Information, Thoughts, & Analysis on Pokémon Sun and Moon
The Pokémon Company recently revealed a trailer for the upcoming games in the Pokémon series: Sun and Moon. I will share my thoughts and analyses on what the trailer and official website had to offer, including information on starters, legendaries, gameplay, and region. Please share any thoughts or excitement you may have about anything Generation VII in the comments below!
Rowlet: The Grass Starter
Rowlet is this generation’s grass starter and is actually a dual-type, Grass/Flying. Its typing makes sense since it’s an owl Pokemon. More notably, we haven’t seen a dual-type base starter since Bulbasaur’s Grass/Poison typing. While this may seem to take away speculation regarding what types its evolutions will be, there has been precedence for Pokemon changing types upon evolving. For instance, Scyther switches its secondary typing from Flying to Steel when it becomes Scizor, and Fletchling goes from Normal/Flying to Fire/Flying when it becomes Fletchinder. I’d be fine if Rowlet remained Grass/Flying, which would hopefully make it a better version of Generation II’s Jumpluff or Generation III’s Tropius, but usable in official battles unlike the mythical legendary Pokemon Shaymin.
The official site lists some interesting tidbits about Rowlet, likely from its Pokedex entries. This excerpt from Rowlet’s page is particularly interesting:
Rowlet can attack without making a sound! It flies silently through the skies, drawing near to its opponent without being noticed, and then lashing out with powerful kicks. It can also attack from a distance using the razor-sharp leaves that form part of its feathers.
Pokédex entries are usually fluff entries that don’t actually describe what the Pokémon can do in game, but instead make up legends or tall tales about the Pokémon. This entry is interesting because it makes Rowlet seem like a flying ninja. While it’s probable that this excerpt doesn’t mean much, there is a chance that this predicts what kind of Pokemon Rowlet will evolve into, perhaps something along the lines of Greninja merged with a Sceptile and Noctowl. Its other entry talks about it turning its head 180 degrees which further emphasizes its owl resemblance. Rowlet actually does this as part of an animation in the trailer. Its first Grass move, Leafage, is a brand new attack that appears to strike Pokémon with leaves, presumably made from its own feather quills. Though this sounds like another established Grass move, Razor Leaf, the trailer shows that it more resembles several homed shots of leaves aimed towards the opponent as opposed to a barrage of leaves. The other starter’s moves include Ember and Water Gun, which are both weaker moves with a base power of 40. This suggests that Leafage may be the base power 40 version of Razor Leaf.
Rowlet’s name seems to be a pun of “owlet,” which is a name for a baby owl. Its Japanese name, Mokuroh, is likely also a pun of “moku” (wood) and “fukurou” (owl). Rowlet looks like a round baby owl with a leaf bowtie. Although I don’t typically pick the grass starter, Rowlet might just be my first one due to its overwhelming cuteness and potential. For fun, these are what come to mind when I look at Rowlet.
Litten: The Fire Starter
Litten is a fire kitten starter with a black body and red whiskers, leg markings, and face markings. It starts out as a plain Fire starter, but based on its color and general attitude, it looks like it may gain a secondary typing of Dark down the line. This would also match the general color scheme of Pokémon like Gen II’s Houndoom and Gen IV’s Weavile. We already have a dark wildcat in Gen V’s leopard-like Liepard but maybe we’ll see Litten evolve into a different wildcat like a dark tiger or even a liger.
The official site characterizes Litten as a coolheaded Pokemon who doesn’t show its emotions. It’s always nice to see Pokemon have such a defined personality just like with Gen V’s beloved smug grass starter, Snivy. Litten starts with the move, Ember, which has been a common starting Fire move since Red and Blue. The difference comes in how Litten produces fireballs, which the official site describes as flaming hairballs. That’s right. Litten actually licks its own fur and spits out hairballs as explosive projectiles, which is amazing.
Litten’s name most obviously derives from kitten, or baby cat. The “Lit” part of its name likely refers to a fire or candle being lit. The same “Lit” can be seen in the Fire lion cub Pokémon’s name, Litleo. Litten’s Japanese name, Nyabby, also fits well. “Nya” is the Japanese onomatopoeia for “Meow,” and can also be seen in Meowth’s Japanese name, “Nyasu.” The “by” part of Nyabby’s name might be a pun off of the Japanese character (kanji) for fire 火. Although that character is more commonly pronounced “hi,” it is changed to “bi” when following certain vowel sounds. Finally, Nyabby rhymes with tabby, which is a breed of cat.
Its attitude and overall coolness makes Litten a good choice for a Fire starter. I tend to lean towards the Fire starter ever since Charmander, and I’m glad that Litten doesn’t disappoint (as far as we know, right Fennekin?). Litten reminds me of the following:
Popplio: The Water Starter
Popplio, the sea lion Pokémon, is Generation VII’s water starter. Its playful appearance, red clown nose, and jester-like neck suggest that it identifies itself with the circus or a water show like at a zoo or Sea World. Its base form is a Water-type, but it may gain an ice-type for its final evolution, just like the other sea lion Pokémon, Gen I’s Dewgong. It is also similar to Gen III’s Sealeo, who is a Water/Ice type Pokémon that evolves into Walrein. Dewgong and Walrein resemble dugongs and walruses respectively, so maybe Popplio’s final form could be a dolphin? In all 20 years of Pokémon, we have not yet seen an actual dolphin Pokémon, so this starter could become a series first. Sure, it has whiskers, but even baby dolphins have whiskers on their upper jaws that fall off following birth. Of course, it may just become another sea lion just as its Pokédex classification indicates.
Regardless of what kind of animal it resembles, Popplio is definitely a creature of the stage. The official site states that Popplio can “snort out balloons made of water.” It can then use the “elasticity of its balloons to perform acrobatic stunts and jumps.” Even its image shows Popplio as a performer. If this were Gen III or IV, it could have taken part in one of its renowned Pokémon Contests. Perhaps Pokémon Contests may even return in Gen VII with Popplio being one of its big stars. Popplio’s playful nature suggests that looks and style may have a role to play in some form. Its first move is Water Gun, though I wonder if its bubble balloon technique could be the foundation of a brand new signature move.
Popplio seems to be a combination of pop and (sea) lion, referring to both its bubble ability as well as its classification. Bulbagarden notes that “lio” may also come from Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua, Hawaiian for monk seal, which makes sense considering the Hawaiian-based region. Its Japanese name, Ashimari, may come from ashika meaning sea lion and temari which are Japanese silk hand balls. These hand balls can be played with, similarly to how Popplio plays with its balloons. Although I’m not terribly fond of Popplio, there is hope in where its final design will lead, especially since water starters have had a recent history of having superb final evolutions, such as Greninja. Here is what Popplio makes me think of:
Legendaries: Solgaleo and Lunaala
The cover legendaries were also shown off in the trailer and the official website. The names Solgaleo and Lunaala have not been confirmed but are heavily speculated names based on trademarks made by The Pokémon Company. Sun’s legendary is a majestic white lion with hints of red and yellow on its mane. The name of Solgaleo would be very fitting if true since “sol” is Latin for sun and “leo” is Latin for lion. It resembles Gen VI’s fire lion, Pyroar. In addition to this, the fiery background and nature of the sun imply a Fire typing at the very least for Solgaleo. The sun emblem from the logo art appears on its forehead in the trailer. A fire beam can be seen emanating from its forehead roughly 44 seconds into the Japanese commercial.
Moon’s legendary is a large purple bat with two crescent wings and an upward-facing crescent moon on its head. It resembles Noivern from the previous generation but somehow looks even more sinister. An obvious dual-typing for this legendary would be Dark and Flying, though nothing has been said. It looks like it generates a beam attack from its moon forehead, seen in both the trailer and commercial. Its possible name, Lunaala, would fit since “luna” is Latin for moon and “ala” is Latin for wing.
The graphics during Pokémon battles look very similar to Pokémon X/Y, which is good since it had a very graphically impressive and dynamic battle style. Outside of Pokémon battles, it seems that you will be able to move freely as opposed to the grid-based nature of previous entries in the series. Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were grid-based but also allowed you to run anywhere if you wanted. This seems to be an evolution of that style, perhaps taking away the grid entirely. The camera angles are also different and employ more natural perspectives instead of a strictly bird’s eye view. This should be exciting for those who want a Pokémon adventure that feels more like a full 3D game experience.
In the reveal trailer, we also get a glimpse of the new region of Alola. The name Alola, most likely coming from Aloha – which means both “hello” and “goodbye” in Hawaiian – more or less confirms that this region is based on Hawaii. In addition, the clothes, flora, fauna, volcanoes, and islands of the region resemble Hawaii. My best guess of which Hawaiian island this is most like would be Oahu, which is also the most tourist-friendly island. The volcano in the southeast might be part of Ko’olau, one of two shield volcanoes in Oahu. The city is probably Waikiki, a well-known tourist destination most recognized for its city-like appearance and sparkling sandy beach. The city/beach area shown on the map matches where Waikiki would be in the real world. The big tower in the middle may then be based on Aloha Tower in Honolulu. Also seen on the map is a tropical area just behind the big city which looks similar to what most of the rest of Oahu looks like. If this truly is Oahu, there is likely another volcano area further to the northwest, a big surf area in the North Shore beaches, and Pearl Harbor. I’m assuming that Pearl Harbor won’t be referenced in the game due to cultural reasons, but we’ll see.
Another big sign that it is based on Hawaii comes from the Japanese commercial for Pokémon Sun and Moon. During this sweet video, we see a young Japanese boy move to Hawaii and feel like he doesn’t belong. That is, until he discovers the new Pokémon Sun and Moon games and makes friends with other kids through his love of Pokémon. This beautiful commercial harkens back to the original reveal trailer for Sun and Moon in which people of many different languages and ages come together through Pokémon. It also reminds me of the Pokémon 20th Anniversary Super Bowl Commercial in which many diverse people look towards the future and say, “I can do that.” This, along with the worldwide push of Pokémon, seems to reflect The Pokémon Company’s recent theme of bringing people together and inspiring hope through a common interest.
Regardless of where this region is based off of, one aspect is clear. There will be much water.
Pokémon Sun and Moon looks like a solid continuation of how X and Y evolved the franchise on the 3DS. The starters look pretty solid for the most part, and its evolutions will likely be guiding factors for the ultimate decision. The legendaries look interesting and promote the titular sun and moon themes. Finally, the Hawaiian region is a nice change of pace from the big city-based regions of past generations. I’m looking forward to the advancements that this next generation will bring! Pokémon Sun and Moon will be released worldwide for the Nintendo 3DS on November 18, 2016.