Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wanna be trendy? Start liking Ash Ketchum!

I don't know if it's just really bad luck or something, but lately I've been seeing many apologists of the bane of every Pokémon fan with an ounce of self-respect, Ash Ketchum. Apparently we're supposed to like him because he's not some unstoppable force, but rather a relatable figure capable of showing emotion and weakness while still remaining determined and having goals to pursue. And you know what? If that description held true, there WOULD be nothing wrong about Ash.

Except for the part where it's NOT true.

Sure, early on in the show's run you could buy that, but as the seasons go on (and on and on and on and on), he makes no progress whatsoever, making him slowly de-evolve into an incompetent doofus who still has no clue what it takes to improve, or worse, DOES know what it takes but refuses to do it because of some invariably inane bullshit. And his infamously middling *coughcough* track record at evolving Pokémon isn't all there is to it, even when any normal person would've said "fuck it" and shoved a Thunder Stone up Pikachu's ass if necessary. His marketing-required team reboot at the start of every generation didn't help, either - in fact, it may be the worst offender, as the one time Ash legitimately looked like a force was when he had almost every Pokémon he's ever had on hand (including a lot of fully-evolved Pokémon to boot). Of course the outcome was history, he was eventually stopped by a bunch of legendaries shamefully low-grade writing, even by the show's scrubbish standards.

But I'm just rambling on. Point is, he's had 17 years to show some improvement, and at the end of the day he always stays near square one. Weakness stops being weakness and turns into something much worse when you never learn from what you did wrong. As for being relatable... well, I can't argue against that. If you identify with him, then what does that make you?

Still, why are all the pro-Ash zombies coming out of their caves now? Is it because Smogon's ladder is so flooded with casuals that they can actually perform decently well using nutty garbage like Eviolite Slowbro, Hyper Beam Sylveon and Ash-based teams by beating the enormous amount of similarly rubbish players, leading them to believe the old doctrine of fighting with your favorites, treating your Pokémon with love and care and all that sappy rhetoric is the key to victory? Is it because some people were outraged by that one picture that had shots of Legend of Thunder, Pokémon Origins and the mega evolution special, that said that all you needed to make a good Pokémon anime was removing Ash, and every brainless sheep who thought they were making good points followed suit?

Either way, that won't change anything for me. Ash Ketchum sucked back then, he sucks now, and he'll suck forever.

40 comments:

  1. They should focus on that Giselle character that agrees with us on Pokemon, and if they must have Ash, they should sideline him to comic relief while the REAL hero actually shows her knowledge of how to do stuff. Personally, I'm more game for a violent death at the hands of his own Pokemon, but you can't get away with that on a kids' show...

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    1. Even Infernape and Gliscor?

      Giselle was a one note COTD and she stated that you should have 6 Pokémon by Cerulian City, no way.

      They should have had Ash stop after the Orange League. He probably won because he had a Lapras and a Tauros in his team. They should've had Jimmy be the Johto character, and then you know the plot.

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    2. Giselle would still make for a better show than Ash...
      If they did that, they'd make Hilda a protagonist in Unova, and you know the issues with that...

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  2. Oh believe me when I say that there's a lot to criticize surrounding him, but that's not to say he can't be improved at all; believe me, if he had his way, he'd probably be roflstomping...oh, I don't know, 4 leagues by this point? But of course, the storyboarding team won't have that, won't they?

    In any case, we could debate all day in regards to his circumstances, and probably counter at least one of your points, as well as a couple points to remember (i.e. Game Logic doesn't 100% apply; an NFE member can knock down a friggen beast of a team member if need be). For example, evolving his Pikachu.....might be doing more harm than good in the long run. I mean, in the episode where he tried to evolve him, Pikachu would just deny all the time. If he said no, it probably means no. I mean, if you tried "shoving a thunder stone up his ass", well, let's just say that him running away would be the least of his worries. But that's just one example.

    Point is, saying something like "he'll always suck forever" implies to me that you don't WANT him to improve, among other things that may be a bit morbid to mention. In any case, any suggestions to improve him while still keeping him...more or less in the spotlight, perhaps? I've got a couple, and I'll give a hint: One of them doesn't involve any pogeymanz.

    P.S. - Regarding other people as imbeciles the way you did? C'mon, even if you hate him with a passion, you can't just do that. I know it's your blog and all, but still.

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    1. "He'll suck forever" was more a prediction than anything, if hardly a bold one. If he made the progress we all know after 17 years, it's very unlikely he'll be faring much better in the next 17.

      And yes, those people defending him are either out of their minds, or have never been exposed to so much as passable writing. I don't know squat about anime in general, and yet even among anime fans I know Pokémon's terrible writing is a common punchline.

      I'm also aware game logic doesn't apply anywhere close to all the time - for example, legendaries are much more powerful compared to non-legendaries than in the games, Mega Charizard X was stated to be outright better than Y (or so I was told at least), and so on. With that said, isn't evolution supposed to have some sort of benefit? I'm no expert, but even in the anime evolution is outright beneficial in just about every case (though there are exceptions in the games). So why does Pikachu want to suck forever? At least in theory, since it can be the most OP thing ever when it feels like it... but then why not be even more OP?

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    2. You may have to resort to outright scheduling an interview with one of the storyboard heads for the last question. There's at least one person that had to do just that, and even then, he didn't get everything we wanted. Shame, I know.

      And I haven't actually seen the anime in a long time (and probably never will outside of maybe a retrospective), but even if it was terrible (from what I hear, there are indeed certain events that are not to be spoken of), you're not even so willing to see the other side and NOT dismiss it as out of their minds, regardless of what they present?! I know you're not exactly the nicest person out there, but c'mon. This short of stuff has happened before, not giving certain people even the remotest bit of doubt and reducing them to non-people and being shocked when the contrary happens. Do you want that to happen again?

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    3. Haha, you tend to underestimate my dislike of Ash. I only brought up one reason for it here, but there's also the unfortunate fact that the anime's largely responsible for the franchise's "for kids" stigma, and Ash and Pikachu are the face of the anime, and therefore the stigma itself.

      But yes, you're right in that I cannot legitimately see any redeeming feature in Ash's writing outside of the Sinnoh league arc, and explaining to me why it's not all that bad is going to take a lot more than Ash being a normal guy with strengths and weaknesses and stuff. And I have a feeling no one can provide an explanation that doesn't involve marketing, whether it's Ash himself as a recognizable figure or his constant team reboots that aim to give new Pokémon some exposure.

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    4. With that said, you're right in that I may have used a wording that was on the harsh side. I guess I was just that steaming mad from what I'd just read. I edited the post in consequence.

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    5. 1st Paragraph: I'd make a comment, but that is ONE can of worms I'm not willing to open, so moving on.

      2nd Paragraph: You're not even going to try? Well, you did at least acknowledge his Sinnoh persona (most people agree that his Sinnoh persona was the best he ever was). Still, what about his Pikachu reboot? ...okay, make that a 2nd can of worms that I'm not all that keen to touch.

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    6. ...and besides, where DID you hear all about this anyway?

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    7. Oh, a few posts I'd seen here and there, combined with similar occurences pointed out by an online acquaintance.

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    8. Just a few posts? I thought it was a whole discussion on GameFAQs or something (which, there wasn't by the way).

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    9. By different people, though.

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    10. Okay Flashia, I got you covered with two legitimate reasons Ash is the best character in anything ever that isn't about marketing: Aim For The Horn and Thunder Armor. It's an electric move that's SE against ground types and a Flying move that grants an immunity to electric attacks and a boost in stats when hit with an electric move. These moves could have been whored out in event pikachu and swellows, but Ash is still the only one to have ever mastered these techiques and nobody else can use them. He's the greatest trainer ever. HIS PIKACHU BEAT RHYDON! AIM FOR THE HORN! Also, the video games need to be revised to give Blaine a rhydon for his fire type gym.

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  3. I don't watch the anime, but you're right on. Even I would've shoved a Thunderstone up Uberchu's ass long ago. The only way Ash could be acceptable to me would be giving him OU and Uber Pokemon.

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    1. I'm going to play devil's advocate and point out that it's wrong to expect Ash to use certain Pokémon just because they're effective competitively - the flow of a battle is very different in the anime and in the games, not to mention that the line that separates each tier is quite thin. Take away 20 points in one stat (especially speed), and most Pokémon WILL see a drastic decrease in usefulness.

      That, and tiering is already extremely volatile to start with. A few months ago Trevenant was high OU, and now it seems to be just another pretty decent Pokémon.

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    2. Slowflake, have you ever noticed that among the stat recons pokemon recieved this gen, Pikachu got +10 in defense and special defense? All the other retcons only got 10 points, but pikachu got 20! Split between defense and special defense! That's sure to make it OU! It's a good thing they opted to do that instead of doing something crazy like giving it +10 speed, or it would have been way too powerful and got banned.

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    3. Yeah, I've seen that too. Funny how they seem convinced that Pikachu's actually useful thanks to all the worthless events they've showered it with over the years.

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  4. As I believe you said before once, Ash can't evolve his Pikachu because then all the action replay codes he's put on it over the years will be reset.

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    1. I said that? Man, I used to be so awesome!

      Nah, but seriously I'm thinking you got me mixed up with someone else. Not to mention, seems like the codes go away by themselves at the start of each gen anyway.

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    2. Yeah those codes sure worked against that Magikarp. And it is weak enough to be able to create a cushion for Swellow, using Thunder.

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    3. This is incredibly late but you said that in part 24 of red about 2 and a half minutes in.

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  5. It's worth pointing out that, as I'm sure everyone already knows, the only people who really watch the Pokemon Anime in any number are the target demographic- single digit kids who couldn't really be expected to do much better in the games.

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  6. I will give Ash a pass on Pikachu, since it can have a light ball shoved up its ass for all we know, and since it does make the stupid mouse hit pretty hard on both sides well whatever it's something. But beyond that screw Ash, but that's just how it is. The people liking him are probably mostly Genwunners who think Mew is just a theory (remember, it's always "150" not "151" that they remember fondly in all its buggy and unbalanced 'glory'). Kids that don't know better and would give a Charizard Overheat, fly, flamethrower and fire blast I can see why they like him. Anyone who is a teenager though (who has gone through at least two generations prior to X/Y or could have age-wise) has no excuse though.

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  7. Ash has 826 episodes and 17 movies yet he has learnt nothing. This show is the reason why I don't watch many anime, I'm scared if they'll end up like this pile of puke with a Pikachu on top.

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    1. No need to worry; There is plenty of anime that is MUCH better than this garbage.

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    2. I've watched Inuyasha, and it suffers similar pacing problems and TERRIBLE characters like Kagome. I've watched Gurren Lagann as well which, while it was slow to start, it was enjoyable from Episode 8 onwards.

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  8. I'm going to be the devil's advocate and point out that he's actually made legitimate progress, which you'd know if you watch the show (you do not). Even forgetting the fact that he went back to full stupid after Sinnoh, near the end of Unova he suddenly regained all of his past knowledge and then some (considering he was making legitimate strategies by the BEGINNING of Sinnoh, that's noticeable) and then the writing team decided to make him not stupid for Kalos. Now I'm not saying he's suddenly a powergamer, but he's made several steps in the right direction.

    Also, this is the anime world, where a Turtwig is four times faster than a Grotle and one of the times he DID fully evolve something, it was a MISTAKE because it ended up getting a horrific nerf due to that (said Turtwig, which NEVER WON A BATTLE after turning Torterra because Ash never really adjusted from his gottagofast style for it). So game logic bears nothing on it.

    Now feel free to go back to what you're discussing.

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    1. Is that so? Well, it's still a relatively recent development, so let's give them some more time to see if they muck it up like they did before. If they don't, then major props for not pulling the "it's Pokémon, people will watch it anyway card". Still, I wonder if that's the reason why defending Ash has become more popular lately, because new people are being exposed to the anime without having seen a decade and a half of what Ash is known for?

      *remembers it's the internet he's talking about*

      Hahahahaha nope.

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    2. Ash evolved his turtwig? I was expecting the more obvious excuse of Charizard becoming an insubordinate maverick when it evolved, so that means evolving charmander was a setback.

      And Sinnoh of all places was where he was smartest? From what I remember of the beginning of that arc, a smogonite released a chimchar with a bad nature and junk IVs and Ash made it his mission to adopt it and raise it into a pokemon way stronger than the ones that other guy bred for perfect stats, because in reality, ANY pokemon can be as strong as you need them to be as long as you BELIEVE IN THEM and LOVE THEM. Yeah, if that's the smart Ash, I shudder at the thought of what this comparatively worse ash of Unova must be like. I walked out when his pikachu (which must be one he caught fresh in the wild and an entirely different pikachu than the one from season 1) got knocked out by a level 5 snivy.

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    3. He was much better near the end of Sinnoh, admittedly. Heck, they pretty much made it clear that had it not been for Tobias, Ash would've won the whole thing. Which essentially means Tobias was merely a plot device to keep Ash as the focal point of the anime.

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    4. Oh yeah, if he actually becomes a champion, that means the plot is done. But wait, there's all these other regions and each region has their own championship, and they put him in a new region in every generation anyway, so I still don't see him actually winning something a plot killer.

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  9. You may have said this before, but what we're you originally going to have your White 2 team be had you continued the let's play?

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    1. ...my team was already complete...

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    2. Maybe he meant post-game, and something tells me you didn't have a plan though I'm predicting Kyurem-W and Latias might've been there.

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    1. I have been watching X and Y the anime and he is okay for the most part. Also I think Red is over rated in Origin and he was boring in that special as well

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  11. Sorry to come back on this but I was referring to the post game. Who know what you would have used. Tyranitar, Dragonite, the regis, Latias, maybe even catch a bagon? If you continued playing on that game file after retiring, what was you team?

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