Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Thought to Chew: Exeggutor Island

So, because of the fact that I can't seem to abide by my post-every-week rule, I will remind you that in my last article I waxed poetic of Hau in spite of the fact that others found him insufferable. In this post, I will be continuing the trend of shouting my appreciation of some aspect of the game to a wall.

If there's one character that's universally loved (case-and-point: not Hau), it's Lillie, and it's pretty obvious why. Most Pokemon games don't dig as deeply for emotions out of you like Pokemon Sun and Moon, and the vast majority of that can be accredited to Lillie, one of the few characters from the series I'd classify as necessarily dynamic. Every part of her character was so intricately designed and thought-out that she feels genuine. She's the most intricate character since N, a character that, by this game's standards, is painfully straightforward.

Obviously, the climax of the character is when she is brought on over to the Aether Foundation and all that stuff with Celestria happens, but that's not my favorite moment for the character. There's no denying it's the principal moment in the game, because it's where all of her inner workings are on display, allowing us to piece together the big picture of the plot. I mean, if any game has a twenty minute-long cutscene, it has to be important enough for them to force you to hold your bladder for a urinary tract infection to take root.

No, I prefer the much quainter scene that occurs on Exeggutor Island.

It's a simple set-up. It's raining, so you and Lillie shelter in a cave. Lillie contemplates the rain and reflects about a childhood memory and fuzzy memories with her mom post-her becoming a raging psychopath. She asks you if you know what you'll do once you finish the Trials, and unless your some smarmy prick that knows everything, she takes solace in you not knowing what you're doing either. She says she might want to be a trainer, too (which I suppose functions as foreshadowing- don't remind me, it hurts too much). Then, the rain's over, and the sky is clear.

What I appreciate about it the most is that it's thoroughly inconsequential. It does not need to exist for the sake of the storyline. It hardly adds anything that isn't superfluous. All it does is create a further sense of intimacy with the character, demonstrating that in spite of all the insanity going on in the rest of the game, she finds a sense of security in you and no one else. These small flourishes- her changing her clothes to embrace a new sense of freedom, overcoming the Murkrows on the bridge at Poni Canyon- make it all the more devastating when she departs for Kanto. There's a secretly intricate build-up before it all comes crashing down on you right in the feels.

No other game has pushed this concept of building-up like Sun/Moon, where almost every important supporting character - Lillie, Gladion, Celestria, Guzma, Mohn etc. - contributes to some deeper storyline, whether explicitly stated or not. It's a game that manipulates your heartstrings like a puppeteer, knowing exactly what to deploy and exactly the right time, which for a Pokemon game is a pretty massive accomplishment.

For the last A Thought to Chew on why Hau isn't that terrible of a character, CLICK HERE.

For the last Interviews...
...with FinalSmash, CLICK HERE.
...with MyNewSoundtrack, CLICK HERE.


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