VikingBoyBilly asks:

Do you feel pokemon has ever jumped the shark? Granted, jumping the shark does not automatically mean “became bad,” it just means hitting a drastic turning point it can never return from. For me that’s gen 3, because [long list of reasons].

Well, I would take issue with your understanding of the term “jumping the shark,” because I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a single use of it that hasn’t been negative – TvTropes says “it’s reached its peak, it’ll never be the same again, and from now on it’s all downhill,” while Wikipedia says “the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality.”  But whatever; drastic turning points it is.

You haven’t really made it clear whether you’re talking about the games, anime, or the franchise as a whole, although I suspect you mean the games.  To be honest, I feel like every generation has enough drastic turning points to be argued as a candidate, although I think the strongest are probably three, which left behind the Kanto/Johto superregion and the Team Rocket story arc, and five, which tried to create a fresh start, using a region with new Pokémon only and abandoning the traditional geographical focus on Japan (moving to New York City instead).  I don’t think I’d rate either of these as intrinsically good or bad choices (I mean, I think the execution of the “fresh start” in five left a lot to be desired, but the decision itself I can respect); there were other valid directions in which the series could have gone, but as creative decisions I think they were fine.  Two, obviously, was much closer to one than any other generation since has been to its predecessor, but it’s also a big turning point in that it’s where they become serious about this, where they realise that they have accidentally created a global phenomenon and they’d better start acting like it.  Four, in my opinion, is not a big deal here, because although there are big changes, the most important ones are mechanical and don’t have a huge impact on the way the games feel, or their overarching “philosophy,” if I can put it that way.  The introduction of literal God Pokémon is major, but it’s also sort of the direction things were already heading in three.  And finally six is where they start to really make use of the touch screen to do things that wouldn’t have been possible without it, which dramatically changes the player experience in ways that I’m generally very pleased about.

I think the anime, starting roughly from the end of the Orange Islands series, gradually becomes less interested in doing its own thing and more interested in following (and thereby promoting) the games, which for me is something of a negative.  Having said that, though, the quality of the writing gradually increases at the same time, and I do believe there’s a lot to be said for the Unova and Kalos seasons (what I’ve seen of them, at any rate).  *sigh* I should do anime reviews again.  Those were fun.  Maybe later this year.

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