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.
- 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 Tier-Induced Scrappies 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.
- 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 700+ 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.
- 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 started to label it as "overrated" or having unwarranted popularity and attention.
- 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).
- 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 an arse) 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.
- It's a hot topic to discuss whether or not Crobat's existence redeems the Zubat line, or is just as rotten as its predecessors.
- Whitney is liked for being a Badass Adorable trainer or disliked for the sudden Difficulty Spike her boss battle brings, no thanks to her Miltank. Her crying and refusal to give you the badge after a hard-fought battle until you talk to a trainer in the Gym only adds fuel to the fire.
- The Generation IV evolutions of older generation Pokemon. 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. Possibly as a result, only Eevee has continued to receive new evolutions, though some Pokémon do have regional variants with new evolutions as of Generation VIII. 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 criticism from the other half for making the Legendary status seem less special.
- Barry. Some people find him Adorkable and a worthy rival that does try to get tougher at the same rhythm as you do and undergoes some important Character Development that lets him take it more seriously. Others think he's incredibly annoying and not nearly as badass as Blue in Gen I and Silver in Gen II.
- Team Galactic. Some view them as an entertaining team with a Crazy Awesome goal led by the decently written threat Cyrus. 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.
- 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 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.
- Surprisingly, for a first in the series, all of the generation's starter lines are this:
- 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 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, alleviating some of the flak they received and vindicating the line for good.
- 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 VII-, 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, 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 into the quadrupedal, Sea Lion-esque Samurott, is also especially contested; some people think it looks badass and has a good movepool, while others argue it's a large departure from the initial two forms, on top of 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.
- 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 have the highest base stat totals 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.
- 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.
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 (and let's just leave it at that). Its typing is also contested since it gives Delphox five typing weaknesses, and its rather shallow movepool 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.
- The case with Honedge's family has to do with 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 BSTnote 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 dropped the nerf-hammer on it, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 anime season 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 beloved 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.
ORAS - Pokémon
- Mega Sableye. While its ability and stat boosts make it a fantastic Stone Wall and Gradual Grinder 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 that, in addition to another pseudo-legendary getting a Mega Evolution and that it became overpowered.note
- 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's the game's Bonus Boss with 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.
Fairy-typeEver since its introduction, the Fairy-type has drawn a lot of consternation from the fanbase for various reasons:
- The type's sudden introduction. Some people are actually welcoming of the type, since the last time new types were introduced were the Dark and Steel types in Gold and Silver. Other people argue the type wasn't necessary and that there were already enough types, with the introduction of the Dark and Steel types being more justified due to the more powerful engine compared to Red and Blue.
- Its publicity. Fans of the new type enjoyed the shilling they received to make the type more known to audiences, seeing the amount of Pokémon that were introduced and/or retconned. Detractors pointed out that the type's publicity reached levels of Wolverine Publicity, and left behind many new Pokémon that were introduced in the same generations.
- Being retconned onto pre-existing Pokémon families is a point of contention within itself. Pokémon such as the Clefairy, Snubbull families and Togepi were all made pure-Fairy type, while Jigglypuff, Mr. Mime, Marill, Ralts, Mawile, Cottonee, and several others were made secondary type, which can cause cases of Damn You, Muscle Memory! when you try to, say, attack a once normal-type Clefairy with a fighting-type move, or a once pure Psychic-type Ralts with a Dark-type move. In Gold and Silver, Steel was only retroactively added to the Magnemite family, and no pre-existing family was given the Dark-type later on (Alolan forms notwithstanding), which makes some wonder why Game Freak couldn't have just made more new fairy-type Pokémon instead of retconning no less than twenty Pokémon to be an entirely different type.
- The competitive balance it brought, which is arguably the most divisive point in recent times. Some fans of Gen V breathed a sigh of relief due to the type balancing out the broken stigma Dragon-types had in competitive play. However, most other fans have complained the type became too centralizing, with retconned Pokémon like Clefable, Togekiss, Azumarill and Mega Mawile, as well as new Pokémon like Mega Diancie suddenly rising in prominence to ludicrous levels, as the type provided significant leeway for them to wreak havoc. This became a larger issue come Sun and Moon with the introduction of Mimikyu, Magearna and the Tapus, as they all became dangerous in their own right (at the end of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon's competitive life, all five Pokémon have remained in OverUsed). Many people were happy to see the new type receive a lot of shilling and becoming a useful, badass type in competitive play, whereas many others were disgusted to see the type invalidate several fan-favorites that were once viable, such as Heracross, Salamence, Haxorus and Hydreigon, and that their overcentralization in the metagame reached its peak point during this time.
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 to absolutely nobody's surprise (because it happened in the previous two generations as well), 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. Other people don'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.
- 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.
- UB-02 Absorption/Buzzwole in particular has garnered mixed reactions. People either love it for being a menacing, towering bug abomination or hate it for its somewhat silly ridiculously muscular design that makes it look like someone's Stand. And, of course, some people love it because of said ridiculous, Stand-esque design.
- UB-05 Glutton/Guzzlord has also been a point of contention. Some people love it for its menacing, eldritch design while others find its design to be a generic, narmy one reminiscent of a 90's Monster of the Week. Similar to Buzzwole above, a third group of people love it because of its silly design. However, unlike the above-mentioned Absorption, Guzzlord is hated by a fourth camp for being rather poor in competitive in contrast to its beastly design, especially compared to the other Ultra Beasts.
- 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, but it's still a divisive Pokémon overall due to said design.
- The Rotom Pokédex. Some like it for being a cute and snarky Robot Buddy, others consider it a Small, Annoying Creature 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).
- 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). Her newfound confidence after her Significant Wardrobe Shift is also controversial; many fans find it to be well-done and endearing, while her detractors either find it overly 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 just being made of traits that make her more appealing to the audience rather than making her a more rounded character. 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 Pokemon of her own (besides Nebby), which can make it feel like you're her babysitter.
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 unwanted (which Rotom even lampshades) 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 has 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 hard to believe redemption, but that she goes from the first female Big Bad to The Heavy as Necrozma takes her former spot and then a Distressed Damsel 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, and that her sociopathic insanity and abusive nature were too over the top, and are glad that these games actually humanize her and makes her someone you respect enough to want to rescue.
- 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 reference to the historical British practice of mismatched fossils; 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.
- Hop quickly solidified into this. Some fans think he is a good rival because he gets some nice Character Development, has a solid (and dynamic) team compared to a lot of previous rivals, as 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 also 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).
- 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 and be nicer), 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. Also not helping matters is he suffers from being Out of Focus in the second half of the game, as well as not even being able to help during the final conflict (unlike Hop or Marnie).
- 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-Breaking Character 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.
- 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.
- Pikachu splits the base in almost the exact same fashion as his trainer, being inconsistent in both character and power. Some abhor Pikachu for being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad in and of himself, being slapped on every piece of merchandise, and/or refusing to evolve. Others praise and respect Pikachu as the Japanese equivalent to Mickey Mouse while finding him genuinely cute and entertaining.
- 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.
- Brock. He is well loved for being with Ash the longest, having great humor with his various RunningGags, managing to stay consistent in character, and staying powerful even after his tenure as part of the main cast ended. Others found the humor getting bland (especially by DP), his relevancy slowly diminishing to the point where he was considered obsolete, and felt his departure at the end of DP was for the good of the series and that it was time to move on.
- 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.
- May. She's either an improved version of Misty with more focus on her nicer aspects, or the attempts to replicate her tomboyish nature get her viewed as inferior to the original. However, the negativity surrounding her replacing Misty largely subsided once Misty appeared with her and they become friends.
- Dawn is either loved for being the likable Nice Girl, or viewed as a generic Suspiciously Similar Substitute to May due to their contest plots. Some even called her out for being too different from May.
- 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.
- 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. The retcon to Ash's backstory to include her was also controversial, as was her perceived lack of character aside from her crush on Ash, which was addressed in later episodes that tried to develop her character further, but then again, being the first female companion of Ash to actually kiss him, as well as being the first person to do it on the lips, may have upset the shippers.
- 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. For some fans, he's one of the most unique and interesting companions Ash 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 his Pokémon in very easy ways, 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 less like characters than previous main cast Pokémon and more like filled checkboxes in Goh's Pokédex. Similarly, his relationship with Scorbunny/Raboot 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 Pokémon, even with good intentions. 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, can lead some fans to consider 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. Complaints of being a Creator's Pet spiked notably in early 2021 after he captures a 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.
- Chloe Cerise. On one hand, people are interested in her for being wildly different from previous Pokégirls, her questioning what she wants to do in life and feeling pressured in following her father's footsteps and loving Pokémon just because he's a Professor. On the other, people criticize how Out of Focus she is compared to previous female protagonists, appearing extremely little in spite of being part of the supporting cast (with the opening suggesting Tritagonist status) and constantly showing that she wants nothing to do with Ash at all to the point she comes across as unlikable and one-note. Thankfully the writers were aware of this and gave her some focus episodes, JN029 and JN031 that address this problem and have her start warming up into liking Pokemon but then she once again fades into the background. JN049 officially makes her a Trainer and the preview for JN050 has her journeying to Galar so she finally will be gaining more focus.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Infernape. Great character and Character Development, or Spotlight-Stealing Squad who stole glory from Ash's other teammates?
- 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' Dragonite. Legitimate Badass, or a poor clone of Charizard that gave Iris undeserved victories?
- Ash's Greninja. In a similar vein to Infernape, was it badass ace who demonstrated an interesting connection with Ash or was it a Spotlight-Stealing Squad that stole the thunder of Ash's other Pokemon and whose very concept of Bond Phenomenon seemed weird and/or contrived? 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.
- 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 ruining the finality of their initial farewell.
- Lana's Eevee, Sandy. Many love it for its Keet personality and giving Lana her long needed second Pokemon, 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 Pokemon such as Dewpider appeared beforehand that Lana could have caught doesn't help. Then there's also that this is the third time a female protagonist got an Eevee got more divisive as many people think its gotten stale for female companions to own an Eevee despite the Pokemon being a Breakout Character.
- 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. Others complain about Shaymin not really doing anything besides acting as The Baby of the Bunch (making his 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.
- The Iron Masked Marauder. People either admire him for his voice, design, and for posing a genuine threat, or view him as a boring villain with a generic motive and loads of wasted potential.
- 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.
- Zorua is either a cute and interesting character, or almost completely insufferable, depending on who you ask.
- Some hate Kodai for doing things that many consider far too bleak and horrible for the series, while others love him for that exact reason.
- Sorrel and Verity, as well as Cross. Some see them as fine characters, others see them as Replacement Scrappies to Misty, Brock, and Gary—or creating an alternate timeline where Serena never moved to Kalos. Cross's design feels like a bad OC from DeviantArt to some.
- 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 cold and arrogant 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.
- 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.
- The various "Eevee-lutions" (Vaporeon in particular) are either loved because they're easy to get or hated because they're extremely powerful in comparison to other Pokémon which are much harder to obtain. Eevee itself counts too since some people love it for being a Breakout Character after multiple generations, or hate it because its spawn rate is too common for a supposedly rare Pokémon.
- Heracross being exclusive to South America. Many players have mixed views regarding a popular Pokémon based on Japanese beetles but being exclusive to South America. Some people think South America is a good place to catch beetles, while others wished it could spawn globally like its counterparts Pinsir and Scyther/Scizor. Few people even pointed out that this region-exclusivity rule should be kept for Mega Heracross, not normal Heracross (given its Mega form being based on Hercules beetles which are native to South America).