It’s been a fairly big week for Pokémon stuff so far, or at least for me it has been. The demo for Sun and Moon has been far more fun than I expected it to be, showing off some cool content and easily succeeding in its goal of getting me hyped for the game by throwing in small secrets to keep me coming back. Pokémon GO’s Halloween update has gotten me back into playing quite a bit, as I’ve caught at least three Pokémon in the last two days that I hadn’t even seen once in the months before it dropped. I’m getting close to finally completing the Generation 6 puzzle game Pokémon Picross, which I’ve been playing for literally way too long in my stubbornness about not paying for micro transactions to advance myself. On top of all that, probably one of the best Pokémon animations ever made in the history of anything was given to the world last Friday.
Then, this trailer dropped. My god is it a special one, to say the least.
Not only does it officially reveal the final evolutions of the Alolan starter Pokémon (with some plot twists here and there), it also shows off some new Pokémon and a brand new gameplay aspect adding to what already looks like an extensive postgame. Having a week off from my work on the Daily Titan, I have a little bit of extra time to dedicate to this trailer, but I’ve made myself so busy with other stuff that I’m still a bit late. So, let’s jump into it shall we?
Final evolutions, guardian deities and legendary trainers, oh my! Clearly, the starters are the stars of the show here, so why not take a look at them first.
In a pretty big and unexpected twist, Rowlet’s final evolution Decidueye loses the line’s previously held Flying-typing in exchange for a Ghost-typing as its secondary specialty. That’s right, if you liked Gourgeist and Trevenant from Kalos, then you’ll love Decidueye – I know I do!
On top of the newly acquired typing, the final grass starter also gets a brand new Ghost-type attack called Spirit Shackle, which prevents the opponent it hits from being able to escape from battle or switch out to a new Pokémon. It’s like Mean Look, but does damage at the same time as it traps.
According to Decidueye’s description off the Pokémon website: “This Pokémon is able to move about while completely masking its presence from others. Once an opponent has lost sight of it, Decidueye seizes the chance to attack it unawares. In a tenth of a second, Decidueye plucks an arrow quill from within its wing and sends its hurtling toward its target. Its speed is astonishing, but not more so than its precise aim, which enables the arrow quill to pierce a target through and through from half a mile or more away! Decidueye usually acts very cool, but it can become terribly flustered in unexpected situations like a surprise attack. A skilled Decidueye can boast acrobatic curved shots. It seems some are also able to shoot arrows that reach up through the sky, only to come drilling down from above, piercing multiple targets one after another.”
Ever since the starters’ evolutions were leaked in a fairly sizable Chinese leak back in July, I’ve been excited to see whether Rowlet – my favorite basic stage starter out of the three choices – would actually evolve into the super rad looking archer that was depicted at the time or not.
Well, he does in fact become a super rad archer, and easily the best of the three final evolutions in my opinion. Grass and Ghost is a pretty solid typing to begin with in my experience (even if it’s strange that the owl now loses its immunity to Ground-type attacks), and though I can’t imagine Decidueye will have many physical Ghost-type moves past Spirit Shackle, it will still be worth using that either way. Whether the move will work exactly like Mean Look in that he’ll have to stay on the field for its effect to last or whether Decidueye will be able to switch out while his opponent is stuck is yet to be seen, but either way it seems like a great move to screw somebody over.
Beyond just combat usefulness however, this guy is just easily one of the greatest most adorable things I’ve seen in I don’t know how long, both in appearance and personality. It’s a precise, skilled and deadly archer that can easily travel between the treetops to get the best drop on whatever opponent it has. Yet, at the same time, it gets easily flustered when surprised like Dartrix does (hopefully meaning they both have their eyes bug out in the same way).
Also, Decidueye is able to pull the strings coming off of his hoodie to close off the hole at the head, like it’s a college sweatshirt or something. It’s goddamn fantastic, and I wouldn’t have built this character any other way. But I could talk forever about how cool his design is, and I’d rather not stay stuck in this section since there’s a lot to cover, so I’ll move on.
In yet another plot twist, the most roundly criticized starter of the three after that initial leak did wind up rocking the wrestler look, but it didn’t become our fourth Fire/Fighting-type starter. No, Incineroar is actually a Fire/Dark-type, following in the well known footsteps of Houndoom.
Incineroar also gets a new Dark-type attack called Darkest Lariat, in which he spins around and has a good time before slamming into the opponent, ignoring all stat changes in the process. In other words, any sort of defense boosts won’t negate damage from the STAB attack, and it keeps whatever accuracy stat it has no matter how many Flashes or Double Teams are used against you.
According to Incineroar’s description off the Pokémon website: “As its fighting spirit increases, the flames that Incineroar produces within its body burst from its navel and waistline. Since the flames somewhat resemble a championship belt, they’re known as its “flame belt,” and the Pokémon unleashes moves that use flames from it. In the heat of battle, Incineroar shows no concern for its opponents—and sometimes even launches attacks that strike the opposing Trainer! As a result, many tend to dislike this Pokémon and keep it at a distance. If a crowd watching it battle is pumped up, Incineroar’s fighting spirit will burn brighter. But a lackluster crowd can make it lose focus or fight shoddily. When it receives the admiration of young Pokémon and children, it may keep up its cold attitude on the outside, but in its heart of hearts, Incineroar is immensely happy. It loses the desire to fight when faced with a Pokémon that’s clearly weak or injured, and it sometimes gets taken advantage of as a result.”
Like I said before, Incineroar was pretty roundly criticized when it’s appearance was first leaked, both due to how ridiculous a transition it looks going from Litten to Incineroar and because of the more than likely possibility he was going to be another half Fighting-type. While I was admittedly in the same camp about the evolution and the overabundance of Fire/Fighting starters, I was still willing to see where we’d wind up.
Particularly since this is the first generation in a long time where the Fire-type starter isn’t my instant choice. Rowlet stole and continues to steal my heart in that respect.
In the end, while Game Freak had us all going for a time, they came through with a Dark-typing as the secondary type for Incineroar, something fairly unique and honestly very useful. Plus, in my opinion, the 3D model of this Pokémon honestly looks way nicer than the original concept sketches did. Even if his hands are huge. Like seriously, go look at them again in the video, they’re really big.
While admittedly the description Incineroar has been given really makes it seem like an obviously Fighting-oriented Pokémon, I can also see it fitting into the idea of being a Dark-type. The guy is savage enough to attack haphazardly and injure the opposing trainer alongside their Pokémon, and it happens frequently enough that trainers have come to fear having it around! It has certain flaws, like being too easily swayed by a weak appearance or faltering alongside a faltering crowd, but still. Pretty savage.
So, long story short, I’m not at all upset with how Incineroar turned out, and even though I probably won’t be using him I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to seeing him hang around.
In a third even more shocking plot twist, Primarina gains a secondary Fairy-typing through evolution! Well okay, all things considered it’s not all that surprising, especially compared to the other two. I do think it’s a good thing just like with the others, however. Looks like Primarina will essentially be the special attack oriented Azumarill, and I’m the kind of guy that loves using Azumarill.
Going along with the same pattern, the water starter also gets a new move upon getting to its third stage. Sparkling Aria is a Water-type attack that does damage and cures whatever it hits of burn status ailments. Personally this seems a little strange, as it makes the potential best targets for the attack Primarina’s own partner Pokémon, but I suppose it could also be useful for shutting down guts flame orb users like Swellow.
According to Primarina’s description off the Pokémon website: “As it dances, Primarina releases balloons of water into the area around itself, moving them using the sound waves from its voice. The sight of moonlight reflecting off its glittering balloons creates a magical scene. Since Primarina controls its balloons using its voice, any injury to its throat can become a grave problem. Its greatest enemies are arid environments and the overuse of its voice during back-to-back battles. Among the balloons that Primarina releases, some explode when touched, while others do not. Primarina jump on the non-exploding balloons while they make sport of their opponents, and they use the exploding variety to trigger chained explosions! Primarina’s songs have many variations, and each one changes the motions of the balloons. It has been observed that songs are shared among Primarina living together, so different colonies end up knowing different songs.”
Primarina is a beautifully designed Pokémon if you ask me. She’s elegant and graceful, fits in wonderfully with the rest of its evolutionary line and has eyes that make me melt whenever I look into them. Seriously, Brionne may be much cuter, but evolving her still clearly isn’t a bad option.
Just like Brionne, Primarina has the kind of descriptive character ‘lore’ clearly meant to play at your heartstrings – and for me, it definitely works. It’s really sad that the Pokémon’s best feature, it’s voice, is so easily damaged. Especially through the one function it will be mostly using it for, singing in battle! Honestly, it makes me glad I’m not using a Primarina, because I would legitimately feel bad about sending it into so many battles in a row.
Though, it would be really cool to see it bouncing around on bubbles and throwing explosives out all over the place. I also do love the idea that different colonies of Primarina learn different songs, making each one generally unique in concept. That’s pretty awesome.
Oh, and might I add, all the images used for the Alolan starters and their evolutions above were, of course, provided by Serebii.net.
In other totally new Pokémon news, this trailer introduced us to Cosmog, a rather cute little guy with a lovely design that fits into the whole space-linked aspects of Sun and Moon as a whole.
Cosmog is a Psychic-type Pokémon with the ability Unaware.
According to Cosmog’s description off the Pokémon website: “This extremely rare Pokémon is known to only a select few in Alola. At one time, it was known only by the kings of Alola and their heirs, and it was called “the child of the stars.” The Aether Foundation is researching this unusual Pokémon, and one of the professors at the foundation recently dubbed it Cosmog. Cosmog is very curious and shows no fear of people or Pokémon. If you treat it with any consideration at all, it will take an immediate liking to you. This personality trait often leads it into danger. Its gaseous body is so lightweight that it’s sent flying when the wind blows. When light falls on this Pokémon, Cosmog absorbs it and grows.“
Really, past the fact that it has a really solid and adorable design (with a great name to match), there’s not much I have to say about Cosmog. It fits really well with the Sun’s emissary Solgaleo, the Moon’s emissary Lunala and the Meteor Pokémon Minior as additions to Pokémon’s lineup of space-themed monsters, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it ties in with the Aether Foundation.
My potential team for the game is already mostly finalized however, so even though I’d buy a Cosmog plus in a heartbeat, I probably won’t be using one in my play session of the game.
Alongside all the other reveals in this trailer, we also finally got to see the other Alolan Guardian Deities in this trailer. This reveal in particular rounds out some of the gaps in knowledge we’ve been holding onto since pretty early in the process.
First things first, now we have the full set of guardians:
All images courtesy of Serebii.net
Probably the funniest thing to me about the whole Tapu Guardians unveiling is that it almost seems like it was more of an excuse to show off the names of the other islands in Alola that we didn’t know about before.
Since nearly the beginning, all we’ve known about is that Tapu Koko is the guardian of Melemele Island. Now we know about the other three, so let’s look into them a little.
Tapu Lele is the guardian of Akala Island. It is a Psychic/Fairy-type Pokémon with the ability Psychic Surge, which activates a new terrain effect called Psychic Terrain when it is sent out. When Psychic Terrain is active, the power of Psychic-type moves are boosted and priority moves like Extreme Speed are unable to be used.
According to Tapu Lele’s description off the Pokémon website: “There is a legend which says that long ago Tapu Lele once brought an end to war between the islands of Alola by scattering its scales and soothing the tired warriors. Tapu Lele scatters glowing scales that physically affect others—providing stimulation to their bodies and healing their illnesses or injuries. But these scales can be dangerous as well, because a body can’t withstand the changes brought about by contact with too many scales at the same time. It will scatter its scales over humans and Pokémon for its own enjoyment; while it is innocent in one sense, there is also cruelty in the way it casually brings others to ruin. If Tapu Lele doesn’t have much energy stored in its shell, it may lack the strength to seize victory in a head-on battle. With this in mind, it tends to prioritize not losing a battle over actually beating a foe, and it’s skilled at strategies such as inflicting status conditions on opponents.“
Tapu Bulu is the guardian of Ula’ula Island. It is a Grass/Fairy-type Pokémon with the ability Grassy Surge, which activates the Grassy Terrain stage effect when it is sent out. When Grassy Terrain is active, the power of Grass-type moves are boosted, the HP of all Pokémon on the ground is restored each turn and damage taken by the moves Earthquake, Magnitude and Bulldoze are halved.
According to Tapu Bulu’s description off the Pokémon website: “Tapu Bulu has the power to manipulate vegetation and cause it to grow. It can use this power on its own horns—which are made of wood—changing their shape or making them larger. This can come in handy in battle! This stolid Pokémon is not very active. People’s opinions differ on whether it’s as docile as it seems, or if the reason it doesn’t move much can be chalked up to simple laziness. Tapu Bulu does not like unnecessary battles or frightening other Pokémon. Because of this, it makes a loud ringing noise with its tail to alert those nearby of its presence. Although Tapu Bulu may not like to start battles, it shows no mercy when dealing with evildoers. It’s said that when thieves once broke into its ruins, it punished them by swinging trees around like massive clubs.“
Tapu Fini is the guardian of Poni Island. It is a Water/Fairy-type Pokémon with the ability Misty Surge, which activates the Misty Terrain stage effect. When Misty Terrain is active, the power of Dragon-type moves are halved and prevents non-volatile status conditions from taking effect.
According to Tapu Fini’s description off the Pokémon website: “This Pokémon is able to create a special water that purifies both mind and body. But Tapu Fini requires that supplicants wishing to obtain the purifying water demonstrate the strength to withstand the tapu’s fog. Many humans have tried to withstand Tapu Fini’s fogs in pursuit of its purifying water. Among them were some with evil intentions, which may be the reason for Tapu Fini’s sense of disgust and lack of interest in appearing to people. Tapu Fini is able to attack by manipulating water. Since it hates to risk harm to itself during battle, it prefers to create a thick fog that puts opponents in a trance and leads them to destroy themselves. Tapu Fini’s expression remains listless even when it’s unleashing moves. Some people say that it might look this way because using its moves is so exhausting.“
Personally, Tapu Fini is my favorite of the three new Guardian Pokémon. I almost forgot about how powerful Misty Terrain can be as a stage effect, and the watery design is really great. Having lived near the Pacific Ocean most of my life, aquatic things tend to do it for me more often than not.
That doesn’t mean the other two aren’t great. Tapu Lele has a very cute design, and the fact that the battlefield literally gets “weird” every single time it comes out makes me laugh. A lot. Tapu Bulu also has a very solid design, and I love the bell-like objects hanging off of the bull’s body.
The designs between the four guardians are really copacetic as well, and I like seeing the four of them put together like a segmented totem pole. I’m looking forward to the designs of the other three when their shielding parts are closed off, since we already know Tapu Koko looks like a bird’s face. Speaking of…
The Island guardians also have a unique Z-Move that they share called “Guardian of Alola,” in which a massive figure made of pure energy rises out of the ground and takes on the Tapu as a host, only to crush whatever Pokémon you’ve selected in possibly one of the most savage trainer displays I’ve ever seen. It reduces the enemy’s health to 25 percent.
And finally, we have a new Alolan form. It’s… It’s an Alolan form.
I’ll be honest, I can’t stand this guy. I’m just going to show it off and move on with my life.
Persian image courtesy of bulbapedia.net, Alolan Persian image courtesy of Serebii.net
According to its description off the Pokémon website: “The round face of Alolan Persian is a symbol of the rich Alola region, and it is held to be a Pokémon of great beauty. It is such a distinctive Pokémon of the Alola region that all Persian are well protected, and strict inspections are required before tourists can be permitted to take one back to their home region. Persian is highly intelligent, with an even higher opinion of itself. In general, it looks down on everything other than itself. It doesn’t tend to grow attached to its Trainer, either, so it’s a difficult Pokémon to have as a partner in battle. Its exquisite coat shines with the glow of high quality and enchants both humans and Pokémon. For this reason, it is a very popular Pokémon in the Alola region. It usually puts on a refined act, but once a battle begins, it will indulge in the most underhanded of tactics, including surprise attacks, trickery, and even foul play. Yet its haughty personality causes it to underestimate its opponents, and it’s often taken in by their counterattacks.“
Yeah, that’s right, Alolan Persian. More like Alolan Garfield. More like Alolan ‘let’s make a meme-worthy cat face’.
Okay I know I said I’m moving on from Alolan Persian but… I just can’t. Seriously, how could that be the design? It actually looks like someone just photoshopped a new goofy face onto a previously existing Pokémon! It’s like an original character from some young kid looking to create their own new monsters.
Alright maybe it isn’t that bad, but still. It’s kind of a really jarring and bizarre change without any serious explanation as to why that specifically is the change. Maybe I’m just upset because I really like how Alolan Meowth looks and because regular Persian is just such a solid looking Pokémon. At least with a Dark-typing and Fur Coat or Technician as abilities, it could be fairly useful in a fight.
But I digress.
Next on the agenda is the Alolan Pokémon League and the Battle Tree, more of the mechanical and story-driven reveals we were given.
On the official Pokémon Sun and Moon website, you can see a little more about these, but here’s what I can gather on them.
The Pokémon League, a staple of every other Pokémon game and region, is currently under construction at Mount Lanakila, or at least it will be under construction at the beginning of the game when you first run into the subject. Mount Lanakila is the tallest mountain in Alola, and presumably exists on Ula’ula Island from the look of the place.
While the League won’t be accessible right away, supposedly it will become available once you’re strong enough to be able to take on the Island Challenges in their entirety. Whether this means the Pokémon League will be a postgame event after you complete the Island Challenge or will instead be a feature of a third installment is yet to be seen.
Anyone who gains enough strength to be able to overcome the Island Challenge will also gain access to the Battle Tree, a battle-oriented feature which seems very similarly structured to Mt. Battle in Pokémon Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness. By that, I mean you take on trainer after trainer to raise in the ranks, only to come across legendary trainers at various points along the way.
Legendary trainers such as fan favorites like Sinnoh Champion Cynthia, Pokémon Trainer Wally from Hoenn, and both Kanto Champions: Red and Blue.
Both of whom have had some pretty radical redesigns to reflect their age difference since the original games they appeared in, and great ones at that.
Red and Blue images courtesy of bulbapedia.net
Personally, I prefer the look of Blue’s design over Red’s design in this case. I feel like it ages him up while still remaining a little more true to the look of the original character, whereas Red looks quite a bit different, his face especially. That’s not to say Red’s design is bad, as it’s pretty great as well. Overall they both look far more mature, and it’s really awesome to get to see how they’ve both progressed over the years… However many there have been since the original games Red, Blue, Green and Yellow.
Red’s shirt also has the numbers 96 on it, which is a callback to the year the original Pokémon games came out. That’s great in all respects.
Overall, in regards to the Battle Tree, I hope that it winds up panning out similarly to the Pokemon World Tournament in Black and White 2, in which every Gym Leader and Champion through Generation 5 appeared together for the first time. If we can get something similar to that in the 3D environment of Sun and Moon, I think I’ll honestly be able to die a happy man.
Are you all tired of reading me type yet? Well, no need to fear, cause we’ve arrived at the end of the discussion for today. What a serious boatload of information we got. Thanks a lot if you managed to stick through it and come to the end of the line here!
If you have any sort of comments, ideas or inspirations based on all the things in the monolithic post above, be sure to let me know in the comments! Are there any specific characters you’d like to see appear in the Battle Tree? Even though Cynthia is an obvious answer, the people putting these trailers together were smart to include a character so many people like and instantly recognize. How do you feel about the final evolutions of the starter Pokémon? How about the Island Guardians? Maybe you even like meme cat Garfield and think I should too.
If you do, make your case, I’m more than willing to listen to any arguments and conversations about the ideas I bring to the table. It’s half the fun of talking about this sort of stuff!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a video project to work on. One I’m sure I’ll dangle out here at some point, once it’s finished.
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