Fri. Dec 3rd, 2021

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today I am delighted to announce that we’re returning to Sun and Moon, after more than a month away. It’s not Sun and Moon’s fault we didn’t visit sooner; the show is outrageously charming, and I’m always happy to check out another episode. But I’ve been making an effort to balance my output of the various reader-funded projects lately, and that’s put Sun and Moon on the backburner as I build up the stock of Oregairus and Toradoras and whatnot.

Well, I’ve been building that stock for a month straight, and I think I’ve earned a day in the sun. When last we left off, some major narrative gears seemed to be creaking into motion, with the awakening of the Ultra Beasts and the machinations of Lusamine’s lab associate both promising future trials. I’m eager to see all that play out, but also would be perfectly happy with a lazy beach episode, and maybe some Team Rocket shenanigans. There are really no wrong answers with Sun and Moon, so let’s not waste any more time, and get back to Alola!

Episode 47

Ash on the pokeproblem today, revealing nothing except that Starcloud’s still up to his teleport shenanigans

And once again, Lillie’s maintaining some continuity with her journal

Given we’re only a third of the way through the series, I can’t imagine we’ll be maintaining this degree of required continuity the rest of the way. Sun and Moon is intentionally designed to be episodic, a saturday morning cartoon that you can catch intermittently, and still follow without an issue. This Ultra Beast saga flies in the face of that, demanding a level of continued investment that can easily alienate a less-invested audience. As a result, I’m guessing this is just one of the show’s “climax arcs” – the culmination of the first year of drama, which will then reset back to dramatic neutral for the next year

Hm. If Ultra Beast Drama is the first third climax, and the Island Pilgrimage Tournament is the final one, I wonder if there’s some other dramatic peak waiting in between them

“I need to find a way to make my mother treat me like less of a baby.” How dare you Lillie, that’s one of her best qualities

Happy Pikachu taking a bath. This show is so nourishing all the time

Oh my gosh, he even shakes himself dry like a dog. THIS PRECIOUS CREATURE. Bless these animators for their correct priorities and careful study of cute animal behavior

Nyabby hates baths, but Lycanroc loves them. Also very accurate – though in my experience, as much as dogs like baths, they like getting towel-dried afterwards even more. There are few dopamine hits more pure than a dog getting frantically towel-dried

“Gladio and Sylvady! The Confinement Mask!” Alright nice, diving right into the drama

I was worried Rockruff evolving into Lycanroc would damage this show’s cuteness levels, but this bath sequence is clearly proving me wrong

“It’s a Pikachu.” “Doesn’t look like one at all.” I appreciate that Ash’s poor artistic talents are a running gag

Ooh, I love this impact still as both pokemon crash into Ash. The dynamic patterned background adds so much energy to the crash, and also subtly compliments the key colors of all the figures involved. It almost feels like a still from Diamond is Unbreakable

Ash wonders how Gladio is doing, prompting Starcloud to offer some terrifying help

Oh right, I forgot Gladio has the most goth team imaginable. Building a team all of the same type might not make tactical sense, but the aesthetic benefits are undeniable

Pikachu doesn’t trust the ‘mon in the iron mask. C’mon Pikachu, don’t be judgmental when you haven’t even met them

Oh my gosh. Starcloud starts bawling, so Pikachu first makes faces, then tries to use his own tail as a rattle to bat at. Pikachu is so good with the children

Sylvady’s noises are quite effectively menacing – they sound more like mechanical backfiring, rather than an animal cry

Gladio quite reasonably asks why Ash is wandering around with an Ultra Beast. In response, Ash tickles his Ultra Beast’s chin

A nice low-angle shot from beside Pikachu, capturing the field and mountains rising into the distance. These mainland episodes are actually some of my favorite visually; there’s something about looking up at the walls of this island basin that just makes me feel secure

And that’s followed by an even nicer shot, peering down from the hills towards the bay below. What a beautiful, inviting world they’ve created

I wonder if other renditions of Pokemon have such an environmental focus? I know Sun and Moon is uniquely impressive in terms of its animation, but I’m also a fan of the show’s pastoral appeal, and would be interested to see if it can make other regions as inviting as Alola

“Lillie became unable to touch pokemon because she was attacked by an Ultra Beast.” A clean narrative choice, tethering the mystery of Lillie’s past to our central ongoing conflict. The more your story’s dramatic variables weave into and reflect off each other, the more cohesive and effortless your structure will feel. The best twists feel momentarily surprising, but in retrospect inevitable

Ooh, a nice mix of filter effects for their traumatic memories – lines of static like a deteriorating video, visual halos around the characters, blur and dark-saturated colors. An effective illustration of memories that are still difficult to revisit

Lillie and Gladio were rescued by Silvady

God, just looking at these shots of the bay is making me want to go take a nice walk

Gladio has pledged to destroy all Ultra Beasts, which is understandable, but I mean, look at Starcloud. He’s just sitting there napping on Pikachu’s head. Please do not slay this creature

Silvady was “created to defeat Ultra Beasts”

Gladio at last just straight-up asks Ash why he has protagonist powers

And Ash, being Ash, responds with “let’s battle!”

Now this is interesting. We return to Rotom after the ad break (a standard trick, using the ad break to smooth over a major shift in perspective), where he decides to look for Ash in his detective wig. It kinda stuck out to me earlier in the episode when Ash explained Lycanroc’s feelings with “you wouldn’t want someone to get your Lucky wig dirty, right?” At the time, it felt like an odd nod to a bit of continuity that had nothing to do with this episode – the kind of thing this show generally avoids, as it’s more focused on smoothing the occasional viewer’s experience than rewarding long-term watchers. But now, I see that Ash mentioned the wig in order to seed this moment. By explicitly mentioning it then, he makes it seem less random to general audiences that Rotom has this strange wig later in the episode

“What do you think of that Lycanroc?” “Woof.” “Agreed.” Gladio is pretty adorable in his own way

Oh my god, he vamps so hard for his attack announcements. Gladio loves his melodrama

I like these energetic, jagged-edged screen-in-screen cuts they’re using for the trainer commands. Definitely helps them feel more actively engaged in the battle

Yeah, the animators are having far too much fun with Gladio’s chuuni-ass poses

Nice payoff for the bath setup here, as Lycanroc goes into rage mode when his mane gets dirty

And terrific reaction shots from both Ash and Pikachu as they attempt to calm him down. Nice to be reminded just how generous this show is with its creative expressions

Starcloud gets so upset he screams the dirt right off Lycanroc

Ooh, great effects animation for their final clash, with lots of fluid smoke

Gladio swears Ash to secrecy, and then walks off into another gorgeous hillside. This episode hasn’t been the heaviest in terms of animation, but it’s been remarkably generous in background design, offering a feast of beautiful inland vistas

And Done

Ahh, it’s so nice to be back. Ash got to be even more of a dork than usual this episode, with Gladio’s self-seriousness essentially setting him up to be the fool in their encounters. And he played that role with relish, offering energetically idiotic decisions and playful smears in equal measure. This episode also did an excellent job of integrating some natural exposition into its drama, offering key reveals about Lillie and Gladio while still maintaining narrative momentum. But most of all, I appreciated this episode’s unique glimpses of Gladio’s sanctuary, and the beautiful hillsides of the Alolan interior. You picked a pretty great hideout, Gladio.

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By admin