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How do you feel about Ash and Sawyer's rivalry?

Discussion in 'Pokémon Animé Discussion' started by J.Agera, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. J.Agera

    J.Agera Well-Known Member

    Lately this has been bugging me.
    Was Ash and Sawyer's rivalry really as good as people made it out to be?
    I mean he has some flaws like his fast progression and he should have appeared kinda earlier.

    I would appreciate if someone has a detailed analysis on this rivalry.
  2. mysticalglacia

    mysticalglacia Alola Shill

    I thought Sawyer as a character was fine; the mentor-student dynamic had never been done before with a rival of Ash’s, and that was a breath of fresh air. However, because of that, Ash completely dominated their battles 90% of the time, and (with a character that’s not Ash) it’s not fun to watch. It was made even worse because when the moment of comeuppance that would usually let the underdog win happened, Ash won yet again. It was refreshing to see Ash be portrayed as stronger/more experienced, but it also made the rivalry feel dull because nothing really changed between them.

    There’s also the issue of his fast progression. It felt like he became very competent way too fast. It wouldn’t have been that bad if he’d been introduced much earlier, but he wasn’t. For a character like Sawyer to work, they have to be introduced very early in the story so their progression can feel real and parallel the protagonist’s growth. Sawyer went from being a novice to some skilled prodigy in 50-ish episodes, which really stretches it imo.
  3. Dragalge

    Dragalge Constance Rookidee

    Sawyer’s the Ash’s best rival in XY no doubt (since the other choices are...Tierno, Trevor, and Alain). It’s just that they should have introduced him in early XY to make his growth more realistic in their rivalry.
  4. J.Agera

    J.Agera Well-Known Member

    I would Argue Alain was a good rival. But oh well.
  5. U.N. Owen

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

    It was always my personal philosophy that rivalries should be threatening in one way or another. It's how someone can like a character as a character but despise them as a rival.
    For Shouta, the problem with the rivalry is that I never felt threatened by him until the very end, but the problem is very apparent early on. He begins by losing a lot which is fine for the type of story they wanted to tell. The story, like with most of the anime, got formulaic real fast. He loses, says he gains experience, wash, rinse, and repeat until we got towards the end where he becomes a more competent battler. Geez, Pokemon being bogged down by formula. In other news, the sun rose this morning.

    I would argue that you could make his rivalry threatening in the same amount of time. If they could afford it, they could have just gave him more interactions where he appears to be the Sherlock to someone's Watson. It's a better way of showing off his competence and talent.
  6. xinfernapex

    xinfernapex Sinnoh Champion

    I personally enjoyed Ash and Sawyer’s rivalry.

    I think a lot of people’s disappointment in Sawyer comes from the fact he wasn’t very challenging to Ash in the beginning because he was still an amateur. What made this rivalry great was that Ash saw him as someone who he could share his wisdom with and help get stronger, almost like a complete beginning trainer, so when Sawyer actually managed to defeat him it threw him off and really made him think about his own strength. You see in each of the battles that even though Ash would win, he would get better and better and land more attacks which eventually led to him beating Ash altogether, which tied in well with the Ash-Greninja arc.

    I do like the cocky rival that makes Ash want to get stronger but this time it seemed like Ash was sort of the rival that was ahead of the game and Sawyer was the one to catch up, so when he surpassed Ash, Ash had to go to another level to be on par with him at the league, which he definitely did. So even though it was a complete different rivalry compared to Paul or Trip, it was still interesting to watch.
    RLC, catzeye, Xuxuba and 1 other person like this.
  7. AuraChannelerChris

    AuraChannelerChris "Oh, look. A comment."

    I saw a boymance, not a rivalry. Ash continuously screwed Sawyer good, even if one time Sawyer beat him just because Ash was heavily relying on the Ash-Greninja thing to trigger that caused his brain to fry.
    PokemonBattleFanatic- likes this.
  8. Zoruagible

    Zoruagible Lover of underrated characters

    It was terrible. Maybe it'd have been better had he not debuted in the final leg of the saga, but going from a total noob to being Ash's equal(And stupidly winning too) within 20 episodes? lol That was straight garbage

    He's a poor man's Wally essentially. There's really no excuse they couldn't just bring in Wally, and better yet since Ash had to lose it should have been to the underdog. Years of being the underdog and overtaking characters like Gary, Paul, and Trip finally come back at him, getting a taste of his own medicine! Instead Ash lost to a complete Gary Stu for the thousandth time because reasons? That would have been the one way an underdog rival would have been acceptable, what makes a rivalry interesting is seeing Ash have to work to overcome his rivals before eventually succeeding! It completely ruins it if he beats a rival before the League, he's already proven himself! Why should I care?
    LilligantLewis likes this.
  9. SerGoldenhandtheJust

    SerGoldenhandtheJust Well-Known Member

    For me it got ruined in the end. Here's a bright way to do it
    Have Sawyer lose EVERY SINGLE time to ash before the league, but showcasing that he's learning from it and growing and has strategies against ash. Then ash have defeat Alain in the semi finals bringing that rivalry to a close and having Ash vs Sawyer in the finals where Sawyer narrowly wins in the end due to his strategy, bringing their rivalry to a close. Instead in the end it felt useless tbh and it didn't really have a nice story arc. All he really had was an amazing semi final match that is one of the best matches in the series, but as a rival he had potential that didn't shine at all in the end. Wish he was replaced by Wally for proper hoenn representation
  10. SerGoldenhandtheJust

    SerGoldenhandtheJust Well-Known Member

    I actually agree, he was a good rival, they just ruined his perception by that BS kalos league thing
    Twilight-Kun and mehmeh1 like this.
  11. SerGoldenhandtheJust

    SerGoldenhandtheJust Well-Known Member

    Also another flaw was that Sawyer was introduced so late so his growth was extremely unrealistic
  12. mysticalglacia

    mysticalglacia Alola Shill

    Sawyer was 100% a poor man’s Wally, which makes me baffled as to why they didn’t just bring him in instead. AG got screwed over by having terrible rivals and stupidly not including Wally (who would’ve perfectly fit Ash’s sort of mentor position then), and ORAS was the perfect excuse to finally use him. He could’ve been an underdog with a well-paced character arc; it would’ve been so satisfying to see him going against Ash at the League with the Mega Gallade he grew stronger with. I liked how they showed Sawyer’s growth through strategy, but it felt ridiculous because his growth in question was so rushed.
  13. Sceptile Leaf Blade

    Sceptile Leaf Blade Nighttime Guardian

    I don't think it really works. As a viewer you're usually expected to project and identify with the main characters, with the protagonists. Sawyer isn't around enough to identify with, and he doesn't actually affect Ash at all. Ash doesn't learn anything from him, he doesn't seem to be affected all that much by him, not any more than "Hey you're strong let's battle". It stays shallow, there's no depth there because Ash says that to everyone. They differ on how they approach pokémon battling, but that never leads to conflict or Ash learning anything. Like, if you compare it to Ash's rivalry with Gladion, they both have similar goals of getting stronger and both care about their pokémon and about Lillie, but they differ and conflict over their approach to Ultra Beasts as their past experiences are so different. Gladion had his family torn apart by Ultra Beasts, lost his father and witnessed Lillie getting traumatised by them, while Ash's experience is just the cute Nebby eating lots of star candy. Gladion's initial aversion to Nebby sparks conflict and affects Ash on an emotional level, and eventually they both learn from each other. Sawyer just puts Ash on a pedestal and tries to reach that height, but since he's not a protagonist it doesn't really hit home with the viewer as much and Sawyer is the only one growing and changing in that relationship.

    Such a dynamic can work if the protagonist is the underdog who gets inspired by someone stronger, like how Ash and Torracat are with Masked Royal and Incineroar, because you identify with Ash and Masked Royal/Kukui is more a supporting character, but from the point of view of Kukui it just wouldn't be too interesting on its own so they usually go with gags there with his hidden identity to keep that viewpoint interesting, and they did the reverse with kid Kukui for the inspiration to give him more depth than just a milestone to reach.
  14. UltimateNinja

    UltimateNinja ~Ice Cold~

    Good idea, meh execution.

    Ash being the "overcoming trainer" for an underdog would've been cool if Sawyer was a secondary protagonist to what essentially Gou is right now, but with the only difference that Sawyer is not traveling together with Ash.
  15. Soniman

    Soniman Break the Limit

    You weren't paying attention then. I don't know if this is willful ignorance or what but literally a major reason why Ash feel into that massive slump was because of Sawyer. Because he was catching up. Because he beat Wulfric and because Ash FAILED to beat him. Literally right before their League match Ash confides how scared Sawyers growth made him because he let his insecurities get to him.

    On the flipside you talk up Ash/Gladion but I don't think anything all that substantial was there really beyond your usual friendly rivalry and Gladion gravitating to Ash because he likes to battle him. Kinda like what we had with Alan really. The stuff with Nebby didn't really explore their relationship significantly besides one moment that's quickly brushed over. It was more focused on him and his family than anything to do with his rivalry with Ash
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
    LilligantLewis, RLC and Twilight-Kun like this.
  16. Sceptile Leaf Blade

    Sceptile Leaf Blade Nighttime Guardian

    Thing is, that doesn't tie into Sawyer's character at all. It's just his battling power, there's no depth to that. No character. And having to wait for a league battle for an Ash monologue expositing it which wasn't clear at all prior (if I recall correctly it was very ambiguous why Ash was even upset after his loss to Wulfric in the first place, it could've also been his inability to fully activate Ash-Greninja there, or simply being bummed out he lost after he was assuming he'd easily grab that last badge) isn't really a good compensation. Show, not tell. Inner monologues are among the worst ways of exposition to a character's motivations, especially when those motivations seem somewhat out of character. It's not normally in Ash's character to be scared of strong opponents at all, definitely not so scared that it bums him out like that.
    Sure after the Aether stuff that part diminishes because they both learn from each other there. Ash experiences the dangers of Ultra Beasts from Nihilego and seeing Lillie's reactions to it and how much those experiences affect her while Gladion overcomes his total distrust of them by learning to trust Nebby and relying on it to save his mother. Still, I feel like there's more depth there, and there's also the clear rivalry between their Lycanrocs and most of Gladion's pokémon being very memorable.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
  17. Bortgreen

    Bortgreen UP NE-Let's just appreciate this for this week

    It was a great idea but deserved to be built up more slowly, similar to Ash vs Paul(the best rivalry in my opinion) who started in like the second or third episode
  18. AuraChannelerChris

    AuraChannelerChris "Oh, look. A comment."

    Sawyer was cheesy. He never had a rivalry with Ash. He existed only to make Ash look better in comparison, in line with XY hyping the kid. Sawyer was never, ever an equal for Ash, let's be honest.

    (Nor Ash was an equal to Alain.)
  19. game3524

    game3524 Well-Known Member

    It was fine for what it was intended to be (the second/lesser rival to Ash).
  20. Soniman

    Soniman Break the Limit

    It's a good thing the main hook of the rivalry was entirely about Sawyer not being Ash's equal and being someone that learns from him. Kinda sounds like it was intentional.

    How the heck is it not character related? Sawyer feels small and insecure compared to Ash and frustrated he can't catch up so he works his ass off, closes the gap, Ash tries to match up to him, loses and becomes nervous and hesitant (none of this is blatantly spelt out yo us btw) Saying it's just about raw battle power whatever is so far off the mark. Battling and character motivations are tied together because that's how a RIVALRY about two characters who learn, change and experience things through BATTLE work. That's how it's always worked. Ash explaining why he lost focus and confidence after the fact isn't really show not telling because....we already saw it happen. It's just affirmation that Ash is ready to give Sawyer his all with no hesitation, and also it wasn't necessarily about Sawyer getting stronger on its own but his own inability to measure up to him via not controlling A Greninja and losing to Wulfric and getting him hurt. Either way, saying all of this has nothing to do with character motivation is p ridiculous

    Sure but again, none if that has anything to do with their RIVALRY, it's related to the Nebby arc, Lillie, Lusamine and the Aether Foundation first and foremost. The Lycanroc rivalry is nice yeah that is related but we saw similar stuff with Greninja and Sceptile also except in reverse
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019

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