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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • In "Ditto's Mysterious Mansion", Team Rocket take Duplica's Ditto and say that they'll "have some fun [with it] before we hand it over to the boss!" Ditto is notorious for being able to breed with any Pokémon than can lay eggs. Then again, this episode was released before breeding became a mechanic.
    • In the original series episode, "It's Mr. Mime Time", there's a scene where Brock grabs Ash, asks him to "help" him, and then caps it off with Ash screaming when the screen cuts away.
    • In the second episode of Diamond and Pearl ("Two Degrees of Separation"), Brock says "These two men are gonna do it with or without a beautiful woman at their side!" with Ash's approval.
    • In "Ancient Family Matters!" Byron responds to his son Roark about how he loves how a hole was dug. It's easy to take out of context.
      Roark: Somebody dug this hole!
      Byron: I don't believe it! [long pause] I love this hole! [In response, everyone else facefaults]
    • In the second episode of Black and White ("Enter Iris and Axew"), there's the line "You can't find anything this jiggly in Unova!" that reads like an advertisement about the bounciness of Unova's women. This was also a TPCI English Dub dialogue change.
    • Serena wearing Ash's clothes. Where Serena's clothes went is never shown, leading it to either be a case of Dressed in Layers, or she changed into them while in Ash's tent.
    • A subtle Running Gag is how they make it look like small Pokemon are looking up a girls's skirt in certain angles. This is most infamous with Dawn's miniskirt, Serena to a smaller extent, and Lillie.
    • Episode 8 of Sun & Moon anime ("Lillie's Egg-xhilirating Challenge") has Ash asking Lillie if she wants to do some "practicing". He's talking about touching Pokémon, but Lillie's tone of voice and the look on her face afterwards make it look like she thought Ash was suggesting something completely different.
      Ash: Hey, Lillie!
      Lillie: Hm?
      Ash: How about doing some practicing?
      Lillie: Do you mean what I think you mean?
      Ash: Yeah! Let's practice touching Pokémon!
      Lillie: (mouth wide open) Uh....
    • In the Johto Journeys, the episode with the Ursaring explains near the end that the reason they've been aggressively attacking the characters is that it is their mating season and are trying to scare off anyone who gets in the way. Cue a pan up to the forest, where Ursaring are shooting Hyper Beams into the sky. Note that Hyper Beam from these Ursaring are massive beams of white shooting into the sky.
  • Adaptation Displacement: If you ask anyone who isn't a fan of the games (or at least Nintendo-savvy to a minimal extent) what they know about Pokémon, they will very likely answer with anime-exclusive information (i.e. the protagonist's name being "Ash", trainers being 10 years old, Pikachu being the "star" Pokémon, Team Rocket consisting of Jessie, James and Meowth, "Aim for the Horn", the Pokémon Theme or Pokérap, Pokémon Speak, etc.). Many Pokémon GO players brought in via the Newbie Boom are mostly familiar with the anime, and often use its storyline and depictions of Lugia and Team Rocket in fan concepts and parodies. The presence of Recursive Adaptations (including an animefied version of the original game) doesn't help; almost every game released nowadays uses Ikue Ohtani's voice clips for Pikachu rather than the original sound clips. The game protagonists' popularity also depends on whether they appear in the anime or not.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy:
    • Though disliked by her fans due to the perception of ruining Misty's character, Togepi's farewell to Misty was still rather depressing and heartwarming to them.
    • Kenny's send-off also made some people who were less than impressed with his antagonism sympathetic toward him.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: While the franchise as a whole has developed a diverse fanbase over time, after Takeshi Shuudo left the writers decided to pursue young children as their only real demographic. They often neglect elements that would appeal to older fans such as strong story, characters, and continuity, and often use Recycled Scripts due to the Fleeting Demographic Rule. However, it has always been true that the show is Merchandise-Driven and meant to be an entry point into the franchise.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Trip in the Unova League. Despite being built up as Ash's rival throughout Black & White, Trip loses to him in a 1v1 preliminary match, which also marked the only time Ash ever defeated Trip.
    • The conclusion to the Team Aqua and Magma, Team Galactic, and Team Plasma arcs all suffered from this. The battle between Groudon and Kyogre is pathetic and barely-animated, with Archie and Kyogre ending up going down way too easily. Cyrus and Ghetsis are not battled at all, and neither are the Legendaries under their thrall (Dialga & Palkia and Reshiram respectively), who instead get talked down.
    • Averted by Team Rocket in Unova and Team Flare, with Giovanni and Lysandre both bringing things to truly apocalyptic levels before being taken down after a fierce, all-out brawl.
    • Zigzagged with the Aether Foundation arc. While the battle itself takes advantage of an Adaptational Badass Motherbeast and gets all the companions involved in a 2-episode struggle against it and Lusamine's Pokémon, most of the fights are considered to not be noteworthy, with only Lusamine's Absol managing to get an effective hit, as well as Nebby not even participating in battle and Silvally not doing what it was designed to do. The subversion comes in that Talking the Monster to Death is used less as a resolution and more to allow Ash and Pikachu the final blow. Though even that is contested.
    • During the Necrozma arc, the elite force of Team Rocket known as Matori Matrix is built up as a major threat for the arc, with one of their members even shown to have a Mega Aggron capable of defeating enemies in one hit. Not only do they never interact with the classmates, said Mega Aggron is ultimately defeated quite abruptly in only one move by having Kukui's Incineroar use Malicious Moonsault on it, which then prompts Matori Matrix to abandon the fight.
    • Ash's battle with Hapu. It's effectively the same as an eighth Gym battle, typically the culmination of Ash's main arc pre-League, however, the battle being 1-on-1, Ash using Pikachu instead of the underused Rowlet and Torracat and the battle, itself, not even starting until halfway into the episode contributed towards the battle being underwhelming. This was compounded by very few strategies used and Pikachu's victory by splashing Mudsdale with regular seawater to make it weak to Electric attacks (something that, even with a Hand Wave, has never happened past the infamous Brock Gym battle) and ending, as usual, with Gigavolt Havoc, making the fight lackluster.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • Ash's quest To Be a Master has been going on for over twenty years now, and he's still got nothing to show for it. Heck, he's still 10 years old; some say that he looks younger than when he started. It doesn't help that with each new arc he hits a Reset Button on his team, his Pikachu's level, his own experience as a trainer, and that he never catches particularly many Pokémon each region (if you consider that one of the qualities of a master, it's never clearly outlined). Compare this to Gary whom eventually quit his journey and got a job as an advanced Pokémon researcher under his grandfather's prestigious name reviving dinosaurs from fossils. It takes him 22 years to finally win a Pokemon League Conference and even then, that's only the first step to becoming a Pokemon Master.
    • Johto took 160 episodes. Compounded by the fact that there was only one main quest (Contests and the like would not be introduced until the next season). Some contend that the Whirl Islands Tournament and Special Guest arcs could've been removed, but that would have had the tied-for-4th longest gap between badges (27 episodes) succeeded by what would have been the shortest gap (1 episode, usurping Kanto's Boulder-Cascade's and Marsh-Rainbow gaps of 2).note 
    • Sinnoh lasted 191 episodes note , and is to date still the single longest arc in the anime. It also holds the record for both the longest and second longest gaps between Gym battles, with 31 episodes between Gardenia and Maylene and 52 episodes between Candice and Volkner.note  Granted, in these gaps we had the buildup and resolution, respectively, of both the Contest and Team Galactic arcs, and the first further justified by the distance between those two Gymsnote , but that still meant that the main quest was demoted to C-Plot status twice.
    • Sun & Moon only ran for 146 episodes, but nevertheless is believed by some fans to suffer from it. The beginning of the series was mostly spent with a rather laidback pacing that focused more on trying to capitalize on the new format to focus on some unique fillers that couldn't be done in previous series. While said pacing was seen as being rather balanced between progression and less important episodes up to the Akala arc, the period after that (the Ultra Adventures part of the series post-Aether arc in particular) had a rather massive drought of important developments happening, with not many major captures aside from Ash's Poipole which was released roughly 20 episodes later after never being involved in battles save for a few semi-serious instances, no evolutions beyond Ash's Litten and Mallow's Steenee, and no major milestones beyond the short Ula'Ula and Necrozma arcs (the latter of which felt remarkably self-contained in terms of story importance). While the subsequent Ultra Legends season heightened the pace of important episodes, with more battles, team changes, and story and character development (including the long-awaited debut of Team Skull Boss Guzma), some fans feel this started going too far in the opposite direction, with a lot of characters obtaining notable boosts in quick successions in a way that felt contrived. This wasn't helped by the fact it became obvious that the characters received them so they could complete in the Alola League.
      • The trials. With huge gaps in between each of Ash's trials (albeit to deal with other plot points), it makes what most consider the main plot feel relegated to C-Plot status.note  Its a bit more glaring than in previous series due to the fact that Ash isn't Walking the Earth and normally stays put on Melemele Island where he attends school (with occasional visits to Akala). Basically Ash advances his Island Trials when the writers feel like they showcased the newest game plot point and tie-in long enough.
  • Archive Panic: One who wants to watch all the episodes of the anime better be prepared for tons of sleepless nights, or at least several breaks, since there's so many episodes. Even if you restrict yourself to the dub, which cut out many episodes from the Japanese original, there's still tons to get through. And say you still decide to just restrict yourself to one arc? The official DVDs for the Kanto arc alone have 78-79 episodes, depending on the edition you own, and that's after removing a few episodes here and there.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Many an attack has had its power mitigated by introducing strange physics into battle at the writers' convenience — in the rematch for the Thunder Badge, Pikachu safely No Sells Raichu's Thunderbolt by balancing on its tail and using it as a ground to divert the electricity.
    • The very well known "Aim for the horn!" trick used during Ash's first fight against Blaine, which somehow allowed Pikachu to ignore the Ground-type Rhydon's immunity to Electric attacks by aiming for its horn. While Ash didn't win the match due to this, it's still easily the most well known example of the writers' disregard for the games' rules.
    • During the battle against Tate and Liza in Advanced, Pikachu uses "Thunder Armor", an improvised move that has him use Thunder on himself and Swellow to increase their power and speed (WITHOUT even damaging themselves) and let them beat Lunatone and Solrock with an Electric-infused Aerial Ace. It comes out of nowhere with no real foreshadowing, and the technique is never used again.
      • At one point in the Advanced saga May had Bulbasaur use a Razor Leaf to divert an incoming Fire Blast. No explanation is given for how this works, as the leaves should burn up due to the fire.
    • Some Pokémon captures that are just suddenly given to certain characters without any explanation whatsoever could be viewed as such. Brock's Zubat that he caught off-screen at the entrance of Mt. Moon, and James' Weepinbell that he apparently left at Butch and Cassidy's fake Breeding Center, are prime examples of this.
    • During the climax of the Aether Foundation arc, Ash's Electrium-Z spontaneously turns into a Pikashunium-Z, allowing him and Pikachu to unleash 10000 Volt Thunderbolt against the Motherbeast. No explanation for what happened is given, and the Pikashunium-Z returns to be an Electrium-Z after the move. This isn't helped by the fact that it keeps happening later and never gets an explanation.
    • Hidden Power has been vaguely used to reverse certain situations: usually an attacking move, it's also used to heal Brandon and his Regis.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Each generation seems to fix individual complaints from the series before it:
    • Advanced Generation, after the initial controversy of Misty being removed from the cast, fixed a number of issues from the padding that Johto introduced, making the plot move forward quickly with both Ash's Gym badges and May's Contests (with this well-received after Misty's own character being relegated to very little in Johto). On top of this, a stronger focus on a smaller team that prevented the Hoenn Pokémon from getting the shaft the way most of Ash's Johto team did helped, especially with his old Pokémon getting A Day in the Limelight during the acclaimed Battle Frontier arc.
    • Diamond and Pearl as a series addressed the issue of a lack of rivals for Ash that the Advanced Generation series showed by bringing in not only three major rivals for Ash, but Paul, who is widely praised as Ash's best rival to this day (despite his Base-Breaking Character status) for the way he pushed him, all the way down to their 3-part battle (an event never seen before or since). It likewise addressed the relatively lackluster Contest arc of Advanced Generation by making the competition in Sinnoh more fleshed out, much tougher and requiring Dawn to constantly train as opposed to what some saw as May's lucky wins. Even Team Rocket, mainly Jessie, had more moments of being legitimate opponents compared to Hoenn, here managing to make the Grand Festival and get all the way to the semifinals.
      • It also was the first series to seriously tackle a villain plot from the games, with Galactic largely praised and setting the tone for further integration of a strong villain plot in later series.
    • Best Wishes, for all of its issues, helped to instate a swifter pacing approach taken in later series, as well as making Team Rocket an integral part of the plot for at least the first 100 episodes, rather than just Ash's stalkers. It also limited their appearances where they would simply not show up for a few episodes, allowing for more variety of plots that don't involve Team Rocket being shoehorned somewhere and could have the twerps feel more proactive to the story. The abundance of rivals and smaller tournaments, and an equal balance of the three companions in terms of cast involvement in episodes also helped, especially after Brock’s general uselessness through most of Diamond and Pearl.
      • Within the series itself, the final half did gradually try to fine tune the controversial new dynamics and characterizations to make an even balance. Ash slowly regained some of his former competence while keeping his more humorous side, Team Rocket by contrast regained their old personalities and roles as the buffoonish main villains, while still offering more creative and challenging schemes and occasionally taking a backseat for twerp-exclusive stories. Iris humbled into a less arrogant character without losing all her spunk. Cilan remained mostly stagnant, though this was still considered an improvement over Brock's eventual demotion beforehand.
    • XY corrected many of Best Wishes' faults by giving Ash a smaller, condensed team as in past series, rather than the rotation of multiple Pokemon, restoring his competence as a skilled trainer rather than a rookie while maintaining Team Rocket's ability to take the main characters to task in the early parts of the series (until the heroes began to outpace them in strength). Add to this that Ash finally obtains his first fully-evolved Water-type starter Pokémon, and Bonnie is seen as, at least, an improvement over Max as a Tagalong Kid, since she has a direct impact on the plot in the end.
      • The Mega Evolution specials played a part in this, as well, not only introducing a deuteragonist in Alain that catered to the Periphery Demographic, but also tied into the widely-praised Team Flare plot. In the end, the Specials showed how a villainous plot could be built up over the series (even if not intersecting with the main characters until the final third) and still end with an emotional and intense five-part finale that undid the damage of the Kalos League for some.
    • Sun and Moon can be seen as this to those who disliked either aspects of XY or those who were tired of the formulaic nature of past series, namely the fact that Ash is far more expressive (compared to his more goal-focused personality in previous series), a larger focus on individual Pokémon relationships, sparser, more progressive usage of Team Rocket as an antagonistic force, and giving Ash and other main characters Z-Moves right from the very first episode (where none had Mega Evolution in XY besides Alain), along with more Call Backs and Continuity Nods, up to and including a guest appearance by Brock and Misty, compared to the relatively self-contained XY. To some, Ash’s stationary location at the Pokémon School is also a factor, especially since it downplays the use of One Shot Characters in favor of a recurring supporting cast. Finally, the series' deviation from formula also allowed Ash to make several breakthroughs as a trainer, such as officially catching mythical tier Pokemon for the first time and, most iconically, finally winning a Pokemon League, likely in response to the massive backlash over Ash not winning the Kalos League after massive Arc Fatigue began to set in within the series.
      • With the English dub, one of the biggest complaints was that the original Japanese soundtrack was getting replaced more and more often, especially once TCPi took over, to the point that by XY, almost none of the original OST would make it into the dub. Starting with Sun and Moon, the dub started fixing this in two ways: 1) It started using the Japanese OST for the more important parts of some episodes (Poipole's farewell, Bewear vs Pheromosa) and 2) had the dub make music that was arguably more fitting than the Japanese soundtrack in some instances (Episode 21 in particular getting praise).
    • Pokemon (2019) can be seen as continuing the Breaking Old Trends approach Sun and Moon began while fixing some of the biggest gripes people had with Sun and Moon. The first teaser announcement confirmed right off the bat that the series would be visiting every region, not just Galar, further shaking up the show's formula while putting the focus back on adventure after some fans felt turned off by the focus on slice of life and wacky hijinks of the Alola series. The art style was also tweaked after the major backlash the Sun and Moon artstyle got (especially for what it did to Ash), meeting the original style and the animation-friendly SM style in the middle, with Ash himself more resembling his better received The Power of Us look.
      • On another note, one of the major complaints of Sun and Moon was that the Pokémon School, in spite of being the big hook of the season, was fairly underutilized with very few plots related to it or time spent focusing on the lessons, making it seem more like an excuse to keep Ash stuck in Melemele than a core part of the show, alongside never giving a straight reason for why Ash choose to enroll and baffling old fans about why a veteran trainer would need to go to school now, especially with Ash's wanderlust being an important part of his character. Pokemon (2019) fixes this by making Ash a research fellow for a Pokémon Laboratory and ensuring that the region-hopping premise is due to Ash's work for it, making it a proactive part of the show alongside showing clearly why Ash got the job in the second episode. The new role has also been better received by the fandom for feeling more in-tune with Ash's characterisation.
    • The anime in general tends to fix the complaints about how useless the adults (mainly the gym leaders and Elite Four) can be in the games. Lance is more useful in the two-part lake rage episode with the red Gyrados (with Pryce saving Ash and co the last minute). Norman is useful in helping Ash and co stop Team Rocket, Maylene helps out Officer Jenny in one episode against Team Galatic, while the recurrent Officer Jennys of the series assist the cast multiple times. The best example of all was in the 4 parter episode of XY with Team Flare when all the gym leaders show up and help stop Team Flare's psycho boss Lysandre.
      • The attitudes of the gym leaders Whitney and Clair were changed to make them not act like Sore Losers whenever they would lose battles, especially the latter who would make the protagonist take a trip to the Dragon's Den to prove his/herself worthy of the last badge.
  • Awesome Art: If there's one element of the show that is praised for consistently improving upon it's the animation quality, with XY in particular providing a larger selection of much sharper and more fluid battle and action scenes, with SM expanding on that with a looser art style that enabled the team to cut corners in order to churn out far more expressive animation on a regular basis. Note the attention to detail is often no less, animator Iwane Masa'aki tweeted he thought he would die making a scene in "Faba's Revenge!".
  • Awesome Ego: Gary is incredibly smug about his abilities and knowledge as a trainer during the original series, but the way the show portrays him is so over-the-top it's hard to not enjoy it. Even though he's only a 10-year-old he has his own car, a group of cheerleaders that always follow him around, and he was able to get 10 badges to qualify for the Indigo Plateau even though only 8 were required. This lead to several memes such as GARY OAK to declare how awesome he is.
  • Badass Decay:
    • In the first season, Gary was always three steps ahead of Ash, rolling around the region in a Corvette with teenage cheerleaders, acting like a total jerk to Ash whenever they met, flaunting his superiority. Then after a Break the Haughty moment occurs when he loses a big match, Gary is far more modest and humble out of nowhere, only lightly teasing Ash for the rest of his rivalry.
    • When introduced, Brock was a cool headed Gym Leader and a genuine threat. After joining Ash and Misty, his character became softer and comedic, with his battling became less frequent (and more prone to suffering The Worf Effect). Just by looking at his previous most used Pokémon (Onix) and one of his last teams (Happiny and Bonsly), one can start to notice the difference. Generally most return appearances after his tenure as main character tend to subvert this and showcase his competent side more often, in particular his two returns in Sun and Moon where he could hold his own against powerhouses such as Kiawe and Olivia, even if his comedic lovesick persona is still very prevalent.
    • Jessie's Lickitung. It was one of the most powerful Pokémon they ever owned; it easily defeated Ash's Bulbasaur, Brock's Vulpix, and Pikachu, before it was eventually defeated by Misty's Psyduck. In later appearances it was defeated easily by Ash's Pokémon, especially Pikachu, who previously couldn't even harm it.
    • In-story case. Ash's Charizard was repeatedly trashed, demeaned, and outshone during the episode featuring the Charicific Valley, in order to justify Ash leaving it behind. However, it should be noted that unlike most examples, Charizard is still seen as one of Ash's strongest, coming back after that moment to not only defeat Clair, Gary and injure Harrison's Blaziken, but also becoming the first of Ash's team to defeat a Legendary. Given the head Charizard of the valley was implied to have a crush on Ash's by a later episode, he supposedly evolved out of being The Runt Of The Litter.
    • Turtwig. In his first major battle, he was able to beat a Rampardos that's more than four times his size. Then writers turned him into a Jobber to make Paul (and by extension, Infernape) look stronger. Torterra was meant to still be considered strong, but beating nobody except Team Rocket seriously weakened his cred.
    • Team Rocket during Black and White took a level in badass, and had become a viable threat. But then in X and Y, they went back to being a Goldfish Poop Gang (if a slightly more formidable one than before).
    • Goodra and Noivern seem to be heading this way. Prior to getting Put On The Bus, Goodra was able to win Ash his 5th gym badge and save his homeland. Meanwhile, after evolving, Noivern was able to give a Zapdos a run for its money. Come the Kalos League, neither Pokémon is able to get a single straight win in both of Ash's full battles.
    • Downplayed for Kiawe who, similar to Brock, started off as a stoic and cool headed battler in the early parts of Sun and Moon, though shortly after, his personality became increasingly comical as the battles became less frequent. However, he did retain his skill level whenever the plots became more intense (such as the Akala and Poni Island trips and the climax of the Aether Foundation arc). This is particularly noticeable in the Alola League, as he was the only other main cast member besides Ash to make it all the way to the semifinals.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The Johto episode "Hocus Pokémon". The gang helped a magician, Lily, find ingredients in order to help her complete a spell that would allow her to understand Pokémon speech. Ash volunteered to be the guinea pig, but the spell ended up turning him into a Pikachu instead. The spell carried over into the beginning of the next episode As Clear as Crystal, but wore off after a few seconds.
    • Also from Diamond and Pearl is the evil Togepi episode "Where No Togepi Has Gone Before!" that had the main cast randomly sent to space for a few minutes (which included a cameo from a Rayquaza).
  • Bile Fascination: The episodes in which Ash loses a League, particularity the Kalos League, gained this reputation by the curiosity of the backdraft generated by fans.
  • Bizarro Episode: Several Sun and Moon episodes qualify due to the huge break in formula and even many episodic plots being far more random or unusual than the usual format of the show. In particular, the seventeenth episode in the series is A Day in the Limelight for the Rotomdex, seeing it play Clueless Detective after Ash loses his Electrium-Z crystal.
  • Broken Base: Has it's own page.
  • Catharsis Factor: Regardless of the debatable quality of the League itself, finally seeing Ash win an official game related Pokemon League after 22 years of trying and failing was major catharsis for those who stuck around since the start way back in the 90s.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • Gary's starter is commonly mistaken to be Eevee, the first and only Pokémon he sends out against Ash for a long time. This is also fueled by Eevee being the starter for the rival in the anime-inspired Yellow game. He actually started with Squirtle, which won't be shown until his confrontation with Ash in the Silver Conference as a Blastoise.
    • People like to assume the reason Ash doesn't evolve some of his Pokémon, especially Pikachu, is because he wouldn't let them. However, at no point was Ash ever against his Pokémon evolving—he enthusiastically welcomed it every single time it happened. Even with Pikachu, in the two episodes that Ash considers evolving him (Electric Shock Showdown and Pika And Goliath), Pikachu has been the one that refuses the offer, even in a dream (Dream a Little Dream from Me!), and Ash keeps him as a Pikachu to respect his partner's wishes. In addition, the other unevolved Pokémon in the series also refused evolution (Ash's Bulbasaur and Dawn's Piplup), or their time simply never came (Everyone else).
    • Following Ash's loss in the Kalos League the rumors that they had hired the "BW writers" for it flared up, along with the constant saying that "XY hired new writers". However, the series, until Sun and Moon, always had all the same writers (Tomioka, Matsui, Yonemura, Fujita, etc.) since the original series with no "BW writers" or "XY writers".
    • Following Ash's victory in the Alola League, a common sentiment among certain fans has been to refer to him as a Champion, putting him on par with estabilished game ones such as Lance and Cynthia, and expressed frustration over the fact that the following series doesn't appear to directly acknowledge it. Thing is, as clarified by the well-known translator Dephender, this is born from a misunderstanding of what Ash's title actually means. Ash is consistently referred to as the Champion of the Alola League, while in the past Champions were consistently referred to in Japanese as the Champions of the X Region, and the way Ash has been referred to doesn't have a prior example with in-game regions. Considering the fact that even in the last few episodes of Sun & Moon Ash is allowed to leave the region without much fanfare and he didn't appear to gain any responsibilities towards the region, the title seems to more closely match up being just a League Conference Winner (such as Tobias and Alain) or the very similar Orange League Champion title (which, much like Alola's, didn't come with responsibilities nor taking over a position of authority).
  • Complete Monster: The whole Pokémon franchise now has its own list, seen here, where you can find the examples from this anime.
  • Contested Sequel: Sun & Moon to a higher degree than any past series. Fans either praise it for breaking from a stale formula, having a much more expressive art style, animation and cast, its lighthearted and comedic tone and its focus on slice of life, or dislike it for being directionless and poorly paced, several old and new characters being mishandled or poorly represented, the downgrade in battle presentation, and seemingly putting more focus on incidental stuff than what should be the main plot. There's little middle ground to be found.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Harley is considered a walking Law of Disproportionate Response to everything (becoming May's rival because she didn't think his cookies tasted good enough, for starters), and he only gets crazier and more awesome after his repeated failures against May.
    • Some of Gible's funny moments slide it into this at times such as eating away at giant mechanical robots, or even one particular moment where he located a certain lost Piplup on purpose with its Draco Meteor.
    • Anytime Team Rocket get to be competent, expect them to also be this. "Dressed For Jess Success" takes the cake. It wasn't enough to have James pull their first Team Rocket Wins episode. He had to do it cross dressing as Jessilina the entire time.
    • Ash can be this when he pulls off any number of unconventional moves in battle to pull out a victory.
  • Creator's Pet: Dawn's Piplup. He's a whiny, spoiled toddler and a high and mighty Control Freak Spotlight-Stealing Squad that took over Pikachu's turf by staying out of his Poké Ball in almost every single episode. What contributes is the fact that it got at least twice as much Character Focus as any other Sinnoh Pokémon of the main cast in the DP saga, besides Chimchar.
  • Creepy Awesome:
    • Conway remains an Ensemble Dark Horse well after the end of Diamond and Pearl due to his hilariously disturbing demeanor (A Badass Bookworm strategist frequently framed in Scary Shiny Glasses while speaking in a Creepy Monotone) and equally creepy awesome Pokémon.
    • Jessie's Mimikyu runs off the sheer hatred and contempt of Pikachu because of how much love he gets. Fans love this for being somewhat of a Take That! to the species while being highly disturbing, especially the animation of the disguise ability.
    • Guzma's Golisopod counts, if its menacing giant isopod-samurai-tank design along with a brutal fighting style that makes Mimikyu look tame doesn't make it a huge Ensemble Dark Horse more popular than it was. Then its English Dub voice went from a soft sounding Pokémon Speak to a more monstrous sounding version of it further emphasized it which fans have absolutely enjoyed it.
  • Creepy Cute: Many of Team Rocket's Pokémon are supposed to be menacing antagonists to Ash and his friends, but at the same time, they're just as cute and endearing as the protagonist's Pokémon.
    • There are many pokémon that can qualify as this. Of particular note in recent years is Jessie's Pumpkaboo/Gourgeist in Kalos, whose true face is just a couple button eyes and an expressive mouth. It has Cute Little Fangs as Pumpkaboo as well.
    • Jessie's Mimikyu is portrayed as a terrifying creature due to its intense personality, but remember that its still a tiny little costumed creature.
    • James' Mareanie. Get under the starfish-like tentacles, and she's actually pretty cute.
  • Critical Backlash:
    • After the huge backlash stirred up by Ash's loss at the Kalos League, some fans who saw it as a Foregone Conclusion were confused by the amount of vitriol it stirred up, and found it ridiculous that some people claimed that it retroactively ruined the whole Kalos series.
    • When the Sun and Moon anime trailer was first shown, there was a massive Tainted by the Preview among the fanbase, due to several factors such as the overly "gag show"-ish nature, Ash's hideous face, the removal of Serena, the much more "rounded" animation style, Ash's hideous face, the fallout and resentment against the anime due to the Kalos league, the school setting, and Ash's hideous face. Then when the first episode was released, many fans retracted their opinion, as while Ash did become more wacky, he still was competent, and while the storytelling was more comedic, it managed to win some fans over with its different approach. Despite this, the show was still very controversial due to the other reasons above.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • The many times that attacks have worked on types they should be immune against, with the prime example being Pikachu's Electric attacks damaging Ground-types yet are easily brushed off by types that are weak to it on more than one occasion.
    • A large number of moves, especially those that are defensive in nature, are shown working very differently than they do in the games, like Light Screen and Reflect being able to outright block attacks as opposed to halving damage, Safeguard also being a glorified Protect instead of just blocking status moves, and Heal Bell being used to calm Pokémon to stop them from fighting. Though in later seasons, most of these moves are depicted much more accurately.
      • The move Aerial Ace is drastically different from its game counterpart. Aerial Ace is meant to be a swordfighting technique that can be learned by pretty much anything with claws or talons but is only used by Flying-types in the anime as a glorified Tackle.
      • The first couple of times Dragon Rage is seen in the anime, it takes the form of a massive cyclone as opposed to in the games, where it is simply fairly weak breath attack. A Dragon-type move that actually takes the form of a twister would later be introduced in Generation II, and Dragon Rage is more accurately depicted from then on.
      • Pokémon moves that exhaust the user afterwards, or need to be charged up beforehand, are very rarely ever used properly throughout the anime since the writers tend to ignore the downsides of said moves in favor of faster or well paced battles. What you're left with is witnessing exhaustion moves, like Hyper Beam, not tiring the user out after firing one off, or how charge-up moves, like Sky Attack and Focus Punch, get activated almost instantly.
    • The 4Kids and (to a lesser extent) TPCI dubbing companies are prone to compounding this with translation mistakes, such as:
      • Getting attack names wrong, calling certain Pokémon the wrong names, stating the wrong evolution chains and so on.
      • The 4Kids dub-added Trainer's Choice misspelled many Pokémon names, got the Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors wrong on multiple occasions, and once asked "Which Pokémon evolves into Seviper?" They claimed Arbok does, but in reality, Seviper is a fully-contained 'mon that doesn't evolve from or into anything.
      • The 27th episode of Advanced Generation, "A Three Team Scheme," was one of the biggest examples of 4Kids glossing over stuff that appeared in the Gen III games. Not only did they mistake Tabitha of Team Magma and Shelly of Team Aqua by calling them "Harland" and "Isabel" respectively, they also ended up calling the Red and Blue Orbs as the "Rose" and "Indigo" Orbs. These errors are fixed in later episodes.
      • One of the earlier episodes in both versions confidently stated that Pinsir evolves into Tauros. They don't, and aren't even remotely similar in design to warrant the confusion.
      • On more than one occasion, the Fire-type has been referred to as the "Flame-type", and at least one of these occurred late in the Johto arc. You would think at least the voice actors would have caught that one.
    • A trainer ordering a Scizor to "finish it off with False Swipe." In this example's defense, the anime portrays this exactly like what would happen if you tried to finish a Pokémon off with False Swipe as Ash's Heracross wasn't actually knocked out by the attack. Critical Research Failure would have been a lot worse had the knock out actually happened, but the question still remains if the creators at the time forgot that False Swipe doesn't defeat Pokémon.
  • Critic-Proof: For all the complaints critics and older fans have for the series and the movies, nothing they say has an impact on their success (Word of God even says this is by design — right as the current demographic is disillusioned, the uninformed/carefree next one starts to tune in, keeping the cycle going). The movies in particular never had a continued slump until the Kalos era, whose movies were relative disappointments and the lowest-grossing of all (though still making a lot), and still managed to make a large comeback with the next film.
  • Designated Monkey: Ash in the Sun & Moon series is seen as this for some people. While past series did give him some Butt-Monkey qualities, the comedic and slapstick tone of Alola means that he ends up receiving far more comedic abuse than even his co-protagonists, such as in episodes like the Ride Stoutland (where his Stoutland ate his pants while the others were all serious) or the Pokemon Center episode (where Ash is forced to crossdress while Kiawe and Sophocles are not for seemingly no reason other than humor). Given that Ash is still the usual Nice Guy he's always been for the most part in SM and rarely deserves such punishment, treating him like a punching bag feels undeserved for a part of the audience.
  • Designated Villain:
    • An Orange Islands episode involving a school of wild Lapras has, as its villains, a team of what are essentially pirates who are leaving the local police on edge by tracking a herd of wild Pokémon and then... weakening them with Pokémon they already have and tossing Poké Balls to capture them. In other words, exactly the same thing every trainer ever does. All the episode has to go on for why this is a bad thing when these pirates do it is mention of a "no-capture zone". Not even that Lapras are rare and endangered and need to be left alone to keep from going extinct, which would make sense with what its Pokédex entries have mentioned - no, just an arbitrary no-capture zone in the middle of the ocean with no actual reason specified for its existence.
    • Guzma's tactics in the Alola League (positioning Kangaskhan's child between her and his Scizor so Kangaskhan hesitates to attack, and having Golisopod use Throat Chop on Lana's Primarina to prevent it from using Sparkling Aria) are treated with shock and contempt by the cast... Even though those are valid strategies and Guzma isn't breaking any rules. Zigzagged since Lana does point this out after her defeat when the other students object to his style, while the Kahunas and Kukui's objections with Guzma are more his overall callousness towards his opponents and the league itself than how he wins, never once threatening him with disqualification.
  • Dork Age:
  • Ending Fatigue: The quick pace of the Unova season plus the Executive Meddling that surfaced during the development of Black 2 and White 2 resulted in the last 5 months prior to the release of the Gen VI games having an Orange Islands/Battle Frontier-style round of pure, aimless island-hopping filler, only without a pseudo-tournament like those arcs had. The subsequent ratings drop shows the extent of the wear and tear.
  • Even Better Sequel:
    • You can't get a universal sentiment with this fandom, but a fairly common opinion about Diamond & Pearl is that it took everything Advanced Generation did right (Ash being Older and Wiser, a secondary female protagonist whose quest alternated with Ash's, a more balanced focus of Ash's regional team including better handling of the regional bird, a subplot with the regional evil team, etc.) and combined them with more serialized storytelling and a true rival in the form of Paul, resulting in an even stronger season in the process.
    • While technically the same series, the XYZ season arc of the XY series was an improvement over the previous two years of the series in terms of momentum of an ongoing Story Arc and paying off elements that were getting slowly built up before, with the writers going out of their way to also avoid the pratfalls of the third year of Best Wishes: Season Two.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Mewtwo. While not a truly "evil" character, it's also praised for its dark backstory and being a chilling portrayal of the original ultimate Pokémon, and even more for its surprising character depth in the Japanese version.
    • Pokémon Hunter J. While clearly one of the worst human beings in the show, she's got plenty of Rule of Cool going for her and happens to be pretty damn effective in a show that is starved for competent characters.
    • The evil Malamar are also loved by the fandom for the sake of being a rare example of truly evil Pokémon.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Sabrina, with her miniskirt outfit.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • Paul's abuse of his Pokémon later gets downplayed as simply being "a different training style" than Ash, and that Ash should learn to respect their differences.
    • James's grandparents approve of their grandson being part of a criminal organization in Sweet Baby James, and even hope for his success in the future.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Internally, it's pretty much Original Series fans vs. Diamond & Pearl fans vs. X&Y fans vs. SM fans whenever the debate of the show's best series rises up. The former will always be attacked for not aging well by the others, and the latter will always be attacked for many of the choices made that differ from the previous series.
    • Then there's animé fans vs. Pokémon Adventures fans and game fans, both of whom chide the animé for its unchanging formula, staying focused solely on kids when other iterations of the franchise manage to attract and maintain an older Periphery Demographic, and taking often questionable liberties with the original games' stories and characters. Animé fans defend their show for its expansion on the locales and characters, and they point out similar problems with the opposing media (such as the games having a rarely-changing formula and Adventures applying Adaptational Villainy to many characters).
    • Fans of Pokémon Origins and Pokémon Generations, both of which are less juvenile and Truer to the Text of the games than the main animé, are likely to argue with animé fans over what the "better" animated iteration is, in artstyle, tone, storytelling, etc. To a much lesser extent, there's also the fans of the animated trailers to certain games, which are closer to the aforementioned miniseries than the animé.
    • Yo-Kai Watch fans and Pokémon fans are prone to butting heads over whose show is better, particularly in regards to their English dubs. This only escalated when Sun & Moon retooled the series into a slice-of-life-comedy series with a different art style; Yo-kai Watch fans accuse this of ripping off their show, while Pokémon fans argue that the change was made specifically to compete with Yo-kai Watch.
    • There was once a pretty big one back in the late 90's with Pokémon and Digimon. Even though the two had nothing in common with one another aside from being Mon series marketed towards children and also served the purpose of being a marketing vehicle for video games and virtual pets respectively, there was definitely the argument of "which one was better" among parts of both fandoms. The Japanese fans of each don't care; there's plenty more shows like that over there, especially during that era, but in America you were either a Pokémon fan or a Digimon fan; it's possible to like both, but no one could admit it at the time. It also didn't help that the ailing Fox Kids attempted to mimic the success of the former to compete with Kids' WB!, up to and including having Patamon, who had some minor similarities to Pikachu, serve as an unofficial mascot.
    • When it was revealed that, after twenty years, the anime was moving to a Sunday slot in Japan to be a part of a new family block, fans of the Pokémon anime began a rivalry with Sazae-san and Chibi Maruko-chan of all series'. Pokémon fans were worried the two anime would eclipse Pokémon in viewership. note 
  • Fan Myopia:
    • Sun and Moon fans tend to overly praise the series for supposedly changing everything for the better, calling it the best series out of every region. They also have a habit of dismissing anyone who harbors any criticism as a hater or someone salty from Ash losing the Kalos League. This comes with being ignorant of many of Sun and Moon's flaws such as the more fluid animation and "better" art style being mostly wasted on comedic expressions instead of battles, the shying away from battling in general outside of the trials, which are few and far between, and many questionable writing decisions that fans feel weigh down the impact of many important episodes (the Alola League being where this problem became most apparent). These fans became far more vocal after Ash won the Alola League, intensifying the split between fans into becoming "fans from every prior series vs Sun and Moon fans".
    • To a similar extent, XY/XYZ fans claim that the series is flawless for engaging in the Periphery Demographic and making Ash a badass, touting fans who criticize it as having bad taste. This comes with ignoring that series' flaws such as Ash's newfound badasseery coming at the cost of some of his personality, making him feel more like a Vanilla Protagonist. Serena being a Love Interest, while widely loved by these fans, also gets some flak for being built off of a Forgotten First Meeting and with her coming off as a Satellite Love Interest.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • The fact Ash was confirmed to still be 10 years old at the start of Black and White was NOT accepted by anyone who believed Ash was just in a slow aging process (Example: Ash aging one year for every three years of real life or two years every region).
    • A set of fans tend to dismiss the Orange Islands, Battle Frontier and Alola as actual Ash wins.
      • The Orange Islands tend to be dismissed because they were a filler saga created only for the anime, despite being the arc where Ash captured Snorlax and finally got Charizard to obey him, and both Pokemon would play a big role in giving Ash future victories, such as the one against Gary at the Silver Conference.
      • The Battle Frontier, despite existing in Pokemon Emerald and actually playing a role in Ash's rivalry with Paul in the following season, is dismissed as another filler event.
      • Alola's status as the first 'official' League victory is disputed by some fans for several reasons, among them the Lighter and Softer nature of Sun and Moon (which always treated battling as a minor concern at best, with several episodes not featuring any battling at all) and the lack of several of the usual hallmarks of a Pokémon League such as badge-esque entrance requirements and a very limited number of Pokémon per match, alongside other complaints such as Ash's fluctuating competence level, the writing seemingly rigging several matches in his favornote , and the fact that several of the other trainers who made it to the tournament portion weren't portrayed as particularly strong, all of which contribute to dampening the feeling of the Alola League being on the same level as any of the previous ones, with some going as far as to consider the aforementioned Orange League a worthier achievement.
  • First Installment Wins: Older fans tend to defend the first season (and occasionally the Orange Islands/Johto seasons that are a part of the same series) as legitimately good or at least an enjoyable Guilty Pleasure compared to the later seasons, due to them not having as strict an adherence to the formula. The formula is still there, just not as blatant as later on in the show's lifetime. It also features some episodes that seem downright bizarre now, which may add to the appeal for some.
    • The first series also remains the most iconic of franchise. The show's image developed in the mind of the general audience during that era and has stuck there since. When most people think of Ash's traveling companions, they think of Misty and Brock; when most people think of Ash's rival, they think of Gary. This is despite the fact that Misty and Brock haven't traveled regularly with Ash in over a decade (nearly two decades in Misty's case) and Gary stopped being his rival at the end of Johto.
  • Fountain of Memes:
    • Brock's anime characteristics such as his fondness for women, being able to tell each Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny apart, having his ear pulled for flirting with women by Misty then Max, and eventually being knocked out cold by Croagunk have all stood the test of Pokémon fandom time.
    • Team Rocket's various antics, costumes, and plans have all generated their own memetic appeal over the years.
    • Gary Oak doesn't just have his anime memes, but his game counterpart Blue's memes as well due to his large fandom.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • The Advanced Generation episode Shaking Island Battle! Dojoach VS Namazun!! had a Whiscash cause an earthquake, trapping Ash and his friends. One week before the episode was set to air, the Niigata region of Japan was struck by an earthquake and the episode was permanently shelved. A month and a half after that in the Indian Ocean...
    • Due to Japan being quite prone to earthquakes in general, moves that involve either a realistic earth-shaking effect or having a name reminiscent of said Natural disaster (Earthquake, Fissure and Magnitude) were banned from ever being used in the future after the 2004 Niigata earthquake - probably to minimize the risk of Harsher in Hindsight and Too Soon kicking in for local viewers (now moreso than ever, given the now-infamous controversy with the perma-shelved Rocket/Plasma two-parter of BW).

    G - L 
  • Gateway Series: A fair few anime fans and fans of other Pokémon incarnations started with this in their youth.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • In Japan, Pokémon: The First Movie showed that Pokémon stories could entertain adults as well as children through compelling characters and interesting storylines - which was one of Takeshi Shudo's goals from the beginning - and the next couple of films followed suit. In the US, the film was dubbed as a straight-up kids' movie (mainly due to 4Kids bowdlerizing the film by changing Mewtwo from a complex character trying to find his purpose in life, to a generic "destroy the world" villain, most likely due to the belief that kids would find the plot too confusing) and only became popular with adult fans years after its debut, but either Pokémon 3 or Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew more or less filled this role instead.
    • Advanced Generation was seen as a general improvement over the Original Series after a initial rough start: Ash was generally smarter, the pacing issues were amended by having May seek Pokémon Contests out, and the animation improved over the previous seasons. Some fans say it was a case of this trope from the start, while others hold up the Battle Frontier segment of Advanced Generation as stronger than the earlier Hoenn-set episodes; this is mostly due to the season's brisk pacing note , Ash's Grovyle evolving into Sceptile and becoming a true powerhouse, Ash making frequent use of his reserve Pokémon, and most significantly, Ash actually seeing his goal through for once by defeating all the Frontier Brains.
    • The Mega Evolution specials themselves follow this pattern. Act I focused more on action than story, and mostly served as an introduction to the new cast of characters. Act II introduced more backstory and plot elements, including a Plot Twist for fans of the games that the main character is working as an Unwitting Pawn for Lysandre, secretly the leader of Team Flare. It helped that these specials appealed to the Periphery Demographic, and were later tied into the main series.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In Battle Aboard the St. Anne, the captain decides to "test out one of the life boats". Then take a look at what happened in Korea in 2015.
    • One city in the Kanto saga features mass disappearances of young children. The culprit for this missing persons case? Hypno, who would later gain a reputation for being a Memetic Molester. In Sun and Moon, Faba even uses a Hypno to forcibly erase Lillie's memories, furthering this.
    • "Volcanic Panic" has Ash and co. try to stop the eruption of Cinnabar Island's volcano. In Pokémon Gold and Silver, Cinnabar Island has not only erupted, it's buried the whole island. There was only one year in between the Japanese debuts of the episode and the game.
    • In "So You're Having a Bad Day!", Bonnie receives a fortune saying she's going to have her "worst day ever". This episode was first aired in the US on July 11, 2015, which, for many Nintendo fans, did indeed become a very bad day when Satoru Iwata died.note 
    • During the penultimate episode of XY, Olympia predicts that Kalos will be facing a great crisis. She's actually referring to the events of XYZ, but one real life month later, Paris was struck with terrorist attacks.
    • It is not uncommon for Pokémon Center to be portrayed as an ultimate healing service, even being able to cure cancer from humans. But by the time SM021 rolls around, a Stoutland is brought there, and Nurse Joy couldn't do anything as it's dying from old age.
    • James fabricates a fake childhood story in the episode “Holy Matrimony” that has him freeze to death while his Growlithe, Growlie watches and howls in despair. Fast forward twenty years later in Pokémon: I Choose You!, Sorrel reveals that his Luxray died freezing to death when he was a child.
    • Mallow lashing out at her father and running away becomes even harsher when it's revealed that her mother died when she was younger, and Mallow lashed out angrily at her before her death for always apologizing for getting sick.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • The episode "Noodles; Roamin' Off!", Meowth discovers his Fury Swipes are intricate enough to make him a talented cook and is offered a Friend or Idol Decision to leave Team Rocket for a successful noodle business. He ultimately stays with the team, though said skill remains a Chekhov's Skill throughout many of Jessie's coordinator escapades, even winning contests and showcases. A talent that nearly had him abandon his teammates for business ventures instead helps one of them with their own.
    • In a sense, nearly all of the Team Rocket trio's idolizing and yearning for Giovanni's respect becomes heartwarming when they finally achieve success in Black and White and become respected agents, even managing to save Giovanni's life at one point.
    • Pretty much any rare praise or encouragement Ash got at the start of the series about his potential to become a good trainer becomes heartwarming by the later periods of the anime, especially by XY where he verges as The Ace for his current team.
    • Both voice actresses for Ash noted Greninja's departure scene in XY to have been emotional for them, helped partially due to the tragic coincidence of them both losing pets shortly before voicing the scene (a dog and a cat for Rica Matsumoto and Sarah Natochenny respectively). Come the next series, two of the Pokemon Ash captures and develops affectionate bonds with are Rockruff and Litten, a dog and a cat.
    • These line from the very first Japanese Pokemon opening became this after Ash's long treck over the course of the animes history to him finally winning the Alolan League.
    "Chase your dreams, keep them close, they'll eventually come true. So it's said in all those songs and childhood stories. And I know just like flower buds eventually will bloom, that all my dreams will soon come true."
  • He Really Can Act:
    • No matter which language you're watching, there is one consistent; Team Rocket's actors can make you laugh and cry.
    • For the TPCi dub, Sarah Natochenny has really stepped up her voice-acting ability as Ash ever since her early Battle Frontier days.
  • Ho Yay: A lot of Ash and Alain's dialogue to and about each other can come off this way, which also isn't helped by the fact that Ash is the one who ultimately triggers Alain's Heel Realization about Team Flame, not to mention his internal dialogue about Ash during their match with one another.
  • Hypocritical Fandom:
    • To an extent. A lot of fans criticize the series' use of Pokémon Speak, but when Pokémon Speak is used for characters in more "mature" series (such as for Groot or Hodor), fans love it and the Pokémon Speak character likely becomes an Ensemble Dark Horse. Though it should be noted that when this trope is used in other works, is only applied to a single character as some sort of personal quirk, while the series applies it to its entire fauna.
    • Fans will, inevitably, complain when the show does anything different, and also when it doesn't change enough.
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: Pick any two characters. There is a ___Shipping name for them. The more complete lists have thousands of entries. Here's the list.
  • Iron Woobie: Ash Ketchum never wins any regional tournament, is constantly chased by Team Rocket for his Pokémon, has to see friends go in separate ways to achieve their own dreams and has even died temporarily multiple times. But that never stops him from taking joy in his adventures and forming meaningful relationships with the people he knows, not to mention he saves the world on a yearly basis through The Power of Friendship and Heroic Resolve. It takes a lot to make Ash depressed, but when that happens, he always finds the strength to soldier on.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: This is one of its biggest criticisms, as not much has actually changed in the show's 20+ year run:
    • Every episode hits the same beats as all the others, and the plot resolutions are very predictable. Even the deviations from the norm (like Gym Leader battles) have their own norm that rarely, if ever, is broken. The lack on any overarching plot does not help at all (To Be a Master does not count as a plot to some when the main character is perceived as being no closer to his goals than when he started).
    • The movies get this treatment too. One can count on a typical Pokémon movie consisting of Ash and friends teaming up with the current "cute" legendary or Lucario clone to help save the world from either a human villain or a scary Pokémon that turns out to be not evil, but just misunderstood. Or a human villain and a scary Pokémon that's not really evil.
    • One of the many recurring elements is the backstory for most of Ash's Fire-type starters; they all get abandoned by their abusive trainers, meet Ash, become his Pokémon, and eventually confront their former trainer in some fashion.
    • Ash never being able to win a Pokémon League has not sat well with a lot of fans, given how long the show's been running for. This feeling started gaining ground when Tobias, an enigmatic trainer who uses legendaries, appeared out of nowhere during the Sinnoh League. The feeling continued to gain steam with the Unova League when Cameron, who was already widely despised, defeated Ash with a 5-on-6 handicap. The fandom's outrage reached a fever pitch with the Kalos League when all the hype surrounding the final match made it seem like Ash was finally going to claim a complete League victory against Alain. This was finally averted in Sun and Moon, with Ash finally claiming a League victory.
    • The moveset of Ash's Pikachu has kept the same 3 moves (Thunderbolt, Quick Attack, and Iron Tail) ever since the days of early Hoenn, which can end up feeling somewhat stale after awhile since it leaves Pikachu's 4th move to be the only one that ever gets swapped out. Pikachu dropping Volt Tackle for Electro Ball in particular received some backlash when it happened since doing so just ended up giving Pikachu another long-range electric special move alongside Thunderbolt. Pikachu learning Electro Web as of Sun and Moon does serve to counter this, s it functions differently from most of Pikachu's other moves, allowing for more versatility and creative battling.
    • Lana's Eevee, Sandy has gotten this, not only it's the third time a female companion has gotten an Eevee in spite of it being a Breakout Character especially after Serena's own and it's personality is eerily similar to Ash's Poipole in the worst ways made Sandy one of the more divisive Pokémon during the Sun & Moon Saga.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • Ash never wins the regional Pokémon League. Until Alola. All of social media, including the official Pokemon Twitter, was all over that within moments of it happening.
    • Serena kisses Ash in the final episode of XYZ.
  • Jerkass Woobie: While the Team Rocket Trio may be a pain for Ash and friends to deal with, they also have to go through a lot of humiliation throughout the series; and while most of it is played for laughs, there are a few times where one can't help but feel bad for the three. For starters, Meowth was abandoned and left to die before he could even talk, and at some other point, he feels he was never meant to be happy. And although Jessie is the meanest of the bunch, she was bullied through most of her life and her mother, the one person she loved more than anyone else was killed in an avalanche. And James, the friendliest of the trio who nearly froze to death as a child after running away from his oppressive home. He also becomes broken when he's forced to leave behind a few of his Pokémon, such as his Chimecho. The three are always struggling and more often than not, they only have each other and their Pokémon with them.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: A few fans of that stopped watching the show admitted they got back into the series during XY because of either Ash's status and competence and/or Amourshipping.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Pretty much every main character has a long and storied history filled with options to be shipped with, including with each other.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Non-deadly examples:
    • Practically once every year during the Diamond and Pearl seasons, there was an episode wherein Team Rocket would either break up or actually quit following Ash & Pikachu to do something legit. It never sticks. They did it again in Black and White, culminating with Meowth joining Ash's team for a few episodes! But once again...
    • Another reused episode plot involves Ash and Pikachu facing off against a trainer with his Raichu. Ash begins to doubt that Pikachu strength would be enough against such an opponent, but ultimately decides to go against it. This never sticks due to the fact that Pikachu is the Series Mascot.

    M - R 
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Giovanni is the boss of Team Rocket and discreetly the Viridian City Gym Leader. Giovanni approves of plans that he finds clever and supports agents that give him results. At the same time, Giovanni allows his less competent agents to do what they want if they don't get in his way. After the incident with Mewtwo, Giovanni tracked it down and captured the clone Pokémon to use as hostages before trying to force Mewtwo to obey his will. Discovering the Meteonite in the Unova region, Giovanni planned to use its power to coax business leaders and politicians into giving him power. Later on, Giovanni led the operation to capture Meloetta and use its power to control Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus. Possessing both cruelty and mercy, Giovanni never let go of his ambitions for world conquest.
    • Best Wishes: Colress was a perky scientist working for Team Plasma who sought to discover how to bring out strength in Pokémon. Colress invented a machine to control Pokémon as well as up their power. As the machines got destroyed, Colress recorded more data and upgraded to new machines. When Team Rocket attempted to persuade Colress to join them, Colress responded by successfully controlling Meowth, in spite of his resistance, and using him against Jessie and James. Arriving at the White Ruins, Colress forced N to give the Light Stone to Team Plasma by controlling Pikachu and using him against Ash. With Reshiram revived, Colress controlled it, all while marveling at the Legendary's power. Even upon arrest, Colress was still ambitious, as he planned on finding a way to communicate with Pokémon directly.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Gary Oak. From being one step ahead of Ash the entire time, to catching over ten times the number of Pokémon Ash does and getting 10 badges when only eight are needed.
    • Ash's Sceptile for being the only Pokemon in the entire Sinnoh League to take down Tobias' Darkrai, a feat that many fans attribute to him being one of Ash's most powerful Pokemon.
    • Bewear was already a powerful Pokémon upon its debut in the games, being able to destroy anything in its path by accident, but its anime counterpart ramps this up to the point where it can leap several bounds into the air and on top of buildings, and even run so fast that it can tread waternote . Bewear even manages to top this feat by running on water for at least three days without any sign of exhaustion, from Kanto to Alola.
    • Ash's Lycanroc for being the Pokémon that finally allowed Ash to win a Pokémon League based on the games, with some saying it's even stronger than Ash-Greninja.
  • Memetic Loser:
  • Memetic Molester:
  • Memetic Psychopath:
    • Cilan is often depicted as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who murders and eats his Pokémon, due to his catch phrases, "It's tasting time!" and "I caught a/n [X POKÉMON] with good taste!". Episode 19 introduced his rival, who claimed that Cilan was a monster when she battled him, complete with Slasher Smile. Naturally, this got more notice from the fandom: when he's not portrayed as her rapist, he's thought of as a psychological torturer.
    • Serena. One of the memetic depictions of her is nicknamed Yanderena. While this depiction is quite common among fans (from things like wanting to murder anyone who tries to get in Ash's pants), it exploded when a certain VA retired from voice acting. Said VA, Saori Hayashi, provided voice for Miette/Millefeui, Serena's rival who knows about Serena's crush on Ash and teased her repeatedly to the point that she threatened her that if she doesn't make a move, she will steal Ash from Serena. Prompt an image of Yanderena superimposed against the news.
    • Mimikyu from the Sun & Moon series, particularly since Meowth is constantly terrified of what it's saying and unwilling to translate it for anyone since he finds it too disturbing to repeat.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Paul. The way he's written and how the writers treat him encourage this somewhat. More specifically, Paul is written as a criticism of some competitive players, as he demonstrates a total Lack of Empathy, loves to gloat, and is strong enough to get away with it. A few of the less savory competitive players who otherwise cannot stand the show or its characters love Paul because they emotionally connect to him and see him as a role model, though how much of this is joking around is uncertain.
    • Similarly, Conway, who was intended to be a case of This Loser Is You. But again, it's rather botched in writing: if Conway's creepy attitude toward Dawn is meant to be bad and thus fans like him are bad too, then why does the anime staff go out of their way to show Dawn off? There's also the fact that in his first appearance, he and Dawn work together quite well in a Tag Battle tournament (more so than Ash and Paul).
    • A few fans of the series tend to root for Georgia over Iris regarding their petty squabbles and rivalry, while even a few even say that Georgia should have even replaced Iris as Ash’s female traveling companion. This is ignoring the fact that while Iris has her flaws, Georgia was written to be a meaner and nastier counterpart of Iris who gloats over her wins, blames others when she loses, and antagonizes everyone around her (she’s also even rude to Ash and Cilan on a few occasions, the characters that aren’t even jerks).
    • In a cross-media example, there's the Ash vs. Red debate. Yes, the side for Red brings up some good points... But they completely ignore Ash's accomplishments and qualities while playing up Red's. And that's not going into the fact that many fans treat Ash and Red (often conflated the Adventures and Origins incarnations along with the games) as two completely separate characters, even though Ash is clearly the anime incarnation of Red (A young boy from Pallet Town whose rival is Professor Oak's grandson).
    • Many fans liked the Mega Evolution specials for making a story and protagonist unrelated the main anime, and accused Alain's crossover into XYZ later (along with his infamous defeat over Ash in the Kalos league) to be hashed in. Word of God revealed that Alain was designed to be Ash's final opponent in the league from the beginning, and the Mega Evolution specials were merely to make him a fully realised character beforehand.note 
  • Mis-blamed:
    • Poor, poor, Porygon... the only reason it and its evolutions are banned (aside from a cameo here and there) from the show all together is because they were the Pokémon-of-the-week in the infamous seizure episode when it was actually Pikachu's Thunderbolt that caused the flashing red-and-blue images. What really rubs the salt into the wounds is that Pikachu has been featured in almost every episode since.
    • The Anime version of Erika has been widely disliked for her perceived unprofessional ban towards Ash challenging her Gym just because he didn't like perfumes. However, in the episode proper, at no point is it said that Erika approved of the ban: while she did approve having Ash rather aggressively kicked out from the perfume shop, this was in response of him insulting her shop and merchandise (which his friends made no objection of either). It was her staff that denied him permission into the gym over his earlier slight, and when Ash does manage to sneak into the Gym, Erika never mentions the ban at all and agrees to battle (even flat out saying that as a Gym Leader she's required to accept any challenge right before facing Ash), which all point out to her not having been involved in what happened. At worst Erika can be blamed for being a Clueless Boss who doesn't keep check on her overeager employees.note 
    • Fans who hate the way Ash lost the Indigo League often foist their anger on Ritchie. Opinion on Ritchie himself is certainly up for debate, but in this circumstance, the blame should be pointed at just about everyone else: the judge for ruling "fell asleep" as "knocked out", Charizard for disobeying, Team Rocket for capturing Ash, and Ash himself for not requesting a chance to let his Pokémon rest from said capture (most fans agree that having been kidnapped should be considered a circumstance worthy of delaying the battle, and his Pokémon being worn out is definitely a big reason he lost), and not having a full team of Pokémon to use (had Ash had six Pokémon on him, he'd have had another choice besides Bulbasaur and Charizard). Heck, all Ritchie actually did was happen to be Ash's opponent and not go down easy. These fans also forget that it was Ritchie who convinced the referee not to award him the match by forfeit.
    • The 2011 Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster catches the blame for pushing Team Plasma into an arc after the badge quest, as well as for some fans, dramatically changing (for the worse) a saga that started off strong, or at least decent. In reality, the production of sequel games instead of the usual third version is what caused the Plasma arc to be temporarily aborted and the series to change so dramatically. This also made the aforementioned two-parter a Morton's Fork, in that, if it did air, the fans would be on the writers for giving Team Plasma as short of shrift as they gave Teams Magma and Aqua. That said, it certainly didn't help matters.
    • As the years have gone by, TCPi has come under increasing flak for their music replacements, especially once Ed Goldfarb took over from XY onward. While the quality of the dub soundtracks is fair game, the real culprit behind the cutting of the Japanese OST is Sony Music Japan.Explanation 
    • With Sun and Moon a common misconception was criticizing the animation for making Ash and other characters look too different from how they looked in regions prior. While the animation isn't without it's haters for other reasons, it's actually the show's art style that was changed in order to improve the animation.
  • Moe: Various Pokemon and Humans have counted as this over time due to their Adorkable nature and cute designs, including Lillie, Snowy, Serena's Eevee, Goomy, and Togepi.
  • More Popular Replacement:
    • Halfway into the original series, Jessie's Lickitung was accidentally traded for a Wobbuffet, who quickly became a popular Plucky Comic Relief for Team Rocket and ended up a mainstay in the anime series, compared to Likitung, who made only sporadic appearances beforehand.
    • Dawn is this to her immediate predecessor, May, who was deemed by some a Replacement Scrappy to Misty for being too similar in personality while not living up to the original. In contrast, Dawn had a more refreshing straight-up Nice Girl personality and lacking the previous girls' tsundere side. While Dawn doesn't quite surpass Misty's popularity, she is still held in quite high regard by the fanbase.
    • Serena is this to Iris, who is one of the least popular female companions to date. While Serena is not without her detractors for her perceived Romantic Plot Tumor and for her never-before-mentioned Forgotten First Meeting with Ash, some of the fandom agree that she's an improvement over Iris. She also further won fans for having an arc of Character Development that helped to have her Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, although how it ended is a point of contention that you REALLY need to tread carefully around. Also, she's one of the few girls to kiss Ash, and the only female companion to ever do so, so she definitely has that going for her.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • "Char, Char, Charmander!"
    • Any time XY&Z would start playing.
    • Many fans of the Best Wishes series enjoyed Ash's Leavanny's voice.
      • Another "Best Wishes" example (which is also In-Universe). Fans (and the characters) enjoyed Meloetta's singing.
    • In Sun & Moon, Guzma's Golisopod in the English Dub counts. Not only did fans enjoyed its Creepy Awesome sounding Pokémon Speak, its right up there to Tessho Gunda's Blastoise as the most awesome sounding Pokemon.
  • My Real Daddy: Atsuhiro Tomioka, the head writer of the series from DP to XY, is considered by many to be one of the best writers in the series. For May, he wrote a large number of her major Contest episodes, including the one where she chooses to be a Coordinator in Advanced Generation and her entire return arc in Diamond & Pearl, thus playing a key role in defining her as her own character, rather than the expected Replacement Goldfish for Misty. In the same vein, while Takeshi Shudo defined a lot of OS elements and he's still highly respected by a section of the fanbase, Tomioka's contributions are valued as having some of the most mature writing of the show while tackling darker subject matters, with DP and XY being considered serious contenders as best series in certain circles. Even shows where Tomioka isn't the head writer tend to garner this reaction, with Litten's arc in early SM (completely written by Tomioka himself) being widely praised as one of the big highlights of the season.
  • Narm:
    • The early usage of Razor Leaf when it was performed by Ash's Bulbasaur looks terrible. The leaves just awkwardly swirl to the front from behind Bulbasaur's bulb, and don't look threatening at all as if the Razor Leafs are being pushed forward by a slight breeze.
    • The Orange League episode "The Mandarin Island Miss Match" puts in quite an effort to show off Lorelei's assets to the viewers. It's pretty much a given that you will be distracted with regards to how far the animators were willing to push it.
    • Throughout the Johto episodes, the Narrator will often claim that Ash and his friends are currently "on the road to Johto," which can come off sounding really odd when the group is already traveling within the Johto region.
    • Serena's reaction seen here is supposed to come off as a heartwarming moment during her reunion with Ash. Instead, the look comes off kind of hilarious due to how over-the-top her eyes are drawn here...and maybe even a bit creepy.
    • Ed Goldfarb's score for the XY dub caught many off-guard, especially those who grew up listening to Shinji Miyazaki's music, for being overly repetitive.
    • Zygarde's voice in the Japanese version. A bit silly but still fitting enough when he's in his Core form, but hearing that same high-pitched voice coming from the Humongous Mecha-esque Perfect Zygarde makes it a bit hard to take his Big Damn Heroes moment seriously.
    • The "Giant Rock" from the XY series. While technically an appropriate translation of the Japanese name (rendered as "Megalith" in fansubs), the name is impossible to take seriously after watching Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series and seeing the episodes involving the Tablet of the Pharaoh. One might almost expect to hear something like this:
      Mairin: Oh my God, a giant rock!
      Alain: Yes, clearly it was my destiny to behold this giant rock.
    • From the Sun & Moon series, Guzzlord's cries in the Japanese dub. Hearing the yelling of what sounds like a grown man come from what is supposed to be a horrible Eldritch Abomination is... jarring, to say the least.
  • Narm Charm:
    • A lot of the title themes and image songs in both the Japanese and English edits are ridiculously tense and dramatic in spite of their cheesy lyrics and the subject matter of the show itself, but damn if they're not catchy. Especially so for the original English theme, which wouldn't be out of place as an 80s rock anthem, and is adored by nearly every long time fan of the series.
    • The dialogue from Teams Magma and Aqua (whose schtick is that no-one knows what they're up to, but it must be baaaad) tries so hard to be mysteriously menacing that it goes straight past bad and into genius. It's hard not to laugh with lines like "If the experiment is a success, we'll be much closer to succeeding in our plot! Hahahahaha!"
  • Nausea Fuel: For some, many of the odd faces made by Ash and co. in the SM anime. This is especially evident with a shot of Ash screaming with his mouth wide open, which among other things, shows his uvula screaming alongside him!.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • There's a reason why Porygon, a.k.a. 'The Seizure Pokémon', is never seen in the anime anymore and its evolutions are never seen in the anime, period...even though it was Pikachu that actually caused the seizures in the Porygon episode.
    • Brock opening his eyes in an attempt to amuse Larvitar will never be forgotten.
    • Fans tend to remember Ash's failures better than his successes. "Ash will never win in any Pokémon League" is a common punchline, even though he had won the Orange Islands League (which, due to being filler, fans tend not to count, even if the creator's do) and has been able to come out on top in other competitions.
    • Pikachu's love for ketchup occurs in a total of one episode of the original show's run, yet it ends up becoming one of his defining characteristics (with the image of Pikachu crying over the "death" of its ketchup battle achieving meme status. It has been referenced in a few episodes of later series,and even had an entire ending revolving around it.
    • Ever since the Barboach/Whiscash episode that revolved around the Pokémon using Earthquake got banned before its initial airing, many Ground-type attacks such as Earthquake, Magnitude and Fissure have been established to never see the light of day in the anime to not have viewers be reminded of earthquakes that had struck Japan at some point in real life.
    • Serena is often treated by fans as walking scenery who only exists to be in love with Ash. While her development was slow, she has done some things, and her crush on Ash was only that big in the beginning. This especially holds true after her outfit swap and Important Haircut. Her kiss farewell is also a topic that's not going to be forgotten any time soon, whether discussed in a positive or negative light.
    • In canon, Paul's abusive trainer side was only really showcased through Chimchar, which he only insisted on training in spite of not being receptive of it because he wanted to unlock the power of its Blaze, but a lot of fans seem to believe that Paul extended said treatment to his whole team or released every Pokémon that failed to live up to his standards, which the series itself shows to not be true due to the occasional Pet the Dog moment towards his team, proof that several of Paul's Pokémon respect him, how none of the other mainstays of Paul's team were ever released even when they lost onscreen, and how the few other Pokémon he released were always either on the spot or in far more humane ways than Chimchar was (most notably giving his Azumarill to a younger trainer rather than releasing it in the wild).
  • Obscure Popularity: Everything outside of the original Kanto arc is this. The anime has millions of watchers worldwide and has been running for twenty years, but people outside of children and the dedicated fandom are often surprised to see that it's still on-going.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • The first time a Picnicker was depicted wearing shorts with her uniform was in "Pokémon Scent-sation", just over two years before Generation II.
    • Ash not aging was in effect well before the Best Wishes series; though Best Wishes was the first time it was brought up in the show itself, The Pokemon Company had confirmed it as far back as 2003, likening Ash to Mickey Mouse.
    • Several people complained about Ash's defeat in the Kalos League by claiming that there were several bits of foreshadowing aimed in that direction, usually bringing up his battle against Emmett the Furfrou trainer where he promised to win and the last Kalos League episode title including 'Kalos League Victory', claiming that said things were nothing but 'hype bait'. However, every past season had hyped up the possibility of a League victory to a similar degree, notably having Ash promise to his Lapras in Johto that he'd win the League and both Ash and Gary resolving to reach the first place in the tournament of victory during the Silver Conference, and past League closure episodes had similarly bombastic titles in Japanese (Indigo's last battle episode being called 'Pokémon League! Final Battle!' and Ever Grande's being 'Conclusion of the Fierce Fighting! The Road to Championship!!').
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • This series is highly well known for memorable one-shot characters, many of whom aren't even from the games. Many of these characters are considered far more appealing that the main cast (which in some cases is not hard to do), and while sometimes it is justified why we never see them again, other times it's not.
    • Gym Leaders: Lt. Surge, Erika, Koga, Falkner, Bugsy and Chuck (after which all Gym Leaders are featured in at least two episodes). Sabrina is hugely considered to be a One Arc Wonder, thanks to being such a memorably terrifying Arc Villain. Marlon and Cheren also count.
    • Elite Four: Lorelei, Bruno, Agatha and Bertha, and Drake.
    • Ironically, Steven Stone, despite being the Champion in Ruby And Sapphire, is reduced to one of these in the Hoenn episodes (he does return and is expanded upon in the Kalos episodes, where his personality is more similar to his game counterpart). However, in his home region, he was given a much different characterization (in particular, being hypocritical about Team Rocket digging holes in a cave, saying it would disrupt the Pokémon in the cave, as he blew a hole in the cave's roof), to the point that his one episode is rather infamous.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Team Rocket (Jessie, James and Meowth) as written by Takeshi Shudo can be considered one of the best parts of the show's history given his development of their origins, personalities, and even philosophy before Flanderization set in from Advanced Generation on, turning Team Rocket into a Goldfish Poop Gang. Some would argue that they never reached the status they were at when Shudo was writing them ever again.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy:
    • The episode "Electric Soldier Porygon", which has the notorious status of "that Pokémon episode that caused hundreds of kids in Japan to have seizures" rather than "the first (and only) time Porygon appeared in the anime".
    • The Episode N arc of Black & White is infamous for the fact that the original version of it was cancelled after an earthquake that hit the Tokohu region of Japan in 2011, and the fact that it is criticized for completely butchering the portrayal of Team Plasma (with their depictions solely being based on the Team Plasma from Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, with their Pokémon Black and White depictions completely removed save for N) alongside Ghetsis as a Generic Doomsday Villain.
    • The XY series will likely never live down Ash's failure to win the Kalos League. While Ash losing Leagues is nothing new, various signs (such as the episode's title, promotional material, and Ash's growth throughout the series) seemed to point towards him finally winning, and yet the rug was pulled out from under everyone. More so than any other League, this one suffered a huge amount of fan backlash across both sides of the Pacific. This also saw Alain, having before been a well-liked character, become a pariah among the fanbase for being the one Ash wound up losing to.
  • Periphery Demographic: Zig-Zagged:
  • Rainbow Lens: Go West, Young Meowth can be interpreted as a transgender allegory. Meowth defies the expectations of his species by learning how to walk and talk like a human being, only to be shunned as a freak by the one he was trying to impress. In the end, one of the reasons he sticks with Team Rocket even though they're not only criminals, but loser criminals, is because they actually accept him for who he is. Notably, this episode was reportedly the reason why the late Maddie Blaustein came out as transgender.
  • Replacement Scrappy: The anime is one of the longest running in history, so this was bound to happen at least once. Or several times:
    • All of the male companions to Brock, though Tracey was hit the hardest for temporarily replacing him in Orange Islands. Cilan and Clemont also get flack for permanently replacing him.
    • All the female companions past Misty will be this for some: May for replacing Misty, Dawn for replacing May, Iris for replacing Dawn, Serena for replacing Iris, and then a trio of girls (Lillie, Mallow and Lana)note  replacing Serena. It's an everlasting trend, unfortunately, not at all helped by the Ship-to-Ship Combat.
    • Among Paul's fanbase and others, Trip is this. His initial characterization — stuck-up and critical of Ash — was too similar to Paul's character, without the experience that the latter had. Even his design is a Palette Swap of Paul's with only minor differences of their facial features.
    • The second Mewtwo is VERY unpopular with fans due to her story's lack of originality and her replacing of the famous first movie Mewtwo.
    • May's Squirtle, due to being a poor replacement of Ash's beloved Squirtle from the first generation that lacks any of the charm and personality that made the original a fan favorite.
    • Every single one of Ash's rivals after Gary can be hit by this, mostly due to Gary's Memetic Badass status. Though it's not uncommon for people to cite other rivals as presenting a better rivalry than Gary.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Post-Togepi Misty to those who didn't like her Tsundere self.
    • May got criticized much less by Misty fans after the latter returned in Advanced Challenge and became fast friends with May. This also led the Advanced Generation/Ruby & Sapphire series in general to be rescued. After she returned not one, but two more times, fans of both characters were elated.
    • Bianca, after she Took a Level in Kindness in Nimbasa City, and one in Badass in the Clubsplosion.
    • For those who disliked her anime portrayal in DP, Cynthia's characterization in Black and White made some leeway in redeeming her. It helps that the preachiness was toned down some, with focus on making her a Cool Big Sis Mentor towards Iris.
    • Trip wasn't too popular until the Junior Cup, when he made up for his losses by impressively sweeping the tournament (with just Serperior). Losing to Alder and getting some much-needed Character Development also softened him up, making him a more likable person as well.
    • For those who didn't like Dawn, many found her very enjoyable in BW, where she received less focus and bounced off Iris and Cilan well.
    • Ash himself in XY. In BW, he displayed the worst stereotypes of his own character, and was hated for it. In XY, the writers made him a lot more competent and mature despite not actually increasing his age, and fans are a lot kinder towards him despite his bad reputation never going away.
      • Even then, some fans felt that Ash was a little too bland that season, but still appreciated his skill as a trainer. In Sun and Moon, fans of both sides got a compromise: Ash not only keeps his competency in battle from XYnote , but also becomes less bland, having more animated facial expressions, being more prone to Amusing Injuries. Though, he's still subject to Base-Breaking Character status.
    • While Ash's Pikachu never needed saving per se, as he wasn't a full-on scrappy, his single-handed taking down of both Alain's Tyranitar and his Metagross has caused many fans to remember why the little mouse was so popular in the first place.
    • While Whitney maintained her status as the toughest Johto gym leader, her tantrum did not carry over, giving viewers less of a reason to hate her.
    • Team Rocket started to earn the ire of the Western fan base for being a tired Goldfish Poop Gang for most of the Hoenn and Sinnoh eras. After an unusual stint as competent, serious bad guys in the Unova era was met with mixed results, Kalos made them comical again, albeit with a more palpable number of formidable moments and even omission from certain episodes to allow full focus on the heroes' arcs, making their shtick less repetitive than before.
    • Noibat got a lot of flak when it first appeared in trailers for taking Goodra's spot on Ash's team. However, it quickly redeemed itself upon first appearing as more than just a in-season rehash of Goodra's arc.
    • Bonnie was initially disliked for essentially being Max 2.0, but gained a slightly better reception after she turned out to be more supportive towards her brother than Max was to May, as well as not being nearly as smug. Then XYZ arc made her a plot-relevant figure and borderline Woobie, which elevated her in the eyes of many fans, although a few consider her a Spot Light Stealing Squad instead.
    • Sawyer was considered the most polarizing rival of the anime since Paul, being way too nice and a new trainer. The Kalos League battle with Ash was considered a highlight of the already divisive league. His scene where he cries over the loss won him over many fans due to seeing his emotional investment in the league.
    • Lillie was initially less popular than the other SM girls due to how radically she changed from her game self, who is rather popular. Her backstory being later expanded upon and the focus on her in the Aether arc won her quite some fans, though, even if she's still considered a Base-Breaking Character.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
    • Despite their Base-Breaking Character status in the West, the Team Rocket Trio are cheered for more than Ash due to being Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains and having surprisingly well-developed backstories (It was Takeshi Shudo's intent for Team Rocket to be more interesting than Ash).
    • Gary is made to be an unlikable jerkass in the beginning of the Kanto region. A few fans of the show, however, would root for him over Ash due to the latter being a rookie trainer, Gary being more competent, and alway being one step ahead of Ash. This is also due to Ash wrongly earning fournote  out of the eight badges in the Kanto region (while Gary rightfully earned ten badges) and winning some Indigo league challenges out of sheer luck and not skill.
    • Georgia is meant to be a rival and a meaner and nastier version of Iris, but a few of the fans of this show tend to root for the former when both Iris and Georgia will get into their petty squabbles. This is due to Iris’ flaws as a character (her catchphrase towards Ash and her being condescending). This is also due to Georgia being able to throw Iris’ catchphrase back in her face, and the fact that despitebeing a Sore Loser she made a good point on how Iris winning against her was unfair due to Dragonite being disobedient and not about Iris’ competence as a dragon trainer. It also helps that Iris even agreed with her eventually.
    • Guzma is clearly intended to be seen as a pathetic ruffian holding a petty grudge and trying to destroy Kukui's dream out of spite. However, as seen in Unintentionally Sympathetic and Strawman Has a Point below, lackluster battles and questionable decisions (such as Mallow wanting to quit her match against Lana, or Ash's extremely controversial victory over Hau) make people feel Guzma is right when he called the league a "schoolyard tournament for weaklings". And coupled with the fact that Guzma had the better battles so far, it makes people want to see Guzma winning the league unironically.

    S - W 
  • Saved by the Fans: The Team Rocket trio were planned to be Put on a Bus during Black and White (and their previous Pokémon team were Put on a Bus for that series). However fans of the trio, including those in the production team, decided against the idea, and so they were allowed to stay, returning to their fan-favored goofy personalities from previous seasons as their serious characterization had only been for the case of Unova being their final story arc. A podcast vote also asked for the fanbase's favorite Team Rocket Pokémon to return, with Wobbuffet back with the trio in XY.
  • Scapegoat Creator: When it was spread around online that the writing team for Black and White were behind Ash's loss in the Kalos League, many fans took up pitchforks and demanded their heads for screwing up yet another chance for Ash, essentially accusing them of being brought back just to do this. Other fans have pointed out that the writing team from Black and White is the exact same writing team of the entire XY saga, and that the majority of them have been on board since the start of the entire anime.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Pretty much everything after Kanto has a fair share of detractors, with the most common complaints being Executive Meddling, recycled plots or lack of major character development for Ash and Team Rocket. The eras most commonly accused of this, however, are Johto (too much Filler resulting in poor pacing, Brock and Misty's characters began to stagnate, and Ash's Johto team, aside from Bayleef, wasn't very well-fleshed out in comparison to his original Kanto team) and Black & White/Unova (Ash lost all his character development and reverted back to being a naïve Idiot Hero, Cilan and especially Iris were poorly received and viewed as inferior copies for Brock and Misty, the League storyline was mishandled, the Team Plasma story arc was too short, Charizard's return was a wasted opportunity, and Decolore Islands was essentially an entire arc of Filler that made Johto look eventful).
    • Funnily enough, despite both Johto and Unova generally being considered the show's weakest eras, where the rot sets in for them is the opposite. For example, while Johto's beginning and middle sections are widely perceived as uneventful and moving at a snail's pace, the last third (featuring well-received moments like the Larvitar arc, Ash defeating Gary at the Silver Conference, and the original trio's emotional farewell in Gotta Catch Ya Later!) is widely viewed as an improvement. In contrast, Unova is widely considered to start out as promising, addressing many fan complaints (Team Rocket's incompetence, Ash not catching enough Pokemon) head-on, but it starts squandering this potential around the middle, so that by the time of Decolore Islands the season was viewed by many as irredeemable.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Kanto gets the most praise of any region and many feel the show has declined greatly since then. However, others find that it hasn't aged well due to the Early Installment Weirdness. Others still also note that many of the problems later sagas have had their roots in Kanto.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The first episode is just loaded with these from the moment Ash first receives Pikachu, to the Spearow chase on Misty's bike, and watching Ho-Oh fly across the sky. The last of which has had several Call Backs throughout the series.
    • Ash's rivalries usually result in this given the build-up to their final battles. Charizard vs. Blastoise is what's remembered the most about the Ash vs. Gary rivalry, and with Ash vs. Paul, it was Infernape vs. Electivire, and with Alain and Sawyer, it's Ash-Greninja vs. Mega Charizard X and Mega Sceptile.
    • Out of all of Ash's companions being Put On The Bus, Misty's and Serena's are the two most iconic. Misty's because of her popularity and because she was the original female companion, and Serena because of the kiss.
    • Ash winning his first-ever game-based league in the Alolan League after 22 years of failures. Unique in that it is more for the milestone reached than, necessarily, the events surrounding it.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: The giant list of pairings (like the one featured by Bulbapedia) includes hordes of couples constructed from characters that never meet in anime canon. One example might be Brendan/May (the anime incarnations of the protagonists of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire), the latter of whom being, of course, the Deuteragonist of the Hoenn saga while the former only cameoed a few times in the movies.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Pick any Ash/Female Companion, ships and you'll get this with another. Particularly between Ash/Misty, Ash/Dawn and Ash/Serena fans. note 
  • Shocking Moments:
    • Ash collapsing from the strain of using the Ash-Greninja Form.
    • Almost anytime Team Rocket Wins (or nearly wins).
    • Ash winning the Alola League, after 22 long years of failing to become the champion in previous Pokémon Leagues.
    • Ash's first Pokémon he catches in the Sword & Shield anime being a Dragonite!
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: Serena's character arc takes quite some time to take off, given that, unlike other female leads she didn't have a clear goal from the get go, and became a trainer mostly to get away from the Rhyhorn Racing her mother enforced upon her. A good deal of episodes at the beginning were spent on her trying different activities in order to find her calling, before she finally set on becoming a Pokemon Performer. After that, she gets considerable focus and development at a much steadier pace.
  • Snark Bait:
    • Specifically for older fans of the games, thanks to the show's formulaic nature, Ash's tendency to forget everything he learned each season, and, of course, the show being Merchandise-Driven. The anime was a subject of much mainstream mockery in its early days, and continues to be so for current game fans and haters alike. Kalos surprisingly managed to hook many of these with the (later on) more serious tone and the big promises it made... then spit them right back out with the League loss.
    • The movies are also mocked for their tendency to depict antagonistic Pokémon as "not evil, just misunderstood"note  and for their tendency to allocate most of their screentime to "cute" legendaries acting all cute. This arguably reached its peak with Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened where, presumably due to a lack of actual "cute" legendaries, a Genesect of all things was depicted as one. In particular, Water Pokémon Master, webmaster of the popular fansite PokéBeach, started treating the movies (especially their English dubs) with utter cynicism after being underwhelmed by Pokémon: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Some fans believe the BW series gradually became this, even likening it as a self-referential parody.
  • So Okay, It's Average: In time, a consensus has formed that Advanced Generation was a decent season held back from being among the show's best by a few glaring flaws. Pluses include strong development for Ash, several memorable characters (May, her rivals, Ash's Sceptile and Corphish), making the regional bird more reliable with Swellow, and the Battle Frontier arc, but cons include Ash's lack of a rival, the mishandling of the Team Magma & Team Aqua arc, and an abundance of formulaic filler.
    • The fans who don't find the Black & White series to be bad or So Bad, It's Good tend to settle on this rating as well, usually citing that the good things it established used to further effectiveness in the XY series and Sun & Moon series helps balance out all the admitted bad things it did.
  • Spoiled by the Format:
  • Strangled by the Red String: A complaint of Ash/Serena, which is completely unsubtle in its Ship Tease and originates in a Retcon to Ash's backstory (though in its defense, it is one-sided on Serena's part, as the retcon to Ash's past doesn't affect him at all).
    • Kukui and Burnet in SM fall under this for some fans: while in the games and Pokémon Adventures they're a married couple from the beginning, the Anime opted to show them fall in love and get married during the show starting with Burnet's introduction during the Aether Foundation arc. However, they only shared four to five significant scenes that could be classified as romantic throughout the arc, before the final episode of it features their wedding after very little hints towards it. For some, this comes across as them ending up together because canon dictated they should.
  • Stop Having Fun, Guys: Paul, who was created as a Take That! toward those types of players, but developed a Misaimed Fandom (thanks in due part to the head writer's apparent favoritism toward him).
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Several early episodes were about Ash learning important life lessons...except the show would deliver these lessons after giving Ash such a raw deal that the audience would take his side.
      • In the show's fourth episode, Ash encounters fellow trainer Samurai, who rakes him over the coals for the novice mistakes of letting a Weedle get away and letting his Metapod get kidnapped by a Beedrill swarm. Thing is, the Weedle actually got away because Samurai rudely intervened right as Ash was about to attempt the catch (sticking a katana in his face and demanding a battle), giving the bug time to recover and escape. Later, Samurai indicates that the Beedrill swarm only mustered because that same Weedle went to gather them, conveniently ignoring the fact that the swarm is therefore his fault. During a rescue attempt, Ash tries to excuse himself by pointing out that he got sidetracked and that it's Samurai who's really to blame, which the writers would have you believe is a case of Never My Fault...except he's correct in this case and it's Samurai who's been deflecting the blame. Ash's actual mistake in this episode is standing around gawking at the Beedrill swarm rather than getting himself and his Pokémon the hell outta dodge, but he can't be blamed for failing to anticipate Spontaneous Beedrill Kidnapping Syndrome, and it should be noted he takes immediate measures to try and rectify it...not that Metapod cares, since it also blames Ash for the disaster.
      • Upon being defeated by Ritchie in the Indigo League, Ash becomes incredibly upset; this was meant to serve up An Aesop about being a Sore Loser, judging from the criticisms the show delivers through Misty and Brock. The problem is that Ash has legitimate reason to be upset about losing, considering it was a grossly unfair match. After nearly being disqualified due to fending off three separate Team Rocket attacks keeping him from the match, he and his Pokémon were under huge amounts of stress and exhaustion (so they battled under a handicap), a new elimination rule was added (and never used again) that declared sleep-status a case of "unable to battle" and equivalent to fainting (costing Ash his first Pokémon due to a lucky Sleep Powder attack), and Ash's last resort, Charizard, the only one healthy enough to be a viable choice in combat, decided to flake on him by taking a nap instead of fighting. It would be one thing if Ash was being moody and petulant after losing a fair match, but he actually lost because of bad luck and a wicked handicap, so this is a sting the audience can really sympathize with.
    • Back during the Indigo League, the episode "A Chansey Operation" introduced Doctor Proctor, a callous, lazy physician who would rather flirt with Nurse Joy than lift a finger while off duty. When Team Rocket causes a traffic accident that injures a literal truckful of Pokémon, Nurse Joy essentially commandeers him and his hospital into helping treat the monsters, a decision which he protests strongly. While the episode treats this decision as bad (and his casual attitude is admittedly cruel), he's absolutely right - he's a human physician, not a Pokemon doctor. He has little knowledge about their reactions to certain medicines or proper temperatures, if he had to do a major operation there would be no guarantee that he would have the faintest idea which major organs did what, never mind that a large number of the Pokémon are very dangerous and hard to control (many were severely agitated to the point that Ash and company had to use their own Pokémon to subdue them and one of them, an agitated Dodrio, ended up accidentally sedating the doctor in question). If anything, he's being more responsible than the trio or Nurse Joy. She never seemed to consider just using the clearly established Pokémon teleportation technology to send them to another Pokémon Center.
    • A minor moment in "Lost Leader Strategy". Maylene tried to get her Lucario to apologize to Electabuzz, Pikachu, and Piplup for using its Aura Sphere on them, and Lucario was made out to be in the wrong for not wanting to apologize. Sure Lucario went too far, but those three Pokémon refused to stop fighting one another even after the other trainers tried to get them to stop.
    • The Alola League. The main cast tries very ardently to defend the idea of a League where anyone can take part, because it defends Kukui's dream, against Guzma who looks at it as a schoolyard tournament for weaklings. It's hard to not see his point when Jessie and James make it to the Top 16 by running away and one of those Top 16 competitors tries to give up in the middle of battle.
  • Subbing vs. Dubbing:
    • Pokémon is an interesting variation; at the time the series first went international, lack of development of the Internet made the raw Japanese versions of anime and comparisons with the dub (let alone Fansubs) not as easy to access in the West as they are now. So many fans were not aware of any differences between the Japanese version of the anime and dubbed version. But then early 2000 (mid-Orange Islands) Dogasu's Backpack launched, whose biggest feature is an easy-to-use Japanese-to-dub comparison for Pokémon, basically "Yu-Gi-Oh Uncensored: Pokémon Edition". Within a few years, 4Kids Entertainment's banning and censorship of episodes like Beauty and the Beach, music replacement, and radical editing of Pokémon: The First Movie became common knowledge. Still, many still preferred the dub, and the otherwise-criticized 4Kids still gets a pass on Pokémon, mostly because of the fact that it was actually one of their most faithful adaptations. So while the main series doesn't suffer much for it, a few episodes and movies have it quite bad - such as the first movie, with fans' perception of Mewtwo and the movie itself being affected by 4Kids' changes, and the dub getting a dismal rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Possibly justified due to 4Kids' Michael Haigney admitting his cluelessness in regards to the series and 4Kids' dub in general being aimed at a narrower demographic than Shudo intended; also, contrary to popular belief, the early Japanese dub did contain a bit more Parental Bonus humor, though not enough to make for a completely different series. Still, Dogasu's Backpack has made many fans go off to the Japanese version, and when TPCI took over, the dub became more of an Acceptable Target for criticism and many Western fans now watch the Fansubs, especially since XY when the music replacement got more prominent than it ever was under 4Kids. As a result, anime exclusive characters and even some of those from the games are referred by their Japanese names, even when they have official names in English. It doesn't help that, unlike with its contemporaries Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon, Pokémon has not released an official Japanese subtitled or uncensored English dubbed version to appease older nostalgic fans, and is regarded as antiquated and out-of-touch in that respect.
    • Some also argue that the Pokémon Speak, which is usually lambasted by Western fans, is less Narmy in Japanese. It's handled quite differently due to Japanese syllable structure, is often used for puns that are inevitably Lost in Translation Example , and apparently has more work put into the voices themselves (as hinted by Michael Haigney just not caring for some of the English Pokémon voices). This can even be seen within the English dub itself, in which Charizard's cry, usually considered cool and not Narmy at all, is actually Pokémon Speak of "Lizardon!" retained from the Japanese version.
  • Superlative Dubbing:
    • The Norwegian dub may be one of the few dubs that actually has a guy voicing Ash, and while his voice is obviously way past hitting puberty, it's still cartoonish enough to fit, and has left many people agreeing it's a fresh and unique type of voice for Ash than the usual strained female voices (not counting the original). Listen for yourself here.
    • The French-Canadian dub also used a similar teenager-ish voice for Ash, which like the Norwegian voice, some may find more tolerable than the Crossdressing Voices used in most other languages. Of note is the fact that it also used the English dub names for Pokémon and characters, unlike most other French Pokémon media, which the French-Canadian fanbase seems to appreciate - and which also means means they needed time to "adjust" when Nintendo of Canada started importing the games from France.
    • Many people consider the 4Kids English dub this.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Coming off the heels of the heavily disliked Black and White series, the first two years of XY were widely well-received in the fandom for the most part for having improved writing, action and battle animation, a much more competent take on Ash, a better balance on having Team Rocket threatening at times while keeping their comedic traits, a likable group of companions and supporting characters, a good pacing that averted Arc Fatigue, and the Mega Evolution specials enticing viewers with a quite different take on the series than usual.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Team Skull's Leitmotif sounds similar to Soulja Boy's song Crank That (Soulja Boy).
  • Tainted by the Preview: Especially coming off Ash losing the Kalos League, the Alola arc reveal left many fans with negative expectations. Reasons include Ash being the protagonist once again, the more simplistic artstyle, the anime shifting to a school premise due to Alola having no league yet and much of the promotional material focusing on over-the-top gags, causing many fans to draw comparisons to Yo-Kai Watch (however good or bad). Fortunately, the season started out not as badly as fans feared, and the announcement of Pokémon: I Choose You! also helped convince fans that the team was still making an effort.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The anime has several moments of this. Specially in the scenes when the Pokémon start "talking" to each other:
    • A lot of Dawn and Piplup's moments together.
    • The Pikachu shorts very often qualify, due to being nothing but soft slapstick and "talking" from the current Pokémon. Especially so in the recent shorts, where even Team Rocket's Pokémon are unambiguously friendly and a ridiculously cheery narrator gives all the antics commentary.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Misty getting Put on a Bus after Johto will always leave a gaping hole in the hearts of some fans, thinking that her departure ruined the show completely.
    • One of the main complaints from the side of the Broken Base that doesn't like Black and White is how it diverged from the formula that the previous AG and DP arcs used, and drastically changed the characterizations of Ash and Team Rocket. Somewhat ironically however, both aforementioned seasons got similar criticisms (hence the other side of the Broken Base).
    • Pikachu learning Electro Ball at the cost of Volt Tackle. Many were upset that Pikachu's most powerful move was replaced by one far weaker. Some would eventually get used to Electro Ball, seeing it as a surprisingly versatile move, only for it to meet the same fate in Sun and Moon, getting replaced by Electroweb.
    • Sun and Moon changed quite a few things about the series, turning it into a more Slice of Life based series, drastically altering the art style for the previously existing characters, reducing the number of battles, and making it a more stationary setting wherein Ash goes to school instead of traveling. As detailed under Broken Base, this wasn't well received by a significant part of the fan base.
    • The dub (4Kids/TPCI) gets hit with this hard whenever they decide to make changes to the original Japanese content.
      • The prime example nowadays is TPCI's music replacements over the original Japanese soundtrack, especially since XY when a new dub composer, Ed Goldfarb, took over and even less Japanese music got kept. Whenever a new dub episode is released, most of the forum discussion among viewers isn't about what occurred in the episode, but about how much Japanese music got replaced, and how much "suckier" the dub music is compared to the original music pieces. According to Goldfarb himself, this is a business decision by TCPI.
      • Some fans bailed on watching the English version of the show completely ever since the controversial voice-actor switch when TPCI took over the dub.
      • The title cards during X & Y often showed one of the main characters in the Japanese dub (even Korrina got one dedicated to her), as well as episode 14 parodying horror movies. Since episode 12, the English dub simply recycled the Ash-centric title card, continuing to do so for the rest of the series (even after Serena's attire change). Some older fans were not pleased.
      • In French-speaking Quebec, Canada, the decision to re-air the series using France's dub was met with this reaction, as French Canadians had their own dub of the early anime that used English Pokémon and character names rather than the French onesnote . A particular sticking point is that Netflix Canada's French audio track for the Indigo League season - one of the seasons with an existing French-Canadian dub - is the unmodified European French one.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The GS Ball, which was building up to Celebi's reveal, gets left behind at Kurt's house despite many fans wanting to know what was inside. The reason being because the makers felt Celebi's appearance was no longer needed after the release of Pokémon 4Ever.
    • Some of the special Johto Pokeballs Kurt provided for the original gang were left untouched after handing them 3 Fast Balls, 2 Lure Balls, and 1 Heavy Ball. Brock used a Fast Ball to catch a Pineco while Ash and Misty used the 2 Lure Balls to catch Totodile and Corsola respectively. On the other hand, Ash and Misty never used their Fast Balls for anything while Brock never used his Heavy Ball.
      • The 65th episode of the Advanced generation, "Gulpin it Down," really missed an opportunity for Brock's Heavy Ball to finally come into play. The episode has one of Professor Jacuzzi's experiments accidentally enlarging a Gulpin. Said professor ends up failing to catch the Gulpin in a normal Poké Ball, which Nurse Joy then provides him a Heavy Ball to catch it since Gulpin becoming large really increased its total weight. In the end, it will leave some viewers wondering why a random Heavy Ball was used rather than finally giving Brock's Heavy Ball a purpose.
    • During the Johto journey, Ash obtains a Sun Stone for winning the Bug Catching Contest. Perhaps this is hinting that somewhere down the line, Ash will capture a Gloom or Sunkern to perform a stone evolve? Nope. It turned out that the Sun Stone gets wasted in a Filler episode on a wild Sunkern that never appears again.
    • AG008 shows off Ash's Treecko training at a waterfall to strengthen its Pound attack on a rock for a rematch against a Seviper that eventually gets caught by Jessie. Said training could have been an opportunity to upgrade Treecko with a new move, such as replacing Pound with the higher powered Slam attack, yet the training ends up being just a different method of using the basic Pound attack.
    • The Battle Frontier episodes really missed an opportunity to show off new developments to Kanto ever since Ash, Misty and Brock first journeyed around the region in the original series. Very few things were actually revisited or updated by the time the Battle Frontier journey finishes, and if it wasn't for the city locations that Ash and company travel around to being mentioned, viewers would probably quickly forget that they're actually going around Kanto.
    • The training arc for Ash's Turtwig had a lot of missed potential due to the grass-turtle developing strategies that went nowhere once it evolved. Grotle's eating Energy Ball power-up strategy was handed to Dawn's Mamoswine, and Grotle/Torterra only successfully used its tanking strategy once against Candice's Sneasel before going on to lose every subsequent fight. He suffered Badass Decay so bad that the Pokémon eventually became a Memetic Loser for fans.
    • Dawn's development with her battle-hungry Buizel that was touched upon in "An Elite Meet and Greet" was pretty much thrown out the window when the writers decided to have her trade Buizel away for Ash's Aipom.
    • The backstory of Ash's Snivy was ripe for some interesting storytelling as Snivy was said to have outright abandoned her original trainer for being unworthy. Unfortunately, the Unova series never delves any deeper into this plot-point even if this point did get brought up a few times.
    • In the XY Series neither Ash, nor any of his companions, receive a Mega Ring / Key Stone. Instead, Ash gets a unique Bond-Greninja evolution as a replacement for learning how to mega evolve while the Mega Evolutions are given to other major characters like Alain, Sawyer and Sycamore. This comes off as a missed opportunity to some when Ash owns several Pokémon that can Mega Evolve, such as Charizard, Heracross, Sceptile, and Glalie.
    • Malva, one of Kalos's Elite Four, works for Lysandre like in the games... and than she does nothing for him, except challenging Alain to a fight in the Mega Evolution special. When the Team Flare arc actually starts, she very quickly does a Heel–Face Turn, making her role as a part of the villain team pointless when she committed no evil deeds onscreen. While this is in keeping with how her game self was also never shown committing villainous acts, the Anime could've taken the chance to show more of her role as a Team Flare agent and part of the Elite Four than the game did.
    • In SM041 many fans were displeased that Charjabug was in a go-cart race rather than the trainers themselves. It would have been fun to see something like Wacky Races.
    • Considering how Ash-Greninja's debut in the games was in Sun and Moon, many wanted Ash's Greninja to return to his team at some point in the Sun and Moon anime.
    • The 1st episode of Pocket Monsters (2019) started off with the neat idea of finally showing the backstory of Ash's Pikachu. Unfortunately, the episode ended up being viewed as a missed opportunity for not answering some of the more intriguing questions people have surrounding Pikachu's past, such as how he was captured by Oak, or why Pikachu had a strong dislike of humans the day he was given to Ash.
    • The 3rd episode of Pocket Monsters (2019) brings back the Bulbasaur-line evolution phenomena that was seen way back in EP051 of the original series, "Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden." Only this time around, the Ivysaur are getting ready to evolve into Venusaur. The fact Ash's Bulbasaur wasn't somehow involved this time around after being the focus of the first phenomena episode is seen as a missed opportunity for some fans since it seemed like a perfect set-up to bring back an old-favorite, and possibly add a bit more to Bulbasaur's 'not wanting to evolve' plotline, such as perhaps having Bulbasaur come to a decision that it's finally ready to evolve into Ivysaur.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • Sinnoh had Ash with one of his best teams, a great rivalry in Paul that culminated in a three-part battle, and ended on Ash having a very climatic battle against a trainer with legendaries, getting closer to beating him than anybody else would. It was safe to say that Unova had some big shoes to fill as the next series.
    • Kalos had Ash at his finest, most formidable trainer level to date. The perceived impossibility of topping this since his losing the Kalos League showed he still wasn't allowed to become formidable enough to break status quo, and Ash's competence seemingly having nowhere to go but down a la Unova left his fans with negative expectations for the anime's future. While his battle competence is generally better than Unova in Sun & Moon, he is far more of a childish, comedic Butt-Monkey than he was in Unova as well, creating yet another example of a Broken Base.
  • Uncanny Valley: Team Rocket has a knack for using obvious puppets and masks to impersonate other human characters. While the disturbing unrealism of the whole thing is Played for Laughs, it's bound to creep out the show's target audience of children.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Ash did not use Tauros at the Indigo League like he did with Krabby and Muk. Made it that much more of a surprise that he brought Tauros in for his battle with Drake.
    • It was surprising that the anime gave Grant an Onix; in the games, he's the first Rock-type Gym Leader who didn't have either Onix or a Geodude on his team (Roxanne had a Geodude but no Onix, and all Rock-type Leaders before Grant have had a member of the Geodude line on their team). This makes the anime version of Grant the first to have an Onix while lacking a member of the Geodude evolutionary line (counting Brock in the Gold and Silver games).
    • Astrid and Remo from the Mega Evolution Specials both participate in the Lumiose Conferance. Astrid loses to Ash in the Top 8, while Remo is soundly defeated by Alain in the semi-finals.
    • After both having been absent from the show for years and their exclusion from the 20th movie, very few, if any, fans were expecting Brock and Misty to make a guest appearance in Sun & Moon. Not that anyone's complaining, of course.
    • Forget Brock and Misty, Jigglypuff (Yes. That Jigglypuff.) who has been absent from the anime for nearly fifteen years, is also set to reappear.
    • The final year of Sun and Moon threw a big curveball by finally allowing main characters to capture mythical Pokemon, with Meltan and Shaymin ending up in Ash and Mallow's teams respectively. Shaymin was especially left field, being a Generation IV Pokemon that cannot be caught normally in any Generation VII games nor was tied to any promotion at the time.
    • Ash's first capture in Pokémon (2019) being a Dragonite came out of left field for most fans for several reasons. Not only it marks the first time since Gligar that Ash has caught a Pokémon not native of the current generation as part of his main team, it's also his first capture of a fully-evolved Pokémon since Noctowl, and a pseudo-legendary to boot. Getting such a Pokémon as his first series capture instead of a starter or a regional bird was something few would have predicted.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Team Rocket sometimes get flak for this:
    • Given the entire premise of the show involves catching Pokémon, the trio are sometimes condemned and attacked even when they try to take Pokémon or other goods through legitimate means or with a sympathetic motive. Some of their punishments can also get incredibly vicious in some of their more pitiful bouts as well (sometimes characters have had to maintain their "Blasting off" Running Gag for very petty reasons). Throughout Hoenn and Sinnoh in particular, they were so much more loser than actual villain it verged on depressing.
    • At times, only one or two team members are causing trouble, with the others sometimes even protesting or trying to help the heroes. They are still always blasted off indiscriminately. "Got Miltank!" was an especially bad case, since Ash knew Meowth didn't want any part in the scheme and even saw him get Bound and Gagged by the other members in response.
    • Their Pokémon even more so. Most of them are portrayed as more loyal and loving to Jesse and James than malicious in any way, and a lot of them (especially James') are blessed with heart wrenchingly cute designs and dispositions, making a lot of the heroes' smug Curbstomp Battles against them look like vicious Kick the Dog moments.
    • Guzma is very clearly meant to be seen as the villain that wants to destroy the League and Kukui's dreams. However, given the Alola League is an open League with no requirements compared to past Leagues, his comment that it's just a schoolyard tournament starts to make sense. His later insistence on getting tired of Kukui and Hala's holier-than-thou attitude about following tradition (a tradition abandoned by those very two people by building their own stadium after stating that the traditional island challenge ended on Mount Lanakila) and wanting to get stronger without Z-Moves after they've been used to facilitate battles without strategy throughout the season, gives him a strong case of Jerkass Has a Point. That he's also taking part in the tournament legitimately and fairly, abiding by the rules to make his point, also makes one wonder just why Guzma is considered such a heinous villain by the cast.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • We're supposed to see Lillie's side of things whenever her strained relationship with her mother is brought up, and her mother certainly isn't the best in the world (constantly busy due to her work). The problem is that Lillie doesn't really bring this up at all - instead, Lillie is angry with her mother for once evolving a Clefairy that was under her (not Lillie's) ownership without consent. (If Lusamine's Imagine Spot is to be believed, Clefairy had no problem with evolving.) In the present day, Lusamine brings the whole gang to Aether Paradise for a tour, but when she uses the opportunity to try and make small talk with her daughter, Lillie actually takes offense and angrily storms off with the rest of the gang, more upset with being treated like a child than happy her mother is attempting to set aside time for her (though Ash and Professor Burnet do at least point thi out to her later). When Lusamine is taken by Nihilego, Lillie continues to treat her mother as selfish and condescending for being absorbed despite Lusamine Taking the Bullet for Lillie's brother. The speech she gave her mother did get cleaned up and made a bit more impactful in the dub as Lillie did say near the end she respected her mother. Part of this issue seems to be because of the Adaptation Personality Change given to Lusamine. Lillie's behavior works for the game characters, but due to the anime's changes, she no longer comes out as being entirely in the right.
  • Values Dissonance: In one episode, the heroes continuously vilify a Pokémon smuggler who was capturing wild Scatterbug, having them evolve into different kinds of Vivillon, and selling them to collectors all over the world. Which is pretty much what everyone does with Vivillon in the games.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: According to Shudo's notes, Ash (Satoshi) was never meant to stand out very much. His original vision for the series gave rise to far more interesting antagonists (and so we got Gary, a jerk with a harem of cheerleaders, and Team Rocket, who need no explanation), and even Ash's traveling companions are more dynamic and interesting (Brock and his women-starved antics come to mind). Certain points in the show do attempt to give Ash more of a distinct personality (Advanced Generation made him more short fused, while Sun and Moon converts him into a Loon with a Heart of Gold), though since said characteristics often come and go each series, it's still hard to paint a consistent picture of him.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • Gendered pronouns are almost never used to refer to Pokémon, thus an official confirmation usually has to be plot required note  or involve certain gender mechanics from the games being adapted note .
    • When the poster for the Galar anime was leaked, many were left confused over the new traveling companion's gender due to the character's eyebrows, eye shape, and hairclips being more traditionally feminine, but the clothing and body proportions being male. It would later be confirmed that the character, Gou, was a boy.
  • Video-Game Movies Suck: The movies wildly vary in acceptance with the fanbase, but barring a few (such as Genesect and the Legend Awakened and Hoopa and the Clash of Ages) they largely avert this, being seen as So Okay, It's Average at worst. Among critics? Of the seven movies to receive any sort of theatrical release outside of Japan, the only one to receive a "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes is Pokémon: The Power of Us, twenty-one movies into the series. The second highest-rated is Pokémon: I Choose You! (which is not only the twentieth one, but also a full-on Continuity Reboot) at only 43%, with many of the more forgiving reviews boiling down to "(Young) Fans will probably enjoy it."
  • Vindicated by History:
    • The Orange Islands arc was originally disregarded as Filler that didn't really amount to anything since the Gym challenges weren't always actual battles and the League itself wasn't based on an in-game region. Nowadays, whenever a debate starts concerning Ash's competence as a trainer, people will often mention it immediately, since his victory there technically means Ash qualifies for the title of Champion, and that also marks the first real sign of his growth as a Pokémon Trainer. It is also pointed out that the Orange Islands brought several fan-favorites such as Ash's Lapras, Ash's Snorlax, and the Crystal Onix, and that the battle between Ash and Drake was the series' first full battle.
    • More fans overtime have been starting to consider the controversial Black and White series an example of this trope. While it did several things wrong, particularly with Ash, it also did several things right that have continued to be done to great effect in the subsequent XY and Sun and Moon series - namely, a better series structure and pace, a more faithful rendition of the region from the video games, the regular formula for Filler episodes being mostly dropped in favor of more inventive situations, Team Rocket not appearing in every episode and not taking up too much unneeded time in episodes they do appear in, attempts to give the male companion a broader dynamic within the main group than Brock, Team Rocket being given more developed arc roles or competent moments, and introducing much longer story arcs (the Meloetta arc and the Episode N arc) which were the predecessors to the Z arc of XY and the Cosmog arc of Sun and Moon. Some will argue there were even things that it did better than other series, such as a more even group dynamic and the actual Team Rocket organisation being the Big Bad at last. Essentially, it is viewed as the reverse of Franchise Original Sin - even if it is not considered good overall, it originated many popular trends used in subsequent entries in the series.
  • Wangst:
    • Paul being the way he is because of his brother losing and giving up his dream has been met with this response, as it doesn't even remotely justify anything. It doesn't help that said brother doesn't have any angst over it himself, and only gave up his dream because he found a new occupation that he decided he liked better.
    • While it was understandable for Max to get upset over dealing with his Broken Pedestal regarding his father losing the gym battle to Ash in the Hoenn arc of the show, what made the whole thing qualify for this trope was the fact that Max thought that losing was a bad thing regarding battles and Norman being a gym leader. Even Norman had to argue against this by telling Max that losing is an important thing when it comes to being a gym leader and that losing overall can be a good experience, so Max was essentially whining over his father doing his job.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: Sun & Moon, with its Genre Shift towards slice-of-life comedy as opposed to action and adventure, and its Denser and Wackier animation, is often seen as an attempt to ape Yo-Kai Watch, which in Japan rivals and even outdoes the success of Pokémon (especially the movies, of which Pokémon has suffered diminishing box office returns).
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?:
    • It can get pretty damn dark at times, especially in some of the movies, but is still a children's show all the same. Special mention goes to the surprisingly dark and deep Japanese version of Pokémon: The First Movie, as well as Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions, which got the equivalent of a PG-13 rating in Japan - something very odd to hear about this show.
    • Takeshi Shudō hadn't originally wanted the show to be only for children. When one looks closely at episodes written by him, they're noticeably more serious in tone than a great deal of other episodes and tend to focus on the darker aspects of the Pokémon universe. For a quick example, the very first episode was a deconstruction of being a Pokémon trainer.
    • Paul’s relationship with Chimchar, and its subsequent healing from it, is horrifyingly similar to abusive relationships in real life, down to the repression, victim blaming and shaming, deeply-rooted trauma, as well as both physical and emotional abuse. In addition, Chimchar’s reaction to facing Zangoose in both Glory Blaze! and Tears For Fears! can only be described as PTSD.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • Advanced Generation (Hoenn) could be considered this after people started to get tired of the franchise due to the Johto era being plagued with tons of boring/irrelevant Filler. The makers even felt the need to shake up the main cast.
    • XY did this later down the line; not only was it one of the most well-loved seasons on its own merits, but it came immediately after the poorly-received Black and White season.
    • Sun And Moon to an extent, as several people who stopped watching the anime (especially after the Kalos League) said that the snippets they'd seen piqued their interests about it, so much so that some started watching it again. Many fans of the previous series remain at odds with it for various reasons, though.
    • The 20th movie preview did this. Fans had been accusing the movies of becoming less imaginative and descending into Franchise Zombie territory. Then the preview aired, showing the title of the movie ("Pokémon I Choose You") and nostalgic footage of Ash and Pikachu in Kanto with Ho-Oh flying overhead, heavily suggesting that the movie would be a nostalgia-laden Milestone Celebration. Fans were ecstatic.
    • After complaints about the lack of continuity in XY, Ash returning to Kanto for a two-episode arc in Sun & Moon, with the confirmed appearances of Misty, Brock, and at least some of his reserve Pokémon made older fans very excited.
    • Coming off of the divisive Alola League, the Ash vs Kukui 4-parter was seen as one of the best battles in the series, particularly in it's final half. Many who were critical of the league admitted that the ensuing 6v6 full battle was a huge standout in the series and served as a better League final battle than Ash vs Gladion was.
  • The Woobie:
    • Sometimes Dawn, sometimes Ash, sometimes May and/or Max, and sometimes the Team Rocket trio, especially James. And on the Pokémon side of things, Charmander and Chimchar in their debuts.
    • After the revelation that they're simply punch clock villains in "Island of the Giant Pokémon", it's impossible not to feel sorry for poor Arbok and Weezing. After getting curb stomped by the heroes every single episode, you'd think that they would run away from Team Rocket just to escape the daily pain. But no- they keep on because they care about their trainers. And their final appearance is a testament to how Jessie and James feel the same way.
      • Hell, most of Team Rocket's Pokémon are this or a Jerkass Woobie, even Jessie, James and Meowth a lot of the time. Sure they try to steal Pokémon and look like evil villains, but it's all just in desire to please their boss and have some sort of impact for once. Not to mention they're nearly all True Companions and once a member has to depart, it's usually as big a Tear Jerker as for one of the heroes. Take Dustox, Cacnea, and Chimecho as further evidence.
    • The Abra in "Fear Factor Phony." It was left behind by its owners and left to live in old, abandoned, dilapidated building and always tormented about its abandonment (as seen by its dream). Furthermore, it was demonized by the ghost Pokémon and Team Rocket thanks to its siblings obnoxious behavior, despite it probably hated the noise as well, hence the force field.
    • N, just by virtue of being N.
    • Serena's Eevee. Eevee was specifically caught as a Secret Weapon for showcase performances due to her adorable dancing. However, as it turned out, Eevee was crippled by shyness and nerves, heavily effecting her performance in battles and showcases (even losing to Team Rocket in one instance). Despite Serena being very sympathetic towards her, Eevee spent most of the time looking depressed over bogging her team down. She Took a Level in Badass after evolving into Sylveon, though she does retain some of her nervousness and Moe-qualities.
    • Lillie was left traumatized since early childhood after nearly being abducted by Nilhego, leaving her unable to touch Pokemon or even be touched by them without freezing up. Even after she overcame her phobia, she was targeted by her mother's corrupt lead scientist Faba for knowing too much and then witnessed her mother getting abducted and brainwashed by Nihilego in one of his botched experiments. Add in a good dose of Adorkable moments and Lovable Cowardice, and you have one of Ash's most tormented companions.
    • Mallow becomes a huge one in SM108, "Memories In The Mist" when it's revealed that her mother died of an illness when she was little and that her last words to her was that she hated her; and she wasn't able to tell her sorry before she died. She spends most of the episode feeling down and when she finally meets her mother one more time, she breaks down in her mother's arms apologizing for her harsh words and then the two thank each other for all they've done. All the sadness she goes through at the time would make one want to comfort her too.
  • Woolseyism:
    • Naturally quite a few, particularly the puns which can/can't be translated:
    • All of Team Rocket's English Mottos. Don't you dare deny it.
    • When the Squirtle Squad holds Misty hostage in Squirtle's debut episode, they originally threatened to kill her if Ash didn't do what they say. In the English dub, they threaten to dye her hair purple (which Misty is equally upset about). It might be censorship, but not only is it way funnier, it makes more sense given her reaction.
    • When Ash crossdresses to infiltrate the Celadon Gym, Team Rocket introduce him posing as "her" parents. In the Japanese version, the "-shi" in Satoshi is replaced with a "-ko", which gives him the very feminine alias of Satoko. In the English version, he's referred to as Ashley (the gender-neutral, full variant of Ash).
    • A lot of fans prefer 4Kids' flashback sequence during Misty's goodbye. In Japan, the clips focused on Misty's character while the dub clips focus on her relationship with her friends, which is seen as better suiting the episode. The Japanese clips are also considered to be too lengthy and less exciting.
    • Brock's Sudowoodo's use of "Take Down" in the original Japanese - which Sudowoodo cannot legitimately learn in the games - was changed in the English dub to "Double Edge", a move with similar properties which Sudowoodo can use. Similarly, in the episode where Ash challenged Roxanne's Gym, her Nosepass apparently used "Hyper Beam" twice in the Japanese version (during Ash's episode battling her) - but given the electric-based properties of the attack (which was actually plot-relevant), the dub changed these two instances to "Thunder Wave" and "Zap Cannon" respectively, which actually makes more sense (Zap Cannon is probably what the attack was meant to be, anyway).
    • Hikari/Dawn's Embarrassing Nickname, "Pikari"/"Dee-Dee", is a particularly clever one, which makes you wonder if PUSA had planned it ahead. Dawn's nickname is treated as a Noodle Incident until the last DP Season, where its origins are revealed to be from Dawn having been shocked by a Plusle and Minun when she was little - her friend Kenny partially traumatized her at the time by calling her "Pikari" (in reference to pikapika, the sound an electric sparkle makes). Since the dub changed her name, the nickname becomes Dee-Dee - which is short for "Diamond Dandruff", a rather suitable nickname for the scenario.
    • While being a "Pokémon Sommelier" fits for Cilan "tasting" the compatibility between Pokémon and trainers, "Pokémon Connoisseur" works much better when it comes to Cilan's various hobbies when he declares himself a "—- Connoisseur", seeing as a connoisseur is another term for an enthusiast.
    • Throughout Sun and Moon, many of Samson Oak's Pokémon puns are translated very awkwardly. Since they're supposed to be cringeworthy however...
    • While Ed Goldfarb's score in the XY saga is divisive, his score for the Sun & Moon saga has some nice standouts, one of the biggest being the solemn piano piece from episode 21 that plays over Ash keeping vigil over the distraught Litten. Said sequence's original Japanese self simply had Shinji Miyazaki's "Meowth's Ballad" playing over it, not quite fitting for such sadness.
  • Writer Cop Out: Ash losing the Kalos League to Alain was seen as this by many after the far from insignificant amounts of buildup, including in the trailers and the episode's title itself, that strongly hinted Ash would finally win. This managed to negatively affect the view of the XY series, prior seen as one of the best due to its willingness to indulge the Periphery Demographic, now seen by some as something of a "Shaggy Dog" Story that copped out at the last minute.
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