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Opinion: The Path To Ash's Win in Journeys Was Begun In Battle Frontier


Author of Pokemon of the Week (Travelin' Dan)
Aug 10, 2020
Reaction score
  1. He/Him
Before I begin this opinion piece, if this is not where it needs to be placed, please move it to where it needs to be. With that out of the way, let’s get started.

Season 8-Pokemon Advanced Battle

To start this analysis off, we should begin with AG101, where Ash tried to battle Drake, the Dragon Type Elite Four Member of Hoenn. Ash generally ends up out matched by the high-level trainer, being defeated. Despite that, Drake commends him on his improved abilities. After this occasion, the Ever Grande Conference commences, where Ash gets into the Top 8, which, up to this point, has been standard for our hero. When he heads back home, specifically to Viridian City, he ends up taking the opportunity to have an exhibition match with Agatha, the Ghost/Poison Type Elite Four Member of Kanto, who is filling in as Gym Leader of the Viridian Gym (AG132). Upon hearing of Ash’s previous successes, Scott, who operates the Battle Frontier, states that Ash may be strong enough to take it on. Once Agatha wins the battle, she compliments Ash, and Scott offers Ash the ability to go through the Battle Frontier challenge, setting the stage for the next Season. The fact that Ash can stand up against Elite Four members, even at this point, is impressive, especially since he has no major record of doing so before this moment. With his path forward clear, Ash goes onto the Battle Frontier.

Season 9-Battle Frontier

Near the end of Season 8, Ash began taking on the Frontier Brains, starting with Noland (AG136). The Frontier Brains are recognized as Elite Four caliber trainers. As Season 9 goes forward, he manages to defeat Greta (AG149), Tucker (AG153), Lucy (AG158), & Spencer (AG164) before he suffers his first loss to Anabel (AG169). Much to Ash’s credit, he takes a step back, thinks about strategy, and takes her on again in the succeeding episode, AG170, where his unconventional tactics give him the win. At this point, Ash has collected 6 of the 7 Frontier Symbols, no small feat. With the wind at his back and plenty of forward momentum, Ash looks to be setting up to win the Battle Frontier. All of that ends with Brandon, who defeats Ash twice (AG178 & AG186) before, at Brandon’s strongest, Ash surprisingly defeats him (AG189 & AG190), completing the challenge and getting the offer to join the Frontier Brains. During the Diamond & Pearl series, both Reggie & Paul are unable to complete this feat, putting Ash at least as strong as an Elite Four member, showing an evolution in his development. At the conclusion of the season, Ash takes on Gary, who has an Electivire, a Sinnoh Pokemon that Ash has never seen before, which inspires him to continue his journey to Sinnoh.

Seasons 10-13, or the Sinnoh Arc

When Sinnoh starts, Ash quickly meets one of his strongest Rivals, Paul, a tough trainer who has experienced much of the road that Ash has in the past. Paul pushes Ash to much of his limits, making him question his convictions. By DP51, Paul releases his Chimchar, a Pokemon that has been abused by Paul’s training methods, and Ash, intending to show Chimchar and Paul that Ash’s way is best. Paul had met Chimchar during a time when the Pokemon had saved itself from Zangoose, unleashing a very powerful Flame Wheel powered by Blaze. Paul had tried to get the same results, without much success. When Chimchar goes to Ash, Ash works to help Chimchar deal with his trauma and eventually gain control of Blaze, which forces Ash to actually raise his knowledge of Pokemon. All of this work with Chimchar comes to a head at the Lily of the Valley Conference, where Chimchar, now Infernape, finally proves Paul wrong in the super climatic battle.

Ash was setting to possibly win the Sinnoh League, then he battled Tobias, a trainer who became infamous for having a Darkrai & Latios, among other possible legendaries. Tobias had beaten all the Sinnoh Gym Leaders and the entire Conference up to the battle with Ash using just his Darkrai. Ash managed to defeat Darkrai and tie against Latios, a feat no one else had done, even the trainer Tobias beat in the finals. Ash stepped up his game, showing that he was arguably stronger than most of the competitors in the Sinnoh League, if not the Elite Four.

Seasons 14-16, or the Unova Arc

In this series, Ash had much of a hard reset here, and so he didn’t have much of an expansion for this series. We are just going to move on a bit.

Seasons 17-19, or the Kalos Arc

Ash arrives in Kalos with his Pikachu, then in the next episode, XY002, he captures a Froakie, a Starter Pokemon that had gone through several trainers in the quest to find one he actually trusted. Thus began a struggle to steadily train up more and gain more strength. By XY092, while Froakie was a Frogadier, Olympia, the Anistar Gym Leader, saw a vision that Frogadier would evolve into Greninja and attain a new level of power. In XY100, Frogadier simultaneously evolved into Greninja and attained that new power, the Bond Phenomenon, which became known as Ash-Greninja, where the two essentially acted as one. Over several occasions, there developed a quest to master this new form, taking on many strong challengers to do so and learn more about it. From XY119-XY122, Ash & Greninja faced a personal crisis, unable to complete the form, managing to fully master it by the end of the 3 episodes, using the mastery to beat Wulfric, the Snowbelle City Gym Leader. Ash-Greninja was often compared to a Mega Evolution, and in order to match the power of the form, many trainers had to use Mega Evolution to counter it. Using Ash Greninja, Ash was able to get to the finals of the Lumiose Conference, his highest standing to that time. In a still highly controversial ending, Ash lost, but it still showed his potential strength.

Seasons 20-22, or the Alola Arc

Even though Alola was another attempt at a reboot, Ash was able to expand his skill, most notably through his Rockruff, now Dusk Form Lycanroc. Lycanroc, as a Rockruff, lived with Professor Kukui before it was captured by Ash. By the end of SM037, Rockruff evolved into the rare Dusk Form Lycanroc, which revealed a negative tendency, that of going berserk when its fur got dirty. It also developed a rivalry with Gladion’s Midnight Form Lycanroc. In SM077, during the Grand Trial of Nanu, Lycanroc got control of its rage state. It was Lycanroc, who managed to both end the rivalry with Gladion and get its trainer to win the finals of the Manalo Conference, allowing Ash to win his first official conference, shocking the world.

Seasons 23-25, or the Journeys Arc

The Journeys Arc was based around the idea of Ash traveling the world. Following JN021, Ash got another Pokemon of great strength potential in Riolu. Ash’s commitment to Riolu strained the relationship with Pikachu to the point where Pikachu almost left Ash. During the battle against Chairman Rose in JN044, Riolu evolved into Lucario, gaining access to Aura powers in the process. Shortly thereafter, Ash got access to a Lucarionite, allowing it to have the ability to Mega Evolve. Ash’s Greninja helped train Lucario in JN108, which turned Lucario into the major element that helped Ash beat the Masters Eight Tournament in JN130, becoming the Monarch and completing his goal that he started with a long time ago.

I hope that this analysis makes my point. If there is something I am missing, please let me know!
I agree that the Battle Frontier saga is very underrated, the battles Ash faced were very hard and unlike Journeys he used his old Pokemon to great mastery. However it could be argued that that versatility wouldn't have been possible without the lessons he learned in Hoenn using a new team and in Johto where he focused more on strength. Battle-wise Ash had a very interesting path from beginner to master all around!
I agree that the Battle Frontier saga is very underrated, the battles Ash faced were very hard and unlike Journeys he used his old Pokemon to great mastery. However it could be argued that that versatility wouldn't have been possible without the lessons he learned in Hoenn using a new team and in Johto where he focused more on strength. Battle-wise Ash had a very interesting path from beginner to master all around!
While I largely agree with this assessment, I tend to think that Battle Frontier Ash was a great leap forward, compared to before then. My intention was to show that his win in Journeys was not just done by him in the season, but was the conclusion of a long journey which had a notable movement starting near the Battle Frontier. The Frontier Brains were repeatedly stated as at the Elite Four level of skill, something that Ash couldn't previously even attempt to take on.
Please note: The thread is from 1 year ago.
Please take the age of this thread into consideration in writing your reply. Depending on what exactly you wanted to say, you may want to consider if it would be better to post a new thread instead.
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