Pokémon: 10 ways the animated series is cliché

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There are many animated series that gain a legendary reputation where they are able to transcend beyond 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 has become a legitimate cultural phenomenon and it is successfully dominated the medium of the anime, feature films and even collectible card games.

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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

Anime Pokemon Ash with Goh and Dawn

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 characters like Brock, Misty, and Dawn are sometimes rolled over 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 natural development most of the time.

9 Ash remains the ultimate outsider

Ashes fall from high class to normal class, Pokémon Journeys

Developing Ash as a Pokémon Trainer can often be a frustrating process. Ash literally has 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

Team Rocket takes off from Pokémon

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 one encounters 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.

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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 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 anime’s largely episodic structure remains

Carrie's Sableye Pokemon Anime

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 big battles, but audiences can basically expect a new adventure to be resolved by the end of the episode.

5 Ash doesn’t learn from Pokémon battles

Ash loses the Kanto League, Pokemon

Battle experience and in-depth 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.

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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

Anime Pokemon Ash's Pokemon Party

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 quite 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 Pokémon party as he heads to a new area. There is some catharsis in this approach, but it has become predictable and has led to many interesting Pokémon are shelved.

3 Ash’s Pikachu never evolves

Anime Pokemon Injured Pikachu considers Thunder Stone

The Pokemon the anime hasn’t avoided the subject of the evolution of Ash’s prize Pokémon, Pikachu, and it’s 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 teases, it’s an empty gesture.

2 Pokémon from new games are presented in new regions

Pokemon Master Journeys Ash and Pikachu with Goh and Scorbunny

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 prospect isn’t a problem, but it does telegraph 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 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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