So… I guess it’s time to learn about native Hawaiian mythology, huh?
We’re on the home stretch of seventh-generation Pokémon now, and today we’re talking about the four guardian deities of the Alolan islands: Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu and Tapu Fini. These four are deeply woven into Alolan culture and identity, and they have a special relationship with the Alolan trial system and its administrators, the four Island Kahunas. They’re also the pièce de résistance of generation VII’s unprecedented level of interest in taking inspiration from the culture, ecology and history of the real-world region its setting is based on.Continue reading “Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu and Tapu Fini”
House Tapu Koko: Strife Exalts the Striven
House Tapu Lele: Life Owes Nothing to the Living
House Tapu Bulu: Prosperity Devours the Prosperous
House Tapu Fini: Faith Outlives the Faithful
What do you think of Toucannon’s anger, both from an aesthetic and character standpoint?
Well, I think it… looks angry?
I don’t know, it has this really surly, grumpy look to it, like it hasn’t slept in days and has just been asked to submit its budget report a week early, but I don’t think it’s actually described or portrayed as an unusually angry Pokémon. The Pokédex even references the fact that it’s seen as a good Pokémon to have at an Alolan wedding ceremony because it mates harmoniously for life. So, I actually think under its gruff exterior it might be a sweet perfect cinnamon roll.
Could the giant Torterra in Detective Pikachu be linked to dynamax somehow? Arguably, they did not have much of a purpose in the movie…
Proooooooobably not. The movie was filmed in early 2018, and the script was written in 2016-2017, at which point Sword and Shield would have been in a very early stage of development (presumably Game Freak would still have had all hands on deck for the release of Ultra Smoon later that year). I’m not sure even Game Freak would have known about Dynamaxing at that point – or at least, it could have been only one of several ideas they were tossing around for generation VIII’s flagship mechanic. Even if they were already certain that Dynamaxing was going to be a core feature of the next game, Detective Pikachu was written by American screenwriters who would have had no more special insight into Game Freak’s plans for the next generation than the rest of us. Some higher-up at the Pokémon Company could have told the screenwriters “hey, slip in a giant Pokémon somehow – no reason!” (you wouldn’t tell them why, because that’s an unnecessary risk of a leak), but honestly that seems to me like a weird process to go through. I think it’s more likely to be a coincidence.
I recently thought of something, though you may want to save this for the inevitable review. Considering it’s propensity for “absorbing all the light in the universe” and basically being the ends of said universes, is it possible that Necrozma is Pokémon’s equivalent to the phenomenon astrophysicists call the “heat death of the universe?” That being entropy inevitable cooling down every single particle in the universe until there isn’t a bit of useable light or energy left and everything decays until there’s nothing left so that there’s basically nothing left except complete darkness?
I will indeed talk more about Necrozma when I get to the review, but I don’t know that this works with the way it’s portrayed in Ultra Smoon, or for that matter in the anime. Necrozma used to be a being of light, a creative and generative force. Its dark form that steals light is a result of some kind of damage it suffered in the past, but that damage is supposed to be fixable, resulting in the restoration of the radiant form we know as Ultra Necrozma (which sort of clashes with the feeling of inevitability that the whole “heat death”/entropy theme would be trying to evoke).
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).