Friday, December 9, 2016

My Trip to Alola

There's a lot of water, but not too much I suppose.
Pokémon Sun and Moon have been out for about 3 weeks now. I feel like I can talk about my experiences without spoiling anything for anyone. However, if you ARE worried about spoilers, I'd suggest not reading this further. If you read this and get upset because I spoiled something, that's on you. You've been warned. 

My trip to Alola, like with anyone who's gone there in the past month or so, began on Melemele Island. I expected the atmosphere to be a lot like Hoenn, given they are both tropical islands. Although a lot of the topography seemed similar, there was something about Alola that definitely made it stand out as different. That is the island culture and the closeness the natives have with the pokémon, specifically the Tapu. I knew I'd eventually end up going around to catch the Tapu to fill my dex. I wonder how the natives feel about me capturing their guardians? I suppose only time will tell how that will affect their various ceremonies and tournaments held in the Tapu's honor.

My travels eventually took me to the various islands to complete trials and battle the kahunas as part of my island challenge. All of my league challenges in other regions felt definitely more isolated. It was me versus the gym leaders and Elite Four. Occasionally, my rival would show up to battle me or what have you, but that's about it. In Kalos, I had a few more friends travel with me early on, but we split up pretty quickly. In Alola, Lillie, Hau, and even Professor Kakui were often around so the journey didn't seem that lonely. It was a nice change.

This is pretty much how life is every day in Alola.
The trials themselves were interesting. I wouldn't say that captain's trials were any more or less challenging than what I've had to do in gyms in the past, but there were definitely different. Often, in other regions, challenging gyms just felt like something I did while I was in town. They were a part of my journey, and I needed to get the next badge to continue to the next, but the gym leaders didn't seem to care about much of what was going on outside their gym. There were a few exceptions, of course, but most gym leaders seem to just deal with gym duties and that's about it. The trial captains definitely made trials that not only seemed relevant to me becoming a better trainer, but also taught me about the habitats and pokémon in Alola. In the end, there's more to pokémon than just battling. 

One thing I learned about Alola that also sets it apart from every other region I've been to is they have no Pokémon League. Apparently, I came to Alola at the perfect time as Prof. Kakui was looking to start one. I wasn't surprised that the kahunas, for the most part, were promoted to the Elite Four. There was no champion though, well, not before I showed up. Now I'm the champion and when I'm not adventuring I can go and accept new challenges.

These creatures seem to have little in common
with each other outside of their ability: Beast Boost.
A research topic for another day.
Speaking of adventuring, there are a lot of mysterious pokémon in Alola. I'm still working to understand a new class of pokémon known as "Ultra Beasts". It almost seems like they are similar to pokémon we currently classify as "mythical" or "legendary", except they are only few in number due to very few making it to our world. The inter-dimensional beings seem to share characteristics to our native pokémon, but are different enough to make them their own class. As I learned from Professor Burnet, these aren't the first inter-dimensional pokémon. In fact, I've had my own experiences traveling to other dimensions before. While in Sinnoh, I visited the Distortion World in search of Giratina. What, if anything, the dimension the Ultra Beasts reside in has in common with the Distortion World remains to be seen.

 Obviously, there are still many mysteries surrounding Alola that I will continue to explore in the coming weeks. Once I have had more time studying the regional variants of pokémon in Alola and the Ultra Beasts, I plan on writing a couple "The Science of..." articles about them.