One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
again, “Team Rocket is gay now” is pretty compelling
(what am I
saying, “now”? look at Jessie and James; they were always gay)
let’s try for a shorter one
aftermath of the resolution of the main plot in Ultra Sun and Moon, Team
Rocket appears out of nowhere and takes over first Festival Plaza and then the
entire Aether Paradise, renovating Lusamine’s mansion with a new menacing
black-and-red colour scheme. Only they
aren’t Team Rocket anymore – they’ve rebranded, are now Team Rainbow Rocket,
and are accompanied by a rogue’s gallery of villains from all the previous
Pokémon games. And they’ve got plans. Apparently.
I know a lot of my readers haven’t actually played Ultra SMoon
(which… well, fair enough; they’re not a big step up over Sun and Moon)
so let’s begin with a summary of what exactly happens.
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.
Pokémon down… three to go. Today we’re
looking at the Thunderclap Pokémon, Zeraora, the third of generation VII’s mythical Pokémon. As with Magearna and Marshadow, Zeraora
doesn’t do anything of note in the games, but unlike them, its TV and movie
appearances don’t hint at legendary origins or cosmic powers or forbidden
ancient secrets or anything like that.
It’s really just a powerful and extremely rare Pokémon that kinda gets
caught up in some $#!t, like Heatran, or (to some extent) Latias and Latios, or
even Lucario in its movie debut. Today
we’ll look at how that happens – but first, a few words on Zeraora’s design and
going to look at… probably the closest thing that Ultra Sun and Moon have to an
antagonist: the mysterious, sinister light-devouring Pokémon, Necrozma. With an all-black colour scheme, a name that
incorporates the ancient Greek word for corpse, a mysterious extraterrestrial
origin, and the ability to blast everything in sight with frikkin’ laser
beams, this is clearly a Pokémon to run away from very fast. But what actually is it? Let’s discuss.
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.
Pokémon is Blacephalon, whose special skill is to blow up its own head.
you know, call me crazy, but I would have thought that would be the end of
it. Nonetheless, here we are. This is the last Ultra Beast, and I just have
to deal with it.
Stakataka, Blacephalon doesn’t appear in the original Sun and Moon, and its
homeworld doesn’t appear in the sequels.
It doesn’t even have a very big anime role, since it co-stars in an
episode with Xurkitree and doesn’t get the spotlight to itself, although the
dynamic between the two is at least somewhat interesting. Blacephalon is just… a bit of a weird non
sequitur of a Pokémon. It appears,
it blows up its own head…
to our last two Ultra Beasts: Stakataka and Blacephalon, who were added to the
roster only in Ultra Moon and Ultra Sun (respectively). We don’t know as much about them as we do
about all the others, because we never see their homeworlds. All the original Ultra Beasts, whom we first
met in Alola in Sun and Moon, are encountered in Ultra Smoon by travelling
through Ultra Space to their own worlds (while Poipole is involved in the story
of the Ultra Recon Squad, and gets a major supporting role in the anime). These two, we only ever meet in Alola, and we
also get no information about them from Wicke, who is otherwise a fount of
interesting (if occasionally dubious) intelligence. As a result, there’s more I’d like to know
about Stakataka that I just don’t, like what kind of ecosystem produces a
creature like this, and how it behaves in its natural habitat – things that,
for normal Pokémon, we tend to learn as a matter of course. But we have the Pokédex, we have the design,
we have Stakataka’s in-game types, stats and mechanics, and we have the anime
episode it stars in, so let’s take a look and see what we can do.