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  • Accidental Aesop: Tobias uses legendary Pokémon against children easily half his age in Pokémon Leagues....much like what will likely happen to any child who's a fan of the anime and tries to battle the Periphery Demographic who dominant tourneys.
  • Accidental Innuendo: In "The Water Flowers of Cerulean City", the 7th episode of the original series, James says "It's times like these that make me want to go straight" after being zapped by Pikachu. He's referring to quitting his life of crime, however due to his Camp Straight personality, some fans see it in a different light.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Team Galactic were always villains in the games, but most of them actually meant well with their cause, the grunts were largely a bunch of idealistic young goofballs, and all of them except for Cyrus and Charon had shots at a Heel Face Turn. In the anime, they're portrayed as much more intimidating, heartless, and vicious than in the games, all working to destroy the existing world out of personal dissatisfaction. Cyrus even gets turned from an Affably Evil but deeply disturbed Knight Templar with a Messiah Complex into a vile, malicious, purely self-serving Complete Monster whose motivation is completely changed - he now just wants to wipe out the universe and kill everything in it for good so that he alone can have the new universe all to himself!
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Kenny losing the Sinnoh Grand Festival in the Appeals round counts for some... though this is possibly undone when he later pulls a cheap win in a battle against Ash.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Mars wasn't the most pleasant of people, her actions including the attempted blowing up of Iron Island for no reason besides her boss ordering it...and then she screams as Cyrus willingly erases himself from the universe and is completely silent and depressed as she, Saturn and Jupiter are arrested, looking completely unaware and uncaring of anything around her. You just gotta pity her there.
    • The effect is unintentionally lessened in the English dub, though, due to some...unconvincing acting from Lisa Ortiz.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Whether or not Misty's accquisition of Togepi ruined her feistiness or matured her into someone more nurturing depends on the viewer.
    • By that same token, was she really as good as she claimed or just couldn't get any action because it was Ash's quest?[1] (Or merely didn't want to get in his way? Note also that the only competitions she actually took part in while in the party were Girl Festivals and water-centric tournaments.[2] Also, see Deus Ex Machina below.)
      • Similarly, was Misty's resuming Gym Leader duties an actual improvement for her, or did it ultimately lead to a waste in her potential? Some have argued that it at least ensured she didn't end up stuck in Ash's shadow or make her as stale as Brock,[3] though others have pointed out that, thanks largely to Advance Generation's gross mishandling of the Hoenn Gym Leaders, and to a lesser extent Diamond and Pearl and Best Wishes' depiction of Gym Leaders, it instead came across as Misty's potential shrinking to Jessie, James and Meowth's level or even to her sisters' level, especially when her goal of Water Pokémon Master from what little was shown of it strongly implied that she needed to at least reach the Elite 4 level if not Champion level. Note that this was before her taking several levels in badass during the Kanto Reunion arc in Sun and Moon (and even there, the debate is still ongoing due to certain factors from the episode.[4]).
    • Ritchie, Expy and Gary Stu, or the physical representation of Ash's potential when not weighed down by his negative attributes?
    • Charizard, at first, sees Ash as unworthy to lend his strength...good enough. But was it because he's waiting for Ash to better himself as a trainer, or just being a plain old Jerkass Proud Warrior Race Mon?
    • Burgundy's interpretation of Cilan may not just be her imagination, as we see him in battle start toying with her needlessly and actually smiling in an sinister fashion.
    • Is there something about Reggie that makes Paul's Electabuzz afraid of him when the former debuted?
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Dawn's Piplup (but not the entire species). He's loved by the Japanese to the point it became a mascot, but it's hated in the West, due to many reasons.
  • And the Fandom Rejoiced: Upon learning that Iris is one of Unova's Gym Leaders and Gym Leader of Dragon-type Pokémon.
    • Also for the Best Wishes dub, they brought back the Who's That Pokémon? eyecatch. After a hiatus of seven years, no less!
      • An initial tiny gripe was that the new Pokémon didn't say their names like the ones in the original series did. No need to worry, though, as the problem was rectified and the voices were subsequently added in, almost immediately after the episode that Who's That Pokémon? had debuted with in Best Wishes.
    • For those in the fandom that were sick of Team Rocket's silly antics, their portrayal in Best Wishes has made them very happy.
    • And now, we have Best Wishes Season 2. Dawn and Cynthia return, and a new major Team Rocket plot begins revolving around Meloetta, who decides to accompany Ash. And the climax of said plot? ASH CONFRONTS GIOVANNI.
    • Sun & Moon's conclusion is also a notable example, as Ash actually wins a Game League for the first time since he started his journey,[5] and also actually KEEPS the win for once.[6]
  • Author's Saving Throw: The Kanto Reunion Arc was this on multiple levels:
    • Misty and Brock's return acted as a remedy for not only their being ignored since DP, but also their being excluded from Movie 20 barring a brief cameo in the end credits to that movie despite it being meant as a 20th anniversary celebration. Also to some level also acted as redemption for Misty in particular after her infamously being forced into a gym and solidified the path of redemption that XY started with its gym leaders.
    • Kukui deciding after watching Misty and Brock's matches acted as a remedy for not only Ash's infamous Kalos League loss, but also how they earlier implied that Ash would no longer be pursuing his Pokemon Master goal.
  • Awesome Ego: The GARY MOTHERFUCKING OAK meme exists for a reason.
  • Badass Decay: Ash's Buizel ended up noticeably less powerful than he was in his debut.
    • Turtwig. You know, the tiny turtle that, in his first major battle, he was able to beat a dinosaur that's more than four times his size? Just what did the writers do to him?
    • Bianca is also a noticeably weaker and less competent trainer in the anime than she was in the games, though the games treat her as less competent than she usually proves to be.
    • Some consider Ash to be a weaker and less mature trainer in Best Wishes series, especially after he beat Paul in Sinnoh League and took down two legendary Pokémon.
      • Granted, this is mostly only in the early episodes - as Best Wishes moves along, he reasserts himself (the Gym Battles with Elesa and Clay are excellent examples of this).
    • Team Rocket Took a Level In Badass during the Unova saga, culminating in them helping to thoroughly trounce Team Plasma. Upon leaving Unova, they reverted back to being the easily beaten Goldfish Poop Gang.
    • The Gym Leaders in Advanced Generation, and to a lesser extent DP and Best Wishes, also fell into this category. Although even in the Original Series the Gym Leaders weren't as powerful as the Elite 4, they were at least shown to be tough enough to be very difficult to beat, even requiring rematches, and in the case of Johto at least had Ash using veterans to offset the one-off wins. However, in AG, the gym leaders, with the exception of Brawley,[7] Roxanne[8], and to a lesser extent Norman[9], were largely shown to be wimps in battle, losing largely to explicit rookie Pokémon on Ash's team. DP was slightly better in that it showed the Sinnoh Gym Leaders to be a bit more competent in battle, although it came at the cost of making Ash and Pikachu looking incompetent in the process thanks to the infamous level resets[10]. In Unova, the Gym Leaders suffered a similar decrease in skills to AG, compounded by the infamous rewriting of Ash's character. It took until Kalos in XY to have the Gym Leaders come close to regaining their original level of badass. The AG example in particular was particularly infamous since, aside from it being the start of Ash's "fresh starts" where he has an entirely new team to train, it also occurred after Misty was forced to resume Gym Leader duties, which led to some worrying implications about Misty's future potential (see Alternate Character Interpretation for more details).
  • Base Breaker: Ash, the main character...is he The Hero or The Scrappy?
    • Paul also has a lot of haters, many of whom resent his Draco in Leather Pants status.
    • Also, Barry is either funny or annoying (he's a Base Breaker in the games too.)
    • Ash's female companions too (Misty, May, Dawn, Iris, and Serena.)
    • Tobias is seen as either a God Mode Sue, an amusing Troll, or a Badass all for using Legendary Pokémon in the Sinnoh League
    • Team Rocket. Better when they were goofy (pre and post-Best Wishes) or serious (Best Wishes)?
    • Cilan. Either he is a better character than Brock and his strong personality is refreshing or he's getting too much focus and has gotten as stale as Brock was as a result and is a Creator's Pet for those who find him and his antics "forced" or "overexposed."
    • Dawn's rivals, Zoey especially.
  • Broken Base: Very, and could apply to almost anything.
  • Canon Sue: Ritchie is a classic example.
    • Also Solidad from the Battle Frontier arc, who shows up out of nowhere at the Grand Festival, is an old friend of Brock's, is also friends with Drew and Harley (I repeat, HARLEY), ships May and Drew together, and goes on to win the whole Grand Festival (other Grand Festival winners, Robert and Zoey, at least had build-up.)
    • Cameron in the Unova saga is an Anti-Sue - he's mentally challenged, the farthest thing from perfect, and makes several dumb mistakes as a trainer that should severely cost him, yet the plot and the universe seems to bend over backwards in order to make things work out for him. He's late for the Junior Cup? At least he gets to meet Ash and friends! He thinks the Unova League is held in Johto rather than Unova? Ash and friends tell him the truth and stop him from boarding a flight out of the region! He has only seven gym badges and forgets that he needs eight to compete in the League? Ash helps him when his final badge at Humilau Gym! He waited too long to get himself registered for the League? Ash pleas with the officials to let him in, and they make an exception for him! He brought only five Pokemon to his 6-on-6 battle with Ash? Not only is he not flat out disqualified for that once it's made public, but his Riolu evolves into Lucario and it wins him the battle, knocking Ash out of the Unova League! Thankfully, Virgil beats him afterwards, but he's still overall a Too Dumb to Live character who was benefited from too many contrivances.
    • Ash himself falls into this at times, especially in the XY series.
  • Crazy Awesome: Harley. Law of Disproportionate Response. It only gets crazier.
    • Barry.
    • Pachirisu, full-throttle.
  • Creator's Pet: Dawn's Piplup, for its being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad. The fanbase doesn't hate all Piplups; they hate this one in particular.
    • It's English dub voice not helping matters - while Pochama sounds rather cute and might offset the annoyance, Piplup just makes it even more glaring.
  • Designated Villain: Ursula. Just look at how the girl performs as a coordinator and say that her cockiness isn't the least bit justified. But apparently she doesn't deserve to win or get far because she's a jerk to Dawn. Not to mention the fans who are baffled at how the anime seems to be trying to present her as worse than Paul, when Ursula is at least shown to care about her Pokémon.
    • Team Rocket has frequently been this trope. In some episodes they did absolutely nothing wrong at all and still got treated like "bad guys" by Ash and got blasted off in the end! With their more evil demeanor in Best Wishes, they finally avoid this.
  • Die for Our Ship: The number of death fics written about Misty's sisters is staggering. House fire is a popular method, conveniently taking the gym with it.
    • Every one of Ash's female traveling companions, past, present, and future, gets this.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Among the rivals, the antagonistic ones from Gary on down have all been this, but Paul's probably the biggest and worst case since it actually happens in canon a number of times!
  • Ear Worm: Here.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Ash or rather evil Ash who is popular enough to allow the writers to fool the fans in a trailer for a Pokémon movie. Also, several of his Pokémon has developed rather large Fandoms over the course of the series due to their sheer Badassery or Quirky Personalities. The most notable being Charizard, Heracross, Swellow, Sceptile and Staraptor. Even Ash's unofficial Pokémon, Haunter and Larvitar, have a place in fans' hearts. Also, the anime made Pikachu one. It was just another Pokémon before that.
    • Psyduck and Wobbuffet, two very similar, dopey Pokémon who just won't stay in ther Poké-balls.
    • Conway, an intended one-shot who was added to two other story arcs (the Pokémon Summer Academy and the Sinnoh League) due to fan popularity.
    • Some of the Characters of the Day get this as well. Gligarman (an obvious Batman and superhero parody) was popular enough to frequently get requested to return to the show, especially when Ash had a Gligar/Gliscor of his own.
    • Giselle, the Defrosting Ice Queen from an early season 1 episode, is rather popular as a One Episode Wonder among older Western fans. It also helps that she is remembered by fans for being the one girl that Ash was crushing on before the producers had officially decided that he would be a Chaste Hero for the rest of the series.
    • Harley, because he's such a Jerkass and yet so damn FUNNY at the same time.
    • Ursula, a one-shot rival coordinator who becomes a full-fledged rival for Dawn in the next season due to fan popularity for being a more antagonistic rival; separating her from Zoey, Kenny and Nando.
      • Zoey appears to still be Dawn's most popular rival overall, though.
    • Byron. Oh, dear god, Byron.
    • Ash's Gliscor
    • Croagunk. And Gible, for being a walking Crowning Moment of Funny.
    • Burgundy only appeared in one episode originally. Immediately after her design was shown, fanart exploded, and she became a Launcher of a Thousand Ships. Then during the Don Tournament arc, she was the only rival to have some actual Character Development (the others stayed by and large the same.)
    • Georgia, Iris' "Dragon Buster" rival, is well-liked for having a rounded character and Jerk with a Heart of Gold tendencies.
    • Amongst Ash's numerous rivals, Stephan has become one of these. Being less prominent than Trip or Bianca (among others), he nonetheless has a lively and likeable personality, as well as being a Badass battler from what we get to see of his skills. It also helps that he gets what is, hands down, the best battle in the entire Unova League.
    • The Club Tournament contestants - many don't even get any lines, but their character designs are regarded as among the best parts of those arcs (Antonio and Jimmy Ray/Watchog Guy especially). Some of these characters, like the aforementioned Antonio, return for the Unova League.
      • Edmund the "Rain Man", who's an (almost literal) One-Scene Wonder (he appears momentarily before battling Stephan, and disappears altogether afterwards).
    • On Ash's Unova team, there are three: Snivy, beloved for being an Action Girl Team Mom with a Sugar and Ice Personality; Krookodile, a Dark Is Not Evil Cowardly Lion who's also a powerful Boisterous Bruiser; and Palpitoad, the underused but strange and powerful trump card...especially Palpitoad. Just read the comments of fans, disappointed by his lack of screentime, miniscule development, and rare victories.
    • The Ducklett trio from an early Best Wishes episode, who caused bizarre, yet adorable chaos and trolled the characters several times. Ask any Pokémon forum about them, and you'll see they're almost universally loved.
    • Colress of Team Plasma, who completely stole the show in an arc named after a different character!
    • The Pokémon movies created several Ensemble Darkhorses; the films contributing greatly to the popularity of characters like Mewtwo, Latias, Lucario, Darkrai, Zoroark, Kyruem and Fullmetal Swordsman Keldeo.
    • Despite only appearing in one game and a single episode, Lucy the Frontier Brain is very popular and one of the main characters shipped with Brock.
    • Similar to the above Lucy example, several girls are this for shippings with Ash despite not being one of his primary traveling companions.
      • Melody from Pokemon 2000 for cheek kissing Ash.
      • Bianca from Pokemon Heroes for, again, cheek kissing Ash at the end of the movie. (Though, if this was actually Latias has always been up for debate)
      • Frontier Brain, Anabel, maintains a fanbase for Ability Shipping.
      • Angie, a tomboy from the Sinnoh Summer Academy arc for Morpheus Shipping.
    • Misty and Brock after their removal really became massive Ensemble Darkhorses similar to King K. Rool in Donkey Kong Country after Donkey Kong Returns removed the Kremlings. It says a lot when both characters, despite being gone for a very long time, managed to rank among the top three alongside Serena from XY regarding who people wanted most to return in the leadup to Movie 20, and said poll was given not just to older fans, but even younger fans. In Brock's case, he actually won top place, and Misty was narrowly beaten out by Serena (who at that point had been the most recent girl protagonist to depart). Apparently said popularity was big enough that they actually managed to return for Sun and Moon twice, with the narrator (and, in the case of the Japanese version, Misty herself) even hinting at a possible third return.
  • Epileptic Trees: A very large number of people think Giovanni is Ash's father. This was never even hinted at in the show proper.
    • In relation to the games, a common theory is that Cilan and his brothers are the Shadow Triad of Team Plasma.
  • Everything Is Racist: You can put the pieces together yourself here. Iris looks dark skinned, the generation colors are Black and White, and most of the fan-base is made up of immature teens.
    • In particular, /vp/ is dropping the N-bomb left and right in regards to her announcement.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Jessie and James (back when they could actually be considered competent anyways), Cassidy, Butch, Domino, Attila, Hun, Shelly, Tabitha, Arhcie, Maxie, Harley, Paul, Hunter J, Team Galactic's Saturn, Mars and Jupiter, Pierce, Ghetsis, Colress, Brad and Angie, and then some.
    • Jessie especially, being considered both more evil than James and a classic case of Ms. Fanservice.
  • First Installment Wins: The best remembered season is the one with the best remembered theme song.
  • Foe Yay: Any set of rivals is probably going to have this.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Charmeleon/Charizard's stubbornness, which can be answered with this simple question: when he was still a Charmander, WHO does he have as the closest thing to a role model again [11]?
    • One of these pictures certainly gives credence to the whole "takes after their trainer" thing...
      • Add to that how his former trainer, Damian, treated him. Charmeleon/Charizard probably felt that since he'd evolved he'd be exploited for his strength, and couple that with how spoiled he was under Ash comparatively he must have developed a skewed sense of priorities. There are careful hints that even during his Delinquent period, he wasn't totally heartless.
    • Gary's starter was Squirtle, which evolved all the way to Blastoise. Ash, who had possession of all three Kanto starters, only had one of them, Charmander, evolve, into Charizard. And it's all because the anime is actually following another tradition in the games. [12] It was inevitable what happened when Ash and Gary finally face each other in the Johto League.
      • It's probable that this was how their battle would've gone in at the Indigo Plateau back when the show had a mere 80-episode run planned. Not to mention, Ash's first choice of starter was Squirtle - Gary having a Blastoise was planned from the very beginning!
      • On a similar note, in Best Wishes, Oshawott is the first of the Unova starters Ash catches, and the only one of his that came from Professor Juniper like in the games. Trip, who has similar overconfidence issues to Cheren, chooses Snivy, just like Cheren would if the player chooses Oshawott. Meanwhile, Bianca has a Pignite, the evolved form of Tepig, who she would choose if the player chooses Oshawott.
      • Just for completion's sake, come Sinnoh saga May's Bulbasaur has evolved all the way to a Venusaur, marking the very first time the main characters have a set of fully evolved regional starters.
    • Movie-related example. When Mewtwo makes his formal introduction to the trainers after removing Nurse Joy from his control, Misty angrily calls Mewtwo a bully. This actually fits Mewtwo pretty well psychologically at that point, especially in the Japanese version, since a key trait of bullies is that they are inherently insecure of their abilities (the insecurity aspects were downplayed considerably in the initial English dub).
  • Fridge Horror: Look at some of the articles on this very page, and what do you get? A very insane idea: the "projection" of Darkrai gets to battle the Sinnoh Elite Four, and, since he seems to be so unstoppable, that would mean that he would beat Cynthia, paving his way to become the highest-ranking trainer in Sinnoh. Crazy, but other people have already thought the bit parts up.
    • In fairness, Tobias didn't seem like a bad sort - he outright thanks Ash for giving him a good battle after Ash takes out the two Legendaries he sent out. Not that the fanbase care...
  • Fridge Logic: Has its own page.
  • Gateway Series: A fair few anime fans started with this in their youth.
  • Hatedom / Hate Dumb: The Best Wishes series has a HUGE one. Despite good, steady ratings up to the Unova League and general positive reception from most viewers up to that point too, a large number of angry fans in the Periphery Demographic insist that the whole series is just a Dork Age that nobody likes and nobody should like solely because it changed the formula up, did new things with the show, and (the biggest sin of all) reset Ash as a trainer. Just see TV Tropes' version of this page for a good example of the hatemongering this series gets.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: "Volcanic Panic" has Ash and co. try to stop the eruption of Cinnabar Island's volcano. One year in real life later...[13]
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: goes hand in hand with the above: the gang's first impression of the eponymous Pokémon in the episode "Charmander the Stray Pokémon"? "I think that this Charmander has an attitude problem." Hilarious, because that very Charmander would later turn out to be the gentlest of Ash's starter Pokémon...and harsh, because, well, who else would it evolve into 32 episodes later?
    • In an early episode, Ash asks Brock what he knows about the local gym leaders, as he wants to be prepared. He specifically says to succeed, one must "know yourself, and know your adversary!". Brock is impressed, before Ash notes he "got that one from Dexter". He's referring to his Pokédex, but still, it describes that character's er, "work" philosophy quite accurately.
    • Anime!Lorelei only appeared during the Orange Islands saga. Come FRLG, we later learn Game!Lorelei's home is in the Sevii Islands. Coincidence?
    • In "The Ties that Bind", the announcer proclaims that Heracross' victory over Magmar was contributed to his "Guts". When game abilities are introduced, what would be one of Heracross' in-game abilities again?
    • "Why? Wynaut?": the one time Ash had a justifiable means of jumping a hundred feet through the air, Team Rocket think it's impossible. What about their opinions on the other times it's happened?
    • Wobbuffet really is the strongest member of Team Rocket, but Jessie just can't use him properly. It may be idiocy on her part, but, until Generation IV, the physical/special mechanics weren't exactly precise...
    • The Team Shot at the end of the Best Wishes OP. Oshawott the Attention Whore is standing right behind Pikachu.
    • In "A Chansey Operation" back during Season 1, the doctor recommends Ash and his friends could become competent doctors (being impressed by their handling of the sick Pokémon while he was out), but they choose to keep following their respective dreams. Come the end of DP, Brock decides to become a Pokémon Doctor.
    • All that talk about Brock being a Casanova Wannabe...when HG/SS updated his look to make him a true Bishonen.
    • An earlier episode had Ash, Brock, and Character of the Day Suzy denouncing the idea of making Pokemon look flashy by dressing them up with make-up and accessories, saying that it diminished their inner beauty. Misty and Team Rocket went against this view, and were made to look wrong for it. Come Generation IV and we have Super Contests, which partly depend on picking out accessories in order to garner points, and Dress-Up Rooms, which let the player go wild with accessories and backgrounds that sometimes may move and be flashy. This is taken even further in Generation V, where the Pokemon Musicals rely solely on the types of accessories that Pokemon can wear in order to make them stand out from the rest of the performers, with Trainers only able to decide to toss away an accessory twice during the entire musical number. Then again, Suzy's reappearance in Johto did say that making Pokemon look outwardly beautiful and fashionable is okay so long as the Pokemon consents to it and the human doesn't forget about the Pokemon's inner worth.
    • A Dragon Ball related example occurs with the first episode. When Gary and Ash first meet on-screen, Gary pretty much taunts Ash about being late to get his starter. Years earlier, there was a character named Maron who makes similar taunting about Chi-Chi not being invited to Kame Island for a party. This is especially hilarious going by the Japanese version for both, as the two characters are voiced by the same voice actress.
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: Pick any two characters who have ever appeared on screen together or have anything at all in common. There is a ___Shipping name for them. The more complete lists have thousands of entries.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • Mention any shipping with Ash outside the designated forum (thread/topic/etc.). Your computer will be nice and toasty in minutes.
      • On a more specific level, who was the better traveling partner, Misty, May, Dawn, Iris or Serena?
    • Which line up of Ash's is the strongest?
    • The Kalos League results were a particularly infamous instance of this, as it had been heavily foreshadowed, right up to the actual title of the conclusion, that Ash would actually win the league, yet Alain ended up beating him instead. This resulted in a massive firestorm of complaints on the internet over Ash's loss in the league. It also didn't help that at the time the Kalos League was occurring, some details about the then-recent Pokemon games, Sun & Moon, were unveiled that revealed that, among other things, there were not going to be any Gym Leaders, and it being left vague as to whether there was even going to be a Pokemon League, meaning they essentially screwed Ash's win in more ways than one.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks: Not much has actually changed in the show's 15+ year run. Every episode hits the same beats as all the others, and the plot resolutions are very predictable. Even the deviations from the norm (like Gym Leader battles) have their own norm that rarely, if ever, is broken. The lack on any overarching plot does not help at all (To Be A Master does not count as a plot when the main character is no closer to his goals than when he started).
    • That being said, the show doesn't actually always SUCK per say, it just gets really boring and predictable in its need to maintain the Status Quo.
    • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The flipside opinion sprung up when Best Wishes made several big changes.
  • Jerk Stu: Paul. Your first clue was when he bounced down a 400-foot cliff like a damn ninja while Ash just plummets to his amusing injury. Your second clue is that in three or so seasons, his only defeats involved three legendaries and a Garchomp. And Ash at the last minute, but even that barely phased him like one would realistically expect it to.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Team Rocket, as in, Jessie James and Meowth, has a bit of this. Yes, they're outlaws who break the law and are borderline terrorists, but on the other hand, they came from very broken lives, with Jessie thanks to her mom taking extended leaves specifically to hunt down rare Pokémon in a misguided attempt at helping her daughter out financially has been in-and-out of foster homes, with it also being implied she had a rough childhood during her foster care such as having genuinely terrible Kids Day celebrations; James, while having a bit more of a stable upbringing due to his former Blue Blood status, was a runaway due to being arranged to marry a dominatrix,[15] with his parents evidently not caring that she's a horrible fit for him; and Meowth grew up as a literal street urchin on the streets of Horrywood, literally had to learn human traits and also how to walk, all to impress a snobbish Meowth, only for her to reject him... twice, which ultimately spurned him to become a Team Rocket member.
    • On the topic of main protagonists, Misty also qualifies pre-character development. She's a bit of a tsundere, and was initially very cold towards Ash due to him stealing and (albeit by accident) wrecking her bike. That being said, however, she also came from a broken family, where her sisters often treated her like the runt of the litter, and much of her desire to become a Water Pokémon Master is ultimately rooted in her desire to prove herself to her sisters. It's also implied that her own parents didn't care much for her, either, as they gave her hand-me-downs of various girls day dolls (which in the Japanese version speaks a LOT on how little they thought of her, due to how new sets of dolls in Japan are symbolic of having high hopes for daughters). She arguably had it even WORSE in the novelization, where her parents were implied to have up and out abandoned her and her sisters due to the stressful and unforgiving obligations of running a gym taking their toll on them.
    • Ash's Charizard, pre-Orange Islands, also had a bit of this as well. He was very disobedient towards Ash, so much so that not even the Earth Badge could tame him effectively. However, as noted in Fridge Brilliance, it's heavily implied that this was ultimately the result of Damian's more negative influence on him.
  • Lady Mondegreen: In the English dub, Episode 4 is infamous for one of Ash's lines being misheard as "Take back that novice crap!"
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Non-deadly example: Practically once every year during the Diamond and Pearl seasons, there was an episode wherein Team Rocket would either break up or actually quit following Ash & Pikachu to do something legit. It never sticks.
    They did it again in Best Wishes, culminating with Meowth joining Ash's team for a few episodes! But once again...
  • Magnificent Bastard: Giovanni, boss of Team Rocket. He's managed to keep his organization up and running for fifteen years of this show's history and counting, with only a few setbacks and fewer defeats.
    • Also Team Galactic's boss Cyrus in Diamond and Pearl, and Team Plasma's "boss" Dr. Colress in Best Wishes.
    • Dr. Zager, Jessie, James, and especially Meowth put an effort into being this trope in their Nimbasa Subway mission in Best Wishes, which was a very well put-together plan that only fell apart because of slight oversights, our heroes persisting, and Meowth deciding to be a Smug Snake by mishandling his captive Pokémon.
  • Memetic Molester: Muk and Heracross, and we love them for it.
  • Memetic Mutation: Chock full of em.
  • Memetic Sex Goddess: One-shot character from Episode 9, Giselle, is said to be radiantly beautiful not only by herself but by Ash, Brock, and James all in the same episode. The former's attraction to her is particularly famous, and she's now known among fans as the only girl Ash was ever straight for was ever smitten by, 'cause she's just that hot.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Paul, though arguably, the way he's written encourages this.
    • Similarly, Conway, who was intended to be a case of This Loser Is You. But again, it's rather botched in writing: if Conway's creepy attitude toward Dawn is meant to be bad and thus fans like him are bad too, then why does the anime staff go out of there way to show Dawn off?
  • Misblamed: Porygon and its derivative evolutionary line was barred from appearing in the anime due to the events of Electric Soldier Porygon, even though it had absolutely nothing to do with the seizures and if anything Pikachu did.
    • On a similar note, several fans blamed Togepi for giving Misty a more motherly demeanor and ruining her character as someone with a hair trigger temper. This is despite the fact that Misty already showed motherly tendencies since well before Togepi's egg was even discovered, let alone before it hatched and imprinted onto her.[16]
  • Moral Event Horizon: Paul's treatment of Chimchar, especially in the Tag Tournament arc.
    • Pokémon Hunter J is always a Complete Monster in all of her appearances, but in the "Pokémon Ranger and the Kidnapped Riolu" two-parter she really shows her cruelty when - besides her pursuit of the titular Riolu - she tries to kill Ash several times. First she orders her Salamence to burn the surrounding forest and fire Hyper Beam point blank; then she has her Drapion attempt to crush him (leading to one of the few times Ash ever directly attacks a Pokémon); and finally, she ejects him from her ship at great height. She also says that she wanted to punish Ash personally and took pleasure in trying to kill him and everytime she attacks Ash she is shown with a Slasher Smile.
    • Team Galactic's (and Cyrus' in particular) comes when Cyrus ordering Mars to blow up Iron Island (full of people and Pokemon) after Team Galactic have finished scanning Mt. Coronet. And he sported a Slasher Smile when he gave that order. And the reason behind this order? Just to make a statement about Team Galactic and the "new world". The guy's an Omnicidal Maniac par excellence, after all. Cyrus' plan to destroy the entire universe and create a new world in his image qualifies too, of course.
    • Damian, Charmander's former trainer, was on the brink when he first abandoned Charmander, but he soared right over the line when he refused to come back for it once it started raining -not only would Charmander not move from its rock despite the threat of death if its flame went out, Damian knew this once Brock told him yet still didn't care...his alternate counterparts in Pokemon Yellow and The Electric Tale of Pikachu subvert this, since in both he's shown to be a poor trainer for some reason or other, but still cares for Charmander's well-being.
    • In the eyes of Pikachu, Team Rocket's Meowth crossed this when it is revealed that Meowth lied about being fired from Team Rocket and joined Ash and his friends, just so he, Jessie and James could steal their Pokemon. Pikachu was absolutely furious and didn't forgive Meowth after this and now vows revenge against Meowth for breaking his trust. However, this is actually an extreme Kick the Dog moment for Meowth, and he is portrayed as a funny or sympathetic character in other episodes and has a few Even Evil Has Standards moments; also, from episode 12 of season 1, we see that Meowth is capable of killing (as demonstrated when he interprets a remark by the Squirtle Squad, who didn't join up with him to be hired killers, as a death threat to Misty) but didn't follow through with any of his threats because he's a Noble Demon.
    • Similarly to Damian, whom he's an Expy of, Shamus, the former trainer of Ash's Tepig, already had a huge Kick the Dog to his name when he abandoned Tepig in Accumula Town by tying it to a post, but went over the Moral Event Horizon when we learn that when he did so, he actually acted remorseful for having to do it and told Tepig that it was for the best, making Tepig think that he still loved him...except that when he was far enough away, he smirked and laughed about being free of his useless pokemon! He was just pretending to feel sad so that Tepig wouldn't follow him. And he gloats about this to Tepig during his and Ash's battle, painfully shattering Tepig's view of him (and making The Woobie of BW tear up painfully). Any viewer with a shred of a heart was thus very pleased when Tepig evolved into Pignite, took out both Shamus's fighters down and roasted Shamus's face at the end, giving his offer to rejoin his team again a MASSIVE "Screw you, asshole!"
    • If Team Plasma's lord Ghetsis wasn't already on the other side of this after raising N, Anthea, and Concordia just to suit his selfish agenda and lying to them about Team Plasma's true purpose, then he certainly crossed the line when he ordered the mind controlled Reshiram to attack and possibly kill everyone at the White Ruins with Fusion Flare attacks, including his own minions! Team Rocket even makes note of this, seeing that this Bad Boss makes Giovanni look like much better in comparison.
  • Never Live It Down: There's a reason why Porygon, a.k.a. 'The Seizure Pokémon', is never seen in the anime anymore and its evolutions are never seen in the anime, period.
    • Even though it was Pikachu that actually caused the seizures in the Porygon episode.
    • Also, the Best Wishes series will always bear the stain of having the heavily hyped "Team Rocket vs. Team Plasma" two-parter that was meant to air in 2011 pulled from airing.
    • In-Universe example: Kenny never lets Dawn forget how she acquired her nickname.
  • Poison Oak Epileptic Trees: A more...unsavory theory or two pertaining to Ash's father crops up every once in a while.
    • The Ash in a Coma theory.
  • Possession Sue: If Misty's in a fanfic, she's probably one of these.
    • Either that, or the opposite, though mercifully some fans can find a middle ground between the two.
    • Ash tends to be this for the male viewers.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Misty's usually the Fan Dumb's weapon of choice in this one...as well as a target. Developing out of her over-aggressive attitude early in the series has led to cries, while her original is turned against the more feminine May and Dawn. To her credit, when it looks like she's softening up too much (as seen when she's briefly put in Damsel in Distress territory in episode 12), she actually volunteers to help her friends out (e.g. when she volunteered to pick up the Super Potion herself after Meowth threatened her).
    • Some fans of May and Dawn hold the reverse opinion for Iris since she's not a coordinator. In this case, Real Women Always Wear Dresses.
  • Recycled Script: Some plots in the Diamond and Pearl saga mirror those during Kanto and Johto, though this was done purposely in order to inform newer viewers of older plots...it is a Long Runner after all.
    • The problem is that, in Japan, for some reason the first few seasons haven't had a home video distribution. The reuse of old plots is supposed to, at least in theory, remedy this to a certain extent.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Tracey. Also, all the female companions past Misty will be this for some: May for replacing Misty, Dawn for replacing May, Iris for replacing Dawn, or Serena for replacing Iris.
    • Also, among Paul's fanbase, Trip is this. No matter what he does or how his character evolves, he'll never be a good rival or interesting character in these fans' eyes because he's not Paul.
  • Rescued From the Scrappy Heap: The Johto saga acted as this for the characters Whitney and Clair. In the games, they had a hatedom due to their very unprofessional attitudes (in Whitney's case, it was her whining and crying when she lost and forgetting to hand you the badge; in Clair's case, it was forcing the main character to do a dummy errand to "earn" the badge out of spite to being lost). This element was removed from their anime characterizations (with Whitney in particular actually beating Ash the first time around via Miltank and being a more graceful loser overall when he beats her in a rematch, and in Clair's case, when Ash beat her with Charizard, she freely hands Ash the badge with no additional tasks needed.).
  • The Scrappy: Quite a few. See the Scrappy anime page for details.
  • Seasonal Rot: Thank you for all that tremendous Arc Fatigue, Johto and Sinnoh. Sure, Ash beat his rivals in the end, but did we need to take 150+ episodes to get there? Even the people who liked these arcs will admit to tiring out by the end.
    • Also Best Wishes Season 2 was already showing signs of this (with the exceptions of the Meloetta/Operation Tempest arc and "Episode N", though even the latter seemed too short and underwhelming for most fans' liking, being particularly problematic in its first half) with the widely disliked tournament arcs featured, but what killed it was the final stretch, "Decolore Adventures", a filler arc where Ash and his companions leave Unova and spend 18 episodes island hopping before reaching Kanto. Literally nothing of relevance happened during this period, as it was all an excuse to pad the series out until XY was ready to be released.
      • The XY series itself is already looking to be an example of this. Among common complaints are that there's no real momentum or reason for any of the main characters to be doing anything, there are no rivals, villains, or competitions present, the formula for disposable filler episodes has come back in full force, Ash is written as a Boring Invincible Hero as compensation for his Badass Decay in the previous series, Team Rocket acts (and even looks) like caricatures of their former selves, and the main female companion brings nothing but a one-sided Romantic Plot Tumor that goes nowhere to the table. Also, the opening is annoying, particularly the dubbed one being an uninspired remake of the best-remembered original theme song. The fact that Ash ends up losing the Kalos League despite being heavily implied to actually win it early on made it even worse.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: The History of Pokemon Shipping. For those who don't feel like clicking on an outbound link, it reads like the Wikipedia article for World War II.
  • "Stop Having Fun!" Guys: Paul, who was created as a Take That toward those types of players, but (thanks in due part to the head writer's apparent favoritism toward him), he developed a Misaimed Fandom.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The anime has several moments of this. Specially in the scenes when the Pokémon start "talking" to each other. Also, alot of Dawn and Piplup's moments together.
  • Straw Man Has a Point: The doctor in "A Chansey Operation" protests that his hospital is for humans and he isn't interested in helping Pokemon. Admittedly his casual attitude is cruel but he's absolutely right. He is suddenly being asked to treat a large variety of species with probably little knowledge about their reactions to certain medicines or proper temperatures, if he has to do a major operation there is no guarantee that he would have the faintest idea which major organs do what and a large number of the Pokemon are very dangerous and not in control. At one point Ash has to battle a Dodrio which the doctor would have been incapable of doing if Ash weren't there. If anything he's being more responsible than the trio or Nurse Joy. She never seemed to consider just using the clearly established Pokemon teleportation technology to send them to another Pokemon center.
  • Tear Jerker: Bye, Bye, Butterfree
    • Jessie and James having to set Arbok, Weezing and Dustox free, and the former's memories of a certain Blissey. Also, James is forced to leave to a sickly Chimecho behind with an old couple from his childhood, followed by giving his Cacnea to Gardenia because he knows she'll be able to help it grow much better than he ever could...
    • Go West, Young Meowth
    • Pikachu's Goodbye
    • Do I Hear a Ralts is a fan favorite, even among a lot of Max haters.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: At the end of one episode, Ash is transformed into a Pikachu. How long does this last, mind you? Five Minutes. About two and a half at the end of said episode, and then another two and a half at the beginning of the next episode. And of course, it's Never spoken of again.
    • Haunter Vs. Kadabra"; all that build up to an epic rematch against Sabrina...and yet Kadabra is defeated by laughing too hard.
    • Depending on who you ask, the portrayal of the regional Evil Teams in the anime deviating greatly from their game counter-parts can come off very disappointing. The main complaint being that they all suffer from anti-climactic endings (as described on the main page). In addition:
      • Team Rocket never got to do some of the bigger operations they pulled off in the games such as taking over Silph Co. or the Goldenrod City radio tower, and outside the Rocket Trio, the team's appearances, as a whole, were incredibly limited all throughout the Kanto and Johto journeys.
      • Team Aqua and Magma were reduced to one-and-done episodes with no ongoing story aside from their needlessly vague goals and ended with a two-part finale that came completely out of nowhere.
      • Team Galactic's continuous Myth Arc was too few for an era that many claimed to have suffered greatly from Arc Fatigue.
      • Team Plasma was left completely out of the picture until finally getting an arc dedicated to them AFTER Ash had participated in the Unova League, and completely missing out on the original Team Plasma led by N before he pulled a Heel-Face Turn.
    • The GS Ball being left to rot at Kurt's house will never leave the minds of some fans due to how important the quest to open the ball seemed at the time. It WAS suppose to contain Celebi before the Pokémon was instead used for the next movie.
      • Speaking of Kurt; some often wonder what ever happened to Brock's Heavy Ball and Ash and Misty's Fast Balls which dropped off the face of the planet once the trio left Azalea Town.
    • The start of Unova with Team Rocket's ongoing side-arc with the Meteonite is for some fans due to the indefinite postponement of its Team Rocket vs Team Plasma finale, which was set to air moments after an earthquake, tsunami, and radiation disaster had devastated Japan in real-life and left the ongoing plot literally unfinished.
    • In the games, there was the Pokemon World Conference, which allowed the player to fight ALL the gym leaders, elite four members, and champions of all regions at that point. Such could have been used as an easy way to bring not only Misty back, but nearly ALL of Ash's former traveling companions due to most of them except for Dawn having some connection to a Gym Leader[17], and even give some much needed closure to Misty's Water Pokemon Master goal. Instead, it got skipped in the anime.
    • Sun & Moon had a bit of this as well. Due to the games revealing that the player can actually create their own Pokemon League, meaning the anime could have had Ash go over to help set up the league either due to winning Kalos, or at least as thanks for stopping Team Flare's rampage. However, he instead ends up just going to school there, and early promotional materials even implied that he was giving up his Pokemon Master goal in favor of "graduating like never before."
  • Unfortunate Implications: A 2008 interview with Water Pokémon Master had Masamitsu Hidaka inferring that he generally replaces the girls in order to "bring more eyecandy" for the boys, as well as specifically citing them being in swimsuits as being one aspect of it. Considering the girls that were being used at the time, May and Dawn, were explicitly 10 years old, it carries a lot of unnerving hints that they're effectively peddling child porn to kids, which some fans even expressed outrage at. Not helping matters is May and Dawn's problematic designs.[18]
    • Speaking of May and Dawn, one can't help that the Pokémon Contest sideplot for AG and DP that they adhered to carries far too many similarities to real world fashion modeling businesses, which leads to some Fridge Horror elements when one remembers some of the more infamous elements of the fashion industry such as being pumped full drugs, thrown out at age 25, and at times developing anorexia.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: According to the Kids' WB! Kooky Karolfest, the recurring Jigglypuff is a male.
  • Wangst: Can happen a lot when a character loses an important battle or competition. Ash and Dawn are frequent offenders.
  • What an Idiot!: Paul during the three-part Enemy Mine tourney plot: "Even though I just had all of my other Pokémon beat down on Chimchar and Nurse Joy herself told me he would be far too injured to participate in the big tournament match tomorrow, screw that! Chimchar, stand by for battle!"
    • Rage Quit/Moral Event Horizon: "You pathetic little...I command you to attack and you just sat there?![19] What the hell's wrong with you?! Pack your bags, you miserable monkey. I'm gone, and so are you. Enjoy your two-on-one, loser!"
  • Wild Mass Guessing: Many people thought Tobias' second Pokémon (if it appeared at all) would be a fully evolved starter from Unova (like seeing Blaziken in the Johto League) or Entei and/or Lucario, both of whom appeared in The Greatest - Everyday! fighting Ash's Pokémon along with Darkrai. Turns out to be Latios instead.
    • There also existed theories about Tobias being a projection of Darkrai.
  • The Woobie: Sometimes Dawn, sometimes Ash, sometimes May and/or Max, and sometimes the Team Rocket trio, especially James. And on the Pokémon side of things, Chimchar.
    • After the revelation that they're simply punch clock villains in "Island of the Giant Pokémon", it's impossible not to feel sorry for poor Arbok and Weezing. After getting curb stomped by the heroes every single episode, you'd think that they would run away from Team Rocket just to escape the daily pain. But no- they keep on because they care about their trainers. And their final appearance is a testament to how Jessie and James feel the same way.
  • Woolseyism: Naturally quite a few, particularly the puns which can/can't be translated. One worthy of note, however, is that Brock's Sudowoodo's use of "Take Down" in the original Japanese - which Sudowoodo cannot legitimately learn in the games - was changed in the English dub to "Double Edge", a move with similar properties which Sudowoodo can use...similarly, in the episode where Ash challenged Roxanne's Gym, her Nosepass apparently used "Hyper Beam" twice in the Japanese version (during Ash's episode battling her) - but given the electric-based properties of the attack (which was actually plot-relevant), the dub changed these two instances to "Thunder Wave" and "Zap Cannon" respectively, which actually makes more sense (Zap Cannon is probably what the attack was meant to be, anyway).
    • Hikari/Dawn's Embarrassing Nickname, "Pikari"/"Dee-Dee", is a particularly clever one, which makes you wonder if PUSA had planned it ahead. To elaborate, Dawn's nickname is treated as a Noodle Incident until the last DP Season, where its origins are revealed to be from Dawn having been shocked by a Plusle and Minun when she was little - her friend Kenny partially traumatised her at the time by calling her "Pikari" (in reference to pikapika, the sound an electric sparkle makes). Since the dub changed her name, the nickname becomes Dee-Dee - which is short for "Diamond Dandruff", a rather suitable nickname for the scenario.
    • While being a "Pokemon Sommelier" fits for Cilan "tasting" the compatibility between Pokemon and trainers, "Pokemon Connoisseur" works much better when it comes to Cilan's various hobbies when he declares himself a "--- Connoisseur", seeing as a connoisseur is another term for an enthusiast.
  1. The three tropes previously potholed form their own ACI.
  2. Though Ash did participate in several of the latter.
  3. despite the fact that unlike Brock's breeder goal, she had an actual active goal
  4. For starters, although Misty did genuinely take several levels in badass, to the extent that it was explicitly mentioned that Ash was the first to ever beat Misty with her Mega Gyarados, or bypass her strategy involving it, for that matter, at the same time it was shown that Brock, who had similarly taken enough levels of badass to be effectively redeemed of his mishandling in both AG and DP, and to a lesser extent Johto, had overall done a far better performance than her, with it being repeatedly stressed in the episode that he was no longer a Gym Leader.
  5. Technically second if one counts the Orange Islands.
  6. In Orange Islands, his victory was short-lived due to being beaten by Gary upon returning to Kanto, which was one motivating factor for going to Johto besides acting as a delivery boy for the GS Ball, and in AG after beating the Battle Frontier, he ends up being beaten by Gary again, driving him to go to Sinnoh afterwards.
  7. due to his being the only gym leader to require Ash to do a rematch due to beating him
  8. Largely because she at least lost to Pikachu who, level resets aside, is an established veteran
  9. As he technically beat Pikachu earlier in the series, though it wasn't clear whether this was to showcase his strength or simply to act as an excuse to have Ash go the route of the games.
  10. To put it in perspective, immediately prior to setting off for Sinnoh, Pikachu had just beaten a Regice single-handedly, something that is extremely rare for any standard Pokémon to do. Not to mention a Regice owned by the head of the Battle Frontier.
  11. pre-Character Development of both characters, of course
  12. That is, The Rival having the starter that has the type advantage over the hero's.
  13. the time gap was between the Japanese debuts of "Volcanic Panic" and Goldand Silver
  14. As of this writing, the A-Z page has been temporarily removed. A-M and N-Z are up though.
  15. who ironically enough had an uncanny resemblance to his later partner in crime
  16. In the first two episodes, most notably, Misty's first reaction upon fishing Ash and Pikachu out of the river was attempt to express concern towards a then-injured Pikachu (with the novelization taking it further and having her directly cradle Pikachu as well), and after learning from Ash that Pikachu's in the ER, she expresses concern on whether Pikachu's condition was serious while otherwise being [understandably] ticked off at Ash for the destruction of her bike. And in A Chansey Operation, she notably comforts an injured Cubone that was crying the heck out.
  17. Misty and Brock were Gym Leaders, former in the latter's case, and May and Max were the children of a Gym Leader, Norman.
  18. Specifically, May being given a large-sized chest especially for a girl who isn't even supposed to hit puberty yet, as well as one scene in AG implying that she stripped naked in front of company on a beach, and Dawn having a very short skirt even by short skirt standards.
  19. Chimchar has a phobia of Zangoose, which Paul was aware of.
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