In the world of Pokémon, Ash Ketchum proves that a Pokémon journey is all about trying your hardest through the good times and the bad. Battles can be difficult for multiple reasons, from a sheer difference in Pokémon size or being inexperienced, to simply being at a type disadvantage against an opponent.
For all of the strong Pokémon shown throughout the anime, there are several instances of specific Pokémon not living up to their potential in certain situations, with Water types being a strong example of this. Relied upon in battles based around water or in putting out fires, Water types are often exposed as a means to show off a strong opponent.
10Ash Could Never Get The Best Out Of Lapras During Their Limited Time Together
During Ash, Misty, and Tracey’s adventures in the Orange Islands arc, they encounter a young Lapras that has been separated from its family. It joins Ash’s team to help them traverse the islands until they can reunite it with its family, an exciting prospect as Lapras is a powerful Pokémon in the games.
However, Ash only uses Lapras in one battle while using it in the skill-based races and competitions across the Orange Islands the rest of the time. Ash getting the most out of Lapras would mean him having to scrap his morals and not return Lapras to its family, a feat that Ash would never do due to his love for Pokémon.
9Golisopod Is A Ferocious Battler But Its Ability Costs Guzma A Place In The Manalo Final
In the Sun & Moon series of the anime, Guzma is introduced as the mysterious leader of Team Skull who adds an extra layer of tension and intrigue to the series. In his quarter-final match against Lana, he has his Golisopod brutalize her Primarina, hitting it with Poison Jabs and Throat Chops in order to stop it from using voice-based moves.
Having shown its potential, Golisopod is Guzma’s undoing in his semi-final match against Ash. Its ability, Emergency Exit, switched it for Scizor and knocked its teammate out. It completely undoes his clever U-Turn tactics up to this point. Despite it being able to knock out Ash’s Torracat, it’s unable to defeat Ash’s Pikachu by itself.
8Kingler’s Two Losses Come Against A Fire Type & Misty’s Psyduck
Living up to potential in the Pokémon world is an idea formed on predetermined knowledge regarding limits or potential advantages over another. In the case of Ash’s Kingler, it’s only showcased at the Indigo League Conference in Kanto and the Whirl Cup in Johto. Its wins prove its strength, albeit against average opponents.
Its two losses, however, are what raise the questions about Ash’s Kingler. It lost to Pete’s Arcanine despite a type advantage and also lost to Misty’s Psyduck. Kingler initially showed promise that Ash should have capitalized on in future endeavors, but instead chose to try different Water types from other regions.
7Gary’s Blastoise Is Outplayed By Ash’s Charizard Despite The Type Matchup
Ash and Gary’s battle at the Silver Conference in Johto is a long time in the making, with them both being fierce rivals despite barely battling one another. Gary’s Blastoise is billed as his prized Pokémon and sure enough, the 6-on-6 boils down to Blastoise versus Charizard.
Blastoise has the obvious type advantage but fails to take advantage of it with Ash opting to burn the battlefield, meaning that any Water-type moves would cause the battlefield to create steam. Charizard is able to stop Blastoise from using its cannons and ends up winning the bout.
6Blaine’s Ninetales Immediately Engulfs Squirtle In Flames & Wins
When Ash squares off against the Cinnabar Island Gym Leader and Fire-type specialist Blaine, he starts off with Squirtle against Blaine’s Ninetales, believing he has the obvious advantage with the water-versus-fire matchup.
However, Ninetales’s fire easily overwhelms Squirtle’s attacks and engulfs the Water-type Pokémon as it retreats into its own shell and is knocked out. This immediately suggests that Ash’s Pokémon may be under-leveled, but it’s nevertheless an embarrassing loss so early on in the battle.
5Not Evolving Totodile Is One Of Ash’s Biggest Johto Mistakes
Over the years, Ash has built up a reputation for not necessarily getting the best out of every Pokémon he owns, with one of the main issues being him not evolving all of them fully. In Kanto, Johto, and Unova especially, Ash not evolving all of his starters ultimately costs him in the big battles. One prime example is Totodile.
Totodile loses more battles than it wins, but throughout the Johto series of the anime, it often serves the role of comic relief. Totodile may be lovable, but having it evolve into Croconaw or Feraligatr would give Ash’s team a huge boost, and perhaps even help him to defeat Harrison at the Silver Conference.
4Oshawott’s Weaknesses Are Exposed & Never Really Redeemed
Ash’s Oshawott is often considered to be one of the weak links in an already disappointing Unova team. In a similar way to Totodile, it’s often used as comic relief, is never evolved to make it stronger in battles, and isn’t truly capable of helping Ash’s Pokémon League efforts as a result.
Out of all the losses that Oshawott picks up over the course of the Black & White anime, it’s the losses to Fire types that are particularly disappointing. Its defeat to a Darmanitan can be forgiven due to the sheer size and power disadvantage, but losing to Chili’s Pansear is a defeat that it never really recovers from.
3Despite Buizel’s Toughness, It Loses More Than It Should
Considering the fact that Ash receives Buizel in a trade with Dawn due to Buizel wanting to put its toughness to use in battles rather than Contests, it’s surprising that Buizel actually loses more often than it wins. Buizel is shown as being powerful when Dawn struggles to first catch it, and when it does win, it does so in style, but it loses far more often than it should.
Its explosive draw with Maylene’s Lucario may be a highlight from Ash’s Sinnoh campaign, but losses like the one at the Wallace Cup to a Lanturn do nothing to help Buizel’s overall record or image.
2Squirtle Is Easily Defeated By Ritchie’s Butterfree
Ash’s loss to Ritchie at the Indigo Plateau Conference in Kanto will always be remembered as one of Ash’s worst-ever losses in the Pokémon anime, from the importance of the occasion to the sheer nature of the defeat. While Charizard’s disobedience is ultimately what costs Ash the match, neither Pikachu nor Squirtle attain glory.
Squirtle is defeated almost immediately by Ritchie’s Butterfree putting it to sleep and it barely showed any fight or resistance in return. Squirtle racks up some disappointing defeats over the course of its anime appearances, but this ranks among the worst.
1Greninja Couldn’t Quite Get The Job Done In Kalos
The Kalos region provides Ash with one of his best-ever teams, and this is arguably the Pokémon League tournament that he should have won. While Pikachu will always be considered Ash’s ace, a close bond with a different Pokémon becomes the main focus in the X & Y series as Ash gets close with Greninja.
Ash and Greninja are able to keep up with and often defeat Mega Evolved Pokémon, but because of the necessity of building tension within the plot, Greninja loses a lot more than it does as a Frogadier. However, Greninja is set up to overcome the final hurdle of Alain’s Mega Charizard in the finals of the Lumiose Conference, but it ultimately loses.