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Controversial opinions

So, during the past week I saw the argument that "Ash always wins against game characters" and I didn't really understood what people meant by that, as I don't think the distintion matters that much. Looking at the leagues:

Kanto: The only game character is Gary, who is beaten unceremoniously by someone else offscreen.
Johto: The only game character is Gary again, who Ash beats. However, in the respective games Gary is just a postgame gym leader.
Hoenn: No game characters.
Battle Frontier: Ash wins against all Frontier Brains which come from the games, though the arc is more of a modern version of the Orange Islands Arc to fill time rather than Ash completing all challenges of the games.
Sinnoh: The only game character is Barry, who is beaten unceremoniously by someone else.
Unova: The only game character is Bianca, who is beaten unceremoniously by someone else.
Kalos: The only game characters are Tierno and Trevor, who are beaten unceremoniously by someone else.
Alola: Faba, Hau, Gladion and Kukui are mandatory battles in the games.

So the only cases that could count would be Johto, Alola and the Battle Frontier, and 3/8 is hardly a pattern. There are also many game characters which Ash lost to and to this day still remain undefeated by him: Maylene, Cress, Agatha, Flint, Palmer, Cheren (!), Alder, Diantha, Bertha, Lucian and Drake. I'm not saying that those characters are stronger than Ash, but it is a fact that Ash didn't beat them directly despite being game characters.
Technically, Blue and Gary are different characters, but I understand the comparison.

And I think the argument was about Ash winning battles against characters from the games when it's necessary for the progress of his journey. Sure, there are exceptions like Maylene and Cress, but Trainers like Cheren, Palmer, Alder, and Elite Four members were just side quests who didn't stand as obstacles for Ash's journey.
 
Technically, Blue and Gary are different characters, but I understand the comparison.

And I think the argument was about Ash winning battles against characters from the games when it's necessary for the progress of his journey. Sure, there are exceptions like Maylene and Cress, but Trainers like Cheren, Palmer, Alder, and Elite Four members were just side quests who didn't stand as obstacles for Ash's journey.
That's my problem with the argument, you have to add a lot of clauses for it to work. Ash didn't beat all gym leaders (Besides Maylene and Cheren there's Erika and Sabrina too), didn't beat all rivals (most were beaten by someone else), didn't beat all Elite 4 and champions for obvious reasons, so...what's left?

It's easier to just say "Ash will win because Leon is the biggest obstacle in Sword and Shield and as a result no one is rooting for Leon". I know that that argument wasn't flawless thanks to our dear friend Alain, but it's more logical than the game characters one.
 
So, during the past week I saw the argument that "Ash always wins against game characters" and I didn't really understood what people meant by that, as I don't think the distintion matters that much. Looking at the leagues:

Kanto: The only game character is Gary, who is beaten unceremoniously by someone else offscreen.
Johto: The only game character is Gary again, who Ash beats. However, in the respective games Gary is just a postgame gym leader.
Hoenn: No game characters.
Battle Frontier: Ash wins against all Frontier Brains which come from the games, though the arc is more of a modern version of the Orange Islands Arc to fill time rather than Ash completing all challenges of the games.
Sinnoh: The only game character is Barry, who is beaten unceremoniously by someone else.
Unova: The only game character is Bianca, who is beaten unceremoniously by someone else.
Kalos: The only game characters are Tierno and Trevor, who are beaten unceremoniously by someone else.
Alola: Faba, Hau, Gladion and Kukui are mandatory battles in the games.

So the only cases that could count would be Johto, Alola and the Battle Frontier, and 3/8 is hardly a pattern. There are also many game characters which Ash lost to and to this day still remain undefeated by him: Maylene, Cress, Agatha, Flint, Palmer, Cheren (!), Alder, Diantha, Bertha, Lucian and Drake. I'm not saying that those characters are stronger than Ash, but it is a fact that Ash didn't beat them directly despite being game characters.
I always assumed it was specifically referring to how the "league kickers" are always anime-created characters rather than, say, Wally defeating him.
 
I'm still not convinced.

Game characters that defeated Ash in a league: 0/6
Game characters that were beaten by Ash as his final victory in a league: 2/7

Not enough of a difference if you ask me. I'm sure Ash would have still beaten Brandon, Gladion, Kukui and Leon if they were anime characters simply because of the challenge they represent. Hell, Brandon even has a real example of that on Drake from the Orange Islands.

The argument also ignores the fact that in both SM and JN, at least in regards to Ash's goal, there just isn't enough anime-exclusive characters to make a case for them and mostly there have just been game characters.
 
I'm still not convinced.

Game characters that defeated Ash in a league: 0/6
Game characters that were beaten by Ash as his final victory in a league: 2/7

Not enough of a difference if you ask me. I'm sure Ash would have still beaten Brandon, Gladion, Kukui and Leon if they were anime characters simply because of the challenge they represent. Hell, Brandon even has a real example of that on Drake from the Orange Islands.

The argument also ignores the fact that in both SM and JN, at least in regards to Ash's goal, there just isn't enough anime-exclusive characters to make a case for them and mostly there have just been game characters.
Unless, they brought back all those past league winner to challenge Ash. Except this time being hired by Geeta for trying to strip him from both title of alola and World Championship. It will be interesting plot since you've already world champion. Now, you become a target as everybody want to beat you.
 
Each series has contributed to Ash's character development in some way.

OS: Learning the basics and winning through skill rather than luck.
AG → DP: Becoming less arrogant of his own skills and learning to accept from others.
DP → BW: No direct transition between regions, unlike before, so he could've just gotten a bit rusty.
XY: Getting his groove back and bouncing back from his slump in Unova. Also learning that winning isn't everything.
SM: Since he's learned that winning isn't everything, Ash now takes things more leisurely and isn't in a rush for his next win.
JN: It all comes together. Ash is now a collection of all of his past experiences.
 
Serious question: at what point post AG Ash thought winning was everything? He took the Kalos loss pretty well. Ash was NEVER in rush for "wins".
When Sawyer got ahead of Ash in terms of Badges, Ash was too focused on besting him, which cost him his first battle against Wulfric. The following episode made Ash realize what he had done wrong. That's why he took the League loss so well.

In addition, Ash was also too focused on activating Greninja's transformation during a battle with Sawyer, so that cost him the match.

In AG, Ash's main problem was his overconfidence, due to him now being the most experienced member of the group and May being the new beginner. His overconfidence and refusal to accept help from his friends were what cost him his first battle with Brawly and his match with Drake. He also spent big portions of some of May's Contests training his Pokémon instead of watching his friend competing. Not to mention Ash's constant rush to get to the Gym. These were things that Ash treated with more respect in DP.
 
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Each series has contributed to Ash's character development in some way.

OS: Learning the basics and winning through skill rather than luck.
AG → DP: Becoming less arrogant of his own skills and learning to accept from others.
DP → BW: No direct transition between regions, unlike before, so he could've just gotten a bit rusty.
XY: Getting his groove back and bouncing back from his slump in Unova. Also learning that winning isn't everything.
SM: Since he's learned that winning isn't everything, Ash now takes things more leisurely and isn't in a rush for his next win.
JN: It all comes together. Ash is now a collection of all of his past experiences.
Re: Winning isn’t everything. Ash learned that in OS in Kanto, making Kalos’s League loss completely unnecessary. Also imo Ash had no character development in SM and JN (JN could have some in the end).
OS: In Kanto, Ash starts off as a brash, cocky, and immature trainer, thus not earning the respect for Charizard. This is one of the causes for Ash to lose the league, and Ash gets mad at himself for being unable to gain Charizard’s trust and for loosing the league. It’s not until the Orange Islands where he learns to gain Charizard’s trust, and with the help of teamwork wins the Orange League. In Johto, Ash matured into a more competent trainer and is able to turn his rivalry with Gary into a respectful one. In OS, Ash also learns to let his Pokémon go, showing that he respects the wishes of his Pokémon.
AG: While Ash has advanced as a trainer, his cockiness is his undoing. Being so cocky causes Ash to relax himself in Dewford, but he doesn’t fully correct his hotheadedness until the Battle Frontier. Ash also starts to learn how to mentor others.
DP: Ash learns to better respect his peers, and engages in a rivalry with Paul over the treatment of Pokémon. When Ash looses to Paul in Acuity, he gets depressed and questions himself again, but his Pokémon and Dawn help him out. In the league, Ash shows Paul that friendship wins over cold blooded training, and furthers this development by going farther than anyone against Tobias.
BW: Ash takes a major slump, but promises to better himself in the next region, setting up for his Kalos self to be even stronger than before.
XY: Ash has matured into a leader and one that inspires others, and his impact is fully seen on the whole main cast. He has grown and developed so much that he has a special transformation with Greninja. Working to perfect it, Ash becoming so obsessed with becoming stronger that this damages him both physically and mentally, as well as ailenating him from his friends in the process. This causes him to loose constantly, and Ash reaches a breaking point when he looses to Wulfric, doubting his abilities as a trainer and his bond with Greninja. Ash gets so troubled that he yells at Serena, but she causes Ash to realize that he needs to get back to normal, and so he talks to Greninja and perfects the transformation before going back to his friends. ((Ash also potentially has developed romantic feelings for Serena; however, he has yet to realize this.))
 
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OS: In Kanto, Ash starts off as a brash, cocky, and immature trainer, thus not earning the respect for Charizard. This is one of the causes for Ash to lose the league, and Ash gets mad at himself for being unable to gain Charizard’s trust and for loosing the league. It’s not until the Orange Islands where he learns to gain Charizard’s trust, and with the help of teamwork wins the Orange League. In Johto, Ash matured into a more competent trainer and is able to turn his rivalry with Gary into a respectful one. In OS, Ash also learns to let his Pokémon go, showing that he respects the wishes of his Pokémon.
AG: While Ash has advanced as a trainer, his cockiness is his undoing. Being so cocky causes Ash to relax himself in Dewford, but he doesn’t fully correct his hotheadedness until the Battle Frontier. Ash also starts to learn how to mentor others.
DP: Ash learns to better respect his peers, and engages in a rivalry with Paul over the treatment of Pokémon. When Ash looses to Paul in Acuity, he gets depressed and questions himself again, but his Pokémon and Dawn help him out. In the league, Ash shows Paul that friendship wins over cold blooded training, and furthers this development by going farther than anyone against Tobias.
BW: Ash takes a major slump, but promises to better himself in the next region, setting up for his Kalos self to be even stronger than before.
XY: Ash has matured into a leader and one that inspires others, and his impact is fully seen on the whole main cast.
I agree with all of this. Basically what I meant in a more condensed way. But in XY, he was also too focused on winning at certain points. Like when Sawyer got more Badges than him, and Ash was so focused on besting him that during his battle with Wulfric, Ash kept focusing more on Sawyer and the thought of catching up to him than the battle itself, causing him to lose. Earlier, he also tried to focus too much on activating Ash-Greninja, causing him to lose to Sawyer.

Basically, Ash's loss in the Indigo League taught him that losing is okay, but Kalos taught him that you don't need to focus on winning. Which is why he takes things more easily in SM and takes his time to actually enjoy the region he's staying at instead of just treating it as a collection of paths to the next Gym.
 
I agree with all of this. Basically what I meant in a more condensed way. But in XY, he was also too focused on winning at certain points. Like when Sawyer got more Badges than him, and Ash was so focused on besting him that during his battle with Wulfric, Ash kept focusing more on Sawyer and the thought of catching up to him than the battle itself, causing him to lose. Earlier, he also tried to focus too much on activating Ash-Greninja, causing him to lose to Sawyer.

Basically, Ash's loss in the Indigo League taught him that losing is okay, but Kalos taught him that you don't need to focus on winning. Which is why he takes things more easily in SM and takes his time to actually enjoy the region he's staying at instead of just treating it as a collection of paths to the next Gym.
While Ash does takes things easy in SM and relaxes himself, I don’t see that as proper character development because his character has been so flanderized that Ash has turned into a buttmonkey, and in JN most of his wins are through asspulls imo, which is why I say that Ash had no development in those two series. Making Ash act so goofy that he’s unrecognizable make SM and JN the worst iterations of Ash by a landslide, plus the art style makes him look horrid.
 
When Sawyer got ahead of Ash in terms of Badges, Ash was too focused on besting him, which cost him his first battle against Wulfric. The following episode made Ash realize what he had done wrong. That's why he took the League loss so well.

In addition, Ash was also too focused on activating Greninja's transformation during a battle with Sawyer, so that cost him the match.
That was resolved during XY, but you have listed it in SM.
Also, Ash never cared about winning. He cared about letting Greninja down. I find your assessment of the SM development inaccurate.
 
That was resolved during XY, but you have listed it in SM.
Also, Ash never cared about winning. He cared about letting Greninja down. I find your assessment of the SM development inaccurate.
I don't think I listed it under SM. And I meant that Ash was too focused on winning in a certain way, blinding him to other ways of achieving victory. And you could say that broadened his views in general.
 
I don't think I listed it under SM. And I meant that Ash was too focused on winning in a certain way, blinding him to other ways of achieving victory. And you could say that broadened his views in general.
I find this inaccurate. The entire point of the Wulfric arc was he thought he was letting Greninja down.
 
Ash trying to copy Tierno's dance battle style was an arc that taught him the lesson that there are many different ways to win.
Doesn’t Ash already know this? Counter Shield, and what he learnt with Dawn. Finding different ways to win in the face of uncertainty is literally Ash from day 1.
 
Doesn’t Ash already know this? Counter Shield, and what he learnt with Dawn. Finding different ways to win in the face of uncertainty is literally Ash from day 1.
Like I said earlier, in Kalos, he got a bit of a tunnel vision and needed to learn to broaden his views again. He focused too much on learning a single method to win that he temporarily forgot he could try out other strategies too.
 
Ash trying to mimic Tierno's battle style didn't really go anywhere. They spent an episode trying to get Ash to learn how to dance, tried to make up for it with Pikachu dancing instead, he just gave up on it when it didn't work and then battle in the way Ash typically does. It was less about Ash expanding his horizons and more like a waste of time, especially when it didn't really feel like he learned anything about how he battled in the process of trying to copy someone else's battle style. It's honestly a huge reason why the Korina Gym battle was the weakest one in XY for me.
 
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