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
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
Do you think Hau could be the “official” (non-player) champion of Alola? Would that even be a good direction for his characterization? And what the heck even happened to his dad, anyway…?
If you’re asking for, like, a prediction or something… what would that even mean? Does Alola need an “official” Champion? What for? The idea of making the player the Champion was pretty cool and made Alola’s endgame unique, and I think that for Game Freak to canonically designate an NPC as the “real” Champion instead would undermine that. But purely in terms of how being Champion might affect Hau’s characterisation… well, funnily enough this is kind of the direction I tried to explore in the epilogue to my narrative playthrough journal of Moon version, where I imagined my character trying to prepare Hau for exactly that future. So, read that and see what you think, I guess?
Continue reading “Shauna asks:” →
Beneath the crystal dome at the summit of Mount Lanakila, all is serene; all is peaceful. The dome sparkles in the midday sun, the air is still, pure white clouds drift softly past the mountain below, and the inlaid Pokéball design on my throne pulses gently with a warm azure light.
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Epilogue: Responsibility” →
“…sweet Arceus, I’m SO BORED!”
I appreciate that even Lusamine thought it was terrible to make Hau cry.
Well, even evil has standards, right? Besides, Lusamine seems to be fond of Hau. I thought that was a good addition to the whole “wait, who’s the real bad guy again?” theme that I used for that “episode.”
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” →
With no other clear direction obvious to
me, I leave Malie City and wander south.
The southeast coast of Ula’ula Island is dominated by extremely rough,
rocky, arid scrubland. Although the
Z-Crystal that I earned in Sophocles’ trial gets me through the Island
Challenge barricades on the southeast road, it doesn’t take long before the
rocks become totally impassable. Fortunately,
Hapu (who is almost certainly very important, though I’m still not sure why) is
on hand to offer me the solution: she allows me to freely summon her Mudsdale
as a riding Pokémon. Mudsdale is slow
compared to the other Tauros and Stoutland, but can move effortlessly over
rough terrain that would reduce them to uncoordinated stumbling. Hapu points me in the direction of Tapu
Village, at the base of Mount Lanakila, for my next trial, then bids me good
luck and farewell.
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 11: In Which I Perform an Exorcism” →
“So what you’re saying is, you almost killed my Totem Lurantis because your crazy great-grandmother would have wanted it that way?” Mallow folds her arms as she waits for an answer.
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 8: In Which I Am Given A Stern Talking-To By A Colourful Sisterly Figure” →
“…she had a drinking problem. And a gambling problem. And… several legal problems. But she was pretty spry for 94.”
“When did she…?”
“Um… well, about eight years back, the law caught up with her, and she grabbed a shotgun, stole a motorbike, kidnapped the neighbours’ Heracross, and skipped town, laughing all the way. Honestly she’s, uh… probably still kicking. Somewhere out there.” I idly dunk a spoon in the half-finished pot of stew from Mallow’s trial and taste it. “Mmmmmmmm, that’s so f%&£ing good. Good call on the Revival Herb, by the way.” Mallow shudders.
“Okay, well… I’m pretty sure you did technically pass my trial… somehow… so… take these, I guess.” She thrusts a sack of Nest Balls at me, then hands me her Z-Crystal, the Grassium-Z, and leaves me to explore the jungle on my own. Now that I can encounter and catch wild Pokémon there, I am rewarded with three new ones: Bounsweet, Comfey, and Oranguru. I’m not exactly inspired by these so far. Bounsweet is a round, pinkish-red fruit Pokémon that brings to mind the phrase “oh, look, it’s Cherubi,” but it does evolve into something that might not be Cherrim, so we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. Comfey is a Hawaiian lei Pokémon, one of those Flabébé-like Fairy-types that really looks as though it should be a Grass-type and has a bunch of stuff that supports Grass-types; it’s nice and thematically appropriate to the setting but doesn’t seem to evolve, and so far doesn’t really look like it’ll measure up to a fully-evolved Florges. The third Pokémon, Oranguru, is so far the most interesting-looking – a purple and white apelike Normal/Psychic Pokémon that fights from a cross-legged sitting position. It too shares a Pokédex page with something else, so there’s a good chance it will evolve.
When I reach the entrance to the quiet valley of Brooklet Hill, a Water Pokémon paradise, I am greeted by none other than the local Captain herself: Lana, a dreamy young woman with blue hair. Lana needs help with something, and apparently won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Well, the sooner I make her happy, the sooner I can attempt her trial, and the sooner I can get out of here… I follow Lana down into the valley, past tranquil pools and rumbling waterfalls, until we reach a large pool being disturbed by a strange thrashing out in the deepest part.
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 6: In Which I Offer Charity To A Character of Dubious Virtue” →
There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to see in Heahea City. Part of the town is blocked off by some douchebag with a perfectionist Stoutland that won’t move until it’s sniffed literally every square centimetre of the main road, and most of the buildings I can access are standard services: there’s a Pokémon Centre, and a clothing shop, and a tourist bureau like the one in Hau’oli City. Hau just wants to find somewhere that sells malasadas, but Lillie, for her part, has more interesting ambitions: she wants to take Nebby to Akala Island’s guardian ruins, the home of the island’s patron god-Pokémon, Tapu Lele, and she’s hoping that I’ll accompany them when the time comes. For Nebby’s sake, I make a noncommittal “mrrmmhmm” noise and wiggle my head in a way that could plausibly be interpreted as either a nod “yes” or a shake “no.”
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 5: In Which I Agree To Help Resurrect An Ancient God” →
Once he and Captain Ilima have finished explaining Z-moves to me, Professor Kukui suddenly remembers that he has an urgent task that cannot possibly wait: he’s lost Lillie. Somehow. I’m still not 100% certain that Lillie isn’t a terrorist, so in the interests of making sure someone is watching her, I agree to help look for her in the northern part of Melemele Island. This area, route 3, is cordoned off by barricades. Not for any particular reason, mind you. Someone appears to have decided that the Pokémon beyond are too strong for civilians to tangle with unless they have an escort – a certified trainer who has completed the island’s trials. Which… sort of raises the question of how Lillie got through, since she not only hasn’t completed any trials but insists that she’s not actually a trainer at all (which I’m pretty sure is not true; I’m not sure of the legal status of their relationship but for all practical purposes she certainly seems to be Nebby’s trainer). Evidence that she has secret and subversive abilities continues to mount. In any case, at Ilima’s command, the barricades open for me, and I am given access to the northern coastal road.
Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 4: In Which I Learn, Rapidly And Under Duress, To Ride A Bull” →