I really dislike the anime, but principally because MANY of the battles are completely inaccurate. This gets to my frustration point principally on the Unova series. I don’t remember exactly, But i THINK it was on chapter 752 that happened the biggest bullshit I’ve ever seen. (The start of the Junior cup) First of all, a Serperior beats a Darmanitan with a single solar beam (This isn’t the worst part) but THEN Iris’s dragonite just survives two ice beams from a Beartic! What do you think?
Okay, so, I think “inaccurate” is an interesting choice of words here, because it implies that battles in the anime are supposed to be a representation of something else, and that we can judge them by the closeness of that representation. Presumably you think they’re supposed to be representations of battles in the games, which I don’t believe is now the case or ever has been; I think the games and anime both represent, in different ways, the same abstract fantasy. Really, it makes just as much sense to say that the games are “inaccurate” for failing to allow for the level of tactical variety or the influence of individual personality and relationships that we see in the anime. Furthermore if this is the “biggest bullshit you’ve ever seen” then clearly you haven’t watched Solid as a Solrock; personally I expect bullshit of a much higher calibre from the Pokémon anime. But let’s run some of these numbers.
I think we have good reason to believe, given the way Iris’ Dragonite is portrayed in this episode and elsewhere, that its level is ludicrously high. Beartic is Georgia’s partner Pokémon, so it’s presumably quite powerful, but a disparity in level as great as 50/80 doesn’t seem out of the question to me. All other things being equal, Ice Beam’s average damage output there is about 42%, so surviving two of them is in fact possible. Similarly, given that Serperior is Trip’s partner while Burgundy’s Darmanitan only ever appears in this one battle (and Burgundy herself is, let’s be honest, not a particularly brilliant trainer), a disparity of 35/50 there doesn’t seem out of the question, in which case a critical hit from Solarbeam (which it seems likely that this is) does very often one-shot Darmanitan.
But whether I can fiddle with the numbers to make this seem plausible is very much not the point. The point is that the games and the anime have very different goals, and we should not be surprised if those goals influence their internal “rules.” One-on-one battles in the Pokémon games are, let’s face it, boring. They normally end quickly and are usually quite predictable. This is okay in the games, because it’s normal for one-on-one battles to be only the elements of a broader tactical picture; the game is really about choosing which one-on-one battles you are willing to fight and which ones you aren’t, while trying to predict your opponent’s version of the same thought process. That is not what the anime is about at all. The anime wants its individual Pokémon and their personal relationships with their trainers to be paramount, and for that to be effective, the focus in battles has to be on the “duels” between individual Pokémon, and that just isn’t going to be fun to watch if it’s brief and predictable. The anime has to care about how Pokémon’s personalities and their trust in their trainers influence the way those duels play out, and that is exactly what is happening with Dragonite and Beartic. The point isn’t for us to be thinking about whether or not Dragonite could actually survive two Ice Beams; the point is that Dragonite deliberately took those Ice Beams in the face (an objectively poor decision!), instead of dodging like Iris told him to, because he’s stubborn, has more pride than sense, and doesn’t trust Iris to make decisions for him in battle. I would go so far as to say that if the anime did strive for “accuracy” in following the rules of the game, it would utterly fail at its real objectives, and I’m glad it doesn’t.