobatics. Now, in games, that would be simple I reckon, that move is 4x effective on Chesnaught, with speed boost after G-Max, very good candidate for OHKO. Hiccup - that does not work so simple in Anime. First, taking these factors into the account is sometimes difficult to properly show ("yeah, Rillaboom is speedy somehow"), so we have characters narrating it for us. Diantha took the pleasure here, in DP it was mostly Brock explaining. Problem is some of these work good in Anime, like those famous toxic spikes, some of them not so much.

Then, in game you call the move Acrobatics, give it some stats and sprite. Here...the way the made Rillaboom use it, how many people not familiar with games would tell you that was flying move? I would say the way it was animated, many would presume fighting move. And do not let me start on, how they should infer from Chesnaught and his typing that he should be very weary of such moves? Not even mentioning explaining that proper fighting move would have done far less damage, they would probably not understand why. To human eye, one very sturdy Pokémon evaded and strongly punched other sturdy Pokémon.
I understand your frustration with the OHKOs in that battle, but I feel like your complaints should've been directed at the length of the battle itself as opposed to... the writers making good use of the type chart. Like, I get it, the type chart is utilized quite inconsistently in the anime, and longer battles don't always lead to better fights (like the Ash vs Drasna battle that you mentioned). But at the end of the day, I still enjoy moments when the writers acknowledge type effectiveness and can incorporate it into the narrative of the fight. Moments like Guzma's Scizor being one-shotted by Torracat's Fire Blast to emphasize how badly Golisopod messed up, and Iris's Dragonite being caught off guard by Dracovish's Ice Fang to emphasize the surprise factor of the newly-discovered species. These moments have a tangible weight behind them because viewers who understand the type chart can feel the type effectiveness kicking in, while viewers who don't can still rely on the narrative cues to understand the significance of the Pokemon being taken down so easily.

Similarly in this episode, we get to see Leon's Rillaboom obliterating Alain's Chesnaught with Acrobatics, taking advantage of the quadruple weakness while simultaneously demonstrating that Rillaboom's mobility isn't always being held back by the huge drum that it's constantly carrying around. I understand your complaint that Acrobatics being a Flying-type move isn't visually obvious enough for viewers unfamiliar with the games, but in this case, I don't think there's much that the writers and animators could've done to improve that. The move does exactly what it says it does, so there isn't much the animators could've done to animate it differently. It's also the only super-effective move Rillaboom can have against Chesnaught, so the writers didn't have any other options either, aside from having Chesnaught go down to a regular/not effective move.

Compared to Malamar being taken out by a Fire Blast before it could do anything, and Mega Charizard X being taken out by an unboosted Dragon Pulse from a regular Charizard within the span of a minute, Chesnaught being crushed by a 4x effective move after a decently long battle feels like the least problematic knockout in this battle, IMO. As I said in the beginning, it definitely feels like the length of the battle was the issue here, not the gameplay accuracy in regards to the type chart.
 
I understand your frustration with the OHKOs in that battle, but I feel like your complaints should've been directed at the length of the battle itself as opposed to... the writers making good use of the type chart. Like, I get it, the type chart is utilized quite inconsistently in the anime, and longer battles don't always lead to better fights (like the Ash vs Drasna battle that you mentioned). But at the end of the day, I still enjoy moments when the writers acknowledge type effectiveness and can incorporate it into the narrative of the fight. Moments like Guzma's Scizor being one-shotted by Torracat's Fire Blast to emphasize how badly Golisopod messed up, and Iris's Dragonite being caught off guard by Dracovish's Ice Fang to emphasize the surprise factor of the newly-discovered species. These moments have a tangible weight behind them because viewers who understand the type chart can feel the type effectiveness kicking in, while viewers who don't can still rely on the narrative cues to understand the significance of the Pokemon being taken down so easily.

Similarly in this episode, we get to see Leon's Rillaboom obliterating Alain's Chesnaught with Acrobatics, taking advantage of the quadruple weakness while simultaneously demonstrating that Rillaboom's mobility isn't always being held back by the huge drum that it's constantly carrying around. I understand your complaint that Acrobatics being a Flying-type move isn't visually obvious enough for viewers unfamiliar with the games, but in this case, I don't think there's much that the writers and animators could've done to improve that. The move does exactly what it says it does, so there isn't much the animators could've done to animate it differently. It's also the only super-effective move Rillaboom can have against Chesnaught, so the writers didn't have any other options either, aside from having Chesnaught go down to a regular/not effective move.

Compared to Malamar being taken out by a Fire Blast before it could do anything, and Mega Charizard X being taken out by an unboosted Dragon Pulse from a regular Charizard within the span of a minute, Chesnaught being crushed by a 4x effective move after a decently long battle feels like the least problematic knockout in this battle, IMO. As I said in the beginning, it definitely feels like the length of the battle was the issue here, not the gameplay accuracy in regards to the type chart.

Thank you for your response, but to just make myself clear - I am not frustrated nor complaining, I am simply explaining.

I agree with what you said. It is and always will be compromise. There are probably very limited combinations of matchups that works with in-game logic and visually alike. Then it comes to what do you prefer - probably gamers and long-time Anime fans prefer (like you) identifying the effectiveness behind the moves and inner logic. Casual fans would probably prefer more on-the-nose visual cues and logic based on size, weight, momentum and real-world parables.

What I was pointing out that Journeys is not doing it quite right. It seems to prefer in-game logic, but does not do the legwork of explaining it sufficiently as for example Diamond and Pearl did.
Sometimes you could make it fly with just visual clues - you mentioned Dracovish's Ice Fang which surprised and finished Iris's Dragonite. If I remember correctly, nobody pointed out 4x effectivness of Ice Move being boosted by Strong Jaw ability another 50%, so OHKO makes sense. (Even taking into consideration that narratively this Dragonite had been unusually resistant specifically to Ice attacks)
But that scene IMHO worked reasonably with just visual clues.

On the other hand, there are multiple occasions where slower pace and more explaining would be beneficial. But for Journeys, clocks are ticking and therefore you have usually to do math yourself to arrive at the conclusion "yep, makes sense that this Pokémon won".

Both Leon's previous fully-showed battles against Lance and Raihan are good examples.
I am also suspect here, because I did not quite spot that, e.g. Max Knuckle against Duralodon not only obliterated Max Rockfall, but also landed very decent hit (2x effective). That in itself explains why Charizard won and not Duralodon, but again - it was communicated just visually. Having Goh mentioning it to Ash, it would probably be more clear.

But in the end, it is everyone's preference. Maybe the most casual viewers are now so accustomed to trope "the hero is punched multiple times in the duel and must seem about to lose to overcome it in the last second", that they expect it even from Pokémon. And to be frank, many Ash's battles have been visually communicated similarly. The math behind them was somehow workable, but on the surface "tanking X moves and overcoming it miraculously" has been quite the way to go for Journeys.

We will see how matches against Steven and Cynthia would go.
 
All this talk of an eventual Ash vs Leon bonanza seems a bit premature. This implies Ash is even gonna get by Cynthia in the semis. Which, realistically, he should not. They've dragged this World Coronation stuff out long enough and now he's at last in well over his head; reserves or not.

This is the Pokémon anime, not the Pokémon fanfiction Traveler. Ash isn't some once-in-a-generation prodigy who's good enough to give bloody noses to long-established Champions before he reaches puberty. He's just a reasonably great trainer who's nonetheless not ready for this.
 
All this talk of an eventual Ash vs Leon bonanza seems a bit premature. This implies Ash is even gonna get by Cynthia in the semis. Which, realistically, he should not. They've dragged this World Coronation stuff out long enough and now he's at last in well over his head; reserves or not.

This is the Pokémon anime, not the Pokémon fanfiction Traveler. Ash isn't some once-in-a-generation prodigy who's good enough to give bloody noses to long-established Champions before he reaches puberty. He's just a reasonably great trainer who's nonetheless not ready for this.
The entire narrative of this series is leading to Ash battling Leon. So of course he's going to get there.
 
All this talk of an eventual Ash vs Leon bonanza seems a bit premature. This implies Ash is even gonna get by Cynthia in the semis. Which, realistically, he should not. They've dragged this World Coronation stuff out long enough and now he's at last in well over his head; reserves or not.
One of the staff said that Ash is going to have the "ultimate Pokemon battle" in JN. What else could that be?

This is the Pokémon anime, not the Pokémon fanfiction Traveler. Ash isn't some once-in-a-generation prodigy who's good enough to give bloody noses to long-established Champions before he reaches puberty. He's just a reasonably great trainer who's nonetheless not ready for this.
A ten year old who was able to beat Legendary Pokémon over a decade ago while winning a high-level competition against opponents supposedly just below the elite four, in a show based off games where kids take less time than him to be able to defeat the champions.
He's 100% ready to reach Leon. Realistically he should have been ready sometime around late DP or BW if his progress didn't constantly reverse course so they could keep the status quo.
Ash's slow progress has nothing to do with realism and everything to do with status quo--otherwise he wouldn't have beaten Drake and Brandon.
 
He's 100% ready to reach Leon. Realistically he should have been ready sometime around late DP or BW if his progress didn't constantly reverse course so they could keep the status quo.
Ash's slow progress has nothing to do with realism and everything to do with status quo--otherwise he wouldn't have beaten Drake and Brandon.
Support that, he could be a world champion with just pokemon from his firat 2 seasons, only if he would keep them in his 6 pokemon slots. But hey, he works from the start with Pika winning gyms making another progress to know new pokrmon from different regions.

Im sure he will up for a battle against Leon. Just not sure if he will do that in the final or outside the M8. I would say after the last episode it is more likely than ever. In epiaode 114 I thought its a almoat 50% probability Cynthia will be the fonalist, but now I think its more than that.
 
All I'm saying is, if it led to a powerful moment where Leon is sad and says "looks like even other Champions can't beat me" and then Drake retorts with "no one's invincible, no matter how many victories you win, kids these days can sneak up and surprise you" and as he's speaking his gaze slowly tracks to Ash in the audience.

It would have been super worth it is all I'm saying. :bulbaLove:

tbh, instead of Dragonite used by Lance (Gyarados is his ace in the anime anyways), use Aerodactyl instead. Or just go out of the way and use Dracozolt for him.
 
Drake wasn't honestly that much of a character. He was just a strong Trainer who gave Ash his first full battle. As a character, he was very bland.
Until I saw your comment I thought they were referring to the shirtless old Dragon-Type E4 from the Hoenn region. I was perplexed and wondered what he has to do with Leon. Was he even in the World Coronation Series?
 
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