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Given the sheer amount of Pokémon and human characters in the games alone, it's only natural that there are some of them that fans have differing opinions about.


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Games

    General 
  • Certain designs tend to get singled out as being "uncreative", being a code word for "I hate the design, this isn't a real Pokémon to me". Of the Pokémon that get the most flack are certain humanoid Pokémon such as Kantonian Mr. Mimenote  or Jynx being "too creepy" due to their Uncanny Valley designs and ones based on inanimate objects from later generations like Vanillish or Garbodor for being "lazy" (object Pokémon from earlier generations such as Voltorb or Magnemite don't get this flack due to Nostalgia Filter, but those who grew up with the fifth generation are now older and more vocal). At the same time though, not all Pokémon with these designs receive nearly the same degree of hate: Alakazam, Machamp, Gardevoir, Mr. Rime, Chandelure, Aegislash, and Klefki are all well-regarded despite being based on people or inanimate objects.
  • Additionally, Pokémon based on fish, especially Basculin, are regarded as Low-Tier Letdowns that are incredibly common and hard to escape. However, like the ones listed above, Lanturn, Sharpedo, Magikarp, and Feebas are exceptions to this as the former two have cool designs and decent stats and the latter two eventually evolve into Gyarados and Milotic.
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    Gen I 
  • Pikachu, the Series Mascot, is a world-renowned icon and generally liked by the older fanbase; especially from Gen VI onward, most fans consider it to be a Sacred Cow due to its adorable design and universal appeal, and for not having an annoyingly vocal fandom in the vein of other popular Pokémon like Charizard. However, depending on how heavily it's marketed at the time (particularly compared to other Pokémon), it occasionally goes through periods of resentment and even hatred by some older fans due to its "cute" Kid-Appeal Character nature, being one of the weakest Pokémon in a library of nearly 900 unique creatures, and association with the divisive anime, with the dawn of "Pokémania" and early parts of Generation Vnote  probably being the periods where its hate was most notable. It also gets backlash from fans of its evolved form since the franchise seems to go out of its way to ignore Raichu.
  • All three of Kanto's fully evolved starter Pokémon have become this, in light of the franchise's heavy emphasis on First Installment Wins and Charizard becoming a heavily-marketed Breakout Character:
    • Venusaur, in an opposite vein to Charizard. While one of the most popular Pokémon, it's also the least popular of the Kanto starter trio; some people consider it to be cool and badass, while others consider it ugly and unappealing compared to Charizard and Blastoise, and even its own pre-evolutions (Bulbasaur in particular is universally loved by the fandom). Nonetheless, Venusaur has many fans for being the underdog of the Kanto trio, and it helps that it was the most competitively viable of the three until Gen VI (and it still has the most viable base form).
    • Charizard became this due to its excessive Wolverine Publicity. While it has always been the breakout fan-favorite of the three Kanto starter evolutions, once it began topping popularity polls, it started getting disproportionate amounts of favoritism over Venusaur and Blastoise, let alone other starters in general. This culminated in its appearance in Pokémon Sword and Shield, where it was the only non-Galar starter to be obtainable in the game and to get a Gigantamax form (prior to the DLC expansions) and received heaping amounts of Character Shilling as Champion Leon's ace Pokémon. While many people continued to think that Charizard is the coolest thing ever, other fans got increasingly sick of the excessive attention it was getting within the franchise and are frustrated with its generic dragon design and/or its popularity and attention.
    • Compared to Venusaur and Charizard, Blastoise's fanbase is less vocal, but it also attracts less criticism than the other two starters. It is a very popular Pokémon, but some fans find that it's almost as much of a gonk as Venusaur, and others find it kinda bland compared to Venusaur and/or Charizard (if it retracts its cannons then it just looks like any old turtle monster). That said, it doesn't elicit the same visceral reaction that some fans have to Charizard's Wolverine Publicity or Venusaur's overly monstrous design, making it more of a downplayed example.
  • Magmar, and its whole evolutionary line except for Magby. Some people like it for being a powerful Fire-type Pokémon, while others find it ugly and mock its design (such as its forehead having an unfortunate resemblance to a butt) and Japanese name of "Boober".
  • Dragonite is fairly divisive for a pseudo-legendary. Some people love it for being a mighty Badass Adorable, and great in competitive play without being as much of a Game-Breaker as other pseudo-legendaries. Others find it to be too dopey and unthreatening, infamously likening it to Barney the Dinosaur. Possibly to address the latter camp, Dragonite has been increasingly depicted with angry facial expressions and in badass poses, which make it more similar to Charizard — though its cuddly/friendly depictions aren't completely gone. It's also contentious among fans of Dragonair since it's a drastic departure from its previous stage's sleek, feminine appearance, and some fans would have preferred something more like Milotic for its final stage.

    Gen II 

Pokémon

Humans

    Gen III 

Pokémon

  • The Torchic line, but especially Blaziken. On one side, Blaziken is seen as the strongest starter to use both in-game and in competitive, even if its native Hoenn region is home to a lot of Water-types. On the other hand, some people find Blaziken to be somewhat ugly and blame it for being the start of the Fire-Fighting trend that occurred for the next two generations. It doesn't help that Blaziken became a High-Tier Scrappy starting in Generation V thanks to getting Speed Boost as a hidden ability, a status that would loom over the Blaze Pokemon until Generation VIII, where Power Creep eventually caught up with it.
  • Once a straight Ensemble Dark Horse, Gardevoir has fallen into this territory beginning roughly around the sixth generation. A good chunk of the fanbase continues to love it for its beautiful waif-like design and benevolent-yet-powerful nature. However, an equally sized portion loathes it for having a design that looks a bit too human, accusing it of being a thirst trap (which is not helped by the infamously-high volume of Rule 34 art depicting it). Additionally, a number of fans blame it for the designs of later generations of Pokemon becoming more anthropomorphic, citing it as "patient zero" for the franchise's alleged shift to "waifumon" designs.

Humans

  • Wallace. His inclusion as a Champion proves evidence that the Hoenn region has a high water mass and further help spawn the "too much water" quote from IGN. On the other hand, like other Champions that focus on 1 or 2 types, Wallace is this with just water, being formerly a Gym Leader straight to a Champion. On one side, it shows that Gym leaders aren't just second-rate compared to the Elite Four and Champion. On the other hand, Wallace's spotlight helped contribute to the Elite Four being almost forgotten by fans.

    Gen IV 

Pokémon

  • The Generation IV evolutions of Pokémon from earlier generations. Either they're hideous design departures from their pre-evolutions (not helped by many being evolutions of first generation mons) or creative evolutions of otherwise forgettable mons. The former opinion was widely held when they were first revealed, but over time, the evolutions grew on many fans. In regards to their availability and effectiveness in combat, it doesn't help that some of them evolve via trading while holding a specific item, are outclassed by their pre-evolutions after the introduction of Eviolite in Gen V, or both. The divisive reception to these evolutions ended up killing cross-generational evolutions for five gens straight, with only Eevee, Stantler, Ursaring getting cross-gen evos (and the latter two can only evolve in Hisui) until Generation IX. Three-stage evolutionary lines also ended up becoming less common, with more emphasis on single-staged or two-staged families with a significantly weak base form to not outclass the final evolution.
    • Out of these evolutions, Rhyperior deserves special mention. While it's a very powerful Pokémon whose ability promotes much more survivability given the line's poor defensive typing, it's often lambasted for its overly bulky design (similar to Emboar and Conkeldurr), but even more so because it evolves from Rhydon, whose design was more popular and more rhinoceros-like.
    • In general, it seemed that the evolutions of the Gen 1 Pokémon (with the exceptions of Magnezone, Electivire, Magmortar, and the Eeveelutions) sparked the most controversy, while the evolutions of Gen 2 Pokémon (ex. Weavile and Honchkrow) and Gen 3 Pokémon (ex. Gallade and Roserade) were more warmly received.
  • The Bronzor line. On one hand, they have very high defenses and their Steel/Psychic typing made them weak to either Fire or Ground (depending on ability) note  until Gen VI. On the other hand, they're just another Animate Inanimate Object Pokémon, and some fans don't cotton to those. There's also the fact that Steel losing resistances to Dark and Ghost in Gen VI and the (unnecessary for some) buff to Knock Off shattered most of its viability in the higher tiers of competitive play.
  • Garchomp. You either love it for being an badass looking dragon and being an absolute beast both in-game and in competitive play thanks to its accessibility, well-rounded stats and movepool; or hate it for being one of the biggest Game Breakers in the franchise (at least until Gen VI came around) and its enormous popularity, especially in competitive play.
  • Lucario. Ever since its introduction in the eighth movie, it's been a contentious Pokémon. Either it's out-and-out awesome and its huge popularity isn't a bad thing, or it is given too much attention. Although Lucario's appearance in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 was well-liked for turning a previously rare, yet very popular Pokémon with Late Character Syndrome into one of the earliest and best Pokémon to use in-game, X and Y repeating the same thing was criticized, and not helping matters is that it was these games where its Wolverine Publicity was cranked up from previous appearances.
  • Arceus. Many don't take too kindly to the notion that it's supposed to be God, as it makes other deified legendaries look obsolete. Its stats, ability, and movepool are certainly worthy of praise as god-like, though ironically, Arceus itself is on the receiving end of obsoleteness following the advent of powerful forms for major legendaries since X and Y (with some are even worshipped as gods more than Arceus itself!).
  • The number of Legendaries introduced in these games garners enthusiasm from half the fan base for a slew of such powerful Pokémon and the heavy lore around them, but criticism from the other half for making the Legendary status seem less special.

Humans

  • Barry, as the years have passed, has slowly been receiving more scorn from the fanbase. Some people find Barry Adorkable and a worthy rival that does try to get tougher at the same rhythm as you do, and undergoes some important Character Development by the hands of Team Galactic that lets him take it more seriously, especially in Platinum where his team eventually becomes the strongest of any rivals in any Pokémon game. Others think his energy gets annoying later on in the story and that he is not nearly as badass as Blue in Gen I and Silver in Gen II. Recently, many of Barry's detractors have also painted him as the "original friendly rival" that created the massive amount of blasè rivals that would be later decried. Defenders of Barry will point out that he is still driven by a desire to one-up the player character despite his losses, and that not only his Heroic BSoD happens due to the villainous team, but his character development happens in time in the story rather than at the very end and that it involves a great case of The Dog Bites Back. Whereas his detractors will dismiss these points and say that despite this and his team becoming much stronger (especially in Platinum), the damage to his personality and to the development of future rivals is already done.
  • Team Galactic as a whole. Some view them as an entertaining team with an epic goal led by the decently written threat Cyrus, and a few will defend them for some of the grunts being a good source of laughsnote . Others view them as idiotic villains with incoherent motives, with Cyrus in particular coming under fire for being very confusing in what his points and objectives are and having a weak Freudian Excuse. At the very least, they have received less unanimous scorn than Team Flare, and their Platinum incarnation has been seen more positively because of the team in general becoming much more badass and competent in their goal.
  • Cynthia, although not to the extent of other human characters. She is beloved for being a badass Champion with a near perfect-team that is very well-known for giving people A LOT of trouble —to memetic levels—, on top of having an endearing personality, an active role in the story for a Champion (similarly to Steven Stone in Gen III, and especially present in Platinum), and being given Character Shilling in later games like HeartGold and SoulSilver, Gen V and Gen VII. That said, she still has detractors for precisely being given too much spotlight, due to her constant appearances in subsequent games and despite some other characters getting as much shilling as her (Looker, for example). A small vocal minority also doesn't precisely enjoy how difficult her battles tend to be.

    Gen V 

Pokémon

  • The starters of this gen ended up being notoriously contentious among the fandom, a trend that would be passed down to future generations:
    • Snivy's line had a period of insane memetic popularity at the time of release of Black and White, however it still had its detractors, with It's Popular, Now It Sucks!. The popularity was brief, however, as its final evolution, Serperior, became infamous for being a repeat of Meganium as one of the weakest starters in the entire series, even for in-game purposes — despite its cool design, its stats (other than Speed) were absolutely pathetic given its mono-Grass typing. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire finally released its Hidden Ability of Contrary, allowing it to use Leaf Storms that would boost its Special Attack as opposed to dropping it and vindicating the line for good (although more-so in competitive play).
    • For Tepig's line, it's a matter of whether their evolutions look badass or are a big departure and make no sense at all. Particularly, Emboar remains one of the most disliked starters in the series —even well into Gen VIII—, often used as a punchline for Fire-type starters from later generations evolving into Fire/Fighting types. Some people argue that Emboar's typing is so blatantly lazy that it ruined the reputations of the Unova starters, or even the Unova Pokédex, as a whole. Despite this, Emboar has its defenders, especially after multiple generations of not reusing its Fire/Fighting typing. Some people like its rugged design, and thanks to its Hidden Ability of Reckless, which gives a boost to not just its Flare Blitz but other coverage moves in Wild Charge and Head Smash, it's generally regarded as So Okay, It's Average in competitive play and better than many other starters.
    • As for Oshawott's line, some people love the otter unconditionally, while others think it has a stupid character design. The evolution into the quadrupedal, sea lion-esque Samurott, is also especially contested; some people think it looks badass and will point out it has a good movepool, while others argue it's a large departure from the initial two forms, on top of pointing out its awkward stats. However, in light of the starters from following generations becoming overly anthropomorphized, some have actually warmed up to Samurott's design in hindsight for taking a cool concept (a samurai sea lion Dual Wielding BFS) and executing it in a way that still feels like an animal rather than a furry. Samurott's Hisuian form has also been better received for its more interesting Water/Dark dual typing and more elaborate armor patterning, not to mention its better stat distribution.
  • Aside from the starters, you have the Vanillite and Trubbish lines, who have been the start of many flame wars. These evolutionary lines are the most commonly criticized Pokémon of Gen V, and are the go-to examples for people who believe Game Freak is running out of ideas. But you will find just as many people defending them, either because they genuinely like these Pokémon's designs, finding them to be ridiculously cute and/or Ugly Cute, or they just think the hatred is taken too far.
  • Both forms of Kyurem got mixed reception. On the one hand, they had the highest base stat totals for their time after Arceus (not counting Mega Evolutions, Primal Reversions and Eternamax Eternatus). On the other hand, many think their asymmetrical, complicated designs don't do justice to the more popular Reshiram and Zekrom required to create them — particularly with Black Kyurem, which has a Top-Heavy Guy design that makes it look like a giant Druddigon.
  • The "genie trio" of Landorus, Thundurus, and Tornadus are pretty controversial. A lot of it comes down to their designs, as the Incarnate forms of the trio are so close in design as to resemble Palette Swaps at first glance, which sparks accusations of them being lazy. The Therian forms give them more unique looks, which creates debates over whether this saves their designs or whether the Therian forms are simply ugly on their own merits. Conceptually, they also tend to start arguments, with some appreciating their references to Japanese storm gods and Tornadus's status as the first pure-Flying-type, and others still not being on board, whether due to not being familiar with their original inspirations or being familiar and still finding Landorus unnecessary. However, what pushes the debate further is that the trio are notoriously really strong in competitive play, boasting excellent typings, great stat layouts, expansive movepools, and very good abilities—Landorus-Therian in particular being a mainstay of OU since its debut, and its fellows finding regular time there as well. This sparks an even further division between people who find their great competitive performance helps redeem their issues, and people who despise that designs they're already not fond of are also ubiquitous in those environments, to the point of actively welcoming their removal in Sword and Shield (and cursing their rapid return in DLC). The addition of Enamorus turning the trio into a quartet and finally giving a unique design among the Incarnates seems to be at least welcomed for patching one of the group's bigger issues.

Humans

  • Bianca. Many people find her cute and her story of finally being able to go out on her journey by coming to terms with her father to be great characterization. Others think she's annoying, overly ditzy, is present for far too much in the game, and should just go away and not bother you while you're trying to go about your own journey.
  • Alder. His fans appreciate his depth and backstory as well as half his team (particularly his ace Volcarona) displaying the power of Bugs, while his detractors deride him for losing to N and being a lackluster Post-Final Boss after the much bigger challenge defeating Ghetsis.
  • Hugh. When artwork of him was first shown, almost everyone fell in love with how badass he looked, with many expecting him to be another Jerkass rival in the same vein as Blue and Silver. But once his role in the story was unveiled, fan opinion of him became largely mixed. Some praised him for being the first rival in the series to have a fleshed out backstory and whose motivation wasn't to just be stronger than the protagonist, while others disliked the fact that all he cared about was Team Plasma and HE didn't really feel like a rival, fighting alongside you as much as against you.
  • Marlon. Some like his unique design and found his Surfer Dude personality and role in the game amusing, while others think his design looks ridiculous and found his personality and laid-back attitude regarding Team Plasma to be incredibly irritating.
  • Whether Iris being the new champion was a good move or not. Her anime counterpart, who is very polarizing herself, affects most of the fan reactions even to those who are okay with her in-game personality. Some prefer the previous set of protagonists to be the champion instead, since Iris already replaces them in the anime.
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    Gen VI 

XY - Pokémon

  • As with Gen V, all three of the starter's final evolved forms draw a lot of mixed reactions among fandoms:
    • With Chesnaught, some like its bulky knight design, while other think it's too generic next to the others and too much of a departure from its pre-evolutionsnote .
    • With Delphox, some fans like its design along its typing since the previous three fire starter were Fire/Fighting. On the other hand, some fans dislike its design, saying it appeals too much to the Furry Fandom. Its typing is also contested since it gives Delphox five typing weaknesses, and its limited movepool (which renders it as a sole attacker) compared to Greninja and Chesnaught doesn't help matters. Because of this, Delphox is always used as an example on how far Psychic-types have fallen since their former reign of terror in Gen I.
    • With Greninja, it comes down to its tongue scarf of all things. Either it's cool or Narmy. Some fans have also grown to resent it over time when it proved the most popular of the three, and not unlike Mega Charizard X, it ended up appearing a lot in promotional material to the point of overshadowing the other starters, and in the anime's case, even Pikachu for some time.
  • Honedge's evolutionary line and Klefki get a lot of flack for being Pokémon based off of inanimate objects, despite the fact that there are Pokémon from previous generations who have similar designs. It comes down to whether the execution in designs justify the concepts some inanimate object Pokémon are based on, which for most of the time is hit and miss. Others like them for their typings, and find the idea of a possessed sword and a key-stealing mischievous face pretty cool. Some also think that they're based on the idea of Tsukumogami, a kind of youkai that is an object that becomes alive and self-aware.
    • Honedge's family also has a separate case in its final evolution, Aegislash. While it is widely liked for its dynamic dual design and its form change gimmick from the defensive Shield Forme to the offensive Blade Forme, it is also reviled for being a big Game-Breaker in competitive play, due to its form change gimmick basically providing it with a base stat total that rivals that of the most powerful Olympus Mons, on top of its unpredictability. Even so, after it was banned from OverUsed in competitive play by Smogonnote , fan response was mixed; some agreed to the ban, others thought it was out of line and that Aegislash was never as much of a game-breaker as other Pokémon like Blaziken, Salamence and Garchomp. Sword and Shield finally nerfed Aegislash, reducing its defenses (and by extension, its offenses while in Blade Forme), and Smogon unbanned it from competitive play, removing it for some from this category.
    • Meanwhile, the case both for and against Klefki is compounded by its use in competitive play, which often consists of infuriating the opponent into Rage Quitting by crippling their team with priority status moves. Unlike Aegislash above, Klefki hasn't been given a significant nerf either (with its only nerf being to its ability Prankster to not affect Dark-type Pokémon), making Klefki still one of the most widely hated Pokémon to face.
  • Sylveon. Some fans absolutely love it for its cute design, being deceptively strong and very useful for killing dragons. Others find it creepy-looking (especially its eyes), overhyped and gets accused of being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad compared to the other Eeveelutions — now whenever all eight of them are featured anywhere, Sylveon is nearly always front and center, especially since it was considered the go-to example of a Fairy type when it was first revealed. Similar to Generation IV's evolutions above, there have been no new Eeveelutions since Sylveon's introduction, likely because of its divisive reception.
  • Dedenne's reception is unusually polarizing. On one hand, fans hate Dedenne for being utterly garbage in battles (it doesn't even learn Moonblast!) as well as not liking its design, being another Pikachu clone. On the other hand, there are some fans who like Dedenne for being adorable, as evident by a Japan-based Pokémon popularity poll called "Pokémon Election", it managed to be in 31st place out of 720 Pokémon. In general, fans who follow the anime more are kinder to Dedenne than those who follow the games more, due to its prominent role in the TV show.
  • Mega Evolutions in general have gained a divisive reception, with the most divisive ones being those for single-stage Pokémon and those with relatively low stat totals, such as Sableye, Mawile, Audino, and Banette. A number of fans believe they should have been standard evolutions with adjusted stats, with some citing Mega Banette and Mega Audino's poor competitive standings and the cross-generation evolutions introduced in Gen IV as proof they would have fit in as such. Others maintain that they worked fine as Mega-Evolutions, citing the unpopular reception many Gen IV evolutions get, the introduction of Eviolite in Gen V puts fully-evolved Pokémon (especially newer ones) at risk of being Power Up Letdowns, their designs wouldn't have worked anywhere else and Mega Sableye and especially Mega Mawile's competitive successes.
    • Both versions of Mega Mewtwo; while they are praised for their high, record-breaking base stats (X and Y have the highest Attack and Special Attack of all Pokémon, respectively), there is some debate on how good their designs look compared to each other as well as base Mewtwo. For a while, Mega Mewtwo Y got some extra hate for its association with the unpopular "new" Mewtwo character from the 16th movie, which was eventually fixed by giving the same form to the far more popular Mewtwo in Super Smash Bros. (primarily based on the first movie).
    • Mega Venusaur and Mega Heracross are well-liked for their competitive potential, but are disliked by some for their ugly designs, similar to Heatran and Conkeldurr.
    • Both of Charizard's Mega Evolutions. While it's generally agreed that it deserved a Mega Evolution, the handling of the Mega Evolutions themselves are often debated.
      • For Mega Charizard X, while it's one of the most popular Mega Evolutions for granting the longtime fan request of turning Charizard into a Dragon-type Pokémon, it also gets a hefty heaping of It's Popular, Now It Sucks! (especially from Mega Charizard Y fans and Charizard haters), and gets some flak over its black and overly "edgy" design, plus the fact Charizard's Shiny counterpart is already black, which makes it seem less unique. It also came under fire near the end of the XYZ season of Pokémon the Series: XY for being the Pokémon that Ash loses to.
      • Mega Charizard Y is also this, often resulting in Fandom Rivalry with Mega Charizard X, though it has broken the base to a lesser extent. Some fans prefer it over X for its more recognizable color scheme (including the classic black Shiny coloration) and playing like a supercharged version of base Charizard, with extremely high Special Attack and Fire attacks further boosted by the sun provided by Drought. Others believe that X's Fire/Dragon typing makes Y redundant and that it had no real reason to exist other than to dupe the fandom for a few weeks, as Charizard's and its Y Mega Evolution's Fire/Flying typing were vocally maligned by many fans who wanted it to somehow gain access to the Dragon type, especially before X was revealed — although some people can accept that Y most likely remained Fire/Flying for Competitive Balance purposes, since being Fire/Dragon would likely turn it from a Glass Cannon to a horrendously overpowered Master of All.
      • In general, there are heated arguments in the fandom about whether Charizard deserved two Mega Evolutions in the first place, and whether its Popularity Power was enough to justify its priority over Venusaur and Blastoise. Some fans believe that the best solution would have been to have a singular "Mega Charizard" with X's Fire/Dragon typing and Y's more immediately impressive stats and Ability.
    • Mega Gyarados, in a similar vein to Mega Charizard Y. Some fans maligned it for its more bulky, less streamlined design, as well as its lack of Dragon typing (as Gyarados was second only to Charizard in terms of fan requests to make it into a Water/Dragon type). Others like its darker and more colorful design, and find its Water/Dark typing appealing and very fitting for Gyarados' nature — particularly as it finally gives a Gen I Pokémon access to the Dark type (aside from the later Alolan forms and earlier true cross-generational evolutions such as Umbreon).
    • Mega Lucario. Its already base-breaking nature aside (as explained in the Gen IV folder), its Mega Evolution was made a central focus of the Mega Evolution subplot, and automatically gifted players a fully-evolved Lucario early on in the game, complete with Mega Stone. On the bright side, many people were happy to see their favorite combat canine in a starring role once again and latched on to its Mega Evolution. On the flipside, others got sick of it and started drawing comparisons to Lightning and Rosalina in terms of excessive overexposure. There's also the camp that argues the gift Lucario being one of the reasons for the game's lack of difficulty.

XY - Humans

  • The four rivals are this. Although some people find the enormous quantity of rivals interesting and a welcoming challenge, they have received a lot of criticism for, like many of the other plot-relevant characters, their lackluster characterization (especially compared to those of past rivals). Each is divisible in their own right.
    • For Calem/Serena, the fanbase is divided on whether or not their characterization is better or just as lackluster as the other rivals. Some enjoy their competitiveness, their nice guy/girl personality all things considered, and the fact they battle alongside you to stop Team Flare, while others in the story think their characterization outside of those traits could've been expanded on more.
    • For Tierno, either he's a likeable Nice Guy whose fondness of dancing moves is endearing, or his few appearances and lack of characterization (especially compared to the other rivals) makes him come off as bland.
    • For Trevor, he is liked for being cute and dorky, and people find his goal of completing the Pokédex relatable. Or he's disliked for not being fleshed out outside of repeating the Character Development of rivals like Wally and Cheren: taking a level in badass when it comes to Pokémon battling.
    • And Shauna, although she gets hit with this less than the other secondary rivals. She's liked for her energy and her cuteness, while being fleshed out more than the other secondary rivals in terms of how much she helps through the adventure, which makes her Character Development from an absent-minded, rookie trainer to a much more serious battler more credible; it helps that her team is the toughest of the three secondary rivals. Still, people have drawn comparisons to Bianca from the previous game, seeing her as annoying and likely stealing what could've been some character development for the other rivals.
  • Team Flare is arguably the most divisive villainous team the series has ever had, to the point they trumped the once reigning Team Glactic. While some people find their Cold Ham status as endearing and claim that they are led by an excellent antagonist in Lysandre, detractors will point out their motives to be horrendously incoherent and that they blindly follow the main villain. There's also the camp that finds their Cold Ham status as forced and a big source of Narm, and that their designs are bland and horrible due to their overusage of hot colors, making them come off as homogenized.

ORAS - Pokémon

  • Mega Sableye. While its ability and stat boosts make it a fantastic Stone Wall in competitive battles, some people don't like how its design has embodied one of the most reviled game strategies in the series: stall. To this day, people can't decide on whether or not its battle design is good (and may never know, seeing as Smogon banned it from OverUsed starting in Sun and Moon).
  • Mega Salamence. On one hand, people love how its wings have combined into a dual-function glider/blade and are happy the dragon came back after the Fairy-type nerfed it, complete with Aerilate giving it usable Flying-type STAB moves. Others dislike its bizarre, frisbee-like design, in addition to being another pseudo-legendary that got a Mega Evolution, and that it became overpowerednote .
  • Mega Slowbro. Some think it has an unbelievably stupid design, while others think the dopey appearance is perfectly fitting for Slowbro. Competitive players don't like how its ability is the situational Shell Armornote , instead of regular Slowbro's more consistently useful Regeneratornote .
  • Mega Gallade. Its Mega Evolution does have a sizable fanbase who are relieved that it got a Mega Evolution after getting overshadowed by Mega Gardevoir. Some fans thought that its Inner Focus ability is not as impressive as Mega Gardevoir's Pixilate, and others were not pleased that it is not part-Fairy.

ORAS - Humans

  • Zinnia. Some fans love her for her cool design, great battle theme, badass dragons, tragic backstory, and enjoyable personality. Others find her a Spotlight Stealing character who hijacks the Delta Episode, and behaves inexcusably towards anyone who isn't the player character or Aster, and that her attempts to save the planet would have actually doomed it (or at the very least caused a ton of unnecessary damage) if the player wasn't around.
  • Wally, originally an Ensemble Dark Horse back in the original games, has become one due to how the remakes handle him differently. Some fans appreciate his expanded character development and story role, and love that he eventually builds a truly impressive team. Others feel his increased exposure undermines the surprise of his reappearance at Victory Road as your final opponent, and that his changing of his team so radically is too out-of-character and should be allocated to another rival instead.

    Gen VII 

SM - Pokémon

  • Popplio was the most polarizing starter — its personality and quirky circus clown design caught a lot of flak online. This only made Popplio's fans more vocal, catching the attention of Kotaku, here and Destructoid, among others.
  • The starters' middle evolutions became this upon their reveal, with Brionne once again getting the worst of it. There are people saying that its design and backstory were adorable and won them over; others think Brionne's design looked no better than its pre-evolution. Some even claim that Brionne's design is even worse, and even some people who had previously defended Popplio from its haters promptly turned against it just because of what it evolved into. One common complaint against Brionne is that its design is "too feminine"; the best explanation is that while there have been other feminine-looking starters in the past such as Braixen and Meganium, Brionne's design extensively uses feminine Tertiary Sexual Characteristics despite its gender ratio favoring males, similar to Sylveon. Then you have Dartrix, whose design is divisive and its Brainless Beauty nature being either hilarious or unlikable. Torracat is by far the most liked of the three for following Rule of Cool, but early signs of its controversial evolution were a point against it.
  • And much like the previous two generations, the starters' final evolutions are also divisive.
    • Litten's final evolution, Incineroar, is the most controversial of the trio. While a cat evolving into a tiger has been an extremely popular fan idea for a Fire-type starter line, most of the debate surrounding Incineroar comes from the fact that it has the look and feel of the Fire/Fighting starters from Generations III through V, and most fans have been dreading getting another Fire/Fighting starter ever since. However, Incineroar breaks the mold by being a Fire/Dark typenote  and being very clearly themed on both black cat superstitions and heel wrestlers; some fans appreciate these elements and find that they make Incineroar cool and unique with lots of personality (and even see Incineroar as a deliberate homage and Evil Counterpart to the Fire/Fighting archetype), while others see them as half-hearted excuses for having yet another Fire/Fighting-esque starter without the actual typing, and a deliberate slap in the face to those dreading yet another bipedal fire starter. A third camp doesn't mind that Incineroar is bipedal, but don't like its strange, top-heavy body proportions (while it has a buff chest and upper arms, its lower torso, lower arms and legs are oddly thin in comparison, the arms to the point that its fingers are thicker than its wrists, and its body in general has a lack of muscle toning that makes its arms have tubelike shapes) that have been likened to making Incineroar look like a balloon and throw it into the Uncanny Valley for those kinds of detractors. Fortunately for some, the Sun/Moon anime depicted Profesor Kukui's Incineroar with lots of personality, winning some detractors over; two years later, it was also revealed as the surprise new Pokémon fighter for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a unique, pro-wrestling styled character (especially according to Masahiro Sakurai), winning over more of its previous detractors in the process. Both media was able to draw more attention to its cool and lovable personality, rather than its more contentious aspects, alleviating it from some flak.
    • Primarina has its fans for its beautiful design, amazing defensive typing and surprisingly diverse movepool, while its haters have many of the same complaints about both being part Fairy-type as well as complaints from its pre-evolutions (although most people agree that it's more aesthetically pleasing than Brionne). Its Hidden Ability, Liquid Voice, is generally considered to be lackluster as most of the sound-based moves that it can learn are inferior to Surf and Sparkling Aria outside of Hyper Voice not hitting allies, and is further hampered by the fact that it is the only type-altering ability that does not power up its affected moves.
    • As for Decidueye, some people like it for its unique and badass archer-owl design with a fantastic Grass/Ghost typing, while others see its design as awkward design and its typing something coming out of left field. While it has a nice range of status moves and a fantastic niche as a False Swiper thanks to those moves and being part-Ghost, it has a horrendously shallow offensive movepool compared to Incineroar and Primarina, a ridiculously high special attack despite learning very few special moves (none of which were available through leveling-up prior to Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon), and some people would have preferred it to have stayed part-Flying like its pre-evolutions. While it was the most popular out of the three starters (its case became more arguable after Incineroar made it into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate over it), fans are undecided on whether it's a very cool Pokémon worthy of being the generation's Breakout Character or whether it's a Tough Act to Follow compared to Greninja with its much greater competitive worth and amazing Hidden Ability. Notably, unlike with Typhlosion or Samurott, there is a notable Broken Base over whether its Alolan form or its Hisuian form from Pokémon Legends: Arceus is better, as the original Decidueye already had a secondary type and a Secret Art that made it more interesting to many people than Johtonian Typhlosion or Unovan Samurott, along with debate over its straw-hat-wearing Japanese archer design is better than the original.
    • Finally, an issue that some fans have with all three starters is their lackluster stat distributions, especially with regards to Speed (all three of them are too slow to properly act, yet too fast to use Trick Room). Incineroar's is probably the most controversial — while it has nice defensive stats, Incineroar is the only starter to lose points in a stat upon evolving, dropping from Torracat's base 90 Speed to 60, ten points lower than Litten's, while its relatively useless 80 Special Attack stays unchanged. Some people saw this as a disappointment after the very fast and competitively viable Greninja, with a few people even making unfavorable comparisons to the infamous Unova starters. Others point out that Chesnaught and Delphox weren't that great themselves, and that the Alola starters still have type combinations, designs, personalities and lore that make them unique and likable. Incineroar, specifically, got the opposite reaction in Doubles once its Hidden Ability was released, becoming one of the most Boring, but Practical and groan-inducing Pokémon in the format and being used on practically every Doubles team.
  • Bewear is considered either charming with a sad backstory, or stuck with a generic design that looks like a fanmade Pokémon. Even its name is divisive, with some feeling that it fits the character (who is The Dreaded to the Alola folk) while others are not able to get past the Punny Name and feel that its one of the most Narmy English names in the series' history. Its pre-evolution has also gotten mixed reactions, with people either loving it and finding it adorable or disliking it for having a bland Fakemon-esque design. Some of its silly yet badass portrayals in the anime and the Narm Charm animations of its Z-moves have helped its reception, however.
  • As with most inanimate object-based Pokémon, Sandygast and Palossand. Some like their designs and find the concept of a possessed sandcastle awesome, while others feel they look creepy or uninspired and compare them unfavorably to Yo-Kai Watch characters. Because of the latter, many fans of the sandcastle mons have taken to pointing out Gen I's laundry list of inanimate object Pokémon to defend them, just as what happened to other inanimate object-based Pokémon in generations past... except this time, this incited people to counter by saying that just because it was there from the beginning doesn't mean it's acceptable now.
  • As for Alolan Raichu, there are three groups: those who love its cute design and are happy Raichu's finally getting some love, those who like the design but think it could be better, or those who hate Alolan Raichu's pastel-colored design. And that's not getting into whether Raichu should have gotten a Mega Evolution instead (assuming no Pokémon will get both). Its sparse lore for how it came to be doesn't help matters, though this also depends on whether one accepts the anime as canon, since it has featured a blue-eyed, wave-sensing Pikachu that serves as a better precedent than game canon.
  • The Ultra Beasts have been a point of massive dispute, mainly over the speculation fueled by the lack of knowledge of what they actually are and what role they play in the games' story (and their potential changes to Pokémon's formula). Some only dislike the term "Ultra Beast," which they argue sounds uncreative and like something straight from a lower-quality children's monster/fighting game. Their creepy designs are another point of contention; many people feel they don't look like Pokémon, while their supporters argue that their designs were meant to be jarring because they're not actually Pokémon. The Reveal that they can be caught and used in battle and that they're just extradimensional Pokémon is a source of further dispute; many fans like that they stand out from other Pokémon and are surprisingly good in competitive battling (similarly to, again, the Tapus), while others feel they should have been exclusive to special boss battles and shouldn't count as normal Pokémon.
  • Ash-Greninja. Some love it, seeing it as a cool nod to the anime and like the fact that fan favorite Greninja has access to a Mega Evolution-like form change. Others (particularly detractors of the anime and Ash Ketchum) hate that the anime is being acknowledged or are just sick of Greninja, whom they perceive as a Spotlight-Stealing Squad.
  • Alolan Persian. Some people like its fat face as it makes it look more like a persian-breed cat. Others are bothered by the bobble-head look or wanted it to stay closer to Kanto's Persian, and have drawn comparisons to Garfield. And, like the Ultra Beasts above, some people do like the fact it looks like Garfield. Access to the ability Fur Coat gives Alolan Persian the last laugh in competitive play, however, making it more popular in that aspect.
  • The Rotom Pokédex. Some like it for being a cute and snarky Robot Buddy, others consider it annoying and feel it comes off as a Kid-Appeal Character. There's also factors relating to its function that garner controversy, as its map and Pokédex are both commonly seen as inferior to those in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, and its presence and position on the touch screen facilitating the removal of Gen VI's menu buttons.

SM - Humans

  • Continuing tradition from Barry since the fourth generation, Hau being yet another friendly rival had many fans irritated. Some like his sunny demeanor, his blasé attitude to losing, and think his relationship with his grandfather makes him developed. Others find his personality too overdone and generic, and his attitude to losing patronizing and obnoxious. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon saved it for a few people from this category by making him more serious, but also made him gain a new amount of detractors for replacing Professor Kukui as the game's Final Boss before becoming the champion (as although Hau has Pokémon with colorful moves, Professor Kukui used legitimate competitive strategies that made him a hard, yet enjoyable final boss). There are also players who are divided whether Hau counts as a champion or not just because he is fought right after the Elite Four (Professor Kukui is at least the League founder).
  • Lusamine. While many fans love her for being a terrifying villainess intrinsically tied to the main plot, an incredibly accurate portrayal of an Abusive Parent, and providing one of the best boss battles in the series, Lusamine also has many detractors feeling that she is too cruel to be considered sympathetic, and hates how the narrative tries to paint her a victim with both of her children forgiving her despite her abuse. This is not helped by her Heel–Face Turn occurring entirely offscreen, with her last on-screen moment being her collapsing after you defeat her merged form. Others feel her motives to be flimsier than the more mundane but easier to grasp Ghetis and there are those who dislike how her own boss battle doesn’t utilise the Motherbeast form in any creative way.
  • Even though she has many more fans than detractors, Lillie does get this treatment. Her fans find her to be one of the best characters in the game, and possibly even rivaling N as one of the most developed characters in the series. Her detractors, on the other hand, find her overrated and overshadowing the protagonists (this is also connected to game's controversial increased focus on story, as the majority of the story is about her and her family and a group of her detractors accusing her of being a Purity Sue because of this). It doesn't help the player often gets Lillie dumped on them at several points in the game to escort her to places, since she has no Pokémon of her own (besides Nebby), which can make it feel like you're her babysitter. Her newfound confidence after her Significant Wardrobe Shift is also divisive; many fans find it to be well-done and endearing, while her detractors either find it Narm-y and annoying personality-wise. In the end, no general consensus has been reached on whether she's an adorable, interesting and tragic character, or annoying and just being made of traits that make her more appealing to the audience rather than making her a more rounded character.

USUM - Pokémon

  • The Rotom Dex continues to be a divisive character. For some people, the reintroduction of O-Powers in the form of Roto Powers, the new ways to interact with it and the chance for it to let you use two Z-Moves in one battle have redeemed it, while others can't stand how much its Annoying Videogame Helper side has been ramped up to the point where at times, most of your returns to the main overworld are accompanied by it blocking out the map with lampshaded, unwanted pieces of advice that many don't find helpful.
  • Lycanroc's Dusk Form. Initially, some people complained it was simply Midday Lycanroc with an orange coat, green eyes and Midnight Form's mane attached. Others began to like it after finding out that it would have Tough Claws. After it was revealed to be an event-exclusive evolution (which reminds of the Zorua line fiasco) it got disliked once more — though this aspect died down after it was revealed that it would be able to breed offspring that evolves into Dusk Form. Tensions flared up again when it was discovered following the game's release that Dusk Form has Midday Form's statspread and movepool with the sole differences of two points taken from speed and placed into attack, having access to Counter and two more tutor moves. Some people believe these factors make it much better than Midday, others are worried about its viability since a little change in speed can mean a lot of difference in competitive potential, and some were disappointed that its stats weren't either a combination of or average between Midday and Midnight's statspreads, while others still insist that the ability to use Z-Happy Hour makes up for this.
  • Ultra Necrozma has many fans that love it for its golden angelic design, being a bigger Game-Breaker than Arceus, and being one of the best boss fights in the core series. Others, however, aren't fond of having another Dragon-type third Legendary, or of Ultra Necrozma rendering Dawn Wings Necrozma almost totally obsolete.

USUM - Humans

  • Lusamine's portrayal in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon split the fandom down the middle. There are many who think Lusamine in the original Sun and Moon was one of the best, most twisted and dark villains in the franchise (on par with Ghetsis in Black, White, Black 2 and White 2), and were outraged that not only she was changed into a well-intentioned and sympathetic character who gets a redemption arc, but that she goes from the first female Big Bad to The Heavy as Necrozma takes her former spot and then a Damsel in Distress in the postgame Rainbow Rocket episode. On the flip side, there are fans who feel that Lusamine should've never come across as vile as she did in the original games, given all the informed statements about how she was kinder in the past, how she was under the influence of Nihilego's neurotoxins and had an offscreen change of heart after her defeat, that her sociopathic insanity and abusive nature were too over the top, and are glad that these games actually humanize her by depicting aspects of her character not originally seen in Sun and Moon (such as her change of heart and character development), and makes her someone you respect enough to want to rescue. Typically, fans of Vanilla Lusamine hate her USUM incarnation and vice versa though there are some who love (or hate) both interpretations of the character.

    Gen VIII 

Pokémon

  • The Fossil Pokémon can be divisive for their Flesh Golem nature. Either they're cool explorations of what fossil restoration could end up like and a neat nod to antiquated real-world British archaeology; or they're too dumb-looking to be taken seriously, too biologically impaired to be happy about, too creepy to even look like real Pokémon (similarly to the Ultra Beasts), a waste of potential for four individually cool properly restored Fossil 'mons, or (in the case of Dracovish specifically) being a Lethal Joke Character.
  • Eternatus: Some people love the alien dragon and its otherworldly, skeletal design and its awesome three-phase boss fight in the main story of Pokémon Sword and Shield, along with it being one of the most useful Legendary Pokémon of its general power level due to its perfectly tuned Lightning Bruiser stats and movepool. Others dislike it for looking too incomprehensible and overdesigned, looking far too alien and emotionless compared to other Pokémon. Its Eternamax form is even more divisive, for its even weirder design that barely looks like a dragon (let alone an animal of any kind, or even its own base form) and for being an unplayable boss with an obscenely high base stat total.

Humans

  • Hop quickly solidified into this. Some fans think he is a good rival because he gets some great Character Development, and he has a solid (and dynamic) team compared to a lot of previous rivals, as he is one of the first rivals to ever catch a legendary. However, he has the misfortune of riding on Hau's and Trace's train as a friendly rival to the player — he is also particularly similar to Hau in terms of goals (surpassing their family idols). He is derided for appearing too frequently throughout the story (especially considering he almost always challenges you to a battle), repeatedly interrupting exploration by showing up at the entrance to towns or routes to advance the story, stealing the spotlight from the other rivals who don't get as much time to shine, and frequently mentioning type match-ups during battle (which some players have found annoying). His tendency to get Demoted to Extra in adaptations doesn't help — his detractors are happy that they don't have to see him much outside of the games, while his fans lament his lack of prominence (and tend to dislike fellow base-breaker Goh for essentially taking his role during the anime's Galar arc).
  • Bede. His reveal made many players excited to finally get a jerkass rival again, but he ended up being divisive. While he's liked for being a breath of fresh air compared to the usual friendly rivals and undergoing his own arc to becoming the Fairy Gym Leader (which causes him to mellow out a bit), some players dislike him since, unlike previous jerk rivals like Silver and Gladion, Bede has no Freudian Excuse for his behavior, and since he was directly appointed by the Chairman Rose for the Gym Challenge, he acts like a jerk just because he can. Not helping matters is he suffers from being Out of Focus in the second half of the game, doesn't help during the final conflict (unlike Hop or Marnie), and during the post-game, he still has bitter issues with the player character.
  • Marnie has fans who enjoy her relationship with Team Yell and her brother Piers, as well as her hidden cute side beneath her gothic exterior. Detractors view her as boring and underdeveloped compared to the other two rivals, and claim that despite her being the driving force behind the Team Yell' sub-plot, she is barely relevant to the main plot itself.
  • Leon is either one of the best or worst characters in the game. He is praised for being extremely competent both in-universe and out of it, by directly intervening in several conflicts and problems throughout the game and averting the series' long held issue of Adults Are Useless, and having a surprisingly strong and effective team that many fans declare gives him Best Boss Ever status. He also, however, draws much ire over how the game gives him excessive Character Shilling and has him constantly repeat what he says to the point of annoyance, as well as how him averting Adults Are Useless locks the player out of the more interesting things in the story until right at the last minute, leaving them with the sole directive of completing the Gym Challenge. The fact that his ace is a Charizard, another base-breaker in its own right, instead of another Galar Pokémon, just rubs more salt in the wound. There's also a third camp that enjoys the character ironically and finds the incessant Character Shilling for Leon and his Charizard to be So Bad, It's Good and Memetic Mutation-worthy, often exaggerating it into a Charizard-centric joke religion similar to Shrekology.
  • Chairman Rose. Some see a sympathetic villain as a welcome change, thinking they come across as a sympathetic figure with a complex motivation. Others aren't a fan of said motivation, thinking the actions of the character make no sense in hindsight. And especially after the excellent antagonists of X and Y and Sun and Moon, an antagonist without a strong personality who acts out of foolishness rather than malice just comes across as a letdown.

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Anime

    Main Cast 
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 depending on the season, with Flanderization and Adaptation Displacement not helping matters.
  • Ash Ketchum has as many fans as he does detractors. Many praise Ash for his accomplishments, his competence as a trainer (especially in Sinnoh and Kalos), having great relationships with his Pokemon, and for being one of the last aspects of the original series to remain in the show. However, there are many who don't like him for being blander in personality than his companionsnote , being widely inconsistent in both character and competence, being the main source of Arc Fatigue in the series by sheer virtue of being the protagonist for 20+ years and his goal To Be a Master, never being allowed to permanently learn from his mistakes or grow up, and for sticking around long after all other aspects of the original series came and went to the point of being called The Artifact. This was most evident after Ash won the Alola League, with people either feeling that Ash was too iconic at this point to replace or feeling that Ash's story was over and that it was time for someone else to take up the mantle.
    • In terms of characterization, Ash's sanitation into the Nice Guy from Johto onward. There are those that like Ash being nicer as it made him a more likable character and felt it was a natural progression for him. Those who don't like it feel that Ash was more interesting back when he was still jerky and that his sanitation into the Nice Guy made him more of a Vanilla Protagonist.
    • Ash's XY incarnation is a strong example of this; while most fans agree that his battling record during the Kalos saga was at its best, fans were divided over whether it made him a strong and likable character or made him too dull, bland and uninteresting as a person, with the sole exception of him still being Oblivious to Love.
    • Sun and Moon tried to form a balance, giving him a more expressive personality while maintaining his battle competence for the large part, but the depiction remained very divisive as his character appeared to change each episode (ranging from The Ace to Butt-Monkey) whenever a situation deemed it and Depending on the Writer. There are some who argue he regressed even further than he did in Unova, with many out of character moments (such as trying to cheat on an exam), and did not deserve to be the incarnation that finally won a league.
  • 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, and getting Porygon banned from the anime. Others praise and respect Pikachu as the Japanese equivalent to Mickey Mouse while finding him genuinely cute and entertaining.
    • Starting in Generation VII Pikachu became more childlike and mischief-prone, and willing to go against Ash similar to how he was in Gen 1. Fans are divided on whether this makes Pikachu a more interesting character or is a terrible case of utter character regression with the epitome coming in Journeys Episode 30 where he tries to run away from Ash out of jealousy of Riolu. While some appreciated Pikachu's loyalty having limits others felt Pikachu getting jealous THIS late in the series was too unbelievable and assasinated Pikachu's character.
  • Team Rocket, depending on who you ask, 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 started becoming serious villains. There's also another group who remains unconvinced that they've taken any such level at all.note  Their portrayal from XY onward has tried hard to appeal to all sides of the argument, though alas they're so divisive, it's impossible to please everyone in this regard.
    • Similarly there's a divide on how often Team Rocket should appear. Prior to Gen V, the T Rio was only absent twice (the very first episode and a clip show in Hoenn). However, starting Best Wishes the show would have long stretches of episodes where they make no such appearance. Some fans are fine with Rocket being absent as certain episodes don't need their presence and it's best to use them sparingly. Others however feel that Team Rocket is too essential to have such long and frequent absences. Things have reached their boiling point in "Journies" where the Rocket Trio has had an even lower attendance rate than in Best Wishes and is frequently out of focus when they do appear. This has caused a wide divide between fans on how little is too little.

    Ash's Companions 

  • Misty. She remains popular long after her departure from the main cast for her personality, being entertaining, being the first female companion, and her dynamic with the then jerkier Ash. However, others feel that her popularity is unwarranted and comes mostly from people who grew up watching the original series. Her Character Development after getting Togepi caused a split between those who felt it mellowed her out and made her a more likable character or made her bland and took away the best parts of her personality. Of all the female cast, her trying to become a water-type master sounds generic, compared to other female cast that has a more defined goal, such as Pokemon coordinator. In Advanced, when Misty summons her Gyarados, the fandom wondered where was this side of Misty in the first 2 generations.
  • Max is either seen as an amusing Know-Nothing Know-It-All with a nice dynamic with his sister and genuine Hidden Depths, or he's a bully to his older sister and an embodiment of everything wrong with the Tagalong Kid archetype.
  • 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 spotlight hogger for those who find him and his antics "forced" or "overexposed".
  • Iris received a substantial amount of flak for her constant habit of referring to Ash as a "kid". She was also criticized for bucking the trend of a female protagonist as a traveling companion. Others found 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.
    • Upon her return in Journeys, the fanbase was further broken with the revelation that she's the new Unova Champion. On one side, there are some fans who like said development because it brings her closer to her game counterpart, while others dislike it because they feel it's way too big a jump for her, and preferred if she was just a gym leader like her game counterpart's pre-B2W2 self.
  • Bonnie is seen as either an Adorably Precocious Child who manages to be Badass Adorable with the Pokemon she forms bonds with particularly teaching Zygarde the value of humanity. Or an annoying Spotlight-Stealing Squad whose running gag of finding her brother Clemont a wife to be annoying and overall acting very ungrateful towards the things Clemont does for her.
  • Serena is probably the most divisive female companion after Misty. Her Ship Tease with Ash was popular enough to make it to the Fan-Preferred Couple page, but she also received backlash from people who shipped Ash with anyone else, as well as accusations that she and Ash were being Strangled by the Red String. There's also the matter of how Serena took over 40 episodes to find her goal which some found to be a nice case of realism while others felt it led to Arc Fatigue and highlighted Serena's perceived lack of agency outside of Ash to the point some consider her crush to be unhealthy and stalker-like. Similarly, people are extremely divided on Serena's eventual goal of being a Pokemon performer either finding them to be a unique way of showing careers in Pokemon that don't involve battling or a lesser version of contests that highlights Serena's dependence on Ash.
    • In a similar vein there is divide between Serena's haircut and change of wardrobe upon her first loss. Many praised it as a great example of moving on from failure and showing Serena's growth, while others found her reaction to be overdramtic Narm and her new design to be less appealing than what she had prior.
  • Lillie. 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 was 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 dorky Smart Girl of the group. The fanbase was further split by her treatment in the Aether arc for losing all her progress (in fairness, because of a repressed memory coming out) and gaining it back with no work of her own (when she fully understands the memory and after she is rescued from Faba) 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 Pet 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, Sun and Moon has 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 criticized 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. By Ultra Legends their reputation calmed mildly due to an improvement in limelight episodes and breakthroughs as Trainers, though some still regard them as dead weight and less interesting protagonists.
  • Goh saw himself becoming one of the most contested characters in the entire anime as Journeys went on. For some, he's one of the most unique and interesting companions Ash has ever had for being just as ambitious as he is while still coming across as distinct, his nice Foil dynamic with Ash providing for great interactions, his "catch 'em all" goal satisfying to see after years of the Anime avoiding such a crucial part of the franchise, and his relationship with his starter being more interesting than most partner Pokémon due to their different passions and Goh's emotional immaturity complicating matters. For others, however, he's an insufferable character who, due to being more based on the Pokémon GO side of the franchise, ends up catching a large amount of his Pokémon very easily, making his goal come across as mechanical, luck-based and dull compared to Ash's battles, not helped by the low amount of interaction he has with his captures, making them feel like Ash's benched mons at best and filled checkboxes for Goh's Pokédex at worst. Similarly, his relationship with Cinderace is contested due to his emotional immaturity making him come across as too Unintentionally Unsympathetic to be likable due to how much he gets wrong about his partner, even with good intentions, while his development with Sobble and Grookey are seen by many as being underdeveloped by too little shown for what is said and shown on screen (suffering from a case of severe Tell Don't Show). His tendency to get parts to himself in most episodes, even those that are supposed to be more focused on Ash or Chloe, while they in turn don't get the same in most Goh episodes, has fans considering Goh a Spotlight-Stealing Squad, especially those who feel like Ash's battles for the World Coronation Series are often underfocused and sped through for time that is instead given to Goh catching another Pokémon. Accusations of being a Creator's Pet spiked notably in early 2021 after he got Suicune (creating extensive arguments between those who see this as the ultimate showing of writer shilling and those who think that it isn't as bad as that due to how the episode framed it and Ash's own owning of Melmetal) and both remaining Galar starters (leaving Ash with no new regional starters for the first time ever). These arguments are notably shared on both sides of the Pacific, and have gotten intense enough that Bulbagarden, a popular western forum for Pokemon fans, had to put up a warning over how bad the fights were getting over Goh and to not partake in further spats on the topic.
  • Chloe Cerise. On one hand, people are interested in her for being wildly different from previous Pokégirls, questioning what she wants to do in life and feeling pressured to follow her father's footsteps and love Pokémon just because he's a Professor. On the other, people criticize how Out of Focus she is compared to previous female leads, as well as her initially cold attitude toward Ash. Eventually, she started getting more focus and Character Development, but the execution of this is highly polarizing as well; some fans have become increasingly critical of the repetitiveness of her post-Eevee focus episodes, as well as her perceived Aesop Amnesia toward the moral that she's still young and has plenty of options. This came to a head with her final focus episode, which not only interrupted the Masters 8 Tournament Arc, but ended on essentially the exact same message Chloe had gotten at the start of the series. Depending on who you ask, this is either a poignant Bookend or complete stagnation for her character.

    Ash's Rivals 
  • Gary is typically a Memetic Badass, but you will often find people who view his tormenting of Ash as extremely overdonenote , 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. On top of this, there's the issue of Gary's lack of importance to the plot; some find him entertaining enough to look past this, while others believe it ruins what otherwise could have been a great rivalry.
  • Ritchie. Detractors usually refer to him as "Ash, but better" and hate him for being the one Ash wound up losing to in the Indigo League. Supporters counter that his similarities to Ash made him a good Foil to the then-jerkier Ash and a likable character in his own right. Its also pointed out that most of the hate surrounding him is unwarranted since he was the person who was least responsible for Ash losing- if you want someone to blame, you can mostly point fingers at Team Rocket, who's constant abduction and pursuit of Ash before the match causes him to face Ritchie with a deflated, exhausted team.
  • Paul. There are many who would call him one of the best-written rivals Ash has ever had, with many liking him for his jerkier personality akin to the rivals of earlier games, valid criticisms and/or representation of overly competitive players, and for giving Ash one of the best fights in the series. However, there are others who don't like him for his perceived favoritism by the writers, weak motivation for pursuing strength, and for not being punished for his more heinous actions, especially concerning his treatment of Chimchar before he released it.
  • 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.
  • Alain. At his debut, he was near-universally loved, especially by the Periphery Demographic, with very few detractors. Fans loved him for being different from Ash, the specials he starred in having more mature writing, being well-developed as a character, slowly becoming a good Foil to Ash (especially by the end of the 4th Mega Evolution Special)note , having a Charizard, and using Mega Evolution, which none of the main cast would use through the entirety of the series. What few detractors he had didn't like him for winning almost all his fights, suddenly choosing to take part in the Kalos League, and for being able to collect all the badges within 7 episodes of Ash mentioning the Kalos League to him. Then he defeated Ash at the Kalos League, and opinions on his character inevitably divided hard, mostly concerning whether or not his win was justified and the role his character played on a meta scale in yanking the chain of both Ash and the longtime fans.note 
  • Hau. On one hand, many fans loved him for his Nice Guy personality and lacking several habits of his game character that people found annoying (like his constant cheerfulness no matter what), and his Decidueye's rivalry with Rowlet allowed Ash's least focused on Alolan starter some much needed solo focus and moments to shine. On the other, his very low number of focus episodes (he only appeared once before the League, and even during the League his contributions beyond the battle with Ash were minimal) made his character feel way too shafted for the rivalry to be meaningful in the eyes of some fans. Then there's a third camp that had no inherent issue with Hau's writing, but they disliked how Ash was written in their interactions, with moments such as him losing the first battle with Hau simply because he slipped a Z-Crystal and wasting time looking for it rather than concentrate on the battle, or Rowlet's own Seed Bomb variant making him a sitting duck at crucial points and the infamous fakeout "loss" by Rowlet's sleeping making it seem like the only reason Hau posed a threat to Ash was due to him and his Pokémon of choice being treated as comedic bumblers.
  • Gladion. While he's an overall well-received character in the Anime, opinions are split on his handling as a rival. Supporters like him for being a Nice Guy rival with fundamental respect between him and Ash, his constant role in Sun and Moon's legendary arcs that most previous rivals avoided, and managing to give a heartfelt final match before Ash crowned his first League Conference win in the show's history. Detractors, however, criticize how there didn't seem to be any real commonality between the two beyond being strong trainers on friendly terms with their Lycanroc needing to provide a backbone to the rivalry, their questionable buildup as rivals with Gladion being more involved in his own affairs than wanting to face off against Ash and only one completed match between each other and an unfinished one to provide a background to it, and their match at the League being a measly 3 VS 3 match rather than the full battles previous main rivals (with the exception of Trip) got making it an underwhelming finale for the achievement it was.

    Companions' Rivals 
  • Harley. Hilariously petty and over-the-top, or an insufferable Karma Houdini? While he almost never actually beats May, some people resent the fact that he's also never punished for his constant cheating. In a similar vain there's divide over the English Dub's dialogue edits that make Harley more flamboyant and push Ambiguously Gay to its limits. Depending on who you ask, these changes in characterization either improve Harley's character or turn him into a harmful stereotype.
  • Kenny is arguably the most polarizing of Dawn's rivals for how his crush on Dawn was handled, particularly in his final episode. Detractors feel like he got off far too easy for both his previous Loving Bully behavior and perceived objectification of Dawn, getting jealous of her closeness with Ash and pressuring her to leave with him if he could beat Ash in battle. She rejects this offer, though many fans disliked how she did so without really confronting him on his behavior. There are others who defend him, though, enjoying his interactions with Dawn beforehand and feeling he was just treated really poorly in his last few appearances.
  • Ursula. Her similarities to Harley (both of them being arrogant, petty Coordinators who constantly lose yet never really grow from it) draws a good deal of criticism, especially because she lacks the sheer over-the-top insanity of Harley's grudge on May. Many consider her an uninspired knockoff, though some still appreciate the great battles she gave to Dawn.
  • Burgundy is either hilariously insane or insanely obnoxious. Her rather inconsistent Character Development (and the writers' tendency to prioritize her Butt-Monkey status over it) doesn't help matters.
  • Georgia. While fans generally enjoyed her interactions with Iris and numerous valid criticisms of her, there are some that find her Sore Loser habits annoying.
  • Miette. She's generally considered funny, but some dislike that she spends more time teasing Serena about Ash than actually trying to be a serious opponent.

    Villains 
  • 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 Faba took her place as main antagonist is also a point of contention for some, citing that we'd already seen 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.

    Pokemon 
  • Just about ANYONE who has a Charizard. Like in the games, some people love the Nostalgia Filter that Charizard is getting a lot of love and badass attention in the series: Ash owning one and becoming an integral part of his growth, Alain using Mega Charizard X and won the conference with it, Leon sporting one to win the previous World Coronation. On the other hand, many others hate Charizard for this very reason, since they are sick and tired of seeing a Charizard, compounded further by its improbable high power and its very high win ratio each time it is on-screen thanks to Popularity Power.
  • Misty's Togepi. Some love it for being adorable and funny, others hate it for never evolving and constantly getting into trouble, forcing Pikachu to constantly rescue it. There are some fans who also blame it for, in their eyes, making Misty's personality too soft.
  • Dawn's Piplup. Either seen as one of the most annoying mons in the series, or adorable and full of personality.
  • Ash's Oshawott. His Attention Whore nature and tendency to form rivalries with other Pokémon is 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.
  • Iris's Axew. He's polarizing for many of the same reasons as Togepi; some find him a cute baby character who had nice relationships with other cast members, particularly Pikachu and Scraggy, while others heavily criticize him for his frequent Damsel Scrappy tendencies and poor development across the board. He expresses the desire to evolve in episode 6, only to never do so, constantly gets babied by Iris in a way that never applies to her other Pokemon, and learns multiple Deus ex Machina moves to give the impression of growth (only to go right back to being babied). The infamous "Lost at the League!" episode really doesn't help matters, completely wasting time during the Pokemon League of all things for another pointless "Axew gets lost" plot. Most of these criticisms died down after its return in Journeys where it evolved into a Haxorus and helped Iris become the Champion of Unova.
  • Ash's Pignite. Some give him flak for being overly derivative of Ash's previous Fire starters, being the third one to be abandoned by a Jerkass trainer and taken in by Ash (coming straight off the heels of Infernape didn't help matters, who had already explored this plotline about as far as it could possibly go). Others look past this, finding him likable and sympathetic on his own merits.
  • Iris's Dragonite. Legitimate Badass, or a poor clone of Charizard that gave Iris undeserved victories?
  • Ash's Greninja. No character captures the Broken Base surrounding the XY series as thoroughly as Greninja; was it a badass ace who demonstrated an interesting connection with Ash, or was it a boring stoic with no personality? Was the concept of Bond Phenomenon and The Chosen One awesome, or forced and bordering on fanfiction? Did it earn its status as a Spotlight-Stealing Squad, or did it needlessly steal the thunder of Ash's other Pokemon? And perhaps most of all, was the insane amount of hype worth it knowing how its story ultimately ended? The fact that it lost to Alain's Charizard in the league finals and thus lost another league for Ash and was released by the end of series has kept it dead center of constant debate.
  • Serena's Braixen. Some thought she was a likable match for Serena's personality, but others disliked her tendency to act like a Spoiled Brat in her focus episodes, fussing to the point of Jerkassery over extremely mundane things like getting dirty or getting her stick-wand broken.
  • Ash's Rowlet. Some find it a cute, quirky comic relief that didn't need to evolve or lose its personality to be strong, while removing the need for another generic regional bird. Others find it a forced cutemon whose Heavy Sleeper gag prevented it from properly developing. Rowlet became an especially huge subject of debate during the Alola League, where it fell asleep in the middle of battle; not only did it nearly cost Ash the match, but it showed that he had failed to curb Rowlet's bad habit after all this time, needing to walk directly onto the field and wake it up. While some thought this was a humorous Bait-and-Switch that was in line with Rowlet's character, others feel it was Plot Armor that strips the league of its legitimacy.
  • 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 Necrozma. The other half hates him for his bratty behavior and for not doing 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. His subsequent release at the end of the Necrozma arc followed by his return in the League fully-evolved offscreen just in time for Ash's only full battle in the Sun and Moon series only flared up a different side of this debate, as while some people feel his strong showing during the exhibition match with Kukui redeemed his previous role as The Load, others feel that having him return after offscreen improvement was very sloppy writing that just dropped a strong Pokémon on Ash's lap without him needing to train Poipole (not helped by Meltan having just evolved into Melmetal not even a couple episodes before, again without input from Ash), and the fact that it only coincidentally returned for the final major battle of Sun and Moon and then left afterwards without Ash having any say in the matters made his return feel forced and ruined the finality of their initial farewell.
  • Lana's Eevee, Sandy. Many love it for its Keet personality and giving Lana her long needed second Pokémon, others complain about Sandy doing too little under Lana's care, especially after the buildup in its mini side parts before the capture, and would have better suited filling the missing slot in Ash's Alola team rather than being regulated to comic relief. That fact that other more relevant Water-type Pokémon such as Dewpider appeared beforehand that Lana could have caught doesn't help. That this was the third time a female protagonist got an Eevee also garnered complaints as many people felt the repeated pattern of female companions getting an Eevee, despite the Pokémon being a Breakout Character, was getting stale.
  • The Shaymin adopted by Mallow. Some love it for its cuteness and Nice Guy personality (compared to the Bratty Half-Pint Shaymin of Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior) and acting as one of the more stagnant companions' de-facto secondary (as well as giving one of the companions a mythical Pokemon to balance the absurd amount of special perks Ash's Alola team had). Others complain about Shaymin not really doing anything besides acting as The Baby of the Bunch (making its addition do nothing to fix Mallow's stagnancy as a character) and feel that Mallow is undeserving of possessing a mythical Pokemon. It leaving Mallow at the very end of the series did it no favors, even with the implication that Shaymin was in fact the reincarnation of Mallow's deceased mother, with some finding it a cheap attempt at making it relevant at the very last second.
  • Ash's team from Journeys was criticized due to being Out of Focus for a while, and this caused some fans to question their strength as a whole due to the two Great Class montages around the middle of the series. However, Lucario seems to be the most polarized after it evolved. While Riolu's capture and its evolution were universally loved and it gaining the ability to Mega Evolve was also received overall positively because fans were waiting for this to happen for years, some fans disliked its post-evolution personality, saying that Ash's Lucario is too one-dimentional, bland, boring and that is cold and nothing else, that its evolution caused it to lose the cute personality it had when it was a Riolu, that it doesn't stand out in comparison to the Lucario that have appeared in the anime due to its serious personality and that its bond with Ash isn't clear due to the shortage of interactions they have outside of battles despite their connection via Aura. Some are even harsh on the battles that Lucario won, saying that its wins are rushed and have Plot Armor and that Lucario is undeserving of its status as the ace of Ash's team or to be the Pokémon that Ash can Mega Evolve, saying that it came of nowhere, the lack of interations between Ash and Lucario don't make it believable in spite of their Aura bond and the fact that there was no on-screen training to master Mega Evolution when Lucario managed to stay in control the first time it was used on-screen, while its idol (Korrina's Lucario) had to go through a great deal of trouble just to keep its powers under control and avoid going berserk, thinking that someone of his old Pokémon like Charizard should have gained the ability to Mega Evolve instead (Charizard, although with two different Mega Stones like Mewtwo, Heracross, Sceptile and Glalie can Mega Evolve, and as of Journeys, Gengar can also do so, but its mechanic became Gigantamax shortly after). It didn't help that some of the new posters of the Masters 8 and their respective ace Pokémon replaced Pikachu with Mega Lucario, which only seems to exhacerbate Lucario's mixed reception. Other fans don't see those issues to be that a big deal and like how Lucario is involved in the funny moments when it can't keep its cool, how much it has grown over the course of the series, that its ability to Mega Evolve makes it stand out in comparison to other aces that Ash had and how it becomes more open in showing affection towards Ash later on, saying that while Ash's Lucario is mostly serious, it's not just a cold and stoic Pokémon that loves to battle.
  • Cynthia's (Mega, specifically) Garchomp. Some viewers would have preferred Cynthia to stay gimmick-less to uphold her image as one of the strongest champions who runs purely on skill, while others see it as a testament to her skill and it makes her an even more fearsome opponent. While it was expected Cynthia would beat Iris in the Masters 8 tournament, some feel using Mega Garchomp cheapened her victory as Iris herself does not use Mega Evolution, Z-Moves, or even Dynamax.
  • Goh's Grookey is either seen as being cute or funny, or a very obnoxious and troublemaking waste of space who creates more problems than it solves and is useless at anything but trying to be cute or funny.

    Movies 
  • Molly Hale is either seen as one of the best antagonists in the anime with the concept of a grieving 5 year old being given ultimate power making for a compelling Anti-Villian or a girl that is too cruel and selfish to feel sorry for even with her given age and doesn't deserve to be so easily forgiven
  • The Iron Masked Marauder. People either admire him for his voice (courtesy of the ever-hammy Dan Green), his cool design, and for posing a genuine threat, or view him as a boring villain with a generic motive and loads of wasted potential.
  • The Manaphy from the 9th Movie is seen as a great character whose bond with May elevates the film or an annoying Damsel Scrappy that recycles the worst parts of Togepi and saps away screentime in May and Max's final film.
  • The Shaymin from the 11th Movie is either seen as an adorable Tsundere with a strong character arc that makes it stand out from other cute Legendaries or an Ungrateful Bastard who's whining and unexplained telepathy makes the film a slog to watch.
  • Zorua is either a cute and interesting character, or almost completely insufferable.
  • Kodai. Some hate him for doing things that many consider far too bleak and horrible for the series, while others love him for that exact reason.
  • Alva is seen as a Flat Character who, like many Pokémon movie villains before him, has no backstory, personality, or motive beyond greed. Then there are those who would look past this because of his "forced Mega Evolution" gimmick.
  • Sorrel and Verity. Some see them as fine characters in their own right that combine the better aspects of a few of Ash's companions, while others feel that they lack enough character to be memorable and just see them as inferior replacements for Misty and Brock. Some take a third option and feel while not the most intersting in "I Choose You" couldve been fleshed out had Ash not parted ways with them in the end
  • Cross. Those that like him feel he is a good Composite Character of characters like Gary, Paul and Damian. Others hate him for replacing Gary as Ash's first rival and for his design being likened to a bad DeviantArt OC.

Manga

    Adventures 
  • Red. Fans either love him for being the original hero, or hate him because they find him to be The Generic Guy among a main cast full of characters with more interesting personalities.
  • Yellow is seen as either a perfectly fine character or hated due to her unique powers and Red String of Fate with Red.
  • Blake is a rather controversial character (at least in the West) with fans either disliking or appreciating his emotionless and cold Mr. Perfect personality, to say nothing of those who dislike him for replacing Black.
  • Shauna is a rare case of a non-Dexholder example. Some find her pessimism, a complete 180 degree flip from her game canon counterpart, to be off-putting. Others find it refreshing and point out that it makes sense given what happened to X.

Other

    GO 
  • Ever since the Team Leaders' official artwork has been released, Spark has been pretty hotly debated. Many fans say, especially compared to Blanche and Candela, that he looks like a dweeb and the least threatening of the three. However, some people are drawn to him exactly for that reason, he's the only one who actually looks like he's enjoying himself while the other two look awfully serious and severe.

    TCG 
  • Charizard, for reasons similar to the games. It's one of the most popular Pokémon, its inclusion in a set always drives sales, and fans tend to get hyped whenever it gets a new rare printing of some kind. However, many other fans are sick of it constantly getting new cards to the point of Wolverine Publicity, lambast the fact that most of its cards are utterly unplayable, and blame it for the lack of variety in some sets as well as for some low-quality expansions such as Champion's Path that serve no purpose other than to motivate collectors to gamble for Charizard (not to mention it also motivates scalpers to snatch up sealed product).
  • Rainbow Rare cards, which are either visually stunning and sought-after or visually underwhelming and only serve to inflate set numbers, especially considering that all of them reuse the artwork from full-color versions of the same cards. The ones in the Sword & Shield sets at least try to be more visually distinct, with a special holofoil pattern that shifts between sparkles and etching depending on the viewing angle. Many fans grew sick of them during the Sword & Shield era, with almost every Pokémon VMAX and VSTAR getting a Rainbow Rare variant while distribution of the much better-received alternate art VMAX cards is more inconsistent (stopping entirely from Brilliant Stars onwards aside from Trainer Gallery cards), and VSTAR cards don't have alt art variants at all. Despite this, some Rainbow Rare cards continue to be well-received and sought-after, mostly any Pikachu and Charizard variants.


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