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Traveler is how Pokemon canon should've been like, Ash's pokemon growing in strength believably,and the pokemon have such developed personalities that I actually remember each of them and they're not just battling machines but actual characters.
The world building,the battles,the characters all of it is absolutely spectacular. I've been reading fanfics since 2013 and I can say without any doubt that to this day this remains one of my favorite fanfics and my favorite pokemon fic period.I judge every pokemon fanfic to this standard and less that a handful have passed.
Ash starts off perhaps slightly more competent than canon but quickly improves in a believable manner due to his drive to be the best, helped by the fact his pokemon actually evolve and that Ash has a very small team, not even having a full half dozen until after getting his fourth badge (as of this review, Ash has 11 pokemon, 2 of whom don't battle). He also actually trains his pokemon regularly rather than simply play or laze about until a few days before a competition. Noticeably, when Ash is forced to rest for a week and not allowed to even train his pokemon, he starts going stir crazy because he can't stand to be idle.
Ash doesn't truly start diverging from canon (beyond being more serious about training) until the events of the S.S. Anne due to a combination of trauma and being separated from his traveling companions (the Bulbasaur and Charmander trainers). That's when he becomes more serious and starts showing some similarities to Red from the games, such as going three weeks without seeing another person and talking less often in general. A few big things do keep Ash from becoming an outright marty stu. First, Ash still struggles against high end opponents and gets utterly wrecked by members of the Elite Four and Champions. Second, Ash doesn't win the Indigo Conference. He does better than any rookie before him ever has, but still only takes second. Third, according to Delia, every time she sees Ash, he's quieter and more traumatized from clashes with Team Rocket (portrayed as a serious criminal organization) and Legendary Pokemon.
Fans of his canon team and companions should look elsewhere as neither Brock nor Misty travel with Ash and the only canon species on his team is his Pidgey/Pidgeotto/Pidgeot.
Simply an amazing fanfic if I do say so myself. From the introductions of the characters to the description of the battles themselves.
I also love how Ash started his adventure and how he did not get Pikachu as a pokemon. I find it dull how he always get Pikachu as a starter and sometimes when he doesn't get him early on he will still eventually get him. It's only coincidence that Ash got a Nidoran as a starter just like on my Nuzlocke playthrough on my pokemon crystal. The one pokemon that I actually didn't expect Ash in getting is a Infernus as a Magmar already. I was kinda expecting that he will get all of his pokemon on their most basic form.
But the reason why I keep reading this story, it still is going on, is because unlike the anime Ash actually is getting stronger than the average trainer. I mean seriously, Ash's Pikachu defeats a Dragonite on the Orange Islands but he fails to defeat a Snivy of all things, and it was still a rooky Snivy too.
In the anime, people defend that Ash is a very excellent trainer. Will I call them stupid since excellent trainers doesn't just befriend his pokemon, he will also have to train them to their limit. From what I've seen from the anime, I've watched about until Dawn left the team, Ash doesn't train his pokemon frequently. He just plays with them and rests while they travel and only actually trains his pokemon when he joins a competition.
He is quite different on the Traveler fanfic though since he is training his pokemon everyday. He makes sure to address every one of his family and try to make them stronger as much as he could without ever exerting. And most of all, what I love about Ash in the fanfic is he doesn't goof around. He isn't overconfident. Most of all, people respect him and knows him for who he is.
I also love how dark you made the Team Rocket here. In the anime and games they are like pfft. They actually killed and will kill anyone who gets in their way whether their kids or not.
I read a LOT of fanfiction, rarely in the Pokemon focus. Few stories have caused me to stop and obsessively read as this one.
Traveler depicts a more realistic look at Pokemon. It goes in-depth in science & technology to adequately explain situations in the game and anime. It also explores battles in ways that the games cannot. Alterations to the battlefield are key in many battles and yet are often lacking in canon, but well examined here. Additional emphasis is placed onto the Gym Leaders, making them the power-houses they need to be for their jobs. The other notable people, such as Steven from Hoenn, are also forged into characters instead of perfect figures.
Ash travels through Kanto in ways that mimic neither the anime nor the game and it allows creativity to flourish. Limiting the Pokemon captured, to ensure realistic training, each one of the Pokemon become much more important to the story and each one is a fully fleshed out character. Additionally, Ash captures several Pokemon not normally seen in the other fanfictions that attempt this story style. While Ash has his Starter Nidoran♂, he does not receive a Pikachu. In fact, Ash does not receive an Electric type for quite a while. Admittedly, Ash does capture a Pidgey, however few stories has Ash with a Horsea or Drowzee. These differences are welcome in contrast to most fanfics with stale teams.
Enemies in this story also vary but seldom reach farther than their believable power. Team Rocket is understandably powerful with their ruthless tactics and grab more power than is seen in the anime (blundering idiots) or game (one child VS the whole Team). While the story plays this out more towards the game version, Team Rocket is fleshed out further and the Power behind the ones in charge are not only well defined, but eagerly used. The danger is shown.
While there are a few mistakes, and several notable names thrown around often (Powerful Gym Leaders and Elite 4 Members are common), this story does overflow with believable rises in power. The characters are not just fleshed out well, but actually change their opinions and views, their temperaments and reliability, as the story progresses. This I hold to be the most outstanding feature of this work. The author's ability to have characters grow and not stand stagnant.
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