Part 51: Team Galactic's Plot Within PlotsAnd here's how things shook out in the anime! Thank you bulbapedia & serebii for having the million images I wanted except good quality Cyrus going
Team Galactic & Spear Pillar
So while Team Rocket (as in, the actual team and not Jessie & James) mostly just existed in the first few seasons as a periodic excuse for a 2 episode plotline and Team Magma/Aqua were periodic appearences working towards something, Galactic felt like the one that had the msot effort put into them. They first show up at episode 35 but then make frequent appearences that are all clearly interlocking and building to something. I think it works the best of the assorted evil team plots.
Their overarching goal is the exact same (summon some box legends, make a new world) but their plans are a bit more involved. They need the Adamant & Lustrous Orbs, a special Key that opens the way, the power of the Veilstone meteors, creating the Red Chain, and the lake legendaries.
Their first attempt at the Adamant Orb has them trusting Team Rocket. Which fails. So they just clown on them all the time moving forward, causing a one-sided rivalry moving forward. This episode has Saturn in it but he doesnt say anything. Later on the Adamant Orb is moved to where they find the Lustrous orb and they stage a 2 episode heist to get both. It involves taking down a cargo plane, its pretty cool.
The Lustrous orb is, in-universe recently found in the Celestic Town ruins. Celestic Town in the anime is a more standard town rather than a more rural village, incidentally. This is where we meet Cyrus, like in the games. Unlike the games we meet him as a civilian
Which works a load better, honestly. In the anime they have him put on a nice front billionaire historian who has funded most of Sinnohs buildings, libraries and other such activities. Presumably this lets him get closer to things that advance his goal and god, yes, this is so much better and an easier sell than what XY tried to do with Lysandre. I mean hes still not super subtle in his uhhh
Anyway he goes the location of the Lustrous Orb to subtly help out openly-Galactic admins and grunts steal it by taking advantage of his position to get it out in the opening at the time Galactic is doing some terrorism. After some impassioned speeches and dabbling with Team Rocket, Galactic manages to succeed.
The other part of their plan is to locate Spear Pillar using this thing, the Spear Key
Its located in Solaceon Ruins as a mysterious cube guarded by the Unown. The episode they get it is pretty trippy, the Unown use their reality warping powers to alter the dimensions of the ruins into an escher maze. After that they take it to the Veilstone meteors because the power of those react with the cube to unfold it into the key you see above. And what THAT does is act as a compass that points at the location of Spear Pillar, the Orbs, and other stuff related to the legendary Pokemon, with the ultimate goal of gathering everything needed to use the Key to unlock the entrance. Its all very involved.
If you were wondering, Spear Pillar isnt just atop Mt. Coronet. Its literally hidden, buried under layers of rock and in this big orb. Kind of a weird change but it let Galactic be more involved by searching for it so I think it works. Incidentally, the way into Spear Pillar forms steps similar to the Hall of Origin.
So the orbs are considered to literally be Dialga & Palkia (kind of similar to Reshiram/Zekrom hmm) and theyre needed alongside the lake guardians to bring out their power and summon forth the other 2. Interestingly the original plan wasnt to just steal them it was for Mars, Saturn & Jupiter to synch with them (instead that went to Ash, Dawn & Brock). Also there is a lot of added nonsense going on here: the Galactic Bomb (made from the meteors as well) is powerful enough to do dimensional damage, breaking through to where the lake guardians are and forcing them properly into our world. To help make things go smoothly they call in one of the animes more interesting original additions, Hunter J.
Hunter J is so cool, shes a high tech pokemon thief who has a bunch of crazy gadgets to capture and imprison Pokemon in bronze before selling them to her clients or highest bidders. She shows up a fair bit throughout the series and is generally shown as capable, confident and comes very close to succeeding in just about everything she does; at least once she backs off not because she was going to lose but because the client backed out.
Also she fucking dies
During the capture of the guardians Mesprit & Uxie send a Future Sight into the future to blow up & sink her jet plane into the lake and the last shot is this: it slowly sinking down, the glass around the ship shatters as water rushes in and her glasses rise up before it explodes. They never say she (& her entire crew!) dies, of course, but .
The climax of this was a pretty big deal at the time. They really advertised it a lot in Japan and the finales 3 episodes (finding spear pillar & finalizing the red chain, capturing the guardians, the events at spear pillar) were aired all at once. To quickly summarize, after getting the guardians they use fragments of the red chain to control them using a gauntlet, rather than using them to make the red chain, they use the Key to open the way to Spear Pillar, place the orbs and guardians to use the infinite ones power alongside the two Red Chains to open portals to Dialga & Palkia and pull them out. At that point the red chain transforms into Arceus mandala conscripting the two as the clouds and such swirl around the mountain like in the games.
Although Cynthia & the gang manages to free the guardians and break the machines to cut off the connection, the red chain mandalas, which contains the original powers still allow Cyrus to draw the 2 out completely and start creating Cyrus new universe as destructive storms start raging around coronet. While Cyrus is destracted they manage to break the rings but uhhh.
He basically gets what he wanted. As the portal begins to fade, he throws himself into it, leaving everyone behind (who werent going to be allowed in anyway). Mars doesnt take it lightly. But things arent wrapping up because now Dialga & Palkia are still mad, their powers are interacting and you would think this would be where Giratina comes into play what with the Giant Ominous Red/Black Portal To the Beyond
But instead of that happening, the guardians team up with Ash/Dawn/Brock to synch their hearts and:
-seal off that other world
-calm Dialga/Palkia long enough to stop making things worse
-open the portal to Dialga/Palkias worlds and send them back
Effectively, the animes resolution is what happens if the guardians were successful at stopping Dialga & Palkias rampage instead of Giratina coming in to fix their mess.
As for the wrap up, they catch and arrest the other commanders and Ash & friends return to their journey. Just like the games! Except Charon, who just sort of disappears. Youd think there would be an arc with him at Stark Mountain but no! Hes just gone and Stark Mountain doesnt even show up in the anime. Bizarre, considering Buck does appear later just not at the Battle Zone.
Also odd is Barry is not involved at all. Cynthia is the one at the actual mountain, along with Looker, while Gary is the one trying to run interference near the lakes.