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Why do people hate SM so much?

guydee

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I dunno about you, but recently I've been seeing a good amount of "hate" towards it in between all the Journeys controversy, and I wanna know why. I'm far from an avid anime fan, but to me at least, the main appeal of the anime is seeing the world of Pokemon in a living, breathing, environment and I don't think any series really captures this better than the slice of life style of SM. You really get to experience life for the people of Alola firsthand and it's just so cool, and fun, and wholesome that this is the only series I've consistently followed.

The one reason I see that continuously keeps popping up is that it undid a lot of Ash's development à la BW, which is why a lot of people dislike that series. (Though of course as the Media Cycle goes, I've been seeing a lot fewer people holding this opinion and more people saying it's better than people say, but I digress.) Despite me not being that invested in the anime and therefore Ash as a character, I still vehemently disagree with this. He's shown to be just as, if not more, capable of a battler than he is in the other series. This is literally the first time he actually won a League. People say he's a lot more childish of a character outside of battle, but... no? Knowing to take things slow and have fun is a lot more mature, I would say. And he knows when to take things seriously as shown in the Mother Beast and Necrozma arcs, I think.

Anyway, thanks for listening to the ramblings of someone who's not an anime fan about the anime who only really wrote this because an anime compilation channel on YouTube he watched a few videos of posted an unfunny meme about the SM anime being bad in their Community tab that someone popped up on his Recommended.
 

Daren

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He's shown to be just as, if not more, capable of a battler than he is in the other series. This is literally the first time he actually won a League.
That's actually part of the controversy. The Alola League having no entrance requirement, Team Rocket managing to get in, plus having tiny battles resulted in it often being seen as an easy mode league that ruined the effect of it being Ash's triumph, which resulted in a lot of people reacting to it with a shrug and it sometimes being passed off as a halfhearted pity win.
Edit: Also mandatory reminder; he won the Orange League, though even the staff seems to have forgotten that.
 
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Rockapheller

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I don't think the SM series gets "so much" hate. It is true that it was very controversial in the beginning due to several reasons, such as the radical changes especially after the shounen XY series, the unusual art style, leaving the traditional gym quest outside of the window, Ash changing his personality too drastically, and so on. But over the years, although the controversy remained to an extend, people grew a liking to the series, if not became huge fans, due to several reasons such as the animators toning down the goofy art style as the series progressed, adding some cool arcs to the series, unusual themes getting too explicit stories (i.e. death). The Alola League arc was probably the peak of the series for many, which despite of its controversies, pleased many fans with the battles (okay, okay, I am not talking about the infamous Rowlet vs Decidueye).

So overall, I don't get the impression on the social media that the series is hated in general. It is just that some fans prefer more XY-esque shounen series, while some others prefer more SM-esque slice-of-life series. Both are natural, and both are okay.
 

Audino1008

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That's actually part of the controversy. The Alola League having no entrance requirement and Team Rocket managing to get in plus having tiny battles resulted in it often being seen as an easy mode league that ruined the effect of it being Ash's triumph, which resulted in a lot of people reacted to it with a shrug and it being passed off as a halfhearted pity win.
Edit: Also mandatory reminder; he won the Orange League, though even the staff seems to have forgotten that.
The Orange League shouldn't even be considered a League, it's more of a Trial or a Challenge akin to the Island Challenge in Alola, at least by Anime standards where Leagues are full-on tournaments.
Actually, now that I think about it, The Orange "League"might've been what inspired the Island Challenge in the first place.
 

KrspaceT

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Work with a guy who REALLY doesn't like SM, and half of what I see seems to be a problem with the hyper fans to him. I have a similar issue with SEVENS fans.

Like I can mention that Yuga really does tend to lose a lot, and I get dogpiled......

My own take is that SM, regardless of what it does or does not do, has a lot of more meta flare ups.

SM is the transition point between the old era and the modern 'Real World With Pokemon' take on the series, so that aggravates things. The move towards more S.L versus adventure aggravates things. Ash looking and acting more 10ish than he historically does aggravates things.

I don't hate it, but I feel like it has structural issues in how it is managed that create issues and flow issues, some of which are gone in JN and some that are not.
 

cricketlaxwolvesbandy

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The tone went from serious to comedic without any explanation. It was so rapidly and done without warning that it was a turn off to a lot of people including me, especially when you look at the series before it. If SM didn’t come directly after XY the series with the most mature and serious Ash then I think I’d like it a little more. I personally liked some arcs such as Aether and Necrozma, TRio was the only ones fitting and Bewear is god, Incineroar and Lycanroc had great development, the main cast outside of Ash was decent, but Ash himself was unbearable. Besides the art style, he’d been made into a joke almost every episode to the point where it’s not funny anymore, and that’s the comedy that you get with SM, and this is the Ash that wins the league and everyone is praising him for it. If they allowed him to win here, they could’ve allowed him to win Kalos. It’s so stupid. Plus the Alola League is a joke. I don’t like that Ash was given two Legendary tier Pokemon either.

TLDR: Ash is ruined
 

J Bouken

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The dislike isn't as intense these days since discussion has moved on. That first year was hell though, lol.

For context, it's worth knowing XY ticked a lot of boxes for long-watching viewers and was highly regarded as a step-up in quality. Despite its contentious ending, there was an appetite for more of the same. SM flipped those expectations on its head, taking the show in an unexpected direction that wasn't to everyone's tastes. The premise of Ash going to school and the change in art style were tough sells to those who really dug how XY looked and the emphasis it gave to battling.

On top of that, I feel like people had trouble appraising SM's story because it veered from the structure they were accustomed to. Ash no longer travelled from place to place, and there were no more gyms to signpost his progress throughout a region. I recall complaints of "nothing happening" during SM's first year, and that the story was aimless, because anything Ash did wasn't immediately in service of a bigger goal. Things were so different, some viewers were convinced SM took place in an alternate universe; that it couldn't possibly be a continuation of XY.

Not every criticism was unfair, but there was a lot of "nobody asked for this", which lead to a lot of bitterness. So a good part of SM's early run was panned for going in an unpopular direction.

Then you get to the Alola League, which for me was a greatly satisfying conclusion to SM, but was contentious because some saw Ash's victory as illegitimate. Unlike other leagues, there was no entry requirement, so every strong trainer taking part, you had someone who probably shouldn't have been there. I'd argue it didn't really matter. Ash beat Hau, Guzma and Gladeon - probably the three best trainers who weren't Kahunas - on his way to the trophy, then beat Kukui and Tapu Koko in a full 6v6 to reinforce himself as the best trainer in Alola. He literally couldn't have done any more. This actually made news headlines on non-Pokemon related websites as a significant event in popular culture.

I observed a lot of people warmed up to SM after its conclusion, largely because it actually ended on a high note. Maybe those who were turned off it for one reason or another were encouraged to give it another shot and found there was more to like than they first thought.
 

A Wild Luxray

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SM is a series I didn't like much at first. It felt like too much of a drastic change after the shonen-esque XY. I missed the action heavy nature of XY and the sense of adventure. I thought the slice of life comedy nature and the meme faces was jarring. Around like a little over halfway through, things began improving and I grew to appreciate things about it such as the character interactions and world building. I think it really started to grow on me around the Aether Foundation arc? And the Alola League was where the series peaked, despite the infamous fakeout loss. Seeing Ash win the league and become Alolan Champion was the high point. And I did really grow to appreciate the family-like bonds Ash developed and seeing the impact Alola had on him. It started out rather jarring for me, but it grew on me.
 

Hidden Mew

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On top of that, I feel like people had trouble appraising SM's story because it veered from the structure they were accustomed to. Ash no longer travelled from place to place, and there were no more gyms to signpost his progress throughout a region. I recall complaints of "nothing happening" during SM's first year, and that the story was aimless, because anything Ash did wasn't immediately in service of a bigger goal. Things were so different, some viewers were convinced SM took place in an alternate universe; that it couldn't possibly be a continuation of XY.
I remember that as well. I never quite understood why people said nothing was happening since a lot of stuff did happen during SM's first year. Personally, my issue was that Ash no longer had a clear goal in SM, which was jarring after he spent years eagerly looking forward to the next Gym for his next upcoming Pokemon League. Initially, I thought his main goal would be the Island Challenge, but that was treated as such an afterthought where it wouldn't be mentioned for such long stretches of time, so that wasn't it. The Pokemon School was basically just a background to explain why the bulk of the series, so that wasn't it either. It seemed more like Ash's goal in SM was just to hang out with his new friends and explore Alola, which isn't a bad setup for a more slice of life series like SM, but it is noticeably different for Ash given how focused he had always been for the next step in his badge collecting journey. It isn't fair or accurate to say that nothing happened, but I can understand why it would be too jarring for some fans, especially after XY.

I absolutely loathed the discussions on SM taking place in an alternate universe. That was an annoyingly common theory throughout SM's first year. It was mainly due to the shift in Ash's personality and the more light-hearted tone, but it was such a massive stretch and there were quite a few people absolutely certain that it was true. It didn't really stop until Misty and Brock were confirmed to come back and even now people still bring up the notion that SM is in its own universe, despite all of the evidence to the contrary.

Then you get to the Alola League, which for me was a greatly satisfying conclusion to SM, but was contentious because some saw Ash's victory as illegitimate. Unlike other leagues, there was no entry requirement, so every strong trainer taking part, you had someone who probably shouldn't have been there. I'd argue it didn't really matter. Ash beat Hau, Guzma and Gladeon - probably the three best trainers who weren't Kahunas - on his way to the trophy, then beat Kukui and Tapu Koko in a full 6v6 to reinforce himself as the best trainer in Alola. He literally couldn't have done any more. This actually made news headlines on non-Pokemon related websites as a significant event in popular culture.
It's really hard to say that Hau was one of the best trainers in the Alola League. At least Gladion and to a degree Guzma already displayed their skills and strength. Ash already defeated Hau and even the way he defeated him again in the Alola League was extremely unsatisfying. Defeating Guzma and Gladion was much more impressive. I'm still mixed on the Alola League victory myself. He did defeat some strong trainers to get the trophy and his match with Kukui was really great, but the structure of the Alola League still bothers me. When avoiding battles was a viable way for trainers to make it pass the Battle Royal, it really doesn't make the Alola League particularly impressive. A part of me can't blame them for making no entry requirements. This was probably the only time everyone could take part in a Pokemon League instead of just Ash, they gave the whole cast Z-Rings by that point and it made sense with Professor Kukui's dream to make it open to the general public. But I still think it makes winning the League less impressive when almost all of the trainers weren't particularly battle active. Aside from Gladion, Guzma and maybe Kiawe, none of the other characters would have made it into a regular Pokemon League.

To be clear, I'm not saying that Ash's victory was illegitimate. I'm still glad that he won for a few reasons. As much as I think that the Battle Frontier was a more impressive accomplishment, that still happened well over a decade ago and he needed a new major accomplishment too. The Alola League isn't nothing, but I also don't think it's the be all end all of Ash's accomplishments. Thinking back to how there was so much hype and excitement for Ash's victory still makes me happy though. I think part of it was just people being excited for Pokemon with little to no backlash, which is practically a rarity for virtually any development in this franchise at this point, and people being excited for the anime to boot was just really nice.

I observed a lot of people warmed up to SM after its conclusion, largely because it actually ended on a high note. Maybe those who were turned off it for one reason or another were encouraged to give it another shot and found there was more to like than they first thought.
I think that SM was better received before the Alola League. Ending on a high note certainly helped, but I think that the backlash during its first year had relatively cooled down probably around its second year.
 

RafaSceptile

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The Alola League certainly helped to a much more positive reception after the end of the series, as the league itself was great even after accounting some of its flaws like Ash vs Hau. It was probably the longest arc in the anime with 17 episodes and it focused in all the characters at some degree, not exclusively on Ash like all the previous leagues.

However, even when things have calmed down with SM negative comments, there are still enough people who legitimately hates the series and trashtalk about anything related to it, including the positive things which is one of the reasons I left Serebii forums, I just can't with all of its negativity
 

Unireon

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I only had two issues with SM, that's why took longer for it to grow on me.

First: Like many said, the drastic change on character design. Especially, the exaggerated expressions.
Eventually I stopped minding the different style, and now it doesn't bother me.

Second: This is my biggest gripe that I still haven't forgiven nor forgotten.
The lack of interesting Cotds; they are one of my favourite things of Anipoke. One of the reasons I liked fillers in previous series.
Particularly when there were designs that I found appealing and ended up being used as props or just given a single escene/line.

However, I never thought of dropping it. I cared about the characters and was interested on some plots.
Unlike Journeys, where I couldn't care less about anything and finally decided to abandon it.
 

cricketlaxwolvesbandy

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The Alola League certainly helped to a much more positive reception after the end of the series, as the league itself was great even after accounting some of its flaws like Ash vs Hau. It was probably the longest arc in the anime with 17 episodes and it focused in all the characters at some degree, not exclusively on Ash like all the previous leagues.

However, even when things have calmed down with SM negative comments, there are still enough people who legitimately hates the series and trashtalk about anything related to it, including the positive things which is one of the reasons I left Serebii forums, I just can't with all of its negativity
Oh Serebii loves SM
 

takoyaki

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SM is the transition point between the old era and the modern 'Real World With Pokemon' take on the series, so that aggravates things. The move towards more S.L versus adventure aggravates things. Ash looking and acting more 10ish than he historically does aggravates things.
This,
I really love the XY shonen style personally.
Both the artstyle and writing were a big, jarring change, especially from my favorite series, XY(Z).
I also dislike Alola as a region, I am not too fond of hot places.
 

DankOverlord

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Aside from Gladion, Guzma and maybe Kiawe, none of the other characters would have made it into a regular Pokemon League.
Illima actually participated in the Lumiose Conference canonically. So that kind of kills that logic
 

Hidden Mew

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Illima actually participated in the Lumiose Conference canonically. So that kind of kills that logic
Admittedly, I did forget about that detail for Illima, but I don't think that really ruins my point, especially when he didn't go far in the Alola League and despite how much they hyped him up, Illima never really came off as that impressive to me. Besides that, I don't think that Illima participating in the Lumiose Conference means that any and all of the other characters could get into other Pokemon Leagues either.
 

Kurolegacy

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Admittedly, I did forget about that detail for Illima, but I don't think that really ruins my point, especially when he didn't go far in the Alola League and despite how much they hyped him up, Illima never really came off as that impressive to me. Besides that, I don't think that Illima participating in the Lumiose Conference means that any and all of the other characters could get into other Pokemon Leagues either.
If anything, it kinda exasperates the whole thing because of the combination of them knocking out one of the actual League level competitors in round 1 just to hype up Guzma while the classmates and James sans Mallow and Lillie continued in the competition due to plot armor.
 
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