Last time on Pokemon Black, time to head to Relic Castle.
Cheren: Stop, Farla!
God damn it.
Listen. Part of the magic of cutscenes is that they’re rare. They come spaced well apart and mean you’ve completed some new chunk of the game. You don’t layer them so they appear every other step. The only times I haven’t been tripping over cutscenes is when I’ve just been running around collecting pokemon. Every time I move in the path of plot, they mug me.
Cheren: That’s the entrance to the Relic Castle.
I know. So why are you telling me to stop?
You’re impressive, Farla, making it here before I did.
Motivation is a magical thing, Cheren. Why don’t we keep it that way.
Dealing with the Desert Resort’s Pokemon took longer than I would’ve thought. I only made it all the way out here thanks to my Pokemon.
Of course, you only ran into trouble thanks to pokemon as well. Also, what, did you think I thought you’d punched the sandiles out by yourself?
Alder went on ahead.
Why, do you think if we go slow enough N will show up and get to him first? Hypothetically? I mean, about how fast do you think we’d need to go to prevent that.
…right, never mind. Down we go.
And seems the sand’s cleared now. How lucky.
And downstairs looks like some sage guy???
Ryoku: Ghetsis told us that once again we should test how much power you have.
So I’m finally fighting a sage?
We will see if you can defeat Team Plasma!
By which you mean you, right?
…Apparently not. More grunts, then, huh?
Grunts whose pokemon are about the same level as those around here. Or maybe that’s supposed to mean the reason there’s krokoroks on their team is because they just caught some?
Everyone here seems like a true believer.
You know, in retrospect our early introduction to Plasma is weird, isn’t it? We meet someone giving a suspicious speech, and then see that they’re lying hypocrites when they attack the munna. But then they become sincere. Is it meant to weight our decision against them, or are we supposed to view Ghetsis as the evil side but the main organization is sincere? Are they supposed to seem better once we learn more about them, or are we supposed to ignore their later behavior because of our first impression?
I won’t tolerate people who have different ideas! says one. That sounds bad, but it’s what we’ve been hearing said toward Plasma for almost the whole game, so I can’t really see it as particularly bad from them. Unova doesn’t seem to really believe in diversity. Maybe that’s why they insist so much on their party line of it being important.
Then she says, Your friends are waiting below–now get out!
Dammit, Cheren and Douchy McFlamehair? Again?
Actually just Douchy it looks like. And Ghetsis. Not sure if I like him or not. He’s an okay villain but he’s more Team Rocket material. N’s far better. And then Cheren falls from the ceiling right after me.
Cheren: Whew! I finally caught up.
Alder: You two. Come here. Come to my side.
Oh fuck you.
…wait. Maybe he’s sounding creepy because he’s in league with Ghetsis? And that’s why he’s just standing there waiting for me?
Ghetsis: It looks like everyone is here. It seems you are working hard to resurrect Reshiram, the other Dragon-type Pokemon, aren’t you?
Uh, just me. I don’t know what these clowns are doing.
But it appears the Light Stone you seek is not here.
See, I wouldn’t have minded this in the least if it wasn’t for Douchy and MiniDouchy here, cutscening left and right.
Well then, congratulations are in order! Farla, you were chosen by our king.
If you truly desire to keep the world as it is, where Pokemon live alongside people, you must bring the other Dragon-type Pokemon spoken of in legend and battle with our king.
I’m not sure why you seem to be encouraging this. N’s obviously a sweetie, and also I think he’s kind of conflicted. You’re just a jerk.
Otherwise, Team Plasma will steal every Pokemon from every person in the world and release them all.
But aren’t you just pretending to go along with that?
Wait, is that why you want me to get the other pokemon? To stop him from finishing things? But that doesn’t quite work either, because I’ll turn it on you next. So what’s your angle here?
Alder: Release them, you say? Do the Pokemon who live with their Trainers actually want that?
Eh, you can totally make a case for the pokemon not knowing what’s best for them. N’s premise is that the relationship is abusive, and people stay in abusive relationships all the time.
Is the liberation you talk about really just stealing Pokemon from people?
Well, it is when he talks, but I got the idea he never was planning to go through with the releasing half. Just taking things and letting them go isn’t exactly stealing.
Ghetsis: What’s this?
It’s Douchy McFlamehair scene-stealing.
I mean, come on. Supposedly, I’m the one N told to get the stone. I’m the one Team Plasma’s obsessed with. I’m the one who’s got the super relationship with my pokemon. I’m the one who’s been beating down everything in my path.
And what’s happening? The NPCs are talking to each other around me.
Champion Alder, even though illness took the Pokemon that had been your partner for many years
I’m sorry, but am I supposed to care? This is just so sloppy.
and you haven’t had a serious battle in all that time…
Wait, so he’s only champion out of pity? Because no one challenges him?
Even you, who ordered the Elite Four to protect the Pokemon League and left to wander Unova alone… Even a Champion like you now wants to protect a world where Pokemon and people live together?
I bet this is supposed to be a stunning revelation, but it requires me to be invested in his storyline and I think we’ve established I’m very, very not.
Also, there’s no sense that he’s had any such crisis of faith. He’s running around teaching people to love pokemon training and practically stalking us to give unwanted advise. If he’d been portrayed as conflicted or something, instead of smugging it up about how he had all the answers, then this would be a good turning point where he’s started caring again. But he already cared. Way too much to the point there were irritating cutscenes everywhere.
Team Plasma’s king will show the people of Unova that he is stronger than a Champion who keeps Pokemon bound!
You know…narratively, N should win. In every game, we’re told the reason we won is we care about our pokemon. That’s what lets us beat the league and outdo our rival. And even if you assume N’s wrong, he still obviously cares more than anyone else.
See, even if people like Cheren and dumb artist guy and Douchy here are right that their pokemon are happy, they didn’t start from that position. They started off wanting to be trainers. It so happened that when they examined themselves they found their pokemon were happy, but to say they became trainers because it’s what their pokemon wanted would be a blatant lie. If we assume they’re good people, you can say that they’d stop being trainers if their pokemon hated it – but that’s nowhere near N’s level of devotion. The best trainers are passively not mistreating pokemon and theoretically might stop training if they believed it hurt them. N is actively trying to help them. There’s no way you can argue that anyone else cares more about pokemon.
I suppose the only possible way to do this is by arguing about individual bonds, that because N doesn’t keep the pokemon he’s not in sync the same way. But that’s moving the goalposts. The games don’t say that switching pokemon is wrong. They just say it’s about caring and forming a bond, and N obviously does that fast. It’s possible he actually catches the pokemon he fights us with in the usual way, but there’s never any sign of a pokemon he’s brought from a previous area to help him do so, so the easiest explanation is that he asked whatever local pokemon there were to join him and they did so. A bond from that should be much better than the one of someone who beats them bloody and then captures them.
Anyway. Back to the monologues.
And just like the hero who founded Unova, he will be accompanied by the legendary Pokemon. He will give this order! “Trainers, release your Pokemon!” For this, we have prepared a suitable castle for the legendary Zekrom and our king.
Okay, I think you’re taking the whole king thing a mite too seriously.
Alder: I won’t lose!
God damn shut up. These are my battles to fight.
I’ll fight for all Trainers who love their Pokemon, and for all Pokemon who believe in their Trainers!
What did I just say?
Ghetsis: Our king has no interest in you.
Thank you. Would that the same was true of the writers.
He has already determined that victory against you is assured.
Alder: So you stayed behind just to tell me that?
Uh, did you think that maybe he was waiting for me? You’re the one butting into my sidequest here.
Just to make a fool of me?
…okay, admittedly that seems plausible. I’d do it.
Ghetsis: Of course not. I’m doing this out of kindness. Yes, kindness. I’m making sure the Champion doesn’t get hurt for no reason. Granted, the moment when someone loses all hope… I really do love to watch that moment.
Well, then, farewell.
And we just let him walk off. Seven sages battled: 0
But the cutscene still isn’t over!
Cheren: Alder… what are you going to do now?
NO ONE CARES CHEREN
Alder: Hmmm… It seems my only choice is to return to the Pokemon League and battle N. But it bothers me to do exactly what Ghetsis wants… More importantly, what should we do about the Light Stone?
Cheren: Alder… Why don’t we go outside for now?
Alder: Yes…that’s a good idea. It’s hard to breathe in here!
And then we’re up in the sandstorming desert, because that’s so much more breathable.
Cheren: It’s hard to put into words…
Then stop. Please god just let the cutscene end.
but I’ll never forgive them for this!
Alder: What could that guy called N possibly want?
How many times do they have to chant “liberation” before it sinks in?
Could he be trying to prove he is right by winning the battle of the two dragons?
Hm, maybe. Doesn’t concern you, though. Go way.
And now the damn phone is ringing. It’s the professor.
Farla! Farla!! Hello? Farla!! Oh! You picked up. Hey, Farla.
ARG ARG ARG.
She tells me to go to the museum right away, though not why. Okay, I’m fine with that. Plus, it means finally ditching these losers.
Alder: I could hear Professor Juniper’s voice from clear over here!
if you say you’re going with you I will find a way to kill you
Seems like something big is happening. I wonder what is waiting at the museum in Nacrene City.
Everyone, I want you to reread that line. What the fuck is the point of it. He’s repeating what I already know. Hell, he’s repeating an even vaguer version of what I already know. Was whoever wrote the cutscenes paid by the word?
I’ll go on ahead!
Cheren: I’ll look around here once more. I don’t want to believe what Ghetsis says… You should head to Nacrene City Museum.
I would if you people would just shut up and let me leave!
Okay, so I’ll go…
…to where Douchy McFlamehair is.
Professor Juniper: Alder told me what’s going on.
Okay, as long as that happened offscreen.
Farla, you got caught up in something serious, it seems…
Lenora: Is this is?
Bianca: Whoa. Isn’t that the…stone…found in the Desert Resort?
Lenora: Yes, that’s right, but is this really a Dragon-type Pokemon?
Cedric: Surely…When I investigated Dragonspiral Tower, I found elements that were dated to the same era as the Light Stone!
Still not clear why Juniper can’t be the one who knows this.
Professor Juniper: …I looked into that.
See? So what’s the other guy there fore but being redundant?
Lenora: Impressive, as always.
Bianca: But, you know, we’re lucky… ‘Cause what if Team Plasma, like, noticed that old stone that time..
Lenora: That’s a good point. It’s clear to me that they were trying to steal the Dragon Skull so they could revive the legendary Dragon-type Pokemon.
If you could, Farla, take this…
Alder: Wait a moment, Farla!
Hate you. Hate you hate the game hate the designers hate the world.
If you take this Light Stone, that means you’ll be the one to battle N if anything happens to me.
And if it doesn’t, I’ll be the one to battle you and make sure something happens to you. I’m thinking cliff.
But seriously, look at this line. What the hell is the point of it? Even if it wasn’t inevitable on the narrative level that I’d get to fight N, we’ve only been over this in cutscenes three dozen times already!
Are you really OK with that?
No, I’m totally torn up at the idea of getting a super pokemon and then having to fight someone whose ass I kicked every other time we met.
Alder: So, you’re just going to allow N to fulfill his plans for a new world?
I was being sarcastic, but you know? Yes. A world without you will be superior in so many, many ways.
A world where Pokemon and Trainers are separated?
N makes some good points, I have to admit.
Alder: I understand. You are determined to take on this duty.
Yeah, sure. Just shut up and let the lady give me the stone.
Then, here it is.
Uh, isn’t she the one who has it? What, did you snatch it out of her hands just so you could be the center of attention?
Prepare yourself. Be strong.
Lenora: …I see. If things don’t go as planned, you’ll use this Light Stone.
If the plan is me getting the legendary, then yes, that is a true statement.
You’ll protect the true future for us and Pokemon. Farla, we’re counting on you. Please take care of yourself.
And I finally get the damn thing.
So, how do we wake the Dragon-type Pokemon from the stone, then?
I figure either like a fossil or by going up the tower again, since N seemed to be waking/reviving it up there.
Lenora: That’s it! We’ve got them, don’t we?
Alder: Ah-hah. We’ve got those two.
Farla! Go to Opelucid City. The Gym Leader of that city uses Dragon-type Pokemon. The Gym Leader could know something.
So…why don’t we just call them?
I’ll go ahead and wait for you there!
TELL ME THIS STOPS
Professor Juniper: That’s right! Opelucid City’s Drayden might know something!
Did you just…miss the conversation just now?
Cedric: Hey, Farla. Never forget that you always have Pokemon right by your side.
It’s more a problem remembering why I can’t just use them to kill.
Professor Juniper: I’m going to head back to the lab and do some research… I’ll see if I can uncover what kinds of beings these legendary Dragon-type Pokemon are and if there is any way to awaken them…
Lenora: Don’t worry! If we have something for you, we’ll come running to find you!
Bianca: Ooh. Sounds real serious. Um, that’s about all I go out of it.
Farla, do you know Opelucid City?
I HAVE A MAP
When you leave from Icirrus City, and, like, cross the Tubeline Bridge, it’s on the other side. Umm… I’m not that great with directions, so if you need more, check your Town Map, OK?
Okay, it’s finally over.
But seriously, Alder will go away soon, right?