Pokémon Sun and Moon

>Sun & Moon is honestly the best series we've ever had. Everything was so good, from the animation to the characters to the 'mons to the story. I hadn't really ever been into any of the previous series of the anime because I found it childish and disappointing. But SuMo has managed to maturely handle a range of subjects and still allow for great battles and interactions between characters. Its themes were clear and held through the entire series, expecially with Ash and his Alolan family, and the ending was so satisfying and perfect. I doubt there's ever going to be a series of Pokeani that can stand up to the standard Sun & Moon set for me.

>I feel that Sun & Moon is a great improvement over almost all the rest of the anime, with better humor, characters, and fights. I especially like Ash's characterization in this series. It's less that he's a complete idiot, more that he simply doesn't now much about the pokemon of Alola but he still has his skills. (Originally written sometime in March 2018)

Sun and Moon 54 leaked dialogue

Lusamine: What were you the trainer of, again?
RotomDex begins playing the Immigrant Song while Ash and Pikachu use Gigavolt Havoc

What if the whole reason we have rotoms in the Alola Pokedex is because they’re a ‘defective batch’ of pokedexs that were posessed by the rotoms before they got sent to Alola by mistake. The company that makes them get a call from Professor Kukui and are basically, 'We’re super sorry, we’ll have them exorcised or send you a fresh batch’ and professor just says, 'Nah they’re good, they’re not doing any harm.’
Professor Kukui just starts handing out possessed pokedexs, they are a HUGE hit because they’re interactive, super friendly and they make commentary on everything, a 'real upgrade from the montone voice of the first Dex’ some scientific magazine remarks, 'a must have for the new trainer season.’ Everyone is getting them and all these rotoms are loving their new homes instead of having to constantly harass power plants for electricity, they get to play with these friendly humans who take them town to town where they can feed and not really cause that much distress to local populace.

Professor Kukui has fallen asleep at his desk on his books. He's also drooling.

Non-exhaustive list of things that have actually happened in Sun & Moon:

Pokemon Sun and Moon characters by their biggest weaknesses

ash: sweet, naive child. driven by impulse. professor kukui has considered tagging him for whenever he runs off on solo adventures and gets knocked into a river by a passing tauros
kiawe: low-key doesnt know how to talk to people without yelling. got absolutely lost when he adopted sweet popplio and left her to his sister. a good nervous boy
lana: incredibly stubborn force of nature. will always face and overcome the challenge ahead of her no matter what. this sounds admirable now, but you wont be smiling when she is dared to recover a z-crystal from a wailord's belly.
mallow: actually really sensitive but doesnt let anybody in on this, so keeps a tight reel on her nerves, which means she loses her shit out of the blue once every couple of months and is even more annoyed when nobody knows why.
sophocles: a boy genius who is so smart that he overcomplicates everything he does to the point of absurdity. probably tried to make a wallace and gromit contraption to wake him up in the morning, until realising that it couldnt tell the difference between shoes and toothbrushes. just kidding, he kept adding features and never finished the prototype.
lillie: vaguely paranoid and highly-strung. secretly keeps extensive notes on everyone and everything she meets and wonders why her friends like her at all. practices the z moves for all 18 types before bed and in the morning. biggest weakness is nebby, that little fucker wouldnt get in the bag before but now it keeps hiding in her hat.

The Aether Foundation Arc, Summarized

SM#44: Ash casually gets a prophetic dream and brings a baby ultra beast to school. Lusamine, somehow, is absolutely fine with this.
SM#45: Nebby tries to kill everyone. It’s absolutely adorable.
SM#46: Fun ditto-hunting adventure in the Aether Foundation.
SM#47: Gladion calls out Ash for being the protagonist.
SM#48: A sleepover that’s absolutely fun aside from the occasional mommy issues. Then Nebby traumatizes Lillie.
SM#49: Nebby tries to make up for traumatizing Lillie, then does it again immediately, but she calms down because Gladion has a very good dog. Faba gets fired.
SM#50: A full 10 minutes of cuddling pokemon in the cutest, happiest episode ever. Then Nebby makes up for previously traumatizing Lillie by summoning a jellyfish to steal her mother.
SM#51: Lillie is done with this shit and runs off, before Gladion tells her she’s going the wrong direction. They take full-blast dragon totem moves to the face but are both unfazed because they’re fairy types. The show becomes Yuri on Ice. Ash saves them from getting crushed to death by a piece of earth, using electro ball.
SM#52: The guardian deities dance on the altar for 21 fucking minutes. Nebby becomes a very good lion. Lillie is proud and she has no fucking clue why; Ash literally gets handed the solgalium z by the gods and takes control of a legendary pokemon.
SM#53: Lillie and Gladion’s mother attempts to murder them.

Ash leaves to go to the Aether Foundation to retrieve Nebby. Professor Kukui asks him to not do anything too crazy, and Ash says he won't, but Mallow recognizes that he totally will.
*5 minutes later*
Ash physically tackles Faba
Ash tries to get at the device Nebby is trapped in, and gets shocked for his trouble.
They know him so well. :')
Professor Kukui looks on fondly at Ash, who is napping on the carpet with Rockruff and Pikachu.
sun and moon needs to stop giving me these cuteass family scenes before i implode from the adorable

Lusamine: The Ultra Beasts have escaped and are attacking the planet.
Wicke: Ayayay! What do we do?
Lusamine: Send Lillie five overbearing and overemotional humans with their Pokemon.
Wicke: No! Not that! Not more pre-teens!
Lusamine: That’s correct, Wicke.
Wicke: I was afraid of that.

Kiawe looks on in dismay as his Alolan marowak gets distracted with air guitar during his challenge of the Malie City 'gym'.
Ash: “I’ve evolved!”

Sophocles: “Ash, humans don’t evolve like Pokémon do!”

Ash: “Yes, I did! Right, Professor?”

Kukui: “Indeed! You were able to use the washing machine for the first time!”

Sophy: “Washing machine?”

Kukui: “Well done, Ash!”

The girls: “He’s acting like a… doting father…”

-- Cute Dad Kukui moment from the preview for SM037

(They’re talking about sleeping Nebby!!)

Type: Wild - 1998 vs 2019


SuMo is just so good with background details and interactions

Sun and Moon is honestly one of the best series that has a realistic culture and doesn’t leave tiny details out. The pokemon are out of their pokeballs almost all the time so there doesn’t have to be episodes focusing on their personalities (which really seemed forced in previous seasons in some places) and the characters all have great moments and a great dynamic. Just the little details like the scyther umpire in the pokebase episode are so amazing and really what we need from the world of pokemon. It’s not just about the battles in this series, which I love so so much because we get so much focus on how pokemon fit into everyday life (which is more realistic and the content we’ve been needing honestly). Even Team Rocket’s interactions are fun this season!! While some people hate the fact that there’s no real “journey” in this series, I love it because we get to have proper development with all of the characters because they appear so much. The school lets there be a huge cast of characters without being cluttered and all the kids (and their pokemon!) are unique and have amazing personalities! I mean, just consider: if Professor Kukui was just in the first few episodes and maybe some cameos afterwards, he wouldn’t have had such a great relationship with Ash!!
Speaking of Kukui, I strongly believe that Alola was one of the best things to happen to Ash in a long time. Not only does he have the adventure he wants by being in a new region with new friends and pokemon, he’s built a family there. Kukui honestly treats him like a father would, and it’s something that Ash has really needed. I mean, we all know pokeani doesn’t really care about consistency but after Kalos, where he was in charge of everything and had to be perfect all the time and had the awful experiences in the Kalos League Flare attack, he really needed someone who he could turn to and depend on. Alola is letting him be childish and relax and focus first on having good experiences and then on battle and becoming the Best. Having an adventure while living in a home and having a father figure is such a great concept and I love that he has these fun interactions with Kukui (like Kukui telling him “Buddy, your backpack. Put it away”) and it’s not just Ash that cares for Kukui and can kind of rely on him. Kukui cares deeply for Ash, and it’s not subtle. I mean, just in the episode where Nebby was teleporting Ash everywhere, he was digging through the forest alone looking for him (and not carefully, if his condition is anything to go by). He admires Ash’s battling techniques and is always there to talk to Ash and support him and do what he think is best. While Ash is good on his own, just having that person there, who he can turn to when he’s upset, and not worry about images, and who can let him be childish... it’s so important. I need more.
This series has just made me want more and more, and that’s not something I’ve really felt with many other series! Everything is so wonderful and I genuinely can’t wait for the next episodes, because even if they’re “filler” (and tbh Sun and Moon’s filler episodes are the BEST the show has had in a long time), they’re still filled with creative concepts, great interactions, and development for the characters.

This is just super cute and I love how SuMo has put a lot of cute Pikachu stuff in, especially stuff like this, with Pikachu comforting Ash

Something I appreciated about the Pokemon School Open House Episode

Ash’s assignment (given to him by the Principal himself) is to do a report on Regional Variants for the class and visitors. And the episode makes it clear that Ash is not up to the task - he isn’t good at technical information in general, much less in a “Read, Remember, Repeat/Report”-style context. Ash himself suggests that one of the more academic students should do it. Professor Kukui is firm, telling him the the report is something only Ash can do because he’s from Kanto visiting Alola and the report is basically a discussion of the differences between Alolan and Kantonese Pokemon.
But Ash can’t do it. RotomDex knows he can’t do it. RotomDex is super blunt in saying Ash would likely fail, but it’s honest and probably accurate and Ash doesn’t disagree. So RotomDex comes up with a solution. The day of the presentation we see the solution in flashback - RotomDex, hiding behind Ash, will give the report with a simulation of Ash’s voice while Ash lip-syncs. We see in a flashback they both agreed to it: Ash is desperate to not fail and RotomDex would love doing it.
The presentation starts off well, but Ash and RotomDex are inevitably exposed. But it’s not just a comedy thing - the classmates know that the report RotomDex is giving isn’t characteristic of Ash; it’s too dry and technical, with esoteric facts Ash isn’t known for, well, knowing. Professor Kukui even sees RotomDex under Ash’s shirt, but says nothing at first. Eventually Rotom gets too excited, Ash can’t keep up, and the cover is blown when RotomDex starts using Principal Oak-style puns in Principal Oak’s voice.
In most media (I imagine) it would continue with Ash getting a lecture on the value of honest work and end with Ash giving his own report. But that doesn’t happen. No one’s even mad.
The classmates and Professor Kukui recognize immediately that that kind of report was what RotomDex wanted to do, and RotomDex did it well. Even Professor Kukui, telling Ash that it was a nasty trick to not do again, doesn’t dwell on it or make him do the report himself. Instead he tells Ash to just talk about how he felt about coming to Alola. This is something that shows how well Kukui knows Ash. Ash doesn’t even have to prepare; after a few moments to collect himself (which everyone gives him) and some encouragement from his mother and Pokemon he gives it on the spot.
The presentation demonstrates mostly three things: Ash’s loved his time in Alola, he loves Pokemon, and he wants to learn. He refers to the regional variance he’s seen personally, and even off-the-cuff involves his Pokemon, showing them to the visitors. This isn’t a display either. Pikachu’s on his shoulder, and he’s holding Rockruff and Rowlet. Everyone is proud, and his classmates reaffirm their willingness to help him learn. Then when the parents/visitors leave to see the school, Professor Kukui asks Ash, “Isn’t it great that you were able to do a proper presentation in front of your mother, Ash?” And Ash says yes.
I know it isn’t always the right lesson, but I appreciated that Professor Kukui didn’t belittle or punish Ash. Instead he recognized the bigger point of the assignment - to get a Kantonese perspective on Alolan Pokemon - realizes a technical report was the wrong way to get that from Ash, and reframes the point in a context that Ash can do and enjoys doing. And it’s not presented as, “Let’s lower the bar because Ash doesn’t know it.” It’s more, “What are Ash’s strong suits” (his enthusiasm and emotional attachments to Pokemon) “and how can we let him display them?”
So. Yeah. That was kind of neat and honestly the sort of thing I wish I had had some access to when I was younger.

Papa Kukui and Ash in Sun & Moon #45

I like that there's a consistency in the neighborhood. Like, for example, the granny that used to feed Litten is always there to greet him in the marketplace and the small scene she had with him in the episode where Ash was taking care of Snowy was precious and it's easy to imagine that this kind of thing happens every time Ash goes shopping. Having a set location really allows for this sort of slice-of-life stuff. Like, does Rowlet try to steal groceries? Do Ash and Professor Kukui go to Mallow’s restaurant every Thursday night? Does Kiawe participate in weekly poetry slams in Paniola Town? Nobody knows, but it's all possible!
This also means there can be great speculation about Ash’s reputation. I mean, the students can’t be the only ones who know that him and Tapu Koko are literally rivals or that he threw himself off a cliff after Pikachu. Considering how much everyone adores the Tapus or at least respects them as part of the local culture, the fact that the local deity keeps showing up to battle the fuck out of this kid with the Pikachu is hella interesting news or at least the topic of curious gossip.
Ash himself is the bubbly kid who’s either trailing after Kukui on errands or helping him run them on his own, is always easy to distract with offers of food or a battle, will be over the goddamn moon if you can show him something cool with your pokemon and will probably honest to god love it. Nevermind the whole thing with the Alolan Rattatas and Raticates that got him into the paper, the fact that one of the Totem Gumshoos’s lackeys hangs out as the local Jenny’s partner pokemon now (which, oh my god, is actually really precious? It takes lunch breaks outside of Mallow’s restaurant with moomoo milk and malasadas like a goddamn actual cop. That tiny detail cracks me up it’s so good.) as a result of it is also a constant reminder of that time. He’d already done Hala’s grand trial so soon after arriving and the other kids at the school totally heard about Kukui’s class’ field trip to Akala and all the shit happening over there (Lana got a Waterinium Z? Kiawe caught an Alolan Marowak? Ash got another Z-Crystal and completed a second grand trial? Are you kidding?! Why doesn’t anything cool like that happen on our field trips to the islands?!). Probably the only reason Ash isn’t treated as some ultra-cool senpai or something is because he’s such a dork and is just incredibly down to earth and as long as you’ll have fun with him in the school he’s got nothing against you and will gladly include you in the fun.
Anyways, Ash has absolutely become a fixture in the Melemele community. I am Convinced he is Kukui’s boisterous boy to everyone who knows him.

'Don't blame me if ya end up regrettin' this.' Viren threaten's Kiawe's family.
Viren's company bought land upstream and dammed the river.
Sophocles' research shows Viren's history of harrassment.
Viren threatens the miltanks.
Rango worries because of Viren's continuing harrassment.
Rotomdex reveals it's recorded Viren's actions.
Officer Jenny arrests Viren after Rango reports him with Rotomdex's evidence.

Friendly reminder that an episode of Pokemon anime involved a black/(implied) indigenous family being insistently harassed and terrorized by a rich, white business man to sell their property so that he can make shittier, not-respective-of-the-culture-and-nature resorts, shops and tourist attractions. Throughout the episode things line up well enough that they gain enough proof and support from everyone around them to get said troublemaker arrested promptly. An even bigger moral victory is that Kiawe himself manages to punish the man with a defeat in a Pokemon battle in a rematch after losing previously. Truly, it’s things like this that remind me that the Pokemon world is meant to be (for the most part) a progressive utopia of openness and justice for all.

won a battle after his pokémon fell asleep to avenge his bullshit loss in the Indigo League
beat a Fire-type starter with another Fire-type starter to avenge his loss in the Johto League
won with unevolved pokémon wearing clothes just like the guy who beat him in the Hoenn League
beat two legendaries AND got two legendary-like pokémon of his own to avenge his loss in the Sinnoh League
beat a Lucario to avenge his loss in the Unova League
beat his edgelord rival and not only survived but also absorbed a BURASTO BAAN to avenge his loss in the Kalos League
final battle was with his longtime partner instead of the regional ace

Was the Alola League, dare I say it, kino?

The Alola League and Ash's battle with Professor Kukui were just so, so perfect. Everything felt like a perfect culmination of the emotional arc of both Sun & Moon and the series in general. Something that was really amazing was how each of Ash's league losses were been referenced and turned around in the Alola League:

Ash returns to his Alolan Family in Journeys #37 (∗∕ ∕•̥̥̥̥∕ω∕•̥̥̥̥∕) ( ;∀;) (p≧w≦q)
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