I just thought I’d run this up the flagpole and see if anyone saluted. I may ramble a bit, but hopefully I get my points across.
Am I the only one tired of the anime writers acting like Ash only has six Pokémon? It wasn’t always that way. Ash used Krabby/Kingler and Muk in the Indigo League, Tauros in the Orange League, and a variety of his Pokémon from Kanto, Johto, and either Hoenn or Sinnoh in a later tournament. I also saw part of an episode in either the DP or the AG series in which Ash prepared for an upcoming tournament by having Professor Oak send all his Pokémon to him five at a time (since he kept Pikachu the whole time) so he could practice and train with all of them. Shoot, even the BW series depicted him as having more than six and occasionally having to switch up the line-up. It used to be that Ash made use of the Pokémon he had chilling at the Oak ranch. It’s ridiculous for the writers not to have him use them. Any time you look at pictures like this , pages like this , or videos like this  you realize what opportunities are going to waste by Ash only using Pikachu and whatever his five most recent Pokémon are. This whole resetting each season thing has gotten ridiculous, and once again, it didn’t used to be that way. Ash had a combination of Kanto and Johto Pokémon for most of his Johto journey and there weren’t any issues. There’s never been a problem before with Ash having old and new Pokémon in his party. Speaking of which, it seems the writers aren’t satisfied with Ash just using six Pokémon as though those were the only six he had in the whole world; they’ve also started having him seemingly unable to catch more than five Pokémon in a series. He was depicted as still being able to catch numerous Pokémon as recently as the BW series, so why not the XY series? Having Ash unable to use or catch Pokémon makes him seem stupid and incompetent, makes the writers seem incompetent and ignorant of the source material, and gives the impression that the producers think the viewers are stupid with low standards and short-attention spans.
There are actually people who try to excuse it with, “Oh, they’re just appealing to new viewers.” What? I’m sorry, what? Like I said, Ash had a combination of Kanto and Johto Pokémon for most of his Johto journey and there weren’t any issues. Have they decided that viewers who start watching the anime now are dumber than the ones who started watching back then? I for one would not be attracted to a show that was lazy and insulted my mental capacities. If you try to spoon-feed me stupid plotlines which fall far short of their potential and expect me to respond with, “Good enough for me!” then I’m not going to watch your show. Also, how new are these fans you’re talking about? I would think fans who started watching during the BW series (the one just before XY) would be disappointed and maybe confused that they didn’t get to see Pignite, Unfezant, Leavanny, Krookodile, etc. again. Plus, I know for a fact that many of the people watching the XY series were either fans who had watched from the beginning or long-time fans who had started watching again after skipping some disappointing seasons. It would make their season if Ash’s Butterfree, Pidgeot, and Primeape returned for just one episode. These fans feel disappointed and even betrayed at how things have turned out, and many are threatening to boycott the anime and games, so yeah, how did that work out? It reminds me of the Aesop’s fable “The Goatherd and the Wild Goats” , except you can’t even say they treated the new fans better than the old. Just for fun, here’s a party Ash could have used in the final round of this latest tournament (Don’t get me started on that).
- Pikachu (Electric-type)- Electric is strong against Flying and Water (and heaven forbid Ash doesn’t use Pikachu).
- Greninja (Water-Dark type capable of Bond Evolution, or whatever)- Water is strong against Ground, Rock, and Fire while Dark is strong against Ghost and Psychic, and the Bond Phenomenon makes it as strong as a Mega Evolution.
- Kingler (Water-type) or Buizel (Water-type)- Water is strong against Ground, Rock, and Fire.
- Glalie (Ice-type) or Snorlax (Normal-type, but possessing the Ice-type attack Ice Punch)- Ice is strong against Flying, Ground, Grass, and Dragon.
- Krookodile (Ground-Dark type), Gliscor (Ground-Flying type), Donphan (Ground-type), or Gible (Dragon-Ground type)- Ground is strong against Poison, Rock, Steel, Fire, and Electric. In addition, Dark is strong against Ghost and Psychic, Flying is strong against Fighting, Bug, and Grass, and Dragon is strong against Dragon.
- Infernape (Fire-Fighting type)- Fire is strong against Bug, Steel, Grass, and Ice while Fighting is strong against Normal, Rock, Steel, Ice, and Dark.
This line-up accounts for Alain’s Mega Charizard X, a Fire-Dragon type, as well as potential Pokémon of many other types. Since the anime is meant to sell the games and other merchandise, it’s baffling that they wouldn’t want to show as many Pokémon as possible to raise people’s interest (like how they occasionally had Generation II Pokémon in the anime and movies before Pokémon Gold and Silver were released). Ash was immature in that first series, but at least the writers respected the intelligence of viewers by assuming they could understand the concept of there being more than six Pokémon.
I’ve read some of the Pokémon Adventures manga. Not only did Red catch a lot of Pokémon, but he also made use of them, mixing them in with his regulars instead of just using the same ones ad nauseum. The anime people need to read this manga. Ash should be rotating his party, especially when it comes to gym battles and conferences. Here’s an example. I’ve heard about an infamously stupid episode of the BW series in which Ash battled Elesa of the Nimbasa Gym and her Electric-type Pokémon. The Electric-type is ineffective against Ground and weak against Grass, Electric, and Dragon. Ash used his Palpitoad (a Water-Ground type. Smart), but he panicked when Palpitoad got knocked out since that was his sole strategy (Not smart). He ended up using Snivy (albeit badly and ineffectively) and Pikachu to win. That was actually good strategy since Snivy is a Grass-type and Pikachu is an Electric-type with experience. However, let’s look at the Pokémon he could have brought in addition to Palpitoad and the two Pokémon he already had on hand (Note: If my research is correct, Ash had not yet caught his Krokorok, a Ground-Dark type, at the time of this battle).
- Bulbasaur (Grass-Poison type)
- Tauros (Normal-type, but possessing the Ground-type attack Fissure)
- Bayleef (Grass-type)
- Donphan (Ground-type)
- Sceptile (Grass-type)
- Torterra (Grass-Ground type- a double whammy!)
- Gliscor (Ground-Flying type. Flying is weak against Electric, but 1. a Ground-Flying type would have made for a good match against Elesa’s Emolga, an Electric-Flying type, and 2. Ash’s Water-Ground type Palptioad did well at first despite Water being weak against Electric)
- Gible (Dragon-Ground- another double whammy!)
- Roggenrola (Rock-type, but 1. the anime often depicts Rock as being strong against Electric when really it should do regular damage and 2. as someone pointed out, Elesa’s Emolga would have been partially weak to Rock. I’m not sure, but I think Roggenrola was in Ash’s party and he just forgot to use it)
This whole thing of “Oh, I don’t have the right kind of Pokémon!” worked in the beginning when Ash only had Pikachu, Butterfree, and Pidgeotto; it doesn’t work now that Ash has a menagerie of Pokémon with a variety of moves. In fact, when you look at the Pokémon Ash has either on hand or at Oak’s, he has at least one Pokémon of every type except for Ghost, Steel, Psychic, and Fairy. Some of his Pokémon have moves with those types (For instance, Pikachu has Iron Tail, which is a Steel-type move), and the types he does have make up for the types he lacks (For instance, he can battle a Dragon-type despite not having a Fairy-type because he has an Ice-type). [January 2017 Update: I did thorough research. Ash has not yet had a Psychic, Ghost, Steel, or Fairy-type but his Noctowl, Quilava, Sceptile, and Snorlax have Psychic-type attacks, his Boldore, Charizard, Gliscor, Talonflame, and Torkoal have Steel-type attacks, and his Pikachu has both Psychic and Steel attacks.] Not using all those Pokémon is like ignoring a pile of treasure that you’ve accumulated and stored in your closet. Plus, it’s hypocritical to talk about these creatures being your friends just to leave them somewhere and never use or travel with them anymore. If you want to have a character struggle with gym battles using only basic Pokémon exclusive to that region, then have Ash’s rookie travelling partners do the gym challenges too. Ash has no excuse at this point.
Krabby/Kingler getting to shine and the surprise appearance of Muk were two of the best moments in the Indigo conference, and seeing Ash practice with all his Pokémon was a cool moment. How great would it be if there were more moments like that? If Ash is going to be in the anime still, we need that to happen. If Ash won’t be in the anime, then I mourn for the moments that never were because the writers couldn’t be bothered to live up to the show’s full potential.