YMMV / Pokémon Anime

  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • In "Ditto's Mysterious Mansion", Team Rocket take Duplica's Ditto and say that they'll "have some fun [with it] before we hand it over to the boss!" Ditto is notorious for being able to breed with any Pokemon than can lay eggs, so Team Rocket sound like they are going to put their new Ditto through just that. Then again, this episode was released before breeding became a mechanic.
    • In the original series episode, "It's Mr. Mime Time", there's a scene where Brock grabs Ash, asks him to "help" him, and then caps it off with Ash screaming when the screen cuts away. It's not hard to see it as Brock doing something inappropriate to Ash due to the scene cut.
    • In the second episode of Diamond and Pearl ("Two Degrees of Separation"), Brock says "These two men are gonna do it with or without a beautiful woman at their side!" with Ash's approval. It comes off as Brock and Ash agreeing that they don't need women around to enjoy having sex when they have each other. This was a TPCI English Dub dialogue change.
    • In "Ancient Family Matters!" Byron responds to his son Roark about how he loves how a hole was dug. It's easy to take out of context and give sexual connotations.
      Roark: Somebody dug this hole!
      Byron: I don't believe it! [long pause] I love this hole! [In response, everyone else facefaults]
    • In the second episode of Black and White ("Enter Iris and Axew"), there's the line "You can't find anything this jiggly in Unova!" It reads like an advertisement about the bounciness of Unova's women. This was also a TPCI English Dub dialogue change.
    • Many shippers were more than delighted at a particular scene from "Battling at Full Volume!" (XY 115), where a heavily blushing and sweaty Ash, delirious from a fever, only in his tank top and shorts with his shoulders exposed and eyes half-closed, stumbles right into the preteen Serena's chest, and only by supporting himself by grabbing her arms preventing his face from getting buried in it, telling her something that seems to be a love confession but ends up being innocuous. She goes absolutely nuts. The teenage-ish design of XY's Ash, the "sparkly" look in his eyes, Serena's behavior, and her pre-existing crush on him make this scene look pretty sexually suggestive out of (and even in) context. The expressions they make wouldn't be out of place in a hentai, and one could have sworn that if the show was aimed at an audience just a few years older, her nose would have been gushing blood. Then again, it's debatable if this even was unintentional.
    • Alain's inner dialogue gets a bit... peculiar during his battle with Ash in the finals of the Kalos League. It's meant to be Alain showing how much he considers Ash a Worthy Opponent, but the dialogue seems to imply something else. Not helped by the fact Alain participated in the League (and collected all the needed badges) just to battle Ash.
      Ash Alain! Let's enjoy this battle until the very end!
      Alain: Those are the eyes! Those are the eyes that light up my fighting spirit! That's what makes me so obsessed about you!
    • A subtle Running Gag is how they make it look like small Pokémon are looking up a girl's skirt in certain "angles". This is most infamous with Dawn and her miniskirt, Serena to a smaller extent, and later Lillie.
  • Adaptation Displacement: If you ask anyone who isn't a fan of the games (or at least Nintendo-savvy to a minimal extent) what they know about Pokémon, they will very likely answer with anime-exclusive information (i.e. the protagonist's name being "Ash", the trainers being 10 years old, Pikachu being the "star" Pokemon, Team Rocket consisting of Jessie, James and Meowth, "Aim for the Horn", the Pokémon Theme or Pokérap, Pokémon Speak, etc.). Many Pokémon Go players brought in via the Newbie Boom are mostly familiar with the anime, and often use its storyline and depictions of Lugia and Team Rocket in fan concepts and parodies. The presence of Recursive Adaptations (including an animefied version of the original game) doesn't help; almost every game released nowadays uses Ikue Ohtani's voice clips for Pikachu rather than the original sound clips. The game protagonists' popularity also depends on whether they appear in the anime or not.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy:
    • Though disliked by her fans due to the perception of ruining Misty's character, Togepi's farewell to Misty was still rather depressing and heartwarming to them.
    • Kenny's send-off also made some people who were less than impressed with his antagonism sympathetic toward him.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Episode 3: Most of Pikachu and Caterpie's conversation consists of them making fun of Ash, and how pathetic he is as an upstart Pokémon trainer.
    • Misty's acquisition of Togepi allowed her to tame her earlier feistiness and matured her into someone more nurturing, instead of it being gone entirely.
    • Misty isn't a Faux Action Girl, she just didn't have as many opportunities to show her skills due to having a poorly defined goal and Ash being the main character.
    • Ritchie as the physical representation of Ash's potential when not weighed down by his negative attributes and the Status Quo Is God constraints of a cartoon Long Runner is a popular interpretation of him... usually held by the people who don't hate his guts.
    • Ash himself has gone through several phases of characterization Depending on the Writer, ranging from rookie to mentor and back again. Some people consider him a "what-not-to-do" avatar for younger Pokémon fans for much of the series. Others consider him to be a poor unfortunate soul cursed to wander endlessly without ever realizing it.
    • Is Charizard a lazy, freeloading, ungrateful jerk or does the lizard see Ash as unworthy to lend his strength, explaining his refusal to listen to Ash unless properly motivated before Character Development kicked in.
    • Burgundy's interpretation of Cilan may not just be her imagination, as we see him in battle start toying with her needlessly and actually smiling in an sinister fashion.
    • Burgundy herself is thought to be a Tsundere with some Belligerent Sexual Tension with Cilan.
    • Something about Reggie making Paul's Electabuzz afraid of him is popular for interpretation.
    • Is Johanna (Dawn's mom) a pageant mom, conditioning Dawn into contests and making her succeed so she can live through her achievements, or is she honestly supporting her daughter's interest in contests after having a successful career in the field herself?
    • Since not much is known about Trip, it's become a fandom thing to make Trip have hidden depths that were never touched on in the anime. The most common interpretation is that Trip is secretly cute and psycho (owing to his insistence on using violent force regardless of the Venipede's potential innocence and sabotaging the peace efforts, and even after dropping the insults and awkwardly befriending Ash, he goes quickly from looking upset to face off against Ash so soon into the league to having Serperior strangle Pikachu into unconsciousness while smirking and is even blushing in the freeze frame) and is obsessed with the occult (given he has two ghost Pokémon in his party). Additionally, there are speculations that Trip actually isn't that good with battling and the reason he loses in the first round of most tournaments because he's either letting his ego get to him or he honestly is that weak and given he loses to Ash in the first round of the Unova League makes it seem like Trip isn't up to snuff like the other rivals.
    • It might be possible that in "Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden" Ash's Bulbasaur didn't want to evolve because he was worried that it would suddenly become disobedient like Charmander did upon evolving into Charmeleon.
    • Serena tends to be Flanderized into a Clingy Jealous Girl bordering on a Yuno Gasai-like Yandere.
    • Pidgeotto is one of very few Pokemon in the anime to follow the games mechanics of becoming compliant to a trainer just from battling and capturing it (not requiring befriending or earning its trust separately) and is mentioned as being exceptionally loyal to Ash. Being a Noble Bird of Prey, one could attribute him as a Satellite Character who got his bonding offscreen, a remnant of Early Installment Weirdness, or among the Pokemon that feels honour-bound to a trainer that bests him.
    • Was James' Victreebel another over-affectionate Pokemon or genuinely just trying to eat its master?
    • The anime quite deliberately totters between whether the Team Rocket trio are merely a bunch of incompetent losers, or the most accomplished characters in the series concerning nearly any area but Pikachu-napping.
    • Croagunk as a Crazy Jealous Guy for Brock; for one thing, there's how their friendship is rated at the same level as that of Ash and Pikachu, even though Croagunk was just recently captured at the time the rating was made...
    • The Running Gag of Bianca running in, colliding with Ash, and sending him flying into a conveniently-placed body of water. Is Bianca genuinely clumsy, or is she doing it on purpose so she can have an excuse to see Ash with his shirt off?
    • Many, many people have pointed out that in Episode 5 of the Sun & Moon season, when Harper and Sara ask Lana if Ash is her boyfriend, Lana's first reaction is to blush and quickly deny it. A lot of people quickly started shipping the two together.
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
    • Misty's Togepi is disliked by many American fans due to it contributing nothing to the group and occasionally being The Load due to never being used in a real battle. Meanwhile in Japan, t's still well-regarded by nostalgic fans.
    • Virgil also has notable hate in America: partly for for being the essence of Merchandise-Driven, partly for being bland and undeveloped, and partly for being The Unfought. He had all of Eevee's evolutions (to date) and an Eevee itself, for the sake of making him "unique" as a trainer, spontaneously got to be in the tournament (by coincidentally getting all the badges), had almost no interaction with the main cast (at least Cameron shared tons of scenes with Ash), had zero build-up (his introductory episode was the episode right before the tournament started), and wins the tournament when his Eevee knocked out a Druddigon with a rather overpowered move. Meanwhile in Japan, he is an Ensemble Darkhorse who gets copious amounts of fanart and is even very frequently shipped with Bianca.
    • Manaphy from Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea gets disliked by many American fans, due to it having tantrums without May so often that it constantly comes off as whiny. But in Japan? It has beaten fan favorites like Celebi, Jirachi, Shaymin, and Victini, since it was called "The Prince of The Sea" as 28th place in Pixiv's (Japan only) popularity poll.
    • In contrast, the one aspect of BW that was met negatively by the Japanese fan base was Team Rocket's retool into serious villains, their comedic personas being undyingly popular in the East. In the West, while not hated outright, many fans had started to find the trio's comic relief tiresome by this point and found the newfound badassery and arc heavy role a breath of fresh air. XY makes at least some attempts at a compromise, sticking closer to the comedic depiction popular in the East, but allowing more moments of competence and episodes of absence that was popular in the West.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: While the franchise as a whole has developed a diverse fanbase over time, after Takeshi Shuudo left the writers create the anime solely to tailor to kids. They often neglect elements that would appeal to older fans such as strong story, characters, and continuity, and often use Recycled Scripts due to the Fleeting Demographic Rule.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Trip in the Unova League. Despite being built up as Ash's rival throughout Black & White, Trip loses to him in a 1v1 preliminary match.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • Ash/Satoshi is no closer to being a Pokémon master than he was over a decade ago, despite still being 10 years old; some say that he looks younger than when he started. It doesn't help that with each new arc he hits a Reset Button on his team, his Pikachu's level, his own experience as a trainer, and that he never catches particularly many pokemon each region (if you consider that one of the qualities of a master, it's never clearly outlined). Compare this to Gary whom eventually quit his journey and got a job as an advanced Pokemon researcher under his grandfather's prestigious name reviving dinosaurs from fossils.
    • Johto took 160 episodes. Compounded by the fact that there was only one main quest (Contests and the like would not be introduced until the next season). Some contend that the Whirl Islands Tournament and Special Guest arcs could've been removed, but that would have had the tied-for-4th longest gap between badges (27 episodes) succeeded by what would have been the shortest gap (1 episode, usurping Kanto's Boulder-Cascade's and Marsh-Rainbow gaps of 2).note 
    • Sinnoh lasted 191 episodes. As much as the Hoenn and Battle Frontier arcs in total. It also holds the record for both the longest and second longest gaps between Gym battles, with 31 episodes between Gardenia and Maylene and 52 episodes between Candice and Volkner.note  Granted, in these gaps we had the buildup and resolution, respectively, of both the Contest and Team Galactic arcs, and the first further justified by the distance between those two Gymsnote , but that still meant that the main quest was demoted to C-Plot status twice.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Many an attack has had its power mitigated by introducing strange physics into battle at the writers' convenience — in the rematch for the Thunder Badge, Pikachu safely No Sells Raichu's Thunderbolt by balancing on its tail and using it as a ground to divert the electricity.
    • The very well known "Aim for the horn!" trick used during Ash's first fight against Blaine, which somehow allowed Pikachu to ignore the Ground-type Rhydon's immunity to Electric attacks by aiming for its horn. While Ash didn't win the match due to this, it's still easily the most well known example of the writers' disregard for the games' rules.
    • During the battle against Tate and Liza in Advanced, Pikachu uses "Thunder Armor", an improvised move that has him use Thunder on himself and Swellow to increase their power and speed and let them beat Lunatone and Solrock. It comes out of nowhere with no real foreshadowing, and the technique is never used again.
    • At one point in Advanced saga May had Bulbasaur use a Razor Leaf to divert an incoming Fire Blast. No explanation is given for how this works, as the leaves should burn up due to the fire.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: The Sun/Moon series has Ash attend school as opposed to travelling across Alola, being more of a slice-of-life comedy as opposed to an action adventure series. Aside from raising the question of what school can possibly teach Ash that experience across six regions couldn't, the more comedic tone and almost completely different premise can be jarring to longtime fans, particularly off the heels of the XY&Z series. In addition, the series takes several liberties with the characters from Pokémon Sun and Moon, such as (seemingly) rewriting Lillie's entire backstory to be incompatible with her game self. With that said, the series has still garnered many fans, especially from those who thought the original formula had run stale or that XY&Z itself applied for the trope due to it's Mood Whiplash and own occasional development flops.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The XY season addressed numerous complaints by older fans about previous seasons:
      • Ash is once again a competent trainer, and the season was written with more consistent character and plot development.
      • The Mega Evolution specials. Don't like Ash and Pikachu being shoved in your face every episode? Have a new, more serious teen protagonist and his Mega Evolving Charizard instead. It helps that the specials seem to be developing a Team Flare subplot, with the hero himself unwittingly helping along their plans - the kind of plot twist you'd rarely expect from the Pokémon anime.
      • Team Rocket spent a long duration of the series reduced to a Goldfish Poop Gang, to the ire of many fans. B&W tried to rectify this by having the trio Take A Level In Badass and become more serious and less overplayed antagonists, though some fans complained this was the opposite extreme and cost the team their trademark sympathetic characterisation. XY so far has taken a third option, with the trio regaining their comical personalities and Villainous Valor, but retaining a more moderated degree of their newly received competence, making them lovable Not So Harmless Villains. They also stuck to B&W's tradition of omitting them from certain episodes, thus downplaying the fatigue of them getting a shoehorned Curbstomp Battle every story. Sadly XYZ reverted them back entirely to overused Harmless Villains, but even then they proved worthier competition for Team Flare than the latter realised.
    • Talking about Team Flare, the anime version of their arc is considered a standout for the anime as far as villain teams go, as none of the previous villainous teams had any real impact on the plot. Explanation  Team Flare, while admittedly only appearing late into the XY series as a whole , played a central antagonist role for the entirety of the final season, appearing frequently but not too much, and intriguingly played one of the heroic members of the cast for their patsy. Their five-part finale arc also managed to be so epic and heart-wrenching for most it actually undid the damage done by Ash's Kalos League loss for some. This one also counts as a cross-canon example of the trope, as in the games Team Flare are considered the worst villainous team for their rushed plot and poor motivations.
    • Sun and Moon even at its early stages seems to also be bent on answering whatever complaints XY received in turn:
      • While Ash's competence level in XY was praised, many fans complained about his actual characterisation feeling at its dullest and too excessively positive, a complete contrast to Black and White, which gave Ash a more whimsical personality but at the expense of most of his experience. Sun and Moon has thus far taken the middle ground, giving back his foibles and comedic value, but maintaining a lot of his insight and battle experience from XY, with his fallibility stemming more from the new challenges making him a Fish out of Water.
      • The opening episodes forgo Team Rocket altogether to focus on properly establishing the protagonists, and when the trio finally do appear, while buffoonish as ever, they gain a fearsome Pokemon squad that, for the first time, are able to overpower Ash's whole team. Some of their more repetitive habits have also been downplayed, their blasting off Running Gag being replaced with Bewear dragging them off for example, while in many episodes their roles are more isolated cameos or sub plots that don't interrupt the protagonist cast's story and battles.
      • Initial fan concern over Sun and Moon was about the Denser and Wackier setup, leaving some worried the anime would be reduced to a gag series. As early as the seventh and eighth episodes, more dramatic light is shed onto the cast (while retaining a lot of whimsicality) and early glimpses of Character Development begin, as well as subtle links to the games' story.
      • Ash beats his first Kahuna battle (roughly equal to a Gym Leader battle) on his first try, something which has been extremely rare for the anime to do.
  • Awesome Ego: Gary is incredibly smug about his abilities and knowledge as a trainer during the original series, but the way the show portrays him is so over-the-top it's hard to not enjoy it. Even though he's only a 10-year-old he has his own car, a group of cheerleaders that always follow him around, and he was able to get 10 badges to qualify for the Indigo Plateau even though only 8 were required. This lead to several memes such as GARY MOTHERFUCKING OAK to declare how awesome he is.
  • Badass Decay:
    • In the first season, Gary was always three steps ahead of Ash, rolling around the region in a Corvette with teenage cheerleaders, acting like a total jerk to Ash whenever they met, flaunting his superiority. Then after a Break the Haughty moment occurs when he loses a big match, Gary is far more modest and humble out of nowhere, only lightly teasing Ash for the rest of his rivalry.
    • When introduced, Brock was a Gym Leader and a genuine threat. After joining Ash and Misty, his character became softer and his battling became less frequent. Just by looking at his previous most used Pokémon (Onix) and one of his last teams (Happiny and Bonsly), one can start to notice the difference.
    • Jessie's Lickitung. It was one of the most powerful Pokémon they ever owned; it easily defeated Ash's Bulbasaur, Brock's Vulpix, and Pikachu, before it was eventually defeated by Misty's Psyduck. In later appearances it was defeated easily by Ash's Pokémon, especially Pikachu, who previously couldn't even harm it.
    • Turtwig. In his first major battle, he was able to beat a dinosaur that's more than four times his size. Then writers turned him into a Jobber to make Paul (and by extension, Infernape) look stronger. Torterra was meant to still be considered strong, but beating nobody except Team Rocket seriously weakened his cred.
    • Team Rocket during Black and White took a level in badass, and had become a viable threat. But then in X and Y, they went back to being a Goldfish Poop Gang (if a slightly more formidable one than before).
    • Goodra and Noivern seem to be heading this way. Prior to getting Put On The Bus, Goodra was able to win Ash his 5th gym badge and save his homeland. Meanwhile, after evolving, Noivern was able to give a Zapdos a run for its money. Come the Kalos, League, neither Pokemon is able to get a single straight win in both of Ash's full battles.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Ash, Pikachu and Team Rocket. Because they are the most prominent characters in the show, they do have a following among regular watchers of the anime, and their depictions in early seasons tend to be quite popular. However, it's very common for fans to label them as annoying, ineffectual and seemingly tailor-made to entertain young children and nobody else, with Flanderization and Adaptation Displacement not helping matters.
      • Ash's skill as a trainer and characterization has constantly been in flux throughout the history of the anime. The fans have been critical of this, citing that they can easily use the game characters to both avoid the drawn out nature of Ash's journey. Those who don't see him as The Artifact say that Ash is far too iconic to be replaced. The only thing fans can agree upon is that Ash is a Vanilla Protagonist. In particular, Ash's XY incarnation is a strong example of this trope; while most fans agree that his battling record during the Kalos saga is at its best, some also feel that it makes him a strong and likable character in the first place while others feel that he's too dull, bland and uninteresting as a person.
      • Pikachu splits the base in almost the exact same fashion as his trainer, having both flux in character and power. Some abhor Pikachu for being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad in and of himself and being slapped on every piece of merchandise. Others praise and respect Pikachu as the Japanese equivalent to Mickey Mouse.
      • For Team Rocket, depending on who you ask, they are iconic as comical, Harmless Villains, who are more entertaining than Ash himself, or are their incompetence and sideplots in an episode are just plain annoying. In addition, the fanbase is also left divided over whether Team Rocket was improved as characters after they Took a Level in Badass and start becoming serious villains. There's also another group who remains unconvinced that they've taken any such level at all. XY seems to be trying hard to appeal to all sides of the argument, though alas they're so divisive, it's impossible to please everyone in this regard.
    • Cilan. Either he is a better character than Brock and his strong personality is refreshing, or he's getting too much focus, has gotten as stale as Brock was as a result, and is a Creator's Pet for those who find him and his antics "forced" or "overexposed".
    • Ash's female companions:
      • Misty's tsundere personality is either considered to be entertaining and hilarious, or her Hair-Trigger Temper gets her labeled as an annoying, whiny jerkass who won't leave Ash alone. And did her Character Development with Togepi make her a better person or is her old personality better?
      • May, she's either an improved version of Misty with more focus on her nicer aspects, or the attempts to replicate her tomboyish nature get her viewed as inferior to the original. However the negativity surrounding her replacing Misty largely subsides once Misty appears with her and they become friends.
      • Dawn is either loved for being the likeable Nice Girl, or viewed as a generic Suspiciously Similar Substitute to May due to their contest plots. Some even called her out for being too different from May.
      • Iris has received an especially lot of flak for her constant habit of referring to Ash as a "kid". She's also been criticized for bucking the trend of a female protagonist as a traveling companion. Others find her unique quirks and Character Development interesting, and like the fact that she was another attempt at a female companion trying to master a Pokemon type. Then there are those who see her as a case of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character.
      • Serena has been a pretty divisive character. Her Ship Tease with Ash is popular enough to make it to the Fan-Preferred Couple page, but she has also received backlash from people who ship Ash with anyone else, as well as accusations that her and Ash are being Strangled by the Red String. The retcon of Ash's backstory to include her is also controversial, as is her perceived lack of character aside from her crush on Ash. This latter complaint died down after Serena developed to become more of her own character. Serena has also came under heavy criticism for her excessive Plot Armor used over developing proper experience both in the showcases and battles, rarely ever losing despite keeping to a very novice strategy the entire series, making her style rather boring and incompetent in action, and her character and team undeservedly untouchable.
      • Lillie, though in this case it's based more on comparisons to her game counterpart than her personality on its own. She's won over many fans due to her Adorkable nature and potential at being an interesting character. Many fans, on the other hand, hate her due to replacing the female protagonist and her massive differences from her well-loved game counterpart (i.e. she's afraid of Pokémon as a whole, while in the games, she only dislikes seeing Pokémon get hurt), and apparent rewrite of her entire backstory (going from a runaway girl with an extremely Dark and Troubled Past to a Spoiled Sweet rich kid who owns an entire mansion on Melemele). Luckily enough, this has largely died down after her expanded development in episode 8, where her fear of touching Pokémon is revealed to have much darker undertones, and her family is introduced (albeit in portrait form) for the first time.
    • Ash's rivals:
      • Ritchie either serves as a good Foil to Ash, or is a blatant shallow sue.
      • Paul. Some fans hate him, feeling like he got too much love from the writes, was an accurate representation for "Stop Having Fun" Guys and Munchkins, and never received any proper karma for his massive jerkassery. Others took a liking to him because he is a Strawman so Anvilicious that it's hard to seriously see him as such an accurate representation of competitive players, or are sympathetic to Paul because of the few things that are accurate to said players and his criticisms of Ash (usually considered an Idiot Hero). He's also a popular candidate for shipping, particularly with Dawn.
      • Barry is seen either funny or annoying.
      • Tobias is seen as either an amusing Troll, or a badass all for using Legendary Pokémon in the Sinnoh League.
      • Trip is seen as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to Paul or a case of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character.
      • Tierno and Trevor are seen as They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character. Many want to know if they would be or would not be written better than their game counterparts. While Tierno still got some focus in the first part of the XY series, Trevor is universally agreed to really get the short end of the stick.
      • Sawyer is seen as having rushed development by some. Others say his development was paced just fine because he doesn't have Team Rocket following him and all the Filler episode characters.
      • Good lord, Alain. Specifically, his involvement with the league is seen as perfectly natural Character Development or a massive Ass Pull. Was it a good idea to tie him to the main plot rather than keep him in the specials? Was having a rivalry with Ash only after two episodes a new flavor of rivalry or highly forced Character Shilling for Ash? Is his motivation for entering the league (Ash gave him a fun battle) a good motivation or the aforementioned Character Shilling? After he beat Ash in the league, the base divided even more, all of it concerning if Ash should of won thanks to the buildup.
    • Ash's Infernape. Great character and Character Development, or Spotlight-Stealing Squad who stole glory from Ash's other teammates?
    • Iris's Dragonite. Legitimate Badass, or a poor clone of Charizard's story that gave Iris undeserved victory?
    • Ash's Oshawott. His Attention Whore nature and tendency to form rivalries with other Pokémon are either deemed cute and funny, or he's yet another annoying Spotlight-Stealing Squad with an unoriginal personality taken from several of Ash's previous Pokémon, namely Bayleef and Aipom, who won't evolve out of his weak "adorable" form.
    • Ash's Goodra. They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character by having Ash release it so soon or Too Cool to Live because it was Ash's only Stage-2 Dragon-type and it would have steamrolled the rest of Kalos? This mostly died down as it returned in time for the Kalos League......only to light up again for its poor performance in the League.
    • The "baby Nidoqueen" mishap from the Mewtwo special. Is it a clear example of Critical Research Failure amongst the writers, or is it justified in that the reason Nidoqueen could have stage-two children is due to being one of Mewtwo's clones that has a scrambled DNA structure to allow for such a case to happen?
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The Johto episode "Hocus Pokemon". The gang helped a magician, Lily, find ingredients in order to help her complete a spell that would allow her to understand Pokemon speech. Ash volunteered to be the guinea pig, but the spell ended up turning him into a Pikachu instead. The spell carried over into the beginning of the next episode As Clear as Crystal, but wore off after a few seconds.
    • Any episodes that deal with Time Travel since only the people that caused the changes to the timeline actually know what happened.
    • Diamond and Pearl had the episode "Malice In Wonderland!" put the protagonists in a nightmare controlled by a wild Mismagius. Neither are ever mentioned again.
    • Also from Diamond and Pearl is the evil Togepi episode "Where No Togepi Has Gone Before!" that had the main cast randomly sent to space for a few minutes (which included a cameo from a Rayquaza).
  • Broken Base:
    • Kanto: Was it a creative season that had ambition before the series became a Franchise Zombie, or was it a mess of Early Installment Weirdness and Ash getting most of his wins undeservedly handed to him?
    • Orange Islands: Was Tracy's replacing of Brock a good idea for Brock's Character Development studying with Professor Ivy, or was it a bad idea that only made Brock's departure from Ivy a Noodle Incident that will never be explained?
    • Johto: Was the amount of Filler both necessary to extend the length of the season and a means to make more interesting stories, or did it all just lead to Arc Fatigue? Are the Johto starters worthy replacements of the Kanto starters on Ash's team? Or were the Kanto starters just better than them?
    • Hoenn: Was Ash's lack of a rival for the better, or did it just leave him unchallenged as a trainer for too much of the season? Was turning May into a Deuteragonist and having her focus on Pokemon Contests not only a good way to distance herself from Misty's shadow but an excellent way to lengthen the season? Or was May just inferior to Misty and the focus on Contests boring? Was Brock still fresh, or did he undergo Flanderization? Were Team Rocket still fresh, or did they undergo Flanderization?
    • Sinnoh: Did it suffer from Arc Fatigue near the end, or was the whole season properly paced from start to finish? Is Dawn's Pokemon Contest arc better planned and more fulfilling that May's? Or was it a poor rehash of May's plot that left Dawn in her shadow? Was Chimchar's character arc with Ash and Paul one of the strongest in the season or even the franchise? Or did it turn Chimchar into a Spotlight-Stealing Squad and rob the rest of Ash's team of any possible glory?
    • Unova: Whether the season started out strong or was just the same as usual, the series continuing on from previous seasons with Ash, Pikachu and the Rocket trio rather than being a reboot like the games, Team Rocket's newfound competence, Ash's newfound incompetence, Iris taking Dawn's spot and Cilan replacing Brock,note  Charizard, N and Team Plasma not being played to their full potential in Episode Nnote , the pace going too fast leading to Ending Fatigue by the end, everything Cameron and the Tournament arc, and everything about Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened .
    • Kalos: Team Rocket resetting to incompetent fools, Ash's newfound maturity at the expense of dropping completely into a Vanilla Protagonist, Serena's crush on Ash, the quality of Serena's redesign, Clemont after year one, if Bonnie is Max 2.0, the Arc Fatigue of year one, the lack of Team Flare for most of the series, the Excuse Plot nature of showcases, whether this series had too much Ash Character Shilling, and what transpired in XY&Z and the Kalos League...
    • Alola: Serena's departure, the new art style, the shift in setting from Walking the Earth to a school-based Slice of Life and more light-hearted tone in general.
    • Ash and Paul's Sinnoh league match has a rather odd split in the fandom as to, whether or not, it was justified that Paul had decided to use a team of Pokemon against Ash that he had never once battled against aside from Electivire. In return, detractors claim that the writers made Paul justifiably weaker just to allow Ash to win the battle with only his newly acquired Sinnoh team, making it seem like had Paul used his previous Pokemon again, Ash would have lost.
    • In general, the series' use of Pokémon Speak is rather divisive among older fans; while some people have no problem with it and find it cute, with it being a signature aspect of the franchise, others find it excessively cartoonish and annoying, and find that it makes a lot of Pokémon sound unintelligent and childish, even when they aren't supposed to be.note  This may be why recent adaptations, such as Pokémon Origins, ditch the Pokémon Speak. Notably, this criticism mostly applies to Western dubs; the Pokémon Speak in the Japanese version gets a bit less flak, for various reasons (listed under Subbing vs. Dubbing below). And the whole debate is only made even more complicated when one notes the increasing presence of Pokemon Speak in the main games themselves.
    • The series in general. Is it still entertaining and worth watching, even as a Guilty Pleasure, or is it an embarrassing Franchise Zombie that deserves to be given a mercy cancellation? TPCI seems to have taken a middle ground, continuing to dub the anime due to its success with kids and loyal older fans, but downplaying its marketing internationally compared to the rest of the franchise, especially the games. For the haters, whether Pokémon Originsnote  is enough to make up for the main anime is a debate unto itself.
    • How good the TPCI English dub openings are is an open question. Or the TPCI dub in general.
    • Which series is the best one? All of them have fans and non-fans for various reasons that have been brought up over the years in the fandom. Actually trying to pin down the answer is basically impossible.
    • The Dubbing versus Subbing debate exists and is a persistent debate. Originally the fanbase was strictly on the side of the dubs; however, as the Japanese version became more popular due to it becoming easier to access for overseas audiences, the launch of Dogasu's Backpack and the change in dubbing companies, the quality of the English voices, music, and scripts became put into question.
    • The series has become increasingly less Japanese since Hoenn. Some fans hate it, and see it as racist or at least taking away some of the charm, while others don't care or see it as the series just distancing itself from the 'real world'.
    • Ash's gym rematch against Wulfric split the fandom as to whether or not it is was a true accomplishment for Ash. On one hand, people are glad that he's completely mastered the Ash-Greninja transformation by this point, and the battle between it and Mega-Abomasnow made for one glorious duel to watch. On the other hand, some were disappointed that the rematch didn't actually deal with the issue that stomped Ash in the first battle. Particularly, losing all three of his Pokémon to Wulfric's Avalugg, who took advantage of Abomasnow's Hail to heal itself with its Ice Body ability. Due to Avalugg's poor performance against Talonflame in the second battle where it didn't actually pull anything off that made Avalugg such a threat in the first match, many felt that it was unjustifiably pushed to the side.
    • The Kalos League is simply the most divisive league in the history of the anime. May feel like the pacing is rushed despite having the exact same amount of episodes as previous leagues. Most of this is due to the preliminary rounds being skipped and Ash's battles mostly being thirty second clips. Some are fine with it, some are not.
      • Was it a good thing to use the preliminary rounds to build up Ash's rivals? It's pretty much a debate on whether the rivals should have been established as threats and if we really need to see Ash go through preliminaries knowing that he will make it to at least semifinals.
      • Pikachu taking out two Pokémon each in Ash's Kalos league matches against Sawyer and Alain. Either fans are happy that the little electric rodent is finally being portrayed as a seasoned badass after fighting alongside Ash for six sagas, or Pikachu is a Spotlight-Stealing Squad that's taking away some of the glory from the rest of Ash's Kalos team not named Greninja.
    • The Ash-Greninja Arc has mainly earned the praise of the anime's community, but has nonetheless also drawn some ire. Either you see it as great arc with fantastic development for Ash Ketchum or you see it as an arc that gets Ash out of character and depressed just to put him back to where he was. Most of those who hold the latter opinion cite that Ash hasn't really gained any character depth when all is said and done, while those holding the former opinion state that the arc showed what motivated Ash to be a trainer in the first place, and how the whole point was for Ash to regain that enthusiasm.
    • Ash ultimately losing to Alain in the Kalos League finals. The matchup was heavily hyped, and the Japanese title "Kalos League Victory! Satoshi's Ultimate Battle!" misled nearly everyone, which certainly wasn't helped by misleading trailers and other promotional materials leading into it. Ash had a lot going for him this time: all but Pikachu had reached their final evolutions, Goodra is an Infinity–1 Sword, Talonflame and Greninja are Game Breakers in the games, and his Greninja has a unique Super Mode that put it on par with the previous champion's ace Pokémon (before a Power-Strain Blackout, anyway). Ash had also already lost to Alain twice before, giving fans a reason to believe he might come out on top this time. However, come the actual battle, Ash and Alain manage to tie until the final round, whereupon Ash-Greninja's ultimate attack does nothing to Mega Charizard X while the latter brings down Ash-Greninja with a Blast Burn, once again keeping Ash from winning, albeit far closer than he's ever gotten. The two never got a rematch, either. Ultimately, Alain entered the League just to get a rematch with Ash and kept him from winning, which Ash likely would have done against any other opponent. On the other hand, some see it as a good thing that Ash-Greninja, practically an Invincible Hero, finally got brought down in a fair fight.
    • Ash releasing Greninja in the penultimate episode of XYZ. Many were cross, feeling it was an insult to injury after the Kalos League, and a Shaggy Dog Story borderlining Writer Cop Out. Others feel it was a better alternative to unceremoniously dumping him at Professor Oak's Lab for who knows how long.
    • The Unova and Kalos Leagues get flak for their rushed pacing. Some accept it for getting the inevitable disappointment of Ash losing out of they way sooner and marginalizing it, while others think that, since the buildup to the leagues are the main plot, it exasperates the usual problems and highlights the futility and pointlessness of it all.
    • Ash's friends saying its okay he lost is seen as a slap in the face to many fans and paints them as enablers promoting the mantra "losing is okay" . People will still defend them because of his rank.
    • Ash's Alola character design for the Sun & Moon series has been a mixed bag amongst the fans. Either it fits perfectly with the new animation's more comedic tone, or it feels completely out-of-place after being used to his much more mature look in the X & Y series.
    • The notion that no Pokémon is truly evil is a point of contention for some fans. Some are disappointed with it since many cool or creepy villainous Pokémon (including fan-favorites like Mewtwo and Deoxys) are always revealed to be misunderstood or turn good, thereby detracting much of their appeal for some. Others see no problem with it since the games push the notion that you can befriend every Pokémon, and will claim that animals aren't capable of evil either as a defense. Regardless, later evil Pokémon like the Malamar in X/Y and Mimikyu in Sun/Moon seem to be an attempt to break away from this.
    • The animé's depiction of certain legendaries as "merely" very rare species and not lone individuals on par with gods. Does it make sense, given how the games let you catch legendaries from different regions, trade in several of a single supposedly-unique legendary and even imply/confirm that this is the case for at least some of them? Or does it cheapen the awe and wonder of seeing one when potentially hundreds more exist off-screen (after all, who's to say Ash sees the same Ho-Oh every time)? This came to a head with Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened 's use of a second Mewtwo (a manmade Pokémon who logically can't have more than one specimen), itself a heavily contested move.
  • Complete Monster: The whole Pokémon franchise now has its own list, seen here, where you can find the examples from this anime.
  • Counterpart Comparison:
    • A specific example, in light of the 20th anniversary of both Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! taking place in 2016. The protagonist of (one of) their latest entries voiced by Kensho Ono whose strongest ace monster is a humanoid dragon with the potential for greater power and have both lately exhibited nightmarish dark sides with face of pure rage. Are we talking about Alain or Yuya Sakaki?
    • To do justice to Paul, he's not the first trainer in the series to exhibit a harsh training style. AJ (Akira), a Canon Foreigner of the Day back from "The Road to Indigo" also utilized a notably exhausting and exacting style (in fact, AJ's training equipment inspired the Macho Brace hold item in the games). That said, AJ was very clearly shown to care very much for his Pokemon, especially his Sandshrew, whereas Paul cares only for a Pokemon's value as a combatant and is cruel in his training of them.
    • Mimikyu has been compared to Kyubey due to both of them having a never ending smile, being both a Weasel Mascot that is full of Nightmare Fuel and are both very evil and both are secretly an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Harley is considered a walking Law of Disproportionate Response to everything (becoming May's rival because she didn't think his cookies tasted good enough, for starters), and he only gets crazier and more awesome after his repeated failures against May.
    • Some of Gible's funny moments slide it into this at times such as eating away at giant mechanical robots, or even one particular moment where he located a certain lost Piplup on purpose with its Draco Meteor.
    • Anytime Team Rocket get to be competent, expect them to also be this. "Dressed For Jess Success" takes the cake. It wasn't enough to have James pull their first Team Rocket Wins episode. He had to do it cross dressing as Jessilina the entire time.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Dawn's Piplup. He's a whiny, spoiled toddler and a high and mighty Control Freak Spotlight-Stealing Squad that took over Pikachu's turf by staying out of his Poké Ball in almost every single episode. That and the fact that it got at least twice as much Character Focus as any other Sinnoh Pokemon of the main cast in the DP saga, besides Chimchar.
    • Paul. You could easily tell where in the story the writer took a sudden shine to him because his Moral Event Horizon suddenly started getting Jerk Justifications and the Character Shilling started pouring in.
  • Creepy Awesome:
    • Conway remains an Ensemble Darkhorse well after the end of Diamond and Pearl due to his hilariously disturbing demeanor (A Badass Bookworm strategist frequently framed in Scary Shiny Glasses while speaking in a Creepy Monotone) and equally creepy awesome Pokemon.
    • Mimikyu in the anime runs off the sheer hatred and contempt of Pikachu because of how much love he gets. Fans love this for being somewhat of a Take That! to the species while being highly disturbing, especially the animation of the disguise ability.
  • Creepy Cute: There are many pokémon that can qualify as this. Of particular note in recent years is Jessie's Pumpkaboo/Gourgeist in Kalos, whose true face is just a couple button eyes and an expressive mouth. It has Cute Little Fangs as Pumpkaboo as well.
  • Critical Backlash: After the huge Internet Backdraft stirred up by Ash's loss at the Kalos League, some fans who saw it as a Foregone Conclusion were confused by the amount of vitriol it stirred up, and found it ridiculous that some people claimed that it retroactively ruined the whole Kalos series.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • The many times that attacks have worked on types they should be immune against. The prime example being Pikachu's Electric attacks damaging Ground types on more then one occasion.
    • A large number of moves, especially those that are defensive in nature, are shown working very differently than they do in the games, like Light Screen and Reflect being able to outright block attacks as opposed to halving damage, Safeguard also being a glorified Protect instead of just blocking status moves, and Heal Bell being used to calm Pokémon to stop them from fighting. Though in later seasons, most of these moves are depicted much more accurately.
      • The move Aerial Ace is drastically different from its game counterpart. Aerial Ace is meant to be a slashing attack that can be learned by pretty much anything with claws but is only used by Flying-types in the anime as a glorified Tackle.
      • The first couple of times Dragon Rage is seen in the anime, it takes the form of a massive cyclone as opposed to in the games, where it is simply fairly weak breath attack. A Dragon-type move that actually takes the form of a twister would later be introduced in Generation II, and Dragon Rage is more accurately depicted from then on.
    • The 4Kids and (to a lesser extent) TPCI dubbing companies are prone to this as well with translation mistakes such as:
      • Getting attack names wrong, calling certain Pokémon the wrong names, stating the wrong evolution chains and so on.
      • The 4Kids dub-added Trainer's Choice misspelled many Pokémon names, got the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors wrong on multiple occasions, and once asked "Which Pokémon evolves into Seviper?" Nothing evolves into Seviper.
      • One of the earlier episodes in both versions confidently stated that Pinsir evolves into Tauros. They don't, and aren't even remotely similar in design to warrant the confusion.
      • On more than one occasion, the Fire-type has been referred to as the "Flame-type", and at least one of these occurred late in the Johto arc. You would think at least the voice actors would have caught that one.
    • A trainer ordering a Scizor to "finish it off with False Swipe." In this example's defense, the anime portrays this exactly like what would happen if you tried to finish a Pokémon off with False Swipe as Ash's Heracross wasn't actually knocked out by the attack. Critical Research Failure would have been a lot worse had the knock out actually happened, but the question still remains if the creator's at the time forgot that False Swipe doesn't defeat Pokémon.
  • Die for Our Ship: Has its own page.
  • Dork Age:
    • The Johto seasons: The Johto Journeys, Johto League Champions, and Master Quest. They have an absurd amount of Filler (nearly half of the 167 episodes) that spaced out the time between Gym fights too much, the main cast got Flanderized, and focus on Brock and Misty was lessened.
    • Black and White and its subsequent seasons. The writers pushed the Reset Button on Ash in such a way that his Idiot Hero qualities got highlighted in a negative manner that contradicted his experienced Diamond and Pearl personality, many highly questionable narrative decisions were made like making the new rival Trip beat Ash's Pikachu in battle with an inexperienced Snivy, the Plasma story arc from the games didn't get involved as the anime advertised until after the Tournament Arc was over, and there was some Ending Fatigue caused by said Plasma story arc combined with a Filler Arc created to stall until Pokémon X and Y were released. Along with this, the movie Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened and its controversial Mewtwo character caused some heated debate on the anime's relationship with its adult Periphery Demographic and whether the creative team was capable or willing to cater to older fans at all.
    • In general, when the anime goes through a Dork Age, it gets a lot of fan backlash (which sometimes extends to Ash and Pikachu themselves) due to its ubiquity and effect on other parts of the franchise.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Jessie, James, and Meowth. Though they're not without their sympathetic qualities, many fans ignore their clearly unsympathetic actions, like trying to steal a 10 year old's best friend, trying to kill people who get in their way, harming or even attempting to kill Pokemon who've pissed them off (they nearly killed the Squirtle Squad with homemade bombs and they clearly weren't planning on letting the Scythers who gave Jessie a new haircut walk away), trying to kill a 10 year old on several occasions, etc.
    • Paul is easily the biggest Jerkass among Ash's rivals, releasing any Pokemon that don't meet his standards, insulting Ash at any given opportunity and acting cold toward everyone else he meets, and most notably having his entire team gang up on his Chimchar in an effort to force it into activating its Blaze ability (which is unusually powerful) and then rage-quitting on it and releasing it, effectively abandoning it out of disgust (everything that happened that day and the night before really soured Ash's opinion of Paul). Despite his jerkassery, he has a sizable fanbase that are willing to ship him with Dawn.
  • Ear Worm: Listed in a separate subpage here.
  • Ending Fatigue: The quick pace of the Unova season ultimately resulted in the last 5 months prior to the release of the Gen VI games having an Orange Islands/Battle Frontier-style round of pure, aimless island-hopping filler, only without a pseudo-tournament like those arcs had. The subsequent ratings drop shows the extent of the wear and tear.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Enough to have a dedicated page (shared with the rest of the franchise).
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • A very large number of people have speculated on the identity of Ash's father for years. The theories and evidence offered up for proof of one candidate tend to swing from reasonable(Giovanni, Silver) to really out-there (Prof. Oak, Lugia!).
    • With the upset of the Kalos League, many people came to a theory that Alain cheated, usually by means of the Mega Stone he got from Lysandre buffing Charizard to the point of steroids.
  • Evil is Cool:
    • Mewtwo. While not a truly "evil" character, it's also praised for its dark backstory and being a chilling portrayal of the original ultimate Pokémon, and even more for its surprising character depth in the Japanese version.
    • Pokémon Hunter J. While clearly one of the worst human beings in the show, she's got plenty of Rule of Cool going for her and happens to be pretty damn effective in a show that is starved for competent characters.
    • The evil Malamar are also loved by the fandom for the sake of being a rare example of truly evil Pokémon.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Sabrina, with her miniskirt outfit. She's dressed sexier in the Gold and Silver remakes, though she's less evil in the game incarnations.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Paul's abuse of his Pokémon later gets downplayed as simply being "a different training style" than Ash, and that Ash should learn to respect their differences.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: As the Broken Base section shows, there's a lot of infighting within the fandom, but no topic causes a flame war quite like whenever Ash releases a pokemon.
  • Fanon: It's a pretty popular theory amongst the fanbase that Leaf was one of the two unnamed Pallet Town trainers that left on a journey alongside Ash and Gary.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The fact Ash was confirmed to still be 10 years old at the start of the Black and White era is NOT accepted by anyone who believes Ash is just in a slow aging process (Example: Ash aging one year for every three years of real life).
  • First Installment Wins: Older fans tend to defend the first season (and occasionally the Orange Islands/Johto seasons that are a part of the same series) as legitimately good or at least an enjoyable Guilty Pleasure compared to the later seasons, due to them not having as strict of an adherence to the formula. The formula is still there, just not as blatant as later on in the show's lifetime.
  • Fountain of Memes:
    • Brock's anime characteristics such as his fondness for women, being able to tell each Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny apart, having his ear pulled for flirting with women by Misty then Max, and eventually being knocked out cold by Toxicroak have all stood the test of Pokemon fandom time.
    • Team Rocket's various antics, costumes, and plans have all generated their own memetic appeal over the years.
    • Gary Oak doesn't just have his anime memes, but his game counterpart Blue's memes as well due to his large fandom.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • Ash losing the leagues was never popular, but was initially forgivable since a rookie trainer doing less then well in a major tournament was understandable and novel. As the series dragged on, Ash became so experienced he lost that excuse and they resorted to controversial at best reasons for Ash to lose that it became one of the biggest criticisms of the anime.
    • The Black and White series was initially rather well-received by the Western fandom when it first aired, due to its brisk pacing and the B-Plot involving Team Rocket igniting people's interest - a fact which is largely forgotten since the Ending Fatigue at the end. Fact is that many of its problems were apparent from the start - Ash was rebooted to an Idiot Hero, Cilan and Iris were divisive supporting characters, Team Rocket's narrative was a drastic change in characterisation, the Team Plasma plotline wasn't immediately launched and finally the pacing was too fast (with Ash's badge quest skimming over the larger roles of the Gym Leaders in the games and). The flaws simply became more apparent once the interesting things failed to pan out in the end.
    • One of the main criticisms Black and White gets is that Ash caught too many Pokemon in too short a time for the writers to properly characterize. But this practice had its beginnings in Kanto right from the moment Ash caught Krabby. This is more justified though, because back then the anime was fully adhering to the franchise's original premise of Gotta Catch Them All.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • The Advanced Generation episode Shaking Island Battle! Dojoach VS Namazun!! had a Whiscash cause an earthquake, trapping Ash and his friends. One week before the episode was set to air, the Niigata region of Japan was struck by an earthquake and the episode was permanently shelved. A month and a half after that in the Indian Ocean...
    • Due to Japan being quite prone to earthquakes in general, moves that involve either a realistic earth-shaking effect or having a name reminiscent of said Natural disaster (Earthquake, Fissure and Magnitude) were banned from ever being used in the future after the 2004 Niigata earthquake - probably to minimize the risk of Harsher in Hindsight and Too Soon kicking in for local viewers (now moreso than ever, given the now-infamous controversy with the perma-shelved Rocket/Plasma two-parter of BW).
  • Gateway Series: A fair few anime fans and fans of other Pokémon incarnations started with this in their youth.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • In Japan, Pokémon: The First Movie showed that Pokémon stories could entertain adults as well as children through compelling characters and interesting storylines - which was one of Takeshi Shudo's goals from the beginning - and the next couple of films followed suit. In the US, the film was dubbed as a straight-up kids' movie (mainly due to 4Kids bowdlerizing the film by changing Mewtwo from a complex character trying to find his purpose in life, to a generic "destroy the world" villain, most likely due to the belief that kids would find the plot too confusing) and only became popular with adult fans years after its debut, but Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew more or less filled this role instead.
    • AG was seen as a general improvement over the Original Series after a initial rough start: Ash was generally smarter, the pacing issues were amended by having May seek Pokemon Contests out, and the animation improved over the previous seasons.
    • The Mega Evolution specials themselves follow this pattern. Act I focused more on action than story, and mostly served as an introduction to the new cast of characters. Act II introduced more backstory and plot elements, including a Plot Twist for fans of the games that the main character is working as an Unwitting Pawn for Lysandre, secretly the leader of Team Flare.
    • The XY series was for a long time considered an example of this to those who did not think that AG qualified, due to it's better battling track record for Ash, great animation and battles, and the improved supporting cast. Although after Ash's loss at the Kalos League, the sentiment has largely died down, but those that stuck around felt it's rebounding from it after the Team Flare arc.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • One city in the Kanto saga features mass disappearances of young children. The culprit for this missing persons case? Hypno, who would later gain a reputation for being a Memetic Molester.
    • "Volcanic Panic" has Ash and co. try to stop the eruption of Cinnabar Island's volcano. In Pokémon Gold and Silver, Cinnabar Island has not only erupted, it's buried the whole island. There was only one year in between the Japanese debuts of the episode and the game.
    • During the penultimate episode of XY, Olympia predicts that Kalos will be facing a great crisis. She's actually referring to the events of XY&Z, but one real life month later, Paris was struck with terrorist attacks.
    • In Battle Aboard the St. Anne, the captain decides to "test out one of the life boats". Then take a look at what happened in Korea in 2015.
    • In "So You're Having a Bad Day!", Bonnie receives a fortune saying she's going to have her "worst day ever". This episode was first aired in the US on July 11, 2015, which, for many Nintendo fans, did indeed become a very bad day. note 
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • The episode "Noodles; Roamin' Off!", Meowth discovers his Fury Swipes are intricate enough to make him a talented cook and is offered a Friend or Idol Decision to leave Team Rocket for a successful noodle business. He ultimately stays with the team, though said skill remains a Chekhov's Skill throughout many of Jessie's coordinator escapades, even winning contests and showcases. A talent that nearly had him abandon his teammates for business ventures instead helps one of them with their own.
    • In a sense, nearly all of the Team Rocket trio's idolising and yearning for Giovanni's respect becomes heartwarming when they finally achieve success in Best Wishes and become respected agents, even managing to save Giovanni's life at one point.
    • Pretty much any rare praise or encouragement Ash got at the start of the series about his potential to become a good trainer becomes heartwarming by the later periods of the anime, especially by XY where he verges as The Ace for his current team.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • No matter which language you're watching, there is one consistent; Team Rocket's actors can make you laugh and cry.
    • For the TPCi dub, Sarah Natochenny has really stepped up her voice-acting ability as Ash ever since her early Battle Frontier days.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the first episode, Gary boasts about how he got the best starter Pokémon from his grandfather Professor Oak which was later revealed to be a Squirtle. Turns out according to Science, he was right. Troper's Digest: Squirtle has the best overall match-ups against the games' gyms, and is favored by Speedrunners for its good movepool, including moves like Dig, Mega Punch, and Surf.
    • Despite Pikachu not being officially part of the trifecta of Kanto starters, the revelation that Gary's starter was a Squirtle makes people realize that it was Ash who has the type advantage. note  Of course, the fact that Ash's Charizard was his strongest team member during their climactic 6-on-6 probably has something to do with it.
    • In Episode 3 overall, Ash calls out Team Rocket for sending out two Pokémon at once because that's cheating. Misty suggests that Ash do the same, but he worries because double battles aren't in the League rules...yet.
    • Episode 5 has Ash defeating Brock's Onix with a Thunder Shock after said attack sets off the sprinkler system in the Pewter Gym and soaked Onix in water, allowing its ground immunity to be bypassed. Gen 5 introduces the move Soak, which changes the target's type to Water, which is weak against Electric.
    • All that talk about Brock being a Casanova Wannabe...when HG/SS updated his look to make him a true Bishōnen.
    • In an early episode, Ash asks Brock what he knows about the local gym leaders, as he wants to be prepared. He specifically says to succeed, one must "know yourself, and know your adversary!". Brock is impressed, before Ash notes he "got that one from Dexter!". He's referring to his Pokédex, but still, it describes that character's er, "work" philosophy quite accurately.
    • Episode 8 features A.J., an unofficial gym leader who puts his Pokémon through Training from Hell by fastening them with a "strength intensifier", a restraint that unlocks a Pokémon's potential but restricts movement. In Generation 3, cue the Macho Brace, an actual held item that...unlocks a Pokémon's potential but restricts movement. In-game art of the Macho Brace suggests it actually is the same item.
    • In the same episode, there's A.J'S Sandshrew, who unlike wild Sandshrew can tolerate going for a swim. In Generation VII, Alolan Sandshrew shows up...and since it's part ice type it likely wouldn't mind going for a swim so long as it's cold water.
    • Goes hand in hand one of the "Harsher" entries: the gang's first impression of the eponymous Pokémon in the episode "Charmander the Stray Pokémon"? "I think that this Charmander has an attitude problem." Hilarious, because that very Charmander would later turn out to be the gentlest of Ash's starter Pokémon...and harsh, because, well, who else would it evolve into 32 episodes later?
    • In a season one episode, Jessie and James chases Ash and co underwater using a small mouth instrument that allows them to breath. Courtesy of Korean designer Jeabyun Yeon, that thing actually exists now.
    • In episode 13, a time when there were only 150 species known, Bill theorizes that there "may be no limit" to the number; since then, this has become something of an Author's Saving Throw, because the number has, at present, grown to 720, and shows no sign of slowing down.
    • In "A Chansey Operation" back during Season 1, the doctor recommends Ash and his friends could become competent doctors (being impressed by their handling of the sick Pokémon while he was out), but they choose to keep following their respective dreams. Come the end of DP, Brock decides to become a Pokémon Doctor.
    • An earlier episode had Ash, Brock, and Character Of The Day Suzy denouncing the idea of making Pokémon look flashy by dressing them up with make-up and accessories, saying that it diminished their inner beauty. Misty and Team Rocket went against this view, and were made to look wrong for it. Come Generation IV and we have Super Contests, which partly depend on picking out accessories in order to garner points, and Dress-Up Rooms, which let the player go wild with accessories and backgrounds that sometimes may move and be flashy. This is taken even further in Generation V, where the Pokémon Musicals rely solely on the types of accessories that Pokémon can wear in order to make them stand out from the rest of the performers, with Trainers only able to decide to toss away an accessory twice during the entire musical number.
      • Then again, Suzy's reappearance in Johto did say that making Pokémon look outwardly beautiful and fashionable is okay so long as the Pokémon consents to it and the human doesn't forget about the Pokémon's inner worth.
    • The first season episode "Showdown At Dark City" features a pair of gyms competing for the right to be made official. Both sides use underhanded tactics to sabotage the other gym, up to and including sending out multiple Pokémon at once to physically assault the opponent. In the end, Nurse Joy reveals herself and states that neither of them deserve to be a gym. This was written before Dark became an official type in the series and before Beat Up became a genuine Dark-type move.
    • During the battle between Ash and Misty regarding who got to keep Togepi, Psyduck barged out...again...and Bulbasaur made short work of him by using "Tickle". This was during G1; Tickle later became a real move in G3. Meowth did the same in "Bound For Trouble", also during G1, he even called the attack.
    • In The Tower of Terror, Ash and Pikachu got turned into ghosts by a wild Gastly, Haunter and Gengar. Years later, Generation VI introduced the move Trick-or-Treat, which changes another Pokémon's type to Ghost.
    • Anime!Lorelei only appeared during the Orange Islands saga. Come FRLG, we later learn Game!Lorelei's home is in the Sevii Islands. Coincidence?
    • In "The Heartbreak of Brock", Brock loses out with a girl to a doctor, causing Misty to proclaim, "Brock, even a Pokemon breeder can't compete with a doctor." Fast forward to the end of Diamond & Pearl, and Brock leaves Ash's group to become a Pokemon doctor.
    • In "The Ties that Bind", the announcer proclaims that Heracross' victory over Magmar was contributed to his "Guts". When game abilities are introduced, what would be one of Heracross' in-game abilities?
    • "Why? Wynaut?": the one time Ash had a justifiable means of jumping a hundred feet through the air, Team Rocket think it's impossible. What about their opinions on the other times it's happened?
    • Wobbuffet really is the strongest member of Team Rocket, but Jessie just can't use him properly. It may be idiocy on her part, but, until Generation IV, the physical/special mechanics weren't exactly precise (in one episode of Johto League Champions, Duplica mentions that Counter reflects physical attacks like Bite, which was technically inaccurate at the time, but has since been born out by the physical/special attack split in Generation IV). Contrast how well he's being used in Kalos.note 
    • The Team Shot at the end of the Black and White OP. Oshawott the Attention Whore is standing right behind Pikachu.
    • Georgia's hatred towards the (back then) broken Dragon-type Pokémon and her dedication to building an anti-Dragon squad becomes this in Generation VI when Dragon-types are completely overshadowed by Fairy-types as the most powerful type, leading to some players act like her and started to develop alternative strategies as well as building entire teams to specifically counter fairies and nothing else.
    • The anime always makes a big deal about contest rivalries so it's funny when in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire when Lisia says there aren't rivals in contests.
    • Back in The School of Hard Knocks, Misty dreamed about Paris and Eiffel Tower. Fast forward 16 years, and we're introduced to Kalos, which is France-based.
    • Iris once mistook Ash's Charizard for a Dragon-type (but can you blame her?). Pokémon X and Y would introduce Mega Charizard X, which is a Dragon-type.
    • The song Heroes (We Could Be) by Alesso and sung by Tove Lo wouldn't sound out of place in Pokémon. In fact, from the title alone, it sounds just like We Will Be Heroes, the English theme to Battle Dimension, and the similarity carries over to the chorus and lyrical themes.
    • In the Master Quest episode "Pop Goes The Sneasel", Jessie attempts to replace Meowth with a Sneasel. Sneasel's voice actor is Jimmy Zoppi, who ended up replacing Maddie Blaustein as Meowth a region later. For extra irony, Eric Stuart's James is almost as adverse to the idea as Meowth is.
    • More Meowth vs Sneasel irony. In the Advanced Battle episode "Hail to the Chef", Team Rocket is heckled by a Sneasel serving as a chef, overhearing Jessie boasting about being a top co ordinatornote  and mocking Meowth for a lacking a skill like Sneasel. Come Sinnoh and Kalos regions, Meowth has learned culinary abilities, which Jessie frequently uses to win appeal rounds. Verges on poetic irony in "Performing With Fiery Charm", guess what species Pokemon they outdo...
    • In relation to that, "The Evolution Solution" had character of the day Professor Westwood V obliviously reading from a card how amazing and intellectual Meowth is. Westwood was voiced Nathan Price, Meowth's first voice actor note .
    • A Gastly transformed into a real-world mongoose in the Kanto episode "The Ghost of Maiden's Peak". Later regions introduced actual mongoose Pokemon in the form of Zangoose and Yungoos.
    • The infamous "aim for the horn" incident becomes even funnier when watching Pokémon Origins - in which a Rhyhorn gets revenge and defeats a Jolteon with Thunderbolt.
    • Late in Best Wishes, Professor Oak would capture a Rotom, which would accompany him in his appearances since (specifically, the Holocaster segments in the XY series). In Pokémon Sun and Moon, a Rotom would involuntarily join the player character during the game, as the "Rotom Pokédex".
    • In their hurry to catch their plane back to Kanto at the end of XYZ, Team Rocket left behind a pair of Solrock and Lunatone figurines. As usual this is a nod to the upcoming Sun and Moon games, but it becomes even more hilarious because of the ironic fact that these Pokémon aren't even available in the Alola region.
    • The plot for the OS episode, "The Ancient Puzzle of Pokémopolis". Two great and powerful Pokémon are summoned, who battle against each other and cause massive destruction. To avoid casualties, an even greater Pokémon must be summoned, who has the power that can halt both Pokémon and calm them down. Pokemon Emerald, anyone?
      • Similar to the above, the plot for the entire XYZ arc. A blonde girl adopts a baby Legendary Pokémon (who constantly tries escaping her bag), and has to learn more about it in order to return it to its home. Meanwhile, a shady organization needs the Legendary for their own ulterior motives, and pursues the girl and the legendary all the while. In the final battle, the Legendary reaches its final form and delivers the finishing blow to the Big Bad of the arc, thus saving the day. Hmmm...
    • In "Meowth Rules!", Meowth is found by a group of islanders (complete with stereotypical Polynesian-esque dancers and music), worshipped as a king and subsequently spoiled. Sun and Moon reveals that Alolan Meowth (found in Alola, based of Hawaii) became Dark-type after becoming vain and selfish due to being spoiled by islanders.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient:
    • Ash collapsing from the strain of using the Ash-Greninja Forme.
    • Almost anytime Team Rocket Wins.
  • Hype Backlash:
    • For years the show has been criticized for its repetitive nature, bland characterization concerning the main protagonist, Ash, and his apparent inability to get closer to his goal of being a Pokemon Master.
    • Many anime fans in other fandoms resent the Pokémon anime (particularly the Indigo League season) for being one of the most prevalent stereotypes of anime in Western culture, along with Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z. Some fans of the games resent the anime for very similar reasons (the anime overtaking the games in pop culture), especially if the show is going through a Dork Age. Pokémon, especially the Indigo League season, is often labeled and mocked as the most "normie" anime out there. Because it made its biggest impact with that season and kids who watched it around that time are all grown up now, Pokémon anime fans are stereotyped as "dudebros" who only know the franchise from the original seasons and possibly Pokémon Go and are often of the "genwunner" mentality. Many YouTube nerd parody channels and parties/conventions that attract mainstream audiences fall into this stereotype, to the point that "bearded Ash" and "sexy Misty" are almost clichés at this point.
  • Hypocritical Fandom: To an extent. A lot of fans criticize the series' use of Pokémon Speak, but when Pokémon Speak is used for characters in more "mature" series (such as for Groot or Hodor), fans love it and the Pokémon Speak character likely becomes an Ensemble Darkhorse.
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: Pick any two characters. There is a ___Shipping name for them. The more complete lists have thousands of entries. Here's the list.
  • Internet Backdraft: The reaction against Ash's loss at the Kalos League has been VERY vocal. TV Tokyo's trailer for the next episode had over 50,000 dislikes opposed to about 1,000 likes on YouTube. Even more, the dislike/like ration on the trailer is shockingly high compaired to other backlash inducing trailers such as Paper Mario: Color Splash, Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare, and Mighty No. 9's Masterclass trailer. Some fans have even destroyed their own merchandise over the backlash to the Kalos League ending. The reason for this is the fact that supplementary materials and the show itself were strongly hinting Ash would actually win this time, to the point of hype. The controversy also saw Alain, having before been a relatively well-liked character, become a pariah among the fanbase for being the one Ash wound up losing to. It also has actually managed to negatively affect the view of the XY series in general, which was prior seen as one of the best ever due to its willingness to indulge the Periphery Demographic, now seen as something of a Shaggy Dog Story that copped out at the last minute. This and Ash releasing his Greninja at the end of the series has actually driven away a few fans completely, swearing to never watch the anime again. It got so bad that this very page had to be locked until the dust settled down.
  • It's the Same, so It Sucks: Not much has actually changed in the show's 15+ year run:
    • Every episode hits the same beats as all the others, and the plot resolutions are very predictable. Even the deviations from the norm (like Gym Leader battles) have their own norm that rarely, if ever, is broken. The lack on any overarching plot does not help at all (To Be a Master does not count as a plot when the main character is no closer to his goals than when he started).
    • The movies get this treatment too. One can count on a typical Pokémon movie consisting of Ash and friends teaming up with the current "cute" legendary or Lucario clone to help save the world from either a human villain or a scary Pokémon that turns out to be not evil, but just misunderstood. Or a human villain and a scary Pokémon that's not really evil.
    • One of the many recurring elements is the backstory for Ash's Fire-type starters; they all get abandoned by their abusive trainers, meet Ash, become his Pokemon, and eventually confront their former trainer in some fashion.
    • Ash never being able to win a Pokémon League has not sat well with a lot of fans, given how long the show's been running for. This feeling started gaining ground when Tobias, an enigmatic trainer who uses legendaries, appeared right out of nowhere during the Sinnoh League. The feeling continued to gain steam with the Unova League when Cameron, who was already widely despised, defeated Ash with a 5-on-6 handicap. The fandom's outrage reached a fever pitch with the Kalos League when all the hype surrounding the final match made it seem like Ash was finally going to claim a complete League victory against Alain.
    • Many would prefer if, just once, the show would allow Ash to attempt to catch a legendary Pokémon.
  • It Was His Sled: Ash loses the Kalos League despite seemingly having the odds in his favor.
  • Mondegreen: In the English dub, Episode 4 is infamous for one of Ash's lines being misheard as "Take back that novice crap!"
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Ash with many of the girls that he meets...even Latias and his Bayleef. Sun & Moon takes it up to eleven as there's already been Ship Tease with Lillie, Mallow, AND Lana.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Non-deadly example: Practically once every year during the Diamond and Pearl seasons, there was an episode wherein Team Rocket would either break up or actually quit following Ash & Pikachu to do something legit. It never sticks. They did it again in Black and White, culminating with Meowth joining Ash's team for a few episodes! But once again...
  • Love It or Hate It:
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Giovanni. He's managed to keep his organization up and running for fifteen years of this show's history and counting, with only a few setbacks and fewer defeats.
    • Hunter J. Never once lost a battle in any of her appearances, predicts the movements and actions of her opponents and plans accordingly, and successfully delivers on most of her jobs. It took two Legendary Pokémon catching her off-guard with a double Future Sight to finally put a stop to her operation. And said Legendary Pokémon didn't make it out unscathed, either.
    • Team Galactic's boss Cyrus in Diamond and Pearl before he got to the Spear Pillar and went completely batshit.
    • Dr. Zager, Jessie, James, and especially Meowth put an effort into being this trope in their Nimbasa Subway mission in Black and White, which was a very well put-together plan that only fell apart because of slight oversights, our heroes persisting, and Meowth deciding to be a Smug Snake by mishandling his captive Pokémon. Even Ash's team, who are usually derisive or outright mocking towards Team Rocket, had to admit they'd nearly had their number that time.
    • Dr. Colress in the "Episode N" arc, who out-does even his boss Ghetsis in malevolent scheming.
    • Lysandre, who is using both Steven (the Hoenn Champion) and Alain as his patsies while being a Villain with Good Publicity at the same time.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Gary Motherfucking Oak. You cannot ignore his girth. It helps that he once showed off his collection of ten badges during Road to Indigo. (That makes for a technical total of eleven badges, as he had not yet collected the Earth Badge — Gary Oak is so good that he collected three badges that are impossible for normal players to get).
    • Bewear was already a powerful Pokémon upon its debut in the games, being able to destroy anything in its path by accident, but its anime counterpart ramps this up to the point where it can leap several bounds into the air and on top of buildings, and even run so fast that it can tread waternote .
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Ash has been granted this status in no small part because he simply isn't allowed to return home a winner. Usually, he'll simply lose in the middle of a tournament, but even when he does "win" (as in the Orange Islands or the Battle Frontier), within a week of him returning home, Gary Oak will drop by to steal that from him. The first time, Pikachu lost to Gary's Eevee, and after the Battle Frontier, Gary subjected Ash and Pikachu to a straight-up Curb-Stomp Battle with his Electivire. The movies are usually kinder, allowing Ash to have quite a few heroic moments, but still..."Gary was here, Ash is a loser"note . Black and White didn't help this at all, and it got even worse with X and Y's ill-fated battle with Alain at the Kalos league.
    • Ash's Torterra is one due to the grass turtle's poor track record after evolving from Turtwig.
    • Ash's Kalos Dragons, Goodra and Noivern, are on their way to becoming this due to their weak contribution in the Lumiose Conference. The former especially since Goodra was Put on a Bus for over 50 episodes only to have nothing go its way upon returning to Ash's team.
    • If Goodra and Noivern are on their way to becoming this, then Ash's Greninja has beaten them there and set up shop a long time ago, thanks to suffering from The Worf Effect at the hands of Alain's Mega Charizard X after being built up as one of Ash's most powerful Pokémon yet.
  • Memetic Molester:
  • Memetic Mutation: Chock full of em.
  • Memetic Psychopath:
    • Cilan is often depicted as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who murders and eats his Pokemon, due to his catch phrases, "It's tasting time!" and "I caught a/n [X POKEMON] with good taste!". Episode 19 introduced his rival, who claimed that Cilan was a monster when she battled him, complete with Slasher Smile. Naturally, this got more notice from the fandom: when he's not portrayed as her rapist, he's thought of as a psychological torturer.
      • For the longest time a lot of fans thought his game counterpart was a Shadow Triad member. This only put fuel on the fire, with a lot of people having him as the Token Evil Teammate who betrays Ash.
    • Serena. One of the memetic depictions of her is nicknamed Yanderena. While this depiction is quite common among fans (from things like wanting to murder anyone who tries to get in Ash's pants), it exploded when a certain VA retired from voice acting. Said VA, Saori Hayashi, provided voice for Miette/Millefeui, Serena's rival who knows about Serena's crush on Ash and teased her repeatedly to the point that she threatened her that if she doesn't make a move, she will steal Ash from Serena. Prompt an image of Yanderena superimposed against the news.
    • Mimikyu from the Sun & Moon series, particularly since Meowth is constantly terrified of what it's saying and unwilling to translate it for anyone since he finds it too disturbing to repeat.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Paul. The way he's written encourages this somewhat.
    • Similarly, Conway, who was intended to be a case of This Loser Is You. But again, it's rather botched in writing: if Conway's creepy attitude toward Dawn is meant to be bad and thus fans like him are bad too, then why does the anime staff go out of their way to show Dawn off?
    • Many fans liked the Mega Evolution specials for making a story and protagonist unrelated the main anime, and accused Alain's crossover into XYZ later (along with his infamous defeat over Ash in the Kalos league) to be hashed in. Word of God revealed that Alain was designed to be Ash's final opponent in the league from the beginning, and the Mega Evolution specials were merely to make him a fully realised character beforehand.
  • Mis-blamed:
    • Poor, poor, Porygon...the only reason it and its evolutions have been banned (aside from a cameo here and there) from the show all together is because they were the Pokémon-of-the-week in the infamous seizure episode when it was actually Pikachu's thunderbolt that caused the flashing red-and-blue images. What really rubs the salt into the wounds is that Pikachu has been featured in almost every episode since.
    • The 2011 Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster catches the blame for pushing Team Plasma into an arc after the badge quest, as well as for some fans, dramatically changing (for the worse) a saga that started off strong, or at least decent. In reality, the production of sequel games instead of the usual third version is what caused the Plasma arc to be temporarily aborted and the series to change so dramatically. This also made the aforementioned two-parter a Morton's Fork, in that, if it did air, the fans would be on the writers for giving Team Plasma as short of shrift as they gave Teams Magma and Aqua. That said, it certainly didn't help matters.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Damian, Charmander's former trainer, was on the brink when he first abandoned Charmander, but he soared right over the line when he refused to come back for it once it started raining - not only would Charmander not move from its rock despite the threat of death if its flame went out, Damian knew this once Brock told him yet still didn't care...his alternate counterparts in Pokémon Yellow and The Electric Tale of Pikachu subvert this, since in both he's shown to be a poor trainer for some reason or other, but still cares for Charmander's well-being. Ironically, after acquiring said Charmander, Ash himself ends up exposing its tail to the dangers of water quite a bit, but unlike Damian, he ultimately cares about Charmander and its subsequent evolutions when all is said and done.
    • Paul's treatment of Chimchar in the Tag Tournament arc.
      Even though I just had all of my other Pokémon beat down on Chimchar and Nurse Joy herself told me he would be far too injured to participate in the big tournament match tomorrow, screw that! Chimchar, stand by for battle!
      You pathetic little...I command you to attack and you just sat there?!note  What the hell's wrong with you?! Pack your bags, you miserable monkey. I'm gone, and so are you. Enjoy your two-on-one, loser!
    • Pokémon Hunter J is always evil in all of her appearances, but in the "Pokémon Ranger and the Kidnapped Riolu" two-parter she really shows her cruelty when - besides her pursuit of the titular Riolu - she tries to kill Ash several times. First she orders her Salamence to burn the surrounding forest and fire Hyper Beam point blank; then she has her Drapion attempt to crush him (leading to one of the few times Ash ever directly attacks a Pokémon); and finally, she ejects him from her ship at great height. She also says that she wanted to punish Ash personally and took pleasure in trying to kill him and everytime she attacks Ash she is shown with a Slasher Smile.
    • Team Galactic's (and Cyrus' in particular) comes when Cyrus ordering Mars to blow up Iron Island (full of people and Pokémon) after Team Galactic have finished scanning Mt. Coronet. And he sported a Slasher Smile when he gave that order. And the reason behind this order? Just to make a statement about Team Galactic and the "new world". The guy's an Omnicidal Maniac par excellence, after all. Cyrus's plan to destroy the universe and create a new world in his image qualifies too.
    • Shamus the former trainer of Ash's Tepig (and a Damian Expy), already had a huge Kick the Dog to his name when he abandoned Tepig in Accumula Town by tying it to a post, but went over the Moral Event Horizon when we learn that when he did so, he actually acted remorseful for having to do it and told Tepig that it was for the best, making Tepig think that he still loved him...except that when he was far enough away, he smirked and laughed about being free of his useless Pokémon! And he gloats about this to Tepig during his and Ash's battle, painfully shattering Tepig's view of him. Karma caught up to him when Tepig evolved into Pignite, took out both Shamus' fighters down and roasted Shamus' face at the end. What really makes the guy worse is that he was showing that he enjoyed Tepig's anguish at being abandoned and later fighting him. While Paul wasn't much better in training methods, at least he doesn't take sociopathic glee in torturing Pokémon long after they were abandoned like Shamus does.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • Some of the Poke Speak is considered cringeworthy to many older fans, especially in the dub.
    • Sawyer's dub voice is near universally loathed because of how out of place it is for a child to have.
    • Butch's dub voice in both the 4Kids and the TPCI dub is universally considered one of the worst character voices in the series. He literally sounds like a radical chain smoker that tries WAY TOO HARD to mimic Harvey Fierstein.
    • Lillie's dub voice is also heavily disliked, thanks to sounding not at all like a little girl and more like a 30-something year old trying to mimic a little girl, as well as due to clashing a lot with her sweet and bookish nature. It doesn't help that both her game and anime counterparts have been very well-received by the fanbase, which has caused fans to view this as a disservice to the character.
  • Narm:
    • The "Dodge!" command, due to being a laughably nonspecific evasive maneuver that gets spammed throughout an endless amount of battles (especially in the later series), sometimes ruining otherwise well strategized ones.
    • Misty hyping up Dragon Rage as the most horrifying and powerful move ever becomes a lot harder to take seriously when you realize that it's a move that's limited to always doing 40 damage, and looks nothing like a giant water twister, in the games.
    • Serena's reaction seen here is supposed to come off as a heartwarming moment during her reunion with Ash. Instead, the look comes off kind of hilarious due to how over-the-top her eyes are drawn here...and maybe even a bit creepy.
    • The music the XY dub uses has been criticized by many for being either repetitive and overly generic or too happy in dramatic moments. Either way, the music ruins the mood the scene is trying to convey.
    • Zygarde's voice in the Japanese version. A bit silly but still fitting enough when he's in his Core form, but hearing that same high-pitched voice coming from the Humongous Mecha-esque Perfect Zygarde makes it a bit hard to take his Big Damn Heroes moment seriously.
  • Narm Charm: A lot of the title themes and image songs in both the Japanese and English edits are ridiculously tense and dramatic in spite of their cheesy lyrics and the subject matter of the show itself, but damn if they're not catchy. Especially so for the original English theme, which wouldn't be out of place as an 80s rock anthem, and is adored by nearly every long time fan of the series.
  • Nausea Fuel: For some, many of the odd faces made by Ash and co. in the SM anime. This is especially evident with a shot of Ash screaming with his mouth wide open, which among other things, shows his uvula screaming alongside him!.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • There's a reason why Porygon, a.k.a. 'The Seizure Pokémon', is never seen in the anime anymore and its evolutions are never seen in the anime, period...Even though it was Pikachu that actually caused the seizures in the Porygon episode.
    • Brock opening his eyes in an attempt to amuse Larvitar will NEVER be forgotten.
    • 4Kids would never hear the end of it regarding their continued attempts to hide the existence of rice-balls. At first, they would just call them something completely different: eclairs, doughnuts and even popcorn-balls, but by the time of the Hoenn era, they would change the rice-balls into other pieces of food such as crackers and sandwiches. To say they get ridiculed for this practice would be a major understatement. However, 4Kids would also at times correctly refer to rice-balls as what they were in EP055, AG006, and AG040, the latter two being Hoenn era episodes no less!
    • The Trainer's Choice segment where the English dubbers claimed that Arbok evolves into Seviper. 4Kids Entertainment will perhaps never escape the constant ridicule they receive from the fandom for such an obvious mistake.
    • Fans tend to remember Ash's failures better than his successes.
    • Pikachu's love for ketchup occurs in a total of one episode of the original show's run, yet it ends up becoming one of his defining characteristics (with the image of Pikachu crying over the "death" of its ketchup battle achieving meme status. It has been referenced in a few episodes of later series, no doubt after the meme had taken off.
    • Ash's Torterra will never be able to live down his poor track record after evolving from Turtwig where he had a couple great wins early on.
    • Fans will never let Pikachu live down losing to Trip's Snivy at the start of the Black and White series.
    • Ever since the Barboach/Whiscash episode that revolved around the Pokémon using Earthquake got banned before its initial airing, many ground-type attacks such as Earthquake, Magnitude and Fissure have been established to never see the light of day in the anime to not have viewers be reminded of earthquakes that had struck Japan at some point in real life.
    • The Black and White series will always bear the stain of having the heavily hyped "Team Rocket vs. Team Plasma" two-parter that was meant to air in 2011 being indefinately postponed and retconned (although see Mis-blamed above.)
    • Serena is often treated by fans as walking scenery who only exists to be in love with Ash. While her development has been slow (as with almost all non-Coordinator companions), she has done some things, and her crush on Ash was only that big in the beginning. This especially holds true after her outfit swap and Important Haircut.
    • Ash losing the Kalos league despite all the hype and progress he made in this saga almost immediately became this.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Similar to The Transformers, a few "Genwunners" hold up the Indigo League season as one of the greatest animated series of all time. While there's no denying that it was a massive success (read: fad), many other cartoons have been much better-received with critics and audiences.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • This series is highly well known for memorable one-shot characters, many of whom aren't even from the games. Many of these characters are considered far more appealing that the main cast (which in some cases is not hard to do), and while sometimes it is justified why we never see them again, other times it's not.
    • Gym Leaders: Lt. Surge, Erika, Koga, Falkner, Bugsy and Chuck (after which all Gym Leaders are featured in at least two episodes). Sabrina is hugely considered to be a One Arc Wonder, thanks to being such a memorably terrifying Arc Villain. Marlon and Cheren also count.
    • Elite Four: Lorelei, Bruno, Agatha and Bertha, and Drake.
    • Ironically, Steven Stone, despite being the Champion in Ruby And Sapphire, is reduced to one of these in the Hoenn episodes (he does return and is expanded upon in the Kalos episodes, where his personality is more similar to his game counterpart). However, in his home region, he was given a much different characterization (in particular, being hypocritical about Team Rocket digging holes in a cave, saying it would disrupt the Pokémon in the cave, as he blew a hole in the cave's roof), to the point that his one episode is rather infamous.
    • Gladion's and Lusamine's cameo in a portrait in episode 8 of the Alola anime is a very brief moment, but probably the most talked-about event in the episode.
  • Only The Original Head Writer Does It Right: The original series as written by Takeshi Shudo is often considered the best part of the show's history due to him at least trying to avert the Animation Age Ghetto and Strictly Formula nature and before the writers decided to invoke Flanderization on the main cast.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: The episode "Electric Soldier Porygon", which has the notorious status of "that Pokémon episode that caused hundreds of kids in Japan to have seizures" rather than "the first (and only) time Porygon appeared in the anime".
  • Periphery Demographic: Zig-Zagged:
  • Replacement Scrappy: The anime is one of the longest running in history, so this was bound to happen at least once. Or several times.
    • All of the male companions to Brock, though Tracey was hit the hardest for temporarily replacing him in Orange Islands. Cilan and Clemont also get flack for permanently replacing him.
    • All the female companions past Misty will be this for some: May for replacing Misty, Dawn for replacing May, Iris for replacing Dawn, or Serena for replacing Iris. It's an everlasting trend, unfortunately, not at all helped by the Ship-to-Ship Combat.
    • Among Paul's fanbase and others, Trip is this. His initial characterization — stuck-up and critical of Ash — was too similar to Paul's character. Even his design is a Palette Swap of Paul's with only minor differences of their facial features. The major difference is that he didn't hit on Iris like Paul would do to Dawn.
    • The second Mewtwo is VERY unpopular with fans due to her story's lack of originality and her replacing of the famous first movie Mewtwo.
    • May's Squirtle, due to being a poor replacement of Ash's beloved Squirtle from the first generation that lacks any of the charm and personality that made the original a fan favorite.
    • Every single one of Ash's rivals after Gary, because they steal Ash's chances of winning and (compared to Gary) are One-Arc Wonders with little Character Development other than the typical "Worthy Opponent" buildup. Alain seems to be getting it the worst, because Ash losing to him is believed to have driven the Status Quo Is God of him not being a League winner beyond Yank the Dog's Chain/Diabolus ex Machina levels.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Post-Togepi Misty to those who didn't like her Tsundere self.
    • May got criticized much less by Misty fans after the latter returned in Advanced Challenge and became fast friends with May. This also led the Advanced Generation/Ruby & Sapphire series in general to be rescued. After she returned not one, but two more times, fans of both characters were elated.
    • Bianca, after she Took a Level in Kindness in Nimbasa City, and one in Badass in the Clubsplosion.
    • For those who disliked her anime portrayal in DP, Cynthia's characterisation in Black and White made some leeway in redeeming her. It helps that the preachiness was toned down some, with focus on making her a Cool Big Sis Mentor towards Iris.
    • Trip wasn't too popular until the Junior Cup, when he made up for his losses by impressively sweeping the tournament (with just Serperior). Losing to Alder and getting some much-needed Character Development also softened him up, making him a more likable person as well.
    • For those who didn't like Dawn, many found her very enjoyable in BW, where she received less focus and bounced off Iris and Cilan well.
    • Ash himself in XY. In BW, he displayed the worst stereotypes of his own character, and was hated for it. In XY, the writers made him a lot more competent and mature despite not actually increasing his age, and fans are a lot more kindly towards him despite his bad reputation never going away.
      • Even then, some fans felt that Ash was a little too bland that season, but still appreciated his skill as a trainer. In Sun and Moon, fans of both sides got a compromise: Ash not only keeps his competency in battle from XY, but also becomes less bland, having more animated facial expressions, being more prone to Amusing Injuries, and generally coming off as a Genius Ditz.
    • While Ash's Pikachu never needed saving per se, as he wasn't a full-on scrappy, his single-handed taking down of both Alain's Tyranitar and his Metagross has caused many fans to remember why the little mouse was so popular in the first place.
    • While Whitney maintained her status as the toughest Johto gym leader, her tantrum did not carry over, giving viewers less of a reason to hate her.
    • Team Rocket started to earn the ire of the Western fan base for being a tired Goldfish Poop Gang for most of the Hoenn and Sinnoh eras. After an unusual stint as competent, serious bad guys in the Unova era was met with mixed results, Kalos made them comical again, albeit with a more palpable number of formidable moments and even omission from certain episodes to allow full focus on the heroes' arcs, making their shtick less repetitive than before.
    • Noibat got a lot of flak when it first appeared in trailers for taking Goodra's spot on Ash's team. However, it quickly redeemed itself upon first appearing as more than just a in-season rehash of Goodra's arc.
    • Bonnie was initially disliked for essentially being Max 2.0, but gained a slightly better reception after she turned out to be more supportive towards her brother than Max was to May, as well as not being nearly as smug. Then XYZ arc made her a plot-relevant figure and borderline Woobie, which elevated her in the eyes of many fans, although a few consider her a Spot Light Stealing Squad instead.
    • Sawyer was considered the most polarizing rival of the anime since Paul, being way too nice and a new trainer. The Kalos League battle with Ash was considered a highlight of the already divisive league. His scene where he cries over the loss won him over many fans due to seeing his emotional investment in the league, unlike Ash's generic nice-guy.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Despite their Base-Breaking Character status in the West, the Team Rocket Trio is easily more popular than Ash due to being Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains and having surprisingly well-developed backstories. (See Vanilla Protagonist below — it was Takeshi Shudo's intent for Team Rocket to be more interesting than Ash).
  • Saved by the Fans: The Team Rocket trio were planned to be Put on a Bus during Best Wishes (and their previous Pokemon team were Put on a Bus for that series). However fans of the trio, including those in the production team, decided against the idea, and so they returned for the second half of the series, along with their fan favoured goofy personalities from previous seasons. A podcast vote also asked for the fanbase's favourite Team Rocket Pokemon to return, with Wobbuffet back with the trio in XY.
  • Scapegoat Creator: When it was spread around online that the writing team for Best Wishes were behind Ash's loss in the Kalos League, many fans took up pitchforks and demanded their heads for screwing up yet another chance for Ash, essentially accusing them of being brought back just to do this. Other fans have pointed out that the writing team from Best Wishes is the exact same writing team of the entire X & Y saga, and that the majority of them have been on board since the start of the entire anime.
  • The Scrappy: Has its own page
  • Seasonal Rot: Everything after Kanto has been argued as this to some extent due to Executive Meddling, recycled plots, or lack of major character development. Ones that are mentioned more frequently are both Johto League Championships and Master Quest (the second half of Johto, which packed exeedingly large amounts of Filler), and Black and White: Adventures in Unova (the final year of Unova, which even the fans of the Unova arc tend to despise for its mishandled League, too-short Team Plasma story arc, and too-long Decalore Islands Filler Arc).
    • Similarly to Black and White, the third and final season of the XY series, XY&Z has also come under fire by some of the Broken Base, even from fans of the XY series. Despite a very well-liked arc centered around Team Flare, it is criticized for Serena's Invincible Incompetence and her Master Class episodes being badly written, Ash-Greninja ending up as a Shaggy Dog Story, Team Rocket reverting back to a Goldfish Poop Gang that appears too much, elements carried over from the Mega Evolution specials being mishandled, Ash losing at the Kalos League, and the last episode rushing Serena, Clemont and Bonnie's goodbyes and having flashbacks take up half of the running time.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Kanto gets the most praise of any region and many feel the show has declined greatly since then. However, others find that it hasn't aged well due to the Early Installment Weirdness. Others still also note that many of the problems later sagas have had their roots in Kanto.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: The giant list of pairings (like the one featured by Bulbapedia) includes hordes of couples constructed from characters that never meet in anime canon. One example might be Brendan/May (the anime incarnations of the protagonists of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire), the latter of whom being, of course, the Deuteragonist of the Hoenn saga while the former only cameo-ed a few times in the movies.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: The History of Pokémon Shipping. For those who don't feel like clicking on an outbound link, it reads like the Wikipedia article for World War II.
  • Snark Bait:
    • Specifically for older fans of the games, thanks to the show's formulaic nature, Ash's tendency to forget everything he learned each season, and, of course, the show being Merchandise-Driven. The anime was a subject of much mainstream mockery in its early days, and continues to be so for current game fans and haters alike.
    • The Kalos League arc yanks the chain so hard that haters rioted, and even the most die-hard supporters hated the final episode of it.
    • The movies are also mocked for their tendency to depict antagonistic Pokémon as "not evil, just misunderstood"note  and for their tendency to allocate most of their screentime to "cute" legendaries acting all cute. This arguably reached its peak with Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened where, presumably due to a lack of actual "cute" legendaries, a Genesect of all things was depicted as one. In particular, Water Pokémon Master, webmaster of the popular fansite PokéBeach, started treating the movies (especially their English dubs) with utter cynicism after being underwhelmed by Pokémon: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages.
  • Spoiled by the Format: You could tell Ash's Kalos League defeat a mile away just from the fact that the theme song already played in full for Ash's fight with Shota, thus there'd be no way for it to repeat for the very next battle.
  • Strangled by the Red String: A complaint of Ash/Serena, which is completely unsubtle in its Ship Tease and originates in a Retcon to Ash's backstory. Though in its defense, it is one-sided on Serena's part, as the retcon to Ash's past doesn't affect him at all.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys: Paul, who was created as a Take That! toward those types of players, but developed a Misaimed Fandom (thanks in due part to the head writer's apparent favoritism toward him).
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Several early episodes were about Ash learning important life lessons... except the show would deliver these lessons after giving Ash such a raw deal that the audience would take his side.
      • In the show's fourth episode, Ash encounters fellow trainer Samurai, who rakes him over the coals for the novice mistakes of letting a Weedle get away and letting his Metapod get kidnapped by a Beedrill swarm. Thing is, the Weedle actually got away because Samurai rudely intervened right as Ash was about to attempt the catch (sticking a katana in his face and demanding a battle), giving the bug time to recover and escape. Later, Samurai indicates that the Beedrill swarm only mustered because that same Weedle went to gather them, conveniently ignoring the fact that the swarm is therefore his fault. During a rescue attempt, Ash tries to excuse himself by pointing out that he got sidetracked and that it's Samurai who's really to blame, which the writers would have you believe is a case of Never My Fault... except he's correct in this case and it's Samurai who's been deflecting the blame. Ash's actual mistake in this episode is standing around gawking at the Beedrill swarm rather than getting himself and his Pokemon the hell outta dodge, but he can't be blamed for failing to anticipate Spontaneous Beedrill Kidnapping Syndrome, and it should be noted he takes immediate measures to try and rectify it... not that Metapod cares, since it also blames Ash for the disaster.
      • Upon being defeated by Ritchie in the Indigo League, Ash becomes incredibly upset; this was meant to serve up An Aesop about being a Sore Loser, judging from the criticisms the show delivers through Misty and Brock. The problem is that Ash has legitimate reason to be upset about losing, considering it was a grossly unfair match. After nearly being disqualified due to fending off three separate Team Rocket attacks keeping him from the match, he and his Pokémon were under huge amounts of stress and exhaustion (so they battled under a handicap), a new elimination rule was added (and never used again) that declared sleep-status a case of "unable to battle" and equivalent to fainting (costing Ash his first Pokémon due to a lucky Sleep Powder attack), and Ash's last resort, Charizard, the only one healthy enough to be a viable choice in combat, decided to flake on him by taking a nap instead of fighting. It would be one thing if Ash was being moody and petulant after losing a fair match, but he actually lost because of bad luck and a wicked handicap, so this is a sting the audience can really sympathize with.
    • Back during the Indigo League, the episode "A Chansey Operation" introduced Doctor Proctor, a callous, lazy physician who would rather flirt with Nurse Joy than lift a finger while off duty. When Team Rocket causes a traffic accident that injures a literal truckful of Pokémon, Nurse Joy essentially commandeers him and his hospital into helping treat the monsters, a decision which he protests strongly. While the episode treats this decision as bad (and his casual attitude is admittedly cruel), he's absolutely right - he's a physician, not a veterinarian (or the Pokémon equivalent). He has little knowledge about their reactions to certain medicines or proper temperatures, if he had to do a major operation there would be no guarantee that he would have the faintest idea which major organs did what, never mind that a large number of the Pokémon are very dangerous and hard to control (many were severely agitated to the point that Ash and company had to use their own Pokémon to subdue them). If anything, he's being more responsible than the trio or Nurse Joy. She never seemed to consider just using the clearly established Pokémon teleportation technology to send them to another Pokémon Center.
    • Barry's and Paul's differing opinions on the state of the Sunyshore Gym, which Ash and company would later see for themselves later in the season. This is one of the few times that Paul has a legitimate reason to demean the Gym and its leader.
  • Subbing vs. Dubbing:
    • Pokémon is an interesting variation; at the time the series first went international, lack of development of the Internet made the raw Japanese versions of anime and comparisons with the dub (let alone Fansubs) not as easy to access in the West as they are now. So many fans were not aware of any differences between the Japanese version of the anime and dubbed version. But then early 2000 (mid-Orange Islands) Dogasu's Backpack launched, whose biggest feature is an easy-to-use Japanese-to-dub comparison for Pokémon, basically "Yu-Gi-Oh Uncensored: Pokémon Edition". Within a few years, 4Kids Entertainment's banning and censorship of episodes like Beauty and the Beach, music replacement, and radical editing of Pokémon: The First Movie became common knowledge. Still, many still preferred the dub, and the otherwise-criticized 4Kids still gets a pass on Pokémon, mostly because of the fact that it was actually one of their most faithful adaptations. So while the main series doesn't suffer much for it, a few episodes and movies have it quite bad - such as the first movie, with fans' perception of Mewtwo and the movie itself being affected by 4Kids' changes, and the dub getting a dismal rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Possibly justified due to 4Kids' Michael Haigney admitting his cluelessness in regards to the series and 4Kids' dub in general being aimed at a narrower demographic than Shudo intended; also, contrary to popular belief, the early Japanese dub did contain a bit more Parental Bonus humor, though not enough to make for a completely different series. Still, Dogasu's Backpack has made many fans go off to the Japanese version, and when TPCI took over, the dub became more of an Acceptable Target for criticism and many Western fans now watch the Fansubs, especially since XY when the music replacement got more prominent than it ever was before under 4Kids.
    • Some also argue that the Pokémon Speak, which is usually lambasted by Western fans, is less Narmy in Japanese. It's handled quite differently due to Japanese syllable structure, is often used for puns that are inevitably Lost in Translation Example , and apparently has more work put into the voices themselves (as hinted by Michael Haigney just not caring for some of the English Pokémon voices). This can even be seen within the English dub itself, in which Charizard's cry, usually considered cool and not Narmy at all, is actually Pokémon Speak of "Lizardon!" retained from the Japanese version.
  • Superlative Dubbing:
    • The Norwegian dub may be one of the few dubs that actually has a guy voicing Ash, and while his voice is obviously way past hitting puberty, it's still cartoonish enough to fit, and has left many people agreeing it's a fresh and unique type of voice for Ash than the usual strained female voices (not counting the original). Listen for yourself here.
    • The French-Canadian dub also used a similar teenager-ish voice for Ash, which like the Norwegian voice, some may find more tolerable than the Crossdressing Voices used in most other languages. Of note is the fact that it also used the English dub names for Pokémon and characters, unlike most other French Pokémon media, which the French-Canadian fanbase seems to appreciate - and which also means means they needed time to "adjust" when Nintendo of Canada started importing the games from France.
    • There is a large group of people who would consider the 4Kids English dub this.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Especially coming off the Internet Backdraft of Ash losing the Kalos League, the Alola arc reveal has left many fans with negative expectations. Reasons include the protagonist once again being Ash, the more simplistic artstyle, the anime shifting to a school premise due to Alola having no league and much of the promotional material focusing on over-the-top gags, causing many fans to draw comparisons to Yo-kai Watch (however good or bad). Fortunately, the season started out not as badly as fans feared, and the announcement of Pokémon: I Choose You! also helped convince fans that the team was still making an effort.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The anime has several moments of this. Specially in the scenes when the Pokémon start "talking" to each other:
    • A lot of Dawn and Piplup's moments together.
    • The Pikachu shorts very often qualify, due to being nothing but soft slapstick and "talking" from the current Pokémon. Especially so in the recent shorts, where even Team Rocket's Pokémon are unambiguously friendly and a ridiculously cheery narrator gives all the antics commentary.
  • Tear Jerker: Charmander was adorable and innocent, especially in Island of the Giant Pokémon in which the show translated the Pokémon Speak it was portrayed as the kid of the group. Upon evolving into Chameleon it became more focused and competitive, upon evolving into Charizard it became a complete jerkass who viewed power over everything. As Linkara theorized, Pokémon Evolution isn't so much evolution, but more just "growing up". This is Truth in Television if one had a childhood friend, who matured too quickly, stops liking the things the two did together because they are "stupid kiddy stuff" and hanging out with more mature cooler friends. This really hits hard. Even worse, only shortly after Charizard started to rekindle his friendship in Ash, the latter left him behind to get help with his training, knowing maintaining a past bond was less important than Charizard being allowed his true potential.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
    • Misty getting Put on a Bus after Johto will always leave a gaping hole in the hearts of some fans; thinking that her departure ruined the show completely.
    • The dub (4Kids/TPCI) gets hit with this hard whenever they decide to make a change to the original Japanese content.
      • The prime example nowadays is TPCI's music replacements over the original Japanese soundtrack, especially since XY when a new dub composer, Ed Goldfarb, took over and even less Japanese music got kept. Whenever a new dub episode is released, most of the forum discussion amongst viewers isn't about what occurred in the episode, but about how much Japanese music got replaced, and how much "suckier" the dub music is compared to the original music pieces. As a result, claims are made that the dub destroyed the show.
      • Some fans bailed on watching the English version of the show completely ever since the controversial voice-actor switch when TPCI took over the dub.
      • One of the main complaints from the side of the Broken Base that doesn't like Black and White is how it diverged from the formula that the previous AG and DP arcs used, and drastically changed the characterizations of Ash and Team Rocket. Somewhat ironically however, both aforementioned seasons got similar criticisms (hence the other side of the Broken Base).
      • The title cards in the X & Y series often showed one of the main characters in the Japanese dub (even Korrina got one dedicated to her), as well as episode 14 parodying horror movies. Since episode 12, the English dub prefers to just recycle the Ash-centric title card, and has continued to do so for the rest of the series, with the chances of the Japanese version's images used now very unlikely. Some older fans, especially those in his hatedom, are not pleased. It also did not update to the new title card following Serena's attire change.
      • In French-speaking Quebec, Canada, the decision to re-air the series using France's dub was met with this reaction, as French Canadians had their own dub of the early anime that used English Pokémon and character names rather than the French onesnote . A particular sticking point is that Netflix Canada's French audio track for the Indigo League season - one of the seasons with an existing French-Canadian dub - is the unmodified European French one.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Gary Oak. Ash's rival didn't even show up for that many episodes. The writers effectively killed off the character when he choose to pursue a future as a researcher.
    • The two Pallet Town trainers that went off on a journey alongside Gary and Ash are only given a couple brief mentions of their unknown journey, and are confirmed by the end of Ash's Kanto journey to have decided to just give up on their goal completely. Why these two were never seen before to interact with Ash, or act as a roadblock for Ash to eventually overcome to become a better trainer, is anyone's guess.
    • Any One-Shot Character of the day that leaves a major impact amongst the fanbase. Particularly, ones that are Ensemble Darkhorse status that fans wish would return somewhere down the line.
    • It's odd that Bill, the guy who made the Pokémon transfer system, was a main character in many manga, yet has only appeared in one episode to date.
    • The champion of most Hoenn games, Steven Stone, only appeared in one episode of Hoenn with no reference to being anything beyond a typical hiker. You'd expect him to reappear later, but he never did. This contrasts sharply to future champions depictions and his game version, who has a major role. Thankfully, he returned in the XY Mega Evolution specials, and has been treated a lot better.
    • Pokémon that could/should have been captured by one of the main characters because they were either likable Pokémon by the fanbase or because their development with a certain character made it look like they would fit together with that trainer perfectly. Some examples being:
      • Haunter, Houndour, Larvitar, Hippopotas, Riolu, Scatterbug, Litleo and a shiny Plantump for Ash. And related, Ash finally getting a member of a pseudo-legendary line (Gible), but the capture happened so late into the saga that nothing was ever done about it. Goodra also only stuck around for 15 episodes, and only appearing in a few of them, though it did a lot in those episodes, its departure is a punch in the face to fans who were hyped about Ash finally getting a fully evolved pseudo-legendary.
      • Stantler and Sharpedo for Brock.
      • Swablu for May — this example is especially mean-spirited on the part of the writers, who had May care for the injured bird for an entire episode. When they finally tried to rendezvous with Swablu's flock, the flock was completely absent, causing May to offer to allow Swablu to join her team. The flock suddenly appears out of nowhere to prevent this.
      • Mightyena and Ralts for Max.
      • Grimer for Dawn.
      • Deino for Iris.
      • Flabébé and a stinkin' Tyrantrum for Bonnie.
    • While we're on the topic of Ash, pick a Pokémon from his roster that is believed to have gotten the shaft and watch it get ugly. However, it's almost universally agreed upon that out of all the Pokémon Ash has ever had, Pidgeot, Primeape, Kingler (after the Kanto tournament), Totodile, Torkoal, Torterra (after Turtwig evolved), Palpitoad, and Goodra got the worst treatment.
    • For the Episode N arc, Zekrom not being involved in any way has irked a lot of people. Mostly out of disappointment that Zekrom is now nothing more than a plot-device to restart Pikachu at the start of the Unova journey.
    • On to the topic on N himself, Ash's way of adventuring and his relationship to his Pokemon would have made him the ULTIMATE FOIL to what he thinks is the average trainer and would have punched more holes in his logic even more so then Hilbert or Hilda (the Pokémon Black and White protagonists) ever could. Not to mention the ideological battle between Ash and King Plasma N would most likely would have been the greatest highlight of the entire series. Instead, N and Team Plasma are already in their Black 2 / White 2 selves while Ash ended up hitting his dumbest point in the series.
    • Team Plasma simply being a generic evil organization in the anime annoyed many people. To be fair, this was how they were portrayed in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, but the anime lacks the background of what they originally were in the first games and how that incarnation of the team got divided into the good side and the bad side, with only the bad side being portrayed.
    • Trip. Ironically, fans preemptively hated him because he showed early signs of being a second Paul. But then the writers started to expand his character. Half way through the arc though, it became apparent that the writers lost complete interest in him and focused more on all of the other rivals. Come time for the league, Trip became a total Anti-Climax Boss and got eliminated by Ash in the very first round.
    • Ash's Charizard, of all characters, became this during Black & White. He's added to Ash's Unova team (sending away Unfezant in the process) and rarely, if ever, has any interaction with any of the Unova Pokémon outside of Iris's Dragonite, whose rivalry with him ends as soon it is introduced, and Ash's Pignite, who N states they already have a good friendship but otherwise show the same concern for each other as they would with other Pokémon. They may has well have had Ash send Charizard back to regain Unfezant.
    • The writers made the mistake of trying to cram too many rivals into Dawn's Contest arc. As a result, Ursula's conflict with Dawn and Nando's decision to pursue both Gym Battles and Contests were never explored in depth because of their lack of screen time (and many opportunities to do so were wasted in favor of irrelevant filler).
    • Brendan and Lucas, the respective male player characters from the third and fourth generation games, are reduced to cameo appearances in a handful of the movies.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The GS Ball, which was building up to Celebi's reveal, gets left behind at Kurt's house despite many fans wanting to know what was inside. The reason being because the makers felt Celebi's appearance was no longer needed after the release of Pokémon 4Ever.
    • Some of the special Johto Pokeballs Kurt provided for the original gang were left untouched after handing them 3 Fast Balls, 2 Lure Balls, and 1 Heavy Ball. Brock used a Fast Ball to catch a Pineco while Ash and Misty used the 2 Lure Balls to catch Totodile and Corsola respectively. On the other hand, Ash and Misty never used their Fast Balls for anything while Brock never used his Heavy Ball.
    • The training arc for Ash's Turtwig had a lot of missed potential due to the grass-turtle suffering Badass Decay so bad that the Pokémon eventually became a Memetic Loser for fans.
      • First, nothing ever came about from what looked like was going to be a Next Tier Power-Up by having Grotle eat its own Energy Ball for a power-boost. It was completely dropped after being used simply to help Dawn in her training by pulling off a similar power-boost move with her Mamoswine's Ice Shard.
      • Second, after being shown how to fight by Paul's Torterra due to Grotle losing his speed upon evolving, one would have assumed that Ash's Grotle was going to be trained up as a defensive tank, which is a tactic you never saw Ash attempt previously. However, after defeating Candice's Sneasel during the 7th gym match using this type of tanking strategy, the idea wasn't pushed much further, and pretty much disappeared completely after evolving into Torterra.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Team Rocket sometimes get flak for this.
    • Given the entire premise of the show involves catching Pokemon, the trio are sometimes condemned and attacked even when they try to take Pokemon or other goods through legitimate means or with a sympathetic motive. Some of their punishments can also get incredibly vicious in some of their more pitiful bouts as well (sometimes characters have had to maintain their "Blasting off" Running Gag for very petty reasons). Throughout Hoenn and Sinnoh in particular, they were so much more loser than actual villain it verged on depressing.
    • At times, only one or two team members are causing trouble, with the others sometimes even protesting or trying to help the heroes. They are still always blasted off indiscriminately. "Got Miltank!" was an especially bad case, since Ash knew Meowth didn't want any part in the scheme and even saw him get Bound and Gagged by the other members in response.
    • Their Pokemon even more so. Most of them are portrayed as more loyal and loving to Jesse and James than malicious in any way, and a lot of them (especially James') are blessed with heart wrenchingly cute designs and dispositions, making a lot of the heroes' smug Curbstomp Battles against them look like vicious Kick the Dog moments.
  • Values Dissonance: In one episode, the heroes continuously vilify a Pokémon smuggler who was capturing wild Scatterbug, having them evolve into different kinds of Vivillon, and selling them to collectors all over the world. Which is pretty much what everyone does with Vivillon in the games.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: According to Shudo's notes, Ash (Satoshi) was never meant to stand out very much. His original vision for the series gave rise to far more interesting antagonists (and so we got Gary, a jerk with a harem of cheerleaders, and Team Rocket, who need no explanation), and even Ash's traveling companions are more dynamic and interesting (Brock and his women-starved antics come to mind). Unfortunately, this generally results in Ash getting the short end of the Strong as They Need to Be Stick, as both his and his Pokémon's intelligence, strength, competency, and luck are often completely random (though expect it to low to highlight some other character's prowess).
  • Viewers Are Morons: Some viewers accuse the anime (or at least parts of it) of talking down to its child audience and assuming that they lack intelligence, particularly compared to similar series such as Digimon Adventure.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Gendered pronouns are almost never used to refer to Pokemon, thus an official confirmation usually has to be plot required note  or involve certain gender mechanics from the games being adapted note .
  • Video-Game Movies Suck: The movies wildly vary in acceptance with the fanbase, but barring a few (such as Genesect and the Legend Awakened and Hoopa and the Clash of Ages) they largely avert this, being seen as So Okay, It's Average at worst.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: Sun & Moon, with its Genre Shift towards slice-of-life comedy as opposed to action and adventure, and its Denser and Wackier animation, is often seen as an attempt to ape Yo-kai Watch, which in Japan rivals and even outdoes the success of Pokémon (especially the movies, of which Pokémon's has suffered diminishing box office returns).
  • What an Idiot:
    • Paul's Moral Event Horizon is something that no sane trainer would ever do; and no player would do unless they were invoking Strike Me Down.
    • Cameron is, without-a-doubt, the dumbest character the show has ever created, even dumber than Unova!Ash. He thought you only need 7 out of 8 required badges to qualify for the League, didn't think registering for participation in a tournament, actually involves registering for said tournament, and thought the Unova League was in the Johto region. The whole "bring five Pokémon to a six on six match" incident aside, he ends up bringing out his Ferrothorn to battle Pignite, and later Swanna to fight Pikachu. In games terms, both match-ups would of had his Pokémon fighting double-weakness match-ups. The anime actually portrayed this quite accurately and both ended up getting curb-stomped.
    • Ash has had his idiot moments as well, particularly with type match-ups. He even gets called out for it, in-universe, during the Falkner gym battle when he brings out his Chikorita to battle Hoothoot. Falkner spells out directly that the way he opposes type advantage is by raising his flying types to be strong and to find ways around opposing types by specializing heavily. Ash, however, threw out Chikorita on a whim because he thought the notion was cool and Falkner chews him out by pointing out that his Hoothoot is a higher level, so even if types weren't a factor, Ash made a stupid decision.
    • Much like the NPC trainers in the games, no one ever seems to switch out Pokémon when it would be convenient, other than Paul.note 
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: It can get pretty damn dark at times, especially in some of the movies, but is still a children's show all the same. Special mention goes to the surprisingly dark and deep Japanese version of Pokémon: The First Movie, as well as Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions, which got the equivalent of a PG-13 rating in Japan - something very odd to hear about this show.
    • Takeshi Shudo hadn't originally wanted the show to be only for children. When one looks closely at episodes written by him, they're noticeably more serious in tone than a great deal of other episodes and tend to focus on the darker aspects of the Pokémon universe. For a quick example, the very first episode was a deconstruction of being a Pokémon trainer.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • Advanced Generation (Hoenn) could be considered this after people started to get tired of the franchise due to the Johto era being plagued with tons of boring/irrelevant Filler. The makers even felt the need to shake up the main cast.
    • XY did this later down the line; not only is it one of the most well-loved seasons on its own merits, but it came immediately after the poorly-received Black and White season. However, after Ash lost in the final round of the Kalos League, an unprecedented amount of fan backlash sprung up, and many fans have completely changed their opinion on the series because of it.
    • Sun And Moon to an extent, as several people who stopped watching the anime have said that the snippets they've seen have piqued their interests about it, so much so that some have started watching it again. Many fans of the previous XY series are still at odds with it for various reasons, though.
    • The 20th movie preview did this. Fans have been accusing the movies of becoming less and less imaginative and descending into Franchise Zombie territory. Then the preview aired, showing the title of the movie ("Pokémon I Choose You") and nostalgic footage of Ash and Pikachu in Kanto with Ho-Oh flying overhead, heavily suggesting that the movie will be a nostalgia-laden Milestone Celebration. Fans were ecstatic.
  • The Woobie: Sometimes Dawn, sometimes Ash, sometimes May and/or Max, and sometimes the Team Rocket trio, especially James. And on the Pokémon side of things, Charmander and Chimchar in their debuts.
    • After the revelation that they're simply punch clock villains in "Island of the Giant Pokémon", it's impossible not to feel sorry for poor Arbok and Weezing. After getting curb stomped by the heroes every single episode, you'd think that they would run away from Team Rocket just to escape the daily pain. But no- they keep on because they care about their trainers. And their final appearance is a testament to how Jessie and James feel the same way.
      • Hell, most of Team Rocket's Pokemon are this or a Jerkass Woobie, even Jessie, James and Meowth a lot of the time. Sure they try to steal Pokemon and look like evil villains, but it's all just in desire to please their boss and have some sort of impact for once. Not to mention they're nearly all True Companions and once a member has to depart, it's usually as big a Tear Jerker as for one of the heroes. Take Dustox, Cacnea, and Chimecho as further evidence.
    • N, just by virtue of being N.
    • The Abra in "Fear Factor Phony." It was left behind by its owners and left to live in old, abandoned, dilapidated building and always tormented about its abandonment (as seen by its dream). Furthermore, it was demonized by the ghost Pokémon and Team Rocket thanks to its siblings obnoxious behavior, despite it probably hated the noise as well, hence the force field.
    • Serena's Eevee in the XY seasons. Eevee was specifically caught as a Secret Weapon for showcase performances due to her adorable dancing. However, as it turned out, Eevee was crippled by shyness and nerves, heavily effecting her performance in battles and showcases (even losing to Team Rocket in one instance). Despite Serena being very sympathetic towards her, Eevee spent most of the time looking depressed over bogging her team down. She Took a Level in Badass after evolving into Sylveon, though she does retain some of her nervousness and Moe-qualities.
    • In a meta sense, the late Takeshi Shudo, original head writer of the anime. He wanted to create Pokémon as a series that families could watch together and enjoy (see Animation Age Ghetto above), but Executive Meddling and the international influence of 4Kids Entertainment turned his product into the Merchandise-Driven "kids-only" cartoon that older fans enjoy ragging on to this day. He even wrote on his blog that his job had become literally painful for him because he wasn't being allowed to even do it properly due to the enforced writing formula. Especially after his death, many Pokémon fans sorely miss him and sympathize with his failure to realize his original vision of the series.
  • Woolseyism: Naturally quite a few, particularly the puns which can/can't be translated.
    • Brock's Sudowoodo's use of "Take Down" in the original Japanese - which Sudowoodo cannot legitimately learn in the games - was changed in the English dub to "Double Edge", a move with similar properties which Sudowoodo can use...similarly, in the episode where Ash challenged Roxanne's Gym, her Nosepass apparently used "Hyper Beam" twice in the Japanese version (during Ash's episode battling her) - but given the electric-based properties of the attack (which was actually plot-relevant), the dub changed these two instances to "Thunder Wave" and "Zap Cannon" respectively, which actually makes more sense (Zap Cannon is probably what the attack was meant to be, anyway).
    • Hikari/Dawn's Embarrassing Nickname, "Pikari"/"Dee-Dee", is a particularly clever one, which makes you wonder if PUSA had planned it ahead. Dawn's nickname is treated as a Noodle Incident until the last DP Season, where its origins are revealed to be from Dawn having been shocked by a Plusle and Minun when she was little - her friend Kenny partially traumatized her at the time by calling her "Pikari" (in reference to pikapika, the sound an electric sparkle makes). Since the dub changed her name, the nickname becomes Dee-Dee - which is short for "Diamond Dandruff", a rather suitable nickname for the scenario.
    • While being a "Pokémon Sommelier" fits for Cilan "tasting" the compatibility between Pokémon and trainers, "Pokémon Connoisseur" works much better when it comes to Cilan's various hobbies when he declares himself a "—- Connoisseur", seeing as a connoisseur is another term for an enthusiast.
    • Team Rocket's English Motto. Don't you dare deny it.
    • When the Squirtle gang holds Misty hostage in Squirtle's debut episode, they originally threatened to kill her if Ash didn't do what they say. In the English dub, they threaten to dye her hair purple (which Misty is equally upset about). It might be censorship, but not only is it way funnier, it makes more sense given her reaction.
  • Thus far, many of Samson Oak's Pokemon puns have translated very awkwardly. Since the puns are supposed to be cringeworthy however...
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