Pearl v Amour focus: DATES?!
(Previously featured in the November 2015 newsletter)
Many of you have heard of or seen XY059 “Satoshi and Serena’s first date?!”- The (I think) misleadingly and stupidly titled episode about Ash and Serena’s supposed first date (because it sounds like some idiotic fangirl is screaming the title whenever I get to the “?!”)
“No shipping can beat this!” the Amourshippers cry. Well…really?!
First of all, I’ll run briefly through the plot of this episode. Ash and Serena go and get gifts for the Pokemon since Clemont and Bonnie want to stay at the Poke Centre. Serena is uncomfortable about this since she thinks it’s a date (that girl has a one track mind), and this one is where she tries to grab Ash’s hand but doesn’t because she’s nervous and blushing too hard.
Halfway through, Ash ditches Serena. Literally, the bulbapedia says “Ash decides to leave” (Which, funnily enough, is what almost every Amourshipper ultimately fears at the end of the series). Then they meet up with everyone, including Clemont and Bonnie, at the “vow tree” where they promise to do their best for their Pokemon etc. etc. and Ash gives Serena the blue ribbon he got for being the millionth passenger at the monorail as thanks for accompanying him. Serena then “promises to treasure the ribbon”.
Now let’s grab the Pearlshipping thing I’ll be comparing this to. You have probably all watched the DP episode “Tanks for the Memories”. This is the one where Ash suggests he and Dawn get something to eat after he finds her crying about her third contest loss. Then they go get ice cream, and the fun times are unceremoniously interrupted by Brock, who they see hanging on to Team Rocket’s ballon.
Let’s start the analysis. While, in the DP episode, Ash and Dawn are NOT the focus, the (what pearlshippers often call) “ice cream date” is much more meaningful than Ash and Serena’s “date”, and I’ll tell you why. Firstly, let’s look at purpose.
Ash and Serena’s date is to get gifts for the Pokemon, it’s not about any interaction between Ash and Serena (in the canon verse anyway- the writers obviously intended this episode to be targeted towards Amourshippers). On the other hand, Ash’s INVITATION to Dawn is obviously to cheer her up. Whether he feigns denseness after Dawn says she’s fine for the sake of not embarrassing her is debatable, but the implication still remains that Ash is willing to (or wants to) spend time with Dawn. The purpose of this date, indeed, was to spend time with her and cheer her up- the date itself is Ash and Dawn centric. The purpose for the Pearlshipping date already sounds more romantic at this stage.
The Pearlshipping date doesn’t get a lot of airtime, and the main strong point that the date has to help us is the purpose, so this is the argument to use whenever Amourshippers claim their date episode is unbeatable. Some Pearlshippers also suggest the ice cream is connected to the song Ice Cream Syndrome. Whether that is true or not is unclear.
Secondly, let’s get to taking apart the Amourshipping date. We’ve already seen the purpose of it- not to spend time together (which debates its title as a date). Now, the first significant thing is that Ash ditches her, which causes Serena to make this sweet, sweet face that all Pearlshippers should look at in times of sadness.
Aww. Look at him go.
So, Ash clearly doesn’t seen spending time with Serena as a priority on this date. After a few hours, Serena meets up with Ash again by accident. Ash tells Serena he can’t choose a gift, and Serena tells him to choose something he’d like since he’s quite similar to his Pokemon.
Thirdly, we now move on to the ribbon. When Ash finds out the box from the monorail contains a ribbon, what we can basically summarise is that he does not give a toss about it. Serena, of course, thinks the ribbon is really cool. And this detail is important for the next part. When Ash gives Serena the blue ribbon at the tree, he gives it to her as thanks for helping him choose a gift. The ribbon is something that Ash doesn’t really value, and he gives it to Serena as thanks, or basically, repayment. This is the first time Ash has given a girl a gift without prompting, but this is to be expected from a more mature, XY Ash. Still, the concept of giving the gift as thanks rather than any personal forward feeling is far less romantic than Amourshippers make it out to be (?!).
Although the focus of the Amourshipping episode on Ash and Serena makes the episode seem stronger, a more meaningful look at the events is key. (for Pearlshippers, anyway. Obviously the Amourshippers want their precious date episode to stand above all)
So, next time an Amourshipper tries to lord their date over you, flash them this table!
Summary Table- Pearl Date vs Amour Date