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If Guzma had been the main villain...

Discussion in 'Current Event: Pokémon Sun and Moon' started by zakisrage, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. Esserise

    Esserise Y'all ready for this?

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    The alternative that you're describing sounds to me like another cookie-cutter "we save the imperiled region/world from a bad dude with a Freudian excuse who unleashes deadly dangers in an effort to change~ the world to suit his views" plot. Which is fine if that's your taste, and obviously that particular plot structure has the capacity to function given that they've re-used it so many times. Personally, the thought of having yet another story such as that makes me want to gag, though I am of the opinion that smaller-scale stories are almost always preferable to larger-scale stories. So of course I would appreciate the decision to focus SM's storyline on the personal development of a single young girl as opposed to preventing whatever apocalyptic horrors the UBs might wreak upon the world (and even that storyline still happens, to an extent, albeit in the post-game). The way I see it, there's actually some unpredictable tension in the way that Lillie addresses and responds to her problems, and that makes it an area worth exploring. Whereas we know the world isn't going to be destroyed by the Ultra Beasts. We are invariably going to succeed in stopping them. Whatever "threat" they may be said to pose is entirely hollow from the very outset. It is true that you could use them to make a point about Guzma or traditions, but, you know... they still ended up making a similar point, without making us save the world for the umpteenth time.

    I also think that expecting Pokémon to prioritize showing over telling is probably hoping for too much, given the way in which the series has tended to arrange its priorities in exposition. Though I'll give them some credit - the resemblance between Lillie's clothing and Nihilego is left largely unremarked upon so as to leave the symbolism and its implications up to our inference.
     
  2. dragon_nataku

    dragon_nataku Vice-President in Charge of Volcanoes

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    I can't take Guzma or Team Skull seriously at all. The entire game all Guzma did was yell a lot. You know who else yells a lot? My 9-month old nephew, and nobody finds him at all intimidating. And all Team Skull ever did was pick fights with me for no reason (basically like every other bloody trainer in the game so no difference there) and do stupid shit like attempting to steal a bus stop sign. Like, really guys? For them to be the main bad guys they would've needed a much more serious retooling, like actually beating people and probably Pokemon up (like those Plasma idiots from the beginning of B/W. When they kicked the Munna I wanted to reach through the screen and strangle them) and actually being some sort of real danger.

    Like, I can respect the opinion of enjoying "smaller stories," but in this case it seems it would've just been "help Lillie grow as a person who can stand next to her mum, instead of inside her mum's shadow forever." Like, if I wanted to deal with stuff like that I'd go do a year and a half of grad school for my psychology Ph D and become a bloody family therapist (hell, I could probably be a family therapist with my current degree. Guess who's not doing that? Oh, it's me~). Don't get me wrong. I love Lillie and I love that she finally grew a pair and told her mum off and has grown a spine and is going to do her own thing. I loved the ending cinematic, showing all of the pictures she took on her journey with us. But an entire game where the only plot are her family issues? Uuuggghhh. (also, why the heck did Lillie get all of the personal development? Gladion had the same crazyface mum too)

    I can't even remember playing a game, any game, that wasn't about saving the world from something so... *shrugs*

    Anyway, as to Lusamine's "bizarre, nonsensical motivations," I've spent enough time around real crazy people to know that crazy people's motivations don't need to make sense to anyone other than themselves, so that part didn't bother me. I did think she was basically a Lysandre clone though. Obsessed with beauty and eternal youth, wants to destroy the world, and has enough money to make it happen. The only difference between the two was one had two kids.
     
  3. Beth Pavell

    Beth Pavell Less cute in person

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    Thing is "because they're crazy" is in itself one of the laziest clichés in the book for waving away motivations that make no sense. It's such a standard rubber stamp that it's scarcely better than having no motivation at all, because all of a sudden the author doesn't have to do the work of actually building a believable character who's relatable on some level. You might as well outright tell the audience "this thing is happening because my plot says it has to happen".

    Lusamine's generic craziness just served to poke holes in the main story in any case. If Lusamine isn't relatable as a human, then how am I supposed to be invested in her relationship with her kids? It's not enough just to make Lillie sweet and kind and Gladion cool and emo (Resisted the urge to add quotation marks there). I'm still not going to care about their mummy issues if mummy is just a cackling harridan being evil just because she's the villain.
     
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  4. Silktree

    Silktree Foresight

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    You're missing the part where Lusamine didn't really care about what the Ultra Beasts would do to the world, as she merely wanted to live in the Ultra Space. Also, her underlying motives were nothing like Lysandre; she wasn't disillusioned with the world so much as lonely and desperate to find her husband (or replace him with Nihilego, I suppose).

    So you probably haven't played many games with a decent story. I can make some non-RPG suggestions.
     
    #24 Silktree, Jan 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  5. Beth Pavell

    Beth Pavell Less cute in person

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    Is that confirmed? I looked at the Bulbapedia article earlier and it says that Gladion speculates it might have something to do with her husband - actually I found the quote, and it is speculation. Assuming it's entirely accurate speculation, it still doesn't explain why she became obsessed with the Ultra Beasts, though. Obsessed with finding her husband to the point of being prepared to torture a pokémon to (probable) death to do so, ok, fine.
     
  6. Silktree

    Silktree Foresight

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    I'll take her own son's word for it. When a game only offers one possible explanation for something, chances are that there is no alternative.

    Her husband disappeared because of the Ultra Beasts. Why wouldn't she be obsessed with them if she was desperate to find him?
     
  7. Beth Pavell

    Beth Pavell Less cute in person

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    Yeah, but by the time the events of the game come round, her husband has gone out of the window. All we get is her mad obsession, sole purpose in life, really, of getting Ultra Beasts into her life at any cost. And then tacked on at the very end of the story, dubious speculation that somehow, for some unknown reason, she mentally replaced her husband with extra-dimensional pokémon. I suppose it's probably fair to say that we're supposed to take that as fact, even though the game itself doesn't present it as such. But even so, it still loops back round to the old "crazy explains everything" explanation.

    A better way of dealing with it would be to bring Mohn into the main plot (It's strange, frankly, that he's not mentioned through most of the main story even though dear old mum starts to go off the deep end when dad disappears. For a plot all to do with family issues, it's strange that this doesn't seem to matter much to the kids) and put some proper pacing into the story so it doesn't all come tumbling out across the Aether Paradise section. The game wastes enough cutscenes with plotless natter, there's plenty of space for it
     
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  8. dragon_nataku

    dragon_nataku Vice-President in Charge of Volcanoes

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    Well, I've seen what having an actually crazy parent does to children so I can find reasons to care about their mummy issues.

    I would welcome this 100% (via PM of course) although I honestly don't have much time for games anymore. I'm always looking for new games though so who knows, maybe since I'm taking fewer credits this semester I might actually get to *GASP* PLAY A REAL GAME on the weekends. Would be nice ^^
     
  9. Silktree

    Silktree Foresight

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    I agree, of course. It seems so obvious that I suspect Game Freak deliberately kept this subplot for the strongly rumored third version.
     
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  10. Esserise

    Esserise Y'all ready for this?

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    Too much work. By the same token, people who enjoy crime dramas could all go out and become detectives, but of course they don't, for fairly obvious reasons.

    Lillie's issues aren't the "only" plot, they're just the centralizing issue. We also have the Trials and Team Skull's shenanigans, and, in the post-game, the International Police/Ultra Beast stuff.

    These things do overlap with the Lillie/Cosmog/Aether story at points, but they are threads unto themselves as well, all with their own individual resolutions.

    I mean, you don't even have to look outside of this franchise in order to find an example. Ever played RBY?

    She'd have been researching Ultra Space for years with no success, and eventually both of her kids (from her point of view) rejected her and ran away. All she has left then is her years of UB research, which she views as a way to retreat from circumstances she can't cope with. Essentially, her thinking is that if this world doesn't need her, then she no longer needs it and will move on to a better one.

    Why they opt to phrase this in the form of veiled speculation in the post-game, I don't know. They did the same thing with Cyrus in Platinum and it was an odd decision there as well.

    Some fans maintain that Lusamine was also influenced by the drug-like effects of a Nihilego throughout her whole ordeal, but I don't really see how that could have happened unless she happened to be grazed by one during the experiement in which Mohn disappeared. The wormhole that appears at Aether Paradise during the main story is suggested to be her first success in opening one.
     
  11. Beth Pavell

    Beth Pavell Less cute in person

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    @Esserise I agree, and yeah, that would work as an explanation for Lusamine's actions - which doesn't say much for the story as it is, since you were able to spin that out of veiled speculation in a few minutes.

    It's a shame, really, because I suspect that Team Skull were deliberately written ridiculous, as a parody of the usual villain team. With a better thought-out Aether plot and a properly given reason for Lusamine to be in cahoots with them (The obvious explanation would be as a way to keep her hands clean in the recapture of Lillie, but that isn't stated as far as I recall, and is rather weakened by the useless police service) it would have made for a nice symmetry
     
  12. Isaac Gravity

    Isaac Gravity Drifter

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    Thanks for catching that, wording error on my part was in a rush to leave the house to catch a movie (when you have a day off, every moment counts!). Basically: "No bothering to visit the relics, no exploration (before plot drop) on Nebby, no slow development of Lillie's discovery of self-worth and the world of Pokemon Trainers.
    "I'd have been all for a nice side quest of going back to Island One just for her to try her hand at Trainer stuff at the school but nope no. Instead we got all of that instead."

    I'll admit when I make a mistake but I don't recall ever calling her a badly-written character or suddenly wanting to do anything (I do recall calling the SM plot an unfocused mishmash). Or ever, ever saying only Trainers are good characters. I just wanted some slow proactive babysteps if girl is gonna be the the focus.

    I'm not not touching that development comment and can we just get back to Guzma? Or was it Guzma vs Lusamine?

    EDIT: @Esserise- Generic bad dude? Fufu. I actually would've like the UB themselves to be running the antagonist show but that's neither here nor there now, is it? *MumbleGrumbles*had a symbiote and does nothing with it*Grumbles*

    And past games (not XY) did do great jobs at making sure players are aware of what they truly needed to know and that if they were being backed up it showed and we couldn't deny that (not like frickin' XY. Yeah, Shauna, those guys weren't a threat but thanks for robbing me my only chance to horde battle human characters!).
     
    #32 Isaac Gravity, Jan 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  13. godiego

    godiego it's not personal, it's the internet

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    i think this discussion on Lusamine and her goals just goes to show how unfocused the story was. well, unfocused on what was really important. GameFreak was so focused on that "twist" that Lusamine is simply kept in the shadows, limiting her development. what really is her goal? sure, we can handwave it as craziness and insanity (despite other crazy and insane characters in other series having cohesive goals), but they never seem to develop much beyond "love Ultra Beasts." that in and of itself isn't bad either, however Ultra Beasts are given so little attention they simply just become an easily replaceable MacGuffin.

    the story would have been much more compelling if they had been forthright with Lusamine. Lillie isn't just running away to save Cosmog, she's running away to save her mom too. and in having Lusamine be more present, they could finally address the obsession vs. possession hole.
     
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  14. Soki

    Soki Beep Boop

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    I think that is why I like Guzma better, he and his team have an actual good and clear reason for what they're doing. They weren't able to complete the Island Challenge/were rejected as trial Captains and are therefore probably rejected by society. I can imagine they weren't able to find a job because of that and for lack of anything better to do they're now stealing Pokémon to make money, and are creating general mayhem to annoy those 'perfect little people that did finish the Island Challenge'. Next to making sense, it's a lot more relatable as this mirrors youngsters in real life who feel rejected by society and are therefore hanging out on the streets and often being an annoyance. Yes, you can't really take them serious. But when has that ever been the case with an evil team? Did anyone here really take Team Flare in those ridiculous suits serious? I prefer a ridiculous team with an original goal that suits them than a ridiculous team that just wants to eradicate the world as usual.

    And then there's Lusamine, who wants to love and protect the Beasts that made her husband disappear. In what world does that make sense? Except if she secretly disliked her husband a lot and is therefore grateful to the beasts :p And if she wants to live in the Ultra World so badly, then why is she first sending the beasts here. She was like "I can create multiple Ultra Holes with Cosmog now!" but she only needs one to get to the Ultra World and she was able to do that without Cosmog itself just fine. She also mentions that she feels that the Ultra Beasts don't like being in our world, and there she is sending multiple of them here, while she supposedly loves them and wants to protect them a lot. Almost nothing about what she does makes sense at all, she's just.... crazy. And as said above, that's just lazy writing imo. It could've been a good story, but the execution was terrible.
     
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  15. Silktree

    Silktree Foresight

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    If we ignore what she says... She might have been trying to punish the Ultra Beasts, giving them a taste of their own medicine.
     
  16. Soki

    Soki Beep Boop

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    Which means that it only makes sense if we ignore what she says....which means it doesn't make sense :p

    A story that only makes sense if you ignore part of it is not a good story imo.
     
  17. Silktree

    Silktree Foresight

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    Well, I never said it was good. But it's fun to think about.
     
  18. Esserise

    Esserise Y'all ready for this?

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    Strictly speaking, the Beasts didn't "make" her husband disappear. He got lost in an experiment to connect to Ultra Space, which was his own undertaking. Popped open a wormhole and fell in. That's not really the Beasts' fault. There's a progression in that Ultra Space and the Beasts gradually become the only thing she has left in her life. The problem is similar to Lysandre, in that by the time we become involved in the story, she's already gone off the deep end. We unfortunately don't get to see her downward spiral because it's not something the games are well-suited to showing as long as they're unwilling to radically change their style of exposition.

    In that regard, I've mentioned before that while I can respect the ambition in the drama they were trying to communicate with Lusamine, and I do think that Lillie and Gladion are helpful in getting that across - it probably would have been savvier to put her behavior down to Nihilego influence. It's the kind of thing that, with how Pokémon tells its stories, would make for a really useful shorthand in explaining her character. Less relatable, sure, but getting us to relate to Lusamine isn't really one of the story's aims anyway.

    On this though, I fully agree. I have no idea why they decided to write the scene like that, other than contrived villainy.


    On a different topic: I'm surprised by how little they do with Plumeria. What got her in her position, and why is she such a high-level force within Team Skull? Guzma gets his own implied backstory of falling out with his family and being rejected a Captainship. They gave the Magma/Aqua admins in ORAS quite a lot of character, and even Zinzolin in B2W2 had a philosophy that steered his actions. Plumeria gets some nice scenes and isn't as dull as the Flare Scientists, but I feel like they could have gone a bit deeper with her.
     
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  19. Sakuraa

    Sakuraa Alolan Style

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    I mean, the reason I like personally Lusamine so much as a villain was her relation, Lillie. Guzma being the villain wouldn't have been as interesting to me since he wasn't connected to anyone we had already become friends with. Same with Lusamine being a protagonist related so someone else who is a protagonist. It just wouldn't have been as interesting to me.
     
  20. dragon_nataku

    dragon_nataku Vice-President in Charge of Volcanoes

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    I agree that they should've done more with Plumeria. Every time she showed up (or even invading her room, the only clean room in the house, with her worn but obviously loved pokedolls) I was like "Now this chick is interesting!" and then promptly forgot all about her cause they never did anything with her. Then she'd show up again and I'd be like "Oh it's that chick! I wonder what she's been up t... oh, battle over, she's gone. *sigh*" She seems so different from Guzma that you have to wonder why she even sticks around with them. Guzma is a crazy violent guy (even if it's apparently just to his poor chair/throne) who's always yelling at everyone, and Plumeria specifically says she fights you the first time for messing with her "younger siblings" so she obviously cares about the grunts. And yet she takes orders from Guzma? Why doesn't she just kick his ass and take over Team Skull. I bet they wouldn't do stupid things like steal bus stop signs if she were in charge. I bet she'd whip Po Town into shape, for good or evil, who knows, but I'm sure she'd've been a competent leader either way.