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Review AG143: Pokémon Contest - Yamabuki Conference! (Part One) ・ AG144: Pokémon Contest - Yamabuki Conference! (Part Two)

Gary probably left because the writers didn't feel that they could string out the rivalry for any longer. Or perhaps they just got tired of him. :p

By the looks of things, the BF saga may be the length of the original Kanto, 80 something episodes.
Well, Ash and Gary's rivalry wasn't resolved in Kanto, was it? :D

OK, kidding, and fair point. But I still don't like to think of Ash and Gary getting a three-season-long saga to end their story, and May and Drew only getting one season that's largely regarded as filler anyway. It's uneven. And like I said, there are some differences between Ash-Gary and May-Drew as current canon stands, and all of them point to Drew sticking around a bit longer. Which isn't to say they prove the writers' intentions, but IMO taking them into account can't hurt if we're trying to figure out what's going to happen.
Jo-Jo said:
OK, kidding, and fair point. But I still don't like to think of Ash and Gary getting a three-season-long saga to end their story, and May and Drew only getting one season that's largely regarded as filler anyway.

Hm, now that you mention it Jo-Jo, that just made me think of something. If you don't count the Orange Islands as part of the Ash/Gary rivalry (since you really shouldn't, as Gary was only in the very last two eps before they headed to Johto), then Ash/Gary and May/Drew DID have an equal amount of time for their rivalry.

In a way, it's going in reverse.

Kanto = Ash/Gary as bitter rivals
3 seasons of Johto = Ash/Gary becoming friends and settling their differences

3 seasons of Hoenn = May/Drew as bitter rivals, showing signs of friendship toward the latter half
Kanto = May/Drew settling their rivalry (?)

If you think of it this way, the two rivalries DID have an equal amount of time. 3 seasons of Johto = 3 seasons of Hoenn, and one season of Kanto = one season of Kanto. It's just going in reverse for May's rivalry, as her rivalry goes 3 seasons first and then a final season, where Ash's rivalry went one season and then 3 seasons.

1 Kanto + 3 Johto = 4 seasons
3 Hoenn + 1 Kanto = 4 seasons
4 seasons = 4 seasons (Equal rivalry screentime)

Drew and May's rivalry did have pretty much the same amount of screentime as Ash/Gary's (maybe even a bit more). And as I said before May's story arc is the same now as it was in Hoenn, so it's not fillerish for her per se.

Keep in mind I'm not just talking about Drew here either, but Harley as well. Assuming that May beats Drew this time, I could see it as being a send off for both Harley and Drew. Harley has already proven himself to be a less than stellar rival to begin with, losing everytime May faces him, not to mention pulling the same "I'm sorry" routine everytime they meet. I can't see them stretching out Harley a whole 'nother region after this Kanto one either.

Drew/Harley got a split screen in the opening, and I really think that THIS season is the one where May pulls through over both her rivals and proves that she's a better coordinator than both of them. And like Gary, if May beats Drew then there really is no reason to keep him around, as May is already "above him" in status if she beats him. I can't see a reason for Harley to stick around either, unless they turn him into a comic relief character.

Keeping in mind that the seasons line up now, this is looking more and more likely as time goes on.
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Well, we'll just have to wait and see, won't we? ;)

Although it makes me wonder how far ahead the writers plan. Do you think they have a rough idea what they're going to write, say, a season in advance? Because if so, they might already have had a good idea how the Kanto saga was going to end back while they were writing the Hoenn GF. It's an interesting thought.
The writers probably plan a long time time ahead from where they are. In Japan the 5th opening premiered after Ash beat Pryce and it included Tyranitar, who didn't show up for 20 more episodes. I wouldn't be surprised if they have things planed out even farther than that in advance.
Well...I'd say they have the overall arcs of each season planned, but of course I think they also write some things as they go.

The openings cannot possibly give us a glimpse at future story arcs. The Orange Islands opening showed a scene with Ash having a rematch with Richie....which never happened.

I think they do decide in advance which Pokemon each main character would have. I think that as soon as they gave May a Bulbasaur, the writers also planned to give her a Squirtle, but they decided to wait until Hoenn was over before filling her team with a baby Squirtle.

Bringing this back to the topic of the thread (contests), I suppose the writers do already have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen in the next Grand Festival. They don't have individual scripts written for the episodes yet of course, but they probably have the overall idea down.

Not to mention, back in Johto the writers probably planned a season in advance to write Misty out of the show. I think when the character art for R/S was first revealed, the writers said, "Oh hey, that female trainer for the new games looks pretty hot! Let's bring her into the show!" and so they decided how to format their group accordingly. Probably as soon as Master Quest started, the writers were thinking about replacing Misty. Most believe that the Whirl Islands were a last ditch effort to make Misty do something useful, and after that ended they had no more plans for her, as they had already planned ahead to replace her with May.

And as for this Kanto saga, they probably have the overall idea planned.

I.E. Ash beats all the Brains, May gets in ___ place in the GF beating her long term rival...this character gets this Pokemon...etc.

Probably something else worth wondering...have the writers decided on the cast for the next region yet? Will Brock or Max possibly be leaving? Will a new male or female character join the group?

As said above, they probably decided a full season in advance to write Misty off the show, as it wasn't a spur of the moment thing. It really is interesting to think if the writers are already deciding on the cast for the D/P region.
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Yes, I think that's probably correct. In which case, I'm dropping my estimate of May beating Drew from 40% to 35%. I think that if the writers knew while writing the Hoenn GF that they were going to have May win just 80 eps later, they'd have made the match between them a bit closer instead of Drew's Pokemon knocking May's out while he still had almost half his points left.

As for Harley, though, I wonder whether he'll last beyond Kanto? I'd rather he did, but there's no denying he is a bit of a one-trick pony at the moment. The writers have used the same basic routine with him every time he's appeared - plus, unlike Drew, he's a straightforward antagonist. His character isn't designed to develop, and neither is his relationship with May. So I'd only give him maybe a 15% chance of being kept in the anime after this season.
I think its pretty likely that they alreaqdy have a good idea of how the next season will go. We already know that it will be called "Pokémon Ranger", so they must have basic plot points worked out by now.

May is likely to stay on. And if so, then she won't beat the Grand Festival. If she does go down to Drew, then I hope the writers at least make it a more respectable loss.
Well Ash has lost 3 leagues, and May has only lost one. They're certainly not going to allow May to beat her major league before Ash does, because then it'll look like she's upstaging the main character.

The only way to make this Grand Festival not a rehash of the first one, is like I said, have May beat Drew. It will also go back to my theory that it will parallel Ash/Gary's rivalry, so May will triumph over Drew yet lose to a stronger coordinator (like Robert, or perhaps a new stronger rival).

May is likely to stay as a main character as long as Ash does, because this show won't get rid of a main character until they achieve their goal. There would be no point building up all this momentum for May to become a "Top Coordinator" just to ditch her. It's the same thing with Ash wanting to become a Pokemon Master, these two are likely to continue traveling together until they achieve their goals, or unless the writers want to start with a clean slate all together, and get rid of everyone.

Pretty much all the supporting characters in this show (and rivals) like Misty, Brock, Max, Tracey, Gary and Drew are expendable. They all have their own individual goals of course, but most of them are unobtainable, or the writers are showing none of them making any progress toward their goals. (With the exception of Gary and Drew when they are competing). Supporting characters in this series come and go, but the main characters are likely to last for a long, long time.

If Misty couldn't even last through 5 seasons before being axed, I don't see Drew lasting much longer either. Hell, even Team Rocket is more secure in this anime then all the other characters. (With the exception of Ash and maybe May)
Actually, there is one more way to avoid a rehash of the Hoenn GF: if May and Drew don't battle at all. OK, hypothetical scenario: the May-Harley rivalry is given much more attention this season than in the last one. Harley gets to be a serious threat to May, possibly beating her in a late contest, close to the GF. In the GF itself, Harley beats Drew, then May beats Harley and goes on to lose to someone else - Robert, maybe, or another uber co-ordinator that gets introduced some time this season. Admittedly it's kind of a cop-out on the May vs. Drew front, but then again, Ash and Gary didn't get to battle once during Kanto. And anyway, we'll know that the rivalry will continue in the D/P region; the BF arc will be more like a teaser to resolve all the Harley business before the good stuff begins. :D

Now that I think of it, I can really see this scenario or something like it working. It is rather unusual for May to have two big rivals and beat both of them. Normally what happens is that one rival is designed for the protagonist to win against, like Gary or Masamune, and then the other one is to lose to, like Harrison, Richie or Tetsuya. But if May beats Drew this season, then she'll have two major victories, and then a defeat at the hands of a more minor character. It's unbalanced.
Who is to say she won't have 3 rivals? The writers always introduce new rivals for Ash at the actual leagues, who says they won't do the same for May?

And really, I can't see them making Harley into a serious threat anymore. The recent contest pretty much sealed it. No way will the writers make it look like Harley is more important than Drew...it just doesn't seem right.

Hm, in order to avoid May beating Harley for a 4th time in the GF, have Drew beat Harley. They need a good battle. That way it won't be boring seeing May beat Harley AGAIN, and she can battle some other coordinators before Drew.

Really, the possibilites for the GF aren't really that big IMO. I think they're built up the May/Drew rivalry enough during Hoenn (and during the rest of Kanto, we're bound to get more Drew eps), to end the rivalry at the next GF. I can't see them doing a cop out by not having them face each other, especially since they faced each other in the previous tournament.
I suppose May could have three rivals, but I doubt she's going to square off against all of them in the GF. It goes against precedent. Neither Ash nor May has ever had more than two main opponents at a time, for good reason - it messes up the action climax and is repetitive. There's no sense in having May struggle against a personal opponent and prevail, and then struggle against another personal opponent and prevail again. It's tedious and will make it feel cheap when she goes on to lose against rival number three, especially if r#3 is a much less important character than Drew or Harley.

If May doesn't battle Drew, though, then all is fine. She can have her big happy victory against Harley, like we all know she will, and then lose to Robert or some guy who was introduced just prior to the GF. No awkward triple climax, and no forcing Drew to pointlessly double Harley's function in the plot.

As for Harley being a serious threat, I thought that his showing up so early in the series and appearing in the opening were two huge indications that he's going to be more of a big deal than before in the BF saga, not less. You don't really think May isn't going to face him in the GF, do you? I'll be very surprised if Drew ends up being the one to take him down. Although I can see a Drew vs. Harley match occurring in an ordinary contest.

I agree that making Harley more important than Drew is a flaw in the theory, but there are two mitigating factors: firstly, if Harley is written out after the BF, it'd make sense to give him a nice juicy role at the end, and secondly, we'd know that the May-Drew rivalry was going to continue in the D/P region anyway. Not letting them battle in Kanto would only be stalling the big showdown - putting it on the backburner a little while they tie up the May-Harley subplot.
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