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A view point from a fan of the original series and the games.
I'm not sure how long this will be I just wanted to get my thoughts out. Personally I think the use of Ash is a bit played out, same thing with most of the recurring trends that started back in the Kanto series.

I've watched all of the Kanto and Orange Islands, along with major bits and pieces of each series that followed, and all the movies. And the only main flaw that I see is that Ash still being used as the viewer/fan of the games proxy. And this goes back to why Ash was created in the first place: He was an analog for Red who was the only character a player (at least visually) could be in the original three (Red, Blue, Green in Japan) games. This basically let the kids have a connection between the anime and the games. Yellow made an even stronger connection. Ash doesn't know about the Pokemon word and neither do the children playing the games.

Now this is where the problem begins. Red is no longer the player figure in the games, he's not in the games anymore. Each generation introduced new player characters so shouldn't the anime have updated as well? This wasn't much of a problem with Johto since when GSC came out the audience watching the show and playing the games would still remember Red.

But jump to the year 2002 and 2003 when the 3rd generation started. You have brand new players picking up Pokemon games and watching the anime. Why isn't Brandon with May in the show based on my new game? Who is Ash? Obviously I'm over thinking this a tiny bit, but I feel it was missed opportunity to end Ash's story and introduce new players to serve the same role, only with new Pokemon and new game elements to show off. Same applies to each new series that starts in a new generation.

Instead we have a character who doesn't really grow (literally) and is costly getting reduced to the status quo every time he goes to a different region despite amassing Pokemon and skill sets that should beat every opponent he meets. Opting to "start fresh" aside from Pikachu. He basically forgets everything he's learned like how the types interact with each other. Or getting surprised when his freshly caught untrained Pokemon loses. And then there's the fluxing of Pikachu's power, I know they gave a "reason" in Best Wishes. But it wouldn't have to come to that if they replaced Ash as the viewer proxy several seasons ago. And that's my two cents.
What was the reason for Pikachu's power flux?

comment #17649 son 12th Jan 13
Something about Pikachu getting zapped and drained from Zekrom during Ash's and Pikachu's first day in Unova. But even so before Best Wishes there are times when in the past Pikachu would use a powerful electrical move on much weaker opponent and it would still be standing. Now the reason for this is because they can't have Ash walking around being essentially a one trainer army, but it just leads more reason to have Ash replaced with a new character with a weaker character.
comment #17658 xikar 12th Jan 13
Even without replacing Ash there's the problem of his learning disability and amnesia every time he enters a new region. Gen 3, 4 and 5 introduced May, Dawn and Iris, which with the exception of the later, were fresh newbies. It would had been better and more interesting to use the girls to go over the basic mechanics again while at the same time showing advance raising by a veteran trainer, after all May and Dawn weren't even following the same path as Ash, they were into contests.

What I'm saying is, after over 40 gym leaders, and battling against several elite four members, 4 pokemon leagues and being both the orange league and kanto battle frontier champion, you're not allowed to keep making rookie mistakes.
comment #17663 marcellX 12th Jan 13
^Granted, Game Freak makes some change to the metagame and sometimes basic gameplay, but that only goes to a certain extent. Also, that would be getting dangerously meta.
comment #17664 doctrainAUM 12th Jan 13
And there's the respect issue, why isn't everyone falling at Ashes' feet and worshipping him as the single most incredible trainer of their age? The guy has won everything and even saved the world a couple of times. Instead they don't even know his name. Garry had a fanbase before he got his 5th gym badge
comment #17667 TomWithNoNumbers 12th Jan 13
@doctrain

Ash could had touched the new things, but does he really needs to constantly be reminded of the Elemental Rock Paper Scissors, even worse Pikachu losing just because he couldn't use electric attacks, which also brings the issue of why are iron tail and quick attack weakened at the start of a new regions.

@Tom With No Numbers

well he keeps going to new regions, though beating the battle frontier should get some recognition at least in the Asian region, or mention it to his cocky jerk rivals (then again Paul's opinion didn't budge an inch after hearing it).
comment #17668 marcellX 12th Jan 13
@marcellX- I think his possible recognition is another part of his regional amnesia. Especially now in BW, since there is nobody around who was with him during his time in the other regions, and he rarely meets others aside from Prof.Oak or something.

I feel like the writers ARE writing for a new character each new region. But just forget to replace Ash's name in the script or something.
comment #17670 xikar 12th Jan 13
Practically speaking this is basically what they're doing they want to tell _the_ Pokemon story each season, so they write it, with the usual mistakes, unfamiliarity of the world and eventually becoming more powerful and gaining knowledge as we come closer to the end and then they stick Ash in that persons place because he's the series mascot, come up with a lame excuse for some of the more outrageous points (Ash just chooses not to use any of his old Pokemon etc) and don't bother to think about the rest and then just write him as if he's a new character again.

As much as I enjoy poking fun at it, for the most part it's not too bad, it's just a bit of silly to accept to get a Pokemon fix, but the way it affects Ash's character arcs is the negative that really does hinder the story. He learns lessons he's already learnt or he just becomes an absolutely flat character. Both are pretty cheap
comment #17671 TomWithNoNumbers 13th Jan 13
I'm confused as to why Ash is still around. Every other major ongoing anime franchise I can think of (Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh) rotates the cast every few seasons, while Pokemon has stuck with the same principle character for it's whole run. Even odder because a lot of fans don't find Ash that interesting, and I hear in Japan Pikachu's considered the main character before Ash.
comment #18354 Austin 28th Feb 13
OP, good point. In the games, Red became a ridiculously powerful trainer. He's basically the "final boss" of Gold/Silver. Ash never gets that treatment. It really makes no sense.
comment #18355 JobanGrayskull 1st Mar 13
@Austin- Well Digimon and Yugioh usually function in different universes so they can reinvent mechanics related to the series. Or at least that's Digimon, Yu Gi Oh just creates new evil lore related to a simple card game for the plot. And also CARD GAMES ON MOTORCYCLES.

But with Pokemon, its basically what I'm trying to say. Ash is no longer relevant to the series since Red the in-game character is no longer relevant to the series. With each new generation of games should have come a new main character in the anime to replace Ash. And if they wanted to keep Ash around then have him grow and develop as a character. Make him the awesome mentor teaching to new guys.
comment #18952 xikar 18th Apr 13
Also, I really do think that it was very possible for the writers and producers to have been able to get new characters. They had Jimmy, Gold's anime counterpart from Pokemon Chronicles-Legend Of Thunder, who was quite awesome. As well as trailer and animation feeds for the Brendan in Hoen(like, EVERY Hoen-based movie and one after too) and Nate and Rosa from B2 and W2, who were very awesome. And now we actually DO have Red in Pokémon Origins. It looks as though they COULD have changed the main character around, they just didn't want too.
comment #21824 MHMhasf1998 30th Oct 13
Good points really. A different main character would be excellent as long as it doesn't become POKEMON BATTLES ON MOTORCYCLES.
comment #22234 LentilSandEater 24th Nov 13
@MH Mhasf 1998 Seeing some news on Serebii made me decide to revisit my review and comments. There's a new Pokemon special similar to Pokemon Origins. The plot revolves around a completely made up trainer for the special going around and challenging every Mega Evolution Pokemon.

Obviously its to show off every single new Mega evolution. And possibly showcase some future game content updates like the possible leaked Latios and Latias Mega Evolutions.

I find this whole thing interesting because clearly Gamefreak and Nintendo feel its better to have somebody new instead of just taking from the game character roster.
comment #23580 xikar 26th Mar 14
Perhaps the XY series is the grand finale for Ash's journey, but who knows :P
comment #23792 Shadao 11th Apr 14
Yeah, I have to agree with you here. Nearly every new region amounts as a New Game+ for Ash.
comment #24768 RabidTanker 11th Jun 14
@Shadao

People have been claiming that every new season would be Ash's last season since as far back as Hoenn and possibly even Johto, but here we are still watching our ageless protagonist constantly take one step forward and then two steps back. Let's face it; Ash is never going to really improve, he's never going to win a League, and the show is never going to end as long as there are games to advertise. If they were going to do the "different protagonists per generation" thing they should have done it after the Orange League was over or even after Johto, but now it's probably too late to go that route now...
comment #24775 LightningArrows 12th Jun 14
@Lightning Arrows

It's a joke to the theories that Gamefreak would soon want to replace Ash with someone new (though it seems I've misread the statement above). Hence the tongue part :P
comment #24813 Shadao 14th Jun 14
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