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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • In "Ditto's Mysterious Mansion", Team Rocket take Duplica's Ditto and say that they'll "have some fun [with it] before we hand it over to the boss!" Ditto is notorious for being able to breed with any Pokémon than can lay eggs. Then again, this episode was released before breeding became a mechanic.
    • In the original series episode, "It's Mr. Mime Time", there's a scene where Brock grabs Ash, asks him to "help" him, and then caps it off with Ash screaming when the screen cuts away.
    • In the second episode of Diamond and Pearl ("Two Degrees of Separation"), Brock says "These two men are gonna do it with or without a beautiful woman at their side!" with Ash's approval.
    • In "Ancient Family Matters!" Byron responds to his son Roark about how he loves how a hole was dug. It's easy to take out of context.
      Roark: Somebody dug this hole!
      Byron: I don't believe it! [long pause] I love this hole! [In response, everyone else facefaults]
    • In the second episode of Black and White ("Enter Iris and Axew"), there's the line "You can't find anything this jiggly in Unova!" that reads like an advertisement about the bounciness of Unova's women. This was also a TPCI English Dub dialogue change.
    • Serena wearing Ash's clothes. Where Serena's clothes went is never shown, leading it to either be a case of Dressed in Layers, or she changed into them while in Ash's tent.
    • A subtle Running Gag is how they make it look like small Pokemon are looking up a girls's skirt in certain angles. This is most infamous with Dawn's miniskirt, Serena to a smaller extent, and Lillie.
    • Episode 8 of Sun & Moon anime ("Lillie's Egg-xhilirating Challenge") has Ash asking Lillie if she wants to do some "practicing". He's talking about touching Pokémon, but Lillie's tone of voice and the look on her face afterwards make it look like she thought Ash was suggesting something completely different.
      Ash: Hey, Lillie!
      Lillie: Hm?
      Ash: How about doing some practicing?
      Lillie: Do you mean what I think you mean?
      Ash: Yeah! Let's practice touching Pokémon!
      Lillie: (mouth wide open) Uh....
    • In the Johto Journeys, the episode with the Ursaring explains near the end that the reason they've been aggressively attacking the characters is that it is their mating season and are trying to scare off anyone who gets in the way. Cue a pan up to the forest, where Ursaring are shooting Hyper Beams into the sky. Note that Hyper Beam from these Ursaring are massive beams of white shooting into the sky.
  • Adaptation Displacement: If you ask anyone who isn't a fan of the games (or at least Nintendo-savvy to a minimal extent) what they know about Pokémon, they will very likely answer with anime-exclusive information (i.e. the protagonist's name being "Ash", the trainers being 10 years old, Pikachu being the "star" Pokémon, Team Rocket consisting of Jessie, James and Meowth, "Aim for the Horn", the Pokémon Theme or Pokérap, Pokémon Speak, etc.). Many Pokémon GO players brought in via the Newbie Boom are mostly familiar with the anime, and often use its storyline and depictions of Lugia and Team Rocket in fan concepts and parodies. The presence of Recursive Adaptations (including an animefied version of the original game) doesn't help; almost every game released nowadays uses Ikue Ohtani's voice clips for Pikachu rather than the original sound clips. The game protagonists' popularity also depends on whether they appear in the anime or not.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy:
    • Though disliked by her fans due to the perception of ruining Misty's character, Togepi's farewell to Misty was still rather depressing and heartwarming to them.
    • Kenny's send-off also made some people who were less than impressed with his antagonism sympathetic toward him.
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
    • Misty's Togepi is disliked by many American fans due to it contributing nothing to the group and occasionally being The Load due to never being used in a real battle. Meanwhile in Japan, t's still well-regarded by nostalgic fans.
    • Virgil also has notable hate in America: partly for for being the essence of Merchandise-Driven, partly for being bland and undeveloped, and partly for being The Unfought. He had all of Eevee's evolutions (to date) and an Eevee itself, for the sake of making him "unique" as a trainer, spontaneously got to be in the tournament (by coincidentally getting all the badges), had almost no interaction with the main cast (at least Cameron shared tons of scenes with Ash), had zero build-up (his introductory episode was the episode right before the tournament started), and wins the tournament when his Eevee knocked out a Druddigon with a rather overpowered move. Meanwhile in Japan, he is an Ensemble Dark Horse who gets copious amounts of fanart and is even very frequently shipped with Bianca.
    • Manaphy from Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea gets disliked by many American fans, due to it having tantrums without May so often that it constantly comes off as whiny. But in Japan? It has beaten fan favorites like Celebi, Jirachi, Shaymin, and Victini, since it was called "The Prince of The Sea" as 28th place in Pixiv's (Japan only) popularity poll.
    • One aspect of BW that was met negatively by the Japanese fan base was Team Rocket's retool into serious villains, their comedic personas being undyingly popular in the East, including among their voice actors who were not at all fond of the change. In the West, while not hated outright, many fans had started to find the trio's comic relief tiresome by this point and found the newfound badassery and arc heavy role a breath of fresh air. XY and XY&Z makes at least some attempts at a compromise, sticking closer to the comedic depiction popular in the East, but allowing more moments of competence and episodes of absence that was popular in the West, which continued to an even greater degree in Sun and Moon.
    • The show itself, at least past its early years, tends to attract more derisive snark (if not outright bile) from Western fans for many documented reasons (Ash's continued failure, a strict formula, a tunnel-visioned focus on very small children etc), past the show's core demographic and a devoted fanbase. Compare that to its native homeland of Japan, where the popularity of the show and its elements often seems to eclipse that of the original games.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: While the franchise as a whole has developed a diverse fanbase over time, after Takeshi Shuudo left the writers decided to pursue young children as their only real demographic. They often neglect elements that would appeal to older fans such as strong story, characters, and continuity, and often use Recycled Scripts due to the Fleeting Demographic Rule.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Trip in the Unova League. Despite being built up as Ash's rival throughout Black & White, Trip loses to him in a 1v1 preliminary match, which also marked the only time Ash ever defeated Trip.
    • The conclusion to the Team Aqua and Magma, Team Galactic, and Team Plasma arcs all suffered from this. The battle between Groudon and Kyogre is pathetic and barely-animated, with Archie and Kyogre ending up going down way too easily. Cyrus and Ghetsis are not battled at all, and neither are the Legendaries under their thrall (Dialga & Palkia and Reshiram respectively), who instead get talked down.
    • Averted by Team Rocket in Unova and Team Flare, with Giovanni and Lysandre both bringing things to truly apocalyptic levels before being taken down after a fierce, all-out brawl.
    • Zigzagged with the Aether Foundation arc. While the battle itself takes advantage of an Adaptational Badass Motherbeast and gets all the companions involved in a 2-episode struggle against it and Lusamine's Pokémon, most of the fights are considered to not be noteworthy, with only Lusamine's Absol managing to get an effective hit, as well as Nebby not even participating in battle and Silvally not doing what it was designed to. The subversion comes in that Talking the Monster to Death is used less as a resolution and more to allow Ash and Pikachu the final blow. Though even that is contested.
    • During the Necrozma arc, the elite force of Team Rocket known as Matori Matrix is built up as a major threat for the arc, with one of their members even shown to have a Mega Aggron capable of defeating enemies in one hit. Not only do they only briefly interact with the main characters, said Mega Aggron is ultimately defeated quite abruptly in only one move by having Kukui's Incineroar use Malicious Moonsault on it, which then prompts Matori Matrix to abandon the fight.
  • Applicability: Go West, Young Meowth can be interpreted as a transgender allegory. Meowth defies the expectations of his species by learning how to walk and talk like a human being, only to be shunned as a freak by the one he was trying to impress. In the end, one of the reasons he sticks with Team Rocket even though they're not only criminals, but loser criminals, is because they actually accept him for who he is.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • Ash's quest To Be a Master has been going on for twenty years now, and he's still got nothing to show for it. Heck, he's still 10 years old; some say that he looks younger than when he started. It doesn't help that with each new arc he hits a Reset Button on his team, his Pikachu's level, his own experience as a trainer, and that he never catches particularly many Pokémon each region (if you consider that one of the qualities of a master, it's never clearly outlined). Compare this to Gary whom eventually quit his journey and got a job as an advanced Pokémon researcher under his grandfather's prestigious name reviving dinosaurs from fossils.
    • Johto took 160 episodes. Compounded by the fact that there was only one main quest (Contests and the like would not be introduced until the next season). Some contend that the Whirl Islands Tournament and Special Guest arcs could've been removed, but that would have had the tied-for-4th longest gap between badges (27 episodes) succeeded by what would have been the shortest gap (1 episode, usurping Kanto's Boulder-Cascade's and Marsh-Rainbow gaps of 2).note 
    • Sinnoh lasted 191 episodes note , and is to date still the single longest arc in the anime. It also holds the record for both the longest and second longest gaps between Gym battles, with 31 episodes between Gardenia and Maylene and 52 episodes between Candice and Volkner.note  Granted, in these gaps we had the buildup and resolution, respectively, of both the Contest and Team Galactic arcs, and the first further justified by the distance between those two Gymsnote , but that still meant that the main quest was demoted to C-Plot status twice.
    • The trials in Sun and Moon. With huge gaps in between each of Ash's trials (albeit to deal with other plot points), it makes what most consider the main plot feel relegated to C-Plot status. note  Its a bit more glaring then in previous series due to the fact that Ash isn't Walking the Earth and normally stays put on Melemele Island where he attends school (with occasional visits to Akala). Basically Ash will advance his Island Trails when the writers felt like they showcased the newest game plot point and tie-in long enough.
  • Archive Panic: One who wants to watch all the episodes of the anime better be prepared for tons of sleepless nights, or at least several breaks, since there's so many episodes. Even if you restrict yourself to the dub, which cut out many episodes from the Japanese original, there's still tons to get through. And say you still decide to just restrict yourself to one arc? The official DVDs for the Kanto arc alone have 78-79 episodes, depending on the edition you own, and that's after removing a few episodes here and there.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Many an attack has had its power mitigated by introducing strange physics into battle at the writers' convenience — in the rematch for the Thunder Badge, Pikachu safely No Sells Raichu's Thunderbolt by balancing on its tail and using it as a ground to divert the electricity.
    • The very well known "Aim for the horn!" trick used during Ash's first fight against Blaine, which somehow allowed Pikachu to ignore the Ground-type Rhydon's immunity to Electric attacks by aiming for its horn. While Ash didn't win the match due to this, it's still easily the most well known example of the writers' disregard for the games' rules.
    • During the battle against Tate and Liza in Advanced, Pikachu uses "Thunder Armor", an improvised move that has him use Thunder on himself and Swellow to increase their power and speed and let them beat Lunatone and Solrock. It comes out of nowhere with no real foreshadowing, and the technique is never used again.
      • At one point in the Advanced saga May had Bulbasaur use a Razor Leaf to divert an incoming Fire Blast. No explanation is given for how this works, as the leaves should burn up due to the fire.
    • Some Pokémon captures that are just suddenly given to certain characters without any explanation whatsoever could be viewed as such. Brock's Zubat that he caught off-screen at the entrance of Mt. Moon, and James' Weepinbell that he apparently left at Butch and Cassidy's fake Breeding Center, are prime examples of this.
    • During the climax of the Aether Foundation arc, Ash's Electrium-Z spontaneously turns into a Pikashunium-Z, allowing him and Pikachu to unleash 10000 Volt Thunderbolt against the Motherbeast. No explanation for what happened is given, and the Pikashunium-Z returns to be an Electrium-Z after the move.
    • Hidden Power has been vaguely used to reverse certain situations: usually an attacking move, it's also used to heal Brandon and his Regis.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: The Sun/Moon series has Ash attend school as opposed to travelling across Alola, being more of a slice-of-life comedy as opposed to an action adventure series. Aside from raising the question of what school can possibly teach Ash that experience across six regions couldn't, the more comedic tone and almost completely different premise can be jarring to longtime fans, particularly off the heels of the XY&Z series. In addition, the series takes several liberties with the characters from Pokémon Sun and Moon, such as rewriting Lillie's entire backstory to be incompatible with her game self. With that said, the series has still garnered many fans, especially from those who thought the original formula had run stale or that XY&Z itself applied for the trope due to it's Mood Whiplash and own occasional development flops.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Each generation seems to fix individual complaints from the series before it:
    • Advanced Generation, after the initial controversy of Misty being removed from the cast, fixed a number of issues from the padding that Johto introduced, making the plot move forward quickly with both Ash's Gym badges and May's Contests (with this well-received after Misty's own character being relegated to very little in Johto). On top of this, a stronger focus on a smaller team that prevented the Hoenn Pokémon from getting the shaft the way most of Ash's Johto team did helped, especially with his old Pokémon getting A Day in the Limelight during the acclaimed Battle Frontier arc.
    • Diamond and Pearl as a series addressed the issue of a lack of rivals for Ash that the Advanced Generation series showed by bringing in not only three major rivals for Ash, but Paul, who is widely praised as Ash's best rival to this day (despite his Base-Breaking Character status) for the way he pushed him, all the way down to their 3-part battle (an event never seen before or since). It likewise addressed the relatively lackluster Contest arc of Advanced Generation by making the competition in Sinnoh more fleshed out, much tougher and requiring Dawn to constantly train as opposed to what some saw as May's lucky wins. Even Team Rocket, mainly Jessie, had more moments of being legitimate opponents compared to Hoenn, here managing to make the Grand Festival and get all the way to the semifinals.
      • It also was the first series to seriously tackle a villain plot from the games, with Galactic largely praised and setting the tone for further integration of a strong villain plot in later series.
    • Best Wishes, for all of its issues, helped to instate a swifter pacing approach taken in later series, as well as making Team Rocket an integral part of the plot for at least the first 100 episodes, rather than just Ash's stalkers. It also limited their appearances where they would simply not show up for a few episodes, allowing for more variety of plots that don't involve Team Rocket being shoehorned somewhere and could have the twerps feel more proactive to the story. The abundance of rivals and smaller tournaments, and an equal balance of the three companions in terms of cast involvement in episodes also helped, especially after Brock’s general uselessness through most of Diamond and Pearl.
      • Within the series itself, the final half did gradually try to fine tune the controversial new dynamics and characterisations to make an even balance. Ash slowly regained some of his former competence while keeping his more humorous side, Team Rocket by contrast regained their old personalities and roles as the buffoonish main villains, while still offering more creative and challenging schemes and occasionally taking a backseat for twerp-exclusive stories. Iris humbled into a less arrogant character without losing all her spunk. Cilan remained mostly stagnant, though this was still considered an improvement over Brock's eventual demotion beforehand.
    • XY corrected many of Best Wishes' faults by giving Ash a smaller, condensed team as in past series, rather than the rotation of multiple Pokemon, restoring his competence as a skilled trainer rather than a rookie while maintaining Team Rocket's ability to take the main characters to task in the early parts of the series (until the heroes began to outpace them in strength). Add to this that Ash finally obtains his first fully-evolved Water-type starter Pokémon, and Bonnie is seen as, at least, an improvement over Max as a Tagalong Kid, since she has a direct impact on the plot in the end.
      • The Mega Evolution specials played a part in this, as well, not only introducing a deuteragonist in Alain that catered to the Periphery Demographic, but also tied into the widely-praised Team Flare plot. In the end, the Specials showed how a villainous plot could be built up over the series (even if not intersecting with the main characters until the final third) and still end with an emotional and intense five-part finale that undid the damage of the Kalos League for some.
    • The Sun and Moon series can be seen as this to those who disliked either aspects of the XY series or became tired of the formulaic nature in past series, namely the fact that Ash is far more expressive (compared to his more goal-focused personality in previous series), a larger focus on individual Pokémon personalities, sparser, more progressive usage of Team Rocket as an antagonistic force, and giving Ash and other main characters Z-Moves right from the very first episode (where none had Mega Evolution in XY besides Alain), along with more Callbacks and Continuity Nods, up to and including a guest appearance by Brock and Misty, compared to the relatively self-contained XY. To some, Ash’s stationary location at the Pokémon School is also a factor, especially since it downplays the use of One Shot Characters in favour of developing a recurring supporting cast.
  • Awesome Art: If there's one element of the show that is praised for consistently improving upon it's the animation quality, with XY in particular providing a larger selection of much sharper and more fluid battle and action scenes, with SM expanding on that with a looser art style that enabled the team to cut corners in order to churn out far more expressive animation on a regular basis. Note the attention to detail is often no less, animator Iwane Masa'aki tweeted he thought he would die making a scene in "Faba's Revenge!".
  • Awesome Ego: Gary is incredibly smug about his abilities and knowledge as a trainer during the original series, but the way the show portrays him is so over-the-top it's hard to not enjoy it. Even though he's only a 10-year-old he has his own car, a group of cheerleaders that always follow him around, and he was able to get 10 badges to qualify for the Indigo Plateau even though only 8 were required. This lead to several memes such as GARY OAK to declare how awesome he is.
  • Badass Decay:
    • In the first season, Gary was always three steps ahead of Ash, rolling around the region in a Corvette with teenage cheerleaders, acting like a total jerk to Ash whenever they met, flaunting his superiority. Then after a Break the Haughty moment occurs when he loses a big match, Gary is far more modest and humble out of nowhere, only lightly teasing Ash for the rest of his rivalry.
    • When introduced, Brock was a Gym Leader and a genuine threat. After joining Ash and Misty, his character became softer and his battling became less frequent. Just by looking at his previous most used Pokémon (Onix) and one of his last teams (Happiny and Bonsly), one can start to notice the difference.
    • Jessie's Lickitung. It was one of the most powerful Pokémon they ever owned; it easily defeated Ash's Bulbasaur, Brock's Vulpix, and Pikachu, before it was eventually defeated by Misty's Psyduck. In later appearances it was defeated easily by Ash's Pokémon, especially Pikachu, who previously couldn't even harm it.
    • Ash's Charizard was repeatedly trashed, demeaned, and outshone during the episode featuring the Charicific Valley, in order to justify Ash leaving it behind. However, it should be noted that unlike most examples, Charizard is still seen as one of Ash's strongest, coming back after that moment to not only defeat Clair, Gary and injure Harrison's Blaziken, but also becoming the first of Ash's team to defeat a Legendary.
    • Turtwig. In his first major battle, he was able to beat a Rampardos that's more than four times his size. Then writers turned him into a Jobber to make Paul (and by extension, Infernape) look stronger. Torterra was meant to still be considered strong, but beating nobody except Team Rocket seriously weakened his cred.
    • Team Rocket during Black and White took a level in badass, and had become a viable threat. But then in X and Y, they went back to being a Goldfish Poop Gang (if a slightly more formidable one than before).
    • Goodra and Noivern seem to be heading this way. Prior to getting Put On The Bus, Goodra was able to win Ash his 5th gym badge and save his homeland. Meanwhile, after evolving, Noivern was able to give a Zapdos a run for its money. Come the Kalos League, neither Pokémon is able to get a single straight win in both of Ash's full battles.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Ash, Pikachu and Team Rocket. Because they are the most prominent characters in the show, they do have a following among regular watchers of the anime, and their depictions in early seasons tend to be quite popular. However, it's very common for fans to label them as annoying, ineffectual and seemingly tailor-made to entertain young children and nobody else, with Flanderization and Adaptation Displacement not helping matters.
      • Ash's skill as a trainer and characterization has constantly been in flux throughout the history of the anime. The fans have been critical of this, citing that they can easily use the game characters to both avoid the predictable, drawn-out nature of Ash's journey where he goes from being incompetent to skilled over the course of the series. Those who don't see him as The Artifact say that Ash is far too iconic to be replaced. The only thing fans can agree upon is that Ash is a Vanilla Protagonist. In particular, Ash's XY incarnation is a strong example of this trope; while most fans agree that his battling record during the Kalos saga is at its best, some also feel that it makes him a strong and likable character in the first place while others feel that he's too dull, bland and uninteresting as a person. Sun and Moon tries to form a balance, giving him a more expressive personality while maintaining his battle competence for the large part, but the depiction remains very divisive as his character appears to change each episode (ranging from The Ace to Butt-Monkey) whenever a situation deems it and Depending on the Writer.
      • Pikachu splits the base in almost the exact same fashion as his trainer, being inconsistent in both character and power. Some abhor Pikachu for being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad in and of himself, being slapped on every piece of merchandise, and/or refusing to evolve. Others praise and respect Pikachu as the Japanese equivalent to Mickey Mouse while finding him genuinely cute and entertaining.
      • For Team Rocket, depending on who you ask, they are iconic as comical Harmless Villains who are more entertaining than Ash himself, or their incompetence and sideplots in an episode are overdone and just plain annoying. In addition, the fanbase is also left divided over whether Team Rocket was improved as characters after they Took a Level in Badass and start becoming serious villains. There's also another group who remains unconvinced that they've taken any such level at all. XY seems to be trying hard to appeal to all sides of the argument, though alas they're so divisive, it's impossible to please everyone in this regard.
    • Brock is a generally well-regarded character in the earlier parts of the anime, but the persistent Running Gag of him falling in love with every young woman he sees is either funny or tiresome, particularly by Diamond and Pearl.
    • Cilan. Either he is a better character than Brock and his strong personality is refreshing, or he's getting too much focus, has gotten as stale as Brock was as a result, and is a Creator's Pet for those who find him and his antics "forced" or "overexposed".
    • Ash's female companions:
      • Misty's tsundere personality is either considered to be entertaining and hilarious, or her Hair-Trigger Temper gets her labeled as an annoying, whiny jerkass who won't leave Ash alone. And did her Character Development with Togepi make her a better person or is her old personality better?
      • May, she's either an improved version of Misty with more focus on her nicer aspects, or the attempts to replicate her tomboyish nature get her viewed as inferior to the original. However the negativity surrounding her replacing Misty largely subsides once Misty appears with her and they become friends.
      • Dawn is either loved for being the likable Nice Girl, or viewed as a generic Suspiciously Similar Substitute to May due to their contest plots. Some even called her out for being too different from May.
      • Iris has received an especially lot of flak for her constant habit of referring to Ash as a "kid". She's also been criticized for bucking the trend of a female protagonist as a traveling companion. Others find her unique quirks and Character Development interesting, and like the fact that she was another attempt at a female companion trying to master a Pokémon type. Then there are those who see her as a case of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character.
      • Serena has been a pretty divisive character. Her Ship Tease with Ash is popular enough to make it to the Fan-Preferred Couple page, but she has also received backlash from people who ship Ash with anyone else, as well as accusations that her and Ash are being Strangled by the Red String. The retcon of Ash's backstory to include her is also controversial, as is her perceived lack of character aside from her crush on Ash.
      • Lillie in two different ways. On one hand, there are those who don't like how her well-loved character arc (and all things attached to it) from the games is removed, while others enjoy the fact that the anime is taking its own liberties with her character, such as her character arc regarding her phobia of touching Pokemon and many episodes punctuating her role as the Adorkable Smart Guy of the group. The fanbase is further split by her treatment in the Aether arc for losing all her progress and gaining it back with no work of her own and calling out her well-meaning mother for no reason. That she got more focus after that while her fellow cast members struggled to get any made her seem somewhat of a Creator's Favorite as well.
    • Mallow, Lana, and Sophocles all get this to some extent. This is mainly due to the fact that in contrast to previous series, which would just have a main cast of 3-4 people, we now have a cast of six to take care of. Some find this refreshing, enjoy all of the different characters' quirks and dreams, and feel that it allows for a much more diverse and varied cast. Others, however, dislike the uneven limelight, with the three in particular criticised for their stagnancy, and sometimes considered less interesting characters than the more dynamic trio of Ash, Kiawe and Lillie who have whittled focus as a result of their presence. While some good limelight episodes and comic relief roles warmed the fan base a bit more to Lana and Sophocles, Mallow has been increasingly criticized for being Out of Focus (even in her own focus episodes) and not making any significant contributions or progressions besides her Bounsweet evolving twice over (both times through little involvement of her own, thus negating even potential development in that regard).
    • Ash's rivals:
      • Gary is typically a Memetic Badass, but you will often find people who view his tormenting of Ash as extremely overdone , especially if they've dealt with similar bullying experiences themselves. After he Took a Level in Kindness, people either found him now boring without his Awesome Ego, or much more tolerable.
      • Ritchie either serves as a good Foil to Ash, or is a blatant shallow sue.
      • Paul. Some fans hate him, feeling like he got too much love from the writers and was an accurate representation for "Stop Having Fun" Guys and Munchkins, and never received any proper karma for his massive jerkassery. Others took a liking to him because he is a Strawman so Anvilicious that it's hard to seriously see him as such an accurate representation of competitive players, or are sympathetic to Paul because of the few things that are accurate to said players and his criticisms of Ash (usually considered an Idiot Hero). He's also a popular candidate for shipping, particularly with Dawn.
      • Barry is seen either funny or annoying.
      • Tierno and Trevor are seen as They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character. Many want to know if they would be or would not be written better than their game counterparts. While Tierno still got some focus in the first part of the XY series, Trevor is universally agreed to really get the short end of the stick.
      • Sawyer is seen as having rushed development by some. Others say his development was paced just fine because he doesn't have Team Rocket following him and all the Filler episode characters, and had Ash as a mentor. There are also those who wish Sawyer would have developed more evenly, but are happy with how he was given time constraints.
      • Good lord, Alain. Specifically, his involvement with the league is either seen as perfectly natural Character Development or a massive Ass Pull. After he beat Ash in the league, the base divided even more, all of it concerning if Ash should of won thanks to the buildup.
    • Lusamine, again based upon comparisons to the games. Some people love her Adaptational Heroism,quirkier personality and the bond she has with her family, while others who feel it downplays the games' first female Big Bad and one of the most twisted villains the series has ever had. Basically, the division comes down to how the anime handles Lusamine as a character as a whole vs. Lusamine as a villain. The fact that that Faba has taken her place as main antagonist is also a point of contention for some, citing that we already seen the manipulative schemers like him before with Cyrus, Colress and Lysandre. Then there are fans who are outright angry that the first female main antagonist of the games was the only one shafted in favor of another character.
    • Ash's Infernape. Great character and Character Development, or Spotlight-Stealing Squad who stole glory from Ash's other teammates?
    • Iris' Dragonite. Legitimate Badass, or a poor clone of Charizard's story that gave Iris undeserved victory?
    • Ash's Oshawott. His Attention Whore nature and tendency to form rivalries with other Pokémon are either deemed cute and funny, or he's yet another annoying Spotlight-Stealing Squad with an unoriginal personality taken from several of Ash's previous Pokémon, namely Bayleef and Aipom, who won't evolve out of his weak "adorable" form.
    • Ash's Goodra. They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character by having Ash release it so soon or Too Cool to Live because it was Ash's only Stage-2 Dragon-type and it would have steamrolled the rest of Kalos? This mostly died down as it returned in time for the Kalos League...only to light up again for its poor performance in the League.
    • Ash's Poipole. One half of the fanbase finds it positively adorable and love his antics, his budding friendship with Pikachu, and his teased plot relevance with a possible connection to Necrozma, with many hoping Ash will get to keep it at the end of the series. The other half hates him for his bratty behavior and for not having done much since its debut, with perceived similarities to Nebby and being one of Ash's main team members without contributing to battles being used as accusations against it.
    • The "baby Nidoqueen" mishap from the Mewtwo special. Is it a clear example of Critical Research Failure amongst the writers, or is it justified in that the reason Nidoqueen could have stage-two children is due to being one of Mewtwo's clones that has a scrambled DNA structure to allow for such a case to happen?
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The Johto episode "Hocus Pokémon". The gang helped a magician, Lily, find ingredients in order to help her complete a spell that would allow her to understand Pokémon speech. Ash volunteered to be the guinea pig, but the spell ended up turning him into a Pikachu instead. The spell carried over into the beginning of the next episode As Clear as Crystal, but wore off after a few seconds.
    • Also from Diamond and Pearl is the evil Togepi episode "Where No Togepi Has Gone Before!" that had the main cast randomly sent to space for a few minutes (which included a cameo from a Rayquaza).
  • Bile Fascination: The episodes in which Ash loses a League, particularity the Kalos League, gained this reputation by the curiosity of the Internet Backdraft generated by them.
  • Bizarro Episode: Several Sun and Moon episodes qualify due to the huge break in formula and even many episodic plots being far more random or unusual than the usual format of the show. In particular, the seventeenth episode in the series is A Day in the Limelight for the Rotomdex, seeing it play Clueless Detective after Ash loses his Electrium-Z crystal.
  • Broken Base:
    • The series itself is very divisive among older fans, more so than other Pokémon incarnations. It's either an awesome cartoon that you grew up with, a Guilty Pleasure that's had its ups and downs, or an embarrassing Franchise Zombie that needs to be kept as far away from the games as possible. In this respect, it's considered the '90s equivalent of The Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), both of which have similarly divisive "were they good or was it all just nostalgia" reputations.
    • The English dub suffered from this when TPCi took over the dubbing. To some, there's an intense dislike that all of the voice actors were replaced, while the others enjoy TPCi's more accurate translations. This was most noticeable with the dubbing of Pokémon: I Choose You!, with some fans demanding that Veronica Taylor return to voice Ash, while others argued that Sarah Natochenny, having voiced the role for over 10 years by that point, was now the definitive Ash.
    • Kanto: Considered good by some due to feeling fresh (before becoming a Franchise Zombie) , with some good humor and an enjoyable cast chemistry, while to others it's seen as reeking of Early Installment Weirdness that's subject to Nostalgia Filter, and riddled with inconsistencies (both in itself and to the games) that later series avoided.
    • Hoenn: Misty's departure and May's introduction served as this, as to some, Misty being replaced removed a vibrant cast member who was part of Ash's early core development, while others enjoyed having a new character with a more concrete goal, making her a Deuteragonist alongside Ash, and helped turn him into a mentor.
      • Ash's lack of a rival is seen as either a positive as it allowed him to grow solely on his own and embrace a mentor role, or it detracted from the series by giving him no challenge outside of the Gyms and Battle Frontier.
    • Sinnoh: The finale of the region either suffered from Arc Fatigue (with a 52 episode gap between the 7th and 8th badges), or was well-paced with enough interesting things that made up for the gap (6v6 between Ash and Paul, Team Galactic finale, Grand Festival).
      • Dawn's Contest career was either a step up from May's, with more complex strategies and rules, or was just a rehash of May's own arc that made Dawn live in her shadow. Furthered by the fact that they are the only two main characters to have the same goal in the series.
      • While most agree that Chimchar had a strong plot and Character Development that tied into the rivalry between Ash and Paul, some feel this doesn't justify him becoming a Spotlight-Stealing Squad note , while others believe that Chimchar's story justifies this status.
    • Unova: The series can be seen as starting off strong with Team Rocket gaining newfound competence and importance along with a brisker pacing compared to the previous series, or is seen as the same with Ash gaining newfound ''in''competence, replacing previous, well-liked companions with a new cast entirely, and moving so fast that it resorted to an entire Filler Arc at the end.
    • Kalos: While some see the series as strong thanks to Ash's newfound maturity, a Love Interest for Ash in the form of Serena and a strong villain climax rife with Character Development, others believe that it came at the expense of making Ash into a Flat Character, had too much Ash Character Shilling, and that Showcases were a poor substitution for Contests that made Serena seem like a Satellite Love Interest.
      • The Mega Evolution Specials were either a great side series that developed Alain and Mairin into characters in their own rights, irrespective of Ash, or were the reason that Team Flare didn't enter the series for the first 2/3 and thus weakening the villain arc.
    • Alola: The radical art style change, shift to a stationary, school-based Slice of Life story and Ash's more expressive personality are seen as a breath of fresh air to the series to some, while to others it changes the series too much and removes what made Pokémon enjoyable in the first place due to no traveling and a lack of battles that had become the norm, and also has an art style that is at direct odds with all of the previous series. There seems to be no genuine consensus on this.
      • The stationary setting is seen as either a positive, giving Ash the ability to return to a fixed location after his adventures while allowing more recurring characters rather than just characters of the day, or it's a negative since it strips Ash of his wanderlust and removes one of the core components of the games and anime from the series, while giving a Compressed Adaptation of all other islands but Melemele.
      • The upgraded animation is a point of contention as it's either good because it makes every movement smooth or it's wasted potential by being used for expressions and funny faces instead of the battles where it's arguably most needed.
    • A section of the fanbase is split on if the show's focus should be on highlighting and progressing Character Development with serious arcs and a strong narrative, or rather be on entertaining episodes with little regard for the larger picture. Fans of the former usually favor entries that highlight Ash's veteran trainer status and face him and his companions with problems to overcome in terms of rivalry or internal struggles, and feel the show should focus on portraying him as a skilled trainer and progress as a character, and tend to perceive entries where his skills and/or personality hit the Reset Button back to square one as going against what the show should be about; fans of the latter tend to favor episodic storytelling, a take on Ash that highlights his more amusing and/or Butt-Monkey sides, wacky plotlines and amusing interactions between the cast members over major plot beats, either being largely uninterested in development or finding the major plotlines of the show to be nothing remarkable on the whole or pointing out their futility if none of it is guaranteed to carry over to the next entry.
    • The Dubbing versus Subbing debate exists and is a persistent debate. Originally the fanbase was strictly on the side of the dubs; however, as the Japanese version became more popular due to it becoming easier to access for overseas audiences, the launch of Dogasu's Backpack and the change in dubbing companies, the quality of the English voices, music, and scripts became debated compared to the subs.
    • The animé's depiction of certain legendaries as "merely" very rare species and not lone individuals on par with gods. Either it makes complete sense as Legendaries are shown to breed, or it cheapens the awe of seeing them.
    • The league. For twenty years, fans and detractors of the anime have argued back and forth over this part of Ash's journey. Supporters, while annoyed at Ash's constant losses, defend its presence in the show's Story Arc and believe it is a vital part of Ash's journey, alongside a framework through which his progress can be measured, his rivalries be developed and concluded, and provide each regional adventure with a climax related to Ash's skill as a trainer. Detractors often point to how the anime's formula surrounds the league conference and thus causes the plot to feel formulaic and boring to them, alongside compounding the issues of Ash's continued role as the show's protagonist by making each new region's tournament a "Shaggy Dog" Story that he's fated not to win. Sun and Moon appears to have brought this to a head by either proving that the show would be better off removing this part of its formula, or displaying that it needs it to give the series direction and development.
    • The idea that Ash can transform his Electrium-Z into a Pikashunium-Z. Its either an Author's Saving Throw for those who wants Ash's Pikachu to have his own Bond Phenomenon with Ash or an Ass Pull which is mentioned on the trope above.
  • Character Signature Song: Most of these are from the "XY&Z TV Anime Character Song Project Collection" series of albums.
    • Perhaps the most famous would be Jigglypuff's iconic song.
    • The Team Rocket trio has "Team Rocket Forever", "Look Forward, Team Rocket!", "Team Rocket's Team Song", and "Double Trouble" in the dub.
      • Meowth specifically has "Meowth's Song", "Meowth's Party", "Polka O Dolka", and "Meowth's Ballad".
    • Brock has "Brock's Paradise" and "Two Perfect Girls" in the dub.
    • May has "I Won't Lose!" and Dawn has "By Your Side".
    • "Squishy's Song" for Bonnie and Squishy.
    • "Brilliantly" for Clemont.
    • Serena has "DreamDream".
    • Even Pikachu has his own song, with the lyrics of course being in Pokémon Speak.
    • Pretty much any of the openings in both the original and the dub count as Ash's song.
    • Misty has two songs in the dub: "Misty's Song" and "Misty Most of All".
    • So far, Tracey, Max, and Ash's friends from both Unova and Alola are the only main characters without character songs.
  • Common Knowledge:
    • Gary's starter is commonly mistaken to be Eevee, the first and only Pokémon he sends out against Ash for a long time. This is also fueled by Eevee being the starter for the rival in the anime-inspired Yellow game. He actually started with Squirtle, which won't be shown until his confrontation with Ash in the Silver Conference as a Blastoise.
    • Following Ash's loss in the Kalos League the rumors that they had hired the "BW writers" for it flared up, along with the constant saying that "XY hired new writers". However, the series, until Sun and Moon, has had all the same writers (Tomioka, Matsui, Yonemura, Fujita, etc.) since the original series with no "BW writers" or "XY writers".
  • Complete Monster: The whole Pokémon franchise now has its own list, seen here, where you can find the examples from this anime.
  • Contested Sequel: The Sun & Moon series is shaping up to be this to a higher degree than any past series. Fans either praise it for breaking from a stale formula, having a much more expressive art style, animation and cast, its lighthearted and comedic tone and its focus on slice of life, or dislike it for being directionless and poorly paced, several old and new characters being mishandled or poorly represented, the downgrade in battle presentation, and seemingly putting more focus on incidental stuff than what should be the main plot. There's little middle ground to be found.
  • Counterpart Comparison:
    • A specific example, in light of the 20th anniversary of both Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! taking place in 2016. The protagonist of (one of) their latest entries voiced by Kensho Ono whose strongest ace monster is a humanoid dragon with the potential for greater power and have both lately exhibited nightmarish dark sides with face of pure rage. Are we talking about Alain or Yuya Sakaki?
    • To do justice to Paul, he's not the first trainer in the series to exhibit a harsh training style. AJ (Akira), a Canon Foreigner of the Day back from "The Road to Indigo" also utilized a notably exhausting and exacting style (in fact, AJ's training equipment inspired the Macho Brace hold item in the games). That said, AJ was very clearly shown to care very much for his Pokémon, especially his Sandshrew, whereas Paul cares only for a Pokémon's value as a combatant and is cruel in his training of them.
    • Mimikyu has been compared to Kyubey due to both of them having a never ending smile, being both a Weasel Mascot that is full of Nightmare Fuel and are both very evil and both are secretly an Eldritch Abomination.
      • It could also be considered the Pokemon equivalent to Metal Sonic. Both resemble twisted versions of their series mascots, both are single-minded and full of hate and both juxtapose the Laughably Evil main antagonists with their sinister personalities.
    • After its death, everyone has been comparing the old Stoutland to Mufasa, likely due to both appearing as images in the clouds after dying.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Harley is considered a walking Law of Disproportionate Response to everything (becoming May's rival because she didn't think his cookies tasted good enough, for starters), and he only gets crazier and more awesome after his repeated failures against May.
    • Some of Gible's funny moments slide it into this at times such as eating away at giant mechanical robots, or even one particular moment where he located a certain lost Piplup on purpose with its Draco Meteor.
    • Anytime Team Rocket get to be competent, expect them to also be this. "Dressed For Jess Success" takes the cake. It wasn't enough to have James pull their first Team Rocket Wins episode. He had to do it cross dressing as Jessilina the entire time.
    • Ash can be this when he pulls off any number of unconventional moves in battle to pull out a victory. Especially so in Sun and Moon where he's far more outwardly eccentric.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Dawn's Piplup. He's a whiny, spoiled toddler and a high and mighty Control Freak Spotlight-Stealing Squad that took over Pikachu's turf by staying out of his Poké Ball in almost every single episode. What contributes is the fact that it got at least twice as much Character Focus as any other Sinnoh Pokémon of the main cast in the DP saga, besides Chimchar.
    • Paul. You could easily tell where in the story the writer took a sudden shine to him because his Moral Event Horizon suddenly started getting Jerk Justifications and the Character Shilling started pouring in.
  • Creepy Awesome:
    • Conway remains an Ensemble Dark Horse well after the end of Diamond and Pearl due to his hilariously disturbing demeanor (A Badass Bookworm strategist frequently framed in Scary Shiny Glasses while speaking in a Creepy Monotone) and equally creepy awesome Pokémon.
    • Mimikyu in the anime runs off the sheer hatred and contempt of Pikachu because of how much love he gets. Fans love this for being somewhat of a Take That! to the species while being highly disturbing, especially the animation of the disguise ability.
  • Creepy Cute: Many of Team Rocket's Pokémon are supposed to be menacing antagonists to Ash and his friends, but at the same time, they're just as cute and endearing as the protagonist's Pokémon.
    • There are many pokémon that can qualify as this. Of particular note in recent years is Jessie's Pumpkaboo/Gourgeist in Kalos, whose true face is just a couple button eyes and an expressive mouth. It has Cute Little Fangs as Pumpkaboo as well.
    • Jessie's Mimikyu is portrayed as a terrifying creature due to its intense personality, but remember that its still a tiny little costumed creature.
  • Critical Backlash:
    • After the huge Internet Backdraft stirred up by Ash's loss at the Kalos League, some fans who saw it as a Foregone Conclusion were confused by the amount of vitriol it stirred up, and found it ridiculous that some people claimed that it retroactively ruined the whole Kalos series.
    • When the Sun and Moon anime trailer was first shown, there was a massive Internet Backdraft among the fanbase, due to several factors such as the overly "gag show"-ish nature, Ash's apparently hideous face, the removal of Serena, the much more "rounded" animation style, Ash's apparently hideous face, the fallout and resentment against the anime due to the Kalos league, the school setting, and Ash's apparently hideous face. Then when the first episode was released, many fans retracted their opinion, as while Ash did become more wacky, he still was competent. Despite this, the show was still very controversial due to the other reasons above.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • The many times that attacks have worked on types they should be immune against, with the prime example being Pikachu's Electric attacks damaging Ground-types yet are easily brushed off by types that are weak to it on more than one occasion.
    • A large number of moves, especially those that are defensive in nature, are shown working very differently than they do in the games, like Light Screen and Reflect being able to outright block attacks as opposed to halving damage, Safeguard also being a glorified Protect instead of just blocking status moves, and Heal Bell being used to calm Pokémon to stop them from fighting. Though in later seasons, most of these moves are depicted much more accurately.
      • The move Aerial Ace is drastically different from its game counterpart. Aerial Ace is meant to be a swordfighting technique that can be learned by pretty much anything with claws or talons but is only used by Flying-types in the anime as a glorified Tackle.
      • The first couple of times Dragon Rage is seen in the anime, it takes the form of a massive cyclone as opposed to in the games, where it is simply fairly weak breath attack. A Dragon-type move that actually takes the form of a twister would later be introduced in Generation II, and Dragon Rage is more accurately depicted from then on.
    • The 4Kids and (to a lesser extent) TPCI dubbing companies are prone to compounding this with translation mistakes, such as:
      • Getting attack names wrong, calling certain Pokémon the wrong names, stating the wrong evolution chains and so on.
      • The 4Kids dub-added Trainer's Choice misspelled many Pokémon names, got the Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors wrong on multiple occasions, and once asked "Which Pokémon evolves into Seviper?" Nothing evolves into Seviper.
      • The 27th episode of Advanced Generation, "A Three Team Scheme," was one of the biggest examples of 4Kids glossing over stuff that appeared in the Gen III games. Not only did they mistake Tabitha of Team Magma and Shelly of Team Aqua by calling them "Harland" and "Isabel" respectively, they also ended up calling the Red and Blue Orbs as the "Rose" and "Indigo" Orbs. These errors are fixed in later episodes.
      • One of the earlier episodes in both versions confidently stated that Pinsir evolves into Tauros. They don't, and aren't even remotely similar in design to warrant the confusion.
      • On more than one occasion, the Fire-type has been referred to as the "Flame-type", and at least one of these occurred late in the Johto arc. You would think at least the voice actors would have caught that one.
    • A trainer ordering a Scizor to "finish it off with False Swipe." In this example's defense, the anime portrays this exactly like what would happen if you tried to finish a Pokémon off with False Swipe as Ash's Heracross wasn't actually knocked out by the attack. Critical Research Failure would have been a lot worse had the knock out actually happened, but the question still remains if the creators at the time forgot that False Swipe doesn't defeat Pokémon.
  • Critic-Proof: For all the complaints critcs and older fans have for the series and the movies, nothing they say has an impact on their success (Word of God even says this is by design — right as the current demographic is disillusioned, the uninformed/carefree next one starts to tune in, keeping the cycle going). The movies in particular never had a continued slump until the Kalos era, whose movies were relative disappointments and the lowest-grossing of all (though still making a lot), and still managed to make a large comeback with the next film.
  • Designated Monkey: Ash in the Sun & Moon series is seen as this for some people. While past series did give him some Butt-Monkey qualities, the comedic and slapstick tone of Alola means that he ends up receiving far more comedic abuse than even his co-protagonists, such as in episodes like the Ride Stoutland (where his Stoutland ate his pants while the others were all serious) or the Pokemon Center episode (where Ash is forced to crossdress while Kiawe and Sophocles are not for seemingly no reason other than humor). Given that Ash is still the usual Nice Guy he's always been for the most part in SM and rarely deserves such punishment, treating him like a punching bag feels undeserved for a part of the audience.
  • Dork Age:
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Jessie, James, and Meowth. Though they're not without their sympathetic qualities, many fans ignore their clearly unsympathetic actions, like trying to steal a 10 year old's best friend, trying to kill people who get in their way, harming or even attempting to kill Pokémon who've pissed them off (they nearly killed the Squirtle Squad with homemade bombs and they clearly weren't planning on letting the Scythers who gave Jessie a new haircut walk away), trying to kill a 10 year old on several occasions, etc.note 
    • Paul is easily the biggest Jerkass among Ash's rivals, releasing any Pokémon that don't meet his standards, insulting Ash at any given opportunity and acting cold toward everyone else he meets, and most notably having his entire team gang up on his Chimchar in an effort to force it into activating its Blaze ability (which is unusually powerful) and then rage-quitting on it and releasing it, effectively abandoning it out of disgust (everything that happened that day and the night before really soured Ash's opinion of Paul). Despite his jerkassery, he has a sizable fanbase that are willing to ship him with Dawn.
    • Harley is often softened up because he's extremely popular and over-the-top, to the point that James even said he wore leather pants in the PUSA Dub. His sheer flamboyancy garners him quite a fan base, even if in-universe, most attempts at being pleasant are purely manipulation to fulfil his vindictive (and hard to define) obsession with destroying a ten year old girl.
  • Ending Fatigue: The quick pace of the Unova season plus the Executive Meddling that surfaced during the development of Black 2 and White 2 resulted in the last 5 months prior to the release of the Gen VI games having an Orange Islands/Battle Frontier-style round of pure, aimless island-hopping filler, only without a pseudo-tournament like those arcs had. The subsequent ratings drop shows the extent of the wear and tear.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • A very large number of people have speculated on the identity of Ash's father for years. The theories and evidence offered up for proof of one candidate tend to swing from reasonable(Giovanni, Silver) to really out-there (Prof. Oak, Lugia!).
    • With the upset of the Kalos League, many people started to propose that theories that Alain cheated, possibly unknowingly. The main theories for how this was done include that the Mega Stone that Alain got from Lysandre buffed Charizard to the point of steroids, or that Malva had one of her Pokémon use Sunny Day to undo Goodra's Rain Dance, weakening Greninja in the process while powering up Charizard.
    • The lack of spotlight Ho-Oh gets in the anime and movie canon in comparison to Lugia despite its prominence in the Johto games tends to be speculated as the bookending "if Ash meets Ho-Oh again, the anime will end".
  • Even Better Sequel:
    • You can't get a universal sentiment with this fandom, but a fairly common opinion about Diamond & Pearl is that it took everything Advanced Generation did right (Ash being Older and Wiser, a secondary female protagonist whose quest alternated with Ash's, a more balanced focus of Ash's regional team including better handling of the regional bird, a subplot with the regional evil team, etc.) and combined them with more serialized storytelling and a true rival in the form of Paul, resulting in an even stronger season in the process.
    • While technically the same series, the XYZ season arc of the XY series was an improvement over the previous two years of the series in terms of momentum of an ongoing Story Arc and paying off elements that were getting slowly built up before, with the writers going out of their way to also avoid the pratfalls of the third year of Best Wishes: Season Two.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Mewtwo. While not a truly "evil" character, it's also praised for its dark backstory and being a chilling portrayal of the original ultimate Pokémon, and even more for its surprising character depth in the Japanese version.
    • Pokémon Hunter J. While clearly one of the worst human beings in the show, she's got plenty of Rule of Cool going for her and happens to be pretty damn effective in a show that is starved for competent characters.
    • The evil Malamar are also loved by the fandom for the sake of being a rare example of truly evil Pokémon.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Sabrina, with her miniskirt outfit.
  • 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.
    • James's grandparents approve of their grandson being part of a criminal organization in Sweet Baby James, and even hope for his success in the future.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Internally, it's pretty much Original Series fans vs. Diamond & Pearl fans vs. X&Y fans vs. SM fans whenever the debate of the show's best series rises up. The former will always be attacked for not aging well by the others, and the latter will always be attacked for many of the choices made that differ from the previous series.
    • Then there's animé fans vs. Pokémon Adventures fans and game fans, both of whom chide the animé for its unchanging formula, staying focused solely on kids when other iterations of the franchise manage to attract and maintain an older Periphery Demographic, and taking often questionable liberties with the original games' stories and characters. Animé fans defend their show for its expansion on the locales and characters, and they point out similar problems with the opposing media (such as the games having a rarely-changing formula and Adventures applying Adaptational Villainy to many characters).
    • Fans of Pokémon Origins and Pokémon Generations, both of which are less juvenile and Truer to the Text of the games than the main animé, are likely to argue with animé fans over what the "better" animated iteration is, in artstyle, tone, storytelling, etc. To a much lesser extent, there's also the fans of the animated trailers to certain games, which are closer to the aforementioned miniseries than the animé.
    • Yo-Kai Watch fans and Pokémon fans are prone to butting heads over whose show is better, particularly in regards to their English dubs. This only escalated when Sun & Moon retooled the series into a slice-of-life-comedy series with a different art style; Yo-kai Watch fans accuse this of ripping off their show, while Pokémon fans argue that the change was made specifically to compete with Yo-kai Watch.
    • There was once a pretty big one back in the late 90's with Pokémon and Digimon. Even though the two had nothing in common with one another aside from being Mon series marketed towards children and also served the purpose of being a marketing vehicle for video games and virtual pets respectively, there was definitely the argument of "which one was better" among parts of both fandoms. The Japanese fans of each don't care; there's plenty more shows like that over there, especially during that era, but in America you were either a Pokémon fan or a Digimon fan; it's possible to like both, but no one could admit it at the time. It also didn't help that the ailing Fox Kids attempted to mimic the success of the former to compete with Kids' WB!, up to and including having Patamon, who had some minor similarities to Pikachu, serve as an unofficial mascot.
    • When it was revealed that, after twenty years, the anime was moving to a Sunday slot in Japan to be a part of a new kid's block, fans of the Pokémon anime began a rivalry with Sazae-san and Chibi Maruko-chan of all series'. Pokémon fans were worried the two anime would eclipse Pokémon in viewership.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The fact Ash was confirmed to still be 10 years old at the start of the Black and White era is NOT accepted by anyone who believes Ash is just in a slow aging process (Example: Ash aging one year for every three years of real life or two years every region).
  • First Installment Wins: Older fans tend to defend the first season (and occasionally the Orange Islands/Johto seasons that are a part of the same series) as legitimately good or at least an enjoyable Guilty Pleasure compared to the later seasons, due to them not having as strict of an adherence to the formula. The formula is still there, just not as blatant as later on in the show's lifetime.
  • Fountain of Memes:
    • Brock's anime characteristics such as his fondness for women, being able to tell each Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny apart, having his ear pulled for flirting with women by Misty then Max, and eventually being knocked out cold by Croagunk have all stood the test of Pokémon fandom time.
    • Team Rocket's various antics, costumes, and plans have all generated their own memetic appeal over the years.
    • Gary Oak doesn't just have his anime memes, but his game counterpart Blue's memes as well due to his large fandom.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • The Advanced Generation episode Shaking Island Battle! Dojoach VS Namazun!! had a Whiscash cause an earthquake, trapping Ash and his friends. One week before the episode was set to air, the Niigata region of Japan was struck by an earthquake and the episode was permanently shelved. A month and a half after that in the Indian Ocean...
    • Due to Japan being quite prone to earthquakes in general, moves that involve either a realistic earth-shaking effect or having a name reminiscent of said Natural disaster (Earthquake, Fissure and Magnitude) were banned from ever being used in the future after the 2004 Niigata earthquake - probably to minimize the risk of Harsher in Hindsight and Too Soon kicking in for local viewers (now moreso than ever, given the now-infamous controversy with the perma-shelved Rocket/Plasma two-parter of BW).
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    G - L 
  • Gateway Series: A fair few anime fans and fans of other Pokémon incarnations started with this in their youth.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • In Japan, Pokémon: The First Movie showed that Pokémon stories could entertain adults as well as children through compelling characters and interesting storylines - which was one of Takeshi Shudo's goals from the beginning - and the next couple of films followed suit. In the US, the film was dubbed as a straight-up kids' movie (mainly due to 4Kids bowdlerizing the film by changing Mewtwo from a complex character trying to find his purpose in life, to a generic "destroy the world" villain, most likely due to the belief that kids would find the plot too confusing) and only became popular with adult fans years after its debut, but either Pokémon 3 or Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew more or less filled this role instead.
    • Advanced Generation was seen as a general improvement over the Original Series after a initial rough start: Ash was generally smarter, the pacing issues were amended by having May seek Pokémon Contests out, and the animation improved over the previous seasons. Some fans say it was a case of this trope from the start, while others hold up the Battle Frontier segment of Advanced Generation as stronger than the earlier Hoenn-set episodes; this is mostly due to the season's brisk pacing note , Ash's Grovyle evolving into Sceptile and becoming a true powerhouse, Ash making frequent use of his reserve Pokémon, and most significantly, Ash actually seeing his goal through for once by defeating all the Frontier Brains.
    • The Mega Evolution specials themselves follow this pattern. Act I focused more on action than story, and mostly served as an introduction to the new cast of characters. Act II introduced more backstory and plot elements, including a Plot Twist for fans of the games that the main character is working as an Unwitting Pawn for Lysandre, secretly the leader of Team Flare. It helped that these specials appealed to the Periphery Demographic, and were later tied into the main series.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In Battle Aboard the St. Anne, the captain decides to "test out one of the life boats". Then take a look at what happened in Korea in 2015.
    • One city in the Kanto saga features mass disappearances of young children. The culprit for this missing persons case? Hypno, who would later gain a reputation for being a Memetic Molester. In Sun and Moon, Faba even uses a Hypno to forcibly erase Lillie's memories, furthering this.
    • "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 "So You're Having a Bad Day!", Bonnie receives a fortune saying she's going to have her "worst day ever". This episode was first aired in the US on July 11, 2015, which, for many Nintendo fans, did indeed become a very bad day when Satoru Iwata died. note 
    • During the penultimate episode of XY, Olympia predicts that Kalos will be facing a great crisis. She's actually referring to the events of XYZ, but one real life month later, Paris was struck with terrorist attacks.
    • It is not uncommon for Pokémon Center to be portrayed as an ultimate healing service, even being able to cure cancer from humans. But by the time SM021 rolls around, a Stoutland is brought there, and Nurse Joy couldn't do anything as it's dying from old age.
    • James fabricates a fake childhood story in the episode “Holy Matrimony” that has him freeze to death while his Growlithe, Growlie watches and howls in despair. Fast forward twenty years later in Pokémon: I Choose You!, Sorrel reveals that his Luxray died freezing to death when he was a child.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • The episode "Noodles; Roamin' Off!", Meowth discovers his Fury Swipes are intricate enough to make him a talented cook and is offered a Friend or Idol Decision to leave Team Rocket for a successful noodle business. He ultimately stays with the team, though said skill remains a Chekhov's Skill throughout many of Jessie's coordinator escapades, even winning contests and showcases. A talent that nearly had him abandon his teammates for business ventures instead helps one of them with their own.
    • In a sense, nearly all of the Team Rocket trio's idolizing and yearning for Giovanni's respect becomes heartwarming when they finally achieve success in Black and White and become respected agents, even managing to save Giovanni's life at one point.
    • Pretty much any rare praise or encouragement Ash got at the start of the series about his potential to become a good trainer becomes heartwarming by the later periods of the anime, especially by XY where he verges as The Ace for his current team.
    • Both voice actresses for Ash noted Greninja's departure scene in XY to have been emotional for them, helped partially due to the tragic coincidence of them both losing pets shortly before voicing the scene (a dog and a cat for Rica Matsumoto and Sarah Natochenny respectively). Come the next series, two of the Pokemon Ash captures and develops affectionate bonds with are Rockruff and Litten, a dog and a cat.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • No matter which language you're watching, there is one consistent; Team Rocket's actors can make you laugh and cry.
    • For the TPCi dub, Sarah Natochenny has really stepped up her voice-acting ability as Ash ever since her early Battle Frontier days.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the first episode, Gary boasts about how he got the best starter Pokémon from his grandfather Professor Oak which was later revealed to be a Squirtle. Turns out according to Science, he was right. Troper's Digest: Squirtle has the best overall match-ups against the games' gyms, and is favored by Speedrunners for its good movepool, including moves like Dig, Mega Punch, and Surf.
    • Despite Pikachu not being officially part of the trifecta of Kanto starters, the revelation that Gary's starter was a Squirtle makes people realize that it was Ash who has the type advantage. note  Of course, the fact that Ash's Charizard was his strongest team member during their climactic 6-on-6 probably has something to do with it.
    • In Episode 3 overall, Ash calls out Team Rocket for sending out two Pokémon at once because that's cheating. Misty suggests that Ash do the same, but he worries because double battles aren't in the League rules...yet.
    • Episode 5 has Ash defeating Brock's Onix with a Thunder Shock after said attack sets off the sprinkler system in the Pewter Gym and soaked Onix in water, allowing its ground immunity to be bypassed. Gen 5 introduces the move Soak, which changes the target's type to Water, which is weak against Electric.
    • All that talk about Brock being a Casanova Wannabe...when HG/SS updated his look to make him a true Bishōnen.
    • In an early episode, Ash asks Brock what he knows about the local gym leaders, as he wants to be prepared. He specifically says to succeed, one must "know yourself, and know your adversary!". Brock is impressed, before Ash notes he "got that one from Dexter!". He's referring to his Pokédex, but still, it describes that character's, er, "work" philosophy quite accurately.
    • Episode 8 features A.J., an unofficial gym leader who puts his Pokémon through Training from Hell by fastening them with a "strength intensifier", a restraint that unlocks a Pokémon's potential but restricts movement. In Generation 3, cue the Macho Brace, an actual held item that...unlocks a Pokémon's potential but restricts movement. In-game art of the Macho Brace suggests it actually is the same item.
    • In the same episode, there's A.J's Sandshrew, who unlike wild Sandshrew can tolerate going for a swim. In Generation VII, Alolan Sandshrew shows up...and since it's part Ice-type it likely wouldn't mind going for a swim so long as it's cold water.
    • Goes hand in hand one of the "Harsher" entries: the gang's first impression of the eponymous Pokémon in "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 several episodes including "Sandshrew's Locker", characters go underwater using a small mouth instrument that allows them to breathe. Courtesy of Korean designer Jeabyun Yeon, that thing actually exists now.
    • In episode 13, a time when there were only 150 species known, Bill theorizes that there "may be no limit" to the number. Since then, the number has, at present, grown to 807, and shows no sign of slowing down.
    • In "A Chansey Operation" back during Season 1, the doctor recommends Ash and his friends could become competent doctors (being impressed by their handling of the sick Pokémon while he was out), but they choose to keep following their respective dreams. Come the end of DP, Brock decides to become a Pokémon Doctor.
    • An earlier episode had Ash, Brock, and Character of the Day Suzy denouncing the idea of making Pokémon look flashy by dressing them up with make-up and accessories, saying that it diminished their inner beauty. Misty and Team Rocket went against this view, and were made to look wrong for it. Come Generation IV and we have Super Contests, which partly depend on picking out accessories in order to garner points, and Dress-Up Rooms, which let the player go wild with accessories and backgrounds that sometimes may move and be flashy. This is taken even further in Generation V, where the Pokémon Musicals rely solely on the types of accessories that Pokémon can wear in order to make them stand out from the rest of the performers, with Trainers only able to decide to toss away an accessory twice during the entire musical number.
    • 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.
    • In the same episode, one of the gym names is called the "Yas" gym.
    • During the battle between Ash and Misty regarding who got to keep Togepi, Psyduck barged out...again...and Bulbasaur made short work of him by using "Tickle". This was during G1; Tickle later became a real move in G3. Meowth did the same in "Bound For Trouble", also during G1, he even called the attack.
    • Similarly Meowth performed an improvised "Scratch Fake Out" attack on Bulbsaur in the Johto episode "The Grass Route". Come G3, Fake Out is not only an official attack that works near exactly the same way, but it's part of the Meowth line's move set.
    • In The Tower of Terror, Ash and Pikachu got turned into ghosts by a wild Gastly, Haunter and Gengar. Years later, Generation VI introduced the move Trick-or-Treat, which changes another Pokémon's type to Ghost.
    • Anime!Lorelei only appeared during the Orange Islands saga. Come FRLG, we later learn Game!Lorelei's home is in the Sevii Islands. Coincidence?
    • In "The Heartbreak of Brock", Brock loses out with a girl to a doctor, causing Misty to proclaim, "Brock, even a Pokémon breeder can't compete with a doctor." Fast forward to the end of Diamond & Pearl, and Brock leaves Ash's group to become a Pokémon doctor.
    • In "The Ties that Bind", the announcer proclaims that Heracross' victory over Magmar was contributed to his "Guts". When game abilities are introduced, what would be one of Heracross' in-game abilities?
    • "Why? Wynaut?": the one time Ash had a justifiable means of jumping a hundred feet through the air, Team Rocket think it's impossible. What about their opinions on the other times it's happened?
    • Wobbuffet really is the strongest member of Team Rocket, but Jessie just can't use him properly. It may be idiocy on her part, but, until Generation IV, the physical/special mechanics weren't exactly precise (in one episode of Johto League Champions, Duplica mentions that Counter reflects physical attacks like Bite, which was technically inaccurate at the time, but has since been born out by the physical/special attack split in Generation IV). Contrast how well he's being used in Kalos.note 
    • The Team Shot at the end of the Black and White OP. Oshawott the Attention Whore is standing right behind Pikachu.
    • Georgia's hatred towards the (back then) broken Dragon-type Pokémon and her dedication to building an anti-Dragon squad becomes this in Generation VI when Dragon-types are completely overshadowed by Fairy-types as the most powerful type, leading to some players act like her and started to develop alternative strategies as well as building entire teams to specifically counter fairies and nothing else.
    • The anime always makes a big deal about contest rivalries so it's funny when in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire when Lisia says there aren't rivals in contests.
    • Back in The School of Hard Knocks, Misty dreamed about Paris and Eiffel Tower. Fast forward 16 years, and we're introduced to Kalos, which is France-based.
    • Iris once mistook Ash's Charizard for a Dragon-type (but can you blame her?). Pokémon X and Y would introduce Mega Charizard X, which is a Dragon-type.
    • The song Heroes (We Could Be) by Alesso and sung by Tove Lo wouldn't sound out of place in Pokémon. In fact, from the title alone, it sounds just like We Will Be Heroes, the English theme to Battle Dimension, and the similarity carries over to the chorus and lyrical themes.
    • In the Master Quest episode "Pop Goes The Sneasel", Jessie attempts to replace Meowth with a Sneasel. Sneasel's voice actor is Jimmy Zoppi, who ended up replacing Maddie Blaustein as Meowth a region later. For extra irony, Eric Stuart's James is almost as adverse to the idea as Meowth is.
    • More Meowth vs Sneasel irony. In the Advanced Battle episode "Hail to the Chef", Team Rocket is heckled by a Sneasel serving as a chef, overhearing Jessie boasting about being a top coordinatornote  and mocking Meowth for a lacking a skill like Sneasel. Come Sinnoh and Kalos regions, Meowth has learned culinary abilities, which Jessie frequently uses to win appeal rounds. Verges on poetic irony in "Performing With Fiery Charm", guess what species Pokémon they outdo...
    • In relation to that, "The Evolution Solution" had character of the day Professor Westwood V obliviously reading from a card how amazing and intellectual Meowth is. Westwood was voiced Nathan Price, Meowth's first voice actor note .
    • A Gastly transformed into a real-world mongoose in the Kanto episode "The Ghost of Maiden's Peak". Later regions introduced actual mongoose Pokémon in the form of Zangoose and Yungoos.
    • The infamous "aim for the horn" incident becomes even funnier when watching Pokémon Origins - in which a Rhyhorn gets revenge and defeats a Jolteon with Thunderbolt.
    • Late in Black and White, Professor Oak would capture a Rotom, which would accompany him in his appearances since (specifically, the Holocaster segments in the XY series). In Pokémon Sun and Moon, a Rotom would involuntarily join the player character during the game, as the "Rotom Pokédex".
    • In their hurry to catch their plane back to Kanto at the end of XYZ, Team Rocket left behind a pair of Solrock and Lunatone figurines. As usual this is a nod to the upcoming Sun and Moon games, but it becomes even more hilarious because of the ironic fact that these Pokémon aren't even available in the Alola region.
    • The plot for the OS episode, "The Ancient Puzzle of Pokémopolis". Two great and powerful Pokémon are summoned, who battle against each other and cause massive destruction. To avoid casualties, an even greater Pokémon must be summoned, who has the power that can halt both Pokémon and calm them down. Pokémon Emerald, anyone?
      • Similar to the above, the plot for the entire XYZ arc. A blonde girl adopts a baby Legendary Pokémon (who constantly tries escaping her bag), and has to learn more about it in order to return it to its home. Meanwhile, a shady organization needs the Legendary for their own ulterior motives, and pursues the girl and the legendary all the while. In the final battle, the Legendary reaches its final form and delivers the finishing blow to the Big Bad of the arc, thus saving the day. Hmmm...
    • In "Meowth Rules!", Meowth is found by a group of islanders (complete with stereotypical Polynesian-esque dancers and music), worshiped as a king and subsequently spoiled. Sun and Moon reveals that Alolan Meowth (found in Alola, based of Hawaii) became Dark-type after becoming vain and selfish due to being spoiled by islanders.
    • In the episode "Island of the Giant Pokemon", there are giant versions of other Pokemon Ash and the other have seen and not seen before. Which is also a bit amusing when you found out about Attack on Titan, and it's even funnier when Masafumi Mima, Pokemon's sound director, would sound direct the series years later.
    • The infamous 'Thunder Armor' Swellow used in the gym battle with Tate and Liza is oddly similar to the later 'Break Evolution' TCG mechanic. some of the cards even have electricity surging around them. Swellow BREAK was not among the cards made however.
    • In XY&Z Serena's rival Miette often teased Serena by saying that she would steal Ash away from her. In "Sun & Moon", Miette's Japanese voice actress (from her second appearance onward) voices Lillie.
    • The Marowak that Kiawe caught was powered up by the Wela Crown. In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, they changed the Fire Trial Totem to a Marowak, where before it was Salazzle.note 
    • In DP172, Dawn's Togekiss establishes her Team Mom personality by casually deflecting an imperfect Draco Meteor from Gible that was heading towards Piplup. Two generations later, Togekiss is now immune to Dragon-type attacks by being retconned into being part Fairy-type.
    • Ash's reaction to returning to Kanto in the Sun & Moon series may seem familiar after the announcement of Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!.
    • In the episode, Ash Catches a Pokémon, Ash catches a caterpillar without having to fight it, despite not being in the Safari Zone. Then came Pokémon GO and Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!. Doubles when Masuda stared he considered this method more like BUG catching while the traditional is more like fishing.
    • The Johto-era episode "A Better Pill To Swallow" features a Shuckle farmer and his loyal Bellsprout, who he has named Spoopy. That word definitely wasn't in the Internet lexicon in the early 2000's.
    • In Hoenn, we see Team Magma and Team Aqua investigating a place of worship seemingly connected to Groudon and Kyogre located in Dewford Island. In the Gen VI remakes, there would eventually be a seeming place of worship for Groudon and Kyogre's Primal forms placed in Granite Cave, still in Dewford Island.
  • Ho Yay: A lot of Ash and Alain's dialogue to and about each other can come off this way, which also isn't helped by the fact that Ash is the one who ultimately triggers Alain's Heel Realization about Team Flame, not to mention his internal dialogue about Ash during their match with one another.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient:
    • Ash collapsing from the strain of using the Ash-Greninja Form.
    • Almost anytime Team Rocket Wins (or nearly wins).
    • The aftermath of Ash's first use of a Z-Move.
  • Hypocritical Fandom:
    • To an extent. A lot of fans criticize the series' use of Pokémon Speak, but when Pokémon Speak is used for characters in more "mature" series (such as for Groot or Hodor), fans love it and the Pokémon Speak character likely becomes an Ensemble Dark Horse.
    • Fans will, inevitably, complain when the show does anything different, and also when it doesn't change enough.
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: Pick any two characters. There is a ___Shipping name for them. The more complete lists have thousands of entries. Here's the list.
  • Iron Woobie: Ash Ketchum never wins any regional tournament, is constantly chased by Team Rocket for his Pokémon, has to see friends go in separate ways to achieve their own dreams and has even died temporarily multiple times. But that never stops him from taking joy in his adventures and forming meaningful relationships with the people he knows, not to mention he saves the world on a yearly basis through The Power of Friendship and Heroic Resolve. It takes a lot to make Ash depressed, but when that happens, he always finds the strength to soldier on.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • The reaction to Ash's loss at the Kalos League was VERY vocal. TV Tokyo's trailer for the next episode had over 50,000 dislikes as opposed to about 1,000 likes on YouTube. Even more, the dislike/like ratio on the trailer is shockingly high compared to other backlash-inducing trailers such as Paper Mario: Color Splash, Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare, and Mighty No. 9's Masterclass trailer. Some fans even destroyed their own merchandise over the backlash. The reason for this was that supplementary materials and the show itself were strongly hinting that Ash would actually win this time, to the point of hype. The controversy also saw Alain, having before been a relatively well-liked character, become a pariah among the fanbase for being the one Ash wound up losing to. It also managed to negatively affect the view of the XY series in general, which was prior seen as one of the best due to its willingness to indulge the Periphery Demographic, now seen as something of a "Shaggy Dog" Story that copped out at the last minute. This and Ash releasing Greninja at the end of the series managed to drive away some fans completely, swearing to never watch the anime again. It got so bad that this very page had to be locked until the dust settled down. WatchMojo even listed it as it's number 1 in the "Top 10 Anime moments that made fans Rage Quit."
    • The Sun and Moon Series has managed to cause this, to a lesser degree, as well. After this poster was revealed, many people got hyped at the prospect of Ash finally getting an Eevee. Got fueled when that Eevee was given its own series of shorts, to develop its character and showcase its traits, and most people linked them to Ash. It got to the point where most fans called it "Ash's Eevee" on social media. Then it came the preview of the episode where it would be added to the main cast, teasing that it'd bond with Lana's Popplio, fans grow worried and anxious about what will happen the next week. And that episode came, Lana caught that Eevee and gave it a haircut. Many got angry at it and posted comments bashing everyone involved, even claimed that "Lana stole Ash's Eevee", others said that they'll drop the series and even compared this event to the one mentioned above.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: This is one of its biggest criticisms, as not much has actually changed in the show's 20+ year run:
    • Every episode hits the same beats as all the others, and the plot resolutions are very predictable. Even the deviations from the norm (like Gym Leader battles) have their own norm that rarely, if ever, is broken. The lack on any overarching plot does not help at all (To Be a Master does not count as a plot to some when the main character is perceived as being 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 most of Ash's Fire-type starters; they all get abandoned by their abusive trainers, meet Ash, become his Pokémon, and eventually confront their former trainer in some fashion.
    • Ash never being able to win a Pokémon League has not sat well with a lot of fans, given how long the show's been running for. This feeling started gaining ground when Tobias, an enigmatic trainer who uses legendaries, appeared right out of nowhere during the Sinnoh League. The feeling continued to gain steam with the Unova League when Cameron, who was already widely despised, defeated Ash with a 5-on-6 handicap. The fandom's outrage reached a fever pitch with the Kalos League when all the hype surrounding the final match made it seem like Ash was finally going to claim a complete League victory against Alain.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • Ash never wins the regional Pokémon League.
    • Serena kisses Ash.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: A few fans of that stopped watching the show admitted they got back into the series during XY because of either Ash's status and competence and/or Amourshipping.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Pretty much every main character has a long and storied history filled with options to be shipped with, including with each other.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Non-deadly examples:
    • Practically once every year during the Diamond and Pearl seasons, there was an episode wherein Team Rocket would either break up or actually quit following Ash & Pikachu to do something legit. It never sticks. They did it again in Black and White, culminating with Meowth joining Ash's team for a few episodes! But once again...
    • Another reused episode plot involves Ash and Pikachu facing off against a trainer with his Raichu. Ash begins to doubt that Pikachu strength would be enough against such an opponent, but ultimately decides to go against it. This never sticks due to the fact that Pikachu is the Series Mascot.

    M - R 
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Giovanni is the boss of Team Rocket and discreetly the Viridian City Gym Leader. Giovanni approves of plans that he finds clever and supports agents that give him results. At the same time, Giovanni allows his less competent agents to do what they want if they don't get in his way. After the incident with Mewtwo, Giovanni tracked it down and captured the clone Pokémon to use as hostages before trying to force Mewtwo to obey his will. Discovering the Meteonite in the Unova region, Giovanni planned to use its power to coax business leaders and politicians into giving him power. Later on, Giovanni led the operation to capture Meloetta and use its power to control Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus. Possessing both cruelty and mercy, Giovanni never let go of his ambitions for world conquest.
    • Black & White: Colress was a perky scientist working for Team Plasma who sought to discover how to bring out strength in Pokémon. Colress invented a machine to control Pokémon as well as up their power. As the machines got destroyed, Colress recorded more data and upgraded to new machines. When Team Rocket attempted to persuade Colress to join them, Colress responded by successfully controlling Meowth, in spite of his resistance, and using him against Jessie and James. Arriving at the White Ruins, Colress forced N to give the Light Stone to Team Plasma by controlling Pikachu and using him against Ash. With Reshiram revived, Colress controlled it, all while marveling at the Legendary's power. Even upon arrest, Colress was still ambitious, as he planned on finding a way to communicate with Pokémon directly.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Gary Oak. From being one step ahead of Ash the entire time, to catching over ten times the number of Pokémon Ash does and getting 10 badges when only eight are needed.
    • Bewear was already a powerful Pokémon upon its debut in the games, being able to destroy anything in its path by accident, but its anime counterpart ramps this up to the point where it can leap several bounds into the air and on top of buildings, and even run so fast that it can tread waternote . Bewear even manages to top this feat by running on water for at least three days without any sign of exhaustion, from Kanto to Alola.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Ash has been granted this status in no small part because he simply isn't allowed to return home a winner. Usually, he'll simply lose in the middle of a tournament, but even when he does "win" (as in the Orange Islands or the Battle Frontier), within a week of him returning home, Gary Oak will drop by to steal that from him. The first time, Pikachu lost to Gary's Eevee, and after the Battle Frontier, Gary subjected Ash and Pikachu to a straight-up Curb-Stomp Battle with his Electivire. The movies are usually kinder, allowing Ash to have quite a few heroic moments, but still..."Gary was here, Ash is a loser"note . Black and White didn't help this at all, despite it being his second best showing. It got even worse with XY's ill-fated battle with Alain at the Kalos league.
    • Starmie in general has had it rough in the anime. The one owned by Misty had quite a few losses under its belt until it got dropped off at the Cerulean Gym near the end of Kanto, and a lot of viewers tend to remember the gruesome moment on the S.S. Anne when a Gentlemen's Raticate cracks open the jewel of another trainer's Starmie.
    • Ash's Torkoal has a rough reputation due to it's poor track record during Ash's Hoenn journey. The few times it's been called upon after Hoenn has also resulted in losses, but to be fair, those fights were against Brandon's Registeel and Tobias' Darkrai.
    • Ash's Torterra is one due to the grass turtle's poor track record after evolving from Turtwig.
    • Ash's Kalos Dragons, Goodra and Noivern, are on their way to becoming this due to their weak contribution in the Lumiose Conference. The former especially since Goodra was Put on a Bus for over 50 episodes only to have nothing go its way upon returning to Ash's team.
  • Memetic Molester:
  • Memetic Mutation: Chock full of 'em.
  • Memetic Psychopath:
    • Cilan is often depicted as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who murders and eats his Pokémon, due to his catch phrases, "It's tasting time!" and "I caught a/n [X POKÉMON] with good taste!". Episode 19 introduced his rival, who claimed that Cilan was a monster when she battled him, complete with Slasher Smile. Naturally, this got more notice from the fandom: when he's not portrayed as her rapist, he's thought of as a psychological torturer.
    • Serena. One of the memetic depictions of her is nicknamed Yanderena. While this depiction is quite common among fans (from things like wanting to murder anyone who tries to get in Ash's pants), it exploded when a certain VA retired from voice acting. Said VA, Saori Hayashi, provided voice for Miette/Millefeui, Serena's rival who knows about Serena's crush on Ash and teased her repeatedly to the point that she threatened her that if she doesn't make a move, she will steal Ash from Serena. Prompt an image of Yanderena superimposed against the news.
    • Mimikyu from the Sun & Moon series, particularly since Meowth is constantly terrified of what it's saying and unwilling to translate it for anyone since he finds it too disturbing to repeat.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Paul. The way he's written and how the writers treat him encourage this somewhat. More specifically, Paul is written as a criticism of some competitive players, as he demonstrates a total Lack of Empathy, loves to gloat, and is strong enough to get away with it. A few of the less savory competitive players who otherwise cannot stand the show or its characters love Paul because they emotionally connect to him and see him as a role model, though how much of this is joking around is uncertain.
    • Similarly, Conway, who was intended to be a case of This Loser Is You. But again, it's rather botched in writing: if Conway's creepy attitude toward Dawn is meant to be bad and thus fans like him are bad too, then why does the anime staff go out of their way to show Dawn off?
    • Many fans liked the Mega Evolution specials for making a story and protagonist unrelated the main anime, and accused Alain's crossover into XYZ later (along with his infamous defeat over Ash in the Kalos league) to be hashed in. Word of God revealed that Alain was designed to be Ash's final opponent in the league from the beginning, and the Mega Evolution specials were merely to make him a fully realised character beforehand.note 
  • Mis-blamed:
    • Poor, poor, Porygon...the only reason it and its evolutions have been banned (aside from a cameo here and there) from the show all together is because they were the Pokémon-of-the-week in the infamous seizure episode when it was actually Pikachu's thunderbolt that caused the flashing red-and-blue images. What really rubs the salt into the wounds is that Pikachu has been featured in almost every episode since.
    • Fans who hate the way Ash lost the Indigo League often foist their anger on Ritchie. Opinion on Ritchie himself is certainly up for debate, but in this circumstance, the blame should be pointed at just about everyone else: the judge for ruling "fell asleep" as "knocked out", Charizard for disobeying, Team Rocket for capturing Ash, and Ash himself for not requesting a chance to let his Pokémon rest from said capture (most fans agree that having been kidnapped should be considered a circumstance worthy of delaying the battle, and his Pokémon being worn out is definitely a big reason he lost), and not having a full team of Pokémon to use (had Ash had six Pokémon on him, he'd have had another choice besides Bulbasaur and Charizard). Heck, all Ritchie actually did was happen to be Ash's opponent and not go down easy. These fans also forget that it was Ritchie who convinced the referee not to award him the match by forfeit.
    • The 2011 Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster catches the blame for pushing Team Plasma into an arc after the badge quest, as well as for some fans, dramatically changing (for the worse) a saga that started off strong, or at least decent. In reality, the production of sequel games instead of the usual third version is what caused the Plasma arc to be temporarily aborted and the series to change so dramatically. This also made the aforementioned two-parter a Morton's Fork, in that, if it did air, the fans would be on the writers for giving Team Plasma as short of shrift as they gave Teams Magma and Aqua. That said, it certainly didn't help matters.
    • The Anime version of Erika has been widely disliked for her perceived unprofessional ban towards Ash challenging her Gym just because he didn't like perfumes. However, in the episode proper, at no point is it said that Erika approved of the ban: while she did approve having Ash rather aggressively kicked out from the perfume shop, this was in response of him insulting her shop and merchandise (which his friends made no objection of either). It was her staff that denied him permission into the gym over his earlier slight, and when Ash does manage to sneak into the Gym, Erika never mentions the ban at all and agrees to battle (even flat out saying that as a Gym Leader she's required to accept any challenge right before facing Ash), which all point out to her not having been involved in what happened. At worst Erika can be blamed for being a Clueless Boss who doesn't keep check on her overeager employees.note 
  • Moe: Various Pokemon and Humans have counted as this over time due to their Adorkable nature and cute designs, including Lillie, Snowy, Serena's Eevee, Goomy, and Togepi.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Damian, Charmander's former trainer, was on the brink when he first abandoned Charmander, but he soared right over the line when he refused to come back for it once it started raining - not only would Charmander not move from its rock despite the threat of death if its flame went out, Damian knew this once Brock told him yet still didn't care...his alternate counterparts in Pokémon Yellow and The Electric Tale of Pikachu subvert this, since in both he's shown to be a poor trainer for some reason or other, but still cares for Charmander's well-being. Ironically, after acquiring said Charmander, Ash himself ends up exposing its tail to the dangers of water quite a bit, but unlike Damian, he ultimately cares about Charmander and its subsequent evolutions when all is said and done.
    • Paul's treatment of Chimchar in the Tag Tournament arc, from using him in every match despite clear exhaustion, to ignoring Nurse Joy and Brock's warnings, beating on him in an effort to bring out his insanely powerful version of Blaze, refusing to give commands later in the tournament and then outright releasing him.
    • Pokémon Hunter J is always evil in all of her appearances, but in the "Pokémon Ranger and the Kidnapped Riolu" two-parter she really shows her cruelty when - besides her pursuit of the titular Riolu - she tries to kill Ash several times. First she orders her Salamence to burn the surrounding forest and fire Hyper Beam point blank; then she has her Drapion attempt to crush him (leading to one of the few times Ash ever directly attacks a Pokémon); and finally, she ejects him from her ship at great height. She also says that she wanted to punish Ash personally and took pleasure in trying to kill him and everytime she attacks Ash she is shown with a Slasher Smile.
    • Team Galactic's (and Cyrus' in particular) comes when Cyrus ordering Mars to blow up Iron Island (full of people and Pokémon) after Team Galactic have finished scanning Mt. Coronet. And he sported a Slasher Smile when he gave that order. And the reason behind this order? Just to make a statement about Team Galactic and the "new world". The guy's an Omnicidal Maniac par excellence, after all. Cyrus' plan to destroy the universe and create a new world in his image qualifies too.
    • Shamus the former trainer of Ash's Tepig (and a Damian Expy), already had a huge Kick the Dog to his name when he abandoned Tepig in Accumula Town by tying it to a post, but went over the Moral Event Horizon when we learn that when he did so, he actually acted remorseful for having to do it and told Tepig that it was for the best, making Tepig think that he still loved him...except that when he was far enough away, he smirked and laughed about being free of his useless Pokémon! And he gloats about this to Tepig during his and Ash's battle, painfully shattering Tepig's view of him. Karma caught up to him when Tepig evolved into Pignite, took out both Shamus' fighters down and roasted Shamus' face at the end. What really makes the guy worse is that he was showing that he enjoyed Tepig's anguish at being abandoned and later fighting him. While Paul wasn't much better in training methods, at least he doesn't take sociopathic glee in torturing Pokémon long after they were abandoned like Shamus does.
    • If Team Plasma's lord Ghetsis wasn't already on the other side of this after raising N, Anthea, and Concordia just to suit his selfish ambitions and lying to them about Team Plasma's true purpose for most of their lives, then he certainly crossed the line when he ordered the mind controlled Reshiram to attack and possibly incinerate everyone at the White Ruins with Fusion Flare attacks, including his own minions! Team Rocket even makes note of this, seeing that this Bad Boss makes Giovanni look like much better in comparison.
    • Lysandre was already touching upon the line with torturing Zygarde 2 and extracting it's cells to fuel his weapon and use it for his plans to desecrate Kalos and wipe out most of it's population who weren't chosen by him to be spared. But he at least believed he was acting for the greater good and ''was'' going to spare some people and Pokemon at all. But he officially soars over the line when, after Z2 has been freed and his weapon has been dismantled, he opts for a contingency plan to have a Zygarde shaped Megalith rock, powered by Mairin's infected Chespin (coldly subverting Lysandre's previous Pet the Dog moment where he agreed to look after it and keep it alive) act as his new weapon and have it eat up all the power of the Anistar Sundial so that it would unleash energy that would eradicate all life on the planet, and he's willing to do this solely out of spite and resentment for the world and the people who obstructed his genocidal plans.
    • Viren from Sun and Moon proves himself to be an irredeemable scumbag when he orders his Electivire to launch a Thunder attack on Mimo, Kiawe's little sister, for the family protesting against turning their ranch into a resort hotel.
  • More Popular Replacement:
    • Halfway into the original series, Jessie's Lickitung was accidentally traded for a Wobbuffet, who quickly became a popular Plucky Comic Relief for Team Rocket and ended up a mainstay in the anime series, compared to Likitung, who made only sporadic appearances beforehand.
    • Dawn is this to her immediate predecessor, May, who was deemed a Replacement Scrappy to Misty for being too similar in personality while not living up to the original. In contrast, Dawn had a more refreshing straight-up Nice Girl personality and lacking the previous girls' tsundere side. While Dawn doesn't quite surpass Misty's popularity, she is still held in quite high regard by the fanbase.
    • Serena is this to Iris, who is one of the least popular female companions to date. While Serena is not without her detractors for her perceived Romantic Plot Tumor and for her never-before-mentioned Forgotten First Meeting with Ash, most in the fandom agree that she's an improvement over Iris. She also further won fans for having an arc of Character Development that helped to have her Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, although how it ended is a point of contention that you REALLY need to tread carefully around.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: "Char, Char, Charmander!"
    • Any time XY&Z would start playing.
  • My Real Daddy:
    • Atsuhiro Tomioka, the head writer of the series from DP to XY, for May; he wrote a large number of her major Contest episodes, including the one where she chooses to be a Coordinator in Advanced Generation and her entire return arc in Diamond & Pearl, thus playing a key role in defining her as her own character, rather than the expected Replacement Goldfish for Misty.
    • In the same vein, while Takeshi Shudo defined a lot of OS elements and he's still highly respected by a section of the fanbase, Tomioka's contributions are valued as having some of the most mature writing of the show while tackling darker subject matter, with DP and XY being considered serious contenders as best series in certain circles. Even shows where Tomioka isn't the head writer tend to garner this reaction, with Litten's arc in early SM (completely written by Tomioka himself) being widely praised as a highlight of the Alolan season.
  • Narm:
    • The early usage of Razor Leaf when it was performed by Ash's Bulbasaur looks terrible. The leaves just awkwardly swirl to the front from behind Bulbasaur's bulb, and don't look threatening at all as if the Razor Leafs are being pushed forward by a slight breeze.
    • Throughout the Johto episodes, the Narrator will often claim that Ash and his friends are currently "on the road to Johto," which can come off sounding really odd when the group is already traveling within the Johto region.
    • Serena's reaction seen here is supposed to come off as a heartwarming moment during her reunion with Ash. Instead, the look comes off kind of hilarious due to how over-the-top her eyes are drawn here...and maybe even a bit creepy.
    • Ed Goldfarb's score for the XY dub caught many off-guard, especially those who grew up listening to Shinji Miyazaki's music, for being overly repetitive.
    • Zygarde's voice in the Japanese version. A bit silly but still fitting enough when he's in his Core form, but hearing that same high-pitched voice coming from the Humongous Mecha-esque Perfect Zygarde makes it a bit hard to take his Big Damn Heroes moment seriously.
  • Narm Charm:
    • A lot of the title themes and image songs in both the Japanese and English edits are ridiculously tense and dramatic in spite of their cheesy lyrics and the subject matter of the show itself, but damn if they're not catchy. Especially so for the original English theme, which wouldn't be out of place as an 80s rock anthem, and is adored by nearly every long time fan of the series.
    • The dialogue from Teams Magma and Aqua (whose schtick is that no-one knows what they're up to, but it must be baaaad) tries so hard to be mysteriously menacing that it goes straight past bad and into genius. It's hard not to laugh with lines like "If the experiment is a success, we'll be much closer to succeeding in our plot! Hahahahaha!"
  • Nausea Fuel: For some, many of the odd faces made by Ash and co. in the SM anime. This is especially evident with a shot of Ash screaming with his mouth wide open, which among other things, shows his uvula screaming alongside him!.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • There's a reason why Porygon, a.k.a. 'The Seizure Pokémon', is never seen in the anime anymore and its evolutions are never seen in the anime, period...even though it was Pikachu that actually caused the seizures in the Porygon episode.
    • Brock opening his eyes in an attempt to amuse Larvitar will never be forgotten.
    • 4Kids would never hear the end of it regarding their continued attempts to hide the existence of rice-balls. At first, they would just call them something completely different: eclairs, doughnuts and even popcorn-balls, but by the time of the Hoenn era, they would change the rice-balls into other pieces of food such as crackers and sandwiches. To say they get ridiculed for this practice would be a major understatement. However, 4Kids would also at times correctly refer to rice-balls as what they were in EP055, AG006, and AG040, the latter two being Hoenn era episodes no less!
    • The Trainer's Choice segment where the English dubbers claimed that Arbok evolves into Seviper. 4Kids Entertainment will perhaps never escape the constant ridicule they receive from the fandom for such an obvious mistake.
    • Fans tend to remember Ash's failures better than his successes. "Ash will never win in any Pokémon League" is a common punchline, even though he had won the Orange Islands League (which, due to being filler, fans tend not to count) and has been able to come out on top in other competitions.
      • While on the topic of Ash, his Kanto journey is known for being the season where he received some of his badges for performing good deeds rather than earning them through a gym battle. These came to be known as "pity" badges.
    • Pikachu's love for ketchup occurs in a total of one episode of the original show's run, yet it ends up becoming one of his defining characteristics (with the image of Pikachu crying over the "death" of its ketchup battle achieving meme status. It has been referenced in a few episodes of later series,and even had an entire ending revolving around it.
    • Ash's Torterra will never be able to live down his poor track record after evolving from Turtwig where he had a couple great wins early on.
    • Fans will never let Pikachu live down losing to Trip's Snivy at the start of the Black and White series.
    • Ever since the Barboach/Whiscash episode that revolved around the Pokémon using Earthquake got banned before its initial airing, many Ground-type attacks such as Earthquake, Magnitude and Fissure have been established to never see the light of day in the anime to not have viewers be reminded of earthquakes that had struck Japan at some point in real life.
    • The Black and White series will always bear the stain of having the heavily hyped "Team Rocket vs. Team Plasma" two-parter that was meant to air in 2011 being indefinately postponed and retconned (although see Mis-blamed above.)
    • Serena is often treated by fans as walking scenery who only exists to be in love with Ash. While her development has been slow, she has done some things, and her crush on Ash was only that big in the beginning. This especially holds true after her outfit swap and Important Haircut. Her kiss farewell is also a topic that's not going to be forgotten any time soon, whether discussed in a positive or negative light.
    • Ash losing the Kalos league despite all the hype and progress he made in this saga almost immediately became this.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Similar to The Transformers, a few "Genwunners" hold up the Indigo League season as one of the greatest animated series of all time. While there's no denying that it was a massive success, many other cartoons have been much better-received with critics and audiences.
  • Older Than They Think: Ash not aging was in effect well before the Best Wishes series; though Best Wishes was the first time it was brought up in the show itself, The Pokemon Company had confirmed it as far back as 2003, likening Ash to Mickey Mouse.
    • Several people complained about Ash's defeat in the Kalos League by claiming that there were several bits of foreshadowing aimed in that direction, usually bringing up his battle against Emmett the Furfrou trainer where he promised to win and the last Kalos League episode title including 'Kalos League Victory', claiming that said things were nothing but 'hype bait'. However, every past season had hyped up the possibility of a League victory to a similar degree, notably having Ash promise to his Lapras in Johto that he'd win the League and both Ash and Gary resolving to reach the first place in the tournament of victory during the Silver Conference, and past League closure episodes had similarly bombastic titles in Japanese (Indigo's last battle episode being called 'Pokémon League! Final Battle!' and Ever Grande's being 'Conclusion of the Fierce Fighting! The Road to Championship!!').
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • This series is highly well known for memorable one-shot characters, many of whom aren't even from the games. Many of these characters are considered far more appealing that the main cast (which in some cases is not hard to do), and while sometimes it is justified why we never see them again, other times it's not.
    • Gym Leaders: Lt. Surge, Erika, Koga, Falkner, Bugsy and Chuck (after which all Gym Leaders are featured in at least two episodes). Sabrina is hugely considered to be a One Arc Wonder, thanks to being such a memorably terrifying Arc Villain. Marlon and Cheren also count.
    • Elite Four: Lorelei, Bruno, Agatha and Bertha, and Drake.
    • Ironically, Steven Stone, despite being the Champion in Ruby And Sapphire, is reduced to one of these in the Hoenn episodes (he does return and is expanded upon in the Kalos episodes, where his personality is more similar to his game counterpart). However, in his home region, he was given a much different characterization (in particular, being hypocritical about Team Rocket digging holes in a cave, saying it would disrupt the Pokémon in the cave, as he blew a hole in the cave's roof), to the point that his one episode is rather infamous.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Team Rocket (Jessie, James and Meowth) as written by Takeshi Shudo can be considered one of the best parts of the show's history given his development of their origins, personalities, and even philosophy before Flanderization set in from Advanced Generation on, turning Team Rocket into a Goldfish Poop Gang. Some would argue that they never reached the status they were at when Shudo was writing them ever again.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: The episode "Electric Soldier Porygon", which has the notorious status of "that Pokémon episode that caused hundreds of kids in Japan to have seizures" rather than "the first (and only) time Porygon appeared in the anime".
  • Periphery Demographic: Zig-Zagged:
  • Replacement Scrappy: The anime is one of the longest running in history, so this was bound to happen at least once. Or several times:
    • All of the male companions to Brock, though Tracey was hit the hardest for temporarily replacing him in Orange Islands. Cilan and Clemont also get flack for permanently replacing him.
    • All the female companions past Misty will be this for some: May for replacing Misty, Dawn for replacing May, Iris for replacing Dawn, Serena for replacing Iris, and then a trio of girls (Lillie, Mallow and Lana)note  replacing Serena. It's an everlasting trend, unfortunately, not at all helped by the Ship-to-Ship Combat.
    • Among Paul's fanbase and others, Trip is this. His initial characterization — stuck-up and critical of Ash — was too similar to Paul's character, without the experience that the latter had. Even his design is a Palette Swap of Paul's with only minor differences of their facial features.
    • The second Mewtwo is VERY unpopular with fans due to her story's lack of originality and her replacing of the famous first movie Mewtwo.
    • May's Squirtle, due to being a poor replacement of Ash's beloved Squirtle from the first generation that lacks any of the charm and personality that made the original a fan favorite.
    • Every single one of Ash's rivals after Gary can be hit by this, mostly due to Gary's Memetic Badass status. Though it's not uncommon for people to cite other rivals as presenting a better rivalry than Gary.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Post-Togepi Misty to those who didn't like her Tsundere self.
    • May got criticized much less by Misty fans after the latter returned in Advanced Challenge and became fast friends with May. This also led the Advanced Generation/Ruby & Sapphire series in general to be rescued. After she returned not one, but two more times, fans of both characters were elated.
    • Bianca, after she Took a Level in Kindness in Nimbasa City, and one in Badass in the Clubsplosion.
    • For those who disliked her anime portrayal in DP, Cynthia's characterization in Black and White made some leeway in redeeming her. It helps that the preachiness was toned down some, with focus on making her a Cool Big Sis Mentor towards Iris.
    • Trip wasn't too popular until the Junior Cup, when he made up for his losses by impressively sweeping the tournament (with just Serperior). Losing to Alder and getting some much-needed Character Development also softened him up, making him a more likable person as well.
    • For those who didn't like Dawn, many found her very enjoyable in BW, where she received less focus and bounced off Iris and Cilan well.
    • Ash himself in XY. In BW, he displayed the worst stereotypes of his own character, and was hated for it. In XY, the writers made him a lot more competent and mature despite not actually increasing his age, and fans are a lot kinder towards him despite his bad reputation never going away.
      • Even then, some fans felt that Ash was a little too bland that season, but still appreciated his skill as a trainer. In Sun and Moon, fans of both sides got a compromise: Ash not only keeps his competency in battle from XY, but also becomes less bland, having more animated facial expressions, being more prone to Amusing Injuries. Though, he's still subject to Base-Breaking Character status.
    • While Ash's Pikachu never needed saving per se, as he wasn't a full-on scrappy, his single-handed taking down of both Alain's Tyranitar and his Metagross has caused many fans to remember why the little mouse was so popular in the first place.
    • While Whitney maintained her status as the toughest Johto gym leader, her tantrum did not carry over, giving viewers less of a reason to hate her.
    • Team Rocket started to earn the ire of the Western fan base for being a tired Goldfish Poop Gang for most of the Hoenn and Sinnoh eras. After an unusual stint as competent, serious bad guys in the Unova era was met with mixed results, Kalos made them comical again, albeit with a more palpable number of formidable moments and even omission from certain episodes to allow full focus on the heroes' arcs, making their shtick less repetitive than before.
    • Noibat got a lot of flak when it first appeared in trailers for taking Goodra's spot on Ash's team. However, it quickly redeemed itself upon first appearing as more than just a in-season rehash of Goodra's arc.
    • Bonnie was initially disliked for essentially being Max 2.0, but gained a slightly better reception after she turned out to be more supportive towards her brother than Max was to May, as well as not being nearly as smug. Then XYZ arc made her a plot-relevant figure and borderline Woobie, which elevated her in the eyes of many fans, although a few consider her a Spot Light Stealing Squad instead.
    • Sawyer was considered the most polarizing rival of the anime since Paul, being way too nice and a new trainer. The Kalos League battle with Ash was considered a highlight of the already divisive league. His scene where he cries over the loss won him over many fans due to seeing his emotional investment in the league, unlike Ash's generic nice-guy.
    • Lillie was initially less popular than the other SM girls due to how radically she changed from her game self, who is rather popular. Her backstory being later expanded upon and the focus on her in the Aether arc won her quite some fans, though, even if she's still considered a Base-Breaking Character.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
  • Rooting for the Empire: Despite their Base-Breaking Character status in the West, the Team Rocket Trio is easily more popular than Ash due to being Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains and having surprisingly well-developed backstories. (It was Takeshi Shudo's intent for Team Rocket to be more interesting than Ash).

    S - W 
  • Saved by the Fans: The Team Rocket trio were planned to be Put on a Bus during Black and White (and their previous Pokémon team were Put on a Bus for that series). However fans of the trio, including those in the production team, decided against the idea, and so they were allowed to stay, returning to their fan-favored goofy personalities from previous seasons as their serious characterization had only been for the case of Unova being their final story arc. A podcast vote also asked for the fanbase's favorite Team Rocket Pokémon to return, with Wobbuffet back with the trio in XY.
  • Scapegoat Creator: When it was spread around online that the writing team for Black and White were behind Ash's loss in the Kalos League, many fans took up pitchforks and demanded their heads for screwing up yet another chance for Ash, essentially accusing them of being brought back just to do this. Other fans have pointed out that the writing team from Black and White is the exact same writing team of the entire X and Y saga, and that the majority of them have been on board since the start of the entire anime.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Pretty much everything after Kanto has a fair share of detractors, with the most common complaints being Executive Meddling, recycled plots or lack of major character development for Ash and Team Rocket. The eras most commonly accused of this, however, are Johto (too much Filler resulting in poor pacing, Brock and Misty's characters began to stagnate, and Ash's Johto team, aside from Bayleef, wasn't very well-fleshed out in comparison to his original Kanto team) and Black & White/Unova (Ash lost all his character development and reverted back to being a naïve Idiot Hero, Cilan and especially Iris were poorly received and viewed as inferior copies for Brock and Misty, the League storyline was mishandled, the Team Plasma story arc was too short, Charizard's return was a wasted opportunity, and Decolore Islands was essentially an entire arc of Filler that made Johto look eventful).
    • Funnily enough, despite both Johto and Unova generally being considered the show's weakest eras, where the rot sets in for them is the opposite. For example, while Johto's beginning and middle sections are widely perceived as uneventful and moving at a snail's pace, the last third (featuring well-received moments like the Larvitar arc, Ash defeating Gary at the Silver Conference, and the original trio's emotional farewell in Gotta Catch Ya Later!) is widely viewed as an improvement. In contrast, Unova is widely considered to start out as promising, addressing many fan complaints (Team Rocket's incompetence, Ash not catching enough Pokemon) head-on, but it starts squandering this potential around the middle, so that by the time of Decolore Islands the season was viewed by many as irredeemable.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Kanto gets the most praise of any region and many feel the show has declined greatly since then. However, others find that it hasn't aged well due to the Early Installment Weirdness. Others still also note that many of the problems later sagas have had their roots in Kanto.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The first episode is just loaded with these from the moment Ash first receives Pikachu, to the Spearow chase on Misty's bike, and watching Ho-Oh fly across the sky. The last of which has had several Call Backs throughout the series.
    • Ash's rivalries usually result in this given the build-up to their final battles. Charizard vs. Blastoise is what's remembered the most about the Ash vs. Gary rivalry, and with Ash vs. Paul, it was Infernape vs. Electivire, and with Alain and Sawyer, it's Ash-Greninja vs. Mega Charizard X and Mega Sceptile.
    • Out of all of Ash's companions being Put On The Bus, Misty's and Serena's are the two most iconic. Misty's because of her popularity and because she was the original female companion, and Serena because of the kiss.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: The giant list of pairings (like the one featured by Bulbapedia) includes hordes of couples constructed from characters that never meet in anime canon. One example might be Brendan/May (the anime incarnations of the protagonists of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire), the latter of whom being, of course, the Deuteragonist of the Hoenn saga while the former only cameoed a few times in the movies.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Pick any Ash/Female Companion, ships and you'll get this with another. Particularly between Ash/Misty, Ash/Dawn and Ash/Serena fans. note 
  • Snark Bait:
    • Specifically for older fans of the games, thanks to the show's formulaic nature, Ash's tendency to forget everything he learned each season, and, of course, the show being Merchandise-Driven. The anime was a subject of much mainstream mockery in its early days, and continues to be so for current game fans and haters alike. Kalos surprisingly managed to hook many of these with the (later on) more serious tone and the big promises it made...then spit them right back out with the League loss.
    • The movies are also mocked for their tendency to depict antagonistic Pokémon as "not evil, just misunderstood"note  and for their tendency to allocate most of their screentime to "cute" legendaries acting all cute. This arguably reached its peak with Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened where, presumably due to a lack of actual "cute" legendaries, a Genesect of all things was depicted as one. In particular, Water Pokémon Master, webmaster of the popular fansite PokéBeach, started treating the movies (especially their English dubs) with utter cynicism after being underwhelmed by Pokémon: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Many fans believe the BW series gradually became this, some even likening it as a self-referential parody.
  • So Okay, It's Average: In time, a consensus has formed that Advanced Generation was a decent season held back from being among the show's best by a few glaring flaws. Pluses include strong development for Ash, several memorable characters (May, her rivals, Ash's Sceptile and Corphish), making the regional bird more reliable with Swellow, and the Battle Frontier arc, but cons include Ash's lack of a rival, the mishandling of the Team Magma & Team Aqua arc, and an abundance of formulaic filler.
  • Spiritual Predecessor: The early '80s manga and anime Plawres Sanshiro is also the story of a young underdog who aims to become a champion of a competitive sport in which a "pet" (or in this case, a model robot) does the fighting. In addition, the 1983 anime adaptation was directed by none other than Pokemon chief director Kunihiko Yuyama.
  • Spoiled by the Format:
  • Strangled by the Red String: A complaint of Ash/Serena, which is completely unsubtle in its Ship Tease and originates in a Retcon to Ash's backstory (though in its defense, it is one-sided on Serena's part, as the retcon to Ash's past doesn't affect him at all).
    • Kukui and Burnet in SM fall under this for some fans: while in the games and Pokémon Adventures they're a married couple from the beginning, the Anime opted to show them fall in love and get married during the show starting with Burnet's introduction during the Aether Foundation arc. However, they only shared four to five significant scenes that could be classified as romantic throughout the arc, before the final episode of it features their wedding after very little hints towards it. For some, this comes across as them ending up together because canon dictated they should.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys: Paul, who was created as a Take That! toward those types of players, but developed a Misaimed Fandom (thanks in due part to the head writer's apparent favoritism toward him).
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Several early episodes were about Ash learning important life lessons...except the show would deliver these lessons after giving Ash such a raw deal that the audience would take his side.
      • In the show's fourth episode, Ash encounters fellow trainer Samurai, who rakes him over the coals for the novice mistakes of letting a Weedle get away and letting his Metapod get kidnapped by a Beedrill swarm. Thing is, the Weedle actually got away because Samurai rudely intervened right as Ash was about to attempt the catch (sticking a katana in his face and demanding a battle), giving the bug time to recover and escape. Later, Samurai indicates that the Beedrill swarm only mustered because that same Weedle went to gather them, conveniently ignoring the fact that the swarm is therefore his fault. During a rescue attempt, Ash tries to excuse himself by pointing out that he got sidetracked and that it's Samurai who's really to blame, which the writers would have you believe is a case of Never My Fault...except he's correct in this case and it's Samurai who's been deflecting the blame. Ash's actual mistake in this episode is standing around gawking at the Beedrill swarm rather than getting himself and his Pokémon the hell outta dodge, but he can't be blamed for failing to anticipate Spontaneous Beedrill Kidnapping Syndrome, and it should be noted he takes immediate measures to try and rectify it...not that Metapod cares, since it also blames Ash for the disaster.
      • Upon being defeated by Ritchie in the Indigo League, Ash becomes incredibly upset; this was meant to serve up An Aesop about being a Sore Loser, judging from the criticisms the show delivers through Misty and Brock. The problem is that Ash has legitimate reason to be upset about losing, considering it was a grossly unfair match. After nearly being disqualified due to fending off three separate Team Rocket attacks keeping him from the match, he and his Pokémon were under huge amounts of stress and exhaustion (so they battled under a handicap), a new elimination rule was added (and never used again) that declared sleep-status a case of "unable to battle" and equivalent to fainting (costing Ash his first Pokémon due to a lucky Sleep Powder attack), and Ash's last resort, Charizard, the only one healthy enough to be a viable choice in combat, decided to flake on him by taking a nap instead of fighting. It would be one thing if Ash was being moody and petulant after losing a fair match, but he actually lost because of bad luck and a wicked handicap, so this is a sting the audience can really sympathize with.
    • Back during the Indigo League, the episode "A Chansey Operation" introduced Doctor Proctor, a callous, lazy physician who would rather flirt with Nurse Joy than lift a finger while off duty. When Team Rocket causes a traffic accident that injures a literal truckful of Pokémon, Nurse Joy essentially commandeers him and his hospital into helping treat the monsters, a decision which he protests strongly. While the episode treats this decision as bad (and his casual attitude is admittedly cruel), he's absolutely right - he's a physician, not a veterinarian (or the Pokémon equivalent). He has little knowledge about their reactions to certain medicines or proper temperatures, if he had to do a major operation there would be no guarantee that he would have the faintest idea which major organs did what, never mind that a large number of the Pokémon are very dangerous and hard to control (many were severely agitated to the point that Ash and company had to use their own Pokémon to subdue them and one of them, an agitated Dodrio, ended up accidentally sedating the doctor in question). 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 keeps praising Sunyshore gym as one of the best, while Paul hates it. As Ash and company would later see for themselves later in the season, the Sunyshore Gym leader was so disinterested in battling that trainers can merely take a badge without any challenge of any sort. This is one of the few times that Paul has a legitimate reason to demean the Gym and its leader.
  • Subbing vs. Dubbing:
    • Pokémon is an interesting variation; at the time the series first went international, lack of development of the Internet made the raw Japanese versions of anime and comparisons with the dub (let alone Fansubs) not as easy to access in the West as they are now. So many fans were not aware of any differences between the Japanese version of the anime and dubbed version. But then early 2000 (mid-Orange Islands) Dogasu's Backpack launched, whose biggest feature is an easy-to-use Japanese-to-dub comparison for Pokémon, basically "Yu-Gi-Oh Uncensored: Pokémon Edition". Within a few years, 4Kids Entertainment's banning and censorship of episodes like Beauty and the Beach, music replacement, and radical editing of Pokémon: The First Movie became common knowledge. Still, many still preferred the dub, and the otherwise-criticized 4Kids still gets a pass on Pokémon, mostly because of the fact that it was actually one of their most faithful adaptations. So while the main series doesn't suffer much for it, a few episodes and movies have it quite bad - such as the first movie, with fans' perception of Mewtwo and the movie itself being affected by 4Kids' changes, and the dub getting a dismal rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Possibly justified due to 4Kids' Michael Haigney admitting his cluelessness in regards to the series and 4Kids' dub in general being aimed at a narrower demographic than Shudo intended; also, contrary to popular belief, the early Japanese dub did contain a bit more Parental Bonus humor, though not enough to make for a completely different series. Still, Dogasu's Backpack has made many fans go off to the Japanese version, and when TPCI took over, the dub became more of an Acceptable Target for criticism and many Western fans now watch the Fansubs, especially since XY when the music replacement got more prominent than it ever was under 4Kids. As a result, anime exclusive characters and even some of those from the games are referred by their Japanese names, even when they have official names in English. It doesn't help that, unlike with its contemporaries Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon, Pokémon has not released an official Japanese subtitled or uncensored English dubbed version to appease older nostalgic fans, and is regarded as antiquated and out-of-touch in that respect.
    • Some also argue that the Pokémon Speak, which is usually lambasted by Western fans, is less Narmy in Japanese. It's handled quite differently due to Japanese syllable structure, is often used for puns that are inevitably Lost in Translation Example , and apparently has more work put into the voices themselves (as hinted by Michael Haigney just not caring for some of the English Pokémon voices). This can even be seen within the English dub itself, in which Charizard's cry, usually considered cool and not Narmy at all, is actually Pokémon Speak of "Lizardon!" retained from the Japanese version.
  • Superlative Dubbing:
    • The Norwegian dub may be one of the few dubs that actually has a guy voicing Ash, and while his voice is obviously way past hitting puberty, it's still cartoonish enough to fit, and has left many people agreeing it's a fresh and unique type of voice for Ash than the usual strained female voices (not counting the original). Listen for yourself here.
    • The French-Canadian dub also used a similar teenager-ish voice for Ash, which like the Norwegian voice, some may find more tolerable than the Crossdressing Voices used in most other languages. Of note is the fact that it also used the English dub names for Pokémon and characters, unlike most other French Pokémon media, which the French-Canadian fanbase seems to appreciate - and which also means means they needed time to "adjust" when Nintendo of Canada started importing the games from France.
    • There is a large group of people who would consider the 4Kids English dub this.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Coming off the heels of the heavily disliked Black and White series, the first two years of XY were widely well-received in the fandom for the most part for having improved writing, action and battle animation, a much more competent take on Ash, a better balance on having Team Rocket threatening at times while keeping their comedic traits, a likable group of companions and supporting characters, a good pacing that averted Arc Fatigue, and the Mega Evolution specials enticing viewers with a quite different take on the series than usual.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Team Skull's Leitmotif sounds similar to Soulja Boy's song Crank That (Soulja Boy).
  • Tainted by the Preview: Especially coming off the Internet Backdraft of Ash losing the Kalos League, the Alola arc reveal has left many fans with negative expectations. Reasons include the protagonist once again being Ash, the more simplistic artstyle, the anime shifting to a school premise due to Alola having no league and much of the promotional material focusing on over-the-top gags, causing many fans to draw comparisons to Yo-Kai Watch (however good or bad). Fortunately, the season started out not as badly as fans feared, and the announcement of Pokémon: I Choose You! also helped convince fans that the team was still making an effort.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The anime has several moments of this. Specially in the scenes when the Pokémon start "talking" to each other:
    • A lot of Dawn and Piplup's moments together.
    • The Pikachu shorts very often qualify, due to being nothing but soft slapstick and "talking" from the current Pokémon. Especially so in the recent shorts, where even Team Rocket's Pokémon are unambiguously friendly and a ridiculously cheery narrator gives all the antics commentary.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Misty getting Put on a Bus after Johto will always leave a gaping hole in the hearts of some fans, thinking that her departure ruined the show completely.
    • The dub (4Kids/TPCI) gets hit with this hard whenever they decide to make changes to the original Japanese content.
      • The prime example nowadays is TPCI's music replacements over the original Japanese soundtrack, especially since XY when a new dub composer, Ed Goldfarb, took over and even less Japanese music got kept. Whenever a new dub episode is released, most of the forum discussion among viewers isn't about what occurred in the episode, but about how much Japanese music got replaced, and how much "suckier" the dub music is compared to the original music pieces. As a result, claims are made that the dub destroyed the show.
      • Some fans bailed on watching the English version of the show completely ever since the controversial voice-actor switch when TPCI took over the dub.
      • One of the main complaints from the side of the Broken Base that doesn't like Black and White is how it diverged from the formula that the previous AG and DP arcs used, and drastically changed the characterizations of Ash and Team Rocket. Somewhat ironically however, both aforementioned seasons got similar criticisms (hence the other side of the Broken Base).
      • The title cards in the X & Y series often showed one of the main characters in the Japanese dub (even Korrina got one dedicated to her), as well as episode 14 parodying horror movies. Since episode 12, the English dub preferred to just recycle the Ash-centric title card, and continued to do so for the rest of the series (even after Serena's attire change). Some older fans, especially those in his hatedom, were not pleased.
      • In French-speaking Quebec, Canada, the decision to re-air the series using France's dub was met with this reaction, as French Canadians had their own dub of the early anime that used English Pokémon and character names rather than the French onesnote . A particular sticking point is that Netflix Canada's French audio track for the Indigo League season - one of the seasons with an existing French-Canadian dub - is the unmodified European French one.
    • Sun and Moon changed quite a few things about the series, turning it into a more Slice of Life based series, drastically altering the art style for the previously existing characters, reducing the number of battles, and making it a more stationary setting wherein Ash goes to school instead of traveling. As detailed under Broken Base, this wasn't well received by a significant part of the fan base.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Gary Oak. Ash's rival didn't even show up for that many episodes during the course of their rivalry, having more impact on the plot after the rivalry was over.
    • 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 among the fanbase. Particularly, ones that are Ensemble Dark Horse status that fans wish would return somewhere down the line.
    • Any of the regional Evil Teams are always going to get the short shrift in terms of appearances, pushed to the backburner in favor of the usual Terrible Trio from Team Rocket. In the original series, this even extended to Giovanni and the greater Team Rocket syndicate.
    • It's odd that Bill, the guy who made the Pokémon transfer system, was a main character in many manga, yet has only appeared in one episode to date.
    • The champion of most Hoenn games, Steven Stone, only appeared in one episode of Hoenn with no reference to being anything beyond a typical hiker. You'd expect him to reappear later, but he never did. This contrasts sharply to future champions depictions and his game version, who has a major role. Thankfully, he returned in the XY Mega Evolution specials, and was involved in the climax of the XY series.
    • Pokémon that could/should have been captured by one of the main characters because they were either likable Pokémon by the fanbase or because their development with a certain character made it look like they would fit together with that trainer perfectly. Some examples being:
      • Haunter, Houndour, Larvitar, Hippopotas, Riolu, Scatterbug, Litleo, a shiny Plantump, and Wimpod for Ash. And related, Ash finally getting a member of a pseudo-legendary line (Gible), but the capture happened so late into the saga that nothing was ever done about it. Goodra also only stuck around for 15 episodes, and only appearing in a few of them, though it did a lot in those episodes, its departure is a punch in the face to fans who were hyped about Ash finally getting a fully evolved pseudo-legendary. Though in the last case, he returned for the League.
      • Stantler and Sharpedo for Brock.
      • Swablu for May — this example is especially mean-spirited on the part of the writers, who had May care for the injured bird for an entire episode. When they finally tried to rendezvous with Swablu's flock, the flock was completely absent, causing May to offer to allow Swablu to join her team. The flock suddenly appears out of nowhere to prevent this.
      • Mightyena and Ralts for Max.
      • Grimer for Dawn.
      • Deino for Iris, particularly because the owner of said Deino returned at the last possible minute.
      • Flabébé and a stinkin' Tyrantrum for Bonnie.
      • Dewpider for Lana, doubly so given that the Pokemon's evolved form is her signature in the games.
    • 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. Top choices include Pidgeot, Primeape, Kingler (after the Indigo League), Totodile, Torkoal, Torterra (after Turtwig evolved), Palpitoad, and Goodra.
    • Compared to how much mileage the anime has gotten out of Darkrai over the years, Cresselia received the short end of the stick. She only gets one episode, and even then she doesn't get to appear until the second half due to the first half being dominated by Team Rocket. And then Team Rocket comes back to hijack the plot again, and she spends the majority of her screentime as a Distressed Damsel who doesn't even aid in her own escape. The only thing she actually gets to do is confront Darkrai at the end of the episode, and the sequence takes fewer than thirty seconds. This would be weak representation for any Pokémon in the series, but giving this treatment to a legendary, and especially one that never gets a movie, not even appearing in the one starring Darkrai...
    • For the Episode N arc, Zekrom not being involved in any way has irked a lot of people. Mostly out of disappointment that Zekrom is now nothing more than a plot-device to restart Pikachu at the start of the Unova journey.
    • On to the topic on N himself, Ash's way of adventuring and his relationship to his Pokémon would have made him the ultimate foil to what he thinks is the average trainer and would have punched more holes in his logic even more so then Hilbert or Hilda (the Pokémon Black and White protagonists) ever could. Not to mention the ideological battle between Ash and King Plasma N would most likely would have been the greatest highlight of the entire series. Instead, N and Team Plasma are already in their Black 2/White 2 selves while Ash ended up hitting his dumbest point in the series.
    • Team Plasma simply being a generic evil organization in the anime annoyed many people. To be fair, this was how they were portrayed in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, but the anime lacks the background of what they originally were in the first games and how that incarnation of the team got divided into the good side and the bad side, with only the bad side being portrayed.
    • Trip. Ironically, fans preemptively hated him because he showed early signs of being a second Paul. But then the writers started to expand his character. Half way through the arc though, it became apparent that the writers lost complete interest in him and focused more on all of the other rivals. Come time for the league, Trip became a total Anti-Climax Boss and got eliminated by Ash in the very first round.
    • Ash's Charizard, of all characters, became this during Black & White. He's added to Ash's Unova team (sending away Unfezant in the process) and rarely, if ever, has any interaction with any of the Unova Pokémon outside of Iris' Dragonite, whose rivalry with him ends as soon it is introduced, and Ash's Pignite, who N states they already have a good friendship but otherwise show the same concern for each other as they would with other Pokémon. They may has well have had Ash send Charizard back to regain Unfezant.
    • The writers made the mistake of trying to cram too many rivals into Dawn's Contest arc. As a result, Ursula's conflict with Dawn and Nando's decision to pursue both Gym Battles and Contests were never explored in depth because of their lack of screen time (and many opportunities to do so were wasted in favor of irrelevant filler).
      • Connected to Dawn's Contest arc, there was also Lila, a Pokémon Coordinator that served as Dawn's main opponent for winning her third ribbon. Lila was someone who already had four ribbons, and has a major connection to Dawn's family being her mother's primary rival in the past. If her match against Dawn was used as a means to reignite her passion for Contests, all Lila had to do was win one more ribbon at some point, and could have made further appearances as a competitor in the Sinnoh Grand Festival. However, in the end, Lila stayed as a One-Shot Character.
    • While the female protagonists are usually lucky enough to get plenty of focus, the male protagonists of their respective games tend to get screwed in that regard due to the show's strict focus on Ash. If they're lucky, they might get a cameo in a movie, but many viewers who view Ash as The Artifact are dismayed with the anime's refusal to replace him.
    • Sun & Moon sees Ash having his largest group of friends yet with, including him, a group of six. However, it seems clear that the writers either have their favorites or simply can't handle that many characters at once. As a result, some of them tend to be Out of Focus. One of the worst offenders is Mallow who, after her Bounsweet evolved into Steenee, seemed to have been left aside, not having much Character Development and being the only of the Akala trio not to have Z-Ring, as the Grass Trial was taken by Ash so that his Rowlet could have a Grassium Z. Sophocles doesn't fare much better, either, having little more Character Development than Mallow in spite of having more episodes focused on him than she does. While Lana and Kiawe fare better, they're both outshined by Lillie, who is the only one to receive a fair amount of presence to the story as the Deuteragonist.
    • Team Skull has so far only been a mere nuisance. While many in the games saw the Team as such, the anime almost makes them look like total pushovers who were Demoted to Extra compared to their game counterparts, with most of the stuff they would be expected to do done by Team Rocket instead. It doesn't help that, even after two years of the Sun & Moon series and both Motherbeast Lusamine and Necrozma receiving arcs in the series (the former of which happened without their involvement), Guzma and Plumeria are still no-shows, with Team Skull usually represented by only the three grunts we see the times when Team Skull appears with very rare exceptions, and even then not doing much.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The GS Ball, which was building up to Celebi's reveal, gets left behind at Kurt's house despite many fans wanting to know what was inside. The reason being because the makers felt Celebi's appearance was no longer needed after the release of Pokémon 4Ever.
    • Some of the special Johto Pokeballs Kurt provided for the original gang were left untouched after handing them 3 Fast Balls, 2 Lure Balls, and 1 Heavy Ball. Brock used a Fast Ball to catch a Pineco while Ash and Misty used the 2 Lure Balls to catch Totodile and Corsola respectively. On the other hand, Ash and Misty never used their Fast Balls for anything while Brock never used his Heavy Ball.
      • The 65th episode of the Advanced generation, "Gulpin it Down," really missed an opportunity for Brock's Heavy Ball to finally come into play. The episode has one of Professor Jacuzzi's experiments accidentally enlarging a Gulpin. Said professor ends up failing to catch the Gulpin in a normal Poké Ball, which Nurse Joy then provides him a Heavy Ball to catch it since Gulpin becoming large really increased its total weight. In the end, it will leave some viewers wondering why a random Heavy Ball was used rather than finally giving Brock's Heavy Ball a purpose.
    • During the Johto journey, Ash obtains a Sun Stone for winning the Bug Catching Contest. Perhaps this is hinting that somewhere down the line, Ash will capture a Gloom or Sunkern to perform a stone evolve? Nope. It turned out that the Sun Stone gets wasted in a Filler episode on a wild Sunkern that never appears again.
    • The Battle Frontier episodes really missed an opportunity to show off new developments to Kanto ever since Ash, Misty and Brock first journeyed around the region in the original series. Very few things were actually revisited or updated by the time the Battle Frontier journey finishes, and if it wasn't for the city locations that Ash and company travel around to being mentioned, viewers would probably quickly forget that they're actually going around Kanto.
    • The training arc for Ash's Turtwig had a lot of missed potential due to the grass-turtle developing strategies that went nowhere once it evolved. Grotle's eating Energy Ball power-up strategy was handed to Dawn's Mamoswine, and Grotle/Torterra only successfully used its tanking strategy once against Candice's Sneasel before going on to lose every subsequent fight. He suffered Badass Decay so bad that the Pokémon eventually became a Memetic Loser for fans.
    • Dawn's development with her battle-hungry Buizel that was touched upon in "An Elite Meet and Greet" was pretty much thrown out the window when the writers decided to have her trade Buizel away for Ash's Aipom.
    • In the XY Series neither Ash, nor any of his companions, receive a Mega Ring / Key Stone. Instead, Ash gets a unique Bond-Greninja evolution as a replacement for learning how to mega evolve while the Mega Evolutions are given to other major characters like Alain, Sawyer and Sycamore. This comes off as a missed opportunity to some when Ash owns several Pokémon that can Mega Evolve, such as Charizard, Heracross, Sceptile, and Glalie.
    • In SM041 many fans were displeased that Charjabug was in a go-cart race rather than the trainers themselves. It would have been fun to see something like Wacky Races.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Kalos had Ash at his finest, most formidable trainer level to date. The perceived impossibility of topping this since his losing the Kalos League shows he's still not allowed to become formidable enough to break status quo, and Ash's competence seemingly having nowhere to go but down a la Unova has left his fans with negative expectations for the anime's future. While his battle competence is generally better than Unova in Sun & Moon, he is far more of a childish, comedic Butt-Monkey than he was in Unova as well, creating yet another example of a Broken Base.
  • Uncanny Valley: Team Rocket has a knack for using obvious puppets and masks to impersonate other human characters. While the disturbing unrealism of the whole thing is Played for Laughs, it's bound to creep out the show's target audience of children.
  • Unexpected Character:
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Team Rocket sometimes get flak for this:
    • Given the entire premise of the show involves catching Pokémon, the trio are sometimes condemned and attacked even when they try to take Pokémon or other goods through legitimate means or with a sympathetic motive. Some of their punishments can also get incredibly vicious in some of their more pitiful bouts as well (sometimes characters have had to maintain their "Blasting off" Running Gag for very petty reasons). Throughout Hoenn and Sinnoh in particular, they were so much more loser than actual villain it verged on depressing.
    • At times, only one or two team members are causing trouble, with the others sometimes even protesting or trying to help the heroes. They are still always blasted off indiscriminately. "Got Miltank!" was an especially bad case, since Ash knew Meowth didn't want any part in the scheme and even saw him get Bound and Gagged by the other members in response.
    • Their Pokémon even more so. Most of them are portrayed as more loyal and loving to Jesse and James than malicious in any way, and a lot of them (especially James') are blessed with heart wrenchingly cute designs and dispositions, making a lot of the heroes' smug Curbstomp Battles against them look like vicious Kick the Dog moments.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • We're supposed to be on Lillie's side whenever her strained relationship with her mother is brought up. But while her mother isn't the best in the world (constantly busy due to her work), she doesn't bring this up at all - instead, Lillie is angry with her mother for once evolving a Clefairy that was under her (not Lillie's) ownership without consent. (If Lusamine's Imagine Spot is to be believed, Clefairy had no problem with evolving.) In the present day, Lusamine brings the whole gang to Aether Paradise for a tour, but when she uses the opportunity to try and make small talk with her daughter, Lillie actually takes offense and angrily storms off with the rest of the gang, more upset with being treated like a child than happy her mother is attempting to set aside time for her. When Lusamine is taken by Nihilego, Lillie continues to treat her mother as selfish and condescending for being absorbed despite Lusamine Taking the Bullet for Lillie's brother. The speech she gave her mother did get cleaned up and made a bit more impactful in the dub as Lillie did say near the end she respected her mother. Part of this issue seems to be because of the Adaptation Personality Change given to Lusamine. Lillie's behavior works for the game characters, but due to the anime's changes, she no longer comes out as being entirely in the right.
  • Values Dissonance: In one episode, the heroes continuously vilify a Pokémon smuggler who was capturing wild Scatterbug, having them evolve into different kinds of Vivillon, and selling them to collectors all over the world. Which is pretty much what everyone does with Vivillon in the games.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: According to Shudo's notes, Ash (Satoshi) was never meant to stand out very much. His original vision for the series gave rise to far more interesting antagonists (and so we got Gary, a jerk with a harem of cheerleaders, and Team Rocket, who need no explanation), and even Ash's traveling companions are more dynamic and interesting (Brock and his women-starved antics come to mind). Certain points in the show do attempt to give Ash more of a distinct personality (Advanced Generation made him more short fused, while Sun and Moon converts him into a Loon with a Heart of Gold), though since said characteristics often come and go each series, it's still hard to paint a consistent picture of him.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Gendered pronouns are almost never used to refer to Pokémon, thus an official confirmation usually has to be plot required note  or involve certain gender mechanics from the games being adapted note .
  • Video-Game Movies Suck: The movies wildly vary in acceptance with the fanbase, but barring a few (such as Genesect and the Legend Awakened and Hoopa and the Clash of Ages) they largely avert this, being seen as So Okay, It's Average at worst. Among critics? Of the six movies to receive any sort of theatrical release outside of Japan, the highest-rated on Rotten Tomatoes is Pokémon: I Choose You! (which is not only the twentieth one, but also a full-on Continuity Reboot) at only 43%, with many of the more forgiving reviews boiling down to "(Young) Fans will probably enjoy it."
  • Vindicated by History:
    • The Orange Islands arc was originally disregarded as Filler that didn't really amount to anything since the Gym challenges weren't always actual battles and the League itself wasn't based on an in-game region. Nowadays, whenever a debate starts concerning Ash's competence as a trainer, people will often mention it immediately, since his victory there technically means Ash qualifies for the title of Champion, and that also marks the first real sign of his growth as a Pokémon Trainer. It is also pointed out that the Orange Islands brought several fan-favorites such as Ash's Lapras, Ash's Snorlax, and the Crystal Onix, and that the battle between Ash and Drake was the series' first full battle.
    • More fans overtime have been starting to consider the controversial Black and White series an example of this trope. While it did several things wrong, particularly with Ash, it also did several things right that have continued to be done to great effect in the subsequent XY and Sun and Moon series - namely, a better series structure and pace, a more faithful rendition of the region from the video games, the regular formula for Filler episodes being mostly dropped in favor of more inventive situations, Team Rocket not appearing in every episode and not taking up too much unneeded time in episodes they do appear in, Team Rocket being more competent, and introducing much longer story arcs (the Meloetta arc and the Episode N arc) which were the predecessors to the Z arc of XY and the Cosmog arc of Sun and Moon. Some will argue there were even things that it did better than other series, such as a more even group dynamic. Essentially, it is viewed as the reverse of Franchise Original Sin - even if it is not considered good overall, it originated many popular trends used in subsequent entries in the series.
  • Wangst: Paul being the way he is because of his brother losing and giving up his dream has been met with this response, as it doesn't even remotely justify anything. It doesn't help that said brother doesn't have any angst over it himself, and only gave up his dream because he found a new occupation that he decided he liked better.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: Sun & Moon, with its Genre Shift towards slice-of-life comedy as opposed to action and adventure, and its Denser and Wackier animation, is often seen as an attempt to ape Yo-Kai Watch, which in Japan rivals and even outdoes the success of Pokémon (especially the movies, of which Pokémon has suffered diminishing box office returns).
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Cameron is, without-a-doubt, the dumbest character the show has ever created, even dumber than Unova!Ash. He thought you only need 7 out of 8 required badges to qualify for the League, didn't think registering for participation in a tournament, actually involves registering for said tournament, and thought the Unova League was in the Johto region. The whole "bring five Pokémon to a six on six match" incident aside, he ends up bringing out his Ferrothorn to battle Pignite, and later Swanna to fight Pikachu. In games terms, both match-ups would of had his Pokémon fighting double-weakness match-ups. The anime actually portrayed this quite accurately and both ended up getting curb-stomped.
    • Ash has had his idiot moments as well, particularly with type match-ups. He even gets called out for it, in-universe, during the Falkner gym battle when he brings out his Chikorita to battle Hoothoot. Falkner spells out directly that the way he opposes type advantage is by raising his flying types to be strong and to find ways around opposing types by specializing heavily. Ash, however, threw out Chikorita on a whim because he thought the notion was cool and Falkner chews him out by pointing out that his Hoothoot is a higher level, so even if types weren't a factor, Ash made a stupid decision.
    • Much like the NPC trainers in the games, no one ever seems to switch out Pokémon when it would be convenient, until Paul showed up, and even afterwards, it's still used sparingly outside of the League.note 
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?:
    • It can get pretty damn dark at times, especially in some of the movies, but is still a children's show all the same. Special mention goes to the surprisingly dark and deep Japanese version of Pokémon: The First Movie, as well as Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions, which got the equivalent of a PG-13 rating in Japan - something very odd to hear about this show.
    • Takeshi Shudo hadn't originally wanted the show to be only for children. When one looks closely at episodes written by him, they're noticeably more serious in tone than a great deal of other episodes and tend to focus on the darker aspects of the Pokémon universe. For a quick example, the very first episode was a deconstruction of being a Pokémon trainer.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • Advanced Generation (Hoenn) could be considered this after people started to get tired of the franchise due to the Johto era being plagued with tons of boring/irrelevant Filler. The makers even felt the need to shake up the main cast.
    • XY did this later down the line; not only was it one of the most well-loved seasons on its own merits, but it came immediately after the poorly-received Black and White season. However, after Ash lost in the final round of the Kalos League, an unprecedented amount of fan backlash sprung up, and many fans completely changed their opinion on the series because of it.
    • Sun And Moon to an extent, as several people who stopped watching the anime said that the snippets they'd seen piqued their interests about it, so much so that some started watching it again. Many fans of the previous series remain at odds with it for various reasons, though.
    • The 20th movie preview did this. Fans had been accusing the movies of becoming less imaginative and descending into Franchise Zombie territory. Then the preview aired, showing the title of the movie ("Pokémon I Choose You") and nostalgic footage of Ash and Pikachu in Kanto with Ho-Oh flying overhead, heavily suggesting that the movie would be a nostalgia-laden Milestone Celebration. Fans were ecstatic.
    • After complaints about the lack of continuity in XY, Ash returning to Kanto for a two-episode arc in Sun & Moon, with the confirmed appearances of Misty, Brock, and at least some of his reserve Pokémon made older fans very excited.
  • The Woobie:
    • Sometimes Dawn, sometimes Ash, sometimes May and/or Max, and sometimes the Team Rocket trio, especially James. And on the Pokémon side of things, Charmander and Chimchar in their debuts.
    • After the revelation that they're simply punch clock villains in "Island of the Giant Pokémon", it's impossible not to feel sorry for poor Arbok and Weezing. After getting curb stomped by the heroes every single episode, you'd think that they would run away from Team Rocket just to escape the daily pain. But no- they keep on because they care about their trainers. And their final appearance is a testament to how Jessie and James feel the same way.
      • Hell, most of Team Rocket's Pokémon are this or a Jerkass Woobie, even Jessie, James and Meowth a lot of the time. Sure they try to steal Pokémon and look like evil villains, but it's all just in desire to please their boss and have some sort of impact for once. Not to mention they're nearly all True Companions and once a member has to depart, it's usually as big a Tear Jerker as for one of the heroes. Take Dustox, Cacnea, and Chimecho as further evidence.
    • The Abra in "Fear Factor Phony." It was left behind by its owners and left to live in old, abandoned, dilapidated building and always tormented about its abandonment (as seen by its dream). Furthermore, it was demonized by the ghost Pokémon and Team Rocket thanks to its siblings obnoxious behavior, despite it probably hated the noise as well, hence the force field.
    • N, just by virtue of being N.
    • Serena's Eevee. Eevee was specifically caught as a Secret Weapon for showcase performances due to her adorable dancing. However, as it turned out, Eevee was crippled by shyness and nerves, heavily effecting her performance in battles and showcases (even losing to Team Rocket in one instance). Despite Serena being very sympathetic towards her, Eevee spent most of the time looking depressed over bogging her team down. She Took a Level in Badass after evolving into Sylveon, though she does retain some of her nervousness and Moe-qualities.
    • Lillie was left traumatized since early childhood after nearly being abducted by Nilhego, leaving her unable to touch Pokemon or even be touched by them without freezing up. Even after she overcame her phobia, she was targeted by her mother's corrupt lead scientist Faba for knowing too much and then witnessed her mother getting abducted and brainwashed by Nihilego in one of his botched experiments. Add in a good dose of Adorkable moments and Lovable Cowardice, and you have one of Ash's most tormented companions.
  • Woolseyism:
    • Naturally quite a few, particularly the puns which can/can't be translated:
    • All of Team Rocket's English Mottos. Don't you dare deny it.
    • When the Squirtle Squad holds Misty hostage in Squirtle's debut episode, they originally threatened to kill her if Ash didn't do what they say. In the English dub, they threaten to dye her hair purple (which Misty is equally upset about). It might be censorship, but not only is it way funnier, it makes more sense given her reaction.
    • When Ash crossdresses to infiltrate the Celadon Gym, Team Rocket introduce him posing as "her" parents. In the Japanese version, the "-shi" in Satoshi is replaced with a "-ko", which gives him the very feminine alias of Satoko. In the English version, he's referred to as Ashley (the gender-neutral, full variant of Ash).
    • Brock's Sudowoodo's use of "Take Down" in the original Japanese - which Sudowoodo cannot legitimately learn in the games - was changed in the English dub to "Double Edge", a move with similar properties which Sudowoodo can use...similarly, in the episode where Ash challenged Roxanne's Gym, her Nosepass apparently used "Hyper Beam" twice in the Japanese version (during Ash's episode battling her) - but given the electric-based properties of the attack (which was actually plot-relevant), the dub changed these two instances to "Thunder Wave" and "Zap Cannon" respectively, which actually makes more sense (Zap Cannon is probably what the attack was meant to be, anyway).
    • Hikari/Dawn's Embarrassing Nickname, "Pikari"/"Dee-Dee", is a particularly clever one, which makes you wonder if PUSA had planned it ahead. Dawn's nickname is treated as a Noodle Incident until the last DP Season, where its origins are revealed to be from Dawn having been shocked by a Plusle and Minun when she was little - her friend Kenny partially traumatized her at the time by calling her "Pikari" (in reference to pikapika, the sound an electric sparkle makes). Since the dub changed her name, the nickname becomes Dee-Dee - which is short for "Diamond Dandruff", a rather suitable nickname for the scenario.
    • While being a "Pokémon Sommelier" fits for Cilan "tasting" the compatibility between Pokémon and trainers, "Pokémon Connoisseur" works much better when it comes to Cilan's various hobbies when he declares himself a "—- Connoisseur", seeing as a connoisseur is another term for an enthusiast.
    • Thus far, many of Samson Oak's Pokémon puns have translated very awkwardly. Since the puns are supposed to be cringeworthy however...
    • While Ed Goldfarb's score in the XY saga is divisive, his score for the Sun & Moon saga has some nice standouts, one of the biggest being the solemn piano piece from episode 21 that plays over Ash keeping vigil over the distraught Litten. Said sequence's original Japanese self simply had Shinji Miyazaki's "Meowth's Ballad" playing over it, not quite fitting for such sadness.
    • A lot of fans prefer 4Kids' flashback sequence during Misty's goodbye. In Japan the clips focused on Misty's character while the dub clips focus on her relationship with her friends, which is seen as better suiting the episode. The Japanese clips are also considered to be too lengthy and less exciting.
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