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”
The Philosophical Sheep asks:
I was kind of disappointed with the plot of Sun and Moon. The whole “Aether is working with Team Skull” twist didn’t feel like something the writers had fully thought through, and thus it raised many more questions than it answered. I would have preferred if instead Team Skull had aided the player, Hau and Gladion when they invaded Aether Paradise, and in doing so learned what true strength meant and also redeemed themselves in the eyes of everyone else.
Mmm. I thought the whole denouement felt a bit… rushed, I suppose? Given the opportunity, I might have asked for… well, essentially something like what I tried to do with “Grunt B” in my playthrough write-up, that is, seeing Team Skull member question Guzma’s leadership (and sanity…), ultimately stepping in to help the player save Guzma from himself and taking an active role in the final mission to Ultra Space, perhaps along with members of the Aether Foundation.
I think anime Jessie would find Team Skull appealing, don’t you? What with her growing up poor and becoming a criminal to ‘stick it to the man’ as it were, that’s some Team Skull motivation right there! Not sure if she and Guzma would get on, though… Maybe a frenemy relationship with Plumeria?
Well, I’ve seen exactly one and a half episodes of the Sun/Moon anime, and Team Skull did not feature, so grain of salt and all that, but yeah, I actually think all three of our Team Rocket trio would find a lot to like in Team Skull as they’re presented in the games. Jessie and Meowth would sympathise with their disadvantaged position in Alola’s society and respect their ambition, and I think James – despite his own privileged background – has enough of a rebellious streak to appreciate their desire for change. Also, given that a lot of individual members of Team Skull are actually not particularly malicious, I kinda think James and Jessie would fit right in, with their “only evil because I’m supposed to be” attitude. Jessie and Guzma would immediately battle to the death for control of the team though.
Pokémon Moon, Episode 17: In Which I Explore The Disreputable Side Of Reality
At the end of the Vast Poni Canyon, the sheer walls open out into an enormous crater, with a stone spire at its centre and a magnificent – albeit ancient and crumbling – staircase leading up to our goal, the Altar of the Moone. The sun is setting when we arrive, and Hapu and her Mudsdale are already at the base of the grand staircase waiting for us… somehow.
“If you knew a faster way through the canyon, why didn’t you show us?” I complain as we walk up to her. “This is sort of important.” I pause for thought. “Well, to them, anyway,” I add, jerking my head at Lillie and B.
“And deny you the opportunity to face your final trial?” Hapu asks. “Our history tells us that the Vast Poni Canyon trial was the very first ever to be held… and you did a fine job clearing it, just as expected, Chris!”
“Only ‘fine’?” I respond, to a chuckle from Hapu and eye rolls from B and Lillie.
“Look at the three of you…” Hapu says, contemplatively. “I think this might just work out… No, I am quite sure of it!” Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 17: In Which I Explore The Disreputable Side Of Reality”
Lady Seychelles asks:
Screw it I love these FMKs how about Guzma, Professor Kakui, Plumeria
well… Plumeria scares me… and she might kill me back… so I’m going to go with fuck Plumeria to theoretically mimimise the risk to my own life…
Gotta kill Guzma because he’s a jerk
And that leaves me with Kukui to marry, which is fine by me
Pokémon Moon, Episode 14: In Which Literally All Hell Breaks Loose
The teleport pad leads to what seems to be Lusamine’s private laboratory – a cavernous space at the heart of Aether Paradise. We’re standing on a massive white platform made of the same synthetic material as the rest of the Paradise’s superstructure, and we must be in some closed-off part of the docking level, since there’s sea water all around the platform’s base – perhaps we’re directly below Lusamine’s mansion. At the centre of the platform, Lusamine has several consoles displaying similar information on spatial anomalies to the instruments in Professor Burnet’s lab back in Heahea City. At her side is a black metal box, glowing from within with a strange blue light and floating just off the floor. And all around her instruments… Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 14: In Which Literally All Hell Breaks Loose”
Pokémon Moon, Episode 13: In Which I Assist A Known Criminal In Raiding A Reputable Organisation of Conservationists
Where were we?
Oh yes. I had just returned to Aether House in what I thought was triumph, only to find Gladion there, screaming at everyone in the vicinity.
Something tells me this is not going to be the low point of my day.
After a rage-fuelled battle in which my Raichu and Toucannon narrowly manage to overcome Gladion’s powerful Golbat, Sneasel, and whatever the hell “Type: Null” is, Gladion calms down enough for me to figure out what the hell is going on. In perhaps the single cleverest feint ever executed by a Pokémon villain in the history of time, it turns out that Plumeria’s abduction of Yungoos was a ruse, intended mostly to draw me and Acerola away to Po Town. In our absence, Lillie and her adorable little cosmic nuke were left with no one to protect them but Hau. Now, Hau is admittedly not without his strengths. Indeed, if anyone ever finds a way to convert optimism and doughnuts into a sort of tactical high explosive, Hau will overnight become the foremost military power in the known universe. However, given the way reality has currently chosen to manifest itself, he couldn’t win a battle against the Rotomdex, much less Plumeria, and she was able to double back as soon as no one was watching and kidnap Lillie and Nebby. Gladion is decidedly unimpressed, both at the fact that Cosmog was with Lillie all along (he apparently knows her), and at Hau’s failure to protect both of them. If nothing else, his desire to keep Nebby out of the hands of his own employers seems to have been sincere. Luckily, he not only seems to know where they’ve gone, but actually has a way to get there: he has a boat waiting in Malie City, and orders me and Hau to meet him there posthaste. I momentarily consider the possibility that this is all some kind of complex bluff on his part – perhaps Gladion has been working with Lillie all along and is now luring me into a trap? By this point I’m about 90% sure they’re brother and sister, so he could well be involved in her treacherous plot to rule Alola… but I also don’t really have a better plan than “spring the trap and use Hau as a human shield,” so I agree to go along.Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 13: In Which I Assist A Known Criminal In Raiding A Reputable Organisation of Conservationists”
Pokémon Moon, Episode 12: In Which I Infiltrate A Gang Stronghold
Once I’ve stopped shaking uncontrollably, and the Rotomdex has reassured me that the horrifying undead Pikachu I just fought is only another Pokémon (a Ghost/Fairy-type called Mimikyu), Acerola offers me some suggestions on what to do next. Although my success in her trial was in some respects debateable – I was, she reminds me, only supposed to get a photograph of Mimikyu, not give its lair a new back door – I did basically achieve its fundamental objectives, so she presents me with her crystal, the Ghostium-Z. As Ula’ula Island has only two Captains, that means I now have the right to challenge the island’s Kahuna. Acerola declines to explain who or where the Kahuna is right away, though, and invites me back to Aether House to talk it over there. Unfortunately when we get there, with Hau just a few steps behind, someone who is definitely not the Kahuna is waiting.Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 12: In Which I Infiltrate A Gang Stronghold”
Pokémon Moon, Episode 10: In Which I Am Recruited To A Cultural Revolution
Among the major selling points of Malie City is its library, the best in Alola. I mean, not that that’s saying much. The Alolans still worship a cabal of fickle and wrathful Pokémon as deities, and their leading Pokémon researcher is secretly a part-time luchador; believe it or not, they aren’t exactly a global centre of knowledge and literature. They are, however, the world’s leading experts on one field in particular: their own traditions and mythology; Alolan myth basically isn’t taught or studied at any university I’ve ever heard of outside the region itself. Lillie, who arrived in Malie City ahead of me and Hau after coming directly from Heahea City, claims to have need of this esoteric knowledge in order to help Nebby. She asks me to come to the library with her to check it out – so of course I brusquely refuse, send her scurrying away in terror, and then follow her anyway at an inconspicuous distance. Gotta stay one step ahead of this crafty b!tch and her freaky living nebula-bomb, or the whole island chain could be a smoking ruin by Tuesday afternoon. The moment I manage to get into a proper stalking rhythm, though, I run straight into… Professor Oak?Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 10: In Which I Am Recruited To A Cultural Revolution”