The Dark Council has convened, and by the will of my mysterious Patrons, my fate is ordained: we’re talking about Ghetsis, the villain of Pokémon: Black and White. Black and White have always been games that I have very mixed feelings about, for all sorts of reasons, and Ghetsis and his role in the story are inextricable from those feelings. I love the story of Black and White and their sequels; taken together I still think they have the best plot a core Pokémon game has yet produced (although more recent games have different strengths of their own). I also think they’re deeply flawed and could easily have been so much more. Ghetsis is a fantastic character – but he and his relationship with the games’ anti-hero (anti-villain?), N, are at the heart of what holds Black and White back. I’ve talked about Team Plasma, N and Ghetsis before in places, but that was ages ago and some of that old stuff is a little patchy, so this has been a long time coming. Let’s talk about what makes Ghetsis arguably the most evil character in Pokémon’s history and how he shapes the story of these now-classic entries in the series.Continue reading “Ghetsis”
I’m just finishing up a character study of Ghetsis, the villain of Pokémon: Black and White, at the behest of my shadowy masters on the Dark Council. I have some thoughts on his character design, which I didn’t want to put into the main piece because the visual design of the human characters isn’t really something I’m normally interested in and it wasn’t especially relevant to the thesis of the article, but I also don’t want to not post it at all because I think I might have noticed something new here. So… here’s… that!Continue reading “Some notes on Ghetsis’ design, and the colour indigo”
In a way it feels strange to do all three of these characters together – like, it makes sense to have Hau and Gladion together because they both fit Pokémon’s existing “rival” archetypes, and it makes sense to have Lillie and Gladion together because (uh… SPOILERS, I guess???) they’re family, but the three of them don’t fit together quite as neatly at first glance. In fact, though, they play off each other in ways that I think are worth talking about. Hau, Lillie and Gladion all act as foils to one another – Hau’s carefree optimism, Lillie’s self-effacing dutifulness, Gladion’s edgy pragmatism. All three of them also have certain issues with their parentage (granted, in Lillie and Gladion’s case, it’s the same parent), which is important not just in terms of their own characterisation but because tradition (and, by extension, ancestry and inheritance) is a minor theme of Sun and Moon. Lillie’s relationship with her mother is also basically what the entire climax of the game turns on. So let’s talk about these three, their personalities and what happens to them, and see what we can be come up with – starting with Hau.Continue reading “Hau, Lillie and Gladion”
This one isn’t going to be super heavy on sweeping themes and allegory; I don’t have, like, a hot take about how Hop’s character arc is actually a commentary on British masculinity, or anything like that. Nor (thank Arceus) do we need to get especially deep into the lore of any particular legendary Pokémon to understand what Hop’s deal is; Zacian and Zamazenta are relevant to his story, but we can do this without them. That means I can just… talk about what Hop does in the story, then say what I think about it, like I used to do back when I was still pretending that my life made sense. The theme here isn’t even all that complicated or particularly unusual in a Pokémon game: Hop’s story is about growing up in other people’s shadows and learning to find your own path and excel in your own way, not comparing yourself to the achievements of others. It’s sweet, it’s uplifting, let’s talk about it.Continue reading “Hop”
Today we’re going to be looking at another pivotal character of Pokémon: Sword and Shield: Chairman Rose, the… [SPOILERS… obviously???] main antagonist of the game’s climax. Even more so than Lusamine, Rose spends a lot of the game being obviously suspicious but never actually doing anything untoward that we can see, until suddenly he flips out and does something completely ludicrous that I am probably going to spend the entire duration of generation VIII trying to puzzle out. Exactly what he does is swathed in some weird deep-lore $#!t that I don’t think we have the full picture of, even from our vantage point at the end of the game, and anyway I’m going to talk more about it when I cover Sonia’s storyline, and eventually when I review the relevant legendary Pokémon. For Rose, I think it’s more important that we look at who he is and what his motivations are.
So what’s Rose’s deal?Continue reading “Chairman Rose”
Okay; let’s get cracking! New generation, renewed sense of purpose, momentary spike in my will to live… aaaaaand it’s gone.
I’m going to begin with my character studies of the major players in the plot of Sword and Shield, rather than Pokémon reviews like I’ve done in the past, partly because I want to get my thoughts on the story out there while the games are fresh in people’s minds and it’s more immediately relevant… and partly because I was still doing Pokémon reviews for generation VII just a couple of months ago and frankly I need a minute (also I am kiiiiinda thinking I should go back and do the characters from Sun and Moon that I missed out). Let’s start with the, uh… pseudo-villains… of Sword and Shield – Team Yell – and their reluctant “leaders” Piers and Marnie. In more ways than one, Team Yell are a continuation of things we saw in Sun and Moon with Team Skull. Team Skull are arguably not “villains” in Sun and Moon, and certainly not the main antagonists. They’re set up as troublemakers and petty criminals, but if anything we’re supposed to come to sympathise with them by the end of the game, and their leaders earn redemption in the epilogue. Team Yell are the same, but more so: they’re obstructive and annoying, but they never really hurt anyone as far as we see, and once we learn their true nature, it’s clear that their motives are – if not exactly “pure” – certainly understandable.Continue reading “Marnie, Piers and Team Yell”
…I mean, do I really need to-?
…then again, “Team Rocket is gay now” is pretty compelling
(what am I saying, “now”? look at Jessie and James; they were always gay)
all right, let’s try for a shorter one
In the aftermath of the resolution of the main plot in Ultra Sun and Moon, Team Rocket appears out of nowhere and takes over first Festival Plaza and then the entire Aether Paradise, renovating Lusamine’s mansion with a new menacing black-and-red colour scheme. Only they aren’t Team Rocket anymore – they’ve rebranded, are now Team Rainbow Rocket, and are accompanied by a rogue’s gallery of villains from all the previous Pokémon games. And they’ve got plans. Apparently. I know a lot of my readers haven’t actually played Ultra SMoon (which… well, fair enough; they’re not a big step up over Sun and Moon) so let’s begin with a summary of what exactly happens.Continue reading “Team Rainbow Rocket”
This piece is in principle about the Aether Foundation, and we’ll start by talking a little about them. In practise, though, as I hinted last time in my review of Team Skull, it’s actually more a character study of Lusamine, since a lot of the real “villainy” happening in Sun and Moon is a result of her personal actions, either independently of the Foundation itself or abusing her position within it. The interesting thing about Sun and Moon is that, although Team Skull clearly aren’t the villains by the end of the game, the Aether Foundation aren’t really the villains either. In fact, I’m not even sure Lusamine is. Let’s talk about that.Continue reading “Lusamine and the Aether Foundation”
Well, I finally got my act together and reviewed every Pokémon from generation VII, but we’re not done yet. While I was reviewing the Pokémon of Unova, I wrote a series on Pokémon’s villains – Team Rocket, Teams Aqua and Magma, Team Galactic and Team Plasma. Those articles… are fine. I mean, they’re not bereft of insight, but they’re from the first six months of this blog’s life and they’re far from the most interesting things I’ve ever written. Having written those, though, it seemed only logical that after finishing the Kalos Pokédex I should write about Team Flare and Lysandre, and that one holds up much better in retrospect. Which means that now… well, where would we be if I didn’t write about Team Skull (and, after them, the Aether Foundation)? My Team Flare review focused pretty heavily on Lysandre himself and his beliefs, because his characterisation is very important to the plot of X and Y and central to how I understood and reacted to a lot of the events of those games. That’s probably going to be true of my upcoming piece on the Aether Foundation as well, which I anticipate will concentrate on Lusamine, but I think Team Skull demands a different approach. The two named characters of Team Skull, Guzma and Plumeria, do matter, but Team Skull’s story isn’t really about either of them, in my opinion; it’s about Team Skull as a group, with Guzma and Plumeria exemplifying different facets of that group’s values and experiences. So let’s talk about that.Continue reading “Team Skull”
…Jim, do you feel like we’re forgetting something?
I don’t know. Just… I have this nagging feeling we’re supposed to have done something.
Probably nothing important.
Hmm. Okay; if you say so.
Well, we never did do the last entry in that rivals series. About Mrayndan and Wally. So, I mean, it could be that.
The what now?
We were talking about all the rivals? You know, like how you did that series on the Champions years ago?
…OH S#!T!Continue reading “Rivals, part 8: May, Brendan and Wally”