Lilycat asks:

Doesn’t Raihan look like Garchomp? Considering his sandstorm…weather team….do you think it was a wasted opportunity that he didn’t have a Garchomp?

I mean I suppose they’re saving him for the rumored diamond pearl remakes…but what are your thoughts?

Yeah, I guess I can see it?  Like, those particular shades of navy blue and scarlet, together with the white “spikes” on his hoodie… seems like it could be a deliberate stylistic reference.  I can think of reasons not to give him a Garchomp, but not fantastic reasons.  Like, as you said, if they were planning to release Pokémon: Timey Diamond and Spacey Pearl or whatever in 2020 or 2021, then those games would definitely have Garchomp, so there’s a decent argument for leaving it out of Sword and Shield, but I think you are allowed to put it in both; there are several Sinnoh-native Pokémon in Sword and Shield, including the iconic Rotom and Lucario, so there is going to be overlap anyway.  You could also argue that gym leaders almost always have a signature Pokémon that’s new in their own generation – in Raihan’s case, Duraludon – and putting a “pseudo-legendary” Pokémon like Garchomp on his gym team would overshadow his star player, which is clearly undesirable.  However, his Champion Cup team actually does include a pseudo-legendary Dragon, namely Goodra.  I don’t think it was necessarily a mistake to leave Garchomp out of the Galar Pokédex and thus deny Raihan the opportunity to use it, but I do think it was a weird choice to do that and then lean into what seems like a Garchomp-inspired character design, rather than picking one of the many other Dragon Pokémon that do exist in Galar, like Haxorus or Noivern.

Then again, I can see an argument for that being kind of the point.  The Pokémon that are missing from Galar aren’t gone for good, and they even have fans in Galar; maybe Raihan loves Garchomp but has never had the opportunity to catch one.  Arguably his costume would look… well, over-the-top if it matched a Pokémon he actually used, but comes across a bit more subtle as a reference to a foreign Pokémon that he likes but doesn’t have.

Tapu Wooloo asks:

Could the Chairman Rose arc be a commentary on modern-day capitalism? Real-world competitive sports is a lucrative business full of shady sponsors. And Dynamaxing seems to be an investment that is extremely gimmicky yet highly profitable (larger stadiums and audiences become necessary), so it would make sense for the chairman to invest in it. Like the decisions of many real world corporations, the decision to put Dynamaxing front and center has left behind towns like Spikemuth. And like real world corporate bosses, Chairman Rose is willing to risk destroying the entire world in pursuit of his investment.

Just giving a very quick and brief answer to this here because I’m actually working on my article on Chairman Rose right now, and am working through how I want to do my full-length take on this. The short answer, though, is “yes, that is absolutely how I see this story as well.”

Leo M. R. [Patreon Cultist] asks:

Let’s have a fun, not-serious Pokémon discussion, shall we? Which of the newer Pokémon do you think would go well with Trainers from older generations? For example: Toxtricity so obviously belongs on Roxie’s team, and the same goes with both Lurantis and Erika, and Primarina and Wallace (side note: why does Primarina get the Fairy typing but not Milotic, huh Game Freak?). Would a Coalossal for Roark or Heliolisk for Volkner be too typecasting based on their cities? Other examples I can think of are Karen with a Mandibuzz, Wikstrom vibes with Corviknight, Drake (Hoennese Elite Four, not Orange League Champion) would probably like a Dragalge, and Cynthia goes well with a Cofagrigus/Runerigus.

Then you have the Trainer-Pokémon pairs that would be fun and cool outside of combat situations, à la Jasmine and her Ampharos. Potential pairs include Phoebe dancing with a Bellossom, Koga/Janine training with a Greninja, and Brawly surfing with an Alolan Raichu, while Crasher Wake + Hawlucha + Incineroar sounds just like the kind of recipe for disaster that would make for a good Friday night. Any other ideas?

Continue reading “Leo M. R. [Patreon Cultist] asks:”

jeffthelinguist asks:

Why do Pokemon post game stories suck (aside from Johto’s, and even that doesn’t have much for story)? The more casual fans might stop after the credits so really they should be for the hardcore fans; it’s really a chance for Game Freak to step up their storytelling and give us some good lore. Instead we get Looker (arguably the best thing other than Johto’s and that says a lot), Team Rainbow Rocket (minor nostalgia dump with huge plot holes), and now Squidward and Sherbet (I refuse to ever use their real names).

Well, I should start by saying that I actually quite like Sword and Shield’s post-championship storyline in spite of Swordface and Shieldbutt (who are clearly not meant to be sympathetic characters), as detailed here (this question landed in my inbox before that entry was published). Their enmity towards Sonia for “changing history” actually does feel to me like a natural continuation of her story and an interesting perspective on the events of the main plot. So I sort of disagree with the premise of the question, which is a thing I do a lot.  I also liked Fire Red and Leaf Green’s Sevii Islands storyline, and while I consider Looker himself a personal enemy who should be flung into outer space, I don’t actually have any issues with the Lumiose City storyline featuring Emma and Xerosic in X and Y.  I have problems with the endgame stories that feel tacked onto a game that was already finished – the worst offenders in my view being Platinum’s Charon subplot (the main plot is about ancient mythology and seizing control of terrible cosmic powers to rewrite reality and change the nature of life, the universe and the soul; and then Charon, who’s been built up as this incredible genius for the entire game, just wants to blow up a volcano in order to extort lots of money from the people of Sinnoh) and the Team Rainbow Rocket saga of Ultra SMoon (which… well, we’ve been there). Also, frankly, even though this isn’t actually postgame material, I think the Ultra Recon Squad subplot counts as this too; it’s not actually bad in isolation but it doesn’t belong in the story it’s attached to.  And, well, that’s kind of the answer to your question: because they’re tacked onto games that were already finished, in some cases (as I understand it – fact-check me on this) by different writers than the ones responsible for the original story.  I’m inclined to blame the rampant corporate greed that dictates an annual release cycle for Pokémon, whether there’s actually a worthwhile game to be made or not – but then, I blame a lot of things on rampant corporate greed these days, so you can argue this is just my baseline.

N asks:

Are bad dads a constant in the Pokémon Universe? Like i can’t remember for the life of me a single good father in the franchise. Hell, the entire plot of the Detective pickachu movie hinges on a son being unable to recognize his own father’s voice.

Well, I can think of… a couple of good dads: Professor Birch, in Ruby and Sapphire, seems to have a very strong relationship with his child, May/Brendan (whichever one isn’t the player character), while Norman, the player character’s father, is away all the time because he works in a different city but seems like a decent enough parent when we actually get to see him.  Bianca’s dad in Black and White… doesn’t really “get it,” but he’s at least trying not to be a $#!tty dad.

There is a standard explanation for this one, and there will always be one person who brings it up, which is: “absent fathers are a theme in Japanese fiction because Japanese fathers work 500 hours a day and are never around.”  That’s… true, and it explains a lot of the $#!ttiness of many Pokémon fathers – like Palmer in Diamond and Pearl being so distant from Barry, or Hau’s unnamed father in Sun and Moon being off in Kanto somewhere doing god knows what.  I think a lot of it really is just Pokémon’s own priorities, though, and a general lack of interest in the families of the player or other major characters (it would be fair to say, I think that the plots of these games are not what you’d call “character-driven”).  Like… fathers who are absent or distant because they work all the time are also a theme of American fiction; American fiction has practically created entire genres out of emotionally stunted men’s obsession with their $#!tty father figures.  But that’s not what the fathers of Pokémon’s main characters are like; they’re just not there, with no explanation and no relevance to anything.  Plenty of other characters have fathers who clearly exist, even if they’re not around very much or aren’t very good parents.  It’s also fairly common for both parents to be equally absent (as in Brock and Misty’s cases; I don’t think we ever meet Hau’s mother either).  I think the presence of the main character’s mother in each game is, in most cases, something of an admission that, at a bare minimum, it would be weird for a child to grow up completely alone.

Anonymous asks:

What did you think of the change to Lusamine’s motivations in USUM? I kind of preferred her SM version, but that’s mostly because Lillie telling her why she was wrong was Lillie’s best moment to me.

Iiiiiiiiii have mixed feelings.  I don’t want to go into it in too much detail now because a full article on Lusamine and the Aether Foundation is on my to-do list for after I finish my Pokémon reviews, but I think both versions of Lusamine’s story get at aspects of her character the writers wanted to show.  There’s an argument that a better writer would have been able to do that with a single cohesive plotline rather than two alternate versions, but I think there’s also an argument that showing how the same character’s story could have progressed in two different ways as a result of fairly minor changes in circumstance is kind of interesting – we’ve seen Lusamine both as the story’s primary villain and as an arguably heroic supporting character, and each portrayal is true to the other.  I quite like the anime’s characterisation of Lusamine and its portrayal of her experiences with Nihilego in Ultra Space, but unfortunately it doesn’t get Lillie’s fantastic “the reason you suck” speech either.

Analytic Mareep asks:

One thing I’ve noticed about Bianca and Cheren: Bianca always ends up being the more useful of the pair. In the Relic Castle sequence, Cheren just tags along behind you, ultimately adding nothing to the situation. Bianca, meanwhile, gets ahold of Juniper–which turns out to be really important since they find the dark/light stone. In the Elite Four sequence, the same thing happens. Cheren tags along and beats the Elite Four as well (not contributing much of anything to your predicament) while Bianca rounds up all the Gym Leaders (who save your ass). I think this was probably intentional, and it sheds light on how the writers wanted us to view Bianca and Cheren.

Hmm.  I think that’s a little unfair to Cheren; he does fight alongside you against Team Plasma on multiple occasions, and fighting usually makes up most of the player’s contribution to advancing the plot.  And I don’t… think Bianca is responsible for getting Professor Juniper involved in looking for the Dark/Light Stone, or at least I don’t believe anyone ever says that’s what she’s doing.  I’d be more inclined to assume that that was the elder Professor Juniper, who is present at the Dragonspiral Tower when the player confronts N, and works together with his daughter to identify the stone.  There is a general point to be made about Bianca and Cheren as foils to each other, though.  The early part of the game kind of sets up Cheren as more organised, more ambitious, a better trainer, more… well, frankly, more competent, whereas Bianca doesn’t really know what she’s doing or what she wants.  Over the course of the game, though, Cheren comes to realise (through Alder’s example) that his ambitions are basically hollow, leaving him somewhat listless at the end of the story; Bianca, on the other hand, grows into herself, figures out what she wants to do with her life, and becomes a researcher.  She’s ultimately the one who comes out of it with a stronger conception of her own goals and identity.  I think the message is supposed to be about taking time to explore life, and figure out what your goals are gradually and organically, rather than focusing on the single-minded pursuit of just one aim in the belief that it will complete you as a person (Cheren actually credits Bianca, as well as the player, Alder and N, with helping him realise this).