Some might call it a travesty, especially considering XY&Z aired just before it. I was like that at first; I thought at first that Ash and Pikachu were so poorly animated (Team Rocket too, but they’re not as important) that I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to even start watching it…but now, as someone long past that hurdle, I only have one thing to say about it:
(Disclaimer: I have not watched Goblin Slayer, nor do I plan to.)
Beyond the hurdle lies a multitude of interesting twists to the games off which they’re based, some possibly being concepts that didn’t make the cut.
(For one, the Rotom Dex actually has a personality and isn’t nearly as obnoxious.) The Sun and Moon games never really had any sport-related minigames except Mantine Surfing, yet the show has ping-pong, baseball, gymnastics, golfing, various races, and even ninja training. (Well, perchance they exhausted their sports-related creativity in HeartGold/SoulSilver’s Pokéathlon.) There’s also a bit of extra Kanto flavor—Meltan, a shaggy Eevee, and even guest appearances by Brock and Misty—because the producers sure like their first generation. (I personally am fed up with how much they’re milking it. Like, why are Alolan forms only of Kanto Pokémon? What of the other regions? I’m also peeved that no new Mega Evolutions were introduced.) I gotta admit, though, episode 21 was particularly tear-jerking, and it brought to light the otherwise obscure Snowbelle City theme that debuted in X&Y.
But more importantly, there are two main reasons why I continue watching the Sun/Moon anime to this day.
One reason is a Bewear that serves as a maternal figure for Team Rocket. She contributes heavily to the humor of the series, having the insane strength and speed to always put an abrupt end to Team Rocket’s wicked schemes for her own sake. Her antics are enhanced with episode-themed props and later (starting episode 96) her long lost child Stufful. Amazingly, she even defeats a Pheromosa in episode 114!
Now, the other (and better) reason?
This lovely lass: Lana, also known as Néphie (French) or Suiren (スイレン). She’s been my favorite since playing the games, and watching the anime has bolstered my infatuation with her. (“‘Lana’ backwards is ‘anal'” crap be darned.) I mean, I shuddered a bit when I first heard how raspy her Japanese voice was, but I found that easier to get used to than the animation style, and now I actually consider it part of her cuteness. (At least it’s not Kiawe’s English voice, which makes him sound so unfittingly like a wuss.)
She may look young compared to her peers, but she has the composure of an older sister and stands tall in the face of adversity. Think Blanc from Hyperdimension Neptunia, except not as temperamental and with less distinguishable (but more persuadable) twin sisters. She’s also the third protagonist (after Kiawe and Ash, i.e. the first female) to obtain a Z-Ring, followed by Lillie and Sophocles much later. Speaking of the protagonists, they were given Poké Rides to fly with upon becoming Ultra Guardians, and Lana’s is the second least natural (only to Ash’s Garchomp): Dragonair. (The others—in ascending order of natural—are Sophocles’s Metang, Mallow’s Flygon, Lillie’s Altaria, and Kiawe’s Charizard.)
Best of all, unlike in the games, Lana sheds her outer clothing when she needs to swim, like so:
(The scene here is from episode 42. No, the subtitle is not official.)
I have to say, though: Thinking about how Lana normally wears a one-piece swimsuit under her clothes, doesn’t that make it an inconvenience for her to use the restroom? Just a little food for thought that I can’t help mulling over every now and then.
Regardless, here’s the take-away about Lana. Even though Alola does not have Pokémon Contests, Lana is the most befitting of all five categories: Beautiful, Clever, Cool, Cute, and Tough.
- Beautiful: Arguably her swimsuit figure, but most appropriately…
- Clever: It takes insane precision to sink nine balls at once in billiards.
- Cool: When she gets serious, she really gets serious.
- Cute: Mostly her reactions to being paired with Ash.
- Tough: She did an Island Trial where she had to combat a school of Wishiwashi. Later on, when roared at by a Gyarados, she just stood dauntlessly before diving right into its territory (hence the Ep 42 scene).
And now, I can only contain my hype for episode 120 in white text.
[Well I’ll be. I never thought Lana would actually be privileged to meet a Kyogre rod-to-mouth. And to think that she’ll have a Primarina mid-episode? This is filling me with unbearable anticipation.]
Overall rating: 8/10, as I normally rate Pokémon anime. Guess I’d consider it like Unlimited Fafnir: The animation and story are not much to behold, but one character (technically 1.5 in this case, the .5 being Bewear) sparkles like a diamond in the rough.
This post may or may not indicate a near breaking point of progress through LUMP, a crossover fanfiction that I teased and went over briefly in Brain Food #2.
À la prochaine! (Until next time!)