Rival Examination: Trip
by, 25th October 2012 at 07:58 PM (7097 Views)
(I was originally going to to Burgundy. But the Junior Cup and Trip talk in the forums inspired me.)
Honestly, with a character like Trip, there's a lot that could have been said, but not a lot that can be said. Is Trip a cheap Paul clone, or is there more under the surface? Could it be both? Could it be neither? Let's dive into one of my new trainwrecks. Prepare for a lot of fanon and guessing with this one, guys.
It's basic, Trip.
Meet Trip. Trip is a normal boy from Unova, who looks like fanart of Paul that was color-inverted in MSPaint. He enjoys photography, trying to become Champion, and, on occasion, worshiping Alder.
He's also is Ash's first Unova rival. In his first encounter with Ash, he thinks of our Kanto boy as a stupid redneck from the boonies. Granted, his first encounter of the hyperactive Ash with a derpy Pikachu wasn't exactly favorable for Ash.
Tripe displays the interesting ability of teleportation. Aside from getting two Badges and then meeting Ash in the Battle Club long before the second Gym, he also manages to get a Badge from Nimbasa City, then make his way halfway back to Castelia City to meet Ash. But then again, this could be due to Ash always taking time to stop and help CotD's. Or maybe Trip just likes to spend his time moving away from Badges.
Defeating everyone who isn't Bianca or Cilan
I covered a bit of his character below, since I wrote this section in the reverse order. Trip started out xenophobic and cocky. Then he lost a few times and became more humble. We see him lose faith in the one man who inspired him, then regain his faith and humility when that man defeats him quite easily.
Have Their Character Changes Been Good?
Trip's arc with Alder sparked the most change in him. We actually saw Trip's emotions a little more, and we see his motivation for his Training. We see his world view change, and him finally getting the help he deserved.
It was good to see the growth and conclusion to his arc with Alder, but it definitely would have benefited if it got more focus, and it didn't happen so late in the saga.
This section is hard to cover, since he only uses two Pokemon regularly (read: more than once): Serperior and Conkeldurr. Serperior is fast and powerful, and Conkeldurr is slow and powerful so we can guess that Trip generally goes for power in battling. (Much like how Ash generally goes for speed.)
How his snake fares in battle with Ash's Snivy shows some growth in Trip's strategy and Servine's skill. When Servine first battled Snivy, it was easily incapacitated by Attract and subsequently defeated through bondage. The next time they battle, however, Servine is able to stop Attract. With Snivy's trump card down, she's struck down rather easily.
Is This Character Memorable?
When you compare him to the hyperactive blond blur, the vengeance-driven Taste Queen, the girl who busts dragons, and the guy with the muscle Muppet, Trip is the ordinary guy in a world or strange happenings and strange people. While this really isn't a bad thing (and being normal doesn't mean he's a bad character), Trip doesn't do enough to stand out from the others. He just exists to be there. He's an obstacle that, whether defeated or not, is forgotten at the end of the day.
Trip isn't a memorable character. But as I'll touch upon later on, he could have been.
How They Rank
Come on, guys, it's Trip. You know how this is going to turn out.
Are They a Good Character?
This is sort of a tricky question, because while you can tell he was always shafted. Ever since his debut, people talked about how he was just a substitute for Paul, and considering the qualities they share (bad haircuts, both dislike Ash and are moody), I can't blame him. Trip was an attempt at replicating some of Paul's success without simply retreading him. Trip wasn't mean to Pokemon and he wasn't an experienced Trainer. He was, however, a character suspected to have more depth below his cold surface, implying that all his insults were part of an act. The fact that he's willing to help Ash help Oshawott is a sign of this, not to mention the fact that he's rather cold towards Ash's friendly advances, but is easily riled up by Iris - he wants to battle Ash, but he's too caught up in being serious? Maybe he sees Ash's excitability as a reflection of his own feelings, and hates him? Maybe this stems from his wish to be a powerful Champion? Maybe something happened to make him so cold?
So Trip, much like Tracey, is a good idea with bad execution. There are a lot of seeds planted to make a garden, but they were never watered. The reason why he's cold and xenophobic aren't really delved upon, his camera quirk isn't touched up upon too much after the first 30-something episodes, and he always loses early in tournaments, so we can't see his growth. I hesitate to say he'd be a better Rival than Paul, but if Trip got the proper development, he could have been more original and deep than Paul.
I don't think Trip is a good character. But as I write this, I can see why some people do. He's a puzzle, and you can fill in the missing pieces yourself. He would probably do very well in the right fanfic writer's hands.
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