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Why The First 5 Seasons Are The Very Best, Like No One Ever Was! - Tentative Title

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by , 3rd March 2013 at 08:55 PM (6053 Views)
Welcome to ★stickerstaryoshi's☆ first ever blog entry! I've decided to do this after being inspired by certain blogs, but I digress. (Huh, this seemed so much easier before I actually started writing.)

Why The First Five Seasons of Pokemon Are The Very Best, Like No One Ever Was! (Part 1?) - Tentative Title

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Inspired by: pokemon fan 132

We all know how the anime has changed since 2002, and not necessarily for the better, either. I'll explain as I go along. I didn't have much time to finish, so I just settled for splitting this into at least 2 parts, hope no one minds.

~~~Characters~~~

Ash started off as a naive, optimistic kid. It was quite funny to watch him make a fool of himself. Then throughout OI, and Johto, he matured, while still keeping traces of his old personality. Many people admire Hoenn for having a "mature" Ash, but not only did Johto do it first, but it did it better. He wasn't learning lessons that he had already learned back in Kanto, unlike in Season 6+. To add to that, Johto still had him as a real character, instead of the "OMGILOVEPOKEMONLETSBATTLE" stereotyped shonen cliche he would later become.

Misty. Like I said above:

Misty was a temperamental girl who had a nice side
But there was more to her than that. For starters, she had to deal with living in the shadows of her sisters, making her more sympathetic than the average "tsundere". Like Ash, she developed throughout the course of OI and Johto, becoming more mature and less impatient, though still keeping traces of her personality. She kinda had to be patient, considering she was dealing with two babies (Ash and Togepi) :P . I don't think Togepi destroyed her character at all, in fact, Togepi was one of the best things to happen to her. Togepi forced the writers to explore other traces of her personality instead of always using her angry side. In addition, she was more motherly, and didn't conform to stereotypical gender standards. Yes, she was feminine, but not too girly. Now for (nearly) everyone's favorite black gym leader...no, not Lenora...

Brock! He is perhaps my favorite of the three, despite what would happen to him later on. It was funny and ironic to see a caretaker like Brock being completely serious, only to do a complete 180 when he saw a girl, usually resulting in him either getting dragged away by Misty, or REJECTED. Many will also say that Brock didn't change, but I disagree. Like Brock, the changes are just subtle. At first, he was completely serious (though compassionate), but by GCYL, he had learned to let himself feel sad in front of his friends (usually his crying was played for laughs), and he got a little less serious. Minor changes, but still development regardless.

With this kind of group dynamic, you'd think they'd stick around for quite a while, right? They really seemed inseparable and irreplaceable, but sadly, it didn't last. Misty leaving was perhaps the biggest mistake the anime has made, and probably always will be. Yes, even more than the voice change (at least that only affected the English dub). Since Misty left, character interactions have went downhill, and so have the characters themselves. None of the people who came in afterwards have been nearly as good as her (although I'm fine with Iris). And now, in BW, Brock is gone, this time for good. Without Misty to turn to, Brock got more and more flanderized, same with Ash, who got more and more boring.

~~~Plot Details, and how Pokemon Compares to Other Media~~~

Everyone who's kept up with the anime for at least a while knows what happens at the start of each generation, and what will happen in the next: Ash leaves his friends behind and replaces them with other people, he leaves all of his Pokemon behind except for Pikachu. This might have been okay had it only happened ONCE, but sadly, that's not the case. It just makes it that much harder to invest in the characters, knowing they're soon going to have to leave. Instead of just relying on the reset button as a cop out, they should work with what they have and make their characters better. Making a "fresh start" isn't ADDRESSING the problem, it's just covering it up (very thinly, I might add), and adding new problems, too. What good is character investment when they'll fall victim to the endless cycle? This is an indirect example of Misty leaving affecting the anime negatively.

I will never get why they had to replace Misty and Brock to begin with, it just doesn't work. By now, we're all so used to it that it hardly affects us anymore, but for me, it's still not right. To give you an idea of what I mean, imagine a Mickey Mouse series without Pluto, or even Goofy. It MIGHT work, but it just feels off. Even if they did get stale, why not redeem them? After all, they managed to make Dawn more entertaining (despite her unsatisfying cameo), why couldn't they do the same with Misty or Brock? Other shows keep the same characters and do just fine. Granted, they sometimes get derailed, but is the alternative (character replacement) really much better?

Another thing people like to point out is that we are not the target audience, and that they are only writing for kids. If that's the case, why are they bringing back old characters in BW? Why have cameos at all? Why did they show the Misty lure back in DP? Did they just choose randomly? (Personally, I think it was a desperate ratings trap, and it worked too :P ). Other kids shows have something for everyone, and so did Pokemon - for a time. My Little Pony (which I don't watch) is for little girls, but the creators are apparently actively working to please the adult male demographic (bronies). Heck, grown men are buying the toys, which people say they won't do for Pokemon. If you can get grown men to buy MLP toys, why not Pokemon, right?

For a more gender-neutral example, Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, Looney Tunes, Rocko's Modern Life, etc. were for kids, but still had adult references so that EVERYONE can enjoy. Even today, people still love these shows, because they just hold up. I don't think I've seen a single person complain about any of those shows. In the long run, aiming for as wide of an audience as possible is beneficial to ratings, reputation, and the like. If Pokemon didn't limit itself to a kid audience and actually address their problems, it could have the same critical reception as the ones mentioned above.

~~~Rivalries (aka Gary was here, Paul and Trip are LOSERS!!!)~~~

We all know Gary Oak, right? Yes? Then I'll just get into the rivalry. His rivalry with Ash was GREAT. Every single time he appeared, he taunted Ash and got an angered reaction out of him, and it was always funny. Then we have Paul, who is loved by most of the fandom. In my honest opinion? He's boring, and so is the rivalry. He's powerful, yes, but he really has no personality. His backstory was sad, but it was pretty hard to feel sorry for him. Perhaps if he wasn't a douche to everyone he met, and wasn't a cardboard cutout, this wouldn't be the case. It does seem original on the surface, but when you actually witness it, it's just an overglorified "COTD is being mean to his Pokemon" subplot drawn out for almost 200 episodes! The actual rivalry was nothing more than "Ash and Paul meet up, Ash tries to be nice to him, Paul acts like a douche, Ash gets all whiny", each and every time. At that point, Ash was also boring, so it made the rivalry even more unengaging. Now Trip...he's at least little more interesting than Paul. So what's my problem with his rivalry? Ash. He really doesn't react to what Trip says or does, just shrugs it off. The rivalry might be somewhat more engaging if Ash played his role in it correctly, but he pretty much just goes through the motions here. Also, the writers have yet again attempted to "freshen" things up by making him a rookie trainer, resulting in, you guessed it, a ton of complaints (this, coupled with Ash's regression, did not help matters at all).

So, yeah, Gary >>>>>> Trip >>>>>> Paul.

The winner is Gary Oak!!!

~~~Emotion~~~

I'm sure this is no contest, OS has much more genuine emotion than the rest. For example, Pikachu's Goodbye had Ash thinking of leaving Pikachu, thinking that it would be better for him to stay in the forest with all the other Pikachu than continue on with him. Now, we all knew that Pikachu wouldn't actually leave, but seeing Ash get all choked up when about to abandon his first Pokemon, and Pikachu wanting to stay with him - it's enough to make anyone feel for him. In Snow Way Out, we had Ash about to freeze to death, and trying to get Pikachu into his ball so he wouldn't share the same fate, but he refuses to stay in, despite the weather condition. Then, soon enough, his Pokemon all come out to warm him up. That alone showed how strong his bond with Pikachu - and his other Pokemon - is. This hasn't really been explored in newer series (the Ash + Pikachu bond in particular is now nothing more than "just take out word for it okay?").

Ash and co. were not the only one who could provide emotion - Team Rocket could, too! In Go West Young Meowth, we saw how Meowth learned to talk in order to impress Meowsie, a female Meowth, but it only led to her looking down on him as a Persian swept him off his feet, leading him to hate the Persian species. Who wouldn't feel sorry for him after that? Jessie and James have pretty sad backstories, too. Later on in Chronicles/AG/DP, the new backstory additions caused timeline errors/plotholes, but back then, there was no problem.

~~~Leagues~~~

You know something else that was better back then? The leagues. The Indigo League was a tournament (I like the anime's approach on the "after-badge quest"), but there was more to it than just the battles. This league was more of a culmination of Ash's journey, featuring his friends, as well as league-only rivals. Many didn't like how he lost, and while it was frustrating, it made sense from an in-universe perspective. It wasn't as bad as a lot of what would come after...

Next, the Orange League. Instead of just a battle tournament, the viewers found Ash doing various sports (racing, mountain climbing, etc.), with some battles inbetween. After he got the 4 OI badges, he then fought Drake (and won!). THIS was not only a nice change of pace, but he actually won a league! Not a main region league, but still.

The Silver Conference was great as well, it finally gave the Ash vs Gary rivalry sone closure, and it showed how far Ash had come. I considered this a return to form after the OI format (not that I had anything against it). He lost to Harrison's Blaziken with Charizard (who listened, at least), but at least it was a fair fight.

Hoenn League: It wasn't that bad, but not that good either. All of the other competitiors were just random people (I even count Morrison and Tyson because they appeared too late), didn't help that Ash had no rival. It got boring seeing just the Hoenn Pokemon, and the way Ash lost was pretty unsatisfying. Nothing really stood out to me besides the Meowth in boots.

Sinnoh League: Weak. It started off pretty lame, with Ash's battle with Nando (I honestly forgot about this guy) being skimmed through by Team Rocket (did they REALLY need to be in this episode?). It got better later on, although I thought the AvP 3-parter was too drawn out. Then all of a sudden, Tobias randomly appeared. No background, no personality, nothing, he was just a guy with 2 (not one, but TWO!!) legendaries, created only to beat Ash. As bad as that sounds, it's still better than...

Unova League: We've all seen it, we all hated it. This does not need explaining.

So that's it for now.

Oh, and before ANYONE pulls out the nostalgia card, note that I still like Super Mario Bros, Legend of Zelda, etc. - things from my CHILDHOOD. In fact, Super Mario Galaxy is among my favorite games. If I was really "nostalgic", wouldn't I hate this game?

Withdraw all nostalgia cards please.

~stickerstaryoshi

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Updated 18th February 2014 at 11:56 AM by speedingbulletbill

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  1. speedingbulletbill's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    Exactly, Misty and Brock may not be relevant these days, but they're a part (no matter how minor) of why the anime was so successful.
    Sokka wasn't any less important when he left to go training in ATLA, Aang isn't much less important in LOK. Granted he didn't stop appearing altogether but still.
  2. speedingbulletbill's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    Exactly, Misty and Brock may not be relevant these days, but they're a part (no matter how minor) of why the anime was so successful.
    Sokka wasn't any less important when he left to go training in ATLA, Aang isn't much less important in LOK. Granted he didn't stop appearing altogether but still.
  3. The Fighting Misty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stickerstaryoshi
    Thanks!
    Exactly, Misty and Brock may not be relevant these days, but they're a part (no matter how minor) of why the anime was so successful.
    And its still been 10 full years since Misty left, which makes her role in the overall series not as important as she once was. She's not even in half the shows total episodes, she's in less than half around 38-40% or so.

    2002 was a loooong time ago.
  4. speedingbulletbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fighting Misty
    And its still been 10 full years since Misty left, which makes her role in the overall series not as important as she once was. She's not even in half the shows total episodes, she's in less than half around 38-40% or so.

    2002 was a loooong time ago.
    May, Dawn, and soon to be Iris are in even less.
  5. pokemon fan 132's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fighting Misty
    And its still been 10 full years since Misty left, which makes her role in the overall series not as important as she once was. She's not even in half the shows total episodes, she's in less than half around 38-40% or so.

    2002 was a loooong time ago.
    May, Dawn, Max, Tracey, soon enough Iris and Cilan lasted even less than Misty did. Point?

    How much Misty lasted doesn't in any way deflate value as character and impact she brought to pokemon series. She played important role paving out way for future generations to come serving as catalyst through which Ash developed as trainer. Her role in pokemon was to provide humor and contribute to good character dynamic by acting like someone who would balance out Ash impulsiveness and naivety and Brock's obsession over girls with her spunky, and timid personality.

    Making group feel complete promoting sense of adventure of friendship this show was about, giving to anime identity and sense of stability with strong presence.
    While also contributing to anime popularity in first place being part of groundwork on which success was build with multisided personality and passion she expressed for various things,touching backstory and unique goals making her easy to relate to many people out there becoming quickly liked and accepted.

    So its kinda hard to view Misty as character for who writers didn't cared when she had longer run than other girls had, got episodes in chronicles, had 4 episode long cameo appearances and numerous references and throwbacks to character after departure(more than i can say for others who left cast).
  6. The Fighting Misty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stickerstaryoshi
    May, Dawn, and soon to be Iris are in even less.
    But their characters didn't exist yet. For example can you blame Iris for missing the first 600 or so episodes of the series? Of course not, because her character wasn't created yet.

    Misty was the only one from the beginning, therefore other than Tracey, she's the one whose been gone for the longest amount of time since her character creation. You can't blame newer characters for "missing the early seasons" when their characters weren't invented yet.

    And the ironic thing is even though Misty was in the anime for roughly 1 year longer than May/Dawn were...it actually doesn't feel like it. Probably because Misty's extra year worth of episodes were just the Johto fillers where she doesn't do anything in anyway. If Johto wasn't stretched out for 157 episodes, she would have been in the anime for 4 years like the others.
  7. pokemon fan 132's Avatar
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    @The Fighting Misty: your missing the point, which is how May, Dawn and Iris are even shorter lived characters than Misty was with your argument failing in comparison when other girl protagonists are taken in account.

    Furthermore its kinda hard to not notice Misty being longer in anime when she actually got more development and focus in so called "infamous Johto" as opposite to Kanto.
    Especially in Master Quest receiving her own arc competing in Whirl Cup, getting new pokemon along with Poliwhirl evolving, several episodes focusing on her background and development such as "Some Like it Hot", "Just Add Water", "Espeon included"etc along with playing valuable role in several Brock, Ash or other character centric episodes becoming more confident and learned how to cope with responsibility with her decision of leaving group to go back and save gym from shutting down serving as confirmation to growth character experienced.
  8. The Fighting Misty's Avatar
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    But my point is given she was one of the first characters in the show, she was the first major character to leave (not counting Tracey), and actually remained off the show in all the following arcs. Her departure wasn't temporary like Brock was in Orange Islands, she literally stayed gone for the next 10 years and 600 or whatever episodes.

    Therefore no matter how many new characters are introduced who didn't exist yet in the early seasons, Misty is essentially always going to be gone the longest. How can you blame characters like Iris and Cilan for not existing back in 1998? Their characters simply weren't created yet.
  9. pokemon fan 132's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fighting Misty
    But my point is given she was one of the first characters in the show, she was the first major character to leave (not counting Tracey), and actually remained off the show in all the following arcs. Her departure wasn't temporary like Brock was in Orange Islands, she literally stayed gone for the next 10 years and 600 or whatever episodes.

    Therefore no matter how many new characters are introduced who didn't exist yet in the early seasons, Misty is essentially always going to be gone the longest. How can you blame characters like Iris and Cilan for not existing back in 1998? Their characters simply weren't created yet.
    This is what i call false attribution straying away from subject.

    No one ever blamed other characters for not being in anime from start, with other characters run in anime being used as example to uncover flawed reasoning behind your argument.

    You are persistently using Misty shorter stay in comparison to Ash and Brock as argument how she was considered as apparently "unimportant character"from writer side not having much of relevance in longer run.

    While completely ignoring fact how May, Dawn, Iris or Cilan are going to or existed in anime for even shorter time period. Something your using as ammunition only in Misty case to strengthen your argument, contradicting yourself in process.

    How long someone was in show doesn't make him any less relevant or erase impact he left on show whether its through bringing something new on table with its story, playing important part in Ash life helping him to grow in better trainer over the years or contributing to show popularity and more fluid, better connected group dynamics.
  10. Karamazov's Avatar
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    If you guys are going to talk about Misty, why don't you post in the Misty debate thread(s)? Just wondering.
  11. The Fighting Misty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contrary
    If you guys are going to talk about Misty, why don't you post in the Misty debate thread(s)? Just wondering.
    Because I can't post in that thread. :p
  12. Bluelatios's Avatar
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    Putting reasons I post here and not in anime that I don't care to discuss aside, its not exactly good to take intense discussions into PAD considering it has a bad history of things getting out of hand. Now if only something could be done to make it better and friendlier....
  13. Misty Calls Masquerain's Avatar
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    Well Misty is "First 5 Seasons" related...so this was inevitable..
  14. The Fighting Misty's Avatar
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    Even then, I watched the first 5 seasons more for Ash and his pokemon than Misty, even when the show first started.

    People can like Kanto and not even like Misty or Brock for example. I've seen people who said they've never liked Misty but Kanto is their favorite arc.
    Updated 12th March 2013 at 04:16 PM by The Fighting Misty
  15. Bluelatios's Avatar
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    I watched it for all the characters and for the deep values. What can I say, they had good dynamics and awesome personalities! :D In a lot of ways, I feel like Pokemon's made me a better person and inspired me to do great things someday.
  16. Misty Calls Masquerain's Avatar
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    I watched for all the characters (COTD and main), story, Pokemon, battles, etc., back then it had the perfect balance of everything and more.
  17. The Fighting Misty's Avatar
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    It did, until Johto started. Once Shudo stepped down as the head director, the fillers came in, and the plots like the GS ball were dropped, the Pokemon were screwed over and Misty/Brock began their character declines, the show was pretty much never the same again.
  18. Bluelatios's Avatar
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    Aw, this old story again? :/ I've got nothing to complain about Johto besides maybe the length which I got over and just enjoyed the show.
  19. The Fighting Misty's Avatar
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    I just wish Johto was written the way Kanto was. Should have kept the level of darkness,slapstick humor,and pacing of Kanto and things would have been fine.

    I realize complaining about this now doesn't matter, but this is all stuff I was thinking about 10 years ago and such. :p
  20. pokemon fan 132's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fighting Misty
    It did, until Johto started. Once Shudo stepped down as the head director, the fillers came in, and the plots like the GS ball were dropped, the Pokemon were screwed over and Misty/Brock began their character declines, the show was pretty much never the same again.
    I really don't understand what you find so declining about Brock and Misty as characters there?
    They were still fun characters to watch bringing lot of humor, clash and vivid atmosphere receiving more development and screen time than they did in Kanto to be honest.

    Misty became more mature and levelheaded growing to appreciate her friendship with Ash and Brock , improved as trainer and got over complex of feeling inferior compared to sisters. Growth which was further carried to chronicles and specials after departure becoming more responsible and confident in herself and abilities as trainer. We had quite a few episodes focusing on her growth like "For Crying Out Loud", Whirl cup arc, "Some Like it Hot" etc.
    We saw Brock enriching his knowledge as breeder learning about new medicines and potions applying his knowledge on several occasions. Such as taking care of young Stantler, entering breeder contest with Suzie etc.


    Ash also became abit more mature and strategic which can be noticed during Johto gym battles and battles in general not being so brash, naive and hotheaded like we used to see him in Kanto, OI days. We also saw some of pokemon like Bayleef growing as well realizing she became too heavy to jump in Ash lap and became less infatuating after evolution.

    Character development=/=derailment.
    All main protagonist kept their virtues and charms they already had as characters only being enriched with new knowledge and traits which was result of trials and obstacles they went through on their journey.

    I remember addressing issue about "double standards about character development" existing in fandom in one of my blogs, and it seems i was right.
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