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Why are Water Starters always the worst handled Starters in the Anime?

Rainbow-Rain

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Water Starters are always treated the worst out of any other Starters.

Squirtle got the least amount of development compared to Bulbasaur and Charizard.

Totodile again was left in the dust compared to Cyndaquil and Bayleef

Marshstomp felt like a non-entity compared to Sceptile and Blaziken

Oshawott was the butt of jokes compared to the more mature Snivy and the repeated sad backstory Pignite

Primarina barely did anything compared to Incineroar and Rowlet

Inteleon got incredibly rushed evolutions with next to no focus

The sole exceptions here are Piplup and Greninja.

And even in Greninja's case, it's the only Starter to date that Ash has ever had to release


I feel like the writers really hate the Water Starters. :(
 
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Rainbow-Rain

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I dunno man, Pochama/Piplup and Geckouga/Greninja feel like pretty big exceptions to me…

(Especially when you take into account that all 3 starters got relatively fucked over in Gens 2, 4 and 8…)
That's exactly why I listed Piplup and Greninja as exceptions

How were the Starters fucked over in Gen 4?

Only Torterra felt badly handed compared to Piplup and especially Infernape
 

Rainbow-Rain

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I dunno man, Pochama/Piplup and Geckouga/Greninja feel like pretty big exceptions to me…

(Especially when you take into account that all 3 starters got relatively fucked over in Gens 2, 4 and 8…)
That's exactly why I listed Piplup and Greninja as exceptions

How were the Starters fucked over in Gen 4?

Only Torterra felt badly handed compared to Piplup and especially Infernape

Even in Gen 2, Totodile was noticeably handled worse than the Cyndaquil and Bayleef were

With Gen 8, while I agree that they all have been done dirty to various degrees, lemme just quote something User @Enzo said a little while back:

Honestly? I find hilarious that there's an implication that any of the galarian starters are/were treated well in JN.

Cinderace was probably the best of the bunch tbh. But being the best of the worst.... it's not something to brag about imo.
It was going somehwere kinda nice, but they just completely dropped it. I have no idea what happened here.

Grookey... ugh. It's a pointless Pokémon ngl. It's debut ep had a contrived plot in order to benefit Goh (JN's personal specialty) that was super controversial and it does nothing besides hit people with a stick. It's walking to become the worst gagmon ngl. It literally runs amok 24/7 and Goh can't be bothered to raise a finger to discipline it, which is just another proof of Goh being an incompetent trainer all around. And like... what does it even do??? Seriously: it's yet to do anything. It doesn't battles (btw we are yet to see it using a move), it has no arcs, nothing. Nada. Such a waste.

Now Inteleon??? I think this guy is the one. First: the bait-and-switch the marketing team pulled was cruel and completely pointless. Then it gets captured in the most bs way I've ever seen. Seriously JN? Goh is such a god at his goal he wins without even trying? He threw the ball at nothing and it hit. Absolute bullshit.

Then, it did nothing but cry and disappear for a bunch of eps, suddendly decided that it wants to evolve and starts training... off-screen. Then it gets an undeserved evolution into a Drizzile that creates a plot line that actually had potential to be great... until they decide that it's gonna keep on training off-screen (again!!!) and evolve with another undeserved evolution, all of this without Goh doing nothing to help it, but still collecting the gold at the end by getting a powerful new Pokémon and two new dex entries, all this by sitting on his ass all the time.


Scorbunny, Sobble, Grookey... sweeties, I'm so sorry.
 

cricketlaxwolvesbandy

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Water Starters are always treated the worst out of any other Starters.

Squirtle got the least amount of development compared to Bulbasaur and Charizard.

Totodile again was left in the dust compared to Cyndaquil and Bayleef

Marshstomp felt like a non-entity compared to Sceptile and Blaziken

Oshawott was the butt of jokes compared to the more mature Snivy and the repeated sad backstory Pignite

Primarina barely did anything compared to Incineroar and Rowlet

Inteleon got incredibly rushed evolutions with next to no focus

The sole exceptions here are Piplup and Greninja.

And even in Greninja's case, it's the only Starter to date that Ash has ever had to release


I feel like the writers really hate the Water Starters. :(
THEY DID MY BOY MARSHTOMP SO DIRTY. We haven’t seen him in over 16 years :(
 

Daren

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There does seem to be a bit of an odd pattern when you look: even Greninja is sort of infamous for being the one ace not allowed to defeat their rival in favor of shilling a Charizard and then getting released.

That said it's probably not intentional since we had Piplup and Greninja wasn't meant to feel like he got the short end of the stick.
 

Enzo

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Yeah, I do agree with @Daren , it is a weird trend/pattern.

To be fair tho, I don't think it's a personal vendetta against Water types or anything, I guess it's cuz they just wanted to showcase the other starters a bit more.
 

R1ke

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They don’t hate water starters, they just like fire or grass starters more. Gen 1 is the biggest example with Charizard, which is expected tbh. In gens 2 and 5 they didn’t have that much of a preference towards one starter, yeah Chikorita and Tepig evolved but they weren’t even the aces of the team. In Johto cyndaquil was still unevolved and in bw Snivy was kinda static (didn’t learn any new moves unlike Oshawott) and also had its gag moments. So these weren’t that bad imo.

Gen 3 and gen 7 were worse though. In SM since Popplio belonged to a side character instead of Ash, it was bound to do less compared to the other two. Not to mention how saturated the SM cast was. Marshtomp was weird tbh, I guess they just didn’t wanna make it Brocks ace? Should’ve evolved it.

But grass starters still get screwed over (like chespin and grookey) whilst water ones can be the ace. I guess they just like pairing Ash with fire types, cause it looks more appealing?
 

Kurolegacy

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For me, I think it comes down to the writers being overly concerned with marketing rather than story craft. In that, it’s not so much that they dislike the water starters, just that the others are deemed more popular or their form is considered cute and so in turn, they write with that in mind.
 

JinksChow

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I just feel that Ash's water Pokemon in general got the short end of the stick in the anime.

We've already gone over the water starters, so let's look at Ash's other water Pokemon:
Kingler - Had a good showing in its first battle with Ash, but afterwards it got nothing much; it got shafted for Tauros in the battle against Drake, got defeated by Misty's Psyduck during the Whirl Cup in a joke-like manner, then in its last notable appearance got electrocuted by a bunch of Voltorb
Lapras - Played a major role in Ash's first Orange Islands gym battle, but then basically relegated to transport purposes until the battle against Drake, after which it got released
Corphish and Buizel - Both are strong, but they are the only unevolved members of their respective regional teams outside of Aipom and Gible. (However, they were both late additions to the party, so at least they have that excuse)
Palpitoad - I feel that this one needs no explanation...

Edit:
Dracovish - Oof, I forgot about this guy, which kind of speaks for itself as well. But furthermore, it's also the only member of Ash's team to not even physically appear in the current version (V3) of the OP.
 
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A Wild Luxray

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For me, I think it comes down to the writers being overly concerned with marketing rather than story craft. In that, it’s not so much that they dislike the water starters, just that the others are deemed more popular or their form is considered cute and so in turn, they write with that in mind.
The Pokemon anime has always been a marketing tool, though there are certainly times where it feels a lot more obvious. Its a lot more obvious with Journeys that its all about the marketing rather than carefully crafting a satisfying story. Journeys has one of the worst examples, and that one being Sobble. They knew Inteleon was popular among kids. Rather than creating a satisfying story arc, they completely gloss over Drizzile and rush to get an Inteleon on the cast asap.
 
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Hidden Mew

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Honestly, I think it's mainly due to how the other starters tend to be more popular than the Water starters in each generation. All of the starters are popular in their own right, but in terms of the standout popular starter of each generation, that's rarely the Water starter. It is a weird pattern, but I don't think it's intentionally.

I'd also say that Primarina was arguably handled well. It didn't get as much attention as Rowlet or the Litten line did and I do remember people being upset with Lana getting a Primarina in the first place given that Popplio was mainly just blowing bubbles, but compared to most of the other starters, it was handled well enough. Although, I'm probably also still relieved that they didn't make Popplio the annoying comedy relief starter.
 

PkmnTrainerV

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I just think it’s an unfortunate, but unintended coincidence of either-
1. Some starter being more popular (Kanto, Alola, Hoenn)
2. Them making the water starter the secondary mascot/gag (Sinnoh)
3. The entire series handling all starters badly irrespective of the type (Galar and Unova, Johto to an extent suffered from the inclusion of the Kanto team for a second time)
4. Greninja losing to Mega Charizard X wasn’t probably intended to become its defining trait by the writers. I think from their POV they think Greninja was treated well, just ask any Delphox/Chesnaught fan.
 
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