These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
This is in full effect in the Super Smash Bros. series. While Ash and the Rocket trio are obviously absent, the series' portrayal of the Pokémon game universe is lifted from the anime, complete with Pokémon Speak and Mewtwo and Lucario talking telepathically and having their movie personalities. This essentially makes it resemble what typical uninitiated mainstream audiences would think the game universe would look like; in fact, prior to Brawl, there weren't any Pokémon elements in Smash that weren't in the anime too, making it easy to mistake for a crossover with the anime rather than the games. As below, Tropes Are Not Bad, since Mewtwo's and Lucario's anime/Smash incarnations are popular in their own right.
Ash himself is either a trainer with great potential, who is slowly improving, or a "what-not-to-do" avatar for younger Pokémon fans. As of Unova, many can argue that he is the latter. As of Kalos, he seems to have become the former.
Charizard, at first, sees Ash as unworthy to lend his strength...good enough. But was it because he's waiting for Ash to better himself as a trainer, or just being a plain old JerkassProud Warrior Race Mon? Or is it because Ash got Charmander too close to an onrushing wave of water one too many times, threatening its life-giving tail flame in the process, making him run for his life?
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.
Is there something about Reggie that makes Paul's Electabuzz afraid of him when the former debuted?
Johanna (Dawn's mom) is often thought of as a pageant mom, conditioning Dawn into contests and making her succeed so she can live through her achievements. Compare the original version of her character from Diamond and Pearl, who never once mentioned her Contest exploits to the Main Character until she or he walks into Hearthome City. On the other hand, she entirely lacks all the negative traits of the type.
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 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.
Americans Hate Tingle: After the initial Pokémon craze and the rise of the Periphery Demographic on the Internet, one can easily say that the anime is a more integral and widely-marketed part of the Pokémon franchise in Japan than in the West, where a much larger portion of the marketing and fanbase is based on the games.note Compare the 1999 version◊ of Pokémon Monopoly to the 2014 version◊. Of course, prior to 2011, 99% of the non-TCG merchandise sold anywhere was based on the anime; it still is that way in Japan. This trope may be due to Values Dissonance as well as 4Kids Entertainment's dubbing practices; while Western fans constantly accuse Pokémon of adhering to the Animation Age Ghetto, its spectrum of appeal in Japan is more unclear to Westerners, with some of its current creative staff being vocal about writing for a family audience. This can be interpreted any number of ways.
Team Rocket's beloved in their native Japan for being kooky, funny, and unique individuals. In the West, they're more likely to be seen as annoying time-wasters. Conversely, their serious incarnations in Best Wishes are more popular in the West, while mostly disliked in Japan.
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.
Gary for the Kanto league due his early loss on the rock-field and ending up as The Unfought for Ash. Thankfully, the Johto league rival-match made up for it...unless you're one of those people who thought Charizard and Snorlax stole all the glory from the rest of Ash's team in this battle.
Kenny for the Sinnoh Grand Festival. He doesn't make it past the starting Appeal Round!
Barry for the Sinnoh League. He was The Unfought for Ash (excluding their regular battles) and lost 3 to 0 in his league-battle against Paul.
Trip in the Unova League. He gets knocked out by Ash in a 1 vs 1 preliminary match!
Bianca for never having a "proper" final fight.
Anti-Sue: Cameron. He's stupid enough to make evenUnova!Ash look smart by comparison, is a pretty incompetent battler (sending a Grass/Steel type Ferrothorn against a Fire-type and a Water/Flying type against an Electric-type, for instance) and is generally a complete screwup who doesn't have a clue about anything. All of his wins can be attributed to luck, Plot Armor or his opponent grabbing the Idiot Ball and forgoing a winning move for no reason.
Johtonote Which was a huge expansion of the anime after it began; Kanto and the Orange Islands took one season apiece, while Johto took three and Sinnoh were too long and took forever to resolve their respective conflicts (each and every one of them).
Inverted by Kanto (for being comparatively rushed).
Outright averted with the Orange Islands, Hoenn, the Battle Frontier and Unova.
The Decolore Islands, mainly due to it being a Filler Arc and not having a goal besides bringing Ash home. Whereas most of Ash's returns home took about one or two episodes, it took twenty.
Ass Pull: The anime uses this to create the worst kind of Plot Armor. Fidelity to the games has never been a strength of the anime, so many important battles are won and lost due to the writers making shit up.
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 negates Raichu's Thunderbolt by balancing on its tail and using it as a ground to divert the electricity.note Which makes no sense, as the energy still has to pass through the body of the Pokémon. This "strategy" has been used by Grass-types with their roots as well, though at least they have the excuse of resisting Electric in the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors.
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' laziness.
Another particularly infamous example is "Thunder Armor", where Pikachu used Thunder on himself and Swellow to overpower Lunatone's and Solrock's defenses. It comes out of nowhere with no real foreshadowing, and the technique is never used again.
Pokemon will spontaneously evolve at the beginning of or during a match in order to turn the tide of combat. It first happens to Gym Leader Koga's Venonat (requiring Ash instead challenge a Venomoth), but Ash gets to enjoy it himself during the first round of the Indigo League tournament, when the writers backed themselves into a wall by requiring him to use his Krabby, which had never before even been in a battle, so they had it evolve into a Kingler and go on to sweep an Exeggutor, Seadra, and Golbat respectively.
It must be remembered, though, that Ash did have two Pokemon as back-ups - it's just that Krabby/Kingler managed to sweep his opponent's entire team all by itself in that battle. There was no real tension there if you think about it, it was more of A Day in the Limelight for a Mon which hadn't fought before - it's more likely the writers were trying to be subversive of typical conflict-based tropes, possibly to give Ash an easy early victory before they got harder later into the tourney. The real question is whether it stands up to scrutiny, or if the Early-Installment Weirdness of Ash winning a League battle without genuine suspense looks weak from a more critical standpoint.
A Pokémon's in-game stats are often ignored whenever the writers feel like it.
Slow Pokémon like Snorlax are seen outrunning things they should never be able to or just being faster than is reasonable.
Pokémon will use moves that shouldn't do much damage because the in-game stat that the attack uses is so bad, but are still shown as powerful (like a Scraggy using Focus Blast).
Stone Walls with bad offensive stats putting up a good direct fight. One of the worst offenders is a Shuckle somehow fighting back an opponent and actually hurting them despite it having the absolute worst offenses in the franchise.* Well, it technically can do that in the games, but it requires an Awesome, but Impractical strategy that turns it into a majorGlass Cannon (which it wasn't shown doing).
Pikachu losing to Trip's Snivy at the beginning of Best Wishes. Even though Pikachu was unable to use Electric attacks (which was due to anotherAss Pull) it should have been able to curb stomp Snivy with non-Electric attacks like Iron Tail due to the vast difference in experience and power between the two of them.
Pokémon attacks accomplishing feats that shouldn't be possible. For example, Safeguard working like a version of Protect instead of blocking against status effects (though this could also be a misnamed attack, see Critical Research Failure below). Another notable example is using Aromatherapy as a health-restoring power rather than a status-negating one as Shaymin uses it in the eleventh movie.
At one point in the Hoenn saga May had Bulbasaur use a Razor Leaf to divert an incoming Fire Blast. How that even works is mind-boggling.
The strengths and weaknesses of the characters in the anime can be summarized to this: Everyone else<Movie Legendaries and Team Rocket<Ash<<<<<<<<Rivals<Everyone else.
Ash fluctuates between being a Hot-BloodedStrategist and a Rookie Idiot Hero throughout the series. The Hoenn/Frontier Brain seasons were seen as the high-water mark before he gets hit with the reset button. At the start of Diamond and Pearl he's back to making blatant rookie mistakes, but by the end of the arc he's once more acting like his former strategist self. Come Best Wishes, Ash goes back to square one again, only this time he got hit with the Idiot Ball even more, so he might as well be a complete rookie. XYdownplays his idiot qualities but his track records seem to have decayed anyway. He loses to Viola despite both his Pokemon having type advantages, only wins against Grant due to Grant allowing challengers to use their whole team, and loses an exhibition match against Korrina.
A lot of Pokémon that Ash catches have a lot of awesome moments... until they're caught.
Pikachu has comparable fluctuations in power level, usually in accordance with Ash's competence flux. The most infamous examples occur at the start of a new journey such as when Pikachu goes from literally defeating a Regice in ONE HIT with Volt Tackle (Regice used Rest before Pikachu attacked) at the end of the Battle Frontier...to tying against an Elekid at the start of Sinnoh (though he'd had a tiring day, so a little excusable at least, and Paul's Elekid was intended to be strong at this point anyway). Later on, Pikachu ties against a Latios at the end of Sinnoh...but then goes on to lose against a trainer's Snivy that had only just started their first ever Pokémon journey at the start of Unova.
Ash's Chikorita successfully smashes Charizard into a mountain while still wild and never exhibits comparable moments post-capture.
Taillow takes two or three Thunderbolts and a Thunder from Pikachu before yielding, but fails to do anything of the sort post-capture. However, it does regain that durability once it evolved into Swellow.
Ash's Buizel ended up noticeably less powerful than he was in his debut. Granted, it did get its share of wins, and screentime, from the third to fifth gyms, but after that, he all but disappears aside from a shining moment here and there such as an episode dedicated to it learning Ice Punch, and defeating Paul's Gastrodon in the league match.
Turtwig. You know, the tiny turtle that, in his first major battle, was able to beat a dinosaur that's more than four times his size? The 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. Nice job, writers.
Charizard's Badass aura took a notable hit when it was brought back during the final stages of the Unova journey... mostly because it didn't get to do anything! It also suffered during Johto Journeys, way back in the day. The writers flip-flopped between having the characters complain about Charizard being too strong to be on Ash's team, only to start treating it as though it wasn't that strong after all (again, Chikorita threw it into a mountain) and sent it off to the Charicific Valley for training, where it sat out of the way (and out ofthe writer's hair) for about a decade.
Team Rocket Took a Level in Badass at the start of Best Wishes and kept it up for a long time, culiminating in them helping to thoroughly trounce Team Plasma. Then the "Decolora Adventures" arc began, and they went right back to being the Goldfish Poop Gang.
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.
In Team Rocket's case, there's some debate on whether they were better when they were goofy (pre and post Best Wishes) or serious (Best Wishes). The divide is largely by region, as listed under Americans Hate Tingle above.
A lot of the above is ultimately rooted not necessarily in the weakness of the characters but of the flagrant mistakes and errors that the writers inflict on the series. Ash, Pikachu, and Team Rocket are necessary to the recipe of the show... as written by Takeshi Shudo (who has long since left the show and passed away). The show has since struggled long and hard to figure out how to carry itself with its original visionary no longer available.
Ash's female companions: Misty, May, Dawn, Iris, and Serena.
Iris usually gets a lot of backlash compared to the other mentioned companions. Partly because people find her "You're such a kid!" Catch Phrase extremely grating, as well as being a painful reminder of the Best Wishes era that is considered a Dork Age for a multitude of reasons.
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".
All of Ash's "Tournament Rivals." Each one of them get hatred for being the writer-forced designated roadblocks from keeping Ash from actually winning a tournament when he's perfectly capable of doing so. Harrison and Tyson tend to get off easier than most due to giving really memorable fights but the others aren't quite as lucky with the fandom:
Ritchie either serves as a good Foil to Ash, or is a blatant shallow Marty Stu.
Tobias is seen as either a God-Mode Sue, an amusing Troll, or a Bad Ass all for using Legendary Pokémon in the Sinnoh League.
Cameron. He's either liked for having an actual persona in terms of League rivals Ash has faced, or he is the worst character ever created. Ash losing the Unova league to him when he only brought 5 Pokémon to a 6-on-6 match didn't help his case.
Max, May's younger sibling, has split the base largely between those who want to punch him in the face and those who barely tolerate him. That his character is an blend of Bratty Half-Pint and Insufferable Genius doesn't help.
On the Pokémon side of things, there's Ash's Infernape in Sinnoh and Iris's Dragonite in Unova. Are they Badass or broken?
Broken Base: Very, and could apply to almost anything. Nearly every series has something that's broken the base:
Kanto: Ash is presented with four (!) of his badges due to the Gym Leader acknowledging some moral victory of his, rather than earning them in combat like everybody elsenote He's given the Boulder Badge for declining to press forward when Onix was weakened in a freak accident during the match; the Cascade Badge for removing Team Rocket from the Cerulean Gym (the Sensational Sisters have a bad habit of handing these out for non-battling purposes); the Marsh Badge for freeing Sabrina from her own powers — or, well, for bringing Haunter to town, which was what really saved her; and the Rainbow Badge for saving Erika's Gloom from a burning building. He quite naturally assumes that Blaine will give him a Volcano Badge for helping to prevent the explosion of a volcano, but Blaine thankfully subverts this pattern and instead presents him with another opportunity to battle properly for the badge. On a related note, Ash earns his Earth Badge from Jessie, James, and Meowth, rather than from battling Giovanni. Also geared towards the arguably rushed pacing and how sparse Character Development for the Pokémon was. Kanto is also the most widely praised season, but a point of debate is whether it's good in the first place, whether it's only good compared to the other seasons, or whether it's just the same and people's praise of it comes from the Nostalgia Filter.
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?
Ash and Paul's Sinnoh league match, while awesome in every way imaginable, 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. The fact that, aside from Drapion, the other four new Pokemonnote Aggron, Gastrodon, Ninjask, Froslass were hardly considered a true threat to Ash, is considered to be incredibly disappointing on Paul's part, and to top it all off, Paul didn't even use his starter Pokemon, Torterra, against Ash. 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 addition, by having Ash battle a completely different set of Pokemon in their final battle, it failed to allow Ash's Sinnoh team, other than Infernape, to get revenge on Pokemon used by Paul that they had previously lost against. Ash's Grotle/Torterra in particular never getting to make up for his loss to Honchkrow hurt a lot of people...but then again, that was carry over from a completely different problem the Pokemon was suffering from by that point.
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 One explanation for the latter is even worse - Pokémon Speak happens to resemble the very serious and very real mental disorder of expressive aphasia. 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 versus Dubbing below).
The Mega Evolution specials are for a wider audience and have awesome music and action, but keep the Pokémon Speak, unlike Pokémon Origins (and similar to Super Smash Bros.). One can argue that the older and more serious cast and lack of "cutemons" make this one holdover less Narmy, but of course some fans would still find the Pokémon Speak as childish and annoying as ever.
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 and the Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 animated trailer is enough to make up for the main anime is a debate unto itself.
Ritchie is a classic example; to wit, he shows up out of nowhere during the Indigo League, is another Red Expy, lectures Ash for charging into trouble without thinking (Ash spends the whole damn series doing this and the show itself rarely bothers to care) and is treated as a great trainer even though his only shown win happened because Ash's Charizard chose to flake out.
Gary spent most of Johto as this. When he reappears, he has completely abandoned just about everything in his prior characterization (including his Awesome Ego) and whenever he appears Brock and Misty (who have completely forgotten that Gary was a jerk to them, too) spend their time talking about how awesome he is and how Ash could learn a thing or two.note But see the anime's entry under Cut-and-Paste Translation regarding this inconsistency. It bites especially hard during his first appearance at the end of the Orange Islands arc, in which Team Rocket is suddenly competent enough to hold Ash down long enough for Gary to come in and have a Big Damn Heroes moment, after which he starts commenting on Ash's inability to even deal with Team Rocket (after two seasons of doing exactly that).
Also Solidad from the Battle Frontier arc, who shows up out of nowhere at the Grand Festival, is an old friend of Brock's, is also friends with Drew and Harley (I repeat, HARLEY), ships May and Drew together, and goes on to win the whole Grand Festival (other Grand Festival winners, Robert and Zoey, at least had build-up).
Tobias, the sudden newcomer who shows up during the Sinnoh League just so there would be a powerful opponent to keep Ash from winning. Doesn't help that he was given legendaries. Although some people liked him - their problem with him was more that he had little personality, or at least context to explain how he obtained his Darkrai and Latios. He's a good example of why Rule of Cool without context doesn't work.
Cameron, however, is even worse because he wins his battle against Ash purely by Diabolus ex Machina/Deus ex Machina when his Riolu evolves to defeat Snivy and Pikachu! To say the fandom blew a gasket over him is putting it lightly. It's not just that, though - it's also the fact that, A, he was one Pokémon short (thinking it was 5-on-5), and B, Riolu/Lucario swept half of Ash's entire team single-handed. Even when Ash's team evolves mid-battle, they don't beat more than one Mon after doing so - Swadloon beat Whirlipede and lost to Leavanny; Roggenrola/Boldore only beat Excadrill; and Unfezant beat Swanna. Even if Ash had won that bout, there'd have been people upset that Pikachu and Pignite "hogged all the glory" during that match (even then, many would only give Pikachu slack if it beat Lucario because they expect the Mon that defeated a Regice and tied with a Latios to be practically God-Mode). There is indeed some Irony, but it's not all unjustified irritation...
Complaining about Shows You Don't Watch: Quite a few fans of the Pokémon games refuse to watch the anime because of its reputation...and then complain about it based on what they've heard from other people.
The Chimchar that Paul abandoned, and Ash took in soon after, is considered this as well - mostly due to taking glory away from the rest of Ash's Sinnoh team; especially regarding what happened to Turtwig after evolving. It got to the point of Chimchar taking out two Pokémon in each of the last four freaking Sinnoh gym leaders IN A ROW! ...Then to top it off, it took out THREE of Paul's six Pokémon during their league match!
Gary got adopted by the creators for the Johto saga (see Canon Sue above), but they were restrained enough to only have him drop by once in a while.
Critical Backlash: Because some of the persons label the entire Pokémon anime as a terrible show on all counts, finding a part of the anime that's actually well-written and enjoyable (be it an episode, a season or a movie) is a surprisingly nice experience. A perfect example is the XY series; although Best Wishes alienated many viewers and potential viewers, those who stuck around for XY have stated that it's actually quite good.
Despite constant criticism over how the series is being handled and written, it's still going very strong, is well-liked with kids and loyal older fans (and helps rake in the cash for the rest of the Pokémon franchise), and isn't showing any signs of dying in the foreseeable future, although ratings for the series in Japan have started to fall and international marketing for the whole franchise now tends to downplay the anime.
The Kalos saga is considered one of the best sagas yet, with a ton of improvements over previous seasons (especially the Dork Age of Unova). However, Japanese TV ratings for the show and box office receipts for Pokémon: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction are much lower than for previous seasons. The show isn't nearly as popular as it used to be, even in Japan.
Critical Research Failure: Some wonder if the anime producers actually know much about the video-games they base the anime off of due to some of the mistakes they've made in the anime. Some examples are:
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.
The moves Aerial Ace and Ice Ball are drastically different from their game counterparts. 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, while Ice Ball is an Ice-type clone of Rollout in the games but is a projectile attack in the anime.
The 4kids and PUSA 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 dub-added Trainer's Choice was frowned upon by the fan-base as the prime example for why the dubbers knew nothing about the franchise; plagued with minor mistakes such as Pokémon being spelled wrong (Flaaffy alone was misspelled THREE times as Flaafy), or even major mistakes such as when one or both choices not picked by the dubbers, or even none of the choices given, are the best option for the question asked. For example, one question was Which one of these Pokémon is the best choice to battle Meditite?, and the three options are Beautifly (which they somehow mistook as being named Nuzleaf), Combusken and Heracross. The option the dubbers picked ended up being Combusken, a Pokémon that takes STAB super-effective damage from Meditite's Psychic-typing. The other options, Beautifly and Heracross, end up being the better options to pick: Beautifly because it's Flying-type attacks are STAB super-effective and resists both of Meditite's types, and Heracross for at least having some normal resistance to Meditite due to being part Bug. There's also the infamous "Which Pokémon evolves into Seviper?" (which the writers appeared to think was Arbok).
In a similar vein to the Arbok evolves into Seviper issue above, one of the earlier episodes confidently stated that Pinsir evolves into Tauros. While this may be the case of both of them have similar-looking horns and their Pokédex placement, the fact that a stag beetle transforms into a bull is contrived even by Pokémon evolution standards. Explanation This might be the case of the dubbers confusing Pokémon evolution standards to Digimon's, where Mons that don'tlook like they're in the same evolution branch actually are; for example Patamon to Angemon
The second worst is Johto, between the start of the fall of Team Rocket, Brock and Misty being reduced to moving background, and the "Filler Hell" in general. While it started within Season 3 (with the GS Ball becoming an Aborted Arc and such), it is Season 4 where the reputation for Johto comes from: very little of significance takes place (no captures, only several evolutions and three very spaced-out badges), and the Filler was less memorable overall - the slower pacing led to much of the old vanguard becoming disillusioned with the show. That said, the succeeding "Master Quest" season is largely considered a return to form: more development of the show's Myth Arc, more Story Arcs to spice up the plot, stronger standalone episodes, and wrapping up the Original Series with a solid Tournament Arc (the Silver Conference being a Tough Act to Follow judging from the overall response to later League arcs) makes people more forgiving of it compared to what Johto previously gave them.
8.8: The fandom was hyped for the XY anime series, but Japanese audiences not so much, as it's premiere only got a 5.3 in the ratings. Considering the original series premiered at 10.2, Advanced Generation at 11.0, and both Diamond/PearlandBest Wishes at 9.3, this was a remarkable step-down and has many a fan pissed off.
It's fallen even farther since: episode 3 only got 5.1, episode 4 got under 4.7 (at which point it fell from the top 10), and episode 5 - a Gym episode - got only 4.4. It did have a brief spike when Serena joined up, though...such is the power of the Ship Tease.
Epic Riff: The first English opening theme is instantly recognizable from the initial notes. The show during 4Kids run also used the same three-note riff ("Gotta catch 'em all, Pok-e-mon!") that ended the original theme in just about every show during its eye-catch segments ("Who's That Pokemon?" and "Trainer's Choice").
A very large number of people think Giovanni is Ash's father. Same with Professor Oak and Silver from Chronicles, though this is a hugely divisive topic in fandom. The camps are very, very....present, and get kind of strange.
Pokémon Live! makes nods to Delia's speculated relationships with both Giovanni and Professor Oak, and in an earlier draft of the show Giovanni was Ash's father.
On a similar note, there are those who speculate that Brandon is Paul and Reggie's father.
WHO were the other two Pallet Trainers? Fan theories range from Red to Damian and everything in between.
In Canon, Sir Aaron and Ash just have 'similar aura'. Many fans believe they are related.
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.
Fanon Discontinuity: The fact Ash was confirmed to still be 10 years old at the start of the Best Wishes 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).
The anime is often ignored when franchise-wide canon is discussed due to the amount of Critical Research Failure, Plot Holes, and Asspulls it contains. Citing the anime as a source for anything (like saying Legendaries are able to breed in the overarching canon because a Lugia in the anime had a child) is often frowned upon. This is one of the various reasons why some fans dislike the Pokémon elements in Super Smash Bros., despite being misinterpreted: especially from Brawl onwards, Smash has been mostly faithful to the games instead in terms of canon, only retaining Pokémon voices and personalities from the anime (and, before Brawl, a few anime cameos and trophies).
Older fans tend to defend the first season (and occasionally the Orange Islands/Johto 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. Justified, as Takeshi Shudo was working on the show at the time, and was one of the few people ever involved with the Pokémon anime who made a widely-acknowledged effort to entertain fans of all ages and to avoid the Animation Age Ghetto.
Pokémon USA seems to have finally acknowledged this. When it came to make a dub opening for the XY series, they simply did a new cover of the original theme.
Foe Yay: Any set of rivals is probably going to have this.
"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 minimise 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.
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 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.
On the other hand, XY is considered one of the better seasons so far, and hasn't drawn any significant criticism like a few of its predecessors. Not only is the writing and characterization (especially Ash's) a step up from previous seasons, but the Mega Evolution specials exist for those who still find the main episodes to be too childish.
Guilty Pleasure: Despite all the criticism, quite a few older fans watch and enjoy the series for what it is.
"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.
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 A complete inversion of a tradition in the games. 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 it's ground immunity to be bypassed. Gen 5 introduces the move Soak, which changes the target's type to Water, which is weak against Electric.
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.
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 while chasing after Ash and co underwater uses a small mouth instrument that allows them to breath. Courtesy of Korean designer Jeabyun Yeon, that thing actually exists now ◊
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 G2.
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 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 which corresponds to Gen VI
Georgia's hatred towards Dragon-type Pokemon and her dedication to building an anti-Dragon squad becomes this in Generation VI when Dragonsnote also Dark and Fighting are upstaged by Fairy Pokemonnote Good offensive type, tons of common resistances, only have situational weaknesses leading to some trainers (as in those who play the game) acting like her and started to develop alternative strategies as well as building entire teams to specifically counter fairies.
Internet Backdraft: You saw all those entries under base Breaker and Broken Base above? Well...
Mention any shipping with Ash outside a designated forum (thread/topic/etc.). Your computer will be nice and toasty in minutes.
On a more specific level, who was the better female traveling partner, Misty, May, Dawn, Iris, or Serena? How about his secondary associates, like Brock or Cilan?
Which lineup of Ash's is the strongest? Or better yet, which is Ash's strongest Pokémon, Pikachu or Charizard? (God help you if you bring Sceptile or especially Infernape into the debate.) Subverted in that if one is trying to say what his best team would be, it's almost a universal agreement that his strongest Pokémon team consists of Pikachu, Charizard, Snorlax, Sceptile and Infernape. Its the 6th choice that usually drives people nuts. Common candidates include, but are not necessarily limited to, Heracross, Gliscor and Krookodile.
When is Ash going to finally win a League Tournament?
The dub is ruined! 4Kids handled the dub better then TPCI! Bring back the original voice actors!
Which generation was the best? Which series?
Are unresolved plots (Ho-oh, the GS Ball, Professor Ivy, Ash's "Aura", the Unova meteorite, etc.) ever going to be answered?
Return of released Pokémon?
Best Wishes' flaws (such as Ash's loss to Cameron and the "fake pandering" mentioned under Never Live It Down) caused this. Many fans who returned to Pokémon via the Pokémon Black and White games considered giving the anime a chance too, as Best Wishes appeared to be one of the better seasons at first. This led to explosive criticism and the anime's reputation worsening once things started going downhill. Consider that this is a cartoon that has been going on for over 15 years, and check out how many tropes on this YMMV page consist of fan criticisms of that one season.
Anything Serena related usually results as this. Some see her as an Ensemble Darkhorsenote shippers who love the constant Ship Tease with Ash, another group sees her as a Base Breakernote people who enjoy her character, but wish she was more than just a Satellite Love Interest, and the rest see her as The Scrappynote A boring Flat Character that does nothing, and only acts as a Ship Tease gimmick to bring in fans. Whatever the case may be, her character is subject to a lot of heated arguments amongst the fans.
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.
Jerk Stu: Paul. Your first clue was when he bounced down a 400-foot cliff like a damn ninja while Ash just plummets to his amusing injury. Your second clue is that in four seasons, his only defeats involved three legendaries and a Garchomp. And Ash at the last minute, but even that barely phased him like one would realistically expect it to.
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.
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 Best Wishes, 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.
Dr. Colress in the "Episode N" arc, who out-does even his boss Ghetsis in malevolent scheming.
Magnum Opus: The early seasons and movies are commonly regarded as Takeshi Shudo's greatest work (specifically in his native Japanese). Many consider it a shame that the show degenerated further and further from his original vision as he eventually left the show and passed away.
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).
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 Originally Shigeru is the best, Satoshi is an Idiot◊. Best Wishesdidn't help this at all.
One-shot character from Episode 9, Giselle, is said to be radiantly beautiful not only by herself but by Ash, Brock, and James all in the same episode. So she's now known among fans as the only girl Ash, Brock, and James were all smitten by, 'cause she's just that hot.
Pokémon Hunter J is always a Complete Monster 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.
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.
While he didn't really cross it, Team Rocket's Meowth came dangerously close (and ticked offPikachubig time) when it was revealed that he lied about being fired from Team Rocket and joined Ash and his friends, just so he, Jessie and James could steal their Pokémon. This is actually an extreme Kick the Dog moment for Meowth, and he is portrayed as a funny or sympathetic character in other episodes and has a few Even Evil Has Standards moments; also, from episode 12 of season 1, we see that Meowth is capable of killing (as demonstrated when he interprets a remark by the Squirtle Squad, who didn't join up with him to be hired killers, as a death threat to Misty) but didn't follow through with any of his threats because he's a Noble Demon.
Similarly to Damian, whom he's an Expy of, Shamus, the former trainer of Ash's Tepig, 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.
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. In reality, the production of sequel gamesinstead of the usual third version is what caused the Plasma arc to be temporarily aborted. 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. The charge that it contributed to the bad pacing of Best Wishes in general ended up being valid, however, though the two problems ended up being unrelated.note The adjustment to the schedule led to the 14th movie airing in the middle of an early Tournament Arc; the response likely leading the writers to reduce the length of the main Tournament Arc and Episode N, resulting in the Filler Arc afterwards.
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.
4Kids will 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.
The Trainer's Choice segment where the English dubbers claimed that Arbok evolves into Seviper. The dubbing companies will perhaps never escape the constant ridicule they receive from the fandom for such an obvious mistake. 4Kids received the blame due to being the dubbers at the time (usually by people who hate 4Kids so as to add another excuse why they hate them), however these segments were created and written by Pokémon USA.
Pikachu's love for ketchup occurs in a total of one episode throughout the entire franchise, and it ends up becoming one of his defining characteristics (with the image of Pikachu crying over the "death" of its ketchup bottle◊ achieving meme status. The writers finally added a nod to this 15 years later in an XY series episode...and lets just say that fans did NOT let this go unnoticed.
Ever since the Barboach/Whiscash episode that revolved around the Pokémon using Earthquake got banned before it's 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.
Also, the Best Wishes 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 Misblamed above.)
The twenty-fourth episode of the X & Y series got itself banned following the sinking of the MV Sewol. Whether or not it would ever be aired, or whether Skrelp and Dragalge will appear in a future episode is under question, considering that the banned Best Wishes episodes were either retconed or had some changes.
Similarly, fans tend to remember Ash's failures better than his successes. Even though X & Y has given us a better depiction of him, many fans are more likely to bring up his Best WishesIdiot Hero self (or his similar original series self, which is his best-known incarnation).
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), and this is slightly justified due to Takeshi Shudo's attempt to infuse the show with quality content, many other cartoons have been much better-received with critics and audiences, and have had more widespread and longer-lasting appeal.
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 terrifyingArc Villain. Marlon and Cheren also count.
Ironically, Steven Stone, despite being the Champion in Ruby And Sapphire, is reduced to one of these. However, he was given 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.
This trope was one of Takeshi Shudo's goals for the series, as he wrote in his blog entries. Despite this, Executive Meddling prevented him from using all the Parental Bonuses and creative ideas he wanted, and the show's Merchandise-Driven and Strictly Formula aspects would eventually overpower his ideas and make the show less accessible to older fans.
Played straight with the Mega Evolution specials, which, as stated elsewhere on this page, are meant to appeal to a wider demographic.
Tracey for temporarily replacing Brock. Some also hate Cilan for permanently replacing him, before he himself was replaced by Clemont.
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.
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.
For those who disliked her anime portrayal in DP, Cynthia's characterisation in Best Wishes made some leeway in redeeming her. It helps that the preachiness was toned down some, with focus on making her a Cool Big SisMentor 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 likeable 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.
Out of all the main characters who have ever joined Ash, Max gets the most hate. Of course he does, being an blend of Annoying Younger Sibling, Insufferable Genius, and Tagalong Kid (sometimes ranging almost into being The Load)note Anybody remember the time when Ash beat Norman in a battle and Max stole Ash's Balance Badge in a fit of heartbreak?. Thankfully, the writers refrained from making him the Creator's Pet (though he had all the potential to be one). Many of his episodes feature him developing strong relationships with Pokemon but being unable to act on them... and many of them also featuring him causing problems.
Butch and Cassidy get a lot of crap for their transformation into the Terrible Duo of the spin-off series, since their usual popularity comes from being a more serious foil of Jessie and James.
Togepi is blamed for Misty losing her personality in Johto. It didn't help that it just sat in her arms and did nothing of any interest for four years (apart from being an occasional Load or Deus ex Machina). When her character was restored on leaving the regular cast, Togepi was swiftly put on a more permanent bus — finally evolving into Togetic and staying behind to guard the Mirage Kingdom Togepinote As it happens, one of the newer openings features a massive cast shot of all of Ash's major companions and rivals throughout his whole history... even including Misty in her classic Short Tank gear with Togetic floating nearby, which raises a few interesting questions. Togepi's the only Egg-hatched Mon to get this, too - most likely because all the others receive Character Development and something to donote in fact, Larvitar, who only appeared in about seven episodes, is an Ensemble Darkhorse. Conversely, this also leads to Misty being criticised for limiting Togepi's potential, which isn't easy to defend against. Ash's Phanpy, another egg-hatched Pokémon, actually got to hang out with him in the Battle Frontier when Ash usually pulls Bag of Spilling by leaving his Pokémon with Oak for a fresh startnote which is just a paper-thin excuse for the series producers to introduce new Pokémon from the current new generation that Ash raises with him And what a surprise- it Took a Level in Badass and evolved into Donphan!
Piplup has become one to much of the fanbase for the opposite reason. Its "forced mascot" status isn't helping matters, and Everything's Better with Penguins be damned. A lot of that stems from the fact Piplup pussed out on evolving when the fans were hellbent on seeing a badass Empoleon sooner or later. But no, it had to stay cutesy and hold onto an Everstone so it doesn't evolve. Hey, Pikachu, looks like you have someone else who won't evolve.
And lest any of May's Pokémon be left out of the pile, her Squirtle made a bad first impression with the entire cheapness surrounding its first contest victory and the hate hasn't stopped since. The show already had a beloved Squirtle, making May's a Replacement Scrappy that was possibly particularly disliked by people who prefer Ash's original team.
May's Munchlax is not popular, as it was largely The Load before the Battle Frontier arc, doing little but eating everything in sight. While it got better in the Battle Frontier, in which it finally got trained and became one of May's battlers, it didn't help that he lost a contest to Harley. To make matters worse, Ash already had a Snorlax, making Munchlax little more than an Early-Bird Cameo with additional screen time.
Ash's Pignite also gets a lot of flak for being a recycledCharizard and Infernape. The fact that Pignite as a species is already a Scrappy does not help his case. Evolving could have potentially changed this, but no; it went the entire Unova series without evolving a second time.
Tracey, though a large reason for hatred of this character is due to his unsatisfying replacement of Brock in the Orange Islands arc, he contributed so little to the group dynamic that he's seen as pointless. Example: Pokémon 2000. The only thing he did the entire movie was pull Misty and Ash back to dry land. Making matters worse, his role in the 2nd movie? It was decreased from the Japanese-USA transition, due to a deletion of several scenes, meaning even the guys in charge have it out for him (at least in the US).
An example that's a bit more recent is the Spiky-Eared Pichu from the 12th movie, who due to appearing in HGSS in place of Celebi is looking down two smoking-hot hate barrels at once. Game-wise, its stats are pathetic, it cannot evolve into a more-useful form, its moveset is brutally limited, and it replaced Celebi. In the movie, all it does is act cute and grab a key in a dire situation - something that just about any other 'Mon could have accomplished in the same situation.
Tobias, who, even among the trainers who eliminate Ash from official tournaments, really stands out in how hated they are. Firstly, he has extremely little buildup before his battle with Ash, only appearing in a few cameos. Then there's how he defeats Ash. He wins 6-2 over Ash, and the only two Pokémon he reveals from his party are Latios and Darkrai, two legendary Pokémon. It is never revealed how he obtained them, and he seems to serve no purpose other than to eliminate Ash. Many fans even took this entire thing as a huge slap in the face.
Bianca during the four-part Club Battle arc. Aside from one battle, all she did throughout the tournament was mindlessly chase after a Pokémon that she wanted (Zorua) even though it isn't even hers, even to the point of offering to trade away her own starter Pokémon so that she could have it. However, the character development episode centered around her and her father was positively received, to the point where some consider her Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. After she Took a Level in Badass in the Clubsplosion, some people don't consider her a scrappy anymore.
Trip, Ash's Rival from Black and White, isn't well received by a lot of fans either. People either dislike him for being a weak replacement for Paul, or just find him and his interactions with Ash irritating, especially his insistence on dismissing Ash's home region. And for basically replacing Cheren, who many felt would've been a better choice of a rival. Thankfully, unlike Paul, Trip's abrasiveness is toned down later, and he isn't as much of a Creator's Pet.
Paul himself was a Scrappy to many people for his extreme Jerk Ass attitude towards Pokémon training and to anyone who questioned his methods, for being a Creator's Pet with a Misaimed Fandom, and for being Easily Forgiven by Ash after the latter finally defeated him.
Cameron. Introduced at the end of the Junior Cup arc, he displayed far greater traits of an Idiot Hero than Ash ever did. Not only did he miss the tournament, but he thought the Unova League took place in Ecruteak City in Johto. He also got Ash lost in the woods, and even his own Riolu is disappointed with him; affectionately giving a Face Palm at his actions. It doesn't help that one, he defeated fan favorite Bianca in what many perceived to be a cheap win, and two, the kid has scary-ass evolved Pokémon that prove to be a huge threat, like a damned Hydreigon and his little Riolu which seems to have gotten through Training from Hell like one would expect from Ash's Pikachu. To add further insult to the injury, he brings only 5 Pokemon to an official Unova League match of 6-on-6 against Ash. Worse yet, Cameron's Riolu has received a lot of hate due to how he mimics his trainer's hyperactive attitude. The worst of all is Riolu evolving to Lucario as a last ditch attempt to defeat Ash's Snivy and Pikachu in the league. And then it happened: Lucario defeated Pikachu, and Cameron won the battle against Ash, meaning Ash has yet again lost a major league, this time to such an air-headed trainer, and adding insult to injury in that Cameron was handicapped by having one less Pokemon than Ash. But as a bit of small consolation, Cameron lost to Virgil, who then went on to win the league.
Virgil also has notable hate for apparently having all of Eevee's evolutions and an Eevee itself, for the sake of making him "unique" as a trainer, but he was rather bland and not incredibly developed. To make matters worse, he 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), 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. This lands him firmly in Creator's Pet territory. He's basically a grown-up Ritchie.
Serena, who, ironically, was originally rather well-liked in comparison to past female companions (Misty aside). She's perceived by most fans as having no character of her own aside from her crush on Ash, and just overall not doing anything that contributes to the group (40+ episodes in, and she still hasn't caught a single Pokémon or participated in a battle). She draws a lot of criticism and many go as far as to declare that she and her Ship Tease with Ash are nothing more than a prop to draw in viewers.
Even Serena's Fennekin is this. Despite being Serena's only Pokémon, it has gotten barely any action and has even grabbed the Jerkass Ball on more than one occasion. This is in high contrast with Ash's Froakie and Clemont's Chespin, both of which are Ensemble Darkhorses loved for their unique personalities and battle dexterity.
Seasonal Rot: Depending on who you ask: Johto, Hoenn, the entirety of Diamond/Pearl, and "Best Wishes: Season 2" are common answers. Overall, it's generally agreed that the series took a nosedive in quality after Takeshi Shudo's influence diminished and it irreversibly plunged itself in the Animation Age Ghetto, even though it had troubles with the Ghetto to begin with.
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 X 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.
The movies are also mocked for their tendency to depict antagonistic Pokémon as "not evil, just misunderstood"note a few such as Mewtwo, Fake!Entei and Kyurem get away with this 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.
Back during the Road to Indigo, 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 Pokemon, Nurse Joy essentially commandeers him and his hospital into helping treat the monsters, which decision 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 Pokemon 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 (and the injured Pokemon were all severely agitated — Ash and company had to use their own Pokemon 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. Makes you wonder why Barry was all praise about the same subject, huh?
Many Western fans ignore the Japanese version of the anime. While more recent seasons have been faithful to the original Japanese, 4Kids Entertainment's dub of early seasons stripped out quite a few of Shudo's Parental Bonuses. The main series doesn't suffer much for it, but a few episodes and movies have it quite bad - such as Pokémon: 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 hiscluelessness with 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.
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 TranslationExample such as Bonsly ("Usohachi" in Japanese) crying "Uso, uso!", which translates to "No way, no way!", 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.
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 French games from France.
There are a large group of people who would consider the 4Kids English dub this.
Tastes Like Diabetes: The anime has several moments of this. Specially in the scenes when the Pokémon start "talking" to each other. Also, a lot of Dawn and Piplup's moments together.
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. 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.
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 focus the title card on Ash, and has been doing it for 15 episodes in a row, with the chances of the Japanese version's images used now very unlikely. Some older fans, especially those in his hatedom, are not pleased.
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.
Its 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.
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 and Hippopotas 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.
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.
Grimer for Dawn.
Deino for Iris.
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) and Palpitoad 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.
Trip. Ironically, fans preemptively hated him because he showed early signs of being a God-Mode Sue like 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 Diamond/Pearl 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 Gym Battles and Contests were never explored in depth because of their lack of screen time.
"Haunter Vs. Kadabra"; all that build up to an epic rematch against Sabrina...and yet Kadabra is defeated by laughing too hard.
Depending on who you ask, the portrayal of the regional Evil Teams in the anime deviating greatly from their game counter-parts can come off very disappointing. The main complaint being that they all suffer from anti-climactic endings (as described on the main page). In addition:
Team Rocket never got to do some of the bigger operations they pulled off in the games such as taking over Silph Co. or the Goldenrod City radio tower, and outside the Rocket Trio, the team's appearances, as a whole, were incredibly limited all throughout the Kanto and Johto journeys.
Team Aqua and Magma were reduced to one-and-done episodes with no ongoing story aside from their needlessly vague goals and ended with a two-part finale that came completely out of nowhere.
Team Galactic's continuous Myth Arc was too few for an era that many claimed to have suffered greatly from Arc Fatigue.
Team Plasma was left completely out of the picture until finally getting an arc dedicated to them AFTER Ash had participated in the Unova League, and completely missing out on the original Team Plasma led by N before he pulled a Heel-Face Turn.
The GS Ball being left to rot at Kurt's house will never leave the minds of some fans due to how important the quest to open the ball seemed at the time. It WAS suppose to contain Celebi before the Pokémon was instead used for the next movie.
Speaking of Kurt; some often wonder what ever happened to Brock's Heavy Ball and Ash and Misty's Fast Balls which dropped off the face of the planet once the trio left Azalea Town.
The return/involvement/planning of many of Ash's previous Pokémon (and current cast) seemed like a good way to have Ash utilize all their past experiences and win the Sinnoh League. However, the writers felt it was necessary to throw in a mysterious trainer with not one, but two legendary Pokémon (and ONLY those two), just to keep Ash from ever winning a Pokémon League and constantly retcon his growth as a trainer.
The start of Unova with Team Rocket's ongoing side-arc with the meteorite is for some fans due to the indefinite postponement of its Team Rocket vs Team Plasma finale, which was set to air moments after an earthquake had devastated Japan in real-life and left the ongoing plot literally unfinished. This indefinite postponement didn't help develop the rest of the plot either.
The idea of allowing Ash to have a team greater than a party of six Pokemon seems like a neat idea...but has never worked out well in the anime. The original series sort of went this route, but the Pokemon Ash caught that wasn't Pikachu, or the Kanto starters, ended up getting the shaft. The writers realized the difficulty in giving each of Ash's Pokemon a balanced amount of screen-time, and decided not to attempt this again until Unova where they fell into the exact same problem as the original series; giving all the screen-time to Pikachu, the Unova starters, and Scraggy, while the rest of the team were hardly given any development; including when they decided to bring back Charizard for a brief period.
Setting up Hoenn's Battle Frontier to be in the Kanto region got quite a few fans excited at the chance to see old characters & Pokémon again, and to see what they've been up to ever since they last appeared. However, only a few of these occurrences actually happened such as the Kanto Elite Four member, Agatha, finally making her anime debut as a temporary Viridian gym leader, and Brock revisiting his family/gym in Pewter City. Aside from that...
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 pokemon's intelligence, strength, competency, and luck are often completely random (though expect it to low to highlight some other character's prowess).
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. 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.
Win Back the Crowd: The Mega Evolution specials seem to be tailored to appeal to the franchise's Periphery Demographic, after Best Wishes' failed half-hearted attempts to do so. They star the teenaged Alain instead of the 10-year-old Ash, and have fan-favorite Charizard as the starring Pokémon instead of Base Breaker Pikachu. While not a nostalgia trip like Pokémon Origins, the one episode released so far closely resembles the popular Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 animated trailer in terms of action and music.
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, Chimchar.
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.
The Abra in "Fear Factor Phony." It was left behind by it's owners and left to live in old, abandoned, dilapidated building and always tormented about it's abandonment (as seen by its dream). Furthermore, it was demonized by the ghost Pokémon and Team Rocket thanks to it's siblings obnoxious behavior, despite it probably hated the noise as well, hence the force field.
In a meta sense, the late Takeshi Shudo. 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. 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 traumatised 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 compatability between Pokémon and trainers, "Pokémon Conoisseur" works much better when it comes to Cilan's various hobbies when he declares himself a "—- Conoisseur", seeing as a conoisseur is another term for an enthusiast.
Team Rocket's English Motto. Don't you dare deny it.