Team Rainbow Rocket

Official art of Team Rainbow Rocket’s castle.

…well, I…

…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”

Lusamine and the Aether Foundation

Lusamine

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”

Team Skull

Team Skull grunts.

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”

Team Plasma

Hmm.

I’ll start by giving you the short version.

There’s this group of hardline animal rights activists who dress up as mediaeval knights and-

Yeah, you’re right; that does sound stupid.

The truth is, just like Team Galactic, Team Plasma are pretty silly.  The grunts wear costumes that look like mediaeval tunics and chainmail (and yes, I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re meant to look like) and they don’t help matters by using “Plasmaaaaa!” as their battle-cry (it gets worse when one of them decides to coin an adjective to describe anything bad for Team Plasma: “Plasbad”).  As for their leader, Ghetsis… well, he looks like he’s accidentally stumbled in from a high fantasy setting, wearing an enormous blue-and-yellow robe with huge eye-like patterns embroidered on it and some kind of angular monocle made from red glass; the whole ensemble simply defies description and is lacking only a ludicrously ornate sceptre to complete the image (his colleagues, the other six of the so-called “Seven Sages,” wear mercifully plain clothing which, while very old-fashioned, would not seem horribly out-of-place on oriental wise men).  The only explanation I can think of for making Ghetsis so ridiculously over-the-top is that Game Freak wanted to make absolutely sure that the kids would know when playing the game that he’s the bad guy – because, believe it or not, if you don’t already know that anything called a “Team” in Pokémon is a bad guy, you might not immediately realise it.  Continue reading “Team Plasma”

Team Galactic

Okay, everyone, take a deep breath because this one’s a doozy. Team Rocket’s evil plans threatened first a major corporation and then an entire nation. Team Aqua and Team Magma’s climate shenanigans threatened the whole world. When Game Freak went to make Diamond and Pearl, they looked at the villains they had written in the past… and apparently thought something along the lines of “now, how can we top that?” Answer: a villainous team whose evil schemes threaten – I kid you not – reality itself. And they plan it all whilst wearing the kind of bizarre silvery jumpsuits you expect of aliens in dated sci-fi movies and sporting ridiculous turquoise bowl-cuts.

 This is going to be great. Continue reading “Team Galactic”

Team Aqua and Team Magma

In Ruby and Sapphire, we say goodbye to Team Rocket and are instead confronted with not one but two villainous organizations vying for supremacy on the island of Hoenn: Team Aqua and Team Magma. Sapphire pits you against Team Aqua while Team Magma exists on the edge of the plot and doesn’t really do anything, while the situation is reversed in Ruby. The more complicated plot of Emerald tosses you into confrontations with both teams, because really they’re both pretty crazy. See, Team Aqua and Team Magma aren’t simple criminals like Team Rocket and, theoretically anyway, they aren’t in it for the money. Their plans revolve around the climate of Hoenn and of the rest of the world – specifically, how it might be improved. Team Aqua love the sea, because the sea is where life began, and want to deepen the world’s oceans, while Team Magma love the land, because the land is where more diverse and complex life forms arose, and want to expand the world’s landmass. Continue reading “Team Aqua and Team Magma”

Team Rocket (part 2 of 2)

Let’s recap: Team Rocket disbands following the events of Red and Blue, squirming from the embarrassment of having their criminal empire taken down by what amounts to an angry, homeless, ten-year-old amateur toreador. Where police, private security companies and government agencies failed, your character succeeds – I will leave it to you to decide whether this is a reflection on the awesomeness of the average Japanese ten-year-old or the uselessness of the average Japanese law enforcer. Let’s not poke holes in the plot though; it’s shaky enough as it is and probably can’t take much more. Let’s look instead at what happens three years after Giovanni dissolves his organization, when Team Rocket returns in force, this time in the western province of Johto. Continue reading “Team Rocket (part 2 of 2)”