How Pokémon Broke Its Longest Tradition
Staff, 2022-11-27 10:00:00,
For literal decades now, the Pokémon anime has run alongside the game releases, constantly exposing new children to the world of Pokémon. Throughout that whole time, Ash has been the protagonist, aiming to be the best but never quite measuring up when put to the test. Now that he’s managed to achieve his dream, what exactly changed?
Though fan opinions on Ash have varied a lot over the years, there’s no arguing that Ash Ketchum isn’t an iconic character at this point. As the hero of one of the longest-running anime ever, he’s made his mark on the medium, placing Ash alongside characters like Goku and Sailor Moon. Unlike Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball, however, the Pokémon anime was created to market and support something from another medium altogether: the RPGs that it’s based on.
From the beginning, this fact has tied the hands of the Pokémon series’ writers. If Ash achieves his goal, then the show no longer has a driving motivation behind it, so whenever he’d get close to winning, something had to happen to dash those hopes and keep that goal unattained. They still wanted to show progress, of course, lest fans get bored assuming it will never happen, so Ash’s performance has almost always improved, from Top 16 in Kanto, to Top 8 in Johto, to Top 4 in Sinnoh, and 2nd place in Kalos. The first inkling of an actual change to the status quo was Alola, as Ash…
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