Much of the Pokemon Best Wishes anime gains notoriety through the league and gym battles. Any other bad battles outside of those are few and far in between. But fans who look closely at each episode can find those battles that stand out whether good or bad. This list takes a look at the worst of the worst.
5. Ash vs. Shamus
This one is lowest on the list as to the episode’s credit it did put a new spin on the classic abandoned fire-type trope popular among many of Ash’s fire starters. Shamus proved to be dastardly outright manipulating the Pokemon he abandoned falsely claiming to them that he was doing so for their own good knowing that they would be afraid to battle him if they ever saw him again. That’s pretty messed up. But the battle is where things go south. We see Snivy put in some decent effort despite up against two fire types and with her partner initially refusing to do anything. But somehow it’s expecting us to believe that Ash’s newly evolved Pignite was able to defeat them both with only a couple of resisted hits. The evolution itself is complete nonsense as Tepig put almost no work prior to it. Evolution in the anime comes from determination but often there’s been a big battle trigger to that moment and that isn’t here. Even though the games and anime are different suspension of disbelief can only go so far.
4. Ash vs. Trip (2nd Battle)
Trip described this battle best: Pikachu and Snivy were okay but the rest of Ash’s team was a joke. Ash challenges Trip to a 5-on-5 battle and unlike last time where Pikachu couldn’t use its electric, type attacks this time all of Ash’s Pokemon are prepped and ready for battle. And they completely blew it! Three of the five hardly put any effort at all as they are knocked down almost instantly without landing as much as a single blow. What’s worse is that unlike Ash vs. Paul where Ash battled his rival’s whole team, Trip only had to use three Pokemon to get the job done. And this has no impact on Ash’s desire to improve whatsoever.
3. Ash vs. Iris (Charizard vs. Dragonite)
It was great to see Ash’s Charizard once again and its return to Unova did help bring a little bit of good into an otherwise what was at the time a bad anime. They did a nice job with reanimating the flashbacks to make it look more modern. Charizard himself still kept just as much likability as he had in every episode. Things got better when Charizard strikes a rivalry with Iris’ powerful and hostile Dragonite. Before the episode aired this is what was advertised for the episode in photos, trailers, etc. And the battle itself was going on rather well with the fierce pride and exchange of moves of both Pokemon going head-to-head. But apparently N of Team Plasma just stops the battle midway simply because he “sensed they battled long enough to understand and respect each other.” Really? You’re just going to call it off when it’s just getting good? I mean it’d be one thing if some important event interrupted the battle and maybe Charizard and Dragonite learned to respect each other by battling as allies or if it was getting too brutal but N literally stopped what could have been an enjoyable rivalry and one that had no real resolution.
2. Ash vs. Alder
Now let’s be reasonable here. No one expected Ash to win this battle and Alder does pass a good lesson to the heroes. But the episode was titled Ash versus The Champion and that is where this episode suffers horribly given the fact that there practically is no battle. Pikachu pummels Alder’s Bouffalant with all of his attacks while Alder just stands there till it’s revealed he fell asleep. Even Bouffalant gets fed up with this to the point that it attacks its own trainer. Even though he’s fine Alder pretty much forfeits. Thankfully Alder got to showcase his stuff against Trip in a later episode. And yes the anime makes being a good trainer more than just about battle but the battle here was just so misleading for such a title.
1. Ash vs. Trip
Establishing a strong and imposing rival is important and that’s somewhat of what the writers were trying to do here. But here’s the thing: Pikachu loses to a newly acquired Snivy by a trainer just starting out. Even though Best Wishes was meant to be a soft reboot, it’s implied Ash has at least some experience over Trip. Neither Trip nor the Snivy have any real battling experience prior to this. And Pikachu was short on its electric attacks at the time. But only three episodes prior Pikachu single-handedly tied with a Latios (none of Ash’s other Pokemon scored a single blow on it). That really puts things in perspective. Best Wishes was meant to be a soft reboot but with the huge bang Diamond and Pearl went out on, it’s just terrible that Pikachu, a major powerhouse of Ash’s team, even when it lost, is just downright saddening. And this episode established the weaker precedent for Pikachu as even after regaining its electric attacks it would still have miserable losses throughout Unova.
Any others you think deserved a spot on this list? Any you agree or disagree with. Well leave em in the comments below.