There are many animated series that gain a legendary reputation where they are able to transcend their original reach, but the evolution experienced by Pokemon is on a whole new level. Pokemon first emerged as an original video game series with hundreds of diverse creatures to collect and battle, but it became a legitimate cultural phenomenon and it is successfully dominated the medium of the anime, feature films and even collectible card games.
There are collectively over 1000 episodes of the Pokemon series that have entered production and there are lots of changes that have taken place since the first episode. However, despite the charm and versatility of anime, it is still subject to certain stereotypes and clichés endemic to the anime industry.
ten Ash gains new companions in each new series
The Pokemon the anime has gone through several different series, but they progress in the same continuity and still focus on Ash’s travels to improve his skills as a Pokémon master. Ash forms a special bond with his Pokémon, but he befriends several human companions throughout his adventures. There is variety among Ash’s many friends, and while some figures like Brock, Misty, and Dawn are sometimes postponed or come back much later, there is always a priority for Ash to make new friends. Teaming up with new allies feels more like a structural convention than a natural development most of the time.
9 Ash remains the ultimate outsider
Developing Ash as a Pokémon Trainer can often be a frustrating process. Ash has literally over 1,000 episodes of experience under his belt, but his performance in combat more often comes down to what would have the most dramatic weight rather than what result made the most sense. At this point the audience is well aware of Ash’s outsider status and that they should practically expect him to repeatedly lose and humiliate himself in battle. That’s not to say Ash never tastes victory, but the trajectory of his big fights has become predictable.
8 Team Rocket will always fail
The world of Pokemon is full of obstacles and threats that Pokémon and their trainers should beware of, but one of the most lingering frustrations encountered is the aggressive efforts of Team Rocket or other evil Pokémon poaching organizations. Audiences have learned to expect unsuccessful plans from Team Rocket in virtually every episode of the series.
They sometimes have solid ideas and come with powerful Pokémon reinforcements, but they’re treated more as a joke than a real danger. They are practically caricatures of themselves at this point.
7 Pikachu will win against Pokémon he shouldn’t
There are nearly 1000 unique Pokémon to collect and fight in the series, some of which are much more dangerous than others. Pikachu became firmly Pokemon Ash’s permanent Pokémon mascot and companion throughout his adventures. Ash has helped prove how versatile and awesome Pikachu can be, but the Pokémon isn’t conventionally considered to be one of the most powerful creatures in the series. There is a clear bias towards Ash’s Pikachu and the Pokémon is often able to dominate others in battle, although this doesn’t necessarily make sense with the Pokémon’s types or experience levels.
6 The largely episodic structure of the anime remains
Some animated series are deeply serialized and virtually impossible to run through randomly without the necessary context, while other shows are content to have episodic structures that can function independently. Certainly there is a larger narrative at play in Pokemon regarding the progression of Ash’s Gym Badge and the Pokémon it captures, but the majority of the series is episodic in nature. There are cliffhangers sometimes, especially during major battles, but audiences can expect a new adventure to be resolved by the end of the episode.
5 Ash doesn’t learn from Pokémon battles
Battle experience and a deep knowledge of different types of Pokémon is a solid way to become a more accomplished trainer, but over-practice doesn’t always translate into practical improvement.
Ash has endured so many eclectic Pokémon battles that he should be an expert on many fronts, yet he is always inclined to make the same mistakes or bring Pokémon into battle where it doesn’t make sense. It’s very frustrating to see Ash stumble the same way and regress in knowledge, but that’s also part of her character at this point.
4 Ash’s Pokémon party usually starts all over again
Ash has acquired nearly 50 unique species of Pokémon, which may not seem like a ton in the larger context of the series, but that’s still a lot to deal with when a trainer can only keep six Pokémon in battle. This forces Ash to be fairly selective with his Pokémon and the majority of them are stored. It has become a common trope for Ash to clean the house with his Pokemon party as he heads to a new area. There is a certain catharsis in this approach, but it has become predictable and has led to many interesting Pokémon are shelved.
3 Ash’s Pikachu never evolves
The Pokemon the anime did not avoid the subject of the Pokemon, the price of Ash, Pikachu, evolving and it is actually explored quite early in the life of the series. Pikachu’s decision not to evolve becomes an important lesson that evolution isn’t always the right choice and it depends on the Pokémon’s experience and confidence. A possible evolution of Pikachu has been touched on a few times, but it’s very clear that the anime’s mascot isn’t going to suddenly transform into Raichu. As much as it is teased, it is an empty gesture.
2 Pokémon from new games are presented in new regions
The Pokemon the anime has managed to forge its own path independent of the video game series, but they still both draw from the same source material. It has become a common expectation that the release of a new Pokemon video game will coincide with a new Pokemon animated series, or at least Ash reaching the new region featured in the games. This growing outlook isn’t a problem, but it telegraphs the progression of the anime to some extent. The public has a good idea of when a new Pokemon rebranding is on the horizon.
1 The anime resets the table at the end of each series
The lesson Pokemon the saga continues and there are certainly elements that intersect and link the respective series. It’s much more manageable to divide Pokemon into smaller sagas that correspond to specific generations of games. The only problem with this is that each Pokemon the conclusion of the series is very similar. There’s the same calming release that happens in these finals, but it’s become a bit of a cliché where a nostalgic and stripped-down conclusion is almost always in the cards. They start to lose weight when they all work the same way.
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