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Why I Hate Paul

The Paul I am referring to is a character in the pokemon anime, who is currently Ash's primary rival while the group is in the Sinnoh region. Paul is really a varied character: on the forums, the Paul character discussion thread has, at the time of writing, nearly spans twenty pages, though most of it is saying how "awesome" he is. However, I do not think he is awesome. I hate him more than I hate Harley from the same show. I want to strangle Paul and break one of his limbs. Most probably won't know why I feel this way, so I will explain.

First, Pokemon are sentient beings in this setting. As Linkara pointed out in his review of "Captain Planet and the Planeteers #3," if animals were truly intelligent enough to make their own decisions and follow orders, animals would easily be given rights. Considering that many pokemon in this setting are shown to be smart enough to qualify, pokemon should have a bill of rights. In the real world, Paul's treatment of his pokemon would be classified as cruelty to animals and he would be arrested and sent to Juvenile court, regardless of whether or not his pokemon appreciated his method of training. Though seeing how the world lacks competent police officers and encourages ten year old children to wander around with no parental supervision with only tamed animals for protection, the government must be very inadequate.
While I'm on the subject, why haven't his pokemon objected to his training methods? Sure, they might want to get stronger, but considering that his training methods in the Tag Battle arc would've gotten Chimchar killed had it not been for Ash's intervention, wouldn't at least one or two of them start having second thoughts about their trainer? Heck, seeing how strong they are and how humans are pretty much powerless without technology, I'm surprised his pokemon haven't killed him by now. Pokeballs must have great taming powers to keep pokemon from generally rebelling against their trainers.

Second, why hasn't anyone reprimanded him? I know I'm stressing this, but why hasn't Paul been punished for his behaviour? He clearly abuses his own pokemon, physically as evident in the aforementioned Tag Battle arc and emotionally, as seen when blames his pokemon for defeats, even after he's stated that when a battle is lost, the trainer is at fault, which not only proves he's a hypocrite but also doesn't make much sense considering the pokemon have all the power in this setting. Shouldn't he have gotten some form of punishment by this point? Not even his older brother, Reggie (who I should note is more like Ash in personality and training methods), has done anything about this. Why in the name of Slaking's lazy ass hasn't Reggie done anything to discipline him? Is Reggie really hoping that Paul will eventually change his way, as unlikely as it is? If Paul crossed the line, outright killing pokemon and showing no remorse for this, would Reggie still be hoping for Paul to change? I highly doubt it.

Third, why would anyone want to be anywhere near him? Paul's character in the show is that of a condescending jackass who looks down on almost everyone, including those closest to him (when he admits that his brother was weak after failing to get the Brave Symbol and moving on with his life), and he's too arrogant to admit that he's flawed.
In real life, absolutely no one would want to be around him, let alone be associated with him. To be honest, I think the only reason Reggie even gives him a chance is because they're brothers. Also, consider the fact that Paul is supposed to be ten years old (and I say "supposed to" because given that he's said to be the same age as Ash, and how the creators have stated that Ash is still ten after more than five hundred episodes, I don't think many actually take that statement seriously). Most ten year olds are not like Paul at all, which would prompt most to wonder, "What is wrong with him?" It's likely that Reggie would've gotten many complaints about Paul's cold and heartless antics, and as patient as he might be, he will eventually run out of tolerance.
As for how he interacts with others, with Ash and friends in particular, he's the same as with anyone else: rude, arrogant, and generally unfriendly, despite that Ash and co have tried to be friendly every time they've crossed paths. I'm surprised that, seeing how unlikely Paul is to change his attitude, they still try to be friendly with him. If they were a normal group of teens, one of them (most likely Ash) would've given him a hard smack upside the head.
He's said to be respectful to superiors such as Nurse Joy, Professor Rowan, and Cynthia. However, seeing as how he ignored Nurse Joy's warning for Chimchar's safety in the Tag Battle arc (I'll detail this below), ignored Cynthia's encouragement to change into a more caring trainer, I get the feeling that it's mostly a façade. If he truly did respect them, he would've followed their advice.
With all of these in mind, why anyone interacts with him is a big question left in everyone's minds.

Fourth, he's become the creator's pet. In the many times I keep my eye on the show, I find myself desperately hoping the writers would give him some form of karma. Much to my annoyance, they do not. Even if they do give him some karma, it never lasts: I can think of at least three cases where he could've used a good smacking: the first is a particularly frustrating case when Paul's victory against Ash after having a humiliating loss against Brandon's regi trio. After all, what better way to break him and get him to start rethinking his priorities by beating him after a particularly horrible loss? Instead, they have Paul win against Ash in a very one-sided battle, with Paul pretty much learning that no matter who he loses to, Ash will be his punching bag.
Another case I hoped for a good smacking was for a gym leader to confiscate and refuse to hand Paul a gym badge due to his rude and condescending gloating after getting the Veilstone Gym badge from Maylene. Maylene was pretty much a new gym leader at this point, and gym leaders command respect, no matter how new they are. By all means, Maylene should've forbid him the badge because he didn't treat her with the respect that gym leaders deserve.
The aforementioned tag battle arc is another point that could've given him the chance to be taught the error of his ways. After Chimchar was rescued by Ash and put into recovery, Nurse Joy warned him not to put the injured pokemon into battle because the injuries are numerous; naturally, being the insensitive jerk he is, he ignores the warning, knowing that a rival pokemon that Chimchar feared would be there, stupidly thinking that Chimchar would fight with more fury: as expected, Chimchar froze in fear, which is what happens most of the time in real life. Again, why in the name of Slaking's lazy ass didn't Nurse Joy report this? In the real world, people such as her are required to report such abuses to authorities, though considering Japan is drastically behind on the whole reporting abuse issue, it just leaves negative implications. Had I been in her position, I would've reported him to the authorities, complete with the threat of removing him from the tournament if he ignored the warning, as well as following on that threat.
Seriously, the lack of punishment and defeats lead me to believe that Paul is like a cheating spoiled brat who has to win, and the writers are following his demands. I swear the only reason he isn't on the TvTropes Wesley page is because of his Draco in Leather Pants status, which is described below.

Fifth, the fanbase adores him for all the wrong reasons. I have to admit, this is one of my biggest gripes with the character. It wouldn't be so bad if the audience treated him appropriately, but they don't. Instead, he's glorified and held in a positive light in spite of his generally repulsive attitude, which gets downplayed. While the entire fanbase doesn't adore him and shares some of my sentiments, those who don't raise him to god status are the vast minority.
Many say they like Paul because how he's isn't a "goody two shoes" rival like many rivals in the show. In real life, a rival like Paul is the last kind of rival you'd want; since he's an arrogant bully who'd more likely drain the fun out of everything (it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of trainers who lost to Paul gave up training all together). A good rival is someone who provides a challenge, but is a good sport and gives friendly encouragement.
Another point that drives me crazy with the fanbase is that they do romance stories with him and Dawn. Forgetting the fact that they barely have any interaction in canon, their personalities are the exact opposite: Dawn is a cheerful girl (when she isn't faking smiles through all of the defeats she's gone through) who is supportive of her friends and participates in contests; in contrast, Paul only goes into battling and is, as I've said before, a cold, condescending jackass who'd more likely make you want to slit your wrists when you're in a depressed mood. And then there are the people who pair him up with Ash, of all people; first, this is a kids' show, so romance is likely light at best, if close to nonexistent. Second, knowing how dull Ash is with romance and how Paul only thinks about battling, a romance with the two characters is near impossible. Third, it's very unlikely that they'd strike in a homosexual relationship, even if Japan is more lenient on the whole subject.
No matter what Paul does, the fans who worship the ground he walks on will downplay the horrific stuff, such as Chimchar's abuse in the Tag Battle arc. Even if he destroys a clutch of pokemon eggs after beating up the guarding parents, even if he murders people, or even if he nearly destroyed a town, they'd still fawn over him, where normally most people would consider him a monster after any of those actions (and if the writers had their heads on right, the characters would start treating him appropriately).
Granted, Paul battles more like someone who plays the games, using type advantages and switching pokemon as needed, in contrast to our protagonists who seem to be contractually obligated to be stupid. But that does not give him the right to be an absolute asshole to everyone.

And that is why I hate Paul so much. Every time he shows up, the audience is bound to ignore all of the harsh and heartless training he puts his pokemon through and defend him when those who don't share their opinion try to tell them his flaws. It's enough to make me want to take that black pokedex of his and shove it up his ass, or punch the writers for not giving him any karma for his actions. It frustrates me to no end.
Someone in deviantart, PLEASE put this in the correct location. Your system's hard to figure out.

As for the "Captain Planet and the Planeteers #3" review I mentioned in the first point, here. [link]

I know I'm gonna get flames from some people, but that's what marshmallows are for! :) Honestly, this has been on my chest for a while.
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Cyber-Angel-Rowan Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I agree entirely.
nygma619 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014
Yes Paul did allegedly apologize about Infernape, when he asked about how Infernape was faring after the battle.

Also when he looses to Ash with Electivire, he praises his effort INDICATING that he has changed himself AND his outlook.

You want to know what the turning point for Paul changing was? Him learning that Ash won at The Battle Pyramid.  Why? Because he did what his brother couldn't do.  He viewed Ash as just like his brother, someone weak and caring who can't POSSIBLY have inner strength.

Since Paul's entire reason for becoming the way he is, was his brother quitting after ONE LOSS and not trying again; him learning that Ash beat him challenged his entire philosophy/perception.

It's WHY Ash was treated better by him in his later encounters after that.  It's also why he wasn't seen as antagonizing to other people right away or at all, such as with Barry AFTER he swept him.  We also see him doing things like saving Ash & Co. in a later episode. Something Paul wouldn't have done earlier in the season.  But him learning about what Ash did DOESN'T change everything right away, it just complicates his views.

What completes Paul's change is Ash proving that Paul's entire training philosophy IS FLAWED.  As Ash brings out Infernape's inner strength with hard work AND compassion for certain Pokemon.  A training method Paul dismissed COMPLETELY.

Granted some of this IS NOT spelled out, and you do have think a little bit about this.  More so than just about any other character in the anime.  In fact I think that's why Paul's naysayers call him a karma houdini, since the show usually never wanted it's audience to think harder than usual about something.  The fanbase of this show is USUALLY used to having information spoon fed to them.
LilyNadesico Featured By Owner Edited Oct 27, 2014
And apologizing to Infernape and praising Electivire was out of character on his part and was completely out of the blue. Paul is, simply put, vermin and doesn't have a single redeeming quality.
LilyNadesico Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014
Hmph. Sorry, I don't buy this. Paul is a karma houdini. He should have gotten punished MORE for his actions. I don't care what his motives or his excuses were, he was an abusive asshole who deserved to have all of his Pokemon liberated and his training licence revoked.

I hate him and I will hate him forever.
These posts from another site sums up the Ash/Paul rivalry perfectly:
No, the reasoning provided by the show is not good enough to me. I don't really buy this specific thing to Ash Paul dislikes. It's too vague. All Ash ever did was try to get along with Paul and be nice and friendly. And the whole "since Paul drew a connection between Reggie and Ash, the very way Ash did things was going to put him off" thing isn't very believable to me either. Why in the world would you be mean to someone you don't really know, only because he reminds you of someone you have a grudge against? I would certainly never act like that, I would give this person a chance, since it's a different person alltogether. I just didn't understand/could not identify with any of the (vague) reasons given for Paul's behaviour, and that's exactly why I disliked him.
Ash and Paul's interactions were really just this: "They see each other, Ash greets him happily, Paul acts like a douche to no one's surprise (except Ash's), he suddenly remembers that Paul is a jerk, they argue over training methods (yawn), rinse, repeat."
Paul was too much better than him until the league, where Infernape took out half his team, and they suddenly got on more friendly terms.
He got no punishment for his abuse other than what I mentioned above, which was shrugged off.
nygma619 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014
"Why in the world would you be mean to someone you don't really know, only because he reminds you of someone you have a grudge against? I would certainly never act like that, I would give this person a chance, since it's a different person alltogether."

This is a shallow interpretation since one person=/= how ANOTHER DIFFERENT person might. Variety is the spice of life. Some people are capable of viewing people in a shallow less-nuanced light.
But don't you think it's stupid how he was only mean to Ash because he reminded him of Reggie?
nygma619 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014
Yes it was shallow on his part, but I feel it's more than plausible.  There are definitely people in real life that draw those shallow conclusions, ESPECIALLY kids that are Paul's age.
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014
I'm pretty sure that getting beaten by the very Pokemon you deemed "weak" and "useless" is punishment enough in itself. So to me, Paul got served. I feel he only trained brutally with Chimchar because of the whole blaze ability. As for his other Pokemon, I'm sure he wasn't as hard but still very strict and if they didn't prove themselves, he'd discard them back into the wild.

And I just watched an episode I never saw before where Paul uses his Gliscor for the first time in a battle and I have to admit that Paul may have a rotten attitude  but he is a very fearsome trainer and I have to respect that a bit. I'd be more intimidated battling him over Ash any day.

I willl agree though. Paul's whole existence on the show was awfully executed. His reasoning for not liking Ash is just stupid since they didn't go in depth you know? Perhaps if they added a part in the story where Paul watched Ash's battles in other leagues, that would have been more appropriate in why he loathes him so much considering Paul had been traveling for a long time as well. If Paul disliked Ash because of his poor battling back in the older episodes, I'd totally let it slide but it doesn't.

He's like Seto Kaiba of YuGiOh, being a jerk just for the sake of being a jerk. The only difference was that at one point, Kaiba was actually a little likeable (during the first season of Yu-Gi-Oh!) lol
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