No its not harsh. In all aspect in my mind, there is little hope for a good use for Magikarp, other than evolving it into a Gyarados. In the Pokeworld, Magikarp take its revenge when it it evolves into a Gyarados and trashes everything. It has a base attack of 10, base special attack of 15, base health 20. The only good stats are the mediocre defence and speed.
Plus it can only learn 4 moves:
Splash, which does nothing.
Tackle, a basic move that does little damage to a steel/rock type and has no effect to a ghost type.
Flail, works well when the user has low hp, can be countered with a rock/steel/ghost type.
Bounce, the only decent move that Magikarp can learn. Can be countered with a rock/steel type and the move Gravity. Which can only be learned by a tutor.