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Kanto League vs Unova League; Which Was Worse?

Discussion in 'Animé Polls' started by Genaller, Nov 8, 2018.


Which League was worse?

  1. Indigo Conference

  2. Vetress Conference

  3. Both were equally bad

  1. Genaller

    Genaller May 16th 2016 - October 12th 2019

    The 2 most infamous league conferences in the show’s history, but which 1 was worse? I myself am actually not sure here. See if I assessed them both in isolation then I’d award Kanto the crown of worst league though Kanto has the excuse that it was first whereas Unova came after the glorious Sinnoh League making its atrocious quality all the more inexcusable.
  2. keepitsimple

    keepitsimple That is very silly

    Kanto's league was the worst just judging both on their own merits yes (even tho at least Togepi didn't get lost in the middle of the league so there's that)
    ash&charizardfan likes this.
  3. PokemonBattleFanatic-

    PokemonBattleFanatic- Standby for Battle!

    Kanto League was trash,if you're someone like myself that's into strategic/back and forth battling then this one ain't the one to watch it lacks both of those qualities.Unova League is around average territory,it had one good battle and a few okay ones,nothing great or spectacular.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  4. Kanto league was worst by far
  5. mehmeh1

    mehmeh1 Being Human

    Kanto had the worst battle in the franchise (ash vs ritchie), 2 funny but otherwise just okbattles (mandy and the bellsprout trainer), and 2 incomplete battles, Unova had 1 great battle, an infamously stupid battle that had a few cool moments (ash vs cameron), an infamously anticlimactic battle (ash vs trip), an incomplete battle (ash vs darumaka trainer), and a good battle (bianca vs cameron), I'll give it to unova
  6. Context is important here.

    The Kanto league was produced at a time where the importance of Pokemon battles was there impact on the story, and not the strategies used by the trainers. The league's purpose wasn't to be an exhibition of great battling, but as a wake-up call for Ash and Gary. Narratively, the league is actually one of the strongest in the series. It had the balls to have Ash lose because he was careless and thought everything would be okay with Charizard despite neglecting the problem for so long.

    Later leagues were designed around interesting battles and strategies, with less emphasis on the narrative elements. With this mind, Unova's league was very weak. The shallow Ash/Trip rivalry ended at the very beginning without a full-on fight between them, and the circumstances around Ash's defeat were inexcusable. I don't recall a single great battle from that tournament.

    So the Unova league might be the worst.
  7. Dragalge

    Dragalge Larry, Buznut, Countey, Astar, Feh, & Eggbert

    Kanto imo because that referee was a dumby.
  8. Gizmoduck

    Gizmoduck Burns eternally hot

    The anime has never done any league or battles justice in my opinion. It's a very lacking adaptation of the games for me.

    So can I say all?
    keepitsimple likes this.
  9. Ignition

    Ignition Smug Smasher

    Kanto. At least Unova had Ash vs Stephan as a decent battle (best one in the league)
    Kuzehiko likes this.
  10. ash&charizardfan

    ash&charizardfan Humanity's greatest soldier

    At least unnova had one great battle in ash vs stephan, indigo league doesn't have any match even half of that calibre. But still what were writers thinking in putting a useless filler 'lost in the league' in between the league. Even indigo league had 2 non battling episodes in between ash's league match and his top 16 match with ritchie which could have been used to show his incomplete shown rock and ice battlefield match.
    keepitsimple likes this.
  11. Genaller

    Genaller May 16th 2016 - October 12th 2019

    Bascially it amounts to In-Battle quality vs narrative quality. The Indigo League’s battles are a complete disgrace compared to the aggregate standards of league battles we currently know though ultimately the league fulfilled its narrative role in Ash’s story which was to give him a wake up call about just how incompetent he’s been for not sorting out Zard’s disobedience issues not to mention that it conveyed just how high the skill lvl is at events like these when the person he admired so much at the time (Gary) was taken out relatively early.

    Unova has superior battles overall for sure with Ash vs Stephan being of particular note, but ultimately the Unova League symbolized just what an utter regression Ash had in BW as a whole and was the final nail in the coffin for many fans (myself included) to still have any ounce of respect for this saga. Bascially while the Kanto League is a joke compared the standards of other leagues battle wise, it served a narrative purpose and ultimately resulted in positive growth for Ash whereas the Unova League served as the final and most severe gut punch that saga to every fan who had any long term investment in the anime. In the end it boils down to what each person individually can forgive, and I can never forgive the Unova League (nor BW as a whole for that matter) for butchering my childhood.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  12. 345ash-greninja

    345ash-greninja Leader Of The Dai-Gurren

    Kanto League by far. Pretty much all of the battles except Ash vs Pete (which was also shown incompletely BTW) were treated like gags and not like normal battles. Ash vs Mandi was was a cheap DEM and cop out with Kingler learning a bunch of cheap moves out of absolutely nowhere, Ash vs Jeanette Fisher was a gag joke with Bellsprout vs Muk (honestly that Bellsprout was a gag joke itself).

    And then comes Ritchie, the undisputedly worst battle ever in the Pokemon anime. There was hardly even a proper KO in the entire battle: I mean apparently sleep = faint, that's what Squirtle vs Butterfree says, meaning if one can teach his Pokemon sleeping moves he/she could be the champion. Charmander runs away from Charizard being too frightened and Ritchie recalls it, so apparently it looses. And then comes the most anticlimactic ending ever possible, Ash looses the match due to Charizard not listening to him and taking a nap, a.k.a. refuses to battle. Loosing a match due to your Pokemon refusing to listen your commands, literally what can get worse than it? It was a severe humiliation for Ash. A Pokemon trainer who competes in a high-level tournament like a Pokemon League is at the very least expected to able to command his/her Pokemon appropriately in battles.....but in that battle, everyone in the audience saw that Ash, a trainer who make it to the Top 16 of a League, can't even get his Pokemon to listen to his commands appropriately during a battle, which is pretty much the basic of Pokemon training and battling. He was massively humiliated in the front of a large audience in a prestigious high-level battling tournament like a Pokemon League. Hardly anything gets worse than that, it was the worst battle in the history of the Pokemon anime ever. Undoubtedly the Kanto League was the worst League by far.

    Sure, Unova was very bad, it spent an entire episode on Axew getting lost, sure it turned the battle with Ash's main Unova rival into a 1 vs 1, sure it contradicted Ash's progression by making him regress in League ranking and made him lose to a legitimate IQ > 50 who only used 5 Pokemon and threw 2 of his Pokemon in 4x type disadvantages, but at least the League had proper battles with proper KOs with some good animation. At least Ash didn't lose a battle because his Pokemon refused to listen to himself, which can be the worst reason to lose a battle (because commanding your Pokemon properly and getting him listen to you is something which falls in basics of Pokemon trainer and battling, someone who competes in a high level tournament like a Pokemon League, should at the very least expected to do that).
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    Kuzehiko likes this.
  13. Genaller

    Genaller May 16th 2016 - October 12th 2019

    I’m fine with everything else and I don’t mind you considering Kanto the worse League, but I’ve got to put my foot down when it comes to this point.

    — First off yup Charizard not listening to Ash would formally be called an “anticlimax”. Does that make it badly wirtten? No! Matter of fact it was properly foreshadowed and made complete sense when it happened.

    — Why is Ash getting severely humiliated necessarily a bad thing? Ash in Kanto was an objectively bad trainer who only earned 3 of his badges legitimately and out of those 3 2 of them were thanks to Charizard! It’s his fault for not bothering to take care of Charizard’s disobedience during the 2 months of training despite knowing that Zard won him the majority of his legitimately earned badges. In truth loosing the way he did was perfect commupence given the carefree attitude he approached his league preparation with, and frankly it’s a miracle that he even got as far as he did given his lack of preparation.

    — Honestly it seems like you’re more concerned with how “cool” or rather how “not-pathetic” Ash looks rather than Ash’s actual progression. Does the Kanto league make Ash look comparatively worse that the Unova League? Sure. Is that portrayal consistent with the narrative up until then? Absolutely! Is Ash’s portrayal in the Unova League consistent with the narrative (of the entire anime) till that point? Absolutely not! In conclusion Ash’s portrayal in the Kanto League was objectively better written than Ash’s portrayal in the Unova League based on everything that had come before in both cases.

    Oh and fyi you were being repetitive and verbose in your assessment.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    VoltTacklingPika likes this.
  14. Pretty much this. There's no denying that the battles back in Kanto were well below the standard we would get later on in the series, and that detracts from the overall experience.

    But the leagues are usually the climatic point of any series, so the stakes should be at their highest. The battles should be entertaining in their own way, but also hold a lot of narrative importance to the characters involved.

    Which is why I actually think comparing Kanto to Unova is unfair on Kanto. I consider the Hoenn league to be worse than Kanto, though that's for another thread.
    Ash-Pikachu and Genaller like this.
  15. NPT

    NPT Just a member

    Both Leagues were terrible IMO.
    SH65 and keepitsimple like this.
  16. Akkipeddi

    Akkipeddi Gold Experience

    Going purely by the fact that Leagues generally showcase the progress of Ash's Pokémon and in general have good battles, obviously the Indigo League sucks purely in that aspect. Ash vs Ritchie was not even really a battle and was just a gag. However, despite how stupid and humiliating Ash's loss was in Indigo, it was coming, since Ash made no effort to train his Charizard, and it came back to bite him. It also brought him some humility from the experience, since he was horribly cocky in Kanto despite being a terrible trainer. So from a narrative standpoint, the Kanto League made sense since it showed that Ash had a long, long way to go before coming even remotely close to being a somewhat competent trainer.

    Which brings me to the Vertress Conference. Sure when you compare the two, this league had better battles, but in the end, this actually pissed me off more, since it was a sucker punch truth that Ash was severely regressed in this saga and it was proven by having him lose to one of the worst characters ever seen in the anime. So in the end, the Kanto League had a reason for being the way it was, since it helped Ash grow as a character, while the Unova League didn't have any narrative reason for being so bad. Hence, I still say that the Vertress Conference is worse due to the reasons above.
    Genaller likes this.
  17. 345ash-greninja

    345ash-greninja Leader Of The Dai-Gurren

    And I don't mind you disagreeing with me here, but know for a fact that I'd make my personal business to thoroughly debunk any viewpoint which challenges my view of Kanto League being the worst League by far.

    Sure, it made complete sense, totally, even though Ash knew that Charizard was disobedient and won't listen to him, and still made the choice to bring it down. Totally it made sense to bring out Charizard that time, a disobedient Pokemon, without thinking about the most likely possible consequences. Even though he had Bulbasaur (despite being ambushed by the Trio prior to the match) in his arsenal who got 2 KO's in the previous match.

    And before you want to argue that Bulbasaur had a clear disadvantage vs Charmander, need I remind you that Bulbasaur defeated 2 Pokemon in the previous match despite having type disadvantages against both of them (especially a double disadvantage against Scyther, who was a Bug/Flying type)? Anyday it was preferable over a disobedient Pokemon who was pretty much confirmed not to listen to him.

    Actually why the pity badges would happen in the first place? Why portray him that much laughably incompetent like that, so much that he can't earn badges legitimately? Why portray him that bad? That's my very problem with OS in the place.

    Because he was a newbie just starting around his journey? Yeah, no I'm not buying it. Just because he was a newbie who just started his journey doesn't necessarily mean that he has to be portrayed that laughably. I mean, as he is a newbie, portray his shortcomings that newbie is supposed to have, but have him overcome it via struggle and hard work. But don't just hand over things to him on a silver platter like the pity badges. Because then things don't feel earned but more like a cheap cop-out. Make him lose to Gym Leaders, maybe even twice, and then have him win in rematches. Why not make him try to sort out Charizard's disobedient issues and struggle a lot doing it before the League instead of leaving it the way it is? So nope the pity badges they made Ash earn in Kanto wasn't justified whatsoever.

    So you trying to justify Ash's horrible and humiliating loss at the Kanto League, because of his pity badges in Kanto and how bad a trainer he was at Kanto is bad reasoning in the first place, especially when those pity badges and and portraying him as such a bad trainer was such a garbage thing in the first place. So that doesn't justify at all the horrible way Ash lost the League (due to his Pokemon not listening to him, which is something which belongs to the basics of Pokemon training and not expected of a trainer competing in such a high level tournament like a Pokemon league).

    Also if we are going by your logic, one can also justify Ash's Unova League loss by that way. Like Ash was regressed from the very start of BW, his Pikachu lost to a beginner's Snivy in the very first episode, he lost to a beginner trainer's Trip multiple times, he struggled to win 6 vs 3 battle against Roxie, so him losing Cameron that way I guess was also "understandable".

    But that logic is fallacious because: making Ash regress in BW that way was garbage in the first place. Just like how making Ash earn pity badges handed to him on a silver platter abd portraying Ash as such a bad trainer was really poor and garbage in the first place. Even if it was the beginning of his journey.

    Nope, it's more like I waa considering all aspects together and then judging. Loosing because your Pokemon refuses to listen to you and takes a nap is likely the worst possible way to lose, because having your Pokemon listen to you during a battle and being able to appropriately command him is something which falls in the basics of Pokemon training and battling, it's something which is at the very least expected of a trainer who competes in a high level tournament like a Pokemon League. Loosing a 5 vs 6 battle due to not being competent enough as a battler is obviously very bad and horrible, but at least he battled properly and legitimately and then lost, his Pokemon gave it their all, he didn't lose due to not being to do basic aspects like having his Pokemon listen to himself and command it appropriately. So in terms of making Ash look worse, Kanto League clearly takes the cake.

    In terms of progression, oh well, obviously the Unova was worse, because that straight up from a narrative perspective contradicted Ash's progression by making him regress in League rankings, which was hard to digest, while the Kanto League didn't do that because that was Ash's very first League ever. But even here, one could make an arguement that Ash's laughably incompetent portrayal in OS was really too much despite him being a rookie, cuz he was handed many things on a silver platter like the pity badges instead of being made to struggle hard/loose multipke times in order legitimately earn them (which would be arguably a better portrayal) and then lose the League because of his Pokemon disobeying him, not listening to himself and refusing to battle. Bringing in the arguement that Ash's start of his journey in his home region, was not something done right for a beginner/rookie who is the protagonist. So narratively that doesn't make too much sense either.

    And lastly, not considering Ash and judging from a neutral point of view, the Unova League had better quality battles, clearly better animation too, and thus from a neutral POV at least comparatively more enjoyable to watch as well. The Kanto League hardly had a battle which can be enjoyed from even a neutral POV, as all the battles were mainly gag-based jokes, or consisting of ridiculous stuff like Pokemon being declares being unable to battle because they fell asleep, they loose a match due to running away being frightened and recalled by its trainer like it happened in the worst battle in the history of the Pokemon anime which hardly consisted of a proper KO.

    So yep, overall considering all aspects, I do find more reasons to call the Kanto League clearly worser than the Unova League.

    Well, you found it that way, but oh well...know that you were also making faulty analogies in your arguments like using Ash's pity badges and being clearly a bad trainer in OS to justify his Kanto League loss better when those pity badges and being portrayed so laughably as a trainer were garbage and not justifiable in the first place.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    Minedreigon likes this.
  18. Genaller

    Genaller May 16th 2016 - October 12th 2019

    In Ash’s mind Bulbasaur didn’t have sufficient strength to give him the win. Ash had access to information on Ritchie which likely included things like win rates of each Pokémon as well as probably video replays (Kalos had them). Based on that in addition to the type disadvantage issue Ash concluded that Bulbasaur didn’t have the strength to beat Charmandar + the next Pokémon and the only Pokémon in his arsenal with a chance was Charizard. Ritchie’s team was considered by both Brock and Misty to be similar to Ash’s, so Ritchie’s Charmander could’ve just had the strength of Ash’s Bulbasaur at the time.

    Clear example of your reptitiveness and verbosity.

    Really? Bulbasaur -> will obey but knows won’t win according to Ash based on the information he had at the time. Charizard -> may or may not obey (he does when the challenge was good enough which Ash naively hoped would be the case in a league match), but if he obeys then Ash wins. Yeah the option with a non-zero probability of winning for me is the 1 I’d take over the option where I have no confidence in victory.

    Because he was a legitimately awful trainer who lucked out a lot of the time and bought into his own hype to the point where he didn’t properly prepare for the league which ended up costing him; plain and simple. Being so awful is what makes Ash’s growth into the person he became later on all the more satisfying.

    He didn’t have to be, but narratively it's far more interesting that he was rather than just being another generic shonen protagonist who wins the vast majority of his major fights. Ash’s many flaws and how he gradually overcame them is the charm in his character and it’s honestly disappointing that you don’t understand that.

    Okay now you’re being fallacious. You’re talking about how Ash ought to have been written during OS which is a separate matter from whether his portrayal in the League was consistent with his portrayal in OS up until that point. My claim is the part in bold and how you think Ash should’ve been written in Kanto is completely irrelevant to the validity of my claim.

    Once again being verbose and repetitive. Also again you’re the 1 being fallacious here and I’ve already explained why.
    Oh wow your faulty analogy lvl is OVER 9000!!! Here’s the difference between the 2 cases; Ash’s portrayal in Kanto by definition can’t contradict his progression since Kanto was the first time we saw Ash meaning Kanto gave us our baseline expectations for him. Unova on the other hand has the information of everything from OS - DP behind it, so every time Ash acts of is portrayed to be regressed, it serves as an explicit contradiction to his profession in those series. It’s hilarious that you’re equating the 2 and that I actually had to explain the difference.

    More verbosity and repetitiveness. Also news flash: worse way of loosing =/= more poorly written way of loosing. You’re making this way too easy :).

    Right Ash looked worse which is what you seem to care more about rather than the consistency of Ash’s progression.

    Thank goodness you understand this.

    I’m sorry, but who the heck are you to say what is and isn’t acceptable for a beginning protragonist? Regardless once again you’re talking about how Ash ought to have been portrayed which is irrelevant to the question of whether his portrayal was consistent which is my main claim.

    Sure I never contested that. Ultimately it boils down to Narrative quality vs in-Battle writing quality and I can forgive Kanto’s in-Battle writing, but I will never forgive BW regressing Ash.

    Yeah look up the definition of “faulty analogy”. You’re the 1 conflating an “ought to” question with an “is” question a.k.a you’re the 1 being fallacious.
    Ash-Pikachu and keepitsimple like this.
  19. You're totally missing the point of what Kanto tried to do.

    The entire point of the pity badges was that they didn't feel earned in a way a gym badge should be. Every time Ash was handed a badge, it inflated his ego that little bit more, to the point where he believed his own hype. As the audience, we know he's not all that, but Ash doesn't (it's a cool little thing called dramatic irony). Doing this sets-up a big fall for Ash so he well and truly learns his lesson and then improves. They did this in the league because it was the most important moment in Ash's career to that point, therefore it has far greater consequences than losing any other fight.

    In other words, it's basic build-up > pay-off. The pity badges were totally justified because they resulted in a great pay-off for the character.

    They didn't do things as you suggested because Ash's arc wasn't about struggling to overcome things. It was about coming to terms with his own flaws and bringing out the good qualities within himself.

    They didn't resolve the Charizard issue earlier because, again, it's tied directly into Ash's development. Ash doesn't know how to solve the problem because he's inexperienced and out of his depth, but he doesn't want to admit it. He would rather bluster his way through than admit his own shortcomings. Hence, it makes total sense for his character to gamble on Charizard obeying rather than sort out the problem.

    Only when the problem comes back to bite him on the biggest stage does the penny drop. And when they lose again in the Orange Islands, Ash now knows he has to win back Charizard's trust and respect, and does so by proving he'll never abandon it - which also happens to be one of his redeeming qualities as a character.

    Whether or not you like this portrayal of Ash is besides the point. Everything here is coherent and worthwhile.
  20. Zoruagible

    Zoruagible Lover of underrated characters

    Unova because Ash digressed in progress, and it was such a downgrade compared to the Sinnoh League as well. No good battles apart from Stephan and Ash and they eliminated Trip round one...... ROUND ONE! That was pathetic, we never got to see him and Ash do a 6v6!

    Still better than Kalos though

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