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DracoMan

Let Ash Win For A Change

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So yesterday, I was lamenting the fact that Ash's dream to be a Pokémon Master is going nowhere fast. Specifically, how TPTB won't even let him win a league tournament. I also suggested that if they were to change this policy and let him win for once, it would give his development the push it so desperately needs. So how, exactly, is that?

For one thing, there's the mere satisfaction factor. After so many years of being a major-league also-ran, a tournament victory will show that he actually can do it, rather than falling out of the race before the finish line.

Second, it will allow him to go on to a formal challenge against the Elite 4. As I said yesterday, DP seemed to build up to this, but never delivered. After all these years, he should be ready for a challenge like this. And should he beat the E4, he can challenge the champion. So far (as of now, stateside), Ash has never actually fought a battle against a league champion. His battle against Alder doesn't count, since the old man fell asleep early on and did nothing before just walking away as if the battle never happened. (UPDATE: Ash has battled Diantha, but it ended inconclusively. It's more than he's done so far, but it's certainly not a formal league challenge.) Should Ash actually get to this point, it won't matter to me whether he wins or loses. The fact that he managed to go the distance will be satisfying enough to me. (And if he loses, it shouldn't be a total curbstomp. He should at least give the champ a run for her money, and I say "her" since it is Diantha who's the champ of this league.)

Third, becoming a tournament winner and making it to the champ will allow Ash to stop having to be the one to battle gyms and collect badges like some rookie. If TPTB want someone to act like a rookie trainer, they should bring in an actual rookie. A newbie who can do the gym battling and make the beginner's mistakes so that a veteran like Ash doesn't have to anymore.

At this point, you may be wondering if I'm saying that TPTB should get rid of Ash, like they seem to say they will if he ever gets this far. Well, no. I'm not saying that at all. Ash can certainly stay, but he'll be taking on a new role. With a new trainer to go badge-collecting, Ash can go along to give the rookie guidance. The learner can become the mentor.

IMHO, this is absolutely crucial to Ash's growth. He needs to take on this leadership role. To help explain why, check out this quote from the novelization of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith regarding another learner-turned-teacher:

"It is a truism of the Jedi Order that a Jedi Knight's education truly begins only when he becomes a Master: that everything important about being a Master is learned from one's student....And Obi-Wan Kenobi knows, too, that to have lived his life without being Master to Anakin Skywalker would have left him a different man. A lesser man."

For many seasons, Ash has been the Padawan to someone who knows better than he does--Misty, Brock, Tracy, Cilan. Well, that needs to end soon. He needs to stop being the Padawan and take on his own student.

Actually, TPTB came close in Hoenn when Ash met May, who was most certainly a rookie. In the first few episodes, Ash was taking on a leadership role for May and her brother, Max. Then Brock returned, and Ash was once again dependent on his guidance. Now, in Kalos, Ash seems to be the de facto leader of this merry band of himself, one rookie, one gym leader who seems more interested in making things that go boom, and the gym leader's sister who isn't technically old enough to be a rookie. This is a step in the right direction, but it eventually needs to go farther. After all, the aforementioned rookie isn't doing the badge-collecting. (In fact, it's not really established what she's up to, besides crushing on Ash. At least, not as far as I know.)

And some may ask why Ash would bother going to another region if not for the gyms. Well, Ash originally went to the Orange Islands to get the GS Ball, and stayed to do his thing. In Unova, he was supposed to be on vacation with his mom and Professor Oak, but found out about the Unova League and the rest is history. It shouldn't be that hard to come up with something.

Actually, this is another reason TPTB blew their chance with letting Ash win the Sinnoh League. After allowing Ash to battle Cynthia (and sparing us all from having to watch Tobias wipe the floor with Team Ash), TPTB could've come up with the perfect reason to send Ash to Unova. As Oak stated in BW001, the Poke-fauna of Unova was completely different from that of the other regions. We quickly saw how little experience the Unovans had with foreign (from their perspective) Pokémon, while Ash showed how new the Unovan Pokémon would've been to outsiders like him. This would've been the perfect setup for an exchange program of sorts, with trainers like Ash coming to Unova from other regions and bringing these foreign Pokémon for the Unovans to admire. This would've had the added bonus of giving valuable screen time to Pokémon who'd done pretty much nothing since being left at the lab. And with Ash meeting a Unovan rookie, said rookie could do the Pokémon-catching and badge-winning instead of Ash, who wouldn't suffer from yet another reset. (This would've also spared us from hearing Iris calling him a kid way too many times.) Also, the rookie would give TPTB the immature character to appeal to the younger viewers, while Ash could be for us long-time fans.

It really doesn't seem hard to pull off. This simple change could give Pokémon the new life it needs and possibly put an end to the complaints about Ash having to start over time after time. All it takes is for TPTB to come out of the box they've locked themselves in. Whether or not they will is, of course, not up to me, but a boy can dream, right?

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Updated 1st September 2014 at 07:04 AM by DracoMan

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Comments

  1. henrymidfields's Avatar
    Dude, I just realised I've unintentionally summerised everything you just said when I commented in your previous blog entry. Yeah, I don't know why Brock was even there in AG when Ash could have been upgraded. (And that's when we would have Brock/Misty for the FRLG-Kanto mini-arc anyway!)

    At any rate, thank goodness they're generally gone in the right direction for Kalos. Ash not being nerfed in XY001-02, and actually being badass all the way through (back to the level he was at the end of Johto/Shinnoh), gym leaders actually being skilled, with better justifications for Ash's losses, and Ash being more the team leader.
    Updated 23rd July 2014 at 08:15 AM by henrymidfields
  2. Alexg23's Avatar
    Third, becoming a tournament winner and making it to the champ will allow Ash to stop having to be the one to battle gyms and collect badges like some rookie. If TPTB want someone to act like a rookie trainer, they should bring in an actual rookie. A newbie who can do the gym battling and make the beginner's mistakes so that a veteran like Ash doesn't have to anymore.

    At this point, you may be wondering if I'm saying that TPTB should get rid of Ash, like they seem to say they will if he ever gets this far. Well, no. I'm not saying that at all. Ash can certainly stay, but he'll be taking on a new role. With a new trainer to go badge-collecting, Ash can go along to give the rookie guidance. The learner can become the mentor.
    Four words. THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. No matter what, Ash will ALWAYS be the one to get the badges.

    Now, in Kalos, Ash seems to be the de facto leader of this merry band of himself, one rookie, one gym leader who seems more interested in making things that go boom, and the gym leader's sister who isn't technically old enough to be a rookie. This is a step in the right direction, but it eventually needs to go farther.
    It never will, this is the closest we'll ever get.
  3. Kyriaki's Avatar
    There are a million ways they could write Ash's journey with him winning a league or being champion surely can't really hurt the story. Ash won the Orange League (which means he's technically the Orange League Champion), and they had no trouble having him continue his Johto travels. If they really wanted the continue Ash going around on a badge quest, they could simply have him deposit all his pokemons from the previous regions, use Pikachu less (only in really urgent situations when he needs back-up), and create a team based on the new region. That way, he'd still have room to grow and learn how to organize a new team. Winning a league or becoming a champion doesn't mean there's no room for growth - there's always room for development, even more diverse things to talk about when the character is showing improvement.
  4. Life's Avatar
    Tbh my ideal situation would have been that Ash won the Sinnoh League, then traveled to Unova to train for the E4. There, he mentors a rookie trainer who is going on a badge quest. At the end of the series, Ash challenges the Sinnoh E4 in place of DA!

    I always thought something like that would have been nice.
  5. Robo-Floatzel's Avatar
    To put it simply, TPTB does not like change. If they want Ash to constantly be a rookie, they should just replace him each generation, but they can't because he has Pikachu. The solution to that is simple, just give the next trainer a Pikachu and there won't be a problem.

    Honestly, Brock was pointless in AG and DP, and there was no point for them to be there at all. I do agree that what you said about the Sinnoh League and Unova's beginning is have Ash win the Sinnoh League against a fight with Cynthia, then come to Unova with his Pokemon (and maybe age Ash up a few years) and become essentially a mentor to a rookie trainer who's starting his own journey, because why should it be Ash who always goes on the badge quest? Not to mention the new character being immature would show that he would have a lot to learn, and it would be a way for Ash to pass the torch on to the next protagonist, who could pass the torch again in Kalos. This is what they could have done, but they instead insist on taking the easy way out and resetting Ash each generation.
  6. Karisse's Avatar
    Why can't I like blog posts. orz

    Well-put! Very well-put!

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