Design a site like this with
Get started

Anime Review: Let’s Review Ash’s Gym Battles In the Kanto


Pokemon anime doesn’t need a review. Given the fact that it has been running continuously for a quarter of a century, is a testament to its popularity.

Yes, I’m sure we’re all aware that it is to market the games. But consider this: most kids of my generation, (Born during late 90’s to early 2000’s,) didn’t play pokemon until we were older, while we most certainly watched the anime.

In my case, I still haven’t played the games, due to not having necessary hardware for it. (Read: blind problem.)

So, instead, I have decided that rather than go and review the rather formulaic anime, I will observe on the gym battles. Did the gym leaders provided sufficient challenge? Were they exciting battles? Etc. etc.

let us begin from the very first season: Kanto.

Brock, leader of Pewter City’s Gym:

I like this battle to be honest. Ash and brock fought for total two times, in which, the rock type trainer completely owned Ash in the first round. It did a great job of establishing the gym leaders as different from other normal trainers, which you can’t beat so easily.

Though Brock did give him the badge, even though he didn’t win the battle against him, (It wouldn’t be the first time in this series,) I still like their encounter.

Misty, leader of Cerulean City’s Gym:

So. I won’t lie. I wanted to see a proper battle with these two. But while Pikachu refuses to battle her, Ash was still doing just fine.

Until Team Rocket interfered, and ruined the match. After which, her sisters gave Ash the badge, because they too thought that Ash would have won anyway.

Now, just imagine if the referees in the wrestling world would react that way, I suspect most wrestling companies would go bankrupt with in a year.

Lt. Surge, leader of Vermilion City’s Gym:

Now, this one was a great battle. Surge annoyed Ash with his bullying attitude, as a result, this match acquired that personal edge.

After a rather soppy reason of not evolving Pikachu, (Read: more marketing,) Ash’s Pikachu beats Raichu, and earned his trainer a Thunder Badge.

Sabrina, leader of Saffron City’s Gym:

Apart from the horrifying prospect of being turned into a doll if you lost, I kind of felt that Ash winning just because Haunter made her laugh was anticlimactic. I would have rather loved to see Ash winning, and proving to Sabrina that even though you might be a genius, you can have fun too, and relax some times.

At least this cured her of her multi-personality problem. Though it should be noted that Sabrina is nothing like that in the games. I also would have been fine if the writers for the anime used her game personality as well.

Erika, leader of Celadon City’s Gym:

Once more, I feel that the writers for the anime should have used Erika’s game personality. It would have been much better that way.

Instead, we got a rather petty gym leader, who refuses to take challengers just because they don’t like perfumes, (Incidentally the perfume happens to be her own brand.)

Just imagine what kind of controversy it could have caused with the pokemon league.

But none of that happened, instead Ash got the badge for saving her Gloom from fire. Which is a fine way to earn a badge, I don’t have any complains regarding this one.

Koga, leader of Fuchsia City’s Gym:

Once more, team rocket come to ruin a perfectly fine battle. Which is kind of annoying. These gym leaders only have few appearances to make an impression on anime viewers, since not all of them can be traveling companions. But the writers of anime did not handle it that well I feel.

At least, Ash had a proper battle once the Rockets have been dealt with, and Ash gets the badge after defeating the gym leader. (Although rules were modified due to the interference.)

Blane, leader of Cinnabar Island’s gym:

Ah, this has to be my favorite gym battle from this season, use of horn to shock electric-type resistant pokemon aside.

Team Rocket of course, tried to cause problems in this one too, but thankfully, after a great battle with Charizard and Magmar, Ash earned the volcano badge.

Giovanni, leader of Viridian City’s Gym:

So, I think that writers chickened out here. Fine, I assume they didn’t wanted to make Ash battle Giovanni until the Mewtwo movie. But they didn’t battle there either.

Ash didn’t end up battling Giovanni until much, much later in the series, so this entire effort was wasted.

So, we got a gym battle where Team Rocket were the opponents, and it went as well as you can hope for. (Read: badly.)

This one just blue-balled me, so I really hate this gym battle.


This was just the first season, and it is clear that writers were still doing the world building for the anime, as a tv show requires more effort to create a world than a game. This doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have let the gym battles to be great fights, I repeat this again: the writers chickened out in most of the gym battles, especially the ones which were anticipated, like Misty, and Giovanni.

But… if you really hate what I’ve just written, see this from other point of view. This show has been on TV for a quarter of a century, whereas I’m just a guy complaining about it on my blog. What do I know about writing something this long lasting?

At the end, these were my personal opinions which I felt while watching the gym battles for this article.

Now, to Orange Islands!

Please follow me on twitter:

My twitter.

Feel free to blast me in the comment section, follow my blog, yata yata, yata.

Published by Tanish Shrivastava

I'm a guy who likes programming, chess, and writing.

One thought on “Anime Review: Let’s Review Ash’s Gym Battles In the Kanto

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: