In a way it feels strange to do all three of these characters together – like, it makes sense to have Hau and Gladion together because they both fit Pokémon’s existing “rival” archetypes, and it makes sense to have Lillie and Gladion together because (uh… SPOILERS, I guess???) they’re family, but the three of them don’t fit together quite as neatly at first glance. In fact, though, they play off each other in ways that I think are worth talking about. Hau, Lillie and Gladion all act as foils to one another – Hau’s carefree optimism, Lillie’s self-effacing dutifulness, Gladion’s edgy pragmatism. All three of them also have certain issues with their parentage (granted, in Lillie and Gladion’s case, it’s the same parent), which is important not just in terms of their own characterisation but because tradition (and, by extension, ancestry and inheritance) is a minor theme of Sun and Moon. Lillie’s relationship with her mother is also basically what the entire climax of the game turns on. So let’s talk about these three, their personalities and what happens to them, and see what we can be come up with – starting with Hau.Continue reading “Hau, Lillie and Gladion”
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”
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.
Your reaction when Ghetsis tried to hurt Lillie
I don’t know that I remember having any particular reaction at all, really. Partly I was just never all that attached to Lillie – I mean, I wrote my playthrough journal of Moon version in-character as a protagonist who suspected her of being the villain for most of the game. But also, to be perfectly honest I was never terribly immersed in the whole Team Rainbow Rocket thing, and I’ll probably talk about that at more length once I’ve finally finished reviewing all the Pokémon.
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”
Hapu and Mudsdale are waiting for us at the entrance to the Vast Poni Canyon, beneath a tall dead tree.
“Did everything go well?” she asks Lillie.
“Yes, it did! Though Chris had to help me out of all sorts of trouble, like usual.”
“Nothing wrong with that. People cannot survive all on their own. They have got to help one another out.” Hapu suddenly notices B, and pauses. “You are one of those Pokémon thieves, Team Skull,” she says in a calm, level voice.
“We ain’t no thieves just ‘cause we got a few tricks up our sleeves!” B objects.
“It’s fine, Hapu; he’s with me,” I tell her. That gets me a cocked head and a hint of a smirk. “That is, with us,” I clarify irritably. Hapu squints at B suspiciously. Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 16: In Which I Am Judged By The Forces Of Nature, As Personified By A Giant Angry Lizard”
Poni Island, which corresponds to the real Hawaiian island of Kauai, turns out to be basically uninhabited. Gladion’s ship drops us off next to a group of brightly painted houseboats with Pokémon-inspired facades, clustered around a long pier. This is the Seafolk Village – a community of seafaring nomads and traders who visit Poni Island seasonally to gather berries. There are no permanent towns or cities – only Pokémon, and the ruins we’ve come here to see. The Seafolk have a perfectly serviceable Pokémon Centre, though, and Lillie and I are even greeted on our arrival by their chief, who knows a little about the island. Lillie explains that we need to see the Kahuna, and the Seafolk chief suggests that we visit Hapu, who lives a little way along the coast to the southeast, in the only permanent dwelling left on the island.
“Oh, we know Hapu,” I tell him. “She’s the Kahuna of Poni Island? She never mentioned that.”
“…I’m sure she can help you,” the chief replies, apparently hesitant to confirm or deny. Well, that’s not even slightly suspicious. Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 15: In Which I Awkwardly Attempt To Bond With A Strange Girl Of Dubious Usefulness”
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”
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”
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”