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Does the Paul rivalry send a wrong message to kids?

Discussion in 'Pokémon Animé Discussion' started by Halolady, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. Halolady

    Halolady walking on eggshells

    So, this is a question that's been sitting on the edge of my mind for a REALLY long time - one of which I don't think I can move on from without some kind of answer: Does the Ash/Paul rivalry send a dangerous message to it's intended audience (i.e. kids)? It's no secret that a sizable amount of the fanbase consider his actions on the show to be abusive (mainly when it comes to his treatment of Chimchar). Now, I personally don't share that opinion (though I can now see why others do), but when I see all of these people saying how his abusive acts are incorrectly justified on the show...etc. and all that, I really do have to wonder if this rivalry has unintentionally sent the message that "abuse is okay and justifiable" to kids. So what do you think? Has it?

    It would really suck if that were the case, as this rivalry is one of my favorite storylines in the show of all time, and I don't want something that I've so deeply supported to be associated with something as immoral as abuse. *sigh*
  2. Yukki

    Yukki ___

    How would it send the wrong message?

    The whole point of the rivalry was:

    - Abuse is bad.
    - Power of friendship and love wins over power of cruelty and abuse.

    Ash wins and even Paul begins to change slightly and to treat his Pokemon better.
  3. I don't think it does at all. At what point did the show justify abuse? Paul was placed in the role of antagonist from the very beginning, and the protagonists thought his behaviour was wrong. Chimchar grew into a powerful Pokemon through Ash's support and patience, which is an anti-abuse message if I've ever seen one. Paul lost to the Pokemon he had been abusing. It really can't get any more obvious than that.
  4. Halolady

    Halolady walking on eggshells

    I don't know...I think it's the whole "Paul's way of training pokemon is just another training method" message enforced by the show combined with the general fanbase sentiment that "Paul's way of training pokemon is considered abuse" that lead me to think that the show MAY have accidentally enforced the message "abuse is just another training/parenting method hence it's ok" instead.

    Of course, I may just be over-thinking and jumping to conclusions on this, being the paranoid person I am.
  5. Power Up

    Power Up ...

    Nope. That was an actual good rivalry that pushed the central message of Pokemon, that the power of friendship and love will always win over power of cruelty and abuse.

    The message that " it's okay to lose " is the worst message the show has ever pushed.

    Might make a thread on that
  6. TheWanderingMist

    TheWanderingMist Heh...maybe I really meant forever

    Paul's actions at the Tag Team Tournament (literally ignoring a doctor counts as abuse in my book) and the writers absolutely refusing to actually punish him for it do in fact send the wrong message.

    Except that it wasn't a rivalry after Hearthome. After the Tag Team Tournament, it became an absolute joke and the writers continually glorified Paul.

    As for your other point, it is perfectly okay to lose. There's a difference between "accepting your loss" and "losing doesn't matter". Someone with the first philosophy will use the loss to push themselves, while people with the second see no need to improve themselves.
  7. Halolady

    Halolady walking on eggshells

    So it DOES send a harmful message, then...

    Well, darn. :/

    EDIT: I mean, I'm aware you're just referring to one instance in the rivalry rather than the whole rivalry, but still...
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  8. TheWanderingMist

    TheWanderingMist Heh...maybe I really meant forever

    It wouldn't be so much of a big deal if the battle at Lake Acuity had ended in Ash's favor. But we all know how that went down.
  9. U.N. Owen

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

    Paul's "tiger parenting" - yes, I'm calling it that - sent a good message. His methods will yield short-term success but fail at giving long term results.
  10. Yukki

    Yukki ___

    A single scene can barely send a harmful message.

    If you observe the overall rivalry, the message is clear. Affection and love trumps abuse.

    A harmful message would be something like Paul ultimately defeating Ash in Sinnoh League and proving his abusive training was superior.
  11. TheWanderingMist

    TheWanderingMist Heh...maybe I really meant forever

    Except that top 8 in one of the hardest Leagues where you were basically guaranteed 2nd place tops is hardly "not giving long term results", especially when the person who defeated you only got 1 round further. His only other loss was to someone who could be considered E4 level.

    And as for the League match itself, the writers had their cake and ate it, too. You can clearly see the ref about to call the match in Paul's favor until Electivire, not Paul, tells him to hold on. They literally let Paul win the match, basically validating his methods. His loss was due to his Pokemon ultimately being a better person than him.
  12. Leonhart

    Leonhart Disney fanatic

    Shinji's rivalry with Satoshi made sense from a certain point of view. For instance, Shinji's apathy toward Satoshi during most of Shinou felt extremely realistic since not everyone can be expected to like you.
  13. Aduro

    Aduro Mt.BtlMaster

    I think its clear that the preferred reading was that Paul's methods towards Chimchar were unnecessarily harsh. And that Ash ultimately defeated Paul with a Chimchar that he raised far more than Paul could, through kindness and patience. Chimchar mastered blaze under Ash's methods so Ash's methods were better. That's the basic point.

    Its not really the show's fault if people choose to take their own readings. (except that people wouldn't be so sympathetic to Paul if they weren't frustrated with Ash being stuck in a rut for the last 400 episodes or so). The only downside was that they failed to steadily make Paul realise his mistake, instead just having have a phoned in moment with Electivire at the end.
  14. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    The general problem comes from the anime sticking too close on the corners of black and white, sometimes even when it means being inconsistent about it. Paul interchanged between having his training being treated as outright intolerably abusive and callous to 'harsh but an acceptable way of doing things' depending on the mood, and couldn't really be granted a proper fate between a full on comeuppance/blasting off or being instantly forgiven, same with most other villains, and thus the latter was chosen, with Paul being accepted and his treatment of his Pokemon just being slipped under the rug.

    There just isn't enough subtle handling for grey antagonists in the anime. Paul was probably their closest attempt to TRYING it in earnest, but it still dithered and doddered, not quite sure how to handle the rut they'd put themselves in with his archetype. He worked as a personal rival and prop for Ash's development, but as a character himself with an arc, it's the usual.

    It reminds me of the problems with Faba and Harley, they work as opposition for the protagonists but they don't quite realistically work as characters because their actions have to be ignored and not reprimanded, making them look like enabled props.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  15. Kuzehiko

    Kuzehiko Well-Known Member

    Not really.

    They only tried to portray a special rivalry that grew from hate to friendship and respect.
    Chimchar is just a plotdevice for Ash and Paul's development. That's it.
  16. NovaBrunswick

    NovaBrunswick Canada Connoisseur

    I think Paul was the closest Pokémon ever got to an actual animal abuser. The fact that he regularly scolded his Pokémon for no reason and only thought about using them as tools for an easy victory came down very hard on his Chimchar, who had to run away with Ash. I think by the end of the Sinnoh series, however, Paul felt sort of sorry for what he did to his Pokémon, and he should come back in the future to tell Ash and his friends this.

    (Of course, there was also that one Trainer in the Unova series who abused Tepig, even tying him up to a pole and abandoning him to die, until he was saved by Ash.)
  17. Aduro

    Aduro Mt.BtlMaster

    There were also shades of it with Drew and the pressure he put on his Absol before the Kanto Grand Festival. Drew was a pretty pale shade of grey but he was putting a lot of pressure on his own pokemon in order to win. Which kind of humanised him as a rival and didn't feel as inconsistent. Drew was someone who was generally considerate towards his team, and he was judgemental to those who were not, but when the pressure grew too much, Drew lost sight of what was best for his team.
  18. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    My memory's a bit blurry with AG, did Drew get humbled in any way specifically over Absol? I know May was chastised by the judges for being hard on Bulbasaur, so it kinda feels like a double standard if not.

    I think the difference there is that, along with Damien with Charmander, the anime unambiguously portrayed the abusive trainer as vile and got called out and satisfyingly punished for it. For Paul, Ash and Chimchar had to take the lawful route so Paul never really got apprehended for how he treated the latter.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  19. andrewscott48209

    andrewscott48209 Well-Known Member

    Actually, the difference is that Paul, while he was cruel to Chimchar, he never actually showed malice, while Damien and Shamus had shown malice towards their Pokemon. Damien had made Charmander wait on a rock for him, promising him that he would come back for it, while showing that he never intended to keep that promise, even when it was raining. He even had the nerve to say that abandoning it toughened him up after seeing it learn Flamethrower. Shamus tied Tepig to a post to keep it from following him. When confronted, he said that he pretended to cry, so he can make Tepig think he still cared about it. Then, when Tepig evolves into Pignite and beats both of Shamus's fire type pokemon, he actually had the gall to insult Ash in front of it. When Paul finally had enough of Chimchar, he actually waited for Ash to come around before releasing it. I think Paul did it for two reasons: 1) he did it intentionally just to get Ash angry, and 2) he wanted Ash to catch Chimchar, as a challenge to prove Paul wrong, which he ultimately did at the league. Also, unlike Damien and Shamus, when Infernape beat Paul, Paul acknowledged Infernape's strength, and didn't bother asking for Infernape to return to him.
  20. AuraChannelerChris

    AuraChannelerChris Final Destination me, you *****.

    Really, you worry about that and ignore the fact 7-year olds look up to a main character that doesn't win leagues and friendship is a sure way that will always work all the time when in fact it never will always work.

    And the exploding Razor Leaf.

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