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YMMV / Pokémon Journeys: The Series

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  • Ass Pull:
    • The reveal in "Legend? Go! Friends? Go!" and "Serving Up the Flute Cup" that Delia's housekeeper Mr. Mime was actually one of Ash's Pokémon the entire time is viewed as this by some people. Since the show never once hinted at it being under Ash's ownership up to this point except for very obscure pieces of Japanese promotion (notably, he wasn’t in the picture of all Ash’s Pokémon residing in Pallet taken at the end of the BW series), the fanbase always assumed that "Mimey" either stayed a wild Mr. Mime or was caught by Delia.
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    • The Great Class Still Image Montage, a image at the start of the 51st episode that showed a still that represented Ash ascending his rank with many offscreen battles instead of showing them. Very few fans found this a satisfying means of having Ash's rank rise, and was widely seen as the writers coming up with an excuse not only to avoid showing several minor Ash battles (which fueled the arguments of Goh being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad) but also teased battles with many Out of Focus mons on Ash's team in a massive showing of Informed Ability.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Journeys can be seen as continuing the Breaking Old Trends approach Sun & Moon began while fixing some of the biggest gripes people had with the latter series. 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 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.
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    • 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 on Melemele rather than a core part of the show, alongside never giving a straight reason for why Ash chose 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. Journeys 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 characterization.
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    • Another complaint of the Sun and Moon series that caused the Broken Base surrounding it was that the stationary setting, while seen as a breath of fresh air by a part of the fanbase, ultimately led to the pacing of the series feeling arbitrary (as explained under Arc Fatigue) due to a milestone-based progression not fitting too well with an Ash that mostly stays still in one place. Journeys fixes it by having Ash's goal for the season be challenging the Pokémon World Coronation Series to face the current World Champion Leon, replacing the typical badge quest with a ranking system where the majority of battles lead to progress, replacing the milestone-based progression with a progressive grind that allows for Ash to move closer to his goal at a faster pace, alongside removing traveling as a necessity and ensuring Ash doesn't need to constantly travel to Galar to improve his ranking. Alongside Goh catching several Pokémon at a fast pace as part of his goal and the generally lower number of cast members, this allows the Generation VIII series to have a constant feeling of progress after everything is established.
    • Iris' Dragonite being able to tank Ice-type moves despite being 4x weak against them made him seem overpowered in Black and White. During his match against Ash's Dracovish in Journeys, he gets taken out by a single Ice Fang, thus portraying his weaknesses more accurately.
    • Team Rocket's Prize Master has been hotly contested due to replacing the usual Pokémon being trained personally by Jessie and James (which in turn help with their characters). A later episode would see James catching Morpeko, and unlike Chewtle, they don’t send it back to headquarters.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Shares a page with the rest of the franchise.
  • Broken Base: See here.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • Ash has had a co-lead before, most famously in the form of Dawn. At several points Dawn would take the lead as the focus character even in the midst of what might be considered an Ash focused storyline, such as during the Maylene episodes where she took a lead in roughly half of the four episodes. Fans have more problems with Goh doing this than Dawn due to it being perceived as more often and more intrusive to Ash's focus.
    • It has been in Ash's nature at several points to have the course of the journey dictated by those around him more than his own, notably with May, Dawn, and Serena's contest and performances. However this is perhaps the first series where such a occurrence has been widely criticized and disliked by a sizeable and vocal portion of the fanbase, with Goh's goals tending to dominate a large chunk of episode over Ash's being a frequent issue with such fans. Possible reasons for this being Goh's captures often occurring in episodes that would have once been considered filler thus giving the fans a feeling that Goh gets more focus than he actually is intended to, Goh's goal being relevant more frequently than the female companions and thus aggravating fans more, or just the fact that Goh's status as a designated co-lead means that any imbalance in focus is more tangible to the fanbase.
  • Never Live It Down: Detractors of Goh generally hold to a few select periods of the series where Goh takes up a larger balance of the show's focus than Ash and hold it as an ongoing criticism of the series and of Goh specifically, specifically to the status of being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad to Ash. The first period of the show considered a Slow-Paced Beginning (see below) is one such moment, while another is the period of time in the mid thirties to somewhere in the fifties of episode where Ash's World Coronation Series goal is either in the background or played for comedy, Ash has a visible lack of roster changes while Goh captures not just many more Pokemon but several ones that the fans had hoped Ash would obtain (such as Aerodactyl, Flygon, and Grookey) while many of Ash's own Pokemon are also out of focus, the montage of several offscreen Ash battles while Goh's captures are rarely offscreen, and Goh's goals and interests directed the pace of the series significantly more than Ash's. While both of these stretches eventually remedied themselves, many detractors tend to see these periods as their definitive reference for the series, often citing the fact that many of these problems still exist out of them, just as lesser levels, to further their criticisms.
  • Pandering to the Base: In this series, Ash catches a Gengar and a Riolu (both highly-requested Pokémon for him to catch), Ash and Goh travel across all regions, and many old faces are brought back, including some who haven't made appearances in over a decade. Tropes Are Not Bad is in effect for several of these choices.
  • Shocking Moments:
    • Ash's first three captures in Journeys: Dragonite, Gengar, and Riolu. The former two get this for being fully evolved from the start, while the latter two were highly requested Pokémon for him to catch for years. The later capture of Galarian Farfetch'd was a surprise to fans for different reasons: Farfetch'd was only advertised ahead of time as a minor feature of an episode focusing on Leon and Raihan, and viewership found the capture a pleasant surprise.
    • Ash and Goh already facing off against the main villains of their respective games and winning at the earliest episode possible. Rose and Oleana introduced themselves as villains in "Sword and Shield: From Here to Eternatus" and lost in "Sword and Shield...The Legends Awaken." Usually, the main villain arcs would be concluded near the end of the series or left in a cliffhanger. Here? All done before the 50th episode.
    • Goh capturing an Uber Legendary in Eternatus. This has not been done in the series by any character. Same with Suicune.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: This is a criticism usually levied at the initial stretch of Journeys series episodes, particularly the ones making up the first batch uploaded on Netflix. The first six episodes effectively make up a Character Development arc for new companion and coprotagonist Goh, with Ash relegated in a more supporting role for its duration down to not having a clear goal for himself. The following episodes were dedicated to a first taste of the region-hopping series premise that were mostly seen as unremarkable, while giving little idea of what the show intended to do with its premise and cast, not helped by how the show didn't seem to want to embrace continuity in spite of going back to known locations beyond small nods. After the two-part Leon introduction arc, however, things got much better as Ash obtained his own goal in taking part in the World Coronation Series (a global tournament to crown the implicit strongest trainer in the world), alongside making him more involved in the plot with several new captures and major battles, alongside allowing for more old character returns (such as Korrina) and continuity while delving deeper into Goh's backstory and further development, with the common sentiment being that the show improves from that point on.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: While Journeys incorporating elements from Pokémon GO has been somewhat controversial (especially in regards to how Goh is handled), the fact that Eggs were changed from having unique designs to being only the generic colors and shades seen in Go (and to a degree, the main series games) was one of the worst-received results of this by a part of the fanbase as it was one of the better received elements of the anime that had been consistent for more than two decades before Journeys.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Several examples so far.
    • Both Rose and Oleana. Usually, villains or anti-villains would make minor appearances throughout the series and be defeated at a much later time, often near the series' end. Both Rose and Oleana face off against the heroes in "Sword and Shield: From Here to Eternatus" and "Sword and Shield...The Legends Awaken," only to go in hiding once Eternatus is defeated and captured by Goh. This is the earliest time the main regional antagonist(s) is defeated, and it remains unknown if both Rose and Oleana will be written off completely or feature in later episodes.
    • Some fans of the Mewtwo from the first film found its guest appearance disappointing. Following a near two decade absence of the character and a very controversial second incarnation of Mewtwo in Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened, fans were ecstatic at the confirmation that the original, more iconic version of the character would be brought back for a new story in the main anime. When "Getting More Than You Battled For" aired however, some fans were underwhelmed by the execution: apart from the fact that Mewtwo only shows up towards the end of the first half, the episode is more about reaffirming Ash and Goh's commitment to their respective goals and serving as a jumping on point for viewers following the SWSH arc. While Mewtwo does get an impressive showing in overwhelming Ash's Pikachu and Lucario and Goh's Cinderace in a Curb-Stomp Battle, Mewtwo itself gets no further character development apart from the reveal that it's now watching over a group of Pokémon that have been abused by humans, which isn't really explored in any detail and mostly serves as an excuse for why it's on the island Ash and Goh find Mewtwo on. On top of that, the episode makes no direct references to either Mewtwo Strikes Back or Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns, the only indication that it's even the same character apart from Mewtwo's original Japanese voice actor returning being that Ash instantly recognizes him, which Mewtwo doesn't even react to or show similar recognition despite Ash's heavy involvement in Mewtwo's prior character development. It comes off to some that Mewtwo could be replaced with the version from the sixteenth movie, and nothing would actually change about the episode. General consensus among fans is that "Getting More Than You Battled For" is a good episode on its own, but given the long wait for a reappearance of Mewtwo and there being no indication it'll appear again, some were left feeling like the episode did the deliberate bare minimum with the character.
    • As said under Broken Base, many believe the fact that Sobble and especially Grookey went to Goh instead of Ash is a waste of their potential as Goh is more of a catcher than a trainer.
      • This went even farther in Sobble's case. It was given the dream of becoming an Inteleon after meeting one in episode 54, but on evolving itself in episode 62, it became depressed over having to go through the Drizzile stage first. It was then immediately Put on a Bus, remaining at Cerise's Lab while Grookey became Goh's replacement shoulder pet, and had no more major appearances until it evolved again 16 episodes later, at which point the audience were informed that it had been training in the background the whole time. This, alongside the "The Great Class Still Image Montage", fuelled further complaints about the series telling the audience the characters were developing rather than showing them.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The first episode of Journeys 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 Professor Oak, or why Pikachu had a strong dislike of humans the day he was given to Ash.
    • The third episode brings back the Bulbasaur-line evolution phenomenon 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 that Ash's Bulbasaur wasn't somehow involved this time around after being the focus of the prior 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.
    • A number of Pokémon Sword and Shield fans were disappointed when it was revealed that this series wouldn't be a straighter adaptation of the game's plot, especially given that it takes a few elements (most notably the Tournament Arc-style Pokémon League) from the anime. This also led to pretty much everything having to do with the games' plot getting condensed into four episodes, while previous arcs based on the game plots tended to last an entire season.
    • While the Alolan reunion episode is well-received, many fans are complaining that Chloe didn't get to enjoy it or that it was just one episode, with the only reason Ash and Goh are going there at all is so the latter can catch an Alolan Exeggutor. Ash being the Alola League Champion isn't even brought up until the second Alola episode
    • While Ash not catching X Pokemon is a frequent case of wasting a character, Journeys at several points had set up clear interest to have Ash catch additional Pokemon, but did not follow up on it and thus contributed to the occasional periods of feeling like Goh was getting the lions share of the spotlight.
      • In episodes 6 and 14 Ash had expressed interest in catching Pokemon alongside Goh, but only Goh captured any during this episode despite no real showing of why Ash couldn't.
      • In episode 34 Goh expressed an interest in having Ash receive the Hitmon Pokemon that Goh did not choose as to trade it with Goh to have both registered to his Pokedex. This was a clear set up for Ash to obtain a Hitmonlee to match Goh's Hitmonchan and to advanced Goh's own goals, but it wasn't followed up on, with the excuse that Ash would need to heal Farfetch'd and Riolu after their loss to Bea being mitigated by the Karate Master requiring the same healing before his own match with Goh.
  • Unexpected Character: Journeys quickly made this one of its staples, becoming well-known for bringing in many unexpected characters.
    • Ash's first capture being a Dragonite came out of left field for most fans for several reasons. Not only did it mark the first time since Gligar that Ash has caught a Pokémon not native to the current generation as part of his main team, it was 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 predicted.
    • Korrina and her Lucario. Of all of Ash's friends who people had been expecting to return, she certainly wasn't high on the list, as while her arc had its fans, she was still ultimately a minor character in the XY series compared to Ash's companions and rivals. Additionally, Mega Evolution had been removed from Sword and Shield, making her and Mega Lucario's return an even bigger surprise.
    • Very few people expected Ash to catch Galarian Farfetch'd, especially right after Riolu, another pure Fighting-type. What also played into the surprise was many people feeling that the marketing around this time was leading up to Ash eventually catching a Sobble, who ended up being caught by Goh in the episode after Ash's Galarian Farfetch'd capture. Basically, the captures happened in the exact opposite of what people were expecting.
    • The 2021 New Years trailer surprised people by revealing an appearance of Wikstrom, the Steel-type master of the Kalos Elite Four, as an opponent for Ash. This was not a highly expected character due to Wikstrom never having appeared properly in the series beyond a very brief cameo in the opening segment of Pokémon: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction, not to mention being a fairly minor character from X and Y that didn't get particular focus during or after Generation VI.
    • Gary Oak and Iris' confirmed reappearances in the third opening. Despite Gary's iconic status, it had been more than a decade since he'd appeared outside of non-speaking cameos. Iris' appearance came even further out of left field, as most fans expected the XY companions would be the next to reappear, especially since Journeys up to this point had only featured returning characters and callbacks from the original series, XY, and Sun and Moon (the exception being Matori, who's appeared in every series since her debut anyway).
    • Ash's capture of Dracovish took many by surprise, not just because Ash never caught a Fossil Pokémon before or already had a Dragon Type on his team, but also because said Pokémon is just a really unconventional choice for Ash, in general.


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