1. We have moved to a new forum system. All your posts and data should have transferred over. Welcome, to the new Serebii Forums. Details here
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Be sure to join the discussion on our discord at: Discord.gg/serebii
    Dismiss Notice
  3. If you're still waiting for the e-mail, be sure to check your junk/spam e-mail folders
    Dismiss Notice

Ash's/Satoshi's Character Needs a Major Overhaul and More Consistency

Discussion in 'Pokémon Animé Discussion' started by HolyNova Lucario, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. HolyNova Lucario

    HolyNova Lucario Average as average can be

    Throughout my entire viewership of the series I have noticed that Ash's character has vastly varied through many iterations in the series and I feel his overall character is stuck in an inconsistent limbo. From his initial personality in the Original Series (Johto - Kanto) where he is slightly more brash and hot-headed all the way to his current personality in Sun & Moon being almost an entirely different character.

    When it came to the original 4 series of the anime (Kanto, Johto, Hoen and Sinnoh) there was an actual logical growth in Ash's character for the most part, turning from an inexperienced bratty novice, to a well versed, seasoned, and mature trainer. There was an actual hidden character arc for Ash during that era, as each of those series actually linked and melded with one another. However as soon as we reached the Black & White/Best Wishes series Ash's previous growth got completely thrown out the window with no actual reason behind it, "resetting" him to a seemingly novice and slightly more immature trainer. What also is an issue with Ash's character is the depiction of ageing, which is a major issues with his character because it shows a lack of the passage of time, with the BW series only exemplifying it stating he is 10 years of age even though he has travelled 4 regions in a span you would only assume is 4 years+.

    Ash seemingly came back to form during the XY series being a more confident and experienced trainer similar to his DP counterpart, having a more charismatic and seemingly mature air about him. However similar to the manner of BW, Ash's overall character has changed yet again when the series transitioned to the Sun & Moon series, with Ash appearing more childish than ever. I feel the writers of the series are stuck in a rut with his character, causing him to have these inconsistencies since DP, as I feel that was the pinnacle of his character.

    In conclusion I feel Ash's overall character arc is stuck in what I describe is "an inconsistent limbo" and I can only hope the writers can actually find a way in which they can effectively further "develop" Ash as a character and settle for a consistent "personality" instead of changing it each season. We can only hope in Sword and Shield, and I am very curious how they will handle his character for that series.

    What are your thoughts?
    J.Agera, Poke Master 7, RLC and 5 others like this.
  2. shoz999

    shoz999 Do you wanna try a good Tapu Cocoa? My treat.

    It's too late for Sword & Shield to "fix" Ash's character because his consistency as a character is so mismanaged that no series, no matter how great or how awesome, can fix it. The fact that people are trying to make sense out of Ash's inconsistency by throwing out Best Wishes, which comprises hundreds of episodes that's part of the continuity whether fans like it or not, in the trash just even further proves that Ash's character is incredibly inconsistent because fans have to literally throw a huge chunk of continuity just to make sense out of it. Actually, the even sadder part is that fans felt like Ash grew as a character in four generations, as in it took over 600 episodes to develop and mature Ash into a serious and experienced character. It shouldn't take that long to develop one character into an experience trainer. You know how long it took for the Pokemon Adventures manga to turn Red, a quick learner, into an experienced trainer? 40 chapters which if you don't quite understand how short that is, if your a One Piece fan that's around the first three story arcs of One Piece which is 18 episodes. That is short and yet you can tell how Red grew so fast.

    The only way to actually fix Ash's characters is to reboot him and have him win the league by Kanto, not Johto, not Hoenn, not Sinnoh not any other region you deem as your favorite. Kanto. Ash's journey begins and ends in Kanto and after that, he travels wherever he wants as the Pokemon Master. Let other main characters carry the torch in other regions, let Ash win the Pokemon League in Kanto. Whether you disagree or not, fine but a reboot is the only way. An awesome or great series can remind people how great Ash is but it's not going to fix his continuity, his inconsistency as a character.
    WolfCypher, RLC, keepitsimple and 4 others like this.
  3. Sceptile Leaf Blade

    Sceptile Leaf Blade Nighttime Guardian

    I don't blame them for a bit of inconsistency, although I don't think Sun and Moon is anywhere close to bad with him. Aside from not always picking the pokémon best suited based on type, I haven't caught Ash making dumb or uninformed decisions all that much and even in the battles he lost he seems to know how to get his pokémon's strengths out. In Kalos he was also dumb at times, like how he suddenly threw in this ridiculous dancing stuff and decided to try that out in a gym battle. I reckon how quickly Ash got the hang of timing his Z-Moves well and how he manages to incorporate Rowlet's stealth Leafage or Pikachu's Electroweb show that he's still quite competent.

    The thing is, if the protagonist is too competent, he also becomes boring, bland, and lacking a direction to grow in. Kalos Ash already really borders on that quite a bit, he is often quite devoid of personality other than "I want to battle" or "I want to be a pokémon master". For a long-running series like pokémon you sometimes have to dial him back a bit to keep him from becoming too bland and boring. A few flaws in his personality and a couple of quirks keep him somewhat interesting.
  4. I have a theory, most of which is likely nonsense, but I'll share it anyway because the greater context surrounding the anime is fascinating to me.

    The anime is one The Pokemon Company's workhorses, and is a cornerstone of their marketing strategy. Despite being an institution on its own, it's beholden to the game series, as it has to use the same setting, set of Pokemon and, in most cases, the new characters each new game brings. This, of course, is intended to create a unified brand image, so that there is a strong association between both products.

    Where things get complicated is that the anime has to sustain itself in order to stay on television, so it needs its own image, too. The end result is a show that draws heavy inspiration from the games, but has enough creative licence to do its own thing as well. This is where Ash fits into the equation.

    Ash's adventures serve as the backbone of the whole show. He is at once an audience surrogate - a representation of the character we control in the games - and his own character, with an ever-increasing amount of history and lore. This complicates things, as the two sides to his character come with their own set of priorities that are odds with one another.

    Pokemon aims to capture a new audience of children every few years, so it requires a protagonist they can understand and relate to. If you're a newbie to Pokemon, then you might not relate to a character who is an expert trainer that knows exactly what they're doing, but you might relate to someone who is just as confused as you are. Narratively, this can be justified as Ash being unfamiliar with his new surroundings, perhaps getting lost in his excitement to an extent that he forgets his own experiences, before improving as he settles in. While it's common to lambaste BW for how it handled Ash early days, Ash returned to being a competent trainer part way through the show.

    However, it's here that the show encounters the other problem: older fans still watch it. Older fans come in with a set of expectations that aren't compatible with how the show wishes to operate. They want older characters who are competent and can be involved in higher stake storylines, because they themselves are veterans of the series who already know everything there is to know. Keeping Ash around only exacerbates this problem, as he is the target of all those expectations.

    The inevitable question is: why keep Ash around at all? And that's where we return to branding. Ash is a very recognisable symbol for Pokemon and hence not so easily discarded. He has to be there, on screen, all the time. The dirty secret here is that while the anime always tries to bring in new viewers, it wants older fans sticking around because they are loyal viewers who will watch even during the worst periods. A newer viewer is more likely to watch and then fall out with the show, while an older viewer will just keep watching out of habit. That's why the series will throw you a bone every now and then, to ensure you're still invested. It's why Charizard showed up in BW; why XY Ash was such a competent battler; and why SM brought back Brock and Misty (to put that into perspective, Misty hadn't made a formal appearance for over a decade). Ash is the carrot they're dangling to those older viewers.

    But, here's the problem with all that: trying to satisfy everyone usually results in satisfying nobody. The show has to pick which audience it needs to cater to for the biggest reward, and inevitably it chooses its new audience. A new audience can't be expected to dive into a backlog of 1,000 episodes to get fully up to speed with Ash's adventure. Even if you reduced that number to only the most important episodes, you're still looking at hundreds of episodes. That's a pretty steep barrier to entry, right? To that end, the show has to be accessible to anyone, especially the people who have never watched Pokemon before.

    This, I believe, is the reason why the show became so fractured post-DP. They must have realised that the show is getting too big for newer fans to digest, hence tried to make it so that those new fans could jump on at any time. It's a similar methodology to Game Freak's tendency to rarely make direct sequels to its game, and the ones they do make start with a rookie trainer, and never the trainer you played as in a previous game. The difference is that they never took the risk of removing Ash and starting over with a new protagonist, so every new season begins with considerable baggage from the previous season.

    Ultimately, Ash ends up the victim here. His story can only progress to a certain point before he's required to go back to square one, and his character is pulled all over the place to fit whatever the director at the time wants. This has always been the case, but it's more apparent now: he, as a character, no longer shapes the direction of the story. Instead, the story shapes his character. That's why you get so many variations of him, and why they differ so much these days. Continuity for his character no longer matters. Consider, for example, that Sun and Moon is directed by Daiki Tomiyasu, who also worked as a story-boarder and assistant director for XY, yet both products are entirely different from one another. He did not seek to carry on what Tetsuo Yajima (XY's director) did before him, but rather do something entirely different. In fact, while we're on the subject of staff, did you know that DP and BW were directed by the same guy? And that they shared the same core group of writers? Interesting to note, considering how differently both shows turned out and were received.

    This is getting really long, so I'll wrap up. Since DP, Pokemon stopped being a continuous narrative due to various forces. It's now a malleable product with a tenuous link between shows, that can be changed into whatever it wants to be for whatever purpose. Ash is just the unfortunate victim of that decision.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  5. BTS_fan

    BTS_fan Banned

    I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but these kind of threads get made at least once per month and it feels like we're just beating a dead horse at this point. We all know that Ash's character is flawed as heck, but some of us still like him even when he makes us bash our heads against the wall. I've seen people debate his character from all angles and seen people offer suggestions on how he can be a better protagonist, but it just doesn't seem worth it to analyze a character who will never really improve or change the way fans want him to.
  6. Kintaro

    Kintaro Banned

    BW Ash and I guess SM Ash feel like the only odd ones out, although SM Ash at least fits the tone of the series.

    If Galar Ash is like DP or XY Ash then it’ll make it more obvious.
  7. UltimateNinja

    UltimateNinja ~Ice Cold~

    No overhaul, we need a new main character replacing him for good.

    For Galar I want a concluding series for his whole onscreen journey. Give us some a glimpse of the Champion's league with Leon and make Ash's progression to an elite trainer more believable and significant. I have already suggested this but I want an E4 member to "train" Ash in a sense of mentoring him through the series to become a master trainer. Then he should win the league for once and then loses to the E4 member to mentored him at the first place. Tie this together with an ultimate rival, possibly already having won a league or two, a jerk similiar to Paul but not caring about being Mr.Famous.

    And of course another girl who gets as much spotlight as him. If this series ends up being 4 years long and Galar being the only region then there's plenty of time to write something satisfying waiting more than 20 years for Ash to achieve his first milestone in his career.
    Dream Lad, BTS_fan and AznKei like this.
  8. AznKei

    AznKei Badass girls saving their boyfriends. XD

    I want him gone personally. He overcome his stay already no matter how his character got tweaked depending of the series.

    I would complain far less about him if the cast was more balanced, despite him staying in every series, something the anime producers aren't willing to do.
    WishIhadaManafi5 likes this.
  9. Kintaro

    Kintaro Banned

    It's too bad since DP or XY would have been the perfect sagas to wrap up Ash's character with if he won the league.
    LilligantLewis, RLC, Emelie and 2 others like this.
  10. shoz999

    shoz999 Do you wanna try a good Tapu Cocoa? My treat.

    For me personally. I want to see a reboot where Ash wins the Indigo League, defeat Team Rocket's Leader (it's almost eight generations and we still never get to see what the anime's take on Giovanni is really like) and we actually get to see Gary and whoever the English name of Green is have a bigger more important role in the anime in order to recreate that legendary rivalry from Gen 1 that's been successfully recreated in Pokemon Adventures and for some people, Pokemon Origins. I don't know about you but for me, it would seem weird to wrap up Ash's story in another region but at the same time I don't want to see it left on a cliffhanger, which is why a reboot set in the Kanto region just makes sense for me.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  11. MidnightMelody

    MidnightMelody Hopeful for Gen 8

    Just use the AU movie's Ash as the SwSh Ash. He was the best he has been in years
    LilligantLewis likes this.
  12. Leonhart

    Leonhart Well-Known Member

    I don't really know what more could be done with his character at this point since he's been portrayed in many different ways, but still hasn't really peaked as a character from my perspective. It also seems like our fandom will never be satisfied with him no matter how the writers handle him, so it's hard to really know how his character is supposed to be "fixed" if nobody can really agree on what the problems are with him in the first place.
    MockingJ likes this.
  13. shoz999

    shoz999 Do you wanna try a good Tapu Cocoa? My treat.

    No one here is talking about Ash's personality. Fans are talking about Ash's character growth, Ash's progression as a protagonist. Two different things.
  14. shoz999

    shoz999 Do you wanna try a good Tapu Cocoa? My treat.

    Yes, that's a rather odd way of talking about Ash's growth of a character. So, judging by how you pointed out that mistake, I take it you agree with me? :D
  15. Xuxuba

    Xuxuba Well-Known Member

    You see, a lot of people say the problem with Ash is that he never develops as a character and that this happens due to the neverending nature of the show, but i do think that even a neverending story like Pokémon can have characters developing. After all, it's not like there is a limit to how many times a human can change and improve.

    I do think that Ash developed as a character up until DP, where he was more mature, respectful and intelligent. But then, as you all know, BW came and rebooted Ash, which was probably the worst thing that could've happened in the entire series, since it makes the work of over a decade of development to go into the trash. After that, XY Ash came and he felt like a natural progression of DP Ash, which didn't last long, because SM reverted him to his old self again, only that this time he was more of a caricature of his former self back in the OS's days and he at least maintaned some of his skill acquired in his journey, this time being more of a regression of his personality than of his abilities as a trainer.

    Not to say, of course, that the other series were perfect and that they maintaned a completely beliavable progression of Ash's character the entire time, which is not true, since there were moments, for example, where Ash completely forgot he met a Pokémon before. However, this regression never happened to such an extent before BW and SM proved that it can happen again.

    So i believe the problem here is not that they are unable to create a progression that lasts more than one series, but rather that they do not know how to make a more comical and kid friendly series without erasing all of the changes Ash went through in his personality and abilities. I also believe they are trying to recreate OS Ash because they think if they revert the anime back to it's old days, it will be as popular as it used to be, but that is not true. The thing about the Original Series that made it so popular was that it was ORIGINAL. If you try to recreate that, you will lose what made it popular in the first place....
  16. Leonhart

    Leonhart Well-Known Member

    Judging by the posts that you quoted before, the problem that some people have with Satoshi's character is that he's generally inconsistent from saga to saga. He went from being a rookie in Kanto who hardly knew what he was doing, to being slightly more experienced by the time he was in Jouto, then he gradually got more mature in AG and DP only for him to lose some of that growth and maturity in Best Wishes. He then started developing again in the XY saga, but then SM began and some of his last vestiges of maturity were thrown out the window once he started puking sparkles and shaking his butt.
  17. Sceptile Leaf Blade

    Sceptile Leaf Blade Nighttime Guardian

    I don't think Alola Ash is remotely similar to Kanto Ash in any way, aside from the desire to be a pokémon master and the willingness to put himself in harms way for the sake of his pokémon (traits that Ash always kept in every series). Kanto Ash is arrogant, hot-headed, full of himself, selfish, and kind of a jerk. If I look back at some of those old episodes I can't help but notice him being completely different from how he is now.
    Vixzey, Emelie and Agstrek like this.
  18. Leonhart

    Leonhart Well-Known Member

    I think some people misinterpreted his pigheadedness on a few occasions as pure arrogance, but I don't see them as being mutually exclusive. Most of the time Satoshi was just really naive about what he was doing back then and he tried to bolster himself by acting tough, but calling him arrogant implies that he was like Shigeru and had a high opinion of himself on a regular basis, which I don't think was the case.
  19. satopi

    satopi SM Ash is best Ash! All hail Champion Ash!

    My head canon was always that after DP, Ash wasn’t doing so hot in Unova because of his own lack of self discipline to do intensive training on his Pokémon and at times, dumb decisions. I always figured he was stuck in vacation mode or at the very least, was put back into his underdog status because of Zekrom resetting Pikachu’s power and him not having any regional Pokémon but Pikachu, who was injured, at the time. Then there was the gag of “Ash is stupid!” that was used throughout BW and some of the writing getting watered down because of real life events. I still see BW as a botched series that would’ve been better than the final product despite knowing that storyboards and writing gets done ahead of time.

    Then when XY begins, he makes sure he takes his craft more seriously, to be better than he was before. After his proclamation of starting from zero like Alan (even though Ash has been doing that before Alan), he learns to appreciate that not everything should be about Pokémon battling and strength, maybe even realizing that he’s mirroring Paul in that way, he starts to emphasize more on what his core nature is, which is forming strong bonds with the Pokémon he meets and caring for them, making sure they reach their fullest potential and achieve their own individual goals. That’s not to say he hasn’t used his “strong bonds makes us stronger” belief in XY, mainly with Ash-Greninja, it just didn’t feel as solid as it was before.

    But yeah, I totally agree with VTP by him saying that Ash is just a victim of his own product where by a marketing standpoint, he’s part of the brand, alongside his Pikachu, to where he has to be able to fill in what is needed and it wouldn’t seem inappropriate so his character development can fluctuate at times.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
    Dream Lad likes this.
  20. Kintaro

    Kintaro Banned

    Japan was complaining during the transition from XY to SM, even making fanart showing how "ugly" Ash's SM design was. Their fanart was all over their twitter at the time.

    Anyway, people don't like seeing Ash be a fool...this late in the series. It was fine in Kanto because it was the first series. Do you honestly think people would have been fine with Ash in Hoenn being worst than he was in the OS? People were actually impressed Ash seemed to be more mature for once. The way he interacted with May was a shark contrast to Misty at the time that it arguably felt like he was changing.

Share This Page