C’mon, we can’t stop right there, can we? Lillie’s in jeopardy! After fighting hard to overcome her pokemon phobia, an unexpected confrontation with Silvady has left her as traumatized as ever, and unable even to hug the bundle of light and joy that is Snowball. Alola is supposed to be a place of peace and comfort, and I cannot accept abandoning our heroes in their hour of greatest need. Indeed, it seems the only honorable choice is to keep watching Sun and Moon until all of its characters are happy again.
Alright, you caught me, I’m just fishing for more excuses to watch Sun and Moon. The show is delightful, spending time with its cast is fun even in moments of crisis, and I’m sure Lillie will overcome this trial with her usual can-do spirit. Let’s settle in for another episode of Sun and Moon!
Hot damn, apparently this is Pokemon’s one thousandth episode. And they’re commemorating it with… fuck, eight weeks of prize giveaways. Damn you, Japanese children, how dare you enjoy the spoils of timely Pokemon viewing!
The introduction of Lillie writing in her diary as an episode-opening conceit makes a great deal more sense at this point, now that it’s clear we’re in a Lillie character development arc. It’s actually a neat way to limit the amount of exposition, considering the only continuity that weekly viewers need to keep track of is Lillie’s emotional state. You can’t have a character arc without continuity, after all
Some nice, graceful animation for Lillie and Snowball’s slight movements here
Oof, and this shot of Lillie crying is gorgeous. Her shimmering eyes convey a strong sense of fragility and grief, while the linework of her hair feels more carefully voluminous than usual
“Lillie and Silvady: Memories Reborn.” Welp, time for suffering. Though to be fair, it’d be even more cruel if this episode were titled something like, “Trouble at the Water Park!”, and it was mostly the gang having fun while Lillie sobbed in the background
We open on Gladio confronting Ash, understandably pissed about this whole situation. Though it obviously wasn’t intentional, Ash’s generally carefree disposition undoubtedly helped lead to this overall situation
Apparently Gladio lives out of a motel by the highway. Sorta figured he was just living in a cave somewhere
Elton John has come to visit him
He’s here to retrieve Type: Null, presumably the official name of Silvady
“You lied about treating Silvady with love and care.” So it seems like we’re basically transposing all the villainy of the game’s Aether Corporation at large to the machinations of Elton John specifically. While the overall organization is indeed the pokemon research center it presents itself as, Elton has been performing some crueler experiments in the background
Elton’s a master of psychic pokemon, boasting a Hypno and an Alakhazam. He’s pretty quick to resort to violence!
Yeah, the mask’s fully off at this point, as he uses Hypnosis on Gladio himself in order to capture Silvady. I assume there are generally some strict rules about not using pokemon attacks against people? They’ve certainly made a point of avoiding it, and framed any pokemon violence towards humans as a reflection of their animal nature. It makes sense to keep this as a more unspoken rule though, as addressing it emphasizes the subordinate role pokemon play in this society. The more pokemon are afforded personalities like human beings, the more pokemon society starts to look like slavery, so the show generally steers away from any awkward questions
Oh my god, Lillie in this chair alone at school. It’s like the Shinji in his folding chair meme
The translators do their best to translate “Ganbalillie,” but are ultimately defeated
“Seeing you smile makes me feel relieved.” I think everyone feels that way about Lillie, Burnett
Lycanroc sparring with Litten is perpetually adorable. Lycanroc’s this big anime wolf monster, and Litten’s just a little guy
I love Lillie’s offhand probing of how Ash’s conversation with Gladio went. This episode is effectively revealing the separation between Lillie’s general affectation and her underlying personality; she’s more sly than she tends to let on, with her ostentatiously formal affectation making it easy to underestimate her
Lots of great Ash faces as he evokes the menace of Gladio, scaring Starcloud in the process
Meeting Silvady unlocked some of Lillie’s traumatic memories, and she’s now determined to recall the whole truth
Starcloud teleports them to the beach that Lillie frequented with her family as a child, raising the ominous possibility that Starcloud can read their thoughts and memories
Lillie’s childhood beach look is delightfully goofy, with all of her hair tied up in one giant orb on her head
“Director Lusamine must not learn about the incident that happened four years ago.” Elton John helpfully underlines the precise distribution of blame we should assign for his current nefarious undertakings. This line essentially serves no purpose but to emphasize that Lusamine is blameless, and in no way connected with Aether’s darker dealings
The camera embraces both high and low-angle shots as we enter the Aether labs, their cumulative effect creating a sense of ominous foreboding and surveillance as we explore the halls
Gladio takes his grievances straight to Lusamine, who reveals that “Type: Null” was the name of a project that Elton was working on independently
“Silvady saved me and Lillie!” More secrets are revealed! So presumably, the traumatic memories that Lillie can’t access end with Silvady rescuing Lillie from the rogue Ultra Beast
I love this sequence of Elton attempting to direct Team Rocket. He’s trying to be all subtle and menacing about his plan to mess with Lillie’s memories, but Jessie and James are just totally not getting it. They are too bad at evil to understand the plot of a genuine villain
I LOVE TEAM ROCKET. Once they finally understand the full plan, the entire team immediately refuses, leading into an impassioned speech by Jessie about the importance of memories. They may be villains, but they’re not monsters!
And then James follows up with a rambling story about a birthday cake he still remembers from his childhood. Team Rocket are so good
“We commit righteous evil, not evil evil!” Thank you, Meowth
And then they all toss their hats down and quit at once. Maybe that’s why Team Rocket keep scrounging for new jobs – their clear moral values always force them to quit whenever their boss asks them to do something inhumane
Gladio really lets Lusamine have it, rightfully stating that even though Lusamine didn’t know what happened, she should have recognized the suffering of her own daughter
Didn’t expect to jump straight from “the gang has a sleepover!” to “Lillie is mind-wiped to forget her trauma, thereby hiding the scientific malpractice of her mother’s collaborator,” but here we are
I sorta wondered how the anime could convey the power of psychic attacks, and it turns out the answer is “psychic attacks chuck the enemy against a wall”
Elton gets a solid “you can’t destroy me, I created you!” beat as Silvady arrives
And at last, Lillie’s full memory returns. If not for Silvady, she’d likely have been dragged back into the Ultra Beasts’ home dimension
Silvady turns into a Dark type, courtesy of his handy built-in CD drive
And of course, with Silvady rescuing her a second time, Lillie regains her pokemon-touching powers. Touch all the pokemon, Lillie!
Hahaha, well wasn’t that an adventure? I figured we’d be continuing right along with Lillie’s story, but wasn’t expecting to ramp up into psychic battles and nefarious mind wipes in a cool twenty minutes. This was one of Sun and Moon’s most action-packed episodes yet, while still offering us a vast bounty of information regarding Lillie and her whole family situation. Frankly, this episode resolved so much that I’m not even sure where we go next! Lillie’s trauma has been resolved, Silvady has received justice, Elton John has been defeated… have we actually resolved the Aether Foundation arc!? I can’t imagine that’s true, but I’m eager to see how the story continues!
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