Every typing in the Pokémon franchise has its own baseline characteristics and preconceptions, whether it’s in the games or the anime. Rock and Steel types are generally known for their considerable defense, while most Flying types will soar above in the sky and use their aerial prowess to their advantage.
Fighting types are generally known for their physical offense, often stemming from martial arts combat or muscular physiques, but this image and reputation can sometimes set them up to fail. In the anime, there are plenty of occasions when Fighting types are embarrassed or have their toughness nullified by surprisingly impressive opponents, therefore stopping them from living up to their full potential as proud Fighting types.
10Ash’s Pignite Suffers A Humiliating Defeat To Trip’s Surprisingly Fast Serperior
Despite Ash’s Unova campaign ultimately being a failure and one of the worst showings of his entire Pokémon journey, there are still some positive points to be taken from it all, with one, in particular, being Ash’s Pignite. It may lose a few bouts as a Tepig, but it manages to defeat its fully evolved form, Emboar, by evolving into Pignite, with Pignite then going on to record several impressive victories.
However, for all of its impressive performances as the Fire-Fighting type Pignite, one loss, in particular, stands out as a major disappointment and an indictment on its overall record, that being the loss to Trip’s Serperior in the Pokémon World Tournament Junior Cup finals, despite having a type advantage. Pignite is simply outpaced and embarrassed by the Grass type and is unable to land any Fire-type moves whatsoever.
9Bea’s Hitmontop Is Unable To Make An Impact Against Ash’s Pikachu
Hitmontop’s introduction to Gen II was an interesting addition as it provided players with a new alternative to Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan, and one that could utilize various new ways of attacking, rather than just kicking or punching. However, it has barely received such treatment in the anime, with no trainers doing their bit to make it stand out.
Bea comes the closest to doing so in Pokémon Journeys but even hers is limited to only a few brief moments of offense before falling to Ash’s Pikachu. The way it uses its spinning top head for offense has plenty of potential, but is often found out and countered.
8Ash Releases Primeape Just As It Starts To Get Warmed Up
Ash’s Primeape is an example of a Pokémon that has so much potential, only to be released by Ash way before its time. It showcases its strength and fighting spirit throughout its P1 Grand Prix campaign, with it even winning the whole tournament before leaving to train with one of the losing contestants, Anthony.
A returning appearance from Primeape at a later point in the anime would at least give some closure for the Pig Monkey Pokémon, but instead is left a hole and the thoughts of what could have been.
7Brawly’s Hariyama Is Defeated By The Treecko It Defeated As A Makuhita
The Dewford City Fighting-type specialist Brawly is one of several Gym Leaders to have defeated Ash throughout his Pokémon journey, only to be defeated in a rematch. In their first bout, Brawly’s Makuhita is too much for Ash’s Treecko to handle, even adding insult to injury by evolving into Hariyama before finishing it off.
With the daunting task of facing a much larger and stronger Hariyama in the rematch, Ash uses his other Pokémon to slowly weaken and restrict Hariyama’s movements, with Treecko getting its revenge and earning Ash the Knuckle Badge. While the strategy is sound enough, Hariyama losing to a Pokémon as small as Treecko simply because it can’t move its legs to use Vital Throw is not a good look for the Arm Thrust Pokémon.
6Hitmonchan Is Often Outshone By Other Fighting Types
When compared to its other gimmicky Fighting-type counterparts Hitmonlee and Hitmontop, Hitmonchan is barely featured in a similar light. Hitmonlee has two appearances in Pokémon League competitions yet Hitmonchan’s presence is merely hinted at a couple of times.
Even Anthony’s Hitmonchan, the Pokémon that is introduced in promoting the P1 Grand Prix tournament, is defeated by a Hitmonlee being used by Team Rocket. Hitmonchan is often preferred in the games due to the wide variety of different type moves it can learn, but this side of it is barely referenced in the anime.
5Kukui’s Lucario Fails To Match The Success & Quality Expected Of The Species
Lucario is known as being one of the most used and highly rated of the entire Pokémon franchise, both in terms of the games and in the anime. Numerous trainers and powerful trainers have been seen using a Lucario, often with devastating results for its opponents, with even Ash finally getting his hands on one in Pokémon Journeys.
However, during Ash and Kukui’s exhibition match at the end of the Manalo Conference in Alola, Kukui’s Lucario is introduced and perceived as merely a participant in their battle, with it losing to Ash’s Naganadel without earning a knockout of its own, despite a hard-fought contest. This isn’t a weak showing by Kukui’s Lucario but when compared to Lucario belonging to other trainers, it has to be remembered as disappointing.
4Hawlucha Is Easily Defeated By Ramos’ Weepinbell
Ramos’s Weepinbell is remembered for its exceptional performance in the Gym battle against Ash, with it being the best the Grass-Poison type has ever performed in the anime. Not only does it defy expectations and its severe type disadvantages to defeat Ash’s Talonflame, but it proceeds to also eliminate Ash’s dual Fighting-Flying type, Hawlucha.
Hawlucha is unable to eliminate Weepinbell with a super-effective Flying Press and after having its movement restricted through poison, it is knocked out by a flurry of moves, including Razor Leaf and Grass Knot, two moves that Hawlucha should be able to resist.
3Ash’s Monferno Is Defeated In Its First Showcase Since Evolving
The Diamond & Pearl series of the anime tells the heartbreaking and later heartwarming tale of Chimchar, used and abused by its trainer Paul, before being abandoned and then adopted by Ash, who nurtures it and teaches it to fulfill its potential as an Infernape.
What is often forgotten about the whole story, however, is its stint as the middle stage of the evolution line, Monferno. Chimchar evolves during a battle with its former trainer Paul, after defeating his Ursaring, and despite being a new and exciting Pokémon in Monferno, it proceeds to lose to Paul’s Electabuzz. A mid-battle evolution is often seen as a momentum shift and the perfect game-changer, which makes this defeat fall rather flat, despite the long-term narrative that is set in motion.
2Machamp Has To Wait Until Pokémon Journeys To Get Its First Major Showcase
Machamp is known as the embodiment of the Fighting type, from its muscular physique to the aggression that comes with its considerable physical offense. In the anime, however, it is often seen as nothing more than a token Fighting type, there to look tough as a formidable hurdle for smaller Pokémon to overcome.
In fact, it takes until the Pokémon Journeys series of the anime for Machamp to be showcased in a major way, with Bea using one and utilizing Gigantamax in a fiercely fought battle against Ash and his Mega Lucario. Machamp eventually loses the battle but it showcases how much potential has been wasted ever since it was introduced back in Gen I.
1Ash’s Heracross Spends A Lot Of Time With Professor Oak
The addition of Heracross to Ash’s Johto team is initially exciting, as it is the start of Ash trying to branch out and capture new Pokémon away from those raised during his Kanto campaign. The dual Fighting-Bug type becomes an impressive battler displaying a wide variety of moves in the process, yet it never seems to completely live up to its potential.
Part of the reason for this is surprisingly Professor Oak. When Heracross is sent to Professor Oak for safekeeping, upon Ash’s request to retrieve the Single Horn Pokémon, the professor asks if he can keep it for longer in order to research its behavior for the sake of his research. This limits the amount of time that Ash gets with Heracross, but it doesn’t stop it from helping out at the Silver Conference in defeating Gary’s Magmar.