The Let's Play Archive

Pokemon Shield

by Falconier111

Part 21: You Should Feel Grateful

Update 22: You Should Feel Grateful

Gym Lobby - Pokémon Sword and Shield OST

Allister’s Gym is a bit… odd. But I have something I’ve been waiting to talk about for like a week, and I’m going to take advantage of our most recent conversation with everyone’s favorite gender-neutral mascot to bring the narrative to a screeching halt and ramble about it anyway. Let’s talk Beauty Nova.

Beauty Nova first showed up in Pokémon X/Y as a member of the exclusively female Beauty Trainer class whose English quote specifically mentions having been a Black Belt (an exclusively male Trainer class) half a year ago. She first came to the Internet’s attention a few years later to some controversy, largely because a mixture of skeptics and the usual suspects barking about sociological communism or whatever tried to debunk it. Turns out: nope! Maybe she was just referring to the class, not the gender? No, the class she refers to is limited to males and has a female equivalent with an entirely different name in both English and Japanese. Maybe it’s a mistranslation? Nope, it’s even more explicit in the Japanese. Maybe it’s just a shift in presentation or something and is talking about something unrelated? Nuh-uh, by “more explicit” I mean the Japanese text has her specifically enthusing about how wonderful it is that modern medical science helped her transition. Who would’ve thought that the Pokémon franchise, of all things, would be one of the first to have a trans character so open about it that it’s literally the first thing she mentions when meeting strangers?

But enough sociological communism. Let’s go beat up a 10-year-old.

Gym - Pokémon Sword and Shield OST

Ghost is one of the odder Pokémon types, mechanically and thematically. Mechanically, Normal (the first Type most players run into in large numbers and which sets the baseline for most people’s Pokémon experience) and Ghost are mutually immune to each other’s attacks, and when combined with its one-way strengths and weaknesses and weakness to itself (one of only two types to suffer from that, the other being Dragon), it makes Ghost-types of head-scratcher to take down. Combine that with the type’s access to several odd moves that impose unique status effects (like dooming Pokémon to die) and you end up with something that stands out even among all of Pokémon’s strange types as uncanny and hard to deal with.

Thematically, it’s associated with Lavender Town in the first game, the home of one of the eeriest tracks in the entire franchise and the Pokémon Tower, a literal Pokémon graveyard. The game made you climb up the tower, fighting Trainers explicitly mourning their Pokémon, until you made it to the top and fought a ghost Pokémon – not a Ghost-type, but the literal ghost of the Pokémon you needed special equipment just to hit. While Gen 1 wasn’t always completely lighthearted – you did have a crime syndicate and an abandoned lab harrowed by the constructed Pokémon it accidentally unleashed – Lavender Town stuck out as the darkest thing in the game and wedged its way into the fandom’s cultural consciousness. It even gave birth to one of the Internet’s first breakout creepypastas, which alleged in the early version of the town theme caused dozens of suicides in Japan before they switched it out before the English release.

Allister’s Gym ignored all that and turned itself into a giant pachinko machine. And honestly, it’s kind of amazing. You spin your little theme park cup up right with one of the control sticks to go right and vice versa to go left, simple enough. You can also get yourself wedged down dead ends if you’re not careful, but all of them have those hand bumper things to push you out. Can’t let the kids get frustrated. Or adults, honestly. It does eventually get harder as you have to navigate through various obstacles, but it never actually gets difficult.

You also have to fight your way through Trainers at various rest points along the way, and unlike the trainers and basically every other Gym to this point, they actually pose something equivalent to a threat. Well, threat is the wrong word: they still go down easy. They do, however, do enough damage to your troops that, if you didn’t have easy access to who knows how many healing items, they might significantly weaken your team before you reach the Leader.

I bought a bunch of Super Potions.

He waves his hands around a little while he talks.

H-here… I go…

And that’s all he says.

Battle! Gym Leader (Beta) - Pokémon Sword & Shield (Full) (Extended)

Four Pokémon now. We’re in the big leagues! I’m a big fan of this move:

While it does slow down battle a little bit (given the one turn you spend not doing damage), it’s strong, it can’t be blocked, and it hits this Yamask like a freight train. It hits his next Pokémon, his Cursola, even harder.

Oh hey, it’s in the abomination Pokémon! As his second to last, I deem this the appropriate time to break out Dynamax and start really nailing his troops. I have plenty of other options aside from Mr. Blobby if he falls, but I’d really rather he didn’t.

I’d completely forgotten that Drifblim ends up looking down at its target .

The Ghost-type Max move throws a bunch of phantom furniture at a target in a massive wave . Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that Mimikyu had an Ability that let it absorb a bunch of damage once, leaving Mr. Blobby with only one turn of Dynamax left.

At this point I’m genuinely a little worried; I don’t think I’ll actually LOSE, but this Gengar is potent enough right now to wreck Mr. Blobby and probably the next Pokémon out. And, since I doubt he has enough power to take him down in one hit, this Gengar is probably going to wreck his –

You know, I honestly thought it was impossible for super effective moves to crit. Guess not. Way to go, Mr. Blobby! I wasn’t actually expecting you to solo this Gym, but here we are. Turns out, you and your namesake are both terrifying!

Stow-on-Side - Pokémon Sword and Shield OST

… That was ace. Here… A Ghost Badge…

G… Good luck! With…Um… Everything…

Looks like we’re finally getting some recognition!

The moment we step outside, a familiar corgi bounces up to us.

Anyway, we’ve run into each other at a good time. You know the mural here in Stow-on-Side? It’s sad to tell the story of the hero of Galar as well. Though what’s here today is actually a replica of the ancient art that used to be here... I was wondering if you’d give me some input on –

Wha… What in the world is that? Sounds like it came from the direction of the ruins, too… Let’s have a look!

We do get back control for a moment, but I just run up the stairs.

Bede's Theme - Pokémon Sword and Shield OST

The Pokémon roars. The game implies he’s been having it slam away at the mural, though we never see or hear anything of the sort beyond one slam.

We’ve got to bring the chairman more Wishing Stars if we want to please him! Copperajah! If you’re truly the chairman’s Pokémon, then you should feel grateful for this chance to help him find Wishing Stars!


What, come to try and steal my thunder again?

No! I’m trying to figure out why you’re defacing priceless work of art. What the fuck is WRONG with you?

I am trying to save Galar. You are a self-absorbed prick who does nothing except try to tear me down at every opportunity.

Is this about the mines? You know what? You’re right! You may have started it, but I went after you as hard as I could. I should’ve been the bigger woman! But none of that matters because you hurt my best friend.

What, Hop? Oh, I didn’t hurt him. I never had to lay a hand on him. All I had to do was walk him through just how inadequate he is as a Trainer, step-by-step. If he can’t take the fact that he’s a pathetic failure who will never catch up to his older brother or be anything else, well, that’s his problem, not mine.

Oh, Bede, I’ve done some research on you. You poor orphan, taken across the sea five years after your parents died because nobody else would adopt you, only to get shoved into a boarding school filled with people who hated you for your origins and connections. The closest thing you had to a father was distant and barely acknowledged you, and your closest friends at school wouldn’t even deign to tag you in their pictures. No wonder you grew up into such an unmitigated arsehole. Even he can tell how awful you are, you know; it’s why he never listens when you have your little public conversations and dismisses you so fast.

Holy shit, Gloria.

We’re getting personal, then? Good to hear, because I’ve done some research, too! And what an exciting story I found – a young mother bringing her child far, far away, leaving her life behind to care for some ungrateful brat, spending who knows how much money on therapists and specialists and conscripting an entire community just to keep her in line! You spent your whole life a huge burden on everyone around you and you would’ve made their lives easier if you’d finished what you’d started six years ago!


… I don’t know where you found all that out, but you’d best throw out your Pokémon RIGHT NOW before I actually attack you.