Many franchises find immediate success and blossom into permanent pop culture fixtures of the public consciousness, but few have experienced the universal acclaim of Pokémon. Pokémon has dominated the mediums of video games, anime, trading card games, and even live-action feature films.
The evolving property is more than three decades old, but there’s still no end in sight for Pokémon, which is currently celebrating one of its biggest years ever. Fans cherish the Pokémon anime as an entertaining and playful take on the video game series. However, there are some decisions in the anime that have polarized audiences. Pokémon’s anime is full of passion and joy, but it’s far from perfect.
10Ash Squanders Opportunities To Catch Important Pokémon
One of the reasons that Pokémon has emerged as such a monumental hit is that there are an endless variety of ways to experience this rich world. Pokémon’s defining mantra might be “gotta’ catch ’em all,” but Ash’s strategy is considerably more laid back.
Ash encounters so many wild Pokémon that would make for perfect additions to his team, but he’s rather selective regarding his Pokémon pursuits. It can be frustrating to watch Ash pass up so many rewarding Pokémon, especially when his partner in Pokémon Journeys: The Series, Goh, attempts to capture every new creature that he lays eyes on.
9Ash Loses The Pokémon League And Important Battles
There’s a lot of value in a satisfying underdog narrative where a burgeoning hero slowly matures and dominates their respective field. Accordingly, it would feel disingenuous if Ash immediately won all of his biggest battles, but he still faces steady defeats even after years of strenuous training and battles.
It’s always a disappointment when Ash loses a League Battle or a prestigious Gym Leader match. This also keeps Ash further away from his ultimate goal of becoming a Pokémon Master, but even a stint as a competent Gym Leader would be a positive trajectory for him.
8His Human Friends Leave Him Along The Way
It’s easy to get lost in the hundreds of unique Pokémon that exist in the series’ playful world, but Ash’s human companions also represent an important part of the series. Brock and Misty are two of the first friends that Ash meets, and the audience forms as much of an attachment towards them and their Pokémon as they do with Ash and Pikachu.
Brock and Misty eventually exit the picture, and Ash rotates through more than a dozen friends as he navigates different Pokémon regions. It’s always exciting when an old face like Dawn or Max returns, but it’s still a disappointment to perpetually lose such strong characters.
7Pikachu Remains Ash’s Lead Pokémon
Ash has acquired some extremely powerful and useful Pokémon across his many adventures, but Pikachu quickly emerged from the anime as the franchise’s primary mascot. Pikachu and Ash have accomplished incredible things together, but the codependency that exists between them often holds back the series from greatness.
Audiences expect Ash to turn to Pikachu for any of his bigger battles, and the Electric-Type Pokémon has gained a heightened level of strength that makes him seem invincible at times. Ash doesn’t need to get rid of Pikachu, but he could develop a better battle strategy that shares the wealth among his Pokémon party.
6Moves And Battle Mechanics From The Games Are Changed
It’s quite common for a popular video game series to receive an anime adaptation, or vice versa. Pokémon’s anime is arguably as successful as the video games that kicked off the series. However, there’s a fair amount of disconnect between how the games represent battles and how they function in the anime series.
Pokémon’s anime proudly references many of the most prominent moves from the video games, but they can have wildly different results. The anime is understandably more interested in what’s visually compelling rather than the scaling of battle mechanics. Those who watch the anime to refine their gaming strategies will be left disappointed.
5Ash Stashes Cherished Pokémon With Professor Oak
Ash is Pokémon’s protagonist, but he hasn’t made a significant dent in the grand Pokédex total, and he’s only captured around 50 distinct Pokémon species during his many years as a trainer. A recurring habit that Ash adopts towards the end of each Pokémon anime series is that he stashes away most, if not all, of his prized Pokémon at Professor Oak’s Lab.
Ash can only carry six Pokémon in his party at a time, so this management makes sense, but he gets far too frivolous with this process. There’s no need for Ash to completely start over just because he’s heading into a new region of the Pokémon world.
4Ash Repeats The Same Battle Mistakes
A perpetually perfect protagonist quickly wears thin, and it should come as no surprise that some of Pokémon’s most inspirational moments are when Ash overcomes his past faults and proves how much he’s grown as a Pokémon trainer. Ash is undeniably a better trainer than he was at the start of Pokémon, but he still makes easy mistakes that he should be well past at this point.
There are basic Pokémon typing mistakes and battle strategies that he still struggles to understand. Ash is always passionate on the battlefield, but it’s not easy to watch him mess up over simple Pokémon decorum.
3Ash Flippantly Gives Away Valuable Pokémon
There’s a powerful bond that exists between a Pokémon and their trainer, even for those that have only known each other for a brief period of time. For this reason, it’s never easy when a trainer has to say goodbye to one of their Pokémon, but this is something that Ash has become surprisingly used to doing.
Ash has given away more than ten valuable Pokémon, whether it’s through releasing them back to nature— like with Butterfree, Pidgeot, or Lapras — trading them to others, or simply putting them into helpful training, like with Ash’s Primeape. It’s always disappointing when Ash willingly lets a Pokémon go.
2The Treatment Of Legendary Pokémon Is Inconsistent
Every Pokémon is special in its own way, but right from the very first generation of games, there has been a sect of more elusive and powerful creatures known as Legendary Pokémon. There are only a few Legendary Pokémon from each region, but over the course of the series, there are now more than 80 Legendary Pokémon in existence, with even more Mythical Pokémon out there, too.
It’s incredibly exciting to catch, or even just encounter, a Legendary Pokémon in the video games. This feeling is greatly diminished in the anime, which creates its own inconsistent rules on how to handle Legendaries.
1Many Of The New Series Reset The Slate With Ash
The Pokémon anime series is set to celebrate its 35th anniversary, and there have collectively been more than 1000 episodes across the various Pokémon series. Ash and Pikachu remain the constants through all of these series, but it can be difficult to properly figure out the broader canon as a result.
Ash doesn’t markedly age, but his past accomplishments continue to carry over across his adventures. As a result of this, the start of each new Pokémon series feels very similar and like it’s retreading old territory. The audiences are so well-acquainted with Ash and his past journeys that it’s not necessary to begin each anime in a remedial manner.