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What are your feelings about Iris?

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She was never portrayed as some type of trainer who had it figured out. Two of her main Pokemon basically didn't listen to her. She wasn't that different from Kanto Ash, a talent trainer, yet in inexperienced and too proud to admit that she was in over her head.
Iris was portrayed as a gifted trainer though, despite how that heavily contradicted the early episodes of BW. She couldn't get Axew to learn Dragon Rage properly, yet she already won nearly one hundred battles in a row before with Drilbur and was seen as a worthy Gym Leader successor to Drayden. She didn't have it all figured out, but the show kept trying to make her look like a stronger trainer than she actually was in the vast majority of her focused episodes.

game3524 said:
The Goldeen thing is hypocritical because she questions Ash's judgement as a trainer. Sending out a Pokemon that can't function on land is dumb and the entire point was to highlight that Misty wasn't that experienced. Also, the notion that Misty had more justification to criticize Ash would hold more weight if BW Ash was actually being portrayed as Iris superior in BW, instead of her equal. Remember, BW was being written as a low key reboot of the series, so the story wasn't treating Ash as a veteran trainer like he was in Johto, AG, and DP. Out of universe wise, yes Iris has less justification than Misty, but in universe wise it is much closer.
It does show that Misty didn't have that much experience herself, but I also have a hard time taking it that seriously when it was a gag that they used only a couple of times if I recall correctly. Part of it might have been because they didn't want Ash to see Misty battle more competently until their Gym battle too. I don't think that Ash and Iris were on equal footing in BW mainly due how Iris never seemed like she would be as strong as Ash. Even ignoring his previous accomplishments for a moment, he still had better battles and a more competent, or at the very least more consistent team, than Iris ever did. Admittedly, that might not say much when Ash's BW team isn't particularly good as a whole either, but he still had Pokemon with believable amount of strength with some decent battles under their belt, which is more than I can say for Iris's team. I know that Ash wasn't written as a veteran trainer, but I think seeing BW as a low key reboot of the series might be too much of an exaggeration. I think it was more like Ash's reset was much more noticeable than usual.

Even in universe without factoring in Ash's past experiences, I really don't think that Iris had any room to talk. She wasn't doing much to train her own Pokemon, all of her accomplishments were handed to her on a silver plate and she was extremely immature herself. She really wasn't in any position to talk down to someone for their own battle choices or being a little kid. And if they just wanted to make her a hypocrite without actually addressing it or just having it be something funny for the audience to laugh at, then that didn't really work for me. It just made her more annoying and unlikable to watch.
 
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I only watched about a dozen of early BW episodes and then most of Season 2 up to the conclusion of Episode N. That probably still qualifies me to judge her character.

On the one hand, her past as a (supposedly) gifted battler doesn't work particularly well with the fact that she had only had a disobedient Excadrill and a baby Axew. On the other hand, her past doesn't really matter and the easiest explanation is that her village was full of weak trainers who hadn't journeyed yet. I think it's easy enough to view her as a girl who got cocky due to her battle record, but then reality slapped her in the face with the disobedience story and Axew having inconsistent growth (due to weird writing, but still). Her teasing Ash reflected her own insecurity, but after a while it was just a joke between two friends (although the lack of banter from Ash's side hurt a lot).

Ultimately, Axew not evolving and Dragonite being yet another disobedient Pokemon (who ended up weaker when it started to obey her), make it hard to call Iris a good Dragon Tamer (obviously she was never meant to become a Master). I don't know what the writers were thinking there; they did a better with Misty's Staryu, Poliwhirl (before it evolved), Corsola and eventually Gyarados. I still prefer her to most girls simply because her personality stands out in a good way, and she's passionate about battling. The writers should have done more with the "reading Dragon Pokemon's minds" angle, though.
 
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I didn't care about her that much as a character either way, but I will always defend her from the constant unjust character bashing that she endures that still goes on today even from people who should also be neutral given their position yet still drag her by the hair at every opportunity. The complaints about her being a hypocrite are some of the most confusing parts of the Iris debates because that's the whole point of her character - that she's a young girl who likes to make jabs at her friend even when she's not necessarily in a better position.

And while I'm on the subject, let's not act like Ash was some super successful trainer in the first half of BW. He kept making really dumb mistakes that he should've known better than to make and I bet that some of the same ones who didn't like Iris for calling him out on his errors were probably also critical of Ash when he'd make those dumb mistakes. But one of the other bizarre criticisms of Iris that I've seen is the Axew thing. Yes he was an annoying little dragon and I wish Iris had tied him on a leash but there are people who complain that Iris never achieved her goal of evolving him even though the out-of-universe reason for that should be well known by now.

Also the fact that she gets the most hate for not achieving her goal even when most other main characters never achieved their goals either is part of why I defend her, because hardly anyone judges her fairly, and after reading more of the racism thread I'm beginning to gain a new perspective on why Iris was bashed so much. Make of that what you will.
 
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The complaints about her being a hypocrite are some of the most confusing parts of the Iris debates because that's the whole point of her character - that she's a young girl who likes to make jabs at her friend even when she's not necessarily in a better position.
"If her being a hypocrite is the whole point of her characterization, then disliking her personality is also the whole point of her being a hypocrite."
and after reading more of the racism thread I'm beginning to gain a new perspective on why Iris was bashed so much. Make of that what you will.
...Really?

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I didn't care about her that much as a character either way, but I will always defend her from the constant unjust character bashing that she endures that still goes on today even from people who should also be neutral given their position yet still drag her by the hair at every opportunity. The complaints about her being a hypocrite are some of the most confusing parts of the Iris debates because that's the whole point of her character - that she's a young girl who likes to make jabs at her friend even when she's not necessarily in a better position.
If that is the whole point of her character, then it doesn't make her particularly compelling or at least likable for a lot of people. I know it was probably supposed to be funny that she'd make jabs at her friends when she isn't in the position to really do so, but that just made it more frustrating to watch her, especially when she was rarely called out on being a hypocrite and they ultimately didn't really go anywhere with it.

Yami-no-Game said:
And while I'm on the subject, let's not act like Ash was some super successful trainer in the first half of BW. He kept making really dumb mistakes that he should've known better than to make and I bet that some of the same ones who didn't like Iris for calling him out on his errors were probably also critical of Ash when he'd make those dumb mistakes. But one of the other bizarre criticisms of Iris that I've seen is the Axew thing. Yes he was an annoying little dragon and I wish Iris had tied him on a leash but there are people who complain that Iris never achieved her goal of evolving him even though the out-of-universe reason for that should be well known by now.
Admittedly, I still think that Ash wasn't as bad in BW as I initially thought he was upon rewatching the series, but he still made mistakes that he really shouldn't have like with the match against Elesa. For me, the reason why Iris calling him out on those mistakes was so annoying was because she shouldn't have done it. She just had no room to talk down to Ash, or nearly any other trainer for that matter, when it came to poor decisions when she couldn't even get Axew to master Dragon Rage. If they were at least closer to equal levels in terms of skills and/or experience, I think it would have at least been more justified.

As for Axew, I don't think that criticism is bizarre by any means. Getting Axew to evolve was the reason Iris left on her journey and at least was initially her goal. Being upset over how Axew was handled sounds perfectly understandable to me. Yeah, we know the out-of-universe reason for Axew not evolving. They wanted to keep it as the cute secondary mascot. But I don't think that choosing to not evolve Axew was necessarily the problem. It was weird how they dropped it almost as soon as it was introduced, but I don't think anyone would mind that Axew didn't evolve if there was a believable progression of strength for it instead. The anime has featured unevolved Pokemon becoming stronger over the course of their respective series. They did it extremely well with Dawn's Piplup. They could have done something similar with Axew and it probably would have been fine. Instead, they gave it overpowered moves like Outrage and Giga Impact to make it seem like it had gotten stronger when it really hadn't. This would be like if Dawn's Piplup learned Hydro Pump during her first Contest instead of near the end of DP. They kept going back and forth on whether they wanted Axew to be the cute helpless baby Pokemon or the strong secondary mascot of BW. If Axew's strength grew more gradually over the course of the series and it still learned those overpowered moves near the end of BW instead of evolving, it probably would have been fine.

Yami-no-Game said:
Also the fact that she gets the most hate for not achieving her goal even when most other main characters never achieved their goals either is part of why I defend her, because hardly anyone judges her fairly, and after reading more of the racism thread I'm beginning to gain a new perspective on why Iris was bashed so much. Make of that what you will.
I thought that the issue was less that she didn't achieve her goal and more that she didn't really make a lot of progress towards her goal. It's certainly true that other main characters don't achieve their goals during their run in the anime, but with the previous female leads at the time, it still felt like their journeys helped them to make progress. Axew was no closer to evolving at the end of BW than it was at the start and more importantly, Iris's accomplishments being handed to her made it feel like her journey didn't have as much impact on her goal as it should have. Granted, at least part of this is also due to how she didn't have a battle active goal like May and Dawn did and I don't think she could have been written out of BW completely either, but I think that BW spent too much time telling the audience that Iris had changed and is a super special Dragon Master in training and not nearly enough time showing it.

As for the racism thread point, that might be reading a bit too much into why Iris gets so much hate. None of my complaints about her would be different if she had a different design, but I can also see how it would look seeing Iris get so much hate on a surface level perspective when I don't think any of the other female leads got nearly as much hate during or after their runs in the main cast.
 
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