Part 64: Side Notes #19: Success of Red, Failure of SatoshiSide Notes 19: Success of Red, Failure of Satoshi
Well there we go, we've defeated the Gym Leaders, Elite Four and Champion and come out as the best of the best. It's pretty easy, we can do that in every game we choose, to do all we can to win and catch them all.
So why the fuck is Ash Ketchum such a goddamn loser?
The answer's obvious, really. Due to the constant cyclical nature of the anime that airs basically week after week with no real stopping and no end goal in mind, you can't have any kind of progression. So this is a fascinating case study of a character that is unable to change, unable to succeed and unable to age.
Sure, there's plenty of anime out there that run week after week, adapted from a story. Well, a manga, which is stretched out so they don't catch up or anything. But with Pokemon, it's different, there is a manga, but the anime is just based on a game. Ash is based off of Red. So that's fine, he can travel the region, get badges, have a few crazy adventures, then go through a load of fights, with a brilliant climax at the end against Gary and there we go, that's an adaptation.
But of course that's not how it went. While the movie was a good way to end the series, if that were to be the case, the games did too well to consider ending it there, despite the original one year plan, cause it's good advertising, they make some money and it's just a fun time, so the one year plan was fine. But again, still not what happened. While there were plans to have a sequel to the games, it's unclear whether the anime would continue and it seemed they didn't exactly have it all planned out, since before Gen 2 started we had the Orange Island saga.
So Ash's story really should've ended after a year, but now he was going on an island hopping adventure where he actually succeeds. He takes down a fairly hefty opponent and is an actual Champion. But of course, he has to go to Johto. It does make some sense, the two regions are connected, after all the journeying Ash does, it would be satisfying to end it after 3 years with him returning to his hometown that has changed so much, after finally competing in the Indigo League again and becoming the Champion.
Ahahahahahahaha, no of course not. For whatever reason, they decided that Ash should go to Hoenn. After all, they've had Ash around for quite some time, he's marketable as shit, especially the yellow rat on his shoulder. The early anime had a huge impact on so many people, think of all the bad parodies and references, it's all to an anime that hasn't looked like that for over 15 years and yet it's still so culturally ingrained. So instead of going with a fresh new face, Ash traveled Hoenn. And Pokemon showed no signs of stopping. So of course, neither did the anime.
And now Ash is going through his sixth region, Kalos, with another load of badges to collect, another load of Pokemon to catch and another tournament to lose at. So really, after so long, what is the fucking point? In there any point in following the adventures of Ash Ketchum as he goes towards a goal he can never fulfill. He's going to go to the Kalos Conference, battle a load of guys, make a rivalry with some guy he just met and then lose to them. Ash says oh well, goes home, dumps his badges, Pokemon, friends and clothes, learns about somewhere new and heads off to start the cycle over again. As it has happened many times. Let's take a look.
First, the Indigo Conference, where Ash met Ritchie, a guy that was basically Ash in so many ways it hurt. This is a guy who got the league with a team of Charmander, Butterfree and Pikachu. He was fucking screwed. But due to one of Team Rocket's plans, Ash arrived to the battle late with exhausted Pokemon. So that counts some of them out. He uses Squirtle first, but after getting hit by a Sleep Powder, it's eliminated, because fuck you. Then he uses Pikachu, who's still quite tired and loses to the fucking Charmander. So all Ash can use is Charizard. It starts off well, Charizard ain't happy about this imitating shit, so he kicks Charmander's ass. But then when Ritchie sends out Pikachu, Charizard loses all interest and Ash loses. Wow, I'm glad they decided to keep the anime going, cause that is a terrible way to end the series.
So that was what we were building up to for eighty episodes, one of the worst battles in the series. I suppose it shows that the writers will do whatever they can to justify a loss for Ash and, I dunno, he's inexperienced and shit? Ah whatever, it's definitely the worst, but not by a huge amount. So onto the Johto League.
They definitely learned their lesson this time around. Not only do Ash and Gary have a pretty interesting fight that culminates in the ending of their rivalry, but Ash has a good fight to the finish against his new rival, Harrison, a guy with a variety of Pokemon, including a couple from Hoenn. So after an intense battle, it's down to Blaziken vs Charizard. And yeah, Ash loses, to the new super duper awesome better then your old stuff Hoenn Pokemon. So that was another great use of our time. Especially since Harrison just loses in the next round. Nice Hoenn Pokemon you have there mate. And Ash finishes in the Top 8, a sight better than before, but it's still a stinging loss to a guy he really just met. But by then they knew the series would be going to Hoenn, so Ash drops literally everything and heads off to the new region.
The Hoenn Conference was an interesting one. Ash met the rivals he would fight just beforehand, with Morrison and Tyson. Morrison became good friends with Ash, so when it came to their battle, he didn't really want to fight his friend and lost three Pokemon before he finally got himself together and nearly wrecked Ash in return, coming from a huge disadvantage to nearly winning the fight, which says more about Ash more than anything. The battle against Tyson was also interesting, he was the guy with a Puss in Boots homage Meowth, if the other Meowth wasn't enough of that already. Anyway, he had some fairly tough Pokemon with him and Ash's Hoenn team, well, would get better. But it got down to Pikachu vs Meowth. And Ash lost. In the Top 8. So no real change. Great. At least Tyson went on to win that damn thing. Oh doesn't that sound familiar.
The Sinnoh League had a lot of hype behind it. Ash was on fucking point this saga and had a hell of a team, as well as an intensive rivalry with Paul. Hot damn, it was one hell of a match they had, one of the best in the series, the perfect finale to Ash's continued growth and strong beliefs. Now that he had finally won, it was time for someone new to take over in a region far away and GOD FUCKING DAMMIT TOBIAS. The writers always need to find a way to have Ash lose and Ash was doing so well and had such an impressive record this time around that there was almost no way he could lose. Enter the guy that enters a competitive tournament with two or more legendary Pokemon. He's obtained his gym badges effortlessly, he wins every match using only his Darkrai and when it comes to him against Ash, he of course fucking slaughters the boy. After such an intense match against Paul, this is just most anti climactic battles where any chance of Ash ever accomplishing anything in life is just beaten into the ground.
Eventually Ash perseveres and Darkrai goes down. The very first time in Tobias's entire journey. So this is where he freaks out, he has other Pokemon sure, but he hasn't used them, he's been so focused on Darkrai that he put all his eggs in one basket and now that his trump card is gone, he doesn't know what to do. But he barely squeaks out a win and thanks Ash for teaching him that he should have a fair and balanced team and that effortlessly sweeping everything is hollow and being at the edge of defeat showed him how enjoyable battling can be.
Aha, just kidding he had a fucking Latios. I suppose it's a jab at trainers that only used overpowered legendaries, but Tobias wins the whole thing, he learns nothing and gets nothing but praise for making the competition an unfair snore fest. Why was there any point to him doing this, he knew he would win. And having Cynthia be there to see how much Ash had improved was overall useless, since he loses anyway. But hey Top 4, he's improving. It's nothing but up from here.
So now we're onto the Kalos League, where Ash is getting quite the team and- what? ...U-Unova? The fuck is that? Oh, please, please don't make me. I would rather forget. But fine, the Unova saga. What a shitshow the entirety of that arc was. We weren't expecting much, since Ash's team was terrible. His rivalry against Trip ended in the first round, to show how important that was, the entire league was 6 episodes and one of them was arguably filler. And the whole time they were advertising this cool new arc that would happen afterward! Well Ash met this scatterbrained guy Cameron with his Riolu. He nearly ended up going to Johto until Ash dragged his ass back to get a gym badge. Then at the league, Ash made him enter before he missed out on registering. Basically it's Ash's fault he eventually lost, but with a team like that, there was never any doubt. Oh yeah, there was also a guy with a load of Eeveelutions, but eh, we could see him winning the whole thing a mile away. He only did it cause he was bored too.
Anyway, Ash had a fairly good battle with his other other rival Stephen, but then came the Cameron battle. Being the klutz that he is, he only brought 5 Pokemon to a 6 on 6 battle. And forgot type advantages, so two of his Pokemon get knocked out instantly. Now if you were following the saga, you would know that a 6 on 3 battle in Ash's favour means that Ash is completely and utterly screwed. Mainly since Cameron's Riolu evolved just as Snivy was about to whoop its ass and proceeded to win Cameron the match. So Ash got Top 8. Nice fucking job. And then Cameron loses the match right after. So nice. Eevee guy wins, what a surprise and the entire League was completely pointless, even more so than usual. And then the anime team had Ash go on an island hopping adventure where nothing happened and no one changed, so they could waste time until Kalos started.
So how exactly will things go down in Kalos? Well I've written a lot of words, but it just shows that the writers will do whatever they can to ensure that Ash doesn't change. So Ash will lose the Kalos League, nothing will also happen between him and Serena, because nothing ever can cause he's gonna leave her behind when he goes to the next region. And Ash will dump the impressive team he's building because fuck you. It's also why he doesn't get a Mega Ring. Saves them finding a way to get rid of it next region. Which is also why he's gotten the Ash-Greninja upgrade, which has power on similar level to Mega Pokemon, but Ash can just dump it at Oak's later, so that shows the kinda bond they really have.
The anime is a marketing tool, through and through, always has been, always will do. So there really is no point watching the show, if you want there to be some improvement in the characters, or some actual end, then no, not for a long ass time. But if you want some interactions between characters and Pokemon and some sweet animated battles and the latest in formes and potential directions the games can go? Then this is the anime for you. If you want something that is similar to the anime, but done a lot better then...
READ THE FUCKING MANGA GOD IT'S SO GOOD YOU SHOULD JUST READ ALL OF IT IT'S AMAZING AND I LOVE IT AND AHHHHHHHHHHH
Happy New Year everybody!
And join me in the new year for the last two updates of the LP. But for now, I leave you with a question. 4, 5, or 6? The result may surprise you. Later y'all.