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Does the Paul rivalry send a wrong message to kids?

LilyTwo

Well-Known Member
He only showed his uncaring side when Hikozaru was involved, and even then it was to strengthen Hikozaru with tough love.

"Tough love" is a convenient excuse that is thrown around to justify abuse. I do not buy it for a moment. Paul only cared about himself and his own glory.
 
Something is wrong if someone thinks Paul's training methods were tough love.
 

Leonhart

Imagineer
"Tough love" is a convenient excuse that is thrown around to justify abuse. I do not buy it for a moment. Paul only cared about himself and his own glory.

Shinji wasn't that full of himself though, otherwise he wouldn't have shown compassion for his Elekible at the end of his Shinou League match against Satoshi. Despite what the fandom thinks, Shinji wasn't the Pokemon world's version of Adolf Hitler.
 

PokemonBattleFanatic-

Well-Known Member
Paul is the f*cking man,he is one of the few people/trainers that take their role seriously in the entire series,is an experienced trainer with multiple raised and trained powerhouse pokemon at his disposal,and is arguably the best battler in the entire series.
 

Halolady

walking on eggshells
I don't think "tough love" is the right word to describe Paul's relationship with Chimchar per se...I think it's something more along the lines of a partnership, wherein both parties benefit from it. Paul initially wanted to keep Chimchar due to the potential power it could supply his team with, whilst Chimchar wanted to join him so that its' potential as a battler could be fulfilled.

After rewatching all the Paul/Chimchar-centric episodes, I think this is the part where Paul went wrong, and not his treatment (or mistreatment, as some would say) of Chimchar. No...actually, I don't just "think" it, I'm pretty sure of it now. I'm pretty sure this is the heart of one of the issues that Ash/Paul's rivalry was tackling. At the start of the series, Paul lacked the personal touch with his pokemon - he was viewing his pokemon as nothing more than allies that would benefit him; he didn't form any personal connections with them at all, which was why it was so easy for him to just release at at the drop of a hat if they didn't work well with him (or, if they were "weak", as he'd put it). Ash on the other hand, relied almost purely on the personal connections he shares with his pokes - his M.O at the beginning was to maximize their power through motivational friendship alone, and next to nothing else. When he started losing to Paul, he began powering them up through more practical means - by training them and noting actual potential they have in certain areas, weaknesses they have in others...etc, forming an actual compatibility with them based on getting to know them rather than on blind love and trust. This development was parallel to Paul's development (I still have my qualms about it, but credit is where credit's due), where he -after getting squashed by Brandon while knowing that Ash has beaten him- learned that Ash's method of being personable with your pokemon does have its' merits over his owns' after all - not only that, but it was certainly a better way of channeling your emotions rather than just letting them all loose at breaking point (which Brandon chided him out on towards the end of their match). He then decided to put a bit more heart into his treatment of his team - evidenced by him thanking Electivire after his match with Ash at the league.

This is a rather long post, but I just want to say that this is what I think the rivalry was getting at when it preached "different strokes for different folks". It wasn't saying that Paul was abusing Chimchar and that's okay because it's just another training method (not on purpose at least, as I can kiiinda see how one would come to that conclusion - I admit that the message the rivalry tried to tell wasn't conveyed perfectly), it was saying that Paul and Ash weren't wrong in thinking their own training methods were valid; but wrong in how they went all out in them without balancing them out with other training methods (bond-building and personability in Paul's case; realistic acknowledgement of mons' capabilities in Ash's case), hence them making the mistake of "too much of a good thing is a bad thing".
 
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Yuugis Black Magician

Namaikina Imouto
Hikozaru is at fault for not giving up or approaching Shinji sooner. That none of his other Pokemon saw an issue with how they were trained goes to show that it was really on Hikozaru to step back and make a decision about what he was going to do after failing to succeed so many times.
 

Leonhart

Imagineer
I don't think "tough love" is the right word to describe Paul's relationship with Chimchar per se...I think it's something more along the lines of a partnership, wherein both parties benefit from it. Paul initially wanted to keep Chimchar due to the potential power it could supply his team with, whilst Chimchar wanted to join him so that its' potential as a battler could be fulfilled.

I guess this is a good way of looking at it, and in this case Hikozaru would be somewhat responsible for his trauma if he purposely stayed with Shinji knowing full well how bad things might turn out.
 

Halolady

walking on eggshells
I guess this is a good way of looking at it, and in this case Hikozaru would be somewhat responsible for his trauma if he purposely stayed with Shinji knowing full well how bad things might turn out.
Hmm...I wouldn't say Chimchar was at all responsible for his own trauma - in a way, he was sort of like a child; Paul was most likely his only parental figure before Ash took him in (assuming that Paul's his first trainer), so Chimchar most likely wouldn't think much of Paul's treatment towards it; he probably just took it for what it was seeing as he had nothing to compare it to at that point. In that sense, I can see why some people would detest Paul for what he did to it - Chimchar was, afterall, an innocent creature who didn't know any better, and -as a result- willingly let Paul treat it the way he did, which in turn resulted in inflicted trauma for the poor monkey. It really did resemble a picture of an innocent animal getting tortured for ones' own gain, so I could understand why some fans would hate Paul to such extremes. Animal abuse is a real world issue after all, and I guess it's tempting to project that issue onto Paul and Chimchar's situation.

The way I see it though -and this is going to get me in a lot of heat- is that Paul didn't know any better either. His impression of Pokemon and battling in general was just as skewed as Chimchar's impression of trainers in the beginning. All this time, he had only stuck with pokemon that are as ruthless and power-hungry as he is; he had absolutely no inkling of an idea pertaining to dealing with pokemon that require a more empathetic approach, as those that do he'd most likely just release due to them being "weak", which, as I said, was easy for him to do as forming emotional attachments to his pokemon had never occurred to him before meeting Ash. This was due to what Brandon said to Reggie after his (Reggie's) lost to him (the key being what Brandon said to him after the lost; not the lost itself) - that he needed to become more powerful in order for him to beat him. Now, lots of people find it unrealistic that a single remark like that could drive Paul off the edge and cause him to become all power-obsessed, but think about it - let's say you haven't had any battling experience before, but you idolize someone (someone that's close to you, might I add) who's amazing at it. The only reason you idolized that person was because of his achievements and track record, as you didn't really have an idea as to what makes him so good. Ergo, you had no idea as to what goes into the making of a great battler, due to your inexperience in it. Then one day, that amazing track record of your idol of not ever having been beaten before was suddenly shattered by someone, said someone's only remark after his lost being pretty much "the only reason you've lost to me was because of your lack of power in comparison to mine." Wouldn't that leave a significant impact on you? You had absolutely no idea pertaining to what makes a great battler before, and suddenly a hint of what makes one was blasted in your face upon the devastating demolishment of the track record (iirc, it was 6-0!) of someone you looked up to so much for such a long time, said reason you looked up to him in the first place being due to that track record of him itself. That's ought to leave a burning impression on you in some way; your entire mindset about battling is bound to be built up upon that.

Typing this out, I actually realize why I had liked Paul's backstory so much in the first place. It's flimsy and stupid from a cursory glance, but yet, at its' roots, it actually makes sense and is believable.


EDIT: Also, upon typing that, I realize I've just unintentionally highlighted another parallel between Ash and Reggie besides being kind to their pokes: they both believed in unleashing the true power of their pokemon through kindness, but were met with formidable opponents that challenged this belief of theirs - Paul himself in Ash's case, and Brandon in Reggie's case. The difference between them was that Reggie gave up after it was challenged, whilst Ash persevered in it while integrating the best aspects of Pauls' training method (realistic assessment of his pokemon's abilities and potential) into his own. I just find it kinda poetic that one of them muddied Paul's perception of raising pokemon, while the other re-enlightened it.
 
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LilyTwo

Well-Known Member
That still doesn't justify the way Paul acts to people he deems "inferior" to him, like he did with Maylene. And I find it hard to believe that Paul didn't know any better either.

Sorry, I still see his backstory as flimsy and stupid, and I still reject the intended "different but still valid training methods" Aesop.
 

Halolady

walking on eggshells
That still doesn't justify the way Paul acts to people he deems "inferior" to him, like he did with Maylene. And I find it hard to believe that Paul didn't know any better either.

Sorry, I still see his backstory as flimsy and stupid, and I still reject the intended "different but still valid training methods" Aesop.
That's alright; we all see things differently. In my eyes though -as in, the way I interpreted it- it seemed Paul didn't know any better at the start of the series, and his backstory -while flimsy and stupid at first glance- made sense and can account for that.
 

Caseydia

Ace Trainer
Really? lol. I don't know about just him. But Gary in the beginning stages as well as Trip's beginning stages and just Gladion's demeaner is a bit suspect as well.
 

SinnohEevee

Well-Known Member
Paul was too focused on activating Blaze that he didn't notice or care that Chimchar suffers from PTSD because of the Zangoose incident.
 

Xenon Blue

No Hard Feelings
Paul was basically using Chimchar like a tool, but that isn't necessary a bad thing. He will do anything to optimize whatever result he can get, which is why he often throws away matches that doesn't matter by deliberately making his Pokemon take super-effective hits to increase endurance and prepare for the worst. If his Pokemon can't keep up with his way, then he simply releases it and doesn't waste time with it. The issue with Chimchar was that it obviously had trouble keeping up with Paul's training, but the payoff from activating blaze was so high that Paul was willing to take a gamble and spend more time with it. It obviously didn't work out as the compatibility just wasn't there. He usually releases Pokemon that doesn't fit Paul's style, which is why his final product is filled with loyal Pokemon that is a perfect fit for Paul, however in the case of Chimchar Paul's usual judgement of looking at things methodically and not force anything was clouded by the potential of single-handily carrying him in the league (remember, at this point Paul has already lost 3 leagues, and unlike Ash who seems fine with losing he would start becoming frustrated and impatient). By the time the tag-team tournament came Paul has seen enough from Chimchar to conclude it would never activate blaze like it did before, so instead of carefully nurturing it with harsh yet fair style, he went all in and used it in back-to-back battles alongside a brutal training session. Nothing came out of it, and the rest is history. So yes Paul was basically using Chimchar as a weapon for him to power through the league, but he does that with all his Pokemon, and honestly that kind of mentality is what makes people push for the next step. It's not like Paul is being unfair with his Pokemon, he is simply treating them like chess pieces and looking at them objectively, like when he used Aggron and Gastrodon as sacrificial pawns. His Pokemon seems pretty happy with Paul, and for the most part Paul's method has gotten him far, so I don't see a problem with his ideology, though his execution was questionable at times.
 

NovaBrunswick

Canada Connoisseur
Paul was basically using Chimchar like a tool, but that isn't necessary a bad thing.

I still think it's wrong to just see Pokémon (and animals in general) as mere tools rather than living beings in their own right. (I sound like N here.)
 

Navin

MALDREAD
Paul was basically using Chimchar like a tool, but that isn't necessary a bad thing. He will do anything to optimize whatever result he can get, which is why he often throws away matches that doesn't matter by deliberately making his Pokemon take super-effective hits to increase endurance and prepare for the worst. If his Pokemon can't keep up with his way, then he simply releases it and doesn't waste time with it. The issue with Chimchar was that it obviously had trouble keeping up with Paul's training, but the payoff from activating blaze was so high that Paul was willing to take a gamble and spend more time with it. It obviously didn't work out as the compatibility just wasn't there. He usually releases Pokemon that doesn't fit Paul's style, which is why his final product is filled with loyal Pokemon that is a perfect fit for Paul, however in the case of Chimchar Paul's usual judgement of looking at things methodically and not force anything was clouded by the potential of single-handily carrying him in the league (remember, at this point Paul has already lost 3 leagues, and unlike Ash who seems fine with losing he would start becoming frustrated and impatient). By the time the tag-team tournament came Paul has seen enough from Chimchar to conclude it would never activate blaze like it did before, so instead of carefully nurturing it with harsh yet fair style, he went all in and used it in back-to-back battles alongside a brutal training session. Nothing came out of it, and the rest is history. So yes Paul was basically using Chimchar as a weapon for him to power through the league, but he does that with all his Pokemon, and honestly that kind of mentality is what makes people push for the next step. It's not like Paul is being unfair with his Pokemon, he is simply treating them like chess pieces and looking at them objectively, like when he used Aggron and Gastrodon as sacrificial pawns. His Pokemon seems pretty happy with Paul, and for the most part Paul's method has gotten him far, so I don't see a problem with his ideology, though his execution was questionable at times.

This. Paul 'justified' this style after seeing his brother fail, and that turned him into a **** in the process. He might have also started off as a Trip-like character, but unlike Trip, didn't start to taste that humble pie and realize some of his errors/limitations until battling Cynthia, Brandon, and losing to Ash/Infernape at the league.

I still think it's wrong to just see Pokémon (and animals in general) as mere tools rather than living beings in their own right. (I sound like N here.)

I doubt Paul sees Torterra as a "mere tool", and after Electivire lost, he even praised it for a good battle. His Pokemon also were disappointed when he lost, so there is some connection built out of a mutual desire to become the strongest. Paul does get his 'punishment' when he loses to Ash when it mattered the most.

The irony is that most people who play the game, especially in competitive, are like Paul - capture and use only the best Pokemon with complex strategies.
 

AznKei

Dawn & Chloe by ddangbi
This. Paul 'justified' this style after seeing his brother fail, and that turned him into a **** in the process. He might have also started off as a Trip-like character, but unlike Trip, didn't start to taste that humble pie and realize some of his errors/limitations until battling Cynthia, Brandon, and losing to Ash/Infernape at the league.



I doubt Paul sees Torterra as a "mere tool", and after Electivire lost, he even praised it for a good battle. His Pokemon also were disappointed when he lost, so there is some connection built out of a mutual desire to become the strongest. Paul does get his 'punishment' when he loses to Ash when it mattered the most.

The irony is that most people who play the game, especially in competitive, are like Paul - capture and use only the best Pokemon with complex strategies.
I usually see the Pokemon in games like tools because we can see their stats, lifebars, exp and because their lack of personalities and emotions, you don't really regret your actions when you released them in the wild.

Unlike the anime where I see them like pets irl, having feelings and emotions depending of their treatments. And people won't see you in a positive light if you treat the way Paul did.
 

Leonhart

Imagineer
And people won't see you in a positive light if you treat the way Paul did.

Which reminds me, we've seen characters like Musashi physically assault Pokemon in the past, yet she's never vilified in the same manner as Shinji, even though Shinji was only an emotional bully at worst.
 
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