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Companion Pokémon: Downfall?

Discussion in 'Pokémon Animé Discussion' started by KingMinun, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. ash&charizardfan

    ash&charizardfan Humans are tools

    Not to sure on the bolded part, you defnitely need an arc to yourself especially in this anime which is tend to be focussed way much on ash and his adventures. Just look at the companions who had there goal arc like contest/performers and even there own personal arc like aether arc where lillie you could see the difference. As for lillie i think she had been rather underwhelming after aether foundation, sophocles may have gotten screentime but i wouldn't call it character development as a whole, as for kiawe he definitely have grown a lot but he could get better if he gets his own trial arc.

    I think that was because dawn came at a time when writers was focussed on building characters who were goal driven than being independent characters, just compare OS ash(especially kanto) to AG/DP ash and you will see the difference between both the versions one was busy in humour the others were busy with training and becoming champion. It was the same with may, iris and serena as well who had better goal based development. Dawn wasn't the only character who interacted less with brock even in AG may also didn't much with brock as well probably because both girls were getting much screentime which made brock more in the background, and before criticizing her of stuck in fillers i think she had most non filler episodes focussed on her, besides OS had most number of fillers which added nothing to the plot, also she do have some traits like getting annoyed after being called dee dee, besides having childish rivalry with kenny those were some good traits. As for XY ash vs SM ash well that is a controversial topic.
  2. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    I don't just mean fillers but STALE fillers, since DP is often criticised for being where the classic formula had gotten most flanderized and whittled down, with loads of generic COTD/TR stories and what not. The early OS also has several fillers or at least not-very-progressive stories but they were often considered more diverse and a bit more character driven (eg. "Tentacool and Tentacruel" doesn't offer a lot of long term development for Misty, but it is a nice display of personality and hidden depths). Also while Misty's battling run isn't considered very impressive, in some episodes it could be argued she didn't NEED to and could make fun contributions to the story with just her character.

    This is also a downside of many goal driven characters because when not doing anything related to their goals they sometimes turn out to be rather dull and empty. XY got similar complaints as DP, Ash being dull, Serena barely contributing anything until the showcases, and Clemont slowly becoming unimportant comic relief after his gym match was over, not to mention somehow managing to top even DP in terms of stale filler and formula (where the DP cast at least sometimes contributed some flavour to the old formula and made fun of the repetition, XY usually just stonewalled it, making it even blander).

    Note a good character doesn't just have to be well developed standalone, they also have to contribute and add to the entire show, they have to be versatile. A character that has a good goal, dynamic development, but otherwise doesn't have any interesting dynamics, interactions or activity is still going to suffer.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  3. ash&charizardfan

    ash&charizardfan Humans are tools

    Both DP and XY series just have less amount of fillers as compared to other series so that compensated for having awfull fillers, fillers from around episode 50-60 were also the same generic TR intrusion and then after battling with the MC's they were blasted off. Maybe at the early part TR was fresh so they didn't look like repetitive but still they were there in there as well. The only fillers without TR were in BW since they had less appearance in that series. Some DP fillers were very entertaining.
  4. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    I guess it's that when there's a formula and dynamic, you have to make all the characters and elements work right to make it fresh and entertaining each and every time. I could argue that yes, things did eventually get stale in the OS, especially during Johto, but during Kanto, Ash and Misty's more bull headed personalities played a lot more against the COTDs (who were often more standoffish and played against their tempers) or Team Rocket schemes (eg. Misty and Jessie's banter, Ash getting exasperated by TR butting in for the hundredth billionth time compared to now where it's just the usual shocked 'TEAM ROCKET!' quote). There was some sort of vibrant placement for each character that made it all work and be fun each and every time.

    BW is point of contention, since while the formula was dialled down, some argued the pieces still didn't place together because the characters weren't as emotive. Ash for example had a fair few things going on and even had some of OS qualities back, but was his chemistry with Iris as vibrant as against Misty, or did he have any sort of unique reaction to his old enemies actually being a real threat? It's no good really having unique plots and arcs if the characters aren't vibrant enough to make use of it. Hell one could argue that while DP and XY had less actual fillers, the formulaic nature still took over in many continuity ones more than usual.

    Let's look at other formulaic cartoons like say Bugs Bunny cartoons. Chuck Jones once mentioned that the entertainment value was seeing HOW Bugs would outsmart Elmer Fudd. Let's say they took out something that made it fresh each time. What if Bugs lost all his sarcasm? Or what if he stopped using all his tricks and used the same one over and over? What if Elmer didn't do slapstick anymore or didn't react to any of Bugs' disguises? All these bits of spontaneous character are what prevent a formula being just a mechanical snooze fest, you take them out you don't have characters anymore, you just have automated robots, and putting them in a prehistoric backdrop, the apocalypse or some frantic action scene won't change that. The same occurs in Pokemon, by XY Ash was just stonewalling EVERYTHING fired at him unironically, he didn't add character or flavour to the old formula or even any new premises, and that made things more monotonous.

    This is maybe where SM works in terms of filler, because while the stories are kind of basic, the characters are versatile enough to drive them along. Ash compared to his BW and XY counterparts bounces off nearly all his co stars well and even some of the irrelevant episodes can be made fun and fresh by unique character depths.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  5. LilligantLewis

    LilligantLewis Bonnie stan

    um, I'm not sure about this. Iris was the most active battler of any girl ever if we're talking about regular battles and not contest battles, and considering how little battling Misty did in Johto, I wouldn't be surprised if I actually counted up every battle, battle by battle, that Iris may have had more.



    XY5-6, XY44



  6. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    All the female companions have had moments calling out or supporting Ash, and very often vice versa as well, just this dynamic isn't done in excess. Serena kinda suffered due to her hyper competent version of Ash though still got a couple moments (in her defence role reversals weren't common either). Hell one of things I can commend the anime for is not doing the 'girls always right, boys always wrong' cliche, and aiming for more personality based circumstances where either can be right or wrong.

    Misty called out Ash a lot but I think the problem was this excess and aggression, which sometimes risked making her a designated hero, and in other cases just made the problem worse, since her jumping on Ash even for the most trivial of things (and often peppering it with a good load of insults as well) tended to only worsen his defensive streak and temper. She was arguably only effective as many times as the other girls because of this, with even more times SHE needed to be cut down to size.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
    LilligantLewis likes this.
  7. Kintaro

    Kintaro Banned

    Did she? I didn't watch all of BW, how often did Iris battle? Outside the Don battle tournaments didn't she only have a battle in a small handful of episodes?

    I remember Cilan battling a lot more than Iris, and having tag teams with Ash in the BW episodes I did watch.
  8. Epicocity

    Epicocity Well-Known Member

    The Don battle tournaments did make up huge parts of the series (to the point Iris won the Junior Cup, at least), and Iris did have her own rival in Georgia.
  9. Kintaro

    Kintaro Banned

    There was only 3 Don battle tournaments, and since the entire main cast entered, Iris only had 1-2 on-screen battles in most. It's not like Iris got a ton of battles when Ash, Cilan, or the rivals entered them too.
  10. ash&charizardfan

    ash&charizardfan Humans are tools

    Well she battled bianca once, one battle with georgia, battled gym leader drayden and clair the only girl to battle multiple gym leaders, not to mention multiple practice battles with ash, battled with emolga and snivy against those fashion ladies, battled ash's charizard where her dragontie absolutely got obliterated, fought with team plasma and well there were multiple competitions in BW where iris got much furthur in all of them even winning one so yeah she battled a lot and lets not forget she was only there for about 140 episodes. I think iris fought a lot in BW considering how short her stay was in the series and most of them were high profile development fcus battles where she grew a lot.

    As for cilan yeah he was handled perfectly in this dept, I think BW companions were handled better than OS companions in terms of battling, even brock hardly battled in the series, i think don george tournaments were probably the main reason for that.
    LilligantLewis likes this.
  11. Kintaro

    Kintaro Banned

    The Don Battle tournaments were the best thing BW came up with. I wish they continued in XY, especially to give Serena and Clemont more battles too. I really don't know why they dropped them.

    Anyway I see Iris battled a bit, but I wouldn't say it was that much. A bit more than other characters, but not a very active female battler.
    ash&charizardfan likes this.
  12. ash&charizardfan

    ash&charizardfan Humans are tools

    Can't say about serena since she had non battling goal, it would have done wonders for ash and clemont who were more battlers. Even first half of XY had some less battles.
    Iris battled a lot considering her short stay compared to other females before her, i think in terms of battles/episode she probably had second most battles after dawn and let's not forget most of her battles were important battles and not generic TR thrashing.
  13. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    The problem with Serena was due to her training focus and representing series' overall more actionized format, she was still obligated to battle a fair few times, just it was set up in a way she never really had to get better (eg. being pit against jobbers, or battles being called off the moment they got too intense). She was a character forced to do something she wasn't really good at regularly, without ever being made to get better or even just lose entertainingly like Ash did with her dancing. But of course that didn't stop them pushing her as improving in her VERY last battle for whatever reason, only bothering then to make her demonstrate an impressive style and effort.

    I'm still split whether she was supposed to not be battle centric or she was but they just couldn't be bothered writing a single solid battle for her from fatigue of Ash's battles. It never really felt like they intentionally written her as a bad battler, hell a lot of times it feels like they tried to push her as a badass, just all her battles were all around anti climatic and dull.

    Iris was more focused as an actual battler, so they did get some development out of it. Not to say she didn't have some crap or half finished battles, especially with Axew, but they did give her key ones or moments that actually tried to boost her agency (eg. she was perhaps the only protagonist that got taught about cheap wins in the anime). It helps Team Rocket were more competent semi-recurrers in that series, so she couldn't leech off the show's usual jobbers as much as the other girls either.

    Really I don't think the writers would have the balls to make one of the protagonists just inherently bad at the games' main gimmick, not unless they were supposed to get good at it eventually. Even the SM companions they force in some scout point victories every now and then.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
    Moonlight Starlight likes this.
  14. Kintaro

    Kintaro Banned

    I'm not sure if Iris has more battles than May unless you're strictly counting non-contest battles, even then May has a number of battles in regular AG episodes, like against Nicholai, the Winstrate family, the talking Scizor in BF, the girl from the breeding center she got Eevee's egg from, she battled Wattson's assistant in the gym, the ones she had with Drew outside the contests, the tag battle with Ash, she battled with Hitmonchan in the fighting dojo ep in Battle Frontier, etc. But the majority of her battles were in contests otherwise.

    Speaking of that I think a missed opportunity was not seeing May battle against Norman, her father. Norman thought May was going to go for badges when she started her journey, May even got a badge case! They kinda glossed this over when they returned to Petalburg for Ash's 5th badge. It would have been nice to see May try to "prove" herself to her father by showing she wanted to do contests even if she probably would have lost, similar to Dawn/Maylene. Oh well, missed opportunity.
  15. LilligantLewis

    LilligantLewis Bonnie stan

    There's nothing to be split about. She obviously wasn't supposed to be battle-centric considering her goal involved no battles.
  16. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    But they seemed to make her do a battle at any key opportunity anyway, just a very dumbed down one. Most key points her team developed involved a battle and even most of her non-showcase episodes (eg. meeting Aria, the ball dance, the Pikachu rocker, or her final spotlight episode), not to mention how often Team Rocket butted into her episodes, even compared to the others' limelight. They could have just had her do something that flowed with her actual talents but they kept trying to make it look like she was getting stronger in a superficial way.
  17. LilligantLewis

    LilligantLewis Bonnie stan

    That's just your perspective dude - they did do things that flowed with her actual talents like the Pokévision episode, the PokéPuffs episode, the first episode where she caught Eevee (it had a lot to do with dancing), etc.
  18. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    All those still stuffed in Team Rocket as her plot interruptors/jobbers however, even when they weren't mandatory anymore. And even if we don't count TR that's all of three episodes where a battle wasn't the focus in some significant way. Ash probably had more episodes he could hold an episode without a battle.
  19. LilligantLewis

    LilligantLewis Bonnie stan

    Well that's not counting all of the actual showcase episodes, and showcase training episodes, which are her main goal.
  20. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    I remember even the showcase training usually consisting of a battle or TR jobbing. People are split around the quality of the actual showcases themselves, especially her rivals, but that only proves Serena was goal centric and couldn't really hold an episode on her own without it (hence her mostly being in the background early on, when the showcases weren't established and even Team Rocket weren't easy plot devices/jobbers yet). Like Ash who had some awesome rival/league focus in the XY series but was otherwise a pretty bland stock hero character.

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