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Mallow & Lana! A Fully Powered Battle of Friendship!! (1073)

“Mao doesn’t show weakness or flaws, the girls have easy street, they get things too easy!”

*Mao struggles with Z-Move and despite perfecting it still loses, showcases personal insecurity in a full power battle, rightfully loses to a stronger and more experience opponent, but ends the episode developed and resolves to improve*

“Mao lost! She shouldn’t have entered the league! The writers hate Mao!”

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Like I said, Suiren is my fave but this was a great episode for Mao, win or not. If she had won wouldn’t people call foul over her first good Z-Move managing to OHKO a stronger and more experienced opponent? In the end she got her second wind but that didn’t change anything so she suffered a rightful loss.

Suiren has always been a girl of action, she saved Ashimari from Team Skull, she wants to explore the sea, she fished Totem Yowashi, she struggled to use Super Aqua Tornado, her Ashimari was a coward, she resolved to protect Mooland and Ashimari which earned her a Z-Ring, she caught Nagisa, she was inspired to learn SeaGod Symphony from her master, she trained Ashimari to Ashirene and made spectacular balloons, she kept up with Kasumi got a lure from her which she use to protect the god of the sea because it was hurt and Kyogre needed her.

Her victory wasn’t her being a “creator’s pet” it was a logical progression for her.
 
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nuzamaki90

Well-Known Member
Take a step back and recall that these are children who are competing in the Pokemon League, the highest stage of competition...without having to earn badges which help them grow their confidence and skill. They have one Pokemon they've trained with for most of their lives and sparse serious competition. It's like Rocky Balboa going up against a tournament filled with Apollo Creeds.

Her anxiety led to a meltdown because she realized she had no way to win and was staring down a certain loss in front of her friends and family on live television. Magical Leaf is a weak Grass attack and was blocked. Tsareena couldn't land a Trop Kick because she was area denied by Icy Wind. She'd never successfully used Bloom Doom while her opponent had an exclusive Z-Move. All her small individual fears merged and swelled into a crippling admission of weakness and guilt.

Mallow is easily the weakest battler of the group and her background showed that she needed emotional support from others. The cooking episode where she got Grassium Z was showed off her self-confidence...in an art she was already quite skilled in. Battling is outside of her element, so less self-confidence is to be expected. Especially on this stage.

Personally...I know the Americans are going to get bothered about Mallow showing weakness, but she was the ideal character to remind the audience that this is a real high-level competition and the classmates are still largely inexperienced battlers.
Mm while I love your spiritual explanation, I’m not buying it.

Mallow was never shown to have anxiety or needed emotional support from others. From the beginning of the series, she WAS the emotional support. She was Lillie’s best friend who came to visit a lot and hang out with her. She’s the one who introduced Ash to the Pokémon School. Her love for cooking and drive to find the best ingredients for her dishes always pushed her to take charge and revealed her ability to make use of Pokémon, moves, and their characteristics to help with her dishes. This latent ingenuity is what made her such a good character in the beginning and could’ve EASILY been converted into battling tactics.

Remember the bread festival where Mallow immediately became head chef after Ulu and her dad messed things up, or her “trial” Epsiode where she took charge in helping Oranguru with its restaurant? Or hell, when she was brimming with confidence during the gym battle against Misty, so much so that she was the one to make the FIRST move. The whole depressed/anxiety/nervous shtick is not for Mallow because she’s never been shown to be any of those. Mallow is like the big sister of the group and has all the confidence in the world, she’s trying to be owner of her family restaurant for God’s sake. This episode showed an uncharacteristic and outright jarring take on Mallow’s character which I can only assume was used as an excuse for her to lose.
 

Akkipeddi

White Yaksha
Take a step back and recall that these are children who are competing in the Pokemon League, the highest stage of competition...without having to earn badges which help them grow their confidence and skill. They have one Pokemon they've trained with for most of their lives and sparse serious competition. It's like Rocky Balboa going up against a tournament filled with Apollo Creeds.

Her anxiety led to a meltdown because she realized she had no way to win and was staring down a certain loss in front of her friends and family on live television. Magical Leaf is a weak Grass attack and was blocked. Tsareena couldn't land a Trop Kick because she was area denied by Icy Wind. She'd never successfully used Bloom Doom while her opponent had an exclusive Z-Move. All her small individual fears merged and swelled into a crippling admission of weakness and guilt.

Mallow is easily the weakest battler of the group and her background showed that she needed emotional support from others. The cooking episode where she got Grassium Z was showed off her self-confidence...in an art she was already quite skilled in. Battling is outside of her element, so less self-confidence is to be expected. Especially on this stage.

Personally...I know the Americans are going to get bothered about Mallow showing weakness, but she was the ideal character to remind the audience that this is a real high-level competition and the classmates are still largely inexperienced battlers.
Then that begs the question: what are half the classmates doing here participating in the league? Furthermore, their league participation is meaningless to their actual goals. They knew this was a high level competition, and that they were going to be horribly out of their depth, but still decided to participate. No point for Mallow to have suddenly panicked at this stage 'because she's afraid of losing'. Girl please, no one forced you to be here.
 

TheWanderingMist

Kanae, Keeper of the Gates Emblazoned
Free pass with the entire evolutions. Solely because she's the creator pet. -.-
Good luck defending that
Lana was shown training at least twice on screen and again, she actually took the trial legitimately. Popplio should have evolved far earlier given Lana's willingness to train her.

Bounsweet and Steenee's evolutions came out of nowhere. Mallow wasn't shown training until that one episode where Tsareena was beating up fish Pokemon. So, again, who's the creator's pet here?
 

Doppelgänger

Superancient Member
Mallow was never shown to have anxiety or needed emotional support from others. From the beginning of the series, she WAS the emotional support. She was Lillie’s best friend who came to visit a lot and hang out with her. She’s the one who introduced Ash to the Pokémon School. Her love for cooking and drive to find the best ingredients for her dishes always pushed her to take charge and revealed her ability to make use of Pokémon, moves, and their characteristics to help with her dishes. This latent ingenuity is what made her such a good character in the beginning and could’ve EASILY been converted into battling tactics.
All of her official battles before the league were double battles, and she was always paired with Lana (v. Misty, v. Lusamine). Even in the Battle Royale, she teamed up with Lana. This episode showed that partnership wasn't coincidence and Lana's presence made her more comfortable and confident. The 1-2 punch of having to battle her best friend without her best friend's emotional support is why she crumbled like she did.

We know she's confident in cooking but that was something she had lots of practice and experience in. The training wheels never came off for battling, unlike for Sophocles or Lillie. Collapsing like this was in-character even if we'd never seen it happen before.
 

Almighty Zard

He has returned.
let's face it, no matter which girl won their would've been complaints in the end about something.

Thinking back, Meltan might be a strong attacker since it did (albeit with Rowlet's help but still) one shot Ryuki's two dragons, so I don't mind that as much, besides it sounds like Faba tried to cheat, so he deserved it.

paul? what just because used a decent strategy he suddenly like paul? or am i missing something?
what he did is a very paul style tactic, he let the child to get in the way of the mother's attacks, forcing her to stop and attacking her when she was open.

you know wasn't the whole reason for the animation change to avoid using repeat animation in the first place? that X-scissor scene was the same every single time.

I still think their should've been more of a reaction to Guzma's win, especially from the class and Kakui, since he just flat out beat one of the school's prodigies and the favorite to win the tournament.
 

Doppelgänger

Superancient Member
Since the end of Sinnoh there's been a shortage of trainers who actually use anime-based strategies. No one used them in Unova. Ash and Sawyer were the only ones who did in Kalos, and Sawyer's strategies were at times quite questionable.

We haven't seen an enemy trainer with both brains and brawn since Paul. The majority of trainers in Unova and Kalos simply overpowered the competition with overleveled aces.
 

Red and Blue

Well-Known Member
Hau not using Raichu's Z move gives him an excuse to stick around at least. He won't use it against Ash so there is a chance for after the League
 

nuzamaki90

Well-Known Member
All of her official battles before the league were double battles, and she was always paired with Lana (v. Misty, v. Lusamine). Even in the Battle Royale, she teamed up with Lana. This episode showed that partnership wasn't coincidence and Lana's presence made her more comfortable and confident. The 1-2 punch of having to battle her best friend without her best friend's emotional support is why she crumbled like she did.

We know she's confident in cooking but that was something she had lots of practice and experience in. The training wheels never came off for battling, unlike for Sophocles or Lillie. Collapsing like this was in-character even if we'd never seen it happen before.
See the thing with that is it was never shown that Mallow was reliant on the others during the other battles. Mallow always took charge, she was always the first to make a move when the battles began and had utmost confidence that they would succeed. She never showed signs of faltering due to not having the support of her friends. So again, it’s just random and uncharacteristic. And even still, right before the battle and even during the battle Lana and Mallow vowed to make it a fun battle between friends, so she’s STILL getting emotional support even if her friends aren’t standing by her side.

And if you really want to talk about experience, Mallow has battled more than both Lillie and Soph, and they ALL were training in preparation for the League. For her to suddenly look so inexperienced and tripping over herself was embarrassing and really bad treatment of her character. Again, Queenly Majesty basically scuffing Primarina of a move would’ve made for a much more interesting battle. This was Mallow’s debut of her Z-Move yet the first use of it was a total bust unlike literally everyone else. She didn’t even get to land a hit, even if it would ultimately be the smallest scratch.
 

J. D. Guy

Well-Known Member
I'm not happy about the outcome (for tangential reasons) but I really appreciate how this unfolded.
Hm. As a small aside, what were the tangential reasons for your unsatisfaction with the outcome?

Since the end of Sinnoh there's been a shortage of trainers who actually use anime-based strategies. No one used them in Unova. Ash and Sawyer were the only ones who did in Kalos, and Sawyer's strategies were at times quite questionable.

We haven't seen an enemy trainer with both brains and brawn since Paul. The majority of trainers in Unova and Kalos simply overpowered the competition with overleveled aces.
A small thing, but I feel this might be a bit of an overgeneralization. While I can't cite specific examples either way right now, I do feel you may be downplaying the strategic elements present in the Unovan trainers (lost track of X and Y after an early point, so can't be concrete about them). I'm mostly even noting this since I feel partly obligated to do so, as Black/White tends to get downplayed or downtalked as a matter of course.
 
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Doppelgänger

Superancient Member
And even still, right before the battle and even during the battle Lana and Mallow vowed to make it a fun battle between friends, so she’s STILL getting emotional support even if her friends aren’t standing by her side.
You basically described the lesson learned from this episode. Mallow cracked but needed Tsareena's defiance and Lana's pep talk to have a change of heart. And she grew enough to use Bloom Doom which failed three episodes earlier.

The drama unfolded because of deep emotions that were only subtly hinted at prior to this episode. Even if someone had called this ahead of time, I don't think it would have been justified from the scant evidence we were given. The battle record was too limited for us to confidently say anything more than Lana had the advantage.

If someone came from the future yesterday and wrote, "Mallow gets crushed, does no damage, has emotional breakdown" I would have to ask if Lana used a Latios.

And if you really want to talk about experience, Mallow has battled more than both Lillie and Soph, and they ALL were training in preparation for the League. For her to suddenly look so inexperienced and tripping over herself was embarrassing and really bad treatment of her character. Again, Queenly Majesty basically scuffing Primarina of a move would’ve made for a much more interesting battle. This was Mallow’s debut of her Z-Move yet the first use of it was a total bust unlike literally everyone else. She didn’t even get to land a hit, even if it would ultimately be the smallest scratch.
This is where character agency comes into play. Sophocles, Lillie, and Lana are much more responsible for how powerful their Pokemon are than Mallow is with Tsareena. Tsareena's evolutions happened without an overarching narrative explanation as for why.

We've seen Vikavolt get strong through competition, Vulpix get stronger through friendship and mentorship, and Primarina get stronger through through all three. Tsareena had no rivals, no mentors, and her one notable interaction (with Rowlet) ended after she evolved.

So, it was nice that this episode gave us some insight into her personality, because since evolution we really didn't know anything about how Tsareena thinks.
 

Ignition

Love when the mods can’t do their jobs properly
Pretty meh episode.

Ash vs Faba: Alright, so did no one see Hypno grab Ash’s Pokèball? Anyway the battle itself was pretty mediocre. Honestly should’ve been another character besides Faba if he wasn’t going to use Psychium Z

Guzma vs Illima: The best match in the episode. Scizor showed some typical “hit and run” tactics so nothing too interesting there but Illima did well showcasing Mega Kangaskhan. The baby Kanga was adorable

Hau vs Oak: Don’t really know what to say here. It just happened and then moved on. Hala being proud was wholesome

Lana vs Mallow: As expected, Lana wins. Icy Wind coming out of nowhere was dumb but I see what they were going for. I understand that Lana’s more experienced but Tsareena is faster than Primarina (who’s on land) so it couldn’t have gotten one hit? Loved the music used in this section of the episode though

7/10. Was expecting more tension
 

Doppelgänger

Superancient Member
Hm. As a small aside, what were the tangential reasons for your unsatisfaction with the outcome?
I wanted to see Shaymin Sky be an unholy terror like wtfstomp through a team. Pikachu's battle against Latios became a larger-than-life legend that hasn't been approached 10 years later.

You need a legend to make a legendary fight.

A small thing, but I feel this might be a bit of an overgeneralization. While I can't cite specific examples either way right now, I do feel you may be downplaying the strategic elements present in the Unovan trainers (lost track of X and Y after an early point, so can't be concrete about them). I'm mostly even noting this since I feel partly obligated to do so, as Black/White tends to get downplayed or downtalked as a matter of course.
Best Wishes is fresh in my mind since I only finished it this year. Unova avoided using anime strategies and mostly stuck to type and evolution matchups, beyond simply the "dodge" command.

There are a few one-off examples, like Sawk getting restrained by String Shot, Pawniard getting stuck in the ground or Tynamo getting sniped through smoke, but they were never shown to be part of a consistent out-of-the-box strategy.

Use the horn, soak the Onix, tail springboard, ride lightning, Thunder Armour, and similar arsepull solutions never happened in Unova. That reflects the series back-to-basics approach.

Kalos Ash was CONSTANTLY using unconventional strategies, and his battle record reflects what happens when one character consistently outsmarts 99% of the other trainers. It played very heavily into the hero-worship that loomed over that journey.
 

J. D. Guy

Well-Known Member
I wanted to see Shaymin Sky be an unholy terror like wtfstomp through a team. Pikachu's battle against Latios became a larger-than-life legend that hasn't been approached 10 years later.

You need a legend to make a legendary fight.



Best Wishes is fresh in my mind since I only finished it this year. Unova avoided using anime strategies and mostly stuck to type and evolution matchups, beyond simply the "dodge" command.

There are a few one-off examples, like Sawk getting restrained by String Shot, Pawniard getting stuck in the ground or Tynamo getting sniped through smoke, but they were never shown to be part of a consistent out-of-the-box strategy.

Use the horn, soak the Onix, tail springboard, ride lightning, Thunder Armour, and similar arsepull solutions never happened in Unova. That reflects the series back-to-basics approach.

Kalos Ash was CONSTANTLY using unconventional strategies, and his battle record reflects what happens when one character consistently outsmarts 99% of the other trainers. It played very heavily into the hero-worship that loomed over that journey.
For the former, that would have been awesome and legit beautiful to see. I would have loved it. Alas. Still, we might see Sky Forme awesomeness in whatever they have planned for post-league/swan song, but it just won't be part of the League (which is were the biggest majesty would come).


For the latter, all I will say is fair enough. Your elaboration here is fair and clear, and I appreciate that. X and Y was very "Ultra-Shonen", which did make for cool spectacles, but even though I dropped off keeping up with the episodes directly, half-way between the first two Gyms, I could tell the hero-centrism was strong and stifling (what with the misaimed reads it spawned), which likely hurt the overall sense of positiveness from the sheer spectacle nature of going hard-core Ultra-Shonen.
 
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ash&charizardfan

Humans are tools
This episode one again proves that guzma is the best character in SM series, this guy should have had more sceentime an intimidating guy to bring some seriousness in the series.
 

British Soul

Top Hat Regulator
To be fair, Faba deserved to lose. He essentially cheated by manipulating what Pokémon Ash used, all so he can face the Masked Royal, yet everyone turned a blind eye.

Faba: (To Hala) Judge! How is that legal?!
Me: I dunno, how is it any less legal than your blatant cheating before the match began?
 
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