Let Ash Win For A Change
by, 23rd July 2014 at 06:02 AM (1372 Views)
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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