The Let's Play Archive

Pokemon Emerald

by Crosspeice

Part 80: Pyramid King Brandon

Let's finish this up
Brandon & the Battle Pyramid

Brandon was the final brain Ash went against and also, as you'd figure his toughest. Brandon's anime personality is being very stern, doesn't get frazzled, always yelling NOOO, and he's kinda judgmental. His introduction is dressing down the kids for trespassing on the ruins of PokeLantis (yeah...), telling them to leave, for example. And considers Ash an impatient child. Which to be fair he is considering he rushses off in the ruins and gets possessed by the king of PokeLantis who trapped his dark soul in a pokeball after ho-oh destroys his kingdom. But hey whom among us haven't unleashed an ancient evil or two in our times.
Oh also he's an archaeologist(/tomb raider), which I think is a cute way of representing the pyramid's exploration aspects. He's going through the ruins of PokeLantis to discover and document it, then oops Ash got possessed so he has to fix this mess with a battle.

The writers clearly saw that Brandon was the only Brain who had nothing but legendaries in both his teams so he gets to use all 3 Regi. And boy does Ash just not deal well with these things. Regirock tanks everything Sceptile throws at it despite the dirty tricks employed (going for the legs, burying him in ceiling rubble, hiding behind the referree) and then gets it in one blow with lock on - hyper beam.

But that was just a weird evil spirit. So after saving him (with help from Pikachu), he gives Ash another dressing down (fair) and tells him to not be an arrogant prick next time.

Several episodes later Ash tries again, but not before another ruin where Brandon find the location of a sealed chamber and still gives Ash some shit about the whole "was so arrogant you got possessed by an evil king" thing. Brandon uses a Registeel this time in a 1 v 1 against his Torkoal and just totally no sells everything except for this one time where Torkoal gets paralyzed and...passes that paralysis through Registeel? In return he does the equally weird thing of using sandstorm to make a sand tornado to pick up torkoal's heat wave???? There's no GIFs of the amount of spinning that goes on in this battle which is a shame, but it all ends thanks to lock on -> zap cannon.

Brandon does finally acknowledge that Ash improved and he'll happily face him again after another ruin trip. There's actually this whole mini-arc where they stick around the same area, the cast figures what they're going to do next and Ash tries to figure out how to get around lock on and settles on bringing in bulbasaur, squirtle & charizard. After some training there's no way they can lose!

Brandon comes back with his newly captured Regice, agrees to a 4v4 battle, and starts off by getting rid of Charizard with his...Dusclops. Shoutout to Ash forgetting Dusclops is a ghost type, trying to use Seismic Toss, causing the power up theme music to cut out and Dusclops to get the win. I think the writers figured going against all 3 Regi would probably be a bit much, so it's Dusclops, Ninjask, Solrock & Regice. It bleeds into another 2-episode battle and is pretty solid, they do a good job of showing Brandon's experience. Positioning, move combos, turning the arena into an ice rink, it's pretty varied. "Gathering the Gang of Four" and "Pace - the Final Frontier" if you're interested.
If you're wondering how Ash gets around lock on...he doesn't. Regice doesn't have it. Ice Beam, Blizzard, Focus Punch & Rest (no chesto berry though). This entire string of episodes had a big uptick in quality but the set up & follow through still leaves some desire. There's an interesting implication that Ash only beat Regice since it was so new: it was taking more hits and had ot heal off its damage, and might be why it didnt have a lock on combo. Ash also knocks Regice out in one Volt Tackle after a successful Rest which...

Brandon Ash and accepts loss with ease and he's happy that Ash improved so much. He doesn't even yell NOOO a single time, where as he did it like 6 times each other time.

But despite having 4 episodes all about him + several filler about preparing for him, Brandon's not done. He has the three Regi which means he gets to show up in Sinnoh!

Brandon is here to deal with waking up & capturing this absolute unit. Which doesn't go very well, because Regigigas wakes up, takes control of his Pokemon and causes everyone to go berserk and go on an unstoppable rampage out of the temple and into Snowpoint. We get to see Brandon in actual distress over his friends and has to do the whole "remember who you are" shtick. Its the only time we get to see him like this and it's fun to see it being done to 3 robots who have no faces to show actual emotion.

but also

He gets an entire episode where he trashes Ash's biggest rival, Paul. Before Paul came to Sinnoh, he followed his brother around and saw him lose hard to Brandon despite beating the rest of the Frontier. Unlike Ash, he let the loss go and went to be a Pokemon Breeder. But Paul resents the whole thing, loses his cool and that causes him to lose the battle as well. It's the only time we see Paul act like that, otherwise he's just kind of a cool headed jerk.
This was also a 6 vs 6 battle and Brandon only used his legends. Paul didn't KO a single one.

A lot of people think Brandon might be Paul's father due to their close resemblance, but it's never stated.

As for the Pyramid itself, its a giant, glassy pyramid THAT'S ALSO AN AIRSHIP? The four corner extend outwards and allow for giant turbines to take flight so it can move all over as needed. We even get to see the inside of it several times: there's the battle arena in the upper part of the pyramid, the tip of it opens into a sky light, the under portions are where regirock & steel hang out to handle intruders and there's a pilot are near the top as well.
Presumably Brandon lives in here and I believe keeps all the stuff he finds on display. By far the most realized of the actual facilities in this entire thing.