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Which Series Had The Best Overall Pacing?

Discussion in 'Animé Polls' started by Genaller, Sep 30, 2018.


Which Series Had The Best Overall Pacing?

  1. OS: Kanto/OI

  2. OS: Johto

  3. AG

  4. DP

  5. BW

    0 vote(s)
  6. XY

  7. SM (so far)

    0 vote(s)
  1. Genaller

    Genaller May 16th 2016 - October 12th 2019

    In many discussions over here you’ll often see “pacing” brought up when criticizing a given story arc, character arc or even series as a whole. With this in mind which series do you think had the closest to what you would consider “ideal pacing” in terms of both story progression and character development? Also as a bonus it’d be great if you could elaborate on what you think does and doesn’t constitute good pacing in general (which may or may not vary with the tone of a given series for you). I’ll post my own thoughts on the matter later since this is something that I’m actually not sure about.
  2. ash&charizardfan

    ash&charizardfan Humanity's greatest soldier

    That depends on which pacing you are talking about, the villain arc- the league, ash's gym quest and pokegirl's own quest, overall i think both AG and XY had a great pacing with a rushed league and the main girl not getting enough performance chances, ash got all his 8 badges around 120 episodes in both AG and XY but may's quest in AG was way too convenient she never really struggled in her quest which is unbelievable considering she was not keen on becoming a trainer and couldn't even have a proper battle, dawn's quest was perfect she lost 5-6 times and had her own depression arc before winning all her ribbons. The biggest issue with DP pacing was the gap between 7 and 8 gym badges. Ash looked like he was just goofing off in that time and wasn't interested in getting his last badge, they also made dawn lose pointlessly in one contest. It was like writers had no idea how to pace it since BW was still very far away and they had to pass the time until BW starts. I would say overall AG and XY were two series with best pacing but edging to XY since it had better and interesting storyline.
  3. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    Didn't Serena's arc suffer the same lack of challenge and substance as May's though? Granted I think only OS and DP were instances the writers were willing to let the cute girls have palpable 'loser' moments to flow their development properly, no matter what pace they went. These days they begrudge them even losing a competition on their first try or even doing a battle where they take damage back, while even the third wheel boys have some natural wins and losses. That's an issue, but not down to pacing.

    I think in general we have a pattern in terms of series. We have an experimental series that twists and tries new things but lacks direction, thus pretty erratic pacing (eg. OS, BW, SM) and then we get a more founded series that refined on what the previous ones tried, thus more consistent pacing, if sometimes at the cost of being more bland or predictable (eg. DP, XY).
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
    Pokegirl Fan~ likes this.
  4. Serenas arc alone brings down XY's pacing imo, since she had a very slow start then her Showcase arc was rushed and then she ended up being mostly irrelevant again after the master class. Also some of the gym battle gaps were way too close to each other and others took forever to go through and had a bunch of awful fillers that made it feel like it dragged on a lot longer.

    I think AG has gotten it right for the most part in terms of pacing overall.
    PorcelainVulpix likes this.
  5. Akkipeddi

    Akkipeddi Gold Experience

    Agree mostly with ash&charizardfan. AG and XY definitely felt like they had the best pacing, with the gym battle intervals never feeling like they were too long, decent intervals between the next contest/showcase for May and Serena, as well as reasonable amounts of training episodes. However, XY gets the nod ahead simply due to XYZ over BF. Both are great seasons, but XYZ felt gripping and I thought the pacing was great, with minimal filler and constant episodes involving Team Flare leading up to their end game. Now obviously, there are definite issues as well, with Serena's goal taking a bit too long to begin, and her goal also feeling like it ended a bit too soon. There's also the issue of the league feeling rushed. But other than that, XY was the closest that we had to a series that had pretty good pacing, without ever feeling like the series was going nowhere.

    That imo, is what bring DP down, since despite it being a great series, that 50 episode gap between the 7th and 8th gym battle really felt like a slog. I know some important events occurred during this time, but from what I remember, it was mostly fillers. Of course, BW takes it for worst pacing since the whole series was technically over in 2.5 years, since the last 6 months were basically filler. However, SM seems bent on earning that reputation instead, since it's pacing is woeful and all over the place. Important arcs start out of the blue with no buildup, and they're over in the blink of an eye.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
    janejane6178 and 345ash-greninja like this.
  6. Captain Jigglypuff

    Captain Jigglypuff Leader of Jigglypuff Army Staff Member Moderator

    I say AG and DP both had the best pacing. AG took the anime in a new direction without Misty and it was well written how Togepi essentially grew up and wanted to protect its previous evolution from threats. Magma and Aqua posed as actual threats and seeing TRio dealing with a rival group was fun to see. DP helped develop Ash into being a bit more serious when it comes to battles and Team Galatica were very effective at their goal and Cyrus actually won and achieved his main goal of creating a new world when he went into the portal.
    Ignition likes this.
  7. Power Up

    Power Up ...

    What do you mean Serena was lacking loser moments? She lost twice.

    I for one didn't predict Ash would lose in the Kalos League or Serena would kiss him. I didn't even think Goodra would leave. So ye, it really wasn't predictable. It being bland is your opinion, but it wasn't really predictable.
    janejane6178 and Genaller like this.
  8. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    She lost in more spurious ways however, the implication being she only lost because her Pokemon tripped rather than being upstaged. And even considering how many times she battled, being KOed ONCE (and even taking token damage only a nominal amount of times) does feel very bubble wrapped, compared to even May that at least got legit outmatched a few token times in both battles and contests and had a couple developed rivals. Serena also had increasing focus only on things she was good at, no matter how obscure, compared to even XY Ash that was allowed to fail miserably at odd things like dancing or be be flat out Worfed to make someone else look good. Lillie is a little more fallible, though Mallow and Lana are even further in this direction, they do minimal slapstick and aren't even allowed to look bad in mundane things like the class exercises.

    Again pacing probably wouldn't have changed this, since the writers seem to have set grounds for who and who isn't game for fallible or crushing moments.

    Most could see Ash losing a mile away since it was the same for every series before, and the kiss was ONE episode. Plus tons more TR/COTD formula than the series both before or after it (even in non-filler episodes like the first two thirds of XYZ). Bland is subjective but XY was DEFINITELY more formulaic and restricted in method than any of the aforementioned experimental series.

    I'd probably say XY WAS one of the best paced overall, since balance throughout a three season format did keep things fairly consistent (I remember wondering when the hell Team Flare were gonna do anything though), but it also shows that pacing isn't all there is to it. Some could also argue placing all the big arcs at the very end after every last one of their 'dud' episodes was also kinda underhanded, especially knowing the outcome of the league and the hype bait predating it.

    Greninja's leave was also extremely abrupt however.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
    PorcelainVulpix likes this.
  9. 345ash-greninja

    345ash-greninja Leader Of The Dai-Gurren

    It's true that Serena's goal took quite a while to kick off, with all the struggles and going against her mother's will in order to firstly find and then follow the goal but once it did start she indeed progressed quite well in her goal, excelling wonderfully in that aspect. Also she has some solid rivals in Shauna and Miette who challenged her quite well in her goal, her struggles in performing was depicted quite well and how she managed to come back strong and determined after both of her losses in Showcases.

    XY series did the pacing really well in terms of the Gym battles, they weren't really closely jammed together anytime and had a pretty reasonable gap between them, and while the gap between the Olympia and Wulfric Gym battles was really big, it didn't feel dragged at all because there weren't any filler episodes jammed in between, but actual plot centric episodes which were integral to the Team Flare and the Ash-Greninja arc. With 2 integral plot heavy arcs like the Ash-Greninja arc and the Team Flare centric episodes which led to the buildup of the epic climax that was the Flare Arc, plus also some rivalry buildup episodes of Ash-Sawyer and Ash-Alain (which were quite necessary in building up the hype for their upcoming League battle with Ash, that kind of gap between those 2 Gym battles were justified and didn't feel dragged at all. And finally, the villainous arc, a.k.a. the Team Flare arc climax were paced extremely well within 5 and a half episodes with some really intense, epic action, sinister acts with really high-stake situations like the world threatening to get destroyed.

    The only thing I found really rushed in XY/XY(Z) was the Kalos League. It was treated as a B plot to the Flare climax and plenty of battles were needlessly skipped. But I guess the intensity of the last 2 battles in the League, the amazing choreography and epic animation in those 2 battles sort of makes up for it, and the fact that those 2 were both well-paced, full 2 parter battles.

    So IMO XY series had the best pacing overall.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
    blizzardblaze and Ash-Pikachu like this.
  10. p96822

    p96822 Evolve me please

    You know that Serena was being judge by people how the performance right? Just like in real live that one misstep could cause you the spot.
  11. Dragalge

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

    For me: AG -> DP >= XY -> OS -> SM > BW

    I suppose it helped that AG and DP had four years to work with but I rank DP lower due to the long drought between Candice and Volkner (even if it did have some important things happening). XY had some decent pacing here and there (the beginning was great with it!) but it did have some bumps such as Serena’s pacing with the showcases, the league, the timespan between gyms 4 - 6 (I know it’s somewhat that way in the games but still lol), etc.

    Idk about OS as I haven’t rewatched it all yet but perhaps it’s in the middle at least.

    I gave SM the edge over BW because other than the rushed arcs sans Litten’s, I personally feel the grand trials are placed fine and it’s unrealistic to expect Ash to rush all those trials at once lol despite being easily accessible to get to the islands. BW had too many important things happening at once before Season 2 along with the league and Team Plasma which all led up to 15+ episodes of pure filler in the form of DA!
    Ignition likes this.
  12. Ignition

    Ignition Smug Smasher

    Pretty much this
  13. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    An in universe excuse doesn't make it any more interesting development. Again XY paced okay besides the ending, but that doesn't mean everything they paced was good.

    Same for DP pacing the main arcs okay besides the gyms, but still being able to have flaws that couldn't alter, like Brock being inactive and stale fillers.
  14. p96822

    p96822 Evolve me please

    It not really a in Universe excuse in really competitions like Dancing with the Stars that can and will happen. It not because it make the development more interesting it mostly the rules. Plus Pokemon Diamand and pearl is far worst with it pacing of having so many filler episode
  15. ash&charizardfan

    ash&charizardfan Humanity's greatest soldier

    Well serena's problem was her arc started way too long, her goal finding arc in summer camp was well done and it should have happened in episode 20 and her first performance hsould have happened in episode 30, and she should have lost 2-3 times more but in comparison to may serena at least was good in many things and really didn't start exactly from zero. With may she was destroyed by drew in her first contest around episode 38 and then around 10 episodes later she beat a coordinator who had destroyed drew in earlier round and this happened in her next contest as well, sorry to say but may's contest arc in hoenn was very rushed and somewhat poorly handled compared to dawn. Ash's gym quest in AG was fine.

    As for depression arc in DP it was well done but i dont know misty ever had any loser moments, she wasn't even relevant in the series as much compared to rest of pokegirls, I say BW had a very fast pace but it was still better paced then OS was due to its club competitions, which were BW biggest positive not only it had different rivals having a screentime but it also kept cilan and iris in relevance unlike in OS post kanto where brock and misty were pretty much irrelevant and they focussed on developing ash as a individual character.

    Agreed with you her quest started too late, it should have started around episode 30-35 and due to this her arc was rushed. But she didn't became irrelevant after master class, she was still active during ash's depression arc and was key in snapping him out of his depression (acc. to ash himself) and not to mention in TF arc with manon. I only picked XY because AG had some half baked storylines like team magma and aqua. As for DP it was a snoozefest after snowbelle gym, it was around this time that i also stopped wtching this show after watching it from 1999, i started watching again around later parts of 2014.
    345ash-greninja likes this.
  16. Apslup

    Apslup Feelin' Fine.

    Very interesting topic! I'd say that most of the Pokemon series have pretty decent pacing, but some are better than others. I'd say that my list would go:


    XY was pretty good when it came to pacing with the problems that I have with the pacing is, like what @Pokegirl Fan~ said about Serena's Story Arc, the huge gap between the 7th and 8th gyms and the rushed league.

    DP was pretty good as until around the end where the release of HGSS derailed the anime's pacing like what @yab said, but I feel that the pacing fixed itself by the Sinnoh League.

    OS Kanto and Orange Island where pretty short in terms of episodes (since it the anime was only supposed to last one season in Kanto and they needed to fill time with the anime since they couldn't move onto the Johto Saga yet since GS weren't out yet), so the pacing was pretty good throughout really.

    SM has been pretty good for me so far. Aside from the Ula Ula arc where nothing interesting was happening a lot of the time, I have no real complaints with it.

    BW and AG were ok. Both were pretty fillery (especially BW with Decolore Islands), but AG was better thanks to May's contests.

    Johto was a complete filler hell most of the time. Gaps of about 15 episodes between the Gym Battles with not much else going on like Brock or Misty's goals made this series pretty poorly paced for the most part.
  17. OS Kanto and it's not even close.

    The Indigo League series was just 83 episodes long. In that time, Ash won eight badges (including three rematches), caught seven Pokemon (and released three of them), and participated in the Pokemon League (which was seven episodes long). Despite all that, they managed to build episodes around Misty, Brock and Team Rocket on top of the usual filler. You didn't have to wait too long until the next big story beat. At one point in that series there was a release, a gym battle, a capture, a rematch, another capture, and another gym battle in consecutive episodes. You never see that these days.

    This isn't that OS Kanto had "good" pacing, per se. However, it benefited considerably from being a shorter season than all the rest. As Pokemon started getting longer, it found pacing itself a struggle because it didn't have enough meaningful content to fill all that new time. Total up all the so-called "meaningful" episodes in any given season and you'll find it covers just a fraction of the overall episode count. With a longer season, this would result in gym battles being months apart instead of weeks.

    To get into the second part of the question: a "well paced" show depends on the type of story you're telling. Pokemon is a big, sprawling adventure, so it's pacing should actually be quite slow. The viewer should be able to take in all the sights that Ash sees on his adventure as that is the whole point of the journey. That can't be accomplished if the story is moving from beat to beat too quickly; if they're only spending half an episode somewhere before moving on.

    But this only works if there are big events along the way. If there's a year of slow pacing, people will get bored. That's why there should also be several high-intensity, quicker events. These are you gym battles, your evil team plots, etc. Quick pacing doesn't give you much room to breath or reflect but it creates tension and excitement. In Pokemon's case, every gym battle should be an unbroken chain of important episodes, from the arrival to the location, to the build-up, to the actual fight itself.

    What I think must also happen - and this is something Pokemon typically struggles - is that the focus should narrow the deeper into the series we get. The start of any adventure and any scene should be broad and open with possibility, but as we get to the climax there should focus on a specific thing. In this case, it's usually the Pokemon League. Once Ash has qualified, it should be full speed ahead. But Pokemon will typically go back into slow adventure mode after his eighth badge. This creates a meandering effect; a feeling that nothing's happening and the show is dragging its feet. You'll recall that Johto was infamous for this. It inevitably means we always go into a league feeling a bit cold.
    Genaller likes this.
  18. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    The thing is both of Serena's losses used the same clause rather than using either of them to sell the rivals as legit competition and Serena having to get better besides NOT having her Pokemon trip over next time, and there were plenty of pointless fillers in between the first and finals that could have been used for more showcases or even just stuffed in a brief clip of one of the other characters progressing like they did with some of the contests. Serena's showcases weren't really short for time, I feel like they merely struggled to give variation to the ones they already had, let alone do more of them where Serena would inevitably HAVE to do something different and get some sort of boost in character agency. I actually get the feeling they were so late in because they were thought of at the eleventh hour when they realised Serena risked being the third wheel instead of Clemont.

    What I mean is that Misty was allowed to fail directly at things, she got thrashed in battles or her hubris got the better of her in other situations, she was a flawed character and they didn't hold back from making her the butt monkey for it at times, while with the more modern Pokegirls they tend to draw away from having any of the girls' weak spots directly limelighted or important to the plot (besides underconfidence, which is a sneaky 'not as incompetent as they think they are' kind of flaw) which is a roadblock because you can't really make a character get better without being hindered a few times. Basically the girls are always C- achievers while the boys do a mix of As and Fs.

    The worst thing that was probably down to pacing and time in XY was probably Greninja's leave, since they'd pushed the Flare arc so close to the ending, there was no time to make a remote foreshadowing to how Greninja would leave, making it seem like a cruel ass pull.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  19. Genaller

    Genaller May 16th 2016 - October 12th 2019

    Regarding Serena’s lack of a serious goal for the first 40 episodes; I honestly had no issue with that specifically. Serena didn’t start her journey to actively find a goal. Part of the reason she left was to meet up with Ash, but really that was just an excuse for her to get away from her lifestyle of Ryhorn Racer training. Sure Serena does show an interest in figuring out what she actually wants to do after seeing how passionate Ash was about battling, but till XY 40 it’s never something that she started thinking about seriously. She did try several other activities in the mean time like Battling (in particular she acknowledged it as something she could do), Grooming, Pokévision, Fishing, Baking and also gained a better appreciation for Ryhorn Racing though all of these attempts ended up being half-hearted in that she never committed to any of these by pursuing them more seriously which of course was the point since Serena at that point was a naive girl who just wanted to have fun with her friends without considering her future or purpose.

    More so than “not having a serious goal” I think the problem with Serena pre-XY 40 is that her focus episodes are lacking in particular after XY 26 she doesn’t get major focus in any episode till the summer camp. You could associate having a goal with a more frequent stream of focus episodes which is what Serena had post-XY 40 though this didn’t necessarily have to be the case and regardless it should be clear that the primary issue is that she didn’t have a sufficient frequency of focus episodes pre-summer camp rather than her not having a goal which seems to be the common criticism. With this in mind I don’t think there was any issue with her showcases ending when it did (pacing wise at least) since Serena still received major focus in several episodes after that.

    Also on the topic of the Kalos League I wouldn’t use the term “rushed” when describing its major issue. Rushed means that a sequence of events went by too quickly which technically speaking isn’t what happened. I’d even go so far as to claim that the pacing of the actual content within every episode from XYZ 32 till XYZ 38 was done really well given what each of those episodes were trying to achieve though the problem was that XYZ 32 and 33 felt very disconnected since 2 of Ash’s matches and almost all of another of his matches were straight-up completely skipped (which is different from being rushed). Bascially my main criticism of the Kalos League isn’t that it was rushed but that it gave a strong feeling of disconnectedness which I think is what most people actually mean when they say it’s rushed though of course disconnectedness could still potentially count as a pacing problem.
  20. I had many issues with XYZ, but pacing wasn't one of them. If anything, it's actually one of the more well-paced sections of Pokemon.

    Once Ash got his eighth badge, there were only two episodes before the start of the Kalos League. Then, it was a string of 14 important episodes that wrapped all the arc's important plot points and the arcs for several characters. If you were a fan of XY/XYZ this period would have been one the hypest you'll have seen in a Pokemon show.

    Maybe this section might have benefited from a break episode or two to allow for people (and the characters in the show) to reflect on what happened, but it's otherwise everything I would expect and want from a climax.

    "Rushed" has become one of those stock criticisms of stories and has lost a lot of its meaning. I guess the implication is that any given arc wasn't as fleshed out as it could have been, hence the feeling that the creators were in a hurry to get through it. But the thing with that is that the ending of any arc needs to be quick. If they stop and smell the roses at the climax the story loses its momentum.

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