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Old 05-08-2018, 09:39 AM   #76
Talon87
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Alright, so we're finally here. It's time for me to ask some important questions about these legendaries I'm nearing time to capture.

Spoiler: show

Which nature is best for Necrozma? It seems it entirely depends on whether you want to run Dusk Mane Necrozma only or whether you want to kick it up a notch further to Ultra Necrozma. I like the idea of preparing for Ultra Necrozma more, in which case the Internet says I should aim exclusively for Jolly. But it seems like Smogon far prefers the Dusk Mane form to the Ultra form, in which case the obvious choice is Adamant. Dusk Mane's defenses are far better, and his Attack stat is only ten points less than Ultra Necrozma's. But Ultra Necrozma's ultimate is just such a cool-sounding move. ^^; I think I'm going to go with Jolly for my Necrozma. But I wanted to hear your guys' thoughts first.

Putting aside Necrozma, what about Nebby? What is the best nature for Solgaleo? IIRC my Solgaleo in Sun is either Jolly or Adamant. I just can't remember which, and I can't check right now because I haven't saved since the steps and I don't plan to until you guys reply. ^^; I figure that whichever one I already have in Sun, I should go for the other nature in Ultra Sun. Makes the most sense to me.

Poipole we know is Timid. Next.

Blacephalon seems like it's a lock for Timid too? Do I have to catch both Blacephalon at once? Or can I only catch one and leave the other one alone forever and press on to the Battle Tree?

Are there any forced legendary captures in the infamous post-game story arc of USUM's? Or are they all entirely optional? I'm thinking of Mewtwo first and foremost: do you capture him later, or do you have to capture him whilst dealing with Giovanni?

Just to confirm because I'm being paranoid right now: every single nature will be RESET if I KO the guys on first encounter, right? Necrozma, Solgaleo, Poipole, all of them. I can KO (Necrozma, Solgaleo) / turn down (Poipole) and the nature won't be locked in until I re-approach later.

Is it possible to get Diancie in SMUSUM without exporting from XYORAS? I haven't collected my Gen 6 Diancie still, and even if I were to I'd rather not export her irreversibly and leave Gen 6 partially castrated. I believe the answer to my question is "No," but I still figured I'd ask. Maybe I've missed something.

Current game progress since last post: I got to enjoy all of those cool movie files and I'm currently having wormhole travel explained to me by Dulse and Zossie. Seems like I'm about to do that once I resume playing.
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:36 AM   #77
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You cannot skip the Blacephalons. It's both in one go.

Natures I think are always determined upon initiation of battle. Resetting/going back for them shouldn't affect natures.

The only forced legend captures all game iirc are Null and the two Blacephalons. Everything else either has no legend captures or can be ignored and left for later. Yes Null's not an actual legendary but it's a one-shot mon so same boat. It's also unmissable if you do the postgame.
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Old 05-08-2018, 12:02 PM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Just to confirm because I'm being paranoid right now: every single nature will be RESET if I KO the guys on first encounter, right? Necrozma, Solgaleo, Poipole, all of them. I can KO (Necrozma, Solgaleo) / turn down (Poipole) and the nature won't be locked in until I re-approach later.
You can't actually catch Necrozma during the mandatory story battles, you have to defeat it. The nature isn't set until the battle in which you do catch it, which won't be until later on. You'll absolutely be able to hold off on doing that until you're ready, and just FYI, they actually changed Necrozma's catch rate in this game. To 255. I am not kidding. Catching it will not be agony in the slightest. Which is good, because the conditions in which you do battle it... let's just say it'll put a bit of a timer on the battle.

Solgaleo's nature isn't locked in until you battle and catch it, and battling it isn't mandatory to progress the story, and is actually kinda out of the way. So you can take your time with that and prepare as you need to.

As for Poipole, the nature isn't locked in until you actually accept it, so you absolutely can just decline it at first and return later on to claim it. You can even reset for a Shiny should you so desire. And as a gift Pokémon, Synchronize will always work on it, too.
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Old 05-08-2018, 12:22 PM   #79
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Spoooooooooooiler.
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:01 PM   #80
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More progress. It's getting spoilery, so ... I guess I should place most of it inside of a spoiler tag.

Spoiler: show
Ultra Megalopolis: WELL THIS WAS A COLOSSAL DISAPPOINTMENT! I hadn't expected a full-blown city, per se, but I had at LEAST expected a Cherrygrove Town-sized area to explore, with buildings to enter and people to talk to. I wanted to learn the history of the world that Dulse and Zossie come from (at least in more detail than we already had). I wanted to meet lots of gray-skinned people. Instead ... we do get to meet Phyco and Soliera, which was a pleasant surprise, but that's about it. Locked doors and nary a building in sight anyway.

Ultra Necrozma: This was a really cool boss battle. The only reason I won instead of getting party wiped was because two different friends held on at 1 HP thanks to the power of friendship. I only had two 'mon remaining when I won (one active, one in the wings), and my active 'mon was one of the two Pokémon who hung on with only 1 HP because FRIENDSHIP! But yeah, no, seriously: my Z-Power Malicious Moonsault only did two-thirds damage to Ultra Necrozma despite STAB + super-effectiveness + raw power + equal levels, and from there it took two other 'mons two other hits to reduce Ultra Necrozma from one-third remaining to no health remaining.

I've wanted a kicks-your-ass boss battle for a long time. I've posted about it, I'm certain, in both my Omega Ruby Story Mode posts and in my Sun Story Mode posts. It's been something I've been wanting since at least around then (2014), if not longer. A boss who can essentially party wipe you and requires real strategy to win. ... I didn't use real strategy to win , I unintentionally cheesed it with my max friendship levels, but still. This is a fight I would have been happy to lose. I would have welcomed the challenge of trying to figure out a way to win.

The Idea of Ultra Necrozma: Much less a fan. I'm not a big fan of the fusions aside from Reshiram and Zekrom (which we've still never gotten!), and I feel bad for poor Nebby every time I see he's been skull clamped by creepy Necrozma. It only gets worse, though, with the Ultra forme -- in which he's absorbed entirely into the beast! NO MORE NEBBY! ONLY NECROZRAGON! I guess I don't much mind this creature existing in Story Mode -- but my objection really enters once we're asked to believe that it's ethically celebratory for the player-character to subject Nebby to this skull clamp fuckery once more. In other words, I feel like TPCi and Game Freak are being really weird to celebrate the video game usage of Ultra Necrozma, Dawn Wings Necrozma, and Dusk Mane Necrozma in any battles. Oh well. It's nothing new -- they've been revealed for their fucked-up tastes ever since BW2 with Black and White Kyurem (in the interpretation that Kyurem is just some monster from outer space with no relation to Zekrom or Reshiram, rather than being the cast-off husk of the Great Dragon from when it split into Zekrom and Reshiram many years ago).

USUM Lusamine and Lillie: Wow, they got completely shafted!

By this I mean, wow at how we just ... utterly lose two of the greatest things about Sun and Moon, all to make room for the U.R.C. and Necrozma's day in the sun.
  1. Nihilego-Lusamine fusion
  2. Lillie's conversation with Lusamine in Ultra Space

The first one because it's so incredibly cool. Visually. Conceptually. It's just so utterly cool and is for many people one of their favorite Pokémon moments.


The second one because it's the climax of the character arc for one of the best NPCs ever to feature in a Pokémon game. Everything for Lillie is building towards this moment, in both SM and USUM ... and yet USUM just deletes it from existence, opting instead for the pretty distasteful easy-peasy kiss-and-make-up scene between Lusamine and Lillie at the Altar of the Sunne after you defeat Ultra Necrozma. It might have worked had USUM bothered to also delete Sun and Moon's lines about Lusamine not acknowledging Gladion and Lillie as her children anymore. ... But it didn't do that, and so instead we're stuck with a Lillie who just ... smilingly goes back to Lusamine's side after you've quelled Ultra Necrozma. Lusamine offers some half-hearted lines about how "you were right, I was wrong" about Cosmog, but like ... the elephant in the room of "I hatefully disowned you" isn't really satisfactorily addressed. And perhaps worse: Lillie is denied her character growth as a result.

So yeah. NOT very happy about this at ALL. Would 100% say that newcomers, forced to choose between the two titles, need to play SM rather than playing USUM. USUM is a fun "What if?" for veteran fans, but if you're only going to experience one Generation VII story then it needs to be SM.

Mina's Trial: This is really cute and I love this. The idea that it's not just a battle (which in and of itself would have also been very tongue-in-cheeky) but that it's a round robin battle of you having to fight seven different trial captains to assemble seven different petals for a rainbow-colored flower ... That's pretty darn cute, and a great way to have us tour one final rah-hah-hah around the island before we hit up the League and the Elite Four.

Spoiler: show

... But man does that pink petal totally look like a butt plug. ^^;;;;;

Current progress: partially done with a certain person's multi-part trial. Was so bothered by the loss of two of my favorite scenes from Sun and Moon that I had to vent. ^^;
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:36 PM   #81
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When you said you were using amies, I knew you were going to win with them. It's a real pity, because of all the "cheese" people throw about with regard to winning that fight, nothing is more BS than an amie roll or a critical hit. I wish GameFreak will remove it already, but since it's a kid's glove kind of crutch I doubt they will. People only get mad when crits go against them, not the other way.
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:17 AM   #82
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I did manage to beat Ultra Necrozma without affection bonuses once. It was when I did my mono-Poison run through Ultra Moon. I knew I'd really need to plan for that fight as I wasn't using Pokémon Refresh at all.
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Old 05-09-2018, 03:54 PM   #83
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See, in most fights I'd agree. But in the Ultra Necrozma fight, I'd have to say that it's the only time where Pokemon-Amie RNG stuff felt like it belonged. You're fighting something that's far stronger than your team, with the fate of the world on the line. You team is giving it everything and then some: barely hanging on through lethal strikes to deliver those desperate attacks, landing clutch criticals in the one battle where it means the most. This is the pinnacle of the game. You are fighting a creature so powerful that it may as well be a deity, and yet you and your team - your friends - are the only ones who can stop it from destroying your world. This is the time for the Amie boosts, because it doesn't feel like you're cheesing it- it actually feels natural for once.
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Old 05-09-2018, 05:49 PM   #84
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There can be no ultimate boss when the player cannot be defeated.
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Old 05-10-2018, 11:17 AM   #85
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You can be defeated though, and quite easily. Amie shit is never guaranteed, and if anything is more likely to not happen than it is to actually do anything. It's still coming down to the player's squad vs that thing, and woe betide you if you're inadequately prepared, because Ultra Necrozma is the one point in the game where getting a full squad of six wiped is actually feasible.
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:03 PM   #86
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Accuracy/evasion, secondary effect triggers, crits and amies are the only true "luck" dependent variables in Pokemon that are outside of any player or developer's control. Of those, nothing influences game outcomes more than accuracy/evasion checks or amie focus bands.

Dodging 100% accuracy moves and pulling focus bands without drawback, and potentially without limit, breaks the game. And that is why amies are routinely banned from nuzlockes.

Like I said, Talon can't have it both ways. He can't have the boss fight he wants while also using the single most momentum changing mechanic ever introduced in Pokemon. It's setting yourself up for disappointment.
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:20 PM   #87
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The onus isn't on me to handicap myself. The onus is on the developer to make a properly challenging game. I'm with Mcsweeney (re: Fire Emblem) on this one: if the developer puts it in the game for me to use, I am going to use it.

In the case of friendship, a) flavorfully it is righteous and b) advantageously I mostly am in it for the EXP gains so I don't have to grind. I could do without the evasion boosts, the status heals, and of course the Focus Bands. They're convenient, insofar as this children's game is already not challenging and they mitigate further time-wasting nuisances. But they are objectively in the way of rectifying the game to make it, when optimally played, properly challenging.

As for yours and Iron's argument, I am 50/50. I like Iron's romantic interpretation better, but I agree with you that the cheese ruins what is meant to be (and could have otherwise been) a horrifying fight. Flavor-wise I say Iron wins. Gameplay-wise I say you win. It's tough. As you say, "you can't have your cake and eat it, too."

I think that if friendship could not be easily gotten via two Rainbow Beans plus one massage session, that it would make for a more compelling gameplay case. I don't see a problem with Double Teaming your way to victory any more than I do Cosmic Powering it. So if you're going to say that other strategies are legitimate ways of rendering the impossible possible, then I would say that we shouldn't object to someone who pictures their Pokémon the Flash and uses Double Team to "Can't hit me!" win battles. Smogon dislikes it for the RNG -- but if someone is willing to accept the tails in Story Mode, why can't he be allowed to aim for the heads? The developers put it in there. It's meant to be used.
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:04 PM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
The onus isn't on me to handicap myself. The onus is on the developer to make a properly challenging game. I'm with Mcsweeney (re: Fire Emblem) on this one: if the developer puts it in the game for me to use, I am going to use it.

In the case of friendship, a) flavorfully it is righteous and b) advantageously I mostly am in it for the EXP gains so I don't have to grind. I could do without the evasion boosts, the status heals, and of course the Focus Bands. They're convenient, insofar as this children's game is already not challenging and they mitigate further time-wasting nuisances. But they are objectively in the way of rectifying the game to make it, when optimally played, properly challenging.

As for yours and Iron's argument, I am 50/50. I like Iron's romantic interpretation better, but I agree with you that the cheese ruins what is meant to be (and could have otherwise been) a horrifying fight. Flavor-wise I say Iron wins. Gameplay-wise I say you win. It's tough. As you say, "you can't have your cake and eat it, too."
Yes. This is why I'm not going to shame you or anything - it is GameFreak's fault for keeping amie bonuses in USUM despite how badly said bonuses sabotage it. It's dumb to have to deliberately make the game harder to enjoy it on a first playthrough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
I think that if friendship could not be easily gotten via two Rainbow Beans plus one massage session, that it would make for a more compelling gameplay case. I don't see a problem with Double Teaming your way to victory any more than I do Cosmic Powering it. So if you're going to say that other strategies are legitimate ways of rendering the impossible possible, then I would say that we shouldn't object to someone who pictures their Pokémon the Flash and uses Double Team to "Can't hit me!" win battles. Smogon dislikes it for the RNG -- but if someone is willing to accept the tails in Story Mode, why can't he be allowed to aim for the heads? The developers put it in there. It's meant to be used.
Double Team has a drawback - it uses your move for that turn. The amie evasion is like lowering the base accuracy of the opponent's move - which happens before the attack does damage - and then the amie focus band triggers after damage happens. THEN, you get a check for the higher crit on your attack.

It isn't just one-off effect, it's three checks that roll every turn. You have six Pokemon, and in the best case scenario Ultra Necrozma only has to pass two checks six times.

A wild Pokemon has a limited number of tools to combat a player with a full team + items. Smart Strike allows him to bypass Double Team or the evasion amie, and Photon Geyser will bypass Sturdy and Disguise. But because of the AI limitations, Ultra Necrozma doesn't always use these moves optimally.
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:13 AM   #89
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I beat Pokémon Ultra Sun.

Completion Time: 60 hours, 51 minutes.

Final Team:
Incineroar "Madara"
* Lv.67 (M)
* Darkest Lariat, Flare Blitz, Cross Chop, Outrage
* Blaze
* Incinium Z

Lycanroc Dusk Forme "Luvia"
* Lv.70 (F)
* Happy Hour, Stone Edge, Crunch, Fire Fang
* Tough Claws
* Amulet Coin

Araquanid "Shelob"
* Lv.65 (F)
* Liquidation, Leech Life, Crunch, Poison Jab
* Water Bubble
* Waterium Z

Shiinotic "Shii"
* Lv.67 (F)
* Giga Drain, Moonblast, Spore, Dream Eater
* Effect Spore
* Grassium Z

Vikavolt "Dazzler"
* Lv.63 (F)
* Thunderbolt, Bug Buzz, Air Slash, Flash Cannon
* Levitate
* Buginium Z

Alolan Ninetales "Inari"
* Lv.73 (F)
* Freeze-Dry, Moonblast, Nasty Plot, Aurora Veil
* Snow Warning
* Light Clay

Money: $1,623,334 (over $500,000 of which came from the Elite Four)

Victory Road: it's slightly different from SM's. I accidentally found Icium Z and Ice Beam when playing Sun, whereas when playing Ultra Sun I was deliberately on the lookout for them and walked right on by the path that takes you to them. I would never have known they were there in USUM had it not been for my prior knowledge from SM. Also, of course, there's a certain visitor to be navigated around per our earlier discussions.

The Elite Four: if SM's quartet is flawed, then USUM's is perhaps even moreso. But it's not necessarily what you think.

Spoiler: show
I actually really like the inclusion of Molayne a lot. He was the most difficult member of the Elite Four for my team to face, by far, and I faced him first because of my insistence on trying to salvage some sense of order in a post-order world. It's not just his difficulty that makes me like him -- flavor-wise I like the idea also. It makes sense that if Kukui is making his own club out of this Alolan League and wields executive power in the decision-making process of who gets to be on the preliminary Elite Four council and who doesn't ... that he'd go for his old buddy Molayne, particularly if he considers Molayne to be more than a friend but also one of the fiercest battlers he's ever known.

My problem is moreso the exacerbation of the problem started in Sun and Moon -- not fully committing to the idea of "the hakunas all become the Elite Four." Sun and Moon half-assed it by giving us two hakunas, one trial captain, and one nobody. Ultra Sun Ultra Moon worsens it by retaining the trial captain, retaining the nobody, and then replacing one of the kahunas with a second trial captain NPC off to the side whilst keeping the other kahuna on hand. So like ...
  • what my symmetry-loving brain wants: either 4/4 hakunas or else 0/4 hakunas
  • what SM gave us: 2/4 hakunas
  • what USUM gave us: 1/4 hakunas
2 out of 4 is bad, but 1 out of 4 is even worse somehow. As much as I adore Olivia, I almost wish that she hadn't been a part of the USUM Elite Four, just so that it'd be more uniform (in that none of the kahunas got the invite).

Don't get me wrong! I understand why the writers did what they did in not inviting Nanu or Hapu.
Nanu: He's that classic "What a pain in the ass ... *grumble grumble*" character who doesn't want to be bothered. He accepts his role as Ula'ula Island's kahuna because he was handpicked by Tapu Bulu, a venerated deity amongst his people. But when it comes to Kukui and his playtime league, Nanu has no interest in being bothered to come out of his hidey-hole and play pretend Elite Four.

Hapu: She literally just became the kahuna of Poni Island less than a week ago. Kukui has been building this league for years now. Even if Hapu is anointed by Tapu Fini as Poni Island's chosen kahuna and Kukui acknowledges her strength, that doesn't mean that he thinks she's necessarily cut out to be an Elite Four member in his new league. Maybe in a few years, kiddo!
But even if I understand it, that doesn't mean that I agree to it or that I like it. Nanu should have been comedically dragged there by Kukui. (There should have even been some further foreshadowing of Kukui's role as proto-Champion by having Nanu imply that Kukui bested Nanu in a Pokémon battle, the condition for which was that if Kukui won then Nanu would have to come and serve as an Elite Four.) Hapu should have been grandfathered granddaughtered in on account of 1) her grandfather being the originally intended titleholder and 2) Tapu Fini saying, "Look: this 'girl', call her what you will, is the single best trainer on Poni Island and is my personal pick for the next kahuna."

I was very impressed by the difficulty. Foresaking challenge for expediency, I was forced to break a lot of my own personal house rules for Elite Four challenges. Out the door almost instantly was flirtation with Set battle rules instead of Switch. That didn't happen. Next to go was my typical rule against using any items in between E4 battles. I break this rule a lot, but I tend to try to stick to it when challenging an E4 for the very first time. Memorably stuck to this rule with Gens 5a, 5b, and 6. Anyway, using items in between E4s is surely better than using them mid-battle ... right? Right? Well, that's my cardinal rule for E4 challenges -- no item usage mid-battle -- and that rule got broken right away too.

... That stated, an ugly little truth reared its head pretty quickly once I got past the first two Elite Four members:

Spoiler: show
Once Steel and Rock are out of the way, Inari is embarrassingly broken for the E4 challenge. I actually didn't need to use any items save Leppa Berries (for Lycanroc's Stone Edge, primarily) and one or two odd Hyper Potions once I got to Acerola. And that's because:
  1. Step 1: have Inari go ahead and use Aurora Veil. (Lasts "eight" turns, but still lasts a generous seven turns after usage.)
  2. Step 2: have Inari go ahead and use Nasty Plot twice, tripling her damage output.
  3. Step 3: sweep, sweep away!
The Elite Four really can't do much against STAB Ice, STAB Fairy coming off of a special attack stat that, while unboosted by EVs and not terribly impressive base-wise, has been TRIPLED by Nasty Plot.

So yeah. The next time I face the Elite Four for entertainment's sake, it will have to be 1) sticking to my usual no-item rules but also 2) NO INARI.

This aside, I still want to credit the developers for producing a genuinely challenging Elite Four. The award for hardest E4 ever still goes to Black & White 1's, but USUM has done a fine job here of producing an authentic challenge for Story Moders.

The Champion: What's the same from SM and what's different?

Spoiler: show
... Is about the safest way I can say outside of a spoiler box that they went and changed who the Champion is. I hate that they do this. And they've done it multiple times over the years, which tells me that one or more of the team leads really loves this idea. It's even worse when they go with an obvious downgrade, like replacing Steven Stone (best Champion to date at the time) with Gym Leader Wallace (with a mono-Water team, what the fuck...? ) or like replacing Kukui with ... well, Hau!

I'm not entirely convinced that Kukui should have been the one to fulfill the prophecy -- "a regional professor who is also that region's Champion" -- but it was something the fandom had been murmuring about ever since code dumpers had revealed the hidden Oak data in Red and Blue, data which suggested that Professor Oak was the originally planned final battle you would have to face off against in order to become Champion of the Indigo League. Well, that scrapped idea for Oak became a reality for Kukui. And it was charming in its way. Our first ever Professor-Champion ...

... And then they did away with it. And replaced it with the single worst possible option: the protagonist's rival. Which would otherwise be an epic idea, except:
  1. it's been done before. TWICE! (Blue/Green in Gen 1, N in Gen 5)
  2. Hau is HARDLY the man for the job! (One of the most pathetic and pushover-ey of "rivals" we've ever had.)
It just reeks of Wally. And since Wally's already been done before too ...! I just don't like it. I really, really don't like the decision to make Hau the proto-Champion in this game instead of having him face you outside the Pokémon Center like he did in Sun & Moon.

Adding insult to injury, fucker doesn't even give you that much money.

Lillie:

Spoiler: show
Gets further shat on in this version. Understandably, as the USUM Lillie's path has diverged so greatly from the SM Lillie's by this point. But like ... that post-E4 scene you have with Lillie at the dock in SM is one of the most poignant and memorable scenes from a Pokémon game, and it's just utterly deleted. Or rather, it's replaced with a far less emotional "equivalent" with Gladion taking the place of Lillie. But whereas Lillie's gets to be a slow-moving scene with text boxes, Gladion's is a fast-moving cinematic sequence lasting only twenty or thirty seconds max. No spoken dialogue. It's not even clear where he's going, though one assumes it bears some similarity to Lillie's trek to Kanto.

Tapu Koko fight: DELETED! Good. Not even going to spoiler box this one, because the people have to be told: that annoying-as-fuck mid-credit boss battle has been removed from USUM. Good riddance! You can go and get Tapu Koko later when you're good and ready for him.

Ending Credits: I much prefer SM's photo album and Hawaiian chant song to USUM's throwback to GSC+HGSS's ending credits. Visually and acoustically, it reminds me a lot of those games'. But it's inferior to what SM gave us. Really not sure why they opted for this downgrade.

... Though this is a bit mean, as I do prefer one or two versions better here:

Spoiler: show
I like the scene with Guzma, Plumeria, and the Skulls at the hideout in Po Town. It's loosely conveyed via Plumeria's photo in the SM credits, but the USUM cinematic sequence better communicates what is going on as well as serves as better entertainment.

Suddenly Zygarde: OH DON'T YOU TRY AND PRETEND LIKE HE SUDDENLY MATTERS NOW! We both know you're full of shit and that he was shoehorned into SM to begin with.

That's about all I've got. Now it's time for some narrative loose ends, Rainbow Rocket, and breeding.
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Old 05-11-2018, 09:54 AM   #90
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Isn't that the appeal, though? Kukui didn't have a wide selection pool for the E4 so the final product is an almost ad hoc assembly of competent battlers. But it's made personal by almost all of them being people you already know really well.

Spoiler: show
Did you find the Totem Ribombee battle easy or hard? I'm going to say the former, given your team, but there's a lot of people who swear by the Totem Kommo-o or Ribombee being the hardest battles in the game.
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Old 05-11-2018, 10:52 AM   #91
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To answer your totem question:

Spoiler: show
Totem Ribombee was no more difficult that any ordinary Ribombee. I think I may have one-shot it with Lycanroc's Stone Edge. Or perhaps I allowed it to live so that I could farm EXP off of its summoned help.

Totem Kommo-o was a little more difficult, because I know I definitely focused on the summoned help first (for the EXP) but meanwhile Kommo-o didn't fuck around. But uh, "little more difficult" means "I almost lost a Pokémon" vs. Ribombee's case of "no one was ever in any danger of fainting." It's not even apples and apples, much less apples and oranges -- it's "Fuji apples purchased on a Tuesday vs. Fuji apples purchased on a Monday."

To address your "Isn't that the appeal?" challenge:

Spoiler: show
I guess? I don't know though. I think it just makes so much more inherent sense, both in-universe and out, to have drafted all four hakunas to be your first ever Elite Four.
  1. the respect factor. It's disrespectful to snub a kahuna, said to be his or her island's greatest warrior.
  2. the in-universe logic factor. If Kahili (or anyone else from Alola) were really better suited as a warrior-defender of the island, then wouldn't they be the hakuna instead of the four we got?
  3. the power factor. There is zero ambiguity in-universe that the kahunas are amongst the mightiest trainers of the region, if not objectively the four mightiest trainers. So if Kukui were really "hurting for selection" as you insinuate, and I don't even disagree there!, then shouldn't his gaze obviously turn to the kahunas?
This last point I think Game Freak agrees with -- and then answers by saying "Nanu doesn't want to and Hapu's still getting accustomed to things." But as I explained above, I don't find either of those answers to be satisfying. Kukui could drag Nanu into it by baiting him into a duel where the winner gets to say what happens. Hapu would be honored to try and if she's good enough for Tapu Fini then she ought to be good enough for Kukui. Yes, yes, with Hapu there's the logistics of "she wasn't even hakuna until yesterday," but still. I dunno. I just don't like what they ended up doing.
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Old 05-11-2018, 02:57 PM   #92
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Kukui strikes me as a "man of two worlds". One, he's a native son of Alola (which gives him immense influence) and is widely considered to be part of its bright future. Two, he's actually competed in the Indigo Pokemon League and feels that Alola needs to get with the times without losing its cultural identity. So you have mixed feelings on him building a league: while no one is explicitly against it, only a few like Guzma feel very strongly for it. There was some push back at building the league on Mount Lanakila, which effectively put an end to the Final Trial which did involve a gauntlet against the four kahunas.

I can imagine Kukui would have trouble finding trainers who are 1) strong enough to be a competent Elite 4 and 2) are willing to actually fill in the position. That's a lot of changes to happen in a short time to a very traditional society. And while the kahunas are definitely strong trainers, we can't forget that they are similar to Gym Leaders from other regions, and everyone you meet on Victory Road has already beaten the other four island trials. There's a pretty big gulf in power between normal Elite Four and Gym Leaders, so if the kahunas are last choices or off-limits, there needs to be some creativity to fill the position of both Champion + E4.

That's the impression I got from USUM over SM. Kukui was able to convince someone strong to take the position, so he didn't have to rely on a kahuna as filler. And this E4 are all native to or live in Alola, so it feels more organic than simply calling in strong trainer from other regions to fill in.
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Old 05-11-2018, 11:51 PM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
Kukui strikes me as a "man of two worlds".
Yes!

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Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
One, he's a native son of Alola (which gives him immense influence) and is widely considered to be part of its bright future. Two, he's actually competed in the Indigo Pokemon League and feels that Alola needs to get with the times without losing its cultural identity.
Hmm, this is like ... 80% to 88% overlapping with my own take on Kukui. I agree with you completely that he's "a man of two worlds." I guess my take on him might differ from yours in that ... I don't know that I'd include the "without losing its cultural identity part". I feel he and Guzma are in parallel with their mutual assessment that the island challenge has to go, which in and of itself pits Kukui squarely against tradition:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guzma
Here we are, Kukui... Fellow rejects who never could become captains. We've got all these moldy old traditions in Alola—the kahunas, the captains... It's about time we cut out all that silly garbage and make something new for ourselves. Trust me, I get that.

Don't get me wrong, though, Kukui. We've got no need for a Pokémon League. After all, everyone already knows who the strongest Trainer is on these islands!
Kukui objects to Guzma's assessment that they both failed to become captains -- Kukui tells Guzma, "Speak for yourself, Guzma. It's not like I couldn't become a captain. I chose not to. I had other dreams, see?" One interpretation of this is that Kukui's dream was to go into Pokémon professorship ... But another interpretation of it is that Kukui's dream took him to Kanto where he partook in the Indigo League challenge. Either way, Kukui's objection to Guzma's characterization of him is basically a flat rejection of Alolan tradition -- where most people would die to become a trial captain (never mind a kahuna!), Kukui is all but saying he was offered the job and turned it down. Ouch.

I think Kukui's pride is in the Alolan people rather than in Alolan culture. That's not to say that he's self-loathing or that he otherwise holds Alolan culture in disdain. He doesn't. Let me repeat that: I, Talon87, believe that Kukui does indeed love Alola and its culture. But what I am trying to also say is that ... I think when he speaks of wanting to show the world the supremacy of ____, we have to fill in the blank with "Alolans" much more often than we would "Alolan ways". Kukui's like a man from a small, ignored-by-the-world-powers nation who loves his people and wants them to command respect on the world stage. I think for Kukui it's much less about getting the rest of the world to eat Alolan food, wear Alolan dress, or listen to Alolan song than it is about getting the rest of the world to admire, fear, and/or respect trainers from Alola. It's less "I want Alola to be loved" and more "I want Alola to be taken seriously." At least, that's what I get from him. I dunno. My opinions are subject to change. I feel like I haven't cemented in my view on Kukui just yet. That it will probably undergo at least some degree of change over the course of the next 5-10 years. We'll see.

(Guzma's "Trust me. I get that" at Kukui speaks volumes about Kukui's attitude towards tradition. The very fact that Guzma says something like this, proves all but proves that Kukui is known to Guzma, if not known to many others as well, to be a man who holds one or more of Alola's traditions in contempt. Topically, the Island Challenge.)

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So you have mixed feelings on him building a league: while no one is explicitly against it, only a few like Guzma feel very strongly for it.
As noted with the quote above, Guzma isn't in favor of a Pokémon League in Alola; rather, where he and Kukui agree on the need to dismantle the Island Challenge. Both men want to do away with the Challenge but for very different reasons:
  • Guzma is tired of a tradition that makes losers out of people. He dislikes the Island Challenge for how it makes those who fail to complete it feel. But he also dislikes the other nations' league circuits because they are essentially the same as the Island Challenge -- they make those who fail to cross the finish line feel like failures.
  • Kukui, it's never explicitly stated but they all but spell out that he wants a Pokémon League in Alola to replace the Island Challenge because a league circuit commands global respect whereas the Island Challenge only commands local respect. Foreigners look at the Island Challenge and go, "Oh, how quaint. " Kukui doesn't want to be looked down upon like that. "You're pretty smart, for an Alolan!" "You're pretty tough, for an Alolan!" "You're pretty ____, for an Alolan!" No "for an Alolan". Kukui wants Alolans to command as much respect on the world stage as Kantonians, Unovans, or Kalosians.
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There was some push back at building the league on Mount Lanakila, which effectively put an end to the Final Trial which did involve a gauntlet against the four kahunas.
Where was this pushback? In the anime? Speculative? I mean, it jives with our headcanons and the actual game canon, sure, but I don't remember anyone in Sun or Ultra Sun giving Kukui grief for erecting the league headquarters atop Mt. Lanakila.

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And while the kahunas are definitely strong trainers, we can't forget that they are similar to Gym Leaders from other regions
No, I don't agree with this. It's the trial captains who are at Gym Leader levels of prowess (and who are also the analogues to the other regions' Gym Leaders). The kahunas, they are at E4 levels of prowess (and are analogous to other regions' Elite Four). It wouldn't make sense for the kahunas to command so much respect and to be hand-picked by the tapus if they were Rank #5,924 in terms of Alola's power structure. "Everyone you meet on Victory Road has already beaten the other four island trials," you say, but you're forgetting that the kahunas deliberately handicap themselves in these fights. They use underleveled Pokémon and they don't fight at full strength. They're battling children, and they're trying to educate and to cultivate the children's growth. They're not aiming to crush anyone. Come E4 time, Hala and Olivia are fighting at full strength. And they have pretty darn good teams (for an Alolan-themed monotype team).

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Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
That's the impression I got from USUM over SM. Kukui was able to convince someone strong to take the position, so he didn't have to rely on a kahuna as filler. And this E4 are all native to or live in Alola, so it feels more organic than simply calling in strong trainer from other regions to fill in.
Not sure what you are trying to say here.

Spoiler: show
Kukui relies on a kahuna as filler in both SM and USUM. In SM, it's Hala and Olivia. In USUM, it's only Olivia. In both SM and USUM, he also wanted Nanu and the only reason he didn't get Nanu was because Nanu refused.
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Old 05-12-2018, 01:04 AM   #94
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Where was this pushback? In the anime? Speculative? I mean, it jives with our headcanons and the actual game canon, sure, but I don't remember anyone in Sun or Ultra Sun giving Kukui grief for erecting the league headquarters atop Mt. Lanakila.
In USUM, there is a construction worker near the Pokemon Centre on Mt. Lanakila who repeats the story Kukui told everyone to convince them on why the Pokemon League should be built there. While nobody explicitly opposes the league, that's probably because Kukui already long convinced them of its merits, but you can imagine there might have been opposition in the past because that exact site was where the final challenge was held.

I forgot Guzma's line, I'll have to retract that it's basically Kukui (in the game) who is super gung ho about it. And, it's pretty ironic that Guzma would be tsundere toward the idea of the league since I think he ends up liking it better.

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No, I don't agree with this. It's the trial captains who are at Gym Leader levels of prowess (and who are also the analogues to the other regions' Gym Leaders). The kahunas, they are at E4 levels of prowess (and are analogous to other regions' Elite Four). It wouldn't make sense for the kahunas to command so much respect and to be hand-picked by the tapus if they were Rank #5,924 in terms of Alola's power structure. "Everyone you meet on Victory Road has already beaten the other four island trials," you say, but you're forgetting that the kahunas deliberately handicap themselves in these fights. They use underleveled Pokémon and they don't fight at full strength. They're battling children, and they're trying to educate and to cultivate the children's growth. They're not aiming to crush anyone. Come E4 time, Hala and Olivia are fighting at full strength. And they have pretty darn good teams (for an Alolan-themed monotype team).
That is exactly how Gym Leaders operate: they use lower level Pokemon depending on the strength of the trainer, so that everyone has quite the fight for their eighth badge, but it doesn't matter if your local gym is Blackthorne or Viridian, the first battle will be winnable. The trail captains I would sort under the "gym trainer" archetype...there's only 2-3 of them per island, and they take orders and train under the kahuna. The major differences are the nature of trials and the strength of totems and their ability to call for allies.

E4 always hit you with their best, as does the champion, and the Gym Leaders don't bring out their A-teams unless rematches are allowed.

That said, perhaps you're more correct in this regard: if Kukui wants to wipe away the vestiges of the old regime, he can't call upon the kahuna's strength as the E4, he needs new faces to draw a line in the sand that the league is a different animal. But if he doesn't use the kahunas, he might not be able to draw enough respect for the league. I doubt this though considering how many veterans and aces answered Kukui's call to Victory Road to impede the player's path. He's massively popular and influential, without the benefit of many knowing he's also Masked Royal.

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Not sure what you are trying to say here.

Spoiler: show
Kukui relies on a kahuna as filler in both SM and USUM. In SM, it's Hala and Olivia. In USUM, it's only Olivia. In both SM and USUM, he also wanted Nanu and the only reason he didn't get Nanu was because Nanu refused.
I was getting mixed up.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:42 AM   #95
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Quote:
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In USUM, there is a construction worker near the Pokemon Centre on Mt. Lanakila who repeats the story Kukui told everyone to convince them on why the Pokemon League should be built there.
Yep, I am well aware of this construction worker! Just talked to him two days ago and enjoyed his pseudo-cinematic. Continue.

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While nobody explicitly opposes the league, that's probably because Kukui already long convinced them of its merits, but you can imagine there might have been opposition in the past because that exact site was where the final challenge was held.
Bold emphasis my own. No, Doppel. You've answered my question: you're purely speculating. Nobody offers any pushback in SMUSUM. I agree with you that as a headcanon it works perfectly well, but there's zero concrete evidence for this hypothesis of yours. You only have circumstantial evidence, like the lack of explicit support, to point to. In the end, my view is that you're allowed to entertain this theory but you can't express it to others as fact.

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That is exactly how Gym Leaders operate: they use lower level Pokemon depending on the strength of the trainer, so that everyone has quite the fight for their eighth badge, but it doesn't matter if your local gym is Blackthorne or Viridian, the first battle will be winnable.
Which is exactly what the trial captains do. Yes, the Elite Four (hakunas) in this game a) fight you out of usual order and b) dial down their strengths so as not to squash you. But they remain the Elite Four. They, these hakunas, are spoken of by the entire island community as the greatest heroes of the land, warriors without peer, defenders of the realm. The fact that there are four of them, the fact that whoever defeats them all at the end of the Island Challenge circuit is crowned "the Island Challenge Champion", the fact that islanders speak of you becoming a "Champion" some day not in the context of Kukui's kooky league but in the context of the Island Challenge ... I don't think Game Freak could have made it any clearer, Doppel.

Hakunas: Elite Four that, for the first time in the history of the games, you actually get to encounter at the 25%, 50%, 75%, and 99% markers instead of only getting to encounter at the 100% marker at the very end of the game.

Trial Captains: Gym Leaders that, for the first time in the history of the games, you don't actually fight them personally but rather their trials' Totem Pokémon

The trial captains still have teams of their own. You fight a number of them during Mina's trial (USUM), but even in the post-game (SM; also USUM?) they are available to be fought. These teams are much more in keeping with a Gym Leader's than an Elite Four's; frequently small (three to four Pokémon tops), typed to match the type of the trial site and its totem .... Each gym leader you defeat awards you a TM and a gym badge; each trial captain you defeat awards you a TM and a Z-Crystal. (Could have sworn they awarded a TM each, too ...) Z-Crystals in this game replace gym badges. They have lovely cinematics for when you receive most (with the lack of cinematics for some like Icium Z, Poisonium Z, and Buginium Z being depressingly obvious). The trial captains each show you the dance you'll need to do to use your new Z-Crystal properly. And perhaps most damningly for your position, there are eight seven of them. You have Ilima, Lana, Kiawe, Mallow, Sophocles, Acerola, and Mina. Eight Seven trials. (Technically really eight if you count the captainless Dragon trial.) Seven captains. It couldn't be more clear: the trial captains are the analogues of the gym leaders.

Think about it. The anime likes to have Ash's travel buddies / companions be protagonists and gym leaders. In the history of the games there's never been a memorable gym trainer; fans remember random trainers like Trainer Joey or the I Like Shorts kid better than they do GTs. So the anime gives Ash:
  • Kanto: Misty and Brock (two GLs)
  • Hoenn: May, Max, and Brock (protag, made-up, and GL)
  • Sinnoh: Dawn and Brock (protag and GL)
  • Unova: Cilan and Iris (two GLs)
  • Kalos: Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie (protag, GL, and GL's kid sister)
  • Alola: Lana, Kiawe, Mallow, Sophocles, and Lillie (four TCs and sidekick)
Lana, Mallow, and the others don't fill the role of some theoretical Gym Trainer who has never existed. They fill the role of the companion Gym Leader. Lillie fills the role of the companion female protag (as for the first time in a long while they opted to skip the inclusion of the actual female protag as a companion for Ash), and the trial captains fill the void previously filled by Gym Leaders like Brock, Cilan, and Clemont.

Think about this, too. Let's say I'm right and Acerola's a Gym Leader equivalent. It's already a stretch, then, to expect her to fill the shoes of a regional Elite Four -- but not beyond belief. In our fandom, we can imagine that "a particularly skilled gym leader might be promoted to become an Elite Four." Now let's say you're right and Acerola's only a Gym Trainer equivalent. ... You expect me to believe that:
  1. Kukui would be so desperate to fill slots that he'd appoint a Gym Trainer to serve as an Elite Four!?
  2. a mere Gym Trainer-caliber trainer could best Gym Leaders, Veteran Trainers, and even other E4 hopefuls in order to secure her spot as a member of the Elite Four?
  3. a Gym Trainer that powerful would remain some Gym Leader's lackey, rather than becoming the GL herself? (She can't replace Nanu, as it appears hakuna is something you're appointed to for life and can't retire from, but still. )
I just can't buy it, Doppel. It's absurd to think that someone would leapfrog over GL to go from being a GT to being an Elite Four. Were such a character to exist, it would factor into their story and be presented to the player. No, it's much more reasonable to believe that the Trial Captains are Gym Leader analogues and that Acerola, in her appointment to the fledgling Alola Elite Four, was (originally) the trial captain best qualified to substitute in for a missing hakuna, specifically the hakuna of her island and a hakuna she had a close relationship with.

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Old 05-12-2018, 09:05 AM   #96
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Bulbapedia's take:

Trial Captain: "a person who designs and presides over a certain island challenge trial and gives guidance to participating Trainers. All of the Trial Captains have previously completed their own island challenge a few years prior. They retire from their position when they turn 20. Like Gym Leaders, they specialize in certain types of Pokémon. They can be identified by the flower-shaped adornment they wear someplace on their bodies, each with a different colored jewel to represent their specialized type. In Pokémon Sun and Moon, there are seven Trial Captains who each preside over a trial in the island challenge, although as shown by the Vast Poni Canyon trial, a trial can exist in a functional form without a Captain to preside over it."

Kahuna: "a person who presides over a certain island challenge in the Alola region. Island kahunas serve as the final obstacle in that particular island's trial and battle a Trainer in a Grand Trial. There is one kahuna for each of the four main islands of Alola, with each one chosen by that island's guardian deity. In addition to presiding over an island, they are also in charge of tending to their guardian's ruins when necessary and selecting new Trial Captains for their island. Prior to the establishment of the Alolan Pokémon League, a Trainer attempting their island challenge who had finished all of their trials and grand trials was to scale Mount Lanakila and battle all four kahunas in a row in order to become an island challenge champion."

"According to Acerola, a person chosen to be an island kahuna cannot refuse the position; in this case, she was referring to Nanu. A kahuna's reign lasts until they die, as was the case with Hapu's grandfather and predecessor, or are forcibly ejected from their position by their respective guardian deity, as was with the case with a former unspecified kahuna who established the gang that Team Skull drew inspiration from. The time in between an island kahuna's exit from their position and the naming of a new one is not always immediate — following the death of Hapu's grandfather, Poni Island was left without a kahuna for several years."

"It is unknown how the lack of a kahuna affects the island challenge, specifically the assignment of Trial Captains and the final trial. In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Poni Island's sole Trial Captain, Mina, says that a kahuna from one of the other islands has to substitute for an island without one in order to allow that island's grand trials to be conducted — a role Nanu had to play prior to Hapu's crowning. However, Mina does not mention who selected her to be a Trial Captain."

For me, the most relevant bits are:

Trial Captain: "Like Gym Leaders"
Kahuna: "Prior to the establishment of the Alolan Pokémon League, a Trainer attempting their island challenge who had finished all of their trials and grand trials was to scale Mount Lanakila and battle all four kahunas in a row in order to become an island challenge champion."

If I can't persuade you that Trial Captains are analogous to Gym Leaders, I'll be damned if I can't persuade you that the hakunas were Alola's very own Elite Four.
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:27 AM   #97
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Think about this, too. Let's say I'm right and Acerola's a Gym Leader equivalent. It's already a stretch, then, to expect her to fill the shoes of a regional Elite Four -- but not beyond belief. In our fandom, we can imagine that "a particularly skilled gym leader might be promoted to become an Elite Four."
That's not even a fandom 'we can imagine' thing though. This exact situation happened with Koga between Gen 1 and Gen 2, or at least between FRLG and HGSS. He was promoted from GL to E4.
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:57 AM   #98
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Indeed! But a mere Gym Trainer promoted to Elite Four? Unheard of.

(There's always a first time for everything! But I remain entirely unconvinced that Acerola went from GT to E4 rather than from GL to E4.)

Some additional food for thought, Doppel: in the history of the franchise, a GT has never been given a unique character design. Unique character designs are reserved only for Gym Leaders and above. All of Alola's Trial Captains? Unique character designs.
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Old 05-12-2018, 12:28 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Bold emphasis my own. No, Doppel. You've answered my question: you're purely speculating. Nobody offers any pushback in SMUSUM. I agree with you that as a headcanon it works perfectly well, but there's zero concrete evidence for this hypothesis of yours. You only have circumstantial evidence, like the lack of explicit support, to point to. In the end, my view is that you're allowed to entertain this theory but you can't express it to others as fact.
Gonna throw myself a life raft here...I did say earlier no one was explicitly against a Pokemon League, because I could not remember anyone outright saying negative things about it. My memory of the game is foggy after half a year and I don't have it in front of me to confirm things. So, sorry!

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Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Which is exactly what the trial captains do. Yes, the Elite Four (hakunas) in this game a) fight you out of usual order and b) dial down their strengths so as not to squash you. But they remain the Elite Four. They, these hakunas, are spoken of by the entire island community as the greatest heroes of the land, warriors without peer, defenders of the realm. The fact that there are four of them, the fact that whoever defeats them all at the end of the Island Challenge circuit is crowned "the Island Challenge Champion", the fact that islanders speak of you becoming a "Champion" some day not in the context of Kukui's kooky league but in the context of the Island Challenge ... I don't think Game Freak could have made it any clearer, Doppel.

Hakunas: Elite Four that, for the first time in the history of the games, you actually get to encounter at the 25%, 50%, 75%, and 99% markers instead of only getting to encounter at the 100% marker at the very end of the game.
Can't we just say that kahunas also fulfill the role of the E4? Because the E4 are not how you characterize them here. They are nothing but juiced up Gym Leaders who don't leave league headquarters that you face in a gauntlet before facing the champion. Kahunas do way more, including handing out Z-Crystals (the 'badges' of Alola), and are much more visible in the community than the E4.

Anyway, island challenge champion is not similar to Pokemon League Champion at all. For one, you only have to beat the four kahunas to do it, and multiple (implied to be anyone of age) people can do it. While in all leagues (including the newly minted Alola one) you have to face the champion or a champion-like entity after the Elite Four, and then take the champion's place.

And that segways into the next important point - the island challenge is something like a bar mitzvah, that everyone of age in this specific group undertakes. Captains can't be older than 18, and you start your challenge at age 11. Those ages bookend "adolescence" very nicely, give or take a few years. There's no single reigning island challenge champion, and many former champions, a phenomenon that doesn't happen in regions with a league.

This is why I originally considered the power level of kahunas to be lower than typical E4. If there were prior champions in the pokemon league, it's usually shown by the in the game events and you never see random NPCs tell you of their time as the league champion. I don't think the island challenge was designed to be easy, but it helps explain Guzma's negative sentiment if it's an intentionally passable test that he outright failed.

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Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Trial Captains: Gym Leaders that, for the first time in the history of the games, you don't actually fight them personally but rather their trials' Totem Pokémon

The trial captains still have teams of their own. You fight a number of them during Mina's trial (USUM), but even in the post-game (SM; also USUM?) they are available to be fought. These teams are much more in keeping with a Gym Leader's than an Elite Four's; frequently small (three to four Pokémon tops), typed to match the type of the trial site and its totem .... Each gym leader you defeat awards you a TM and a gym badge; each trial captain you defeat awards you a TM and a Z-Crystal. (Could have sworn they awarded a TM each, too ...) Z-Crystals in this game replace gym badges. They have lovely cinematics for when you receive most (with the lack of cinematics for some like Icium Z, Poisonium Z, and Buginium Z being depressingly obvious). The trial captains each show you the dance you'll need to do to use your new Z-Crystal properly. And perhaps most damningly for your position, there are eight seven of them. You have Ilima, Lana, Kiawe, Mallow, Sophocles, Acerola, and Mina. Eight Seven trials. (Technically really eight if you count the captainless Dragon trial.) Seven captains. It couldn't be more clear: the trial captains are the analogues of the gym leaders.
Man, I'm having deja vu. Didn't we talk about this somewhere? Either way, there's nothing special about trial captains handing out TMs, since TMs come from many sources, only one of which are Gym Leaders. Trial captains aren't the exclusive source of Z-Crystals either, you can find them in places and kahunas also hand them out. So while they are superficially similar to Gym Badges due to typing, it isn't a strict analog.

But trial captains hand out both a TM AND A Z-CRYSTAL...you are on to something here, but I don't think it's a very strong parallel. You beat the island challenge, so your reward needs to come from someone, somewhere. The authority figure in charge of the challenge is the natural source for such a reward.

Also, on the Dragon Trial, my suspicion is Ryuujerk is supposed to be the captain for that, but he went delinquent since there wasn't a kahuna on Poni Island? Someone had to train the Totem Kommo-o. He is as good a candidate as any.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Think about it. The anime likes to have Ash's travel buddies / companions be protagonists and gym leaders. In the history of the games there's never been a memorable gym trainer; fans remember random trainers like Trainer Joey or the I Like Shorts kid better than they do GTs.

So the anime gives Ash:
  • Kanto: Misty and Brock (two GLs)
  • Hoenn: May, Max, and Brock (protag, made-up, and GL)
  • Sinnoh: Dawn and Brock (protag and GL)
  • Unova: Cilan and Iris (two GLs)
  • Kalos: Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie (protag, GL, and GL's kid sister)
  • Alola: Lana, Kiawe, Mallow, Sophocles, and Lillie (four TCs and sidekick)
Lana, Mallow, and the others don't fill the role of some theoretical Gym Trainer who has never existed. They fill the role of the companion Gym Leader. Lillie fills the role of the companion female protag (as for the first time in a long while they opted to skip the inclusion of the actual female protag as a companion for Ash), and the trial captains fill the void previously filled by Gym Leaders like Brock, Cilan, and Clemont.
In the anime, I feel like those five were selected because they're the closest to Ash in age. Bucket-kun and Chicken-chan don't exist at all, and Illima, Acerola, and Mina are much older than I would have guessed from the games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Think about this, too. Let's say I'm right and Acerola's a Gym Leader equivalent. It's already a stretch, then, to expect her to fill the shoes of a regional Elite Four -- but not beyond belief. In our fandom, we can imagine that "a particularly skilled gym leader might be promoted to become an Elite Four." Now let's say you're right and Acerola's only a Gym Trainer equivalent. ... You expect me to believe that:
  1. Kukui would be so desperate to fill slots that he'd appoint a Gym Trainer to serve as an Elite Four!?
  2. a mere Gym Trainer-caliber trainer could best Gym Leaders, Veteran Trainers, and even other E4 hopefuls in order to secure her spot as a member of the Elite Four?
  3. a Gym Trainer that powerful would remain some Gym Leader's lackey, rather than becoming the GL herself? (She can't replace Nanu, as it appears hakuna is something you're appointed to for life and can't retire from, but still. )
I just can't buy it, Doppel. It's absurd to think that someone would leapfrog over GL to go from being a GT to being an Elite Four. Were such a character to exist, it would factor into their story and be presented to the player. No, it's much more reasonable to believe that the Trial Captains are Gym Leader analogues and that Acerola, in her appointment to the fledgling Alola Elite Four, was (originally) the trial captain best qualified to substitute in for a missing hakuna, specifically the hakuna of her island and a hakuna she had a close relationship with.
It's ridiculous that Kukui would appoint a gym trainer to an E4 position, but all trial captains are also former island challenge champions, so in that respect it's very easy to defend.
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Old 05-13-2018, 12:20 AM   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
It's ridiculous that Kukui would appoint a gym trainer to an E4 position, but all trial captains are also former island challenge champions, so in that respect it's very easy to defend.
Hmm ...

The thing is, you seem to insinuate there that "Champion = a greater battler than an Elite Four member", which is a perfectly fine insinuation on the face of it! And yet my mind immediately turns to Gary Blue/Green, and I have to wonder: how do you explain that one? "Wasn't a vacancy." Doesn't matter. If he's the better battler, he ought to bump everyone down a peg (sending Lance to No.3, Agatha to No.2, Bruno to No.1, and Lorelei off the ladder) the moment he's dethroned by Red. "Didn't want it." Did he not, though? He seemed pretty bummed about losing the championship. He seems perfectly happy to have taken over at Viridian City Gym. Why would we expect Viridian City Gym Leader to be a more prestigious or an otherwise more desirable title than Indigo League Elite Four Member? "He had special ties to Viridian City." He didn't. "He had a special connection with Giovanni." He didn't! "He really likes the Ground ty--" He doesn't! Right out the gate, Generations 1+2 set the stage for us that a former Champion should maybe consider himself privileged that he gets to wind up becoming a Gym Leader, whereas a long-time Gym Leader has to work really, really hard at it to get the invitation to become an Elite Four member.

It's strange, isn't it? Because I am so ready to agree with you -- I think we all are! -- that a League Champion must, by definition of his consecutive victories, be a greater trainer than any of the Elite Four individually are. As after all: they only have to beat one of you, but you have to beat all four of them, in a row! Surely yours is the more impressive feat, and so much so that it enshrines you as their superior should you happen to pull it off. And yet ... and yet a dethroned Champion has no guarantees of anything within the league headquarters' halls, whereas a "mere" Gym Leader can become a semi-permanent member of the Elite Four.

Perhaps we can have an explanation as follows: Blue/Green would have otherwise wanted the position as an Elite Four member, but he doesn't want to be a part of Red's council, "subservient to Red", so he rejects the appointment and accepts the next best thing (the prestigious Viridian City Gym Leader position) which allows him to wait for Red's return from hermitage and to challenge his rival for the Champion's throne at that time. But this is all speculation and fanonny (EHH? EHHH? ), without anything concrete to really work off of.

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Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
[The Elite Four] are nothing but juiced up Gym Leaders who don't leave league headquarters that you face in a gauntlet before facing the champion.
This brings us to another curiosity: the fact that, in BW1, the eight Gym Leaders of Unova show up at the League HQ to help you fend off Team Plasma and to protect the region ... yet the Elite Four are nowhere to be seen.

BORKED

We get this ... and for some reason, it's the eight seven seven and an alt gym leaders who show up to put Team Plasma in their place. And not the Elite Four. Now, there can be loads of explanations. Out of universe, like "Well Game Freak really played up the whole 'gym leaders from your neighborhood! ' angle with the GLs in Gen 5, having them be an integral part of your journey every step of the way." Or in universe, like "Well you just beat the ever-loving stuffing out of the Elite Four just now, so like ... give them time to recover! They can't be expected to dive into a battle like this when they're still battered and bruised!" But I dunno, man. I dunno. It just ... it seems really weird to me that the Elite Four are always so cloistered, always so uninvolved in the goings-on of their region. The Champions frequently tour the countryside! The Gym Leaders have started to do so too! So why haven't the Elite Four yet? It's really not until Gen 6 that we get an Elite Four member who matters outside of her palace at the Pokémon League headquarters -- and that's Malva, our news anchor and secret Flare member! So the one time an E4 matters outside of the League, it's when she's cavorting with the villains! :') I guess FRLG technically has Lorelei on the Sevii Islands, but meh. And I guess you could say Lance was the very first time we had an E4 member helping the player out, helping us to take down the enemy criminal organization ... but like, even then the bizarro rule still generally holds, because at that very moment in time Lance is the acting Champion, not the highest-ranking member of the Elite Four. So it's weird. It's very weird.

Gen 6 was a step in the right direction with Malva. I'm not saying "you gotta have 'em be involved with {specific faction}", but rather, I expect them to be involved on one side or another in the goings-on in their region. One thing I had really hoped to get out of a Pokémon Z was seeing Siebold and the others' reactions to Malva's involvement with Flare. I wanted to see how they rationalized her decisions, if they defended her at all, or how they rationalized condemning her beliefs whilst agreeing to work alongside her. Did they know the truth all along and ostracize her? Did they know the truth and remain friends with her? Were they utterly ignorant? (I could see that being the case for Wikstrom. #ethan ) I hope to see, in Generation 8 and in future games, more character development for our Elite Four. They've been doing a decent job of it with the Champion for a long while now. (Steven Stone, good. Cynthia, even better. Alder, just as good if not as popular. Diantha, ditto Alder, maybe slightly less well done but also slightly more popular. And then of course ditto Kukui.) They've also been trying to do a good job of it with the highest ranking members of the criminal organization in each game for a long time now. (Starting with the man himself, Giovanni, but also extending to Silver, Maxie/Archie, Cyrus, N, Ghetsis, and so on.) But Malva's the first and last time they introduced us to a new Elite Four member and then made her a living, breathing part of the world we explored long prior to our actually getting to battle her. Malva's also notably the only time in the history of the games that an E4 or Champion has been a member of the criminal team. It doesn't have to be that. You don't have to give us Malva Redux. But at the very least, give us an Elite Four who seem to actually be the defenders of their realm. Quit making them caged birds who despite boasting "phenomenal cosmic power" seem to only have "itty bitty living space" within which to roam and no further.

I'm rambling now. But hmm. Lot of food for thought you've given me here. Alright, time for a double post because I've got a question I want answers to ASAP.

Last edited by Talon87; 05-13-2018 at 12:38 AM.
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