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Was Paul meant to represent us? (the viewer)

Interesting theory. But I love my Pokémon. I never release them or neglect them or anything.
Interesting thought, however:
And before you say that you're not like Paul at all, well I hate to break it to ya but if you play any of the Pokemon games then chances are you share many similarities with Paul, at least on paper. Think about it. What's the difference between the way Paul neglects his Pokemon while training them in the anime and way you do in the games? I mean do you honestly make a conscious effort to heal your Pokemon EVERY single time they fall low on HP?
If they're down by five HP, I may hold off. If they have only five HP left, I'm busting out the Full Restores if I can.
Do you avoid using abilities, items and moves such as Blaze, Toxic Orb and Explosion that can be useful in battle even though by all means they are hurting your Pokemon?
Most of the time, I do. However, I'm forced to use those moves in the Battle Maison and I HATE IT. I can't stand watching one of my team members fainting themselves out just to get me a win. It sucks. (And I may change up my Blaziken's moveset anyway; I might do Flame Charge instead of Flare Blitz.)
Do you really care about that Charmeleon that you're grinding in order to have your very own Charizard at your disposal? Would you have any qualms with releasing a Pokemon you just caught or hatched in favor of a stronger Pokemon with better IV's?
In this case, yes I do. I've raised a lot of Golett into Golurk and the training I do is like bonding with them. I can see their strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly. And when I went on a Masuda run for a shiny Golett, if I got one perfect Golett among 25 eggs, I kept everyone. I wasn't going to abandon someone because they weren't "perfect" enough. That's just wrong.

I think that Paul was meant to have a personality that was completely different from Ash, not really a commentary on the average metagamer. Paul was Ash's opposite and completely clashed with how he did things, making him a gigantic thorn in Ash's side.
The only thing seperating Paul from your average play to win competitive player is the massive breeding chains and subsequent baby pokemon flood on the daycare route.
It just so happens that Ash's methods (crazy unconditional love, inability to grasp the concepts of type matchups, forgetting basics to battling, and losing a lot) go against many characteristics of a competitive player, as well as Paul. I'm not too competitive, but I still feel like scoffing at Ash the same way Paul does at times. Abilities like Blaze aren't ones I rely on, but they come in handy when they activate. Also, about not healing every time a Pokemon gets hurt. It's not exactly like you can use items in online matches. Anyhow, very nice theory. The anime creators are about as profound as puddles and seem to forget the games exist, so it's unlikely... but good argument. I could actually believe this.
At first I thought he was but when I look back at Sinnoh I think it might have been a coincidence at least at first. I feel Paul was created with the idea of a different type of trainer that was an antithesis to Ash as seen with all their contrasting traits. Paul was also made during gen 4 which started a trend where rivals and other important NPCs are based off different kinds of players, Barry was probably based on a speed runner and every one of your friends in XY are clearly based on different types of players. With rivals being based on different kinds of players it was bound to happen that one would be similar to a majority of the players and since Ash is sort of like the anti-player as others here have said, Paul would be like us because he's the anti-Ash. If Paul was purposely crafted to represent the majority of players it would be a bad move because he's portrayed pretty negatively by the show which would be akin to the writers shoving their middle fingers at us (more than usual). A bad move for any writer to do is insulting their viewers, though Ash does plenty of that by himself since he as the protagonist is supposed to be us.
Hmm, I wouldn't say so. Firstly, the demographics of both (for instance, I know there are competitive tournaments for players in the target markets but) wouldn't exactly suit the circumstances. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but most metagamers (that I have seen) are usually around or above the age of ten, and the types of gameplay you have given examples of would be moreso used by them than younger players (basing it off people's tales of their naivety when playing Pokemon as a child). Therefore, I doubt that. The demographics of people who I've seen online who adore their Pokemon, wouldn't release them for anything, switch Pokemon over generations and were delighted to have them in Amie are usually older, as people online tend to be. What I'm trying to say is that, I don't exactly know what the target market tends to be like, but for us, the older viewers, I would not say so. I would not say so for younger players, as I recall being rather attached to my Pokemon at the age of eight, like I am now. I also feel that the "suspension of disbelief" comes into play. For instance, it's a different suspension of disbelief, anime to game. In the anime, the Pokemon feel very much alive, but people still could feel that way in the game. For instance, it reminds me of in Digimon Tamers, when Jenrya is playing the videogame, he is fine with it, until he realises that Terriermon is really seeming to suffer, beyond a videogame measure. I feel if any player is as you have described, the majority (hopefully) would react as Jenrya would if their Pokemon was represented in the anime itself, so it would defeat the connection, because it depends on how the Pokemon is presented. Though, you could argue with me and say that perhaps that is why, and which I wouldn't know, but I wouldn't think so. In addition as people have mentioned, Paul's role in my view, seemed to be to challenge Ash's static philosophies and make the viewer question which route and to give moral guidance, as kids shows intend to do.
It's an amazing stack of coincidences, if nothing else, I will say that much. And yeah, it is worth noting that Chimchar is literally the only Pokemon that was miserable around Paul; the others seemed to mesh just fine with Paul's methods of training. In some cases I'd wager that some of them probably cared just as much as Paul did when it came to being the strongest, but then you've got cases like Electivire, who was explicitly shown to be every bit of a jerk in its own right as Paul was... and then there's Ursaring, who was literally a homicidal maniac until Paul captured it. How it reserved those characteristics solely to battle from that point onwards can only be left up to imagination... I just really want to imagine how that went, Paul getting Ursaring to not try to kill him. XD Since capture doesn't always = automatic obedience. The really interesting thing that I SO wish the anime had explored was that Torterra knew Frenzy Plant as early on as its debut. In the games, you can only get your starter to learn that kind of move if it liked you a lot - i.e. high friendship. I thought that was so interesting that Paul, a trainer who abhorred the idea of becoming FRIENDS with his Pokemon, was able to get his Torterra to learn that move. It's stuff like this that makes me wish Ash's Infernape learned Blast Burn instead of Flare Blitz for this exact purpose. I forgot if the anime ever specified what made Frenzy Plant/Blast Burn/Hydro Cannon special like how it was in the games, but assuming those moves have the same requirements as the games do, I personally imagined Paul's Torterra learned the move a long time ago when Paul might've been slightly less cold than he eventually came to be.

idk, the more you incorporate the games and the approach of metagamers into the anime, Paul suddenly looks pretty damn complex. And not that I think he actually would've ever gone this route, but you know how the real competitive players of the game have to breed AN ETERNITY to get their perfect Pokemon with right nature, right characteristic, egg moves, and 31 IVs where they should be? ... you might recall that Paul's brother is a breeder - thus, Paul had the means to do precisely THAT! Again, I don't think Paul really has the patience for all that (just another reason why I see him more as a parody of a metagamer rather than just a metagamer), but I can totally picture his brother doing this behind his back, if only to act as a deterrent for Paul to haphazardly release Pokemon by pointing out a TOTALLY PERFECT one that he JUST HAPPENED TO FIND OR WHATEVER.

Gawd. The possibilities you can muse with Paul never end~ and I agree with Steel_Justice that Barry resembles a Speedrunner more than anything. He's the trainer who obviously stockpiled mountains of Rare Candy and just fed them all to his team ASAP, hence why he's already got fully-evolved Pokemon despite obviously being a less competent trainer than Ash. :p
Both theories make a lot of sense. However, Paul being based on Silver is more likely because if 4Kids tried to shame us for being assholes to our VIRTUAL MONSTERPETS, it would just lose audience. However, up until the end of Heartgold/Soulsilver, Silver acted just like Paul. Plus, DPPt and HGSS came out in the same generation so it would be a good excuse to implement game characters.

Imagine if everyone else was like that. The show wouldbe like some Metagame lets play. It would be boring as fuck and DEFINITELY wouldn't have lasted 15 YEARS. LOL
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IV breeding is more for gameplay purposes and not something you would actualy do in real life if Pokemon existed, also i see releasing pokemon with imperfect IVs as repopulating an area wich means other trainers can catch them, well this doesn't actualy happen ingame but i like to see as such.

I think in the Pokemon world this would be translated similar to how Paul demonstrated it with the two Starly - different pokemon have different abilities/move sets/genetics. Maybe not everything can be seen straight away with a Pokedex check, but I think IV breeding would translate in to the pokemon anime/world as just that - breeding. Pokemon are bred in the game because some are genetically superior to others, and it's much the same with animals in the real world. I work with horses, and some horses are simply bred/better equipped to do certain tasks than others are. It doesn't make them "bad" horses, just that a horse that would be good for say, jumping, wouldn't be a good horse to use for gaming events because of how they are built/bred.

The same is probably very true for Pokemon. So while it isn't really shown in the Anime, my headcanon/theory is that there probably are trainers that "iv breed" in the same sense of those of us that do in the game. Some have higher HP than others of the same species, some have better defense, etc etc, and there is probably a whole market for trainers/pokemon breeds etc that breed specific pokemon for specific battling/contest/whatever purposes. While most trainers are happy to catch and train wild pokemon, it doesn't mean some aren't better than others in a battling sense. Trainers that breed their own pokemon have the advantage of deciding what they want that pokemon to specialize in. For Paul, it was battles - and his brother is a Pokemon breeder. It's very possible some of the pokemon on his team were specially bred for the tasks. If you have a brother that knows how to do such things, why not use that to your advantage?

It doesn't make Paul/any trainer a bad person for identifying that one Starly is stronger than the other and want to use the one that will be more beneficial in the long run. Maybe not everyone does it (I don't EV train/check EV's or anything in game) but those that do aren't necessarily bad trainers for not doing it. Like Ash, many trainers are happy to work with what they have.

That said, I think it's an interesting theory, but I'm not sure Paul was meant to specifically represent "us" - maybe just, possibly, IV breeders in general. I say it very loosely.
Interesting theory . Never really thought of Paul in this way, but now that its brought up it does seem like how reasoning behind Paul creation might be to extent influenced by how pokemon game players, especially in metagame tend to perceive things and whole competition aspect.

Paul has been portrayed from very start as character which strive to be as competitive as he can not concerning himself much about friendship,.
Building partnership with your pokemon and try to raise them through love and care.

His methodology involves cathing pokermon which has best possible starting base, moveset and special abilities. Doesn't hesitate in slightest to release or abandon pokemon he deems as weak or too innefective requiring alot more work and time to get them reach power level creap some other specie could accomplish with twice as less effort and training.

Applying spartan like methods in training his pokemon, even if it involves his other pokemon attacking one of their own commrades to force him to use his full potential. As it was especially noticeable with poor Chimchar.

Many of us because of that didn't hold much sympathy for Paul character, some even disliked him and viewed as antagonist. Someone on bad side of spectrum providing motivation and desire to root for Ash and have him beat Paul.

Overlooking how (not all), but many competitive gamers show no mercy or consideration toward pokemon either when their main objection is to win and achieve best possible score. In that case they dont care over wasting potion or superpotion on heavily damaged pokemon, saving it for one with best stats and their ace. They don't have much dillema in trading weaker pokemon for stronger one, or release one which dont suit their taste to catch wild pokemon with more powerful attacks, bigger sppeed, better stats, better special abillities etc, etc.

Or evolving your pokemon as fast as possible to their ultimate form, being undesierable and incompetent to keep them in their basic shape.

In competitive gaming there is not much room for consciousness or solidarity with players ,because we as people strive to form strongest possible pokemon team, maximize on use of special abilities which outrun opponent strategy, abuse weather conditions like rain dance, sunny day etc to put ourselves in advantageous position.

Which is fine, because at end of the day pokemon are fictional, not living creatures and serve purpose to provide entertainment and way to make new human friends online.

Although i would like to add how Paul existence may represent not only good portion of us as gamers, but also those which got too much caught in competition, rivalry and becoming best as the can that they forget in process to enjoy in it.

It is in human nature to sometime in heat of competition whether we talk about games, sports(like boxing, tennis, soccer, chess, athletic competitions etc )we become so much focused on training and becoming faster, stronger, more resourceful to beat other adversaries that we along the road forget what drove us into some discipline or occupation in first place. Stopping to genuinely enjoy and have relaxing, good time. Due to constant pressure, concern over avoiding to repeat same mistakes and become better prepated next time when facing opponent.

Consuming us as persons and players stopping to genuinely enjoy in this and just have relaxing, fun time without worrying that much what outcome may happen.

Not always, not everyone but to good chunk of them this can happen revealing negative side of sport or competing.

This was heavily implied and showcased with Paul characterization. Ever since his brother Reggie retired from being pokemon trainer after losing to Brandon , this came of as shock and big disappointment to Paul starting to view his older brother as failure. Trying his best not to end up like him turning in cold, distant and callous persoin.

Person which was in search for power, to train and defeat strong challenging trainers his brother Reggie failed at and felt need to prove to himself and brother how wrong he was.

This thirst for power, reputation and success engulfed Paul character so much to the point that he forgot how to enjoy in journey, pokemon creatures as whole and their unique attributes. Even battles and competition with imperative for him lying in winning them at any cost, with defeat not being option.

Paul was created as antithesis to Ash character.
It shaked up core of Ash character and brought entirely in question his ideology of treating pokemon as your friends and partners. With who you work as team and build mutual respect and understanding resulting in rewarding , satisfying growth over time. Considering how Paul much more brutal and at times even abusive methods poluted just as great, if not even better results than Ash strategy did.

Making it possible that writers to extent through Paul presence wanted to reflect in a way how competitive pokemon gamers in real life can be or in varous other activities. Appearing as calculative, strategic and concerned mainly on winning through most efficient way as possible.

Not entirely, but as one member brought up before coincidence or not most episodes concerning Paul rivalry with Ash were written by Atsuhiro Tomioka. One of best writers pokemon staff has imo alongside Takeshi Shudo who sadly passed away in meantime having tendency to add certain mature elements and more depth in storyline when possible regardless of pokemon by nature being kids show(especially in newer regions).

Because majority of episodes Tomioka wrote for in DP, AG, even OS(his roots as writers started somewhere in Kanto if im not mistaken) being usually of high quality imo. Containing authentic emotion, more mature plot and good innovation.
That's an interesting way of seeing Paul's character, I must admit.

However, I don't think that he was specifically made to represent us viewers (or, better said, competitive players). He was just made as the complete opposite of Ash, in terms choosing his Pokémon, training methods and personality. It is just a funny coincidence that said traits could be attributed to the competitive players.
I always just thought he was a tamer version of Silver, and also just a rival that was meant to be the complete opposite of Ash, but that's a very interesting theory.

I remember when I saw Paul for the first time in the anime after he checked the Starly, and to myself I thought, "That's probably what I would have done in the game." When it comes to the beginning of the games I do tend to go for pokemon of a higher level (a level 5 or 6 as opposed to a level 2 or 3) so what Paul did kind of represented that perfectly.

Maybe it's a combination of all three, he's a tamer version of Silver, the polar opposite of Ash, and he could possibly represent most game players.
I've taken to seeing Shinji as a deconstruction of Silver. Silver is a pretty basic 'don't be like me' character but with Shinji we're allowed and even encouraged to see his point of view and that despite being a jerk, he's still intelligent and strong just as people are more varied in real life. Shinji's also immature (though I wonder how much for a 10 year old but still) but still able to hold himself against Satoshi. Often the points he makes against Satoshi are pretty good: there isn't a difference between entering a tag battle to get stronger rather than winning and entering a contest to do likewise for example. Indeed, friendship isn't shown as being enough to beat Shinji: he's beaten very much with both that and skill. There's also the fact that there's only one pokemon where Shinji is shown in a hateable light over. In fact, he seems to get on really well with his other pokemon and they're shown walking beside him (especially his Elekible.)

The idea of Shinji being based on the average player or a group of players is an idea that interests me but I kind of doubt it. For one, it's not obviously obvious if Shinji's supposed to be a 'take that' for the people who hate competitive players or someone for competitive players and I doubt they'd play it subtly if it were. There are points where we're supposed to hate Shinji and points where we're supposed to love him but for the most part we're just supposed to find him curious and despite not changing that much I think we're supposed to very much like him by the end. On the other hand, it is an interesting idea and with how unusual Shinji's characterisation is it wouldn't surprise me if there was a medium that they were aiming for.
Shinji's non-Hikozaru Pokemon made it pretty clear he commanded their respect. They had the same goal and worked towards it with their all. Pokemon are shown to be sentient, so I would sooner say the issue was with Hikozaru not asking to be let go sooner. Shinji was shown to be a reasonable man, he expected as much out of his teammates as he did himself. If Hikozaru couldn't make the same commitment that his fellows could he should have brought that to Shinji's attention. Shinji continually gave Hikozaru extra chances because he believe he was worth it--even after Hikozaru had joined Satoshi. That's faith right there.
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