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    Default Advanced Generation as a saga

    Since this is the ‘Characters and Sagas Discussion’ thread, and we have several threads discussing individual characters, I thought it would be interesting to discuss a full-fledged saga as a whole.

    Advanced Generation is a series that I haven’t seen get as much discussion amongst Pokemon anime fans as does the original series, Diamond & Pearl, or Best Wishes. Not because it’s not popular, mind, but because AG aired long enough ago that BW, and to a lesser extent DP, are fresher in our minds, yet still not being old enough to be as nostalgic as the OS. That, and I get the impression that AG just doesn’t have as many controversial moments as any of the other three sagas. I think many people - and I don’t like using “most”, because I have no idea what constitutes a majority opinion in this fandom (the above is just my personal speculation) - are more or less agreed that it’s one of the anime franchise’s stronger outputs.

    For the purposes of introduction, Pocket Monsters: Advanced Generation centers around the adventures of Satoshi/Ash, Haruka/May, Masato/Max, and Takeshi/Brock throughout the Houen region and the Kanto Battle Frontier. While Satoshi strove to collect eight Gym Badges so that he could enter the Houen League, AG introduced a new concept: Pokemon Contests, and a co-star sharing almost equal screentime with Satoshi in order to compete in them. Haruka became our first main Pokemon coordinator, and her storyline came with rivals of her own - Shuu/Drew and Harley. This was also our first series without Kasumi/Misty as a main character, and the first time Satoshi ever entered a new region without taking any of his other Pokemon with him. Another thing that makes AG stand out nowadays were the several specials centered around older characters (i.e. Pokemon Chronicles).

    So how do you feel about Advanced Generation? How does it stack up in comparison to the original series? Did you enjoy the main cast and their dynamic together? How was Satoshi’s storyline? How was Haruka’s? What were your favorite AG episodes? Your favorite AG battles? Your favorite main cast Pokemon? What particular elements of Advanced Generation didn't work, or what could have been improved?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Advanced Generation as a saga

    (I am talking about the dub.)

    I often feel as much (if not more) nostalgia for the advanced generation as I grew up playing generation 3 games (and the red/green remakes rather than the originals), lost interest after that as I didn't want to buy a DS, as a consequence missed out on HG/SS and so haven't had much exposure to the 2nd gen at all. But watching AG in comparison to OS, DP, BW and lately XY, AG and OS share my spot as favourites. There seems to be a lot in it that's refreshing, a lot in it that actually progresses characters - as you say, first time following a coordinator and with cool rivals at that, a nice amount of good humour (although OS takes the ball with that), and there were some pretty cool plots (the one that comes to mind is Norman being suspected of having an affair with Nurse Joy). However, there was a lot of room for redundancy and mistakes - by the later part of this generation TR's constant appearance as nothing more but two minute antagonists got really tiring, and while the two villainous teams had really cool appearances throughout, the finale was awful. However, don't put too much stock in my judgement of late AG as it's marred pretty badly by the change in dubbing company, and while I may be somewhat able to judge a dubbed episode of XY (because of how radically different the series is now, it may as well be a different series completely), I would be too biased for late AG, I only really remember liking the Charizard vs Articuno battle.

    Another pro: this generation spawned what I feel was the best Pokemon movie in the entire franchise. The first has nostalgia value but Lucario & The Mystery of Mew really, absolutely takes the prize, it resonates a lot with me emotionally and (seemingly) from both the dubbing and original Japanese side had a relatively much more mature plot about the emotional toll of feeling betrayed/abandoned, it captures that feeling a lot better than any other movie or episode that's tried it has. On top of that, its animation (and the AG animation in general, besides too much stock footage, could do with less of that) is my favourite: not too flashy and over-the-top, not so retro that no one likes it, although I'm fine with that too. XY would have taken that place but series animation has generally been going so over the top with its moves lately, and every character now moves their limbs etc so much even when they talk that I feel like I'm watching cartoon characters have seizures rather than interact with each other.

    tl;dr, AG felt like a really good step up from Johto, which I have trouble watching for how stagnant it feels, and pretty good in comparison to Kanto, but lost its grip on that by the end, which felt like an interim between good story/progression and redundant advertising hell. I also really like the Hoenn region in general, and a lot of Hoenn Pokemon are among my favourites; AG also had some of my favourite opening themes. So it gets a good grade from me, at least as far as the dub is concerned.
    Last edited by gritty stunfisk; 10th February 2014 at 02:47 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Advanced Generation as a saga

    I thought this saga was good, but not as memorable as Kanto, Johto or DP.
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    Default Re: Advanced Generation as a saga

    Quote Originally Posted by P0KEM0N View Post
    I thought this saga was good, but not as memorable as Kanto, Johto or DP.
    I agree with this fully.

    And in addition, I view the Hoenn Saga/Advanced Generation as the saga where Ash was at his worst: he would constantly bitch/yell/lose his patience at others unfairly, thought about gym battles 24/7, was self-centered unless said episode had him be unusually nice, and barely watched May's contests (whereas she watched all of his gym battles). Also, his hair looked awkward whenever he wore his hat...

    Max was another annoying character that I felt really hindered the gang as well as May's development. And his voice was ear-wrecking (especially after the dub changes).

    Of course, all of these viewpoints stem from the dub, as I didn't watch the Japanese episodes at the time.
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    Default Re: Advanced Generation as a saga

    It's not awful but I wasn't too impressed with it, to say the least.

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    Default Re: Advanced Generation as a saga

    It gets a lot more love from here and sppf than anywhere else on the internet so that's a plus.

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    Default Re: Advanced Generation as a saga

    And in addition, I view the Hoenn Saga/Advanced Generation as the saga where Ash was at his worst: he would constantly bitch/yell/lose his patience at others unfairly, thought about gym battles 24/7, was self-centered unless said episode had him be unusually nice, and barely watched May's contests (whereas she watched all of his gym battles). Also, his hair looked awkward whenever he wore his hat...
    Bar the contests thing, that's Ash in every saga, isn't it?

    ------------

    It's hard to believe that this saga aired a decade ago, and I was just a young student in senior school... yet another thing to make me feel old.

    AG, for good or for bad, bucked a lot of trends and ended up starting some new ones. It was the first saga where Ash would use completely new Pokemon from start to finish, the first saga where the female protagonist was changed, the first saga to offer us a secondary quest that ran parallel with the main quest and the first to give us a villain plot, on top of Ash not having all three starters or a rival. So it always stands out to me as something that was very new and fresh and something that was aiming to take the show in a new direction. While it had mixed success in doing so, it still served as a reference point for DP, which may be the most well-developed saga of the show so far.

    What stood out for me the most in AG was the battles receiving an increase in quality via the addition of more strategic elements. It made battles more interesting, as you knew that with each new major opponent, you'd see something different from both them and from Ash. Battle Frontier would eventually take this ball and run with it all the way through DP, but it all started in that Rustboro Gym battle when Ash started thinking scientifically (albeit on a very basic level) in a bid to overcome the disadvantage Treecko had against Geodude. Where some may prefer a simple brawl or exchange of power attacks, I'm a sucker for fine details during battles. If I can watch a battle and see how or why a trainer won beyond simply "because he had more powerful Pokemon/type advantage", I'm happy as can be.

    Outside of battles, I really liked that more time was dedicated to the Pokemon training and learning new attacks. It allowed us to see that active progress was being made, as well as cut down on the instances of Pokemon suddenly learning new attacks out of nowhere and turning the tide of battle.

    Story-wise, for the journey around Hoenn, the beginning was good and laid out a nice foundation to build upon, but the middle failed to build on that properly and it lead to a lacklustre climax. Something that certainly sticks out is the Aqua/Magma plot, which simply didn't receive enough time and attention in the middle period of the show. Even though they tried to make the ending to that plot all epic with the two-parter and legendary clash and Lance returning, the severe lack of momentum heading into it meant it was always going to appear rushed and somewhat half-arsed. The Ever Grande Conference, as well, was lacking that bit of extra zest. It's meant to be the point of the show where you anticipate the most epic and tense battles, but there were no legitimate threats going into it. There was no rival for Ash, nor was there any trainer identified as being particularly stronger or different than the rest. They tried at the last moment with Morrison and Tyson, but the former didn't challenge Ash at all and the latter was bland.

    Fortunately, they wouldn't make the same mistakes in DP.

    At the very least, they handled May's story well. I've talked about it in more detail in her character thread, but from start to finish they did a good job, and managed to wrap it up in a satisfying way. Her storyline was also one of the shining lights of Battle Frontier, which I thought got by more on the quality of its battles than on its story-telling.

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    Default Re: Advanced Generation as a saga

    Quote Originally Posted by VTP-Dawkins93 View Post
    And in addition, I view the Hoenn Saga/Advanced Generation as the saga where Ash was at his worst: he would constantly bitch/yell/lose his patience at others unfairly, thought about gym battles 24/7, was self-centered unless said episode had him be unusually nice, and barely watched May's contests (whereas she watched all of his gym battles). Also, his hair looked awkward whenever he wore his hat...
    Bar the contests thing, that's Ash in every saga, isn't it?
    I understand your point and I think Ash acts like that in all sagas to a certain degree. The key word was constantly.

    In the Original Series, this behavior was displayed in moderation and gradually decreased as the end of Johto neared.

    Then we have the aforementioned Hoenn saga.

    In the DP saga, Ash certainly was not as bad as he was in Hoenn. This may be due partly to Dawn as the duo served as explicit inspiration for each other; there was much more encouraging and practicing, a stronger theme of teamwork/cooperation and friendship rather than the previous selfishness and rude fixation on gym battles Ash had in Hoenn.

    In the BW saga, Ash inexplicably reverted back to a child-like mindset, but not quite like his OS days. He was a bit more innocent and "noobish," thus the negative characteristics I posted earlier didn't strongly radiate from his character.

    And in our current XY saga, Ash is simply great. Kind, polite, eager, still amusingly childish at times, and overall not a douche.

    So while those characteristics exist in every saga, they do more so than in others. And in this case, it was the Hoenn saga where they were clearly and often explicit.
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    Default Re: Advanced Generation as a saga

    Ah Hoenn can't believe it pased already more than 7 years since series ended.

    But to get to the point here are things i really liked about Advanced generation:
    -it was enjoyable to see sense of continuity going on. Like Ash continuing to mature and grow as trainer from where he stopped in Johto. He still had that impatient,bratty side of his being childish and naive, but whole responsibility, selfcriticism in realizing his flaws and wanting to conquer league without help of his previous pokemon really reflected how far he came since his greenhorn days.

    I particularly liked how he put more effort and patience in raising his pokemon team from start, doing training sections with Corphish or Treecko in working on their advantages(like speed) , how he lectured May and helped her to stand on two feet along with managing to top 8 in Ever Grande Conference only with pokemon he caught and work with from Hoenn. Showing increase in skills and strategy.

    Earning invitation to BF.

    -gym leaders were depicted in interesting light liking how writers builded on whole trend started in Johto of exploring more of some of their background or other activites they were participating in using it as way to improve use of their pokemon. Like Roxanne teaching kids at school about pokemon knowing about Brock because of both gym using rock type, Flannery dealing with issues of adapting to gym leader role, Brawly using surfing techniques in teaching pokemon how to keep balance indicating he trained with Chuck from Johto. Further sttengthening sense of following and connections to past making plot more enjoyable to follow.

    -introduction of contests was innovative and fresh feature implemented in abime. At first i was skeptic about whole thing given how in games contests don't have any battling involved being simple events testing pokemon physical attributes like beauty, appeal, elegance and coordination.

    But writers positively reassured me and alleviated my pessimism by adding more of their own creative touch in adding battle rounds which were unique in sense of objective not always necessarily lying in beating pokemon through battle. But winning more points and leaving impression on judges through smart, synchronizing combination of techniques overtoping opponent side in performance. I also appreciated different formula compared to DP contests used in sense of battle rounds usually being more straightforward, strategic where participants focus on turning opponent strength against himself and overcome type disadvantage. Making for more intense and exciting atmsphere when two coordinators clash in all out confrontation with May being especially noticeable in that aspect due to influence left on her by Ash.

    Contests brought new , different way to see character grow, train and develop and paralell alternative of events for viewers to be engaged into and follow different take on battles. May was one of few characters in pokemon series which as result of that went through believable and meaningful way going long way from inexperienced, naive and unsure of what she wants to do in life person into strong, confident and mature coordinator finding her place under the sun and cognition of what is truly important and precious in life. Enriching on already solid, endearing characterization she had.

    -Another positive thing Hoenn had going for it was in relatively decent distribucion of focus on main character. Unlike it was case on DP where most focus was put on two main stars often pushing third party(Brock in background) or OS where at times Ash got abit too much exposure at cost of his travel companions with female(Misty) while getting more than secondary male still being overshadowed at times.

    In Hoenn all of them had role in which they were in some way contributive to various plots with aside from Ash May getting quite a lot of exposure and dedication toward her own story and dreams, Max getting some great screen time despite handicap of not owning pokemon. Wih his arrogant, inciting remarks serving as extra fuel to push May forward complimenting on other personality and exploring on his ability to quickly find common language with pokemon, especially psychic type in befriending and earning their thrust(highly memorable moments came from Deoxys, Ralts or Jirachi making me pleasantly surprised how big role he played in one of movies).

    There is also Brock who go more battle active in using pokemon like Mudkip or Lotad, expanding on his family issues and younger brother Forest, had great interactions with Max and even May often doing her company, helped Ash to train through several sparring matches along with focusing more on breeding career learning how to prepare new type of food, demonstrating knowledge in taking care of several pokemon like sick Bagon, Sharpedo or Bonsly and entering various events(be it contest, pokemon orientering, gym battle vs TR, mini events like pokemon mate competition etc).

    On top of that group dynamic was really good in my opinion actually. Quartet of Ash, May, Max and Brock worked in pretty balanced way helping each other to develop easier, produced varied dynamic splitting it into 2 or more different ways of interacting between characters and radiating with family like vibe. They are not my favorite though but i definitely enjoyed in their playful spats, mutual understanding and friction at times fermenting between them.

    I have many fond memories of Hoenn being my second favorite series overall. Series still stayed faithful to previous growth and experiences made before making it seem like Ash and main story is advancing forward, There were connections to history and previous important characters not abandoning their own plots and unfinished dreams increasing continuity and substance of storyline acknowledging impact left on anime, along with there being less repetition and more creative ideas impleneted in journey.

    Though it would be foolish for me to say how AG was flawless, far from it.

    Here are my main issues i had with Hoenn:
    -lack of rivals for Ash., This was only saga where Ash didn't had any real rivals, someone which would stir him up and motivate to go forward. Bringing tension, spark and inspiration to change your strategy, put more effort in training and increasing pokemon strength. Ash story desperately needed imo some obstacle, character which would set up batton to certain height he would need to overcome and pose challenge, Real threat standing in way of main character achieving his dreams.

    To this day i regret that writers didn't introduced Katie from Hoenn league earlier. She was perfect material for adversary being intelligent and witty, calculated smartly using her pokemon and abit arrogant, highly confident in her abilities revealing anxiety when things dont go according to her plans.

    -May contest arc felt at times rushed and monotone lacking better build up. I also felt quite a few of her contest wins came in unbelievable/cheap way. Such as Skitty defeating Dusclops and Jinx, Eevee making ridiculous comeback against Brock Marshtomp, Squirtle being on last legs magically turning match around vs Harley Ariados in last seconds defeating it with single tackle etc, but given this was writers first take on contests still testing ground for them i can cut them some slack in that aspect.

    Though still i cannot deny how AG was affluent with DEM battles. Add to that downplay of powerful moves like Hypebeam which in every other aga serves as game ender, while in Hoenn in several cases it barely damaged opponent pokemon or the infamous thunder armor and for me personally battles werent highest point of AG series.

    - Battle Frontier was well awful to me(used to be my least favorite saga/season until Decolora came into scene). In comparison to first saga it hardly felt like Ash and his friends traveled through Kanto at all with towns, places and characters looking like they are from completely different region staying faithful to Kanto only by its name. Aside from Pallet reunion at prof. Oak and return of some Kanto pokemon(see Phanphy who wasnt even from Kanto originally), everything felt like it was extracted from some weird alternate universe, not resembling Ash hometown region by any margin.

    There were no references to gym leaders and most towns Ash originally traveled through, there were no older characters he met on travels( even Jessibelle was saved for DP instead of actually reappearing in hometown saga) being treated basically like completely different region(so much about continuity).

    I expected we would see some familiar faces during revisit to Kanto like AJ, Giselle, Sabrina(especially when May contest took place in Saffron city but nope), revisit of some of gyms and towns , Misty getting some bigger role than brief Pallet reunion(perhaps joining cast for awhile advancing water master dream or going on some special venture of some sort to improve skills, try to become her idol Lorelei or Wallace apprentice as logical progression forward). Especially after proving in bonding with Max and her presence how much group dynamics is lift up and endearing through her feminine, mature and brash personality.
    Making me disappointed how writers didn't utilized some of previous characters like her to higher extent there enriching on water themed plots which Hoenn was exuberant with.
    As well some of older pokemon being referenced or revisited(like Primeape maybe). But nothing of that happened, with Battle Frontier being one of greatest disappointments of Hoenn series for me.

    But aside from this letdowns i was content with most of things and how they played out in Hoenn series always liking to go back and watch this episodes.

  10. #10
    Returning to Hoenn LavenderTownGhost's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advanced Generation as a saga

    I loved the Advanced Generation, mainly for the introduction of May and contests. Needless to say, it did become a bit repetitive with all of the filler episodes. But anything that actually had to do with the story (i.e. The Kyogre and Groudon episodes) was pretty good and memorable, in my opinion.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Advanced Generation as a saga

    AG renewed my hope in the anime and made me stick to it.

    When I first watched the anime I had no choice but to go for the 4kids version, dubbed in portuguese (which sadly (to me) was simply a translated version of the american one with all the edits, cuts and issues), which made the experience worse than it was supposed to be. It didn't help to this day I still consider the original series a torture to re-watch half the time, and more during the Joutou part. Back then I quit because I couldn't stand it anymore.

    Then I decided to re-watch everything from the beginning with access to the unedited content, or at least however less edited the japanese DVD releases were.
    The quality of the experience was, to me, twice as good. That didn't prevent me from hating a lot of things about the original series, and specially Joutou though. I guess it's thanks to the interest in unedited TV series, movies and anime that I kept resisting and made it to AG.

    And holy crap. Was I surprised. I didn't expect the anime to jump in quality or anything. Or to abandon many of its rehashed troupes. But AG was definitely a huge improvement on my book. The writing was in another level. There was a character co-starring with Satoshi. The whole adventurous mood was upped in a pleasant way that made even the most cliche episodes enjoyable to watch.
    Advance Adventure became very memorable to me because it can be so easily associated with the general atmosphere of the series before Battle Frontier.
    Also unlike most people I liked how the Rocket trio became more of comic relief starting in AG. The many episodes where they join Satoshi-tachi in participating in events, championships, contests, events, etc, also officiallized even more (if that makes sense) how they weren't pseudo-villains but actually part of the main cast in their own way. People like to bring up Kojiro's childhood and Musashi's poverty past from the OS to claim they had more development back then. But AG went quite ahead of that.
    It made their participation that much more desirable. They weren't there to just hijack episodes (that would have been perfectly fine without their interruption) but for more personal goals as well.

    Haruka also helped renew my interest for the anime. Kasumi was 1/3 of the reason I got tired of the anime. Her constant bickering with Satoshi and angry behavior was plain annoying. She dragged the show to the ground to me. When Haruka showed up, having her bike destroyed, threatening to scold Satoshi but being a better person and just shrugging a 'nevermind' at it was like a glorious punch right into Kasumi's face.
    I also liked how her goal was more solid than the previous companion. And how we see her fight for it all the time. Not just in 1~2 short episode arcs only to go back into being a Togepi holding case.

    I didn't mind Masato. I liked and still like the idea of putting a younger companion into the series. It helps keeping the other characters from being total newbies to things in general. To have the perspective of someone very inexperienced and childish. It also helped emphasizing Takeshi's big brother-ish role.

    This series is also when we see Satoshi actually showing his past experienced weren't for nothing. He goes as far as giving advices and teaching other characters, Haruka included. He starts using more unique strategies in battles, which makes the battle-driven episodes more worth to watch.

    My favorite Pokemon was Grovyle. By far. And I really mean Grovyle before he evolved.
    For some reason when he evolved I felt like he stopped being interesting. Could be because with his evolution the writers decided there was no point in developing him any further. Then again I don't like Sceptile's design at all either.


    In my book if AG was a 10/10, the original series would be half of it.
    But no, I didn't give those scores. I actually gave AG a 5, and the original a 3. Because I compare scores to other anime in general.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Advanced Generation as a saga

    AG was alright. I found the 1st half of it, the Hoenn series, to be pretty boring until around the time Advanced Battle started airing in the dub. I loved the Battle Frontier series and I loved how May got more screen time and had more interesting interactions with her rivals. Also loved seeing Charizard, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Pikachu being reunited near the end of the Battle Froniter series. The battles also started getting really good then.

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