Part 71: Team Aqua and Team MagmaBeen sick and busy with my Masters, so I haven't been able to really do a Manga post, but lets try to get these in before the LP wraps.
Team Aqua and Team Magma
If you ask people the reason why they love the RS manga so much a good portion will list the villains as part of the reason. Pokemon Special has always had effective villains always found a way to interweve them with the ongoing plot and let the reader feel invested in their defeat. But of course, Ruby and Sapphire have two sets of villain teams, depending on your version, and to be honest... they're boring as shit, not that Team Rocket is so interesting, but they're pretty bland and above it all, Pokemon Special has DONE eco-terrorists as villains, how do you not tread new ground?
To start with, understand that Ruby primarily fought against Team Magma and Sapphire against Team Aqua, and sort of like in Emerald, the teams are in contention, but not necessarily in the way you'd suspect.
I'm only really going to make note of Courtney of the Admin's though they are are rather interesting to varying degrees, and hell, the games also introduce a new Admin for each team, Magma introduces Blaise, who uses Slugma to create heat illusions and mess with his foes. Team Aqua in turn got Gorebyss who produces damaging ripples in the water, neither have paritcularly interesting designs but it is neat they exist
So like in Emerald, Aqua attacks Sapphire, Gabby and Ty at Rustboro in an attempt to kidnap Mr. Stone, which they fail at, but manage to get the Devon Parts Meanwhile Ruby is attacked in the abandoned ship by Magma, who successfully manage to get the Scanner. Magma is presented as the weaker force in the manga, with Archie being the head of Hoenn TV and essentially using his position as propaganda to smear Magma and brush over Aqua's actions. In fact, Magma is presented so much as the underdog that, despite the volcano plan most making sense for them, it is in fact Aqua who enact the plan to turn it dormant and affect Hoenn's climate, and even succeed. In fact, Flannery teams up with Tabitha in an attempt to ignite the Volcano again.
Also Tabitha is a beefcake
The Gym Leaders even discuss which team they should be siding with (Though ultimately decide not to side with either in the coming conflict.) which is an interesting way of portraying them.
But I've mentioned her a few times, let's talk about Courtney.
Courtney was a contest star who was good friends with Green's sister, Daisy. She used a special lighter that could transmit and record images through the flames, and her gloves secreted various berry juices she used for various affects like blinding or adhesives. Very early on, Courtney confronts Ruby and determines that he's very similar to her, and takes an immediate liking to him, she has a dark reflection of his love of 'beauty' and attempts to sway him to Team Magma's side. She often seems to have her own agenda and that she's with Magma more because... well it's a place to be, she gives up searching for the Red Orb to focus on Ruby and even though she returns to fight the Gym Leaders, she willingly double crosses Magma to side with Ruby at the Sootopolis confrontation. Perhaps the reason she stands out more than the others is because of her turning to ally with the protagonists... and also her death.
The Sootopolis battle is a brutal affair in RS, not only does Steven die from the strain of controlling the Regis, Norman dies getting Rayquaza over there and the country has been destroyed by roaring tidal waves and searing heat followed by earthquakes. It finally looks like they've managed to put Groudon and Kyogre down for the count... and then Tentacruel comes out of nowhere, grabs Courtney by the leg, drags her into the cave of origin and collapses it upon her. Courtney uses her last moments to use her lighter to pass Ruby a message, before passing away.
And that sets the tone of our two Admins, Archie and Maxie. Archie and Maxie are so brutal, so mad and destructive that it makes previous villains like Giovanni, Pryce and Lance seem rather tame. They don't have redeemable qualities, they don't attempt to frame their actions as noble, they kill and torture various characters we've grown to actually like, they have Houndoom set Norman's corpse on fire basically to mock Ruby in his moment of grief. They don't care that clashing the Nature titans against each other has basically fucked Hoenn beyond recognition.
They are truly unrepentant, powerful, and dangerous, their underlings, even their original goals, all fall before addictive power that Kyogre and Groundon presented them with. Even when Wallace takes up the Champion's cape to face them, they grab Winoa, who Wallace had a relationship with (In a mirror to Ruby's relationship with Sapphire) and threaten her to have him stand down, and then viciously beat on him while talking about how satisfying it is. There is no length they wont go to.
In the end, Ruby can only defeat Archie and Maxie by unleashing the power of Celebi who he's been carrying since the start of the Manga, using Celebi's power he forcefully rewrites the timeline and ERASES ARCHIE AND MAXIE FROM EXISTENCE and even THAT isn't enough to put them down.
In the Emerald saga, Archie returns wearing a suit of armor under the name Guile. During his non-existence, he was approached by Sird, one of the Rocket admin's from FRLG, and a mysterious villain who we don't know the full scope behind. Well, she presented them with a suit of armor that would allow them to manifest in the real world again.
Missing File: b2f4a22aca.jpgWe'll get this as soon as we can — however it might just be gone forever, sorry! If you know where we can find it, please get in contact
And had them fight to the death over it. And then Archie murdered Maxie. Except the armor Archie was wearing in that moment wasn't the armor made to protect him, it was the fake armor that Gold had been wearing to make a "Dramatic Entrance" and he wound up being cast into oblivion once more.
They both reappear in ORAS... sort of. So their conciousness made it to the distortion world and sort of just became one, and then something, some primordial God, basically asked them if they wanted to Live, because it had purpose for them. They responded positively and wound up in Johto, looking like their ORAS selves and knowing that they had to learn Mega Evolution, reacquire the Red and Blue Orbs and protect the planet from the Meteorite that was coming. After their tasks were finished they once more disappeared into dust.
I've skipped over a lot, and RS is truly a beast of a manga to cover, but Aqua and Magma are some truly intense villains, getting the better of gym leaders, becoming so successful that they basically completely destroy Hoenn in their competition. If you were to rank Pokemon Specials villains, they'd hit pretty high up there.