Kukui: Hey there, Bonnibel! Woo, you’ve come a long way! You’ve made it through all the trials and grand trials that make up the island challenge! Congratulations!
Thanks!/Aren’t you cold?
Kukui:Nah, I’m fine! My soul burns hot, yeah–hotter than a Blast Burn even! Just one thing left for you to do–take on the Pokemon League! This is where the real fun starts!
God, I hope we’re not doing it with every member being the same level again.
Kukui: Mount Lanakila is where we’ve always finished up the island challenge. We built our Pokemon League right up here, as high into the heavens as we could get…to show our respect for our Legendary Pokemon and to honor it.
So it’s fitting that shortly after you desecrate that into a monument to your own ego, I’ll be stuffing your gods into my pocket.
Kukui: I still remember it like it was yesterday! I went all the way to the Indigo Plateau, yeah, right to the Pokemon League headquarters…and I went right at them, cousin! Those Gym Leaders in Kanto really messed my team and me up! But then I saw my team battling for me though it all, pouring their souls into their moves for me. And then that last guy, that Dragon user in the cape… Oh sorry! Enough about me–let’s get you in there, yeah!
With each reminiscence, my initial mocking of him shows itself all the more to be accurate. This is all about that. It doesn’t matter how horrible an idea this is for everyone else.
Kukui: But before you head in, make sure you’re good and ready. You won’t be able to come back out.
Except when I lose.
I ponder my team. Most of them are close in level, so I grab the few strongest and some that’ve been useful.
Water-heavy, but let’s see how it goes.
At the gateway, there are two guys telling me I can go through, even though, thanks to stupid railroading, I never could approach this place before checking all the boxes anyway. A remnant of some earlier version when you had options?
In I go and oh christ I get to pick who first. God fucking dammit. They’re all the same level.
Kukui: Four Trainers! Every Pokemon League in every region all over the world features four fantastic Trainers called the Elite Four.
And why would anyone want this to be different.
Kukui: Here in Alola, too, we’ve got four Trainers all lined up for our Pokemon League.
You know, you’d lose nothing by adding an extra or something. If anything, trying to artificially make yours harder is the only halfway decent option available to you, because yet another way this can blow up in your stupid face would be failures at the mainland Pokemon League, like yourself, just come here to pick up an easier championship.
Kukui: You’ll win your way past every last one of them. You can’t leave until you do…or until you give up.
It doesn’t even sound tough game, that’s the issue, and why it also doesn’t sound tough. But of the two, being concerned is the less accurate statement, so fine, Sounds good!
Kukui: Pyukumuku can sense when its Trainer is nervous.
Pyukumuku can’t even sense when they’re out of water or starving you idiot.
Kukui: Stay loose! You’ll be fine!
How fucking dare you suggest the dittochild is anxious.
Kukui: I expect you to show me some intense moves and real heart-stopping battles in there!
I’ll do my best to clip you with something properly “heart-stopping”, I can promise you that.
Kukui: Good luck, Bonnibel! Pyukumuku!
I try rock first, since all the water types I have.
Welcome to the Rock Chamber! Oddly, this dialogue has no name attached, as if it was coded before the assumption all named NPCs got different dialogue setups. Talking to her brings it back to normal.
Olivia: No introduction needed here. Time to battle me, Olivia!
She leads with a L54 relicanth and I find out that rock resists poison. I guess I don’t encounter either often enough for it to have come up much. I manage to get to her final pokemon (because she of course has but five, no full teams ever!) before my bewear faints and I have to send out cheaty lunala, who is promptly crunched to death. Joke’s on Olivia, though, I only had 40 yen on me.
Well, Nebby, that was a really unfortunate showing, and one not helped by the fact I’m not taking into account type because I want to avoid using you, so I think I’ll just swap. Truly, would it have been so bad for the game to just ask if you thought you should get Nebby? Assholes could still nab him and I wouldn’t feel guilty about either boxing or torturing the poor thing while Lillie innocently thinks she did what was best.
I add in my L40 mudsdale. Stamina is a truly great ability – I assume less so in the metagame where people can know to counter it, but pretty unstoppable here, and indeed, on my second run Mudsdale ends up sweeping most of her team. I end with no fainted pokemon at all, in fact – Bewear hammered her relicanth to death while
it missed with hydropump, Primarina tanked her carbink’s foolish fairy attacks just fine, and only Mudsdale even got into the red.
Olivia: I don’t see the same look in your eyes that I saw when we first met on Akala Island. Have you had some experiences that you’ll carry with you in your heart forever?
Oh, Olivia, you’re adorable! How like a human to project expressions into the dittochild’s eternal wide-eyed smile. That’s just so like us, isn’t it?
I suppose Bonnibel has seen something she’ll remember, but I doubt it was a new experience for her.
Olivia: Well, it’s time for you to move on…
Yeah. I guess I’ll try grass next. Oh, wait, no, that was flying?
Kahili: My name is Kahili. A few years ago, I was a champion of the island challenge, too. Just like you. I’ve been traveling the world to improve my skill as both a Trainer and as a golfer.
Welp I hate you now. Let’s just do this.
Kahili: When I heard that they’d made a Pokemon League in my own home region, I came flying back to serve Alola. Have a look at my fantastic Flying-type team!
You know, she doesn’t even look Alolan. Another immigrant?
She leads with a skarmory, and the skarmory leads with spikes. On the other hand, that means having Bewear in front wasn’t the worst idea, and hammer arm halves the skarmory’s health. Next up is a red oricorio, who easily faints poor Bewear, but conversely, is easy prey to Primarina. It does manage to confuse him, but he’s so tanky that a confused hit does almost nothing, and then the quality AI just wastes another turn on teeter dance again. For some reason, the AI also thinks the best one to send against Primarina is a mandibuzz, so he does a good deal of damage before going down. This is then followed by the even more quality decision to use flatter on my toxapex, so now extra superpowered venoshock. Ultimately, my now nicely buffed toxapex has to be taken out by her toucannon’s z-move, which is an enormous waste. Sadly, it pulls through by a sliver and finishes me off.
A few tries later, I am victorious! By the skin of my teeth, with only Primarina left conscious.
It’s frustrating to me as a member of the Elite Four, but it seems your strength is the real deal.
Have you even fought anybody before now? I don’t think you should even count as a member if you lose to the first challenger.
Kahili: You know…I think you’ll bring a breath of fresh air to the Alola battle scene.
Yes, thank goodness we foreigners are here to improve their country.
Kahili: I was honestly annoyed when Kukui kept pestering me to come here, but I’m glad I did.
Of course. All bad decisions come back to him.
Okay, so let’s try fighting next.
Ohhh right Hala.
He leads with a stupid hariyama – it tries to get a free turn with fake out, only to get poisoned instead. Anyway, Primarina sweeps, although his primeape does quite some damage to my team before I send him out and I end with a nearly fainted toxaplex and an unused pyukumuku, with the rest unconscious.
Hala: It is only when the balance of the old and the new is just right that you can create something truly original. That is what I saw in the battle between us. An elder’s experience and the fire of youth!
You are standing in the brand-new Pokemon League copied wholesale from my home country, getting your ass kicked by someone who comes from the same country. What balance?
Also, I’d heard this would be the kahunas, but I just fought someone who’s been living overseas and sure as hell looks like she was born overseas and says she only came back for this new thing anyway. So he didn’t even stop at slapping the standard elite four model on top, he went out of his way to not get all the kahunas for this.
Alright, on to purply psychic or poison.
Oh, it’s Witch Cosplay, so ghost.
Hiya! Acerola here, bringing an old royal touch to the Pokemon League!
Right, I forgot there was also that reinforcement of blood-will-tell with you .
Acerola: Nanu said maybe he can’t refuse a tapu choosing him to serve as kahuna… But he’d be darned if he had to serve as one of the Elite Four just because some guy asked him! So I guess I’ll just have to battle hard enough to make up for his not being here!
Well, I’m glad he at least knows better than to half-ass this. But it’s not exactly inspiring to face the stand-in to a halfasser, and doubly so when she’s only there because of who she’s related to.
Well, since Bewear is pointless, I decide to send it out and use that turn healing up Primarina, who beats the second to last, then Pyukumuku painsplit/toxic/recovers its way to victory against the drifblim.
Acerola: Phew! Well, there goes my hope of beating you to smithereens and becoming Champion myself!
Does that even work? Given the type constraint there’s really no way of saying who’s “strongest”. Lorelei is the weakest of the original ones, but could have done a hell of a lot of damage to Lance.
Okay, having beaten the rest it’s time to return to Olivia, who was easiest. It doesn’t go quite as smoothly this time, thanks to two full restores on Carbink, plus running low on PP. Primarina’s such a great tank I can spend another turn throwing an ether for sparkling aria.
I heal up my pokemon and even use some leppa berries to restore their moves a bit – because I am not losing to that idiot.
…but he’s not here? And I have a throne to sit on. Thrones are cool and do a great deal to restore my goodwill.
…oh, there he is.
Well, I will give the game credit, it actually does have you become champion.
Kukui: Oh yeah, now you’re the Pokemon League Champion! Wouldn’t it be nice if it was that simple?
Kukui, this is the one and only thing that I haven’t completely hated from you. Do you want to die? Is that it? Is this all a very elaborate attempt at suicide-by-trainer?
Kukui: The truth is, there’s one more person you have to battle if you want that title. And of course that Trainer is me. Woo!
Of course. You weren’t good enough to win an actual championship, so you made up a new one and installed yourself there instead.
Kukui, still spikyboxing like I give a damn: One final hurrah for your island challenge. And a special tribute as you and this Pokemon League embark on a new path!
A new path of trodding the same ground as everyone else.
Kukui: Let’s have a battle worthy of this moment!
SO glad I decided to save/reset my way to victory against you, asshole.
Truly, this is indeed exactly the battle deserved.
This is the whole game in a nutshell right here. Everything that seems to be different is just a fakeout so it can go back to the way we’ve already done it.
He leads with a L57 sun version lyranroc. My L47 bewear oneshots it. His L56 braviary is more difficult, but Mudsdale wins in the end – if he can full restore, I can hyperpotion. He follows with a L56 ninetales (…so is his whole team based on Sun pokemon? Yet another reminder Sun is the real game?). A lucky blizzard freezes my toxapex, but not before getting off a toxic, at which point Ninetales is hilariously unable to do more damage than the black sludge heals (it helps that toxapex doesn’t let a little thing like being frozen stop it from dodging). I don’t even bother healing the freezing, it breaks out eventually, and then finally Kukui’s so disgusted he swaps in a L56 magnezone. I swap too, sending in poor Pyukumuku to take the thunderbolt and remove half the magnezone’s HP to the retaliation, then finish it off with Salazzle.
He sends out a snorlax. I send out Primarina and tell him to sing, then do some reviving. Pyukumuku mangles the snorlax (with the help of holding on at 1 HP twice in a row, because affection is so broken) then gets taken out by his L58 decidueye’s z-move, which of course means Decidueye takes an absurd amount of damage. Then Salazzle fries him. Snorlax is outspeeded by my bewear and taken out as well. All that’s left is the ninetales. It outspeeds my salazzle, but it wastes the turn on safeguard, and Salazzle’s flamethrower wins it all.
I couldn’t win even though I went all out… But what a refreshing feeling. Woo!
Wallow in denial while you can.
Kukui: Amazing! It’s like I told you before, the strongest moves you can use are the ones a Trainer and their Pokemon choose together in the heat of the moment–when it really counts.
I actually won because affection bullshit and having a ton of revives ready.
Kukui: And you just proved me right!
No, I proved you don’t even know your own supposed specialty.
Kukui: You’re a Champion we can all be proud of. I told you, didn’t I? Up here on Mount Hokulani. Man, the Pokemon and the Trainers in Alola really are the best! I want everyone in the world to know that, too! That’s always been my dream! And right here, right now, it finally came true! And it’s all thanks to you, Bonnibel! You and your Bewear!
News headline tomorrow: Alola’s League Finally Opens, Beaten By Kanto Trainer Within Hours
Kukui turns out to still not be done wallowing: I’m so happy I got to battle you and your team here, right where my dreams came true! And now… Bonnibel! First-ever Champion of the Alola Pokemon League! It’s time we record you and your beloved team’s achievement for eternity!
The lightshow reiterates me being THE FIRST EVER like that’s a point in my favor.
Well, at least my team ended being all Alolan pokemon…so now there’s more poaching incentive for the rest of the world. Also, Bonnibel actually emotes like she’s happy.
Hala shows up to say words at me.
Much as the sun shines upon the moon, illuminating it, so have the friends you made during your island challenge illuminated your life.
And yet instead I have you here.
Acerola: You really do love your Pokemon with all your heart, don’t you, Bonnibel?
They love me, which I suppose is close enough.
Olivia: Yup! That’s precisely why she and her Pokemon were able to combine that strength to emerge victorious!
Gee, Kukui, guess you don’t love your pokemon so much.
Kahili: Now we’re all going to be aiming for your seat. I hope you’re ready for some rivals.
Go fuck off golfing.
At last, I get what I really wanted. Kukui says we’ll go celebrate in Iki Town and he’ll tell Lillie, so maybe I can finally pry her out of the locked house.
A long cutscene commences, full of people I barely recall. People stand in front of Bonnibel one after another. At one point, it’s her mother, standing no differently than any of the acquaintances Bonnibel met for an hour or two. How long does a ditto child stay? I don’t think much longer.
Also Gladion emos from the trees, like a cat that sees you and then decides that’s enough socializing.
Lillie: Bonnibel… Congratulations on becoming the Champion! It’s amazing, isn’t it? All these people are here just to help you celebrate this achievement, Bonnibel… Everyone looks so happy… The adults, the children…even the Pokemon! It…it hasn’t been easy…but I’m really glad that I came to Alola! Getting to meet you, Bonnibel… No…it wasn’t just meeting you. It was traveling together with you. I’m so glad I got to be part of that journey! Hey, Bonnibel… It looks like the party is going to keep on going strong for some time still, wouldn’t you say? Do you think…maybe…we could sneak out for a second and visit the Ruins of Conflict? I heard from Kahuna Hala that the bridge has been fixed.
Sure!/What about the festival?
holy shit game why
I can’t insult Hau all game long and yet it’s fine for me to spit in Lillie’s face?
Sure! because even sociopathic dittochildren have standards, game!
Lillie: I think Tapu Koko must be waiting… I’m sure it’s waiting for you to come to it, Bonnibel…now that you finished your island challenge.
And we head to the bridge.
Lillie: Now this really takes me back… Back then I could barely think about anything. I was so desperate… But thinking back on it now…it really was Lunala… I mean it was Nebby who brought the two of us together, wasn’t it, Bonnibel? Come on! Let’s go!
And she trots across the bridge fearlessly.
Lillie: The Ruins of Conflict… I still wonder why it is that Tapu Koko helped us that day… Was it because of some connection to Lunala…the Legendary Pokemon of the Alola region? This reminds me of when Hapu became the kahuna of Poni Island… My heart is pounding in my chest… Is it because of the sacred guardian? Is Tapu Koko here with us?
She walks up to the statue, just like the others I poked without effect previously.
Great Tapu Koko… It was because of your help that Cosmog lived and was able to become Lunala. Please allow me to thank you on its behalf. Thank you so very, very much!
…it’s like the game isn’t even expecting to have kept Nebby with me. They know it ends up in a box and won’t be here for this scene.
She turns to Bonnibel and Bonnibel seems to startle.
Lillie: It’s your turn next, Bonnibel. I want to see you show your appreciation in the way that only Alola’s Champion could!
They aren’t my gods, kid. Kanto’s the most secular of the regions.
Lillie: I know you can do this, Bonnibel. I’ll make sure your team is ready, too.
Oh, you mean fighting. Did it ever occur to anyone that God descending from the heavens to attack me is possibly not a ringing endorsement of my behavior?
You reached out and touched the statue… You seem to hear a voice ringing in your head…as though it’s coming from your Z-Ring…?
Which I don’t wear in or even on my head, game.
Also, more talking pokemon then? Because why not compound how bad an idea boxing these guys is.
IT IS TIME…
Tapu Koko turns out to be about as durable as your average tinkerbells. Two thrashes from my L48 bewear and L60 Tapu Koko is a sliver of red. I try throwing some ultraballs, then misclick and knock it out. That seems like the better thing to do anyway.
Lillie: Tapu Koko… It may have lost that battle to you, but I don’t think it was sad about that. I’m sure that the two of you will meet in battle again someday! But I’m so glad we could come here. It had been weighing on my heart… Come on, Bonnibel. We should get back to the village. If we don’t return soon, everyone will realize that we slipped away from the festival!
Upon returning: Everyone looks like they are having so much fun that I don’t think they even noticed we left… Oh! And the Battle Royales are about to begin!
Right, that thing introduced early on that I couldn’t really take part in because for some reason it was set to L50.
Lillie: It’s a beautiful festival, isn’t it… Everyone looks so happy. I hope you’ll always stay just the way you are now, Bonnibel…
Well, I have some good news for you there, Lillie.
Lillie: Look how your joy has brought so much light to everyone here… I think even my mother would have smiled and laughed to see this…if she could have come… I think…my mother is getting a bit better. She even tried to come tonight… I’ve been trying to help her understand what she did wrong. Gently, of course. But she needed someone to scold her.
There is so much wrong here.
Lillie: But in the process I think I’ve discovered what I have to do next. What it is that I can do. Bonnibel… I…I am going to–
And she’s cut off by fireworks.
Then we shift to everyone there again, and Hau explains he’ll beat his gramps and then me eventually, because all is trainer trainer is all. Finally, Kukui says I should let out my pokemon – and no one finds it weird I didn’t, that there’s been this whole party without any of my supposed precious friends.
Mom: Mm-hmm! You’re positively glowing!
And I react to this by walking away to get space to release my pokemon. And that’s it, roll credits!
Or…not. A bunch of narration that then gets a first person pronoun happens hinting more is happening, probably more I don’t want given past events. Cut to Mom on balcony again, where we see she’s still not done unpacking. This is reasonable. You are never done unpacking.
Mom: Now, I wonder what will happen today… Was that the doorbell? Oh, that’s got to be Kukui. Why don’t you let him in,Bonnibel?
It’s Hau, though.
It’s a disaster! A total disaster!
If we don’t hurry, the ship is gonna leave!
Oh fuck, it’s not the good kind of disaster, is it.
Kukui: You know, Lillie… Kanto is a long way away from here. Try not to let jet lag hit you too hard. Burnet’s…well…she said she’d be too sad to watch you go, so she wouldn’t even come out with me. I know it’s a lot to ask, but forgive her this time, wouldja? She did tell me to let you know the loft in the lab is yours to use indefinitely. So you can come back and stay whenever you like, Lillie!
Hau: You didn’t tell us!
Lillie: Hau… I’m sorry… But I’ve decided. I have to go to Kanto. To help my mother get better…but more than that…to help myself get stronger. Of course I’m sad to leave Alola…but…the thought of going to Kanto also fills my heart with excitement! I’m going to become a real Trainer and meet all kinds of wonderful Pokemon… I’m going to travel all around Kanto, just like we did here on Alola for your island challenges! And no matter what happens on my journey… I’m going to be OK. Because of the smiles that you shared with me. You and Bonnibel and everyone here…thank you all so much! And that’s why someday…someday I’ll come back to Alola again!
Yeah and there would totally be a Pokemon Z.
Hau: But…but…I haven’t gotten to say any of the things that I wanted to say to you! So…so… Arghhh!
Lillie, please stop making me agree with Hau. It hurts.
Hau: I’m gonna send you a letter! A really, really long one! You’d better wait!
Lillie: I will, Hau. And please…take this. Bonnibel…it may look a little worn, but…that is because this was my most treasured belonging one.
She gave me her stuffed animal. Which is just a generic pokedoll now, ready to be lost.
Bonnibel just stares, blank and smiling.
Lillie: Then I suppose…this is good-bye.
And that’s it for Lillie.
God the endgame here sucks. All the characters I liked get pushed aside for that idiot’s stupid knockoff League, then when I get through it I’m rewarded with the best one leaving?
Kukui, looking chill because he never cared anyway: Hau, I know what it’s like when you can’t help but cry. But you know…when you’re saying good-bye to someone you love, you gotta show them one last smile, yeah!
Ah yes, because Hau’s greatest problem is not crushing down his own feelings for the sake of others.
Hau: Y-yeah… I…I think I wanna go see my gramps…
Kukui: Yeah, let’s all go home. We’ve all got people waiting for us… Our families are waiting for us!
“Unlike Lillie’s! Because she just left and lost her entire support system lolololol I am horrible and the protagonist should push me into the ocean to be devoured by sharpedo.”
He smiles. Hau plasters on the appropriate grin.
Credits begin. Bonnibel’s mother is waiting on the porch and looks so delighted to actually see Bonnibel, like she really wasn’t quite expecting her daughter to return.
Bonnibel has the same smile as always.