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What's The Deal With Showing Player Characters?

A Wild Luxray

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In most Ash-free anime shorts not tied to promotional material like the BW2 and ORAS anime trailers, one thing has remained questionably consistent. When it comes to the playable characters, unless your name is Red, they're constantly hidden from the audience in some form. Generations hid most of the protagonist entirely and Twilight Wings did the same thing. Recently with Evolutions, we have seen quick shots of Victor unobscured, though Selene and Calem were never shown with their faces clearly in view. They were always obscured. Serena though was seen very clearly. Personally, I find it kinda ridiculous to do this. Why do you think they continue to do this in Ash-free anime shorts?
 

Torchic W. Pip

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I think one potential reason might be that we're supposed to see at least a bit of ourselves in the player characters. It isn't just a "oh, you see parts of yourself in a character", because they aren't just characters, they're player characters. They represent the player. Maybe the point is to see ourselves as the characters.

Red is also a player character, but at the same time, he's an iconic character with more of a personality that's separate from his status as a PC. Serena's face was visible because, while she wasn't wearing Rival!Serena's ponytail, I think we were supposed to see her as the rival. (You could also interpret Calem as the rival if you want. Or maybe you're Shauna. Any interpretation is valid if you have evidence to back it up. That's cool the thing about media.)

In Generations, the player characters barely appeared at all, which made it easier for the viewer to think "heck yeah, I'm the one who caught Rayquaza" or whatever. With Evolutions, it's a bit more difficult, since you can only go so long without showing the player character, and when you do show them, you can't show too much. It's a difficult balance.

Now, in my playthrough of X, I didn't play as the specific Calem shown in Evolutions (or any of the Calems lol), and most non Ash animes aren't from a first person viewpoint. Maybe that's where my theory falls short.

Maybe I'm not wording my reasoning logically. Idk. I personally don't really care about them not showing protagonists.
 

Jewel the Quaxly

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It's a little weird, I agree, but other than that, I don't see what's wrong with it. It doesn't affect anything in any way except bother a few people about not being able to see a character's face for a couple seconds, but I don't think the younger audience would care that much. If anything, a character's face being shrouded in mystery-especially the player character-would probably make it more exciting to the audience because then they could look at the screen and go "hey, I know who that is!" or "oh wow, who's that mysterious person?". Both options reference the games in some manner, and lead to more marketing as a result.

That's just my take on it, though. There's no real downsides to not showing the player character's faces but no real reason why either. At most, it just feels odd, but that's it.
 

Kurolegacy

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Personally for me, while I get that they probably want us to self insert into the player character, I can’t help but find that this creates a massive missed opportunity. The fact that these are animated adaptations of these moments from the game, they have the ability to properly have the PC give reaction or express emotion towards it, something the games never will. So in the way that they express them in the shorts, they somehow end up coming off even less as a character than they are even in the games, instead just feeling like these entities that are just kinda there and feel unnatural.
 

Silktree

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They can't properly flesh out the player characters in shorts. The other characters already have personalities to work with.
 

game3524

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It is probably because they see the player characters as self-inserts for players and not characters themselves. Red seems to be the only exception.
 

Kurolegacy

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They can't properly flesh out the player characters in shorts. The other characters already have personalities to work with.
Wouldn’t say that’s true. Just look at Twilight Wings. They took characters who we saw very little of in the games like Nessa and Bea and really fleshed them out through their episodes.
 

A Wild Luxray

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I think these shorts would have been perfect chances to flesh them out as their own character, like with Red. He's the player character, so the same logic should apply to him, right? Instead he gets the special treatment. Victor even got better than most, even if he was only on screen for a few seconds, but you could clearly see him. Idk I just personally hate how they do this.
 

Silktree

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Wouldn’t say that’s true. Just look at Twilight Wings. They took characters who we saw very little of in the games like Nessa and Bea and really fleshed them out through their episodes.
But they took something that was already there. The only reason to flesh out a blank slate is if you're going to use that character for a substantial story, like Origins. Otherwise, what's the point? Please players who already envisioned the character that way (or lack imagination), and piss off all the rest? Chances are that they would have made them pretty generic and similar to each other.

Green is getting an episode because Game Freak gave her a personality as an NPC. The same goes for May, although her role seems to be smaller.
 

PaperSplash

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It's because they're supposed to be representations of the player, yeah. And as another user said, the condensed format they're using right now wouldn't be enough to properly flesh them out anyway.

Serena's face being shown but not Calem's was silly though; I agree. It should have been both or neither. I get it's to make it clear the Serena shown was specifically the rival incarnation, but that's obvious enough from context already in my opinion.

Though I rather liked how they handled Selene. I feel like a stoic badass portrayal is a step up from the creepy perpetual smilers she and Elio were in the games, at least.
 

Kurolegacy

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But they took something that was already there. The only reason to flesh out a blank slate is if you're going to use that character for a substantial story, like Origins. Otherwise, what's the point? Please players who already envisioned the character that way (or lack imagination), and piss off all the rest? Chances are that they would have made them pretty generic and similar to each other.

Green is getting an episode because Game Freak gave her a personality as an NPC. The same goes for May, although her role seems to be smaller.
That’s like asking what the point is in fleshing them out in any other material that they appear in despite the fact that they originated as a self-insert. I certainly don’t see people getting upset about Pokémon Special giving them a personality or even Masters so what’s the point of getting upset about an animated adaptation of moments in the game giving them a semblance of a personality that isn’t ‘could replace them with a cardboard cutout and you’d lose nothing’?

As for the case with fleshing out gym leaders, considering that they’re characters that get a single scene and then are cameos at best, there’s not a whole lot to flesh out and yet they can be made into a three dimensional character yet the character that is supposed to be the main character they can’t even bother with so much as giving a personality to even when adapting things in a medium that would allow it.
 

Eitarou

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It probably has something to do with the fact that every single one of these episodes is meant to focus on someone other than the protagonists.
 

Torchic W. Pip

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It probably has something to do with the fact that every single one of these episodes is meant to focus on someone other than the protagonists.
Exactly! Origins was about Red and Blue (I like to think of it as more of an adaptation of the games compared to, say, Twilight Wings), but Evolutions certainly isn't about the protagonists (the first episode was about Leon, the second was about Lillie, and the third was about Lysandre).
 

A Wild Luxray

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I don't think the protagonist not being the focus is a good reason to obscure them honestly. I wanna point to the first episode of Evolutions. Leon was the focus, but they still took the time to briefly show Victor fighting alongside Hop against Eternatus. Victor wasn't the focus at all, but they still showed him unobscured. So why is it okay with Victor but not Selene and Calem?
 
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Torchic W. Pip

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I don't think the protagonist not being the focus is a good reason to obscure them honestly. I wanna point to the first episode of Evolutions. Leon was the focus, but they still took the time to briefly show Victor fighting alongside Hop against Eternatus. Victor wasn't the focus at all, but they still showed him unobscured. So why is it okay with Victor but not Selene and Calem?
They showed Victor unobscured, but it wasn't the same as the close ups of, say, Leon or Serena.
 

A Wild Luxray

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They showed Victor unobscured, but it wasn't the same as the close ups of, say, Leon or Serena.
The point I'm trying to make is they still did show him completely unobscured. It wasn't a close up, but he was still shown and you could clearly see his face even. If they were okay doing so with Victor, they should have done the same for Selene and Calem.
 
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