Quote Originally Posted by CyberCubed View Post
To be honest, most of the characters don't change from their debut episodes anymore outside the usual. Every character gets better at training/battling and captures Pokemon throughout their run.

What I notice now is how the main characters personalities don't change or grow much from their debut episodes. Iris and Cilan are essentially exactly the same now as they were in their debut episodes, ignoring their Pokemon. Dawn's personality itself never really changed much since her debut, the only thing that changed was her skill in contests and battling.

It seems the writers only really develop characters through their skills in Pokemon and battling, but not their personalities anymore. It used to be the opposite when the show first started, and I think that's why some feel May developed better, as there is gradual change to her personality depending on which portion of the series you're watching.
Hmm...after reading the last few walls of post, I think I came to a somewhat decent, probably unbiased opinion. Like Cyber said, the anime writing in the beginning focused on character more than the battles itself. Most nostalgia fans or whatever name you give them like OS because of this. Despite being a Pokemon anime, the characters themselves were enjoyable. The story was written in a animerealistic way.(Note the word animerealistic means a fine mixture of anime and reality.) There were constant references to real world etc etc. But I think at some point, the focus slowly shifted to battles, which the franchise might have realized was something unique only to Pokemon.

Even so, the character development may got in AG was commendable. Her contest arc greatly differed from Dawn's contest arc in a sense that rather developing May's team, they developed her personality more. I mean, May was more or less stuck with Beautifly, Combusken and Skitty while Bulbasaur joined the fray in the middle. Her contest arc always associated with a bit of melodrama like Harley humiliating her publicly, her own confidence issues etc etc. And not to mention May's name almost always ended up in the eighth place after the appeal round.....she got her 5th ribbon in the last contest of Hoenn. She messed up pretty bad in the Grand festival thanks to Harley and barely made it to the battle round. All of these pointed to the same thing: It was May's character that was mostly tested more than her battling skills. IMO, her battling skill wasn't even talked about until the last episode where she loses to Solidad.

Dawn on the hand was written completely different. While her arc was filled with quite a bit of drama too, her troubles associated with her skill as a coordinator rather than her character. She didn't had any trouble with people like Harley. Even Ursula only insulted her but didn't go to extreme means to stop her progress. Dawn's development associated with 1) Her realizing that she needs to showcase her Pokemon not the flashy moves 2) The combination moves she worked to beat Ursula etc. Dawn's contest arc was written quite differently because the writers obviously didn't want her to be a rehash of May. While she did have some sad moments, there wasn't a constant drama revolving around her like it did with May. She passed the Contest Appeal with flying colors in the grand festival, she got her 5th ribbon well in advance etc. etc.

Now those who like Dawn or May usually tend to differ because of their preference towards the storylines. Those who liked May's drama-esque story line preferred May over Dawn and disliked her while people(like me) preferred the second option over the first. It's a matter of opinion.

But one must agree that almost all of Dawn's character development was in fact "battle" development. It's not a wrong thing, it's just that the writers wrote her that way. There are many people who enjoyed Dawn over May. In the end, it's a matter of preference.

Iris, imo comes with character development. Her battle skills were never truly tested(except by Drayden). Her only "battle" related development was teaching Excadrill Focus Blast. Most of her development comes under character development. I think Doryuzu, being a Iris fan, has done a good job explaining Iris in their post if you check the previous page.