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”
“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.
“…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.
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”
After getting my Pokédex sufficiently haunted, the next stop is apparently the Hau’oli Outskirts Pokémon Centre. Alolan Pokémon Centres have incorporated Pokémarts, in the style of their Unovan and Kalosian counterparts, but also have cafés for the region’s countless tourists to sit and relax. The café serves some items we recognise from older games, including Lemonade and Moomoo Milk, but these aren’t healing items for your Pokémon anymore; they’re purely for the enjoyment of the trainer. The café’s real gameplay purpose seems to be to provide treats for your Pokémon that come free with your drinks – Pokébeans to feed them in the Refresh screen, Sweet Hearts and imported Lumiose Galettes to heal injuries or status ailments, and even the occasional Rare Candy. The barista is also a fount of gossip and dubiously useful life advice. It’s an atmospheric addition more than anything else, and not particularly significant, but it’s also the first damn moment I’ve been allowed to feel like I’m actually on holiday, so I linger in the café for a while longer, trying to ask the barista in increasingly overt and desperate terms for “something a little stronger,” before Lillie shows up and drags me to our next destination…
…the Hau’oli trainers’ school.Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 2: In Which I Am Seduced By The Opulence Of Metropolitan Life”
All I wanted was a goddamn holiday.
“Come to sunny Alola,” the brochures said. “Let all your cares wash away,” they said. “Relax on the beach and enjoy the sunset with a glass of cool Pinap juice,” they said. “Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture,” they said.
The brochures did not mention roads blocked by irritable Tauros, strange waifish girls with dangerous and suicidal cosmic Pokémon, “quests” handed out by mysterious and fickle gods, ritualised duels to please the aforementioned fickle gods, or anything that might be described as a series of “trials.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself.Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 1: In Which I Am Rescued From Certain Death By An Island Deity”