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Why was the Ash and Gary's rivalry so underdeveloped?

Discussion in 'Pokémon Animé Discussion' started by Jeal, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. Emelie

    Emelie Bookworm

    I think the complaints about the Ash/Gary rivalry stems from the fact that they only battled once before the Johto league and it was only a 1 vs. 1 (Eevee vs Pikachu). It's a little weird that they waited until after Orange Island to adapt the iconic first fight from Pokémon Yellow. They didn't have any regular non-league fights aside from that.

    Compare to Shinji/Paul when there was a serious conflict that needed to be built up. All of Ash's and Gary's conflicts revolved around petty things and was portrayed as comical relief.

    This is one of the reasons I was disappointed when Gary wasn't included in the Mewtwo plot since it would have given Gary a serious conflict. I think humor is fine but it shouldn't overshadow everything else.
  2. Leonhart

    Leonhart Imagineer

    I always considered Hiroshi as being more of a last-minute League rival than a regional rival that was meant to replace Shigeru, though. I think that in terms of obstacles, Shigeru was the true rival since he was someone that Satoshi couldn't have reasonably defeated back in Kanto even if they had battled.
  3. TheWanderingMist

    TheWanderingMist Kanae, Keeper of the Gates Emblazoned

    That's because Yellow was based on the anime, not vice versa.

    Every single one of Gary's appearances is memorable. The same cannot be said for "serious" rivals.
  4. DatsRight

    DatsRight Well-Known Member

    It sometimes felt like Gary was one of those things the writers lost interest in after the first few episodes and only came back to because they felt obligated, especially considering that the show wasn't really meant to last as long as the Johto league originally (be thankful he didn't end up like the GS ball).

    It felt like the show initially wasn't really interested in the games antagonists like Giovanni and Blue/Gary and preferred the Ash vs Team Rocket setup, with these other guys being more greater scope figures that just kinda fizzled out until the writers decided they had use for them. That or they were prepared for use in the final ending and when the show was approved to keep running they struggled to think up other roles for them.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
    Ignition and Lunalah like this.
  5. PokemonKnight

    PokemonKnight #1 Sylveon Fan

    And Kanto Ash wasn't a match for Gary on the battlefield at the time.

    Ash/Paul had to fight because the philosophical argument was dead on arrival: train hard but humanely or train harshly with shades of abuse. Obviously, the former is the correct moral answer. Paul winning most of the fights (which dulled the rivalry and made it stale because it is not much of a riveting discussion if one side is continually losing, a balance of wins and losses would have added the shades of gray DP was aiming for) at least, raised the question if he was right (he wasn't) and if Ash was wrong for following the training style promoted by the franchise and 99.7 of trainers.

    Ash/Gary, on the other hand, had genuine character conflict that didn't require battles to make interesting. Both trainers were cocky and arrogant. Both trainers cared for their Pokemon (Ash more so than Gary but Gary clearly loved and respected his captures). Gary could set Ash off with just one word or taunt. It did help that Kanto Ash was more of a character than the stoic Sinnoh Ash.
  6. MockingJ

    MockingJ Banned

    If they just got tired of him then maybe their best course was to write him out of the show after his humiliating defeat at the Indigo League.
    Lunalah likes this.
  7. Leonhart

    Leonhart Imagineer

    I think they wanted to give Shigeru proper closure since he was based on the rival character from the Gen I games, which made him important. That's my head canon for why they kept Shigeru despite his downward spiral of relevancy late in the Kanto saga.
    Togekiis, MockingJ and Emelie like this.
  8. shoz999

    shoz999 The goofiest-looking dog I've ever seen. I LUV IT!

    Huh. Just realized something. If the 8th gen Pokemon series is a reboot, we could probably see Gary Oak done properly. More closer to his game counterpart, the boastful rival who is obsessed with getting stronger, treating his Pokemon like tools all the while annoyingly living in the shadow of his more famous grandfather who can't remember his name lol! Although if Gary Oak was done more closer to the games, I do wonder what's the point of Paul then since he's really just Blue/Green Oak done right.
    Lunalah likes this.
  9. PorcelainVulpix

    PorcelainVulpix lord momo of the momo dynasty

    I've always considered Paul to be closer to Silver than Blue in terms of game characters.
    Togekiis, MockingJ and Emelie like this.
  10. Redstar45

    Redstar45 The Anime/Special's canon know it all.

    Then what point of the Satoshi vs Shigeru then ? And they could just as easily do Pokemon like some manga that only use Pokemon and it is not the game plot or something like that?
    Togekiis likes this.
  11. Leonhart

    Leonhart Imagineer

    I think Shinji was meant to replace Shigeru as Satoshi's de facto rival given that Shigeru had changed goals after the Jouto League, and the writers probably wanted to try their hand at another major rivalry. They could've introduced Jun earlier in the DP saga and had him be Satoshi's main Shinou rival, but maybe he was considered to be too friendly. Ultimately, I found Shigeru's DP appearances to be rather pointless in the grand scheme of things.
    Togekiis, Lunalah, Emelie and 3 others like this.
  12. Redstar45

    Redstar45 The Anime/Special's canon know it all.

    ah good point as i still had no idea on why they bring him in dp era
    LilligantLewis likes this.
  13. Doppelgänger

    Doppelgänger Superancient Member

    Paul's attitude is basically lifted from Silver, the rival in the GSC games, but the writers also gave Silver Ash's training experience. Silver's attitude is naive and typical of a young trainer, but it's much more unsettling when possessed by a veteran like Paul.

    I like to think that Sawyer is a twisted version of Wally. His growth follows similar story beats, unlike any other rival in the anime, but he has a badarse team compared to Wally's humble one, and a completely different personality.
    Emelie likes this.
  14. mysticalglacia

    mysticalglacia Alola Shill

    I don’t think it was underdeveloped, but it being presented so differently from any other major Ash rivalry is what makes it feel that way. It’s already been illustrated in this thread why their lack of battles doesn’t matter in the long run, because their character dynamic and the struggle between power levels- both on a trainer level and also a socioeconomic one- was grounds enough for a riveting rivalry. Battling would’ve lessened the impact, really; repeatedly losing against Gary would’ve hammered home a point we already knew, in a way that was too on the nose. Gary’s combination of talent and drive- along with his subsequent lack of them- against Ash’s manifesting acquisition of those traits said more than any battle could.

    When it comes to rivalries, how and why they battle should be relative to the character’s fundamental relationship. With something like Ash and Paul, they had to battle frequently. Their entire conflict revolved around morality in regards to training Pokémon, something that can only be gauged via battling. Anything less would’ve been a disservice to the storyline being told (what’s the point of setting up a major conflict based in the pursuit of strength if they only battle twice?). Ash continually losing made a point: was his friendly ideology lesser than? Was Paul right? Probably not, but I still don’t feel like that question was ever completely answered, especially when you take the Sinnoh League into account. Ash and Gary never had a conflict that serious or intense, so that narrative structure was never needed when it came to their interactions. Like mentioned above, OS Ash was much more wishy-washy and childish compared to the focused, occasionally stoic DP Ash- so the value and severity of battling to them is obviously going to be different.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  15. MockingJ

    MockingJ Banned

    Yeah I don't understand why Gary was shown a few times in Sinnoh. He gave Ash the Razor Fang which helped Gligar evolve and that was cool, but he wasn't needed in the Shieldon episode or in that episode where Team Galactic were after the Sinnoh pixies.
    Emelie likes this.
  16. Leonhart

    Leonhart Imagineer

    I think that the writers might've felt compelled to keep him in Shinou since they had already mentioned that he was there for research purposes in late AG. So I figure that they were merely trying to be consistent about that. But I still think that they handled him poorly.
    LilligantLewis and MockingJ like this.
  17. RetroVortex

    RetroVortex Member

    I just watched the Diglett episode and I think as far back as that it shows Gary's true passion for research.
    He recalled a lot about Diglett on the spot. It makes me think that, despite being a showoff, he did genuinely find Pokemon interesting and caught more than Ash and evolved them to learn about them and their capabilties. I think that's the real reason Oak sent him out because he could see a lot of himself in Gary and knew such a journey would lead him to figuring himself out.
    I think meeting Mewtwo and getting knocked out early in the League set his journey further down the path of being a researcher but wasn't 100% sure so he had to do another league to make sure.
    And when he eventually lost to Ash, he felt that he could pass the responsibility of being the best trainer onto Ash, knowing that it's in the best hands Pallet will probably ever have and finally become the researcher he wanted to be deep down.
  18. MockingJ

    MockingJ Banned

    If you mean that Gary's true passion was learning about Pokemon more than battling with them, I disagree because he was obviously extremely skilled at training just judging from the glimpses of his team that we saw as early as the Viridian Gym.
    Togekiis likes this.
  19. TheWanderingMist

    TheWanderingMist Kanae, Keeper of the Gates Emblazoned

    Except that Gary caught an excessive number of Pokemon for a Trainer. He had something like 200 despite having only seen 60 types. That's what a researcher would do. Get enough so that the data isn't skewed by outliers.
  20. Lunalah

    Lunalah Well-Known Member

    He even looked a lot like Silver.

    Gary retained Blue's personality but then kind of fell off the track and began developing a different attitude after the Indigo storyline. He mellowed out too much.
    Togekiis, Emelie and PorcelainVulpix like this.

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