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The Kalos League, 20 Years On - Glory Or Bust Again?


Sep 18, 2015
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Hi guys, I thought I’d post this for the benefit of all those die hard Pokémon fans. Why should soccer world cups, super bowls and the World Series get all the attention right? What about the greatest anime show on earth?

Yep it's me, I am back again!

DISCLAIMER: Frankly my article is geared towards fans who are still watching the dubbed episodes, which are still quite a bit behind than the subbed ones. So for this is for those who are watching the Japanese subs or raw ones (unsubbed) you already know the outcome. So, try not to give away any spoilers guys? Pretty please? Thank you.

Now we all know that the Kalos League is well underway, so it’s solemn the duty of any die-hard Pokemon fan (like me) to tantalize and speculate on what the tournament promises to be like. But I’m not going to do that today.

No today we take a trip down memory lane. Today we revisit some of the most hair raising, awe-inspiring, edge of the seat moments from the entire anime series, including some of the most jaw-dropping ones from all the official Pokemon League tournaments that our beloved pint-sized hero (Ash Ketchum) has participated in so far. So without further ado,

Pokeball Go!

P.S - Numbers 3, and 5-11 are my personal favorites!

1. “I Will Be The Greatest Pokémon Master Of All Time!” (S01 E01 Pikachu, I Choose You!)

For some, it was this very declaration that was the clincher as they became lifelong devotees to the anime series, much like me.

A rookie trainer expressed his excitement at finally at finally getting Pokemon licence. And then he tied his shoes, stood up, picked up a Voltorb toy and with a determined look on his face said,

“And I hereby declare to the Pokémon of this world, that I will be the greatest Pokémon trainer, the greatest Pokémon master of all time”

2. “That’s Not Me That’s The Stadium Shaking!” (SE01 E077 Round 1 Begins!)

Fresh from successfully restoring Moltres’s flame on the pinnacle of the Indigo Plateau (which was another great moment in season 1) it was time to make a first ever competitive appearance in an official Pokémon League Tournament. That alone was enough to give any young trainer the jeepers but not Ash Ketchum. At least, if he was feeling it he was determined not to show it. So when Misty asked him out of concern, “Ash you’re shaking” just as he was about to exit the tunnel and enter the spotlight, our hero came up with an absolute gem of a response,

“That’s not me that’s the stadium shaking”.

If it wasn’t then, it certainly was later when an inspired Krabby/Kingler fired Ash into the second round by absolutely dismantling the astounding Mandy in a round 1 clean sweep.

3. Charizard Begins (SE02 E025 Charizard Chills!)

I’d been waiting for that, for quite some time and finally the story makers complied. Ash earned the trust of Charizard as they put aside their differences and by doing so he gained another lifelong friend and a formidable companion. They beat Tad’s Poliwrath in one the best 1v1 battles I’ve seen in the anime.

Now that was a moment. Safe to say later on in the anime Charizard atoned for its rashness in the Indigo league which cost Ash his place in the tournament. And boy it did that in some style.

4. That Winning Feeling (SE02 E032 Enter The Dragonite!)

Ah Pikachu. It disappoints so much at times and yet time and again it comes up with performances which makes it so popular with the fans and of course reaffirms its status as one of the most powerful weapons Ash has at his disposal.

If I remember correctly it managed to scurry up to Dragonite’s head and hit it with an almighty thunder attack to decide the match between Ash and Orange League champion Drake. A first major scalp and another spine tingling moment. I think I cried back then.

5. Crosshairs And Melting Battlefields (SE05 E060, E061)

A lot of you may remember this one and I’m sure this is one of your favourite moments too. Nidoqueen gave Ash early headaches in the long awaited round of 16 match against his lifelong rival Gary Oak in the Silver Conference, whilst installing a smug smile on his face. But unfazed, Ash sent out his Heracross who wiped that smile right off of Gary’s face. Pitted against a fire type Magmar, I remember it cornered Heracross with an uniquely executed Fire Blast attack but then….

With one powerful swipe of its buzzing wings, Heracross swept the flames away before pulverising Magmar with the most powerful Pokémon attack ever (according to the English dub not me), mega horn. Classic.

Remember Charizard and the whole atonement thing I mentioned?

Yeah, well the same battle gave Charizard its first big opportunity to right past wrongs, as the twilight of Ash’s battle against Gary’s drew near. At the end Charizard struggled at first to get even close to Gary’s Blastoise. So in a bid to counter, Ash had Charizard nearly melt the whole battlefield which Blastoise later cooled down. The resulting steam gave Charizard enough cover to close in on Blastoise, grab it from close range (nullifying those cannons it has) before launching into the air to deliver the finisher.

Now why is that a crucial moment, because it became one of Ash’s signature traits as a trainer from then on i.e. taking control of the battlefield. Another classic.

6. The Gyrados Mistyry! (SE07 E045 A Togepii Mirage!)

Misty had a surprise cameo in this episode as she enjoyed an unexpected reunion with the gang. Now while on the whole the two part special was err…uninspiring, it did spark into life when Misty out of the blue (literally) sent out a Gyrados to take on Colonel Hansen’s Shedinja.

In the anime, trainers had traditionally struggled to control Gyrados in general (there are quite a few episodes dedicated to that), but when Misty sent her’s out, safe to say, she left the fans stunned not to mention mightily impressed. And then of course it unleashed one powerful flamethrower to fry Shedinja to a crisp. Beautiful.

7. Tough Pill To Swellow (SE07 E084 Who’s Flying Now!)

Quite literally so as well. Swellow refused to give in to the barrage electrical attacks streaming from Team Rocket’s mecha. Instead to the astonishment of Fortree gym leader Winona, it simply shrugged off (yes shrugged off) the onrushing bolts of electricity to counterattack and send Team Rocket flying. It is this guile and stubbornness that makes Swellow one of Ash’s most prized assets. And no doubt there was enough proof as to why in that particular episode.

8. Flying Finesse (SE07 E085 Sky High Gym Battle!)

Now while the Hoenn league did little to enthrall and intrigue me, the Hoenn region in general came up with some of the best moments in the anime, ones which you live for. Take the Fortree city gym battle for example. In a last gasp effort to win the Feather badge, Ash and his Swellow (who will just not take no for an answer) managed to eek out a way to beat an opponent far superior in ability when it comes to in aerial battles. Winona was left stunned when Ash used that infamous ability of his to think outside the box and figured out a way to nullify Winona’s Swellow accomplished aerial ace attack.

csr121295 *punches the air in delight!*

9. You Miss And I Hit (SE08 E08 Solid As A Solrock!)

After much stalling and delays (no thanks to Team Rocket) the Mossdeep gym battle finally got underway. While Ash did make a good start in a uniquely themed tag team gym battle, Liza and Tate slowly recovered to take the challenge to him as they drove him mad with a cleverly devised defensive strategy (light screen anyone?).

But the light bulbs inside Ketchum clicked again and this time it was no nifty tricks. He met them head on but not before doing something I had ever seen (and doubt will ever see) before. He ordered a thunder attack on his own Pokémon, in a bid to get them to store the resulting energy in their bodies. But it was Swellow again who stole the limelight, refusing to give in to Liza and Tate’s tricks as it embraced (instead of shrugging it off this this time) all that power, before annihilating Liza and Tate in a trice later on.

If you guys remember it landed an aerial ace attack on Lunatone, which was about the the size and scale of a hydrogen bomb. As it swiveled away crackling with electricity, I could have sworn it said,

“Yeah, block that chump.”

10. Goals galore! (SE12 E014 Pursuing A Lofty Goal!)

Now while the D&P series is inundated with some of the most eye-catching moments in the anime, the first came when Ash met Paul (again) in the windy town of Squalville, for a Pokeringer competition.

Now we’ve spoken about Swellow but another contender for the “stubborn Pokémon category” emerged in Ash’s Staraptor as it evolved just in time, in its desire to oust Paul’s Honchkrow, who’d uptil then had tormented Staraptor the entire match. But once it evolved, Staraptor broke through the pain barrier ignored all its previous damage and smacked the ring in (right from Honchkrow’s jaws if you remember) for a winning goal to give Ash a first mini victory over Paul.

11. “When Every Life Meets Another Life Something Will Be Born” (SE13 EP29, EP30, EP31)

Who knows what that meant anyway? But what it did was set the precedent for what was the most eagerly anticipated clash in Pokemon history at that time and for all intents and purposes, the best Pokemon battle I've seen to date. A Sinnoh League quarterfinal clash between Ash and Paul.

Now the prologue to the battle was dominated by Ash’ 6-2 mauling at the hands of Paul at Lake Equity earlier, but if there were ever someone who is capable of bouncing right back from that kind of disappointment, its Ash Ketchum. And boy didn’t he just do it in style.

While Paul scoffed when Ash made his feelings clear by selecting the same line-up he’d selected at Lake Acuity, he wasn’t baulking anymore when Ash began taking apart Paul’s contemptuousness, piece by piece.

The entire battle was absolutely, unequivocally unearthly. Out of this world. There were some absolutely brilliant moments, finely executed manoeuvres from both trainers, attacks and counter attacks. But if I were to pick my top three moments they would be Infernape’s annihilation of toxic spikes using an underground flare blitz, Paul’s wry smile when Pikachu successfully stopped Froslass hail effect and of course, an inspired Gliscor finally turning the tables on Paul’s formidable Drapion with a well-timed giga impact before swiveling away into the sky with grace, as Ash scrunched up Paul’s “so called master plan” and threw it right back at his face.

But the battle reached peak when an on watching and increasingly disbelieving Barry blurted out “Just a coincidence. If he’d been aiming for that Satoshi would be the greatest” [Japanese Sub], after Pikachu cut apart Froslass’s hail with iron tail.

Well was it? Just a coincidence?

12. Masters Of Menace (SE14 E041, SE15 E25)

To be honest the Unova series was the lowest point in the anime’s illustrious 20 year history culminating in the Unova league which was an absolute disaster. However if I were to nit-pick, Ash did come up with one singular bright performance in a battle club tournament in Nimbasa, by introducing his Palpitoad for the first time in a competitive tournament. There was something about it, that diminutive frame, that steely glare coupled with impressive aesthetic and kinetic abilities, which made it one of the best captures of Ash’s up to date. It swept aside Burgundy’s Stoutland in the first round of a tournament he eventually lost in.

However the best moment of the series was actually provided by Stephan, not even by our hero. An intriguing “clubsplosion” encounter with Montgomery’s Throh was the highest point of all the battle club tournaments (all of which I enjoyed immensely, about the only thing I like about Unova). I believe in the end Throh tried to finish off Sawk with bind, but Sawk used close combat before respectfully bowing to Throh and walking away as Throh fainted from exhaustion.

13. Greninja-EX (SE19 E07 - Present)

Yes, I’m doing this for all those still confused. Ash’s does not own a Mega Greninja (he could but he’d need a stone perhaps). Instead it is Greninja-EX according to official Pokemon announcements.

Now I will be brutally honest again. Pokemon XY and XYZ has been average up to date even mediocre at times, perhaps testament to the fact that the series has declined in…well excitement since the Sinnoh adventures and seems more and more geared towards 3 year olds who want the flashing lights and stupid chants that Mega evolution brings to the fray. Not only did the concept ruin Pokémon for me and left the franchise scarred for life but it completely goes against the very nature of the series. Meaning, a Pokémon has to be as strong as you train it or make it to be. Nowadays all you have to do is chuck a stone at it, chant some mumbo jumbo and voila it is as powerful as a legendary Pokemon! Seriously?

Nevertheless Ash’s Greninja definitely freshened things up. While it did not need a stone it was still every bit as phony. I’m referring to its transformation into Greninja-EX of course. What I mean to say is Ash has plenty of other Pokémon at his disposal and many of them have “EX” evolutions (check Pokemon websites, TCG or Google for that matter). Why didn’t his other Pokémon power up like Greninja does? Surely they share a similar bond with Ash as well, having stuck with him through thick and thin, right? Isn’t it a huge plot hole in the anime and a glaring mistake by the developers? You decide.

All that aside Greninja-Ex really does fall well within the “brute force” category, something I vehemently despise now. Pokemon battling should be about brains as much as brawns, but clearly modern Pokemon fans rather have flashy six-pack Greninjas rather than hard working, determined Charizards, Swellows and Infernapes. Go figure.

The overall combination currently has made for a disappointing experience so far. But one can hope. The Kalos Legaue is still to go. And the developers of course again have done a spectacular job by churning up new and improved Pokemon for each generation including this one.

So moments…right…ha ha…I know I got side-tracked, it’s just I get emotional about the series. I love it and can’t get enough of it. It’s been disheartening to see its gradual decline into mediocrity over the last few years after the Sinnoh chronicles. Nevertheless Grninja-EX really piqued my interest when it nearly obliterated Alain’s Mega Charizard and Diantha’s Mega Gardevoir in seperate 1v1 battles. Both were left astounded by its sheer power, before of course Ash crashed into a deep stupor on both occasions, severing the connection between him and Greninja-EX.

Those were my best moments from the Kalos adventures so far. Kalos league to go. Fingers crossed! There are rumors that Ash may finally win so that the company can celebrate its 20th years in style.

So guys I hope you liked this post. Any comments feel free to share them with me. I know it can’t be counted as a literary piece but do humor me. Also I realize I might’ve missed out on many more brilliant moments in the anime, but since I had to pick my most favorite ones, I had no choice but to dump some of the others. Let me know your favorite ones and tell me how you are celebrating 20 years of Pokemon and tell me what you expect from the Kalos League.

It’s that time of the year again.
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Totally disagree with your last point. Mega evolutions are awesome imo and you still need to train them and they aren't as powerful as legendary pokemon. Some pokemon are very weak in their mega form because of lack of training so it isn't really like what you think. Ash Greninja has got a past, I think you didn't watch the Anistar gym battle. Ash's bond with Greninja is shown to be very strong.
Btw it is Ash-Greninja
Hello Keshav,

I am glad you liked reading it!

Now to answer your questions (I did watch the Anistar Gym battle as I watch every single episode with diligence), I am not claiming that flashes of that old brilliance in the anime aren't there, but nobody in their right mind would rate the Kalos League (it has finished if you must know, not giving you any spoilers!) anywhere near the Sinnoh League, which IMO was the best Pokemon can possibly get.

Firstly everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I absolutely loathe Mega evolution, because pal let me tell you I have see every battle (and I mean every single one) Ash has participated in, at least half a dozen times, and nothing else ruins it more than this stupid load of fairy dust that is Mega Evolution (apart from perhaps a bad plot). Anyway I am not gonna argue with anybody like I said, people seem to like it and have actually forgotten what makes Pokemon "Pokemon". Just watch the Sinnoh League again carefully and then when the time comes watch the Kalos League (you'll know what I mean).

Nevertheless sorry for getting emotional, I do not wish to argue with you, my good friend here. Its just that hardcore "purists" (if you will) like me prefer a healthy balance rather than the idea of some "hoodoo megastone mumbo jumbo" needed make a Pokemon realize its true potential. Oh and of course you need "the bond", sure, to mega evolve your Pokemon right? Well I don't suppose you noticed but er..."the bond" existed even before mega evolution came into being, in fact right from the very beginning. Anyways man seems like it's a popular concept, so no point trying to make an entire legion of fans completely boycott this concept.

And secondly about "Greninja-EX", the name "Ash Greninja" came from Bonnie, who christened it with said "title" (its just a title not the name of the transformation or the phenomenon) a couple of episodes later after Greninja had undergone the phenomenon in question. She name it so because they were clueless as to what it actually was. In fact, the phenomenon still has not been properly explained in the anime yet, however we appear to be getting close with the climax of the Zygarde saga drawing to a finish. If it weren't for official sources (Pokemon TCG) who confirmed that it is a Greninja-EX or to be more specific, Ash's Greninja-EX, I would have never claimed it. everything I've wrote is based on research and solid facts. I believe you'll even find an official announcement at the ending of one of the Japanese subs, if you bother to resort to them. Understand that the anime adapts its likenesses from the video games and the TCG. And in the TCG there is an "Ash's Greninja" card.

Thanks for reading.
Please note: The thread is from 7 years ago.
Please take the age of this thread into consideration in writing your reply. Depending on what exactly you wanted to say, you may want to consider if it would be better to post a new thread instead.
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