Pokemon Moon, Day 31

Bonnibel is still refusing to just walk over the fence. Fine, Bonnibel, be that way. Apparently there’s an area off the red meadow, we’ll go there.

There’s a bridge, and water, and some guy staring into it.

Oh? You’re that Trainer who’s always popping into the Pokemon Center, aren’t you?

It is always weird when static NPCs reference seeing you at an earlier location. Do they exist in two places at once? To what degree is our journey in space also a journey in time?

This place may have fallen into ruin, but it is still spectacular, wouldn’t you say?

Sadly, camera angles mean I can’t see what he sees.

Even if there is nothing to see here now. I can’t help thinking that there being nothing here now belies the possibility that something could be here… Something wondrous…

My brother claims this is legitimate postgame setup and not something meant to tie into some future thing they’ll never get to.

Inside is a very precisely ruined castle – all the rubble is in front of the doors! Seriously, it looks like someone actually comes here to deliberately stack them, suggesting some pretty cool stuff is behind the doors.

Going down, however, I find that even the unblocked doors won’t open for me, for whatever reason. Then there’s an empty center garden area that looks pretty but has nothing else to it.

Using stufful in battle is…weird. It not only has the body plan of a teddy bear, but it’s animated just like every animated stuffed animal in videogames and, yeah, that tag on its butt…

See, the idea from the pokedex of this being a twitchy, hyperaggressive monster that coincidentally looks adorable to us is perfectly good – just like a real bear! And something like baltoy where it’s a created pokemon is fine too, or something like porygon.

But saying it’s a pokemon with a wildly inappropriate personality for a teddy bear but also deliberately manufactured as a teddy bear, but also it’s found entirely wild? That’s a bit too much.

Anyway, bad mash of bear ideas evolves into bewear.

This Pokemon has the habit of hugging its companions. Many Trainers have left this world after their spines were squashed by its hug.

This raises similar questions as pancham’s did. Is this something that applies to a lot of the stronger pokemon, and bewear is just one people are more likely to mistake as okay for newbies? Or is it unusual because most dangerously strong pokemon have a better sense of their own strength and only murder those around them on purpose, while bewear are prone to impulsively deadly behavior?

It also learns bind, which works with the whole spine-crushing but then raises the usual questions about how a pokemon is doing this in addition to its other moves. Really, the first-gen way of having multi-turn moves may have been hideously broken in a gameplay sense, but it made so much more sense.

Okay, let’s try Po Town again.

Bonnibel STILL won’t go over the fence. Apparently she’s too good for stepping over but fine with crawling on her hands and knees in rainy mud through an unkempt hedge. Bonnibel has weird preferences.

A: Dude, are you hardheaded? Your skull must be rock! You shouldn’t have come in here, yo. Now I’m gonna make you regret it!

He does not.

A: That barricade made us soft… There’s something to regret all right…

You suck precisely as much as the guys outside, buddy.

B: Hey, yo, barricade or no, we ain’t lettin’ you go!

He is a better rhymer than battler, unfortunately.

B: We needed that barricade after all! Come on, hold back a little!

You know – this may be literally true.

If you’re a crappy trainer, and you live in a world where powerful trainers can do what you want, why not group up with your friends and try to block off the entrance so that you don’t keep getting kicked around by some bored supertrainer wandering by?

Rotom then says it has a bad feeling and there’s something bad at the heart of this place. I’m gonna guess it’s that they’ve been piling all their trash in a central pit, since obviously regular trash collection doesn’t work when you won’t let them in.

There is a pokecenter, complete with helpful graffiti arrow to the door! There is a disgruntled girl Skull behind the counter, presumably because she lost a bet.

A, but still another A, unless this is the A from the door perhaps now hanging out next to the counter: Ready for fly rhymes in your ear, yo? (music note) But, you, what’re you doin’ here, yo? (music note)

B, but perhaps another B, from behind the counter: Yo, it’s darker than Darkrai up in here, yo. (music note) I’m gettin’ scared like I met with a Fearow! (music note)

So…are you very bad at this and just going with pokemon who have the word in the name, or are fearow things people do, in fact, live in terror of?

B: Ain’t nobody around.

That is super rude, there’s at least two spinda hanging out with you! Also A is there, I guess.

I’m feelin’ kinda down, (music note) but I’m still holdin’ it down here in Po Town! (music note) Hey, yo, spin it, Spinda!

And Spinda chirps agreeably while…well, it was already spinning and it doesn’t seem to be spinning any more.

A: So listen up, intruder. (music note) She wants money, but it always eludes her! (music note) Team Skull, represent! We can’t pay the rent! (music note) Had a lot of fun, but our youth was misspent! (music note)

oh my god you are a tiny baby

B: This Pokemon Center is where we cower, (music note) but we can’t pay bills, so we got no power! (music note) If you give us P10, we will help you out, (music note) by healing your team before your next bout! (music note)

…I mean, I guess Pokemon’s never charged directly for healing, and maybe they’re worried players might be too stupid to just walk back to the other pokecenter, and the fact that they made fly always useable even without a flying pokemon wasn’t considered enough, and although money is pretty much unimportant in the games it is needed for a few things, so they didn’t want to charge too much? Everything about that sentence is stupid and I hate whoever made this decision.

I agree to give them a bunch of pennies, hopefully with a lecture that this is about 1/20th how much a lemonade costs and they need to learn how to set prices better.

A: I knew we could count on you, yo! (music note) Thanks to you, we can make do, yo! (music note) Cash makes us perky. (music note) So even though you were a bit jerky, (music note) I’ll heal up your team so you can do work-y! (music note)

I am then finally allowed to actually explore the pokecenter, where a hypno is apparently trying to hypnotise a spinda, with unclear effect. I then leave and attempt to convince Bonnibel to walk through the gap in the next barrier, but she again refuses, so under the hedge it is!

Beyond, it seems like there’s no way into the houses, which is disappointing. The pokecenter is so great, I wanted to see the rest of the place.

Two Skull members hang out on the other side, meaning a double battle at last! And reaching the exceptional level of 35.

I then continue to find another Skull standing on top of a pickup truck sitting in the middle of the road. I assume before I interrupted he was doing the Zuko thing of daring lightning to hit him while crying.

I go back to the pokecenter, then have a thought. I save, fly to another pokecenter to spend all my money, then come back with a single P to my name. The Skull kids are deeply offended and demand I give them my money before they heal my pokemon, so I guess they refuse to believe I’m broke. I think they should’ve offered to barter – if they’re willing to do this for a couple coins, what would they do for a can of lemonade?

I head back out and chat with a squatting Skull.

Moves like Horn Drill and Guillotine basically never hit when you want them to. That’s it! I’m done taking gambles! I’ll kick this habit once and for all! You can put your money on me!

So is the issue he slept through his perfectly good classes, or is the island’s education system to blame? We did see what looked like a good school, but we’ve also seen that a huge chunk of their population joined up with Team Emopunk.

My Wimpod…it’s actually too rowdy. Think you can calm it down?

What would that even look like.

It’s her only pokemon, so its ability can’t activate. I think it should’ve worked in trainer battles, too – if it’s your last pokemon, well, guess you forfeit.

I head past some lollygagging Skulls into the big mansion.

I’m an incomplete Grunt. This is the only place for me in the whole world!

You are really overestimating how strict the other teams’ hiring policies are, I suspect.

After losing, he clarifies: The boss is a complete bully, but I’m an incomplete Grunt. Sometimes I want to smash the world, but I’m always afraid of it.

So the goal is to get mad enough that you stop recognizing consequence and just barrel in regardless, I think.

Oh, hey, here are doors I can open!

I hear that Mr. Guzma never got a Z-Ring as a sort of handicap, ’cause he’s too strong already.

Huh. Not sure what to make of that. It’s unclear how much of the island challenge is humans and how much is humans interpreting random pokemon whim. I have one because some sparking weird thing people think is a god dropped a shiny stone, and that’s before getting in to the issue that this has unreliable written on it up down and sideways.

We’re seen almost nobody using z-moves, come to think of it. Maybe most people don’t get one. I have one because of divine intervention, Haku is the grandkid of the head honcho…only other evidence of it is the island challenge helpers.

The third kid says, We’re been collecting every last shard of Buginium Z in Alola for Mr. Guzma. All so that Mr. Guzma could be sure to be the strongest bug Pokemon user around!

So does he have one of the fancy bracelets now, or is this just to make sure nobody can use them because he can win in an equal fight? Because if they actually are rare, than this sounds like it’s a less hamhanded version of the Kalos mega evolution subplot, about haves and have-nots. Of course, there’s also the issue that, supposedly, this is a matter of emotional resonance between trainer and pokemon which would seem like a positive thing………..but so was mega evolution, and both continue to be divorced from either of the stats we have for pokemon treatment.

I find a paper.

This month’s secret Team Skull password is:
Tapu Cocoa

Remember: a true Team Skull member always butts heads and answers with a hearty “No!”

Another kid is showing an unusual degree of work ethic and actually patrolling the hallway.

I’ll stop you so Guzma will stay chill!

Kiddo, I think that boat has sailed.

Guzma… Even though he’s so strong, he wasn’t able to become a Captain!

Yes, that does seem to be an issue.

I find another paper informing me the month’s password is Beat Up, so I assume that’s the current one and I’m to combine it with the directions on the other one.

I enter a room with a pair of Skulls.

A: OH EM GEE! Please don’t tell me that’s my Skull Tank you’re wearing?

B: Ohhh, no wonder it stinks! It is the same design, though.

A: It does not stink! That’s a lovely aroma! Anyway, we should write our names on them so we don’t mix them up.

B: Uhmm, hello! Our names are all Grunt. What’s the point?

While I guess this is a meta nod that doesn’t make sense, it’s also possible that the issue is they have rules about calling everyone “grunt” for Anonymous-style reasons, and the second girl is reminding the first that real names don’t go on the criminal outfits.

Then they switch into the aggressive dance-speak. followed by very belatedly realizing I’ve been there the whole time.

A: Oh no! There’s some cute girl who heard everything we were saying! I’m so embarrassed!

And thanks to tumblr, I know that’s not actually a holdover from writing the script for the boy character and then swapping nouns! That said, not necessarily them hitting on the adorable dittochild, especially since it’s followed directly by:

I’ll take it out on her!

This does not work out.

A: How embarrassing… I guess I really am just a Grunt.

B: Whoa, that was like, so uncool! I’ll get revenge for you…while still wearing your Skull Tank!

Ugh! Her Skull Tank was too tight for me! It was so distracting that I lost! It’s all her fault!


Now that cutscene and battle are done with, I chat with A to discover her dream is to have a ton of money and buy lots of Skull-brand shirts.

Also, dog zygarde has a glowing crystal on its butt.

I appear to have reached the end.

Greetings, visitor. If you wish to meet with Master Guzma, then give the three secret passwords.

“No” results in, Good! Glad to see you’re got no bones about obeying our sacred traditions!

I then leave because some of my pokemon have fainted and one of the ones who hasn’t hit L35, so time to swap out for a lower level one.

I head back up, and successfully work out the answer to Guzma’s favorite move, pokemon, and drink. That he likes beat up is quite interesting – I feel like that sums up all of Team Skull. He is impressed by this and decides I totally am a valid bonehead Skull and can go fight the boss.

I find a girl there, on the sloped roof, in the rain.

Ooh, looking for a battle in a romantic spot, hmm?

So my first response is wtf more like neck-breaking spot, but perhaps she’s being more literary in her comment.

She elaborates, Even this dreamy balcony is surrounded by the town, so it’s boring. Yo, check it! Surrounded by surroundings, it’s so astounding! Ick! Never mind, that was terrible!

I continue in, where I find another guarded door. Of course, these guards are pretty lackluster.

You think it’s a good idea to go in there? Man, you don’t know fear, do you?!

Of course my precious dittochild doesn’t know fear. In we go!


The hated boss who beats you down and beats you down and never lets up… Yeah. Big bad Guzma is here! I don’t really get you, kid, but at least this is a change of pace. It’s not every day someone comes straight to me for a beating!

I am presented with a choice: I’m not here for you/I’m here for the Pokemon. Which sounds less like a choice and more like a single response.

Well, I absolutely am here for him, so I guess saying my specific motivation is the pokemon is best.

Oh, Yungoos? How sweet of you to help out a sad little girl. Tch!

The yungoos then flops out behind the other Skull kid, next to the treasure chest of bug crystals.

Guzma: And you came all the way here just for that, huh? Can’t you just watch out for your own Pokemon and stay out of other people’s business?! He begins laughing. You’re one messed-up kid! You wanna know what I do when some machine messes up?

I want to know why we suddenly jumped to talking about machines.

The first thing I do is give it a nice hard smack! I mean, most of the time I smash it to pieces, but hey, what can you do? Now let’s see if I can’t fix you!

His golisopod is now L37. Also, he has a L36 ariados.

Yeah, yeah. I gotta admit, that was great! he says during the battle screen itself, before handing over some money. But then it’s back to freakout: Guzma! What is wrong with you?! Then he turns to the Skull disciple. Yo! Give the Pokemon back to the kid. NOW! And…the kid just walks out of the way of the yungoos, but couldn’t it have just gone around his legs? Or bit them, given we know this one’s an anklebiter.

It runs off.

Guzma: Tch!

Disciple grunt: Eek! And he runs off. Guzma is evidently the sort to take out his frustrations on subordinates.

Guzma: I’m gonna beat you down one of these days! No matter whose help I need to do it…

And off he walks.

I take a bug crystal and for some reason can’t take any more than just that one. Then I try sitting down in his chair-throne.

A grunt runs up.

‘Scuze me, B… B-b-but you’re not the boss?! What’s the deal, homie?! You’re not the boss of me?! Hmph! And then he walks back out.

Sitting again gets us delicious flavor text! The arms of the chair look like they’ve been slammed countless times by angry fists.

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