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”
Marnie, Piers and Team Yell
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”
Rivals, part 8: May, Brendan and Wally
…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”
Rivals, part 7: The X/Y Kids
Okay. Just me this time. Jim’s played Omega Ruby, but not X or Y, so he’s not terribly familiar with Serena/Calem and the rest of the gang from X and Y. Let’s… see if I can still write one of these on my own, then. So, first impressions, then; what do we think of the X/Y rivals?
…right, right; it’s just me. Bollocks; this is harder than I remember.Continue reading “Rivals, part 7: The X/Y Kids”
Rivals, part 6: Colress
Okay, I realise that we’re pushing it by including Colress in this series; it’s easy to come up with reasons to lump in N with the list of ‘rival’ characters, even though he behaves very differently to the rest of them, but Colress is very clearly not the same thing. However, I don’t care and I want to talk about Colress, because shut up.
Nice reasoned argument there.
So, Colress. Crazy mad scientist character. I was underwhelmed by him, to be honest. I mean, what does he even do?
I actually liked him! I enjoyed the fact that he was working pretty much at right angles to what literally everyone else in the story was trying to do.Continue reading “Rivals, part 6: Colress”