Definitely Battle Frontier for me. It was one giant mix of wasted potential and missed opportunities. Aside from title return to Kanto felt nothing like first region was. There was hardly any revisit of older towns and places, older characters were nonexistent(no one aside from prof,Oak appeared there), gym leaders never showed up and areas through Ash traveled through were portrayed as taking place in entirely new region. May and cast in general started to be stale at times for me losing their initial charm too, and her contest battles won with fluke(confrontation against Brock comes to mind) decreased overall enjoyment to them too.
Not to mention battles were utterly unrealistic with Ash wins not being done in credible and believable manner. Like whole Pikachu vs Regice win, Charizard taking up "billion"of Articuno hits somehow turning over match in its favor. Though ill give them how making Ash possessed by evil spirit becoming evil for a change threw different life on character being interesting to see, and i liked how Brock got little more focus having some great moments there. Such as entering contest, battling with Ash against TR to save Pewter gym etc.
Its not like BF didn't had good moments, its just that flaws overshadow them largely killing my enjoyment for this saga in general.
Better battles compared to Kanto days being filled with more strategy
-Misty and Brock receiving more screen time and development. For example Johto did a LOT more for Misty goal of water master and complex of feeling less worthy in comparison to sisters, than Kanto ever did.
-Ash not getting pity badges winning most of gym battles fairly
-gym leaders being better portrayed and gaining more focus(Claire, Pryce or Jasmine instantly comes to mind)
-Ash and group pokemon in general being portrayed more as actual characters with personalities, rather than just battling machines
-Ash, Misty and Brock still having fun dynamic and character interaction
-several great mini arcs like Whirl Cup, Red Gyarados, Lugia, Larvitar, raged Dragonite and dragon temple.
-one of best leagues in pokemon history wrapping up Ash and Gary rivalry
-humorous pokemon like Wobuffet etc.
I can understand disappointment with wasted potential, but to act like Johto didnt had anything good is way too exaggerating.
Besides anyone can notice how many Johto mistakes were fixed on good part in master Quest anyway which was great season.
Not true at all. Im not even sure what your talking about because original trio definitely had chemistry in Johto. I remember several moments where you could feel how they were friends having fun together. It can be noticed how close group they were during whole course of Johto with Misty sarcastic inputs and adventurous attitude,Ash bratty and impulsive side and Brock calm and rational personality providing humor and good chemistry.Heck even Brock and Misty had memorable moments talking about girls and love while keeping each other in check when becoming too obsessive("Heartbreak of Brock","Corsola Caper","hassle in the Castle"etc) with his sickness showing best how much they were dependent on his help when he got sick(twice counting banned episode) having to overcome their differences.Ash essentially had his worst Pokemon team of the series, the original trio loses all its chemistry, Misty fades away into the background, and the saga just goes on for 3 years with nothing of substance.
Only reason why we didnt had their dynamic appearing on daily basis is because many episodes were following repetitive formula of fillers concentrating on COTD and problems with their pokemon with main cast taking backseat not being much active than.
It can be noticed how close group was when they had to separate in "Gotta Catch Ya Later".
As for Misty, last time i checked it was Brock who fade out in background in Johto the most. Misty at least had Whirl Cup arc, battled more, had several memorable interactions with characters like Sakura, Dorian, Andreas etc , battled more and received some notable growth starting to mature.
Do you really believe this? Johto wasn't disliked because of original cast, but too many fillers and lack of development for characters. If original trio was viewed by writers as failure they wouldn't go back to OS formula with BW generation and if they were hated among fans there wouldn't be such big demand existing for return. First cast was never reunited simply because after finding how anime can go on without original cast, writers opted to rather introduce new companions with each new generation to better go in correlation with games and their promotion, as well rather wanting to try out new designs Ken Sugimori comes up with giving new "eye candies"(referring to interview with es director and storyboard artist mr. Hidaka).By the time Johto was ending it felt like the whole thing was pointless. The tediousness of the Johto saga is largely the reason why the original trio was completely abandoned and why Misty was dropped from the show.
Original trio is still probably most groundbreaking and recognized cast we had having appeal which guarantees success .
Only reason why they probably wont return them is for same reason why AG and DP cast wont return either. Due to writers rather wanting to use new characters for marketing purposes. For same reason Misty didn't returned to cast either and unless things drastically change she wont.
Togepi in Hoenn and some more development she got in hosos.
Granted they couldn't have done more because she stopped being main character, but it seems other members of writing staff cared more about character than Shudo really did.