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Old 06-07-2014, 09:19 PM   #6423
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 20,548
In response ...

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Speaking for myself, I was glad that Ash didn't beat Diantha. (I would have accepted a defeat or a prematurely-terminated match.) The anime has established on numerous occasions that the Champion is, bar none, the strongest / the most capable / the most accomplished trainer in the region. During the Sinnoh series, it was canonically established that none of the Elite Four is as good as the Champion -- at the very end of the series, Flint challenges Cynthia to a title match, not the usual exhibition material we see Champions engage in, and Cynthia accepts. The event is broadcast on regional (possibly national) television and Flint ends up losing to Cynthia; thus Cynthia retains her title as Sinnoh Champion while Flint remains "merely" a member of Sinnoh's Elite Four. During this same series, it was established that Flint is way, way ahead of Ash. Indeed, pulling us back to general talk, it's been established time and again in a number of the series that Ash is nowhere near at the level of any Elite Four members. So if Ash isn't able to beat Elite Four trainers in a serious fight, and if Elite Four members are not always (or even commonly) able to beat the reigning Champion in a serious fight, then it would be ludicrous for Ash to beat the Champion in a serious fight. Especially when it's a 1v1 fight and she's using her own hallmark Pokémon, no different to her in terms of emotional importance and experience than Pikachu is to Ash. When it's "the Champion's Pikachu" vs. Ash's Pikachu, you're damn right that I expect "the Champion's Pikachu" to win. Be it Diantha's Gardevoir, be it Lance's Dragonite, be it Cynthia's Garchomp, whomever: I expect them to be able to beat Ash's Pikachu in a fair fight.

That stated, not everyone in the fandom feels the same way as I do. A lot of people see Ash's defeat by powerful trainers (gym leaders, Elite Four, Champions, whomever) as signs that his power level has been reset. In the most recent case (the Unova-to-Kalos reset), while I personally don't feel like we've seen an obvious reset (past seasons have been a lot more obtuse about it), it is hard to deny that were there absolutely no power reset that Pikachu should not be losing some of the matches he's been losing. This is because, in Unova, Pikachu is shown to be an even match for one of Unova's deities. He takes on Tornadus 1v1, the latter in his therian form, and not only is he unharmed by an electrical attack from the thunder deity but he's actually gifted all of the electricity that Thundurus just hurtled at him. And he uses that energy to launch this attack at Giovanni:

It was a spectacular episode ... but one which got many fans' hopes up regarding Pikachu's power level. It more or less canonically stated, "Yes, Pikachu is as powerful as a god, can hold his own 1-on-1 against it while it's in its ultimate form, and can dish this kind of an attack out when called upon to do so (provided he has enough energy inside of him already when he does)." So when some of the fans see episodes like XY028, they get disappointed. "Pikachu isn't supposed to lose. If he does lose, then it means his power level has been reset again -- in which case UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! ~___~"
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