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Do you prefer action oriented, story progression, or both in terms of episode structure?

Discussion in 'Pokémon Animé Discussion' started by Ignition, Jul 16, 2018.


Action, story, or both?

  1. Action (battles, gyms/trials, training)

  2. Story (evil team plot, character development, world building)

  3. Mixture of both

  1. Ignition

    Ignition Incineroar wins yet again (proud of my son)

    Title is self explanatory.

    I personally like battles that have more than "I have to win just to win". Those with more than just losing a league or being a loser in general being on the line.

    That's why my favorite episode in the entire series (Battling a Thaw in Relations, and, by association, its 2 predecessors) is the best and there's not a single episode that can best it.

    This is, IMO, Ash's most important battle as a Trainer. He's had this battle- both literal and philosophical- with Paul since the start of his Sinnoh adventure. It hasn't been just "Battle me? Ha! I win" (which is the basis of literally every other one of Ash's rivalries with maybe Gary as a gray area). It's about how their contrasting their training techniques are. It has much more focus than most interactions in the series. Not only has it caused both to think about it, but it impacted others around them. People like Dawn, Maylene, Reggie, Zoey, hell even the Champion got involved. And, while mainly Chimchar and, to a lesser extent Pikachu were personally invested, all of Ash's Pokemon (except Gible lol) were motivated to beat Paul. Paul also had a growing and reluctant respect for Ash. But all of this is spread out perfectly throughout DP. And the aforementioned trilogy of episode put all this on the line with an intense climax. I remember rushing home from school to watch each SL episode and my heart was thumping as it felt either could win. And, when it reaches Infernape vs Electivire, you can see everyone who was aware of this rivalry being invested into this final clash. The final scene with Ash and Paul pulls together everything and leaves it on a great note. You feel satisfied after a great storyline mixed with intense battles.

    So, TL; DR, I'm all for battles with more on the line for both participants. And Ash vs Gladion has the potential to have a similar story line.

    Excuses my Sinnoh rant :D
  2. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    I like moments of action, when written right. I don't like when the anime shoehorns in loads of superficial tension. My ongoing problem with many of the villain battles in the anime is how bland they are. Not only the bad guys lack much chemistry with the good guys but even the action is kinda phoney, there's never a feeling the heroes stood a chance of losing or even struggling to win (eg. DEM superpowers or an even stronger figure interrupting just when the villain gains the upper hand). Team Rocket battles for example are the lowest form of action, a really repetitive one sided battle just to say the twerps did one for the episode, and unfortunately DP and XY stuck them in nearly every episode.

    Story progression tends to gain my favour more because, as shown with SM, the writers seem to have a better time making more incidental stories character driven and like it's cast are moving things forward. There's the odd well written battle but it doesn't shove in action for the sake of action (besides to fill the odd bit of slack). I do find progression and goal development a too lacking and slow paced in SM, but I appreciate a greater feel of personality and character agency in areas in spite of it.
  3. Action for action's sake is bad unless your goal is to make an action thriller. Otherwise, stakes, build-up and pay-off are all absolute musts.

    Ash's battle with Paul is great because there are stakes for both involved (putting their philosophies and pride on the line), a lengthy build-up which raises the tension of the conflict (including highs and lows for both involved) and an immensely satisfying pay-off in the end. Without all that came before it, Ash vs Paul would have been vapid.

    Whether there's a battle involved or not, I'm happy so long as there are stakes for the characters involved, and those stakes aren't superficial. The majority of evil team conflicts fall flat because they're entirely superficial - just a bunch of characters we don't care about causing trouble that Ash and friends get involved in for no reason - but something as small in scale as Lillie trying to touch a Pokemon works because it's such a personal thing for the character.

    Basically, I want the story to feel personal and intimate regardless of what form that takes.
    Jerimiyah and satopi like this.
  4. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    It's strange because Lillie's phobia arc has a similar superficial handling, with Lillie only managing to cure her fears through convenience and twist of events (mostly the combined bumbling of Ash, Nebby and Faba). At the same time however, I don't feel nearly as gipped by it as do say, every time the main villain arc ends with a DEM, since the personal attachment to Lillie (and to some degree her bond with Ash) seemed to be a greater focus than the action.

    The rest of the handling of the Gen 7 games arc however is a different story......
  5. AznKei

    AznKei Rabi-Ribi's Cocoa is cute! ^_^

    I chose a mixture of both, but more focus to the companions. Sure, Ash had his drama with Paul, but I've seen enough of his glorious past that he doesn't interest me anymore. So sorry for Ash fans.
    Pokegirl Fan~ likes this.
  6. Pokegirl Fan~

    Pokegirl Fan~ Tsundere Girl

    Pretty much this for me as well
    AznKei likes this.
  7. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    This is probably why SM's more personality focused direction is better for Ash at least, they just need to better moderate the character focus.

    The companions getting the more dynamic development, with Ash being the sort of Disney Afternoon type hero that is enjoyable as a stagnant character (both in terms of action and personality) is a decent regiment. Letting the other characters in on the antics more would probably help also though, no reason to let Ash have all the fun.

    I think making the characters too goal/arc focused has it's downsides since a lot of times they become rather bland if you can't appreciate their development (eg. the under confident character becoming more confident has been dug into the ground now).
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
  8. Ignition

    Ignition Incineroar wins yet again (proud of my son)

    While I'm an Ash fan, I'm not against development for his companions. Problem is I'm not intrigued by any of their goals. However,focus episodes on them are generally some of my favorites in their respective series (this is coming from one who prefers battling). For instance, while I dislike Lillie (especially after the Aether Arc), the episode where they traded Pokémon & she battled with Pikachu is easily Top 10 in the SM series. I'm all for non battling plot progression with a lot on the line, but I feel battles so it better (IMO).
  9. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    Maybe this is why I can't begrudge Sophocles, since while his characterisation and attributes have mostly been stagnant, his episodes actually tend to be pretty enjoyable and his personality and chemistry with Ash is fun enough. He's also had development at least in a basic stance like other cartoons do, in terms of a bit of a backstory and introducing a new teammate for him and Togedemaru to bond with (I appreciate Charjabug, while not heavily spotlighted, is a Pokemon that feels like a character rather than a commodity). It's basic storytelling, but it's something that adds key depth and endearment to the whole thing, and sometimes I think the anime overlooks that.

    Lillie's 'little sister' like bond with Ash also adds a lot of plus points for me, especially since there are times I don't feel a lot of connection between the protagonists in the anime. Again, this is where formula and action/profession focus can sometimes eclipse deceptively important details.

    Battles I think should be saved for when they are meaningful to the plot and can flow things along, not get in the way. There are other ways to let the characters shine.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
    Ignition likes this.
  10. AshxSatoshi

    AshxSatoshi Ice Aurelia

    I truly believe that if Nebby would of never appeared, Lillie would of handled her fear herself. She was on that road by herself before Nebby transported her to Gladion. I can’t call it superficial because all Nebby really did was speed up a process that was already happening.
    Jerimiyah likes this.
  11. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    I think the anime has been known for relying on that sort of gesture too many times though. The protagonists about to set about solving a dilemma, doing a big battle or some other daunting not easy task, and then something coming in that dumbs it all down and puts it perfectly in their comfort zone (usually a bad guy like the TRio who makes it about beating them up). I get that outcome is sometimes more flashy in terms of plot flow, but I appreciate having more times the twerps were made to do the whole damn thing themselves.

    As said, it's not AWFUL in how it was done with Lillie, but it does seem one of those things where all the cogs just conveniently worked together rather than the twerps having to work against something and put on a proper show on their own. I am thankful SM doesn't use this ALL THE TIME like previous series often did besides the main goal arcs, and this sort of structure doesn't ruin all of Lillie's roles (she's a damsel in distress in many of her episodes, but that seems done more to develop on Ash or Gladion's protective side than to keep her sidelined, and it seems one of her weaknesses she often gets vindication for in a similar way Ash does in spite of being a butt monkey for a lot of his episodes).
  12. U.N. Owen

    U.N. Owen In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night ...

    Actions need to have weight behind them. That's why gyms, despite how well animated they are, felt hollow for me after seeing them three times. We have no definition for Pokemon Master other than vague assumptions we make based on leagues. In other words, it feels like a paint by numbers plot at best. That's why I infinitely prefer a story plot like an evil team. At least I'm able to get emotionally invested in a character. If they gave me an emotional stake in this like they did Paul and Ash's rivalry, then I could care about the league and badge quest.
  13. Ignition

    Ignition Incineroar wins yet again (proud of my son)

    Another thing I've noticed after rewatching some of each saga's episodes is it's pretty common to see the route to progression feel so..forced. The characters have some established issue that derails them from their usual selves, they acknowledge what they need to fix, and it rarely feels like they truly work towards it. I'm not talking about 1 episode plots (i.e Serena's first Showcase lost). It seems more like coincidental events lining up in their favor and their efforts being exaggerated. Can't think of one example of an issue steming across multiple episodes looking genuine.
  14. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    That's my issue as well, the anime doesn't help itself by relying to much on plot armour and boosts and upper hands seemingly gifted to the protagonists by the cosmic forces. There's always this sort of 'it's the gesture that counts' method that applies, they're losing at something, but hey they're being determined, they're not giving up despite not being able to remotely improvise, let's just give them a new move and boost to dodge this bullet. Giving them those couple token moments the plot didn't take their side and they lost doesn't solve this, it just proves further they can't handle things based on their own abilities.

    Some cases almost feel just automatically timed in when they have met their 'development' rather than having their characters and input prove it. eg. there's a specific episode deadline they start winning battles, or they start dominating in their competition quest. They didn't actually change up their abilities or approach in any way, it's just late enough in the series so that's when they should regularly be on the winning end of things. Case in point for Serena almost never having a single good battle, but since she'd battled AT ALL the whole series they assumed by, hmmm, halfway in, she should always dominate low key battlers like Trio, and by her last one she should be experienced enough to match Ash. All the substance and character agency needed to make that work up until that point wasn't bothered with.

    There's so few times I feel the twerps worked and suffered and poured everything they had to achieve something. Something nearly always makes it too easy or like the plot decides whether or not they should be winners, especially in the pre-SM seasons which were way more formulaic.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
    Ignition likes this.
  15. TheWanderingMist

    TheWanderingMist Kanae, Keeper of the Gates Emblazoned

    Paul was abusive and never got punished for it. Losing badly to Trainers like Brandon and Cynthia is expected of nearly everyone. That's not a punishment. I don't mind what he did with those Starly, they didn't have time to get attached. Azumarill, on the other hand, he abandoned outright, blaming his own mistakes on it. A supposedly intelligent Trainer was unable to comprehend that a Rock-type Gym Leader would have counter-strategies for Water-types. And Chimchar did want harsh training, yes, but you don't ignore a doctor who is telling you to have the Pokemon rest and use it against its worst fear the next day, then release it and call it worthless because it understandably froze up.

    Rivalry? What a joke. The writers never had Paul lose. Even at the League, he won. The ref was about to call the match when Electivire intervened. It shouldn't have been a 1-0 victory that wasn't even a real win, it should've been a 6-0 rout that utterly destroyed Paul's pride. I didn't feel satisfied, I felt ripped off. Why was everyone praising this abuser? Why was Ash forgiving him for what he did to Chimchar? Why didn't that Nurse Joy put her foot down in Hearthome instead of just pleading desperately? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?!

    That's my Sinnoh rant.


    Anyway, action and story should be mixed, but the writers only have so much creativity so it's kinda understandable that they fail sometimes.
    LilligantLewis likes this.
  16. FlygontheRavager

    FlygontheRavager #1 Pokémon Anime Fan!

    What do you mean “it wasn’t a real win?” And how did Electivire intervene? Infernape got up from the brink of defeat, beat Electivire’s butt, and Paul was defeated. In the end, Ash’s kind and caring training style won out over Paul’s cold and harsh training style - and I found that rather satisfying.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
    Jerimiyah, Ignition and Zoruagible like this.
  17. While I like SM it can be serious if it wants, I have a complaint (and before you say anything everyone has a least one complaint in a series): somethings the conpanions feel kinda flat. Maybe because they arent traveling? I just dont see SM as a story like previous series.
  18. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    I don't think it's they're flat so much as they don't seem quite as involved as they should be. Most of the roles, both the badassery AND the comedy/silly antics are mostly directed at Ash, and sometimes ONLY Ash. The companions do have good episodes that play exception to this, but a little too often they're a bit too much of a greek chorus like Brock and Misty were in Johto (and even there the two got stuck in lots of indiscriminate group dilemmas). This can be detrimental in a series where the charm is the offbeat antics.

    The upcoming batch of episodes worry me for example, since they sound like most of the dilemmas and antics are gonna be revolved around Ash with the others being immune to the comedic situations and doing things normally, which obviously puts Ash in a more vibrant role where he's out of his comfort zone (eg. seemingly only Ash getting shrunk when a more interesting scenario arguably could be made out of another or all the companions falling victim, or Ash getting in trouble fooling around with this vaulting horse thing when the UG have to do their job, the painting one doesn't sound like it even features the other companions). The one non-Ash centric sounding episode is the dancing one for Mallow, which looks like a very mundane and formulaic TR face-off episode. I could end up wrong, but SM is working up a bit of a pattern. Tomoika in particular I think has only written Ash, Ash's Pokemon, or whole group focused episodes this series, the TR vs TS one being the only case another character was main focus with Ash in a minor role (even the Pollosand episode, Ash was only a damsel in distress as much as Lillie is in her episodes but with ten times the bizarreness). I get some take to the wackier roles better than others, but Ash doesn't need FIVE straight men.

    With that said, despite this, as I mentioned, there are exceptions, and they are pretty good ones, especially due to SM's more versatile storytelling. Mallow is about the only character that just does normal formula or bust all the time. Sophocles meanwhile usually has GREAT limelight episodes. I could argue as much of the problem is that while Ash is versatile enough to handle bit parts and still feel important, the others usually need centre focus to stand out, so of course Ash is gonna stick out better. It's maybe for this reason that perhaps they should have downplayed Ash's number of episodes in favour of the companions, since while Ash can still work well in supporting roles, the others could benefit from more starring roles. We already had a mini-arc for just Ash anyway.

    The anime has a very odd standpoint of antagonists, they seem to only exist as plot devices or obstacles for the good guys to overcome after which they get swept under the rug. Their comeuppance or aftermath, not connected to the hero, so not really needed. If the writers could make a broom an antagonist I think they'd take that.

    The nearest to an exception is them at least beating up Team Rocket, even if no one makes an active attempt to arrest them. Harley for example was never punished or disqualified for dirty tactics in the contests, Faba was never persecuted for all he'd done to Lillie's family and was even allowed to roam free in Aether and cause more trouble, Bourgain WAS arrested just to give his debut episode a resolution, but he still returns only a few episodes later with no explanation. It's not important, they're only important as far as being plot devices for the heroes. It borders on making the heroes look too dumb to live, because they never care about preventing the villains from doing more harm.

    I always kinda saw Team Rocket's 'blasting off' gag as equivalent to the plot literally sweeping them out of the picture. "You're not needed for conflict anymore, sooo, off you go."
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
    LilligantLewis likes this.
  19. just to be fair, he is correct. electivire interrupted the referee and started encouraging infernape to get up. his point was the win was cheap because electivire had to stall the referee from doing his job
  20. Ignition

    Ignition Incineroar wins yet again (proud of my son)

    Still a win. Infernape wasn't knocked out. Just stunned. The ref didn't give it a chance to stand up. That was not a stall. It simply beckoned Infernape. The ref should have said something before Infernape was beckoned.
    FlygontheRavager likes this.

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