SPOILERS! General Pokémon Anime Discussion

ScraftyIsTheBest

On to new Horizons!
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I feel this is all a matter of short-term vs. long term, and when it comes down to it, that Liko's story is taking a vastly different direction from Ash's story and things are handled quite differently as a result.

To put it in roughly comparative terms, Ash was pretty much akin to a shonen hero, like Goku or Naruto, when it came down to it, and his story was structured much like a shonen story. Think, obviously, Dragon Ball for instance. The basic structure of such a story is Friendship, Effort, and Victory. He was a hot-headed (though this cooled down later on), ambitious, and had a big dream of becoming a Pokemon Master. His story was about action, competition, and aiming to be the best at what the series is about, with the power of his friends helping him become the greatest.

Liko is quite the opposite. She's more akin to a shojo heroine, think Sailor Moon aka Usagi Tsukino for instance, and her storyline is closer to a lot of shojo stories. Her character is really more about personal growth and relationships, forming bonds with people, connecting with others, and her journeys with other people. She even starts out akin to a shojo protagonist: a schoolgirl living a normal life until she's thrust into adventure because of a special power/gift she has. She's very compassionate and empathetic, which seems to be a very clear major trait of hers that drives her story, especially in connecting with both Pokemon and people alike.

In that sense it's better to look at Horizons from the perspective of groups than just a single character. Especially since Liko is part of a larger group of people called the Rising Volt Tacklers. This isn't like Ash's story where he, as the protagonist, dominated the show 95% of the time. While Liko is the primary protagonist and viewpoint character of the current show like Ash was in his era, Liko's story is more about her connections with other characters, whether it be with Roy and Dot, her roommate Anne, and vice versa.

As for how threats are being handled, this is where short-term vs. long-term comes in. Yes, in the short term, you have other people carrying the weight for Liko right now, especially since the Explorers are a significantly bigger threat than Team Rocket, being genuinely competent and being powerful Trainers off the bat.

But long term, they'll eventually be able to hold their own and grow strong enough to the point where they will no longer need Friede or Diana or the like to aid them against the Explorers and the like. With this being a new anime and the fact that this is a long running show that will go on for years over several episodes, we don't know when they'll get here, especially with how sparse few opportunities they have right now to truly train and grow stronger, but it will happen, and it will need to happen at some point. Because frankly, Friede is putting it bluntly, a crutch character, akin to say, Oifey/Jagen characters in Fire Emblem. He's the strongest Trainer on the RVT and can hold off the Explorers for now, but he can only do so much: holding them off is the farthest he can do. But unlike Team Rocket, who were both incompetent and at the very most annoying nuisances to Ash, the Explorers are a serious threat that are expressly interested in Liko and holding them off isn't going to be enough: they need to be taken down completely and fully defeated. And that role isn't Friede's to fulfill, it's ultimately incumbent upon Liko herself to be able to grow strong enough that she can take them down and fully defeat them and put an end to their threat once and for all.

In that sense the latter part is important, because The Explorers are clearly a group that need to be defeated, and I do speculate that the climax of this story will involve Liko actually taking on the organization and destroying them. And Friede isn't going to do that: yes, he's holding them off, but that's as far as he can go, and Liko and Roy will have to surpass him at some point so they can get rid of The Explorers.

It's definitely setting up to be a slow paced adventure overall though, and I can sorta understand the frustration at how slow Liko's development seems to be, but those are certainly points that I felt were worth addressing. Ash's story and Liko's are very different in that regard, and I cannot say one is better than the other: whichever approach you prefer is up to you, the beholder, to decide. We all have our own tastes and perceptions after all. But I do think Liko needs to be looked at from a different angle and perspective from Ash because her story is a different style and direction, and I think that really can influence how you see her story right now. That said, the fact that she's so different is why I find her interesting right now, personally: instead of a repeat of Ash, who I did enjoy, Liko has her own story to tell and its own way of unfolding, and as slow as it may be I still look forward to seeing Liko and Roy grow into great Trainers someday.

(apologies for the ramble, just had a lot to talk about here)
 

Pikachu315111

Ranting & Raving!
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As for how threats are being handled, this is where short-term vs. long-term comes in. Yes, in the short term, you have other people carrying the weight for Liko right now, especially since the Explorers are a significantly bigger threat than Team Rocket, being genuinely competent and being powerful Trainers off the bat.
I agree with mostly what you said, though I want to point out one correction: The Rocket Trio (Jessie, James & Meowth) were (often portrayed) incompetent. But Team Rocket as a larger organization under the leadership of Giovanni? That's a whole other story.

Not that it seems to matter. Have they confirmed whether this anime is in continuity with the previous series? If it is, while I doubt they'll use them, Team Rocket is still operating (and Giovanni is still the boss). The Explorers are the main antagonists of the new series, though I think it's overselling them as more dangerous than Team Rocket. The Explorers feel more like "personal" villains, at least for right now as they're focused on getting Terapagos from Liko (which makes sense if they're treating this series more as a Shojo). Team Rocket are a threat to the world, The Explorers are (for now) a threat to Liko, Terapagos, and by extension the Rising Volt Tacklers.
 
I need to catch up on the show, but from the sound of this talk, an issue coming up is that Liko and Roy don't sound like they're progressing at a satisfying pace for people who are coming from the old Anime or just other anime that Pokemon's market intersects. To build on the Dragon Ball example that was shared, it kind of feels like early DBZ where characters lacked for personal growth because so many conflict climaxes were resolved by someone jumping in to the rescue (usually Goku). In a way it sounds less like going from Shonen to Shoujo than going from DBZ as Goku to DBZ as Gohan.

And this might be my skepticism, but unless Liko (and/or Roy) is going to stick around as a protagonist for potentially more Generations (which is possible with the cross-gen and traveling focus of the show but also iffy with how heavily a Gen 9 element in Terapagos ties into her character), then they don't have as nearly as much time to work with as even just original run Ash through Kanto and maybe Johto, much less a long-game Shoujo format. At the very least the baby steps might need to be a bit more frequent, because it's starting to come across as formulaic again, but with the formula having them bailed out rather than finding a solution themselves. The Galarian Moltres fight was a better example because in a situation where Friede's battle prowess alone isn't enough to cover for them, Liko and Roy had contributions to make individually and that relied on the entire team, so it made them meaningful instead of an escort without suddenly accelerating their ability.

To go back to the Jaegen example, a major element of that in FE games is that the other units are still contributing even while the crutch character does the heavy lifting, so you can see their progression (in that case numerical stat line) slowly catch up to reach the point where they don't need to lean on them anymore. That approach is harder to translate outside an RPG system to a more nebulous feeling of feats in the narrative, and it's why very frequently you see media (anime or otherwise) kill or otherwise incapacitate the Mentor character to either demonstrate or force emotional/personal growth in their students when they can't rely on them anymore, even if their abilities have passed the point of needing them.
 
Is the anime even worth watching?
This show is much more plot driven than Ash's Pokemon anime was, but at the same time, it's still pokemon. It's a kids show so people should know what to expect.

A lot of people were always bored of the old Gym formula they had Ash do for 6 series in a row, so this is something completely different. The old shows formula started to wear thin as early as the Johto saga, as it became obvious the writers had to stretch things out with fillers to last till the new games came out each gen.
 
Y'know, I can't say I care much for this philosophy of 'the outcome of the battle wasn't important! You don't need to know who won!'. Just feels anti-climactic.

At least in the case of Ash's Battle Royal it did feel like it didn't matter too much, though still felt a bit lame, but this whole episode was about the Aliquis guy having a tantrum about constantly losing to Nemona. It feels narratively important to show growth if he lost again.
Guess I was too quick to criticize the ending of paldean Winds ep 2, they do reveal the outcome of the battle (verbally) in ep 3.

Ep 3 was all right, nice choice of Eri and Annihilape as the highlighted team Star squad. I imagined a deeper voice during my playthrough, but this voice is fine too.
 
I mean, he had one Pokemon remaining against half of Nemona's team, I assumed he wasn't fighting to win at this point but bc he loved battling with his partner at his side.

Nice focus on Team Star, although a thought just ocurred me: had the kid published his article about how Team Star aren't bullies, then the entire Starfall Street path would've been avoided.
 
I mean, he had one Pokemon remaining against half of Nemona's team, I assumed he wasn't fighting to win at this point but bc he loved battling with his partner at his side.

Nice focus on Team Star, although a thought just occurred me: had the kid published his article about how Team Star aren't bullies, then the entire Starfall Street path would've been avoided.
This is making me think, how much detail does the story give to Team Star's reputation amongst the school in particular? We see obvious evidence that a lot of students think highly of at least some members, with or without being recruits themselves. Starfall Street frames the conflict more around the students being at risk of expulsion for truancy and getting context behind the wrongs of the original Operation Star incident (for Clavell's part). The most I can think we see is Nemona regarding the Team Star recruiters as a nuisance when they approach you and Penny, but she doesn't really take it too seriously as the Student Council President and instead elects to make them your Terastal practice dummies.

I don't know that a flattering article would actually stop the Starfall Street plot (affect/change the in-story context for sure) since the thing that brings Team Star back to the Academy is the investigation cluing Clavell into the cover-up and trying to restore their trust in the school system that failed them before moreso than Public Opinion around them.
 
Randomly watching through XY and, not having seen the new protagonists at all, I really think they could have stepped up into Bonnie’s era. Likeable, already has her own spark mouse, adventurous spirit, not yet locked into the gym format that Ash was so content was wide open. The closest to having a second protagonist since Dawn, really, and she doesn’t really even have any Pokémon of her own.
 
Addendum to the previous- Professor Sycamore is ass. Dude is “researching” Mega Evolution like it’s this wholly unknown phenomenon, but we routinely see experts with generations of passed down lore. Also, it took Diantha all of three seconds to recognize the involvement of Zygarde from a vision while the actual Pokémon prof with a hands on study completely draws a blank. Like, wtf is he actually researching?
 
Addendum to the previous- Professor Sycamore is ass. Dude is “researching” Mega Evolution like it’s this wholly unknown phenomenon, but we routinely see experts with generations of passed down lore. Also, it took Diantha all of three seconds to recognize the involvement of Zygarde from a vision while the actual Pokémon prof with a hands on study completely draws a blank. Like, wtf is he actually researching?
It's hard to resist turning this thread into "(Little) Things that annoy you about Pokémon 2.0", because Pr. Sycamore is also not good at researching Bond Phenomenon.
We also got very, veeeery little details on Bond Phenomenon in the anime. Better than the :absol:-utely nothing we got on other media like the games, but still, very little. One can argue Mega Evolution doesn't fare better thanks to the anime skipping AZ and his WMD, but I am still to this day mad at the lack of information we got on the Bond Phenomenon.
We know how it works: it requires trust between the Pokémon and the Trainer, the Trainer feels pain and can pass out.
There's also historical evidence that a ninja clan used to worship a Greninja with this Ability a long time ago.
But there are also a lot of unknown factors. How did :greninja:Greninja first gain this Ability? Is it related to Mega Evolution? Can :froakie:Froakie and :frogadier:Frogadier use Bond Phenomenon?
And the part that bothers me to this day... Why don't we know any other affected Pokémon, other than Greninja!?:greninja-ash:
I don't mind Greninja. I can even accept Ash-Greninja. And it's a fan-favorite Pokémon, so I understand giving it a dope-ass super form.
But Greninja being the ONLY Pokémon known to use this phenomenon in ANY Pokémon media infuriates me. At least Ultra Burst and Eternamax have the excuse of being exclusive to a Legendary Pokémon filled with power. Greninja is a Starter Pokémon, in a group of three. Why not give this power to Delphox and Chesnaught as well at the very least?
On a different note, I'm pretty sure not every Mega Evolution is depicted in the anime and that makes me sad.
 

Yung Dramps

awesome gaming
Revised version of a thesis I presented in a thread a couple years(?) back: The anime staff wanted to give Ash a Mega Evolution, but there were no Kalos Megas aside from Diancie and prior to Journeys they made a point of giving Ash only new Pokemon from whatever region he was in besides Pikachu so they were "forced" to come up with a new form for one of his guys and Greninja was the most special of the lot due to being a starter so they went with it. I don't need in-depth insider info to figure that if Mega Greninja existed they would've just gone with that and called it a day
 
iirc in an interview they were like "hey can we have a super form for greninja" and then gamefreak was like "yeah sure" and designed ash-greninja from that.

There's no reason to make one for Delphox & Chesnaught, comparatively. Ignoring that Serena & Clemont didn't evolve theirs to that point during the series proper, they also weren't going up against opponents in the same way Ash was (& obviously Ash is going to get preferential treatment). I suppose they could have given it to Sawyer but the Sceptile made a good tie in anyway and Alain was already on the Mega Charizard train.


It's all pretty pragmatic
 
There's probably some sense of irony that Horizons isn't a Paldea series and you look at these shorts and wonder why they don't do a short 13-26 episode anime just covering the game.

Now that the anime has moved away from covering the games entirely for the most part and doing their own thing, I'm really surprised they don't do a shorter 26 ep anime just covering the story beats from the games. Imagine if Paldea Winds was a real series for example.
 

ScraftyIsTheBest

On to new Horizons!
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So,,,in other news for Horizons.

Dot Tinkatink.jpg

Nidothing Tinkatink.jpg


Dot has captured a Tinkatink!!! A fitting catch for her, and since Tinkaton is one of the most popular Gen 9 mons it was only natural that someone had to get a Tinkatink in the anime at some point.


In general after most of 2023 was super plot-heavy for Horizons, it seems we're slowing down and doing more typical Ash-era Pokemon of the day episodes and a capture episode mingled in throughout a good deal of this. Fuecoco and Hatenna learned new moves in the past few episodes, but other than that a lot of the recent episodes feel a lot more like the slice of life Ash fun episodes which is nice to have around, but even then meaningful development is happening for the kids.

I like how Liko, Roy, and Dot are now being given chances to really step into their own and do things themselves in these recent episodes, they're really being given chances to learn and grow and come into their own now.
 

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