- The Pokémon Horizons anime sets up a new protagonist, Dot, to take the spotlight, showing a departure from previous iterations.
- Dot's character arc of coming out of her shell is being developed, showcasing the show's focus on story arcs instead of one-off episodes.
- The friendships in Horizons feel more authentic and have been given time to develop, thanks to the show's new formula and the characters' travel aboard the airship.
The Pokémon Horizons anime has set up its third protagonist to finally take the spotlight, showing just how different this iteration of the Pokémon anime is from what came before.
Dot is a character whose existence aboard the airship only became apparent several episodes into the series, but as soon as she appeared in conjunction with Quaxly, fans became suspicious that this character had a bigger role to play. Aside from her association with the third of the Paldean starter Pokémon, Dot was also revealed to be about the same age as Liko and Roy, the series' main protagonists, but was nervous about interacting with other people and chose a life of self-isolation. Helping Dot to come out of her shell was clearly being set up as a major character arc, and the situation with Liko going missing in episode 15 ended up forcing her hand.
Dot Represents A Radical Departure from Ash's Anime Days
In the anime under Ash, he was always the main character, with his companions getting less focus, less characterization, and less growth over the course of the series. This changed a bit as the show went on, with some companions such as Serena actually receiving a fair amount of focus. Still, it was impossible for anyone to be on Ash's level, because Ash himself (and Pikachu) was the only constant of the series. Ash's companions were usually gathered in the first few episodes of a series, and would then travel together, pursuing their own goals that would occasionally get a little spotlight when Ash didn't have anything big going on.
With the fresh start that Pokémon Horizons offers, it's been much easier to elevate the three young protagonists to being on the same level. The show has also not been afraid to take its time setting things up; Roy didn't show up until episode 4, while Dot's existence wasn't made known until episode 8, although she had appeared in costume before without fans knowing. Instead of just meeting up and traveling together in the course of a single episode, Liko's friendships with Roy and especially Dot have been slow to build, brought about by repeated gestures on Liko's part to include her. It's emblematic of the show's new focus on story arcs, rather than one-off episodes.
The net result of these changes has been that the friendships seen in Horizons feel more authentic, as they've been given time to develop in a way that wasn't possible with Ash. The airship has also been key in establishing this new formula, as it allowed the characters to travel together before getting to know one another properly, ensuring that the relationship had a chance to build. Liko's absence made Dot face her feelings about these new friends and make a decision, meaning that she, like Liko, has now chosen to accept the call to adventure. Pokémon Horizons has proven that this new formula works great, and it's definitely a breath of fresh air compared to how the anime used to work with Ash.