• Please check out our recent thread on handling different opinions and toxic behavior here.
  • If you are finding yourself unable to log in, you should be able to fix the issue by following the following process.
    1. Close all browser tabs with any part of Bulbagarden open.
    2. Delete all Bulbagarden.net cookies (and if possible, any cached site data for Bulbagarden) from your browser.
    3. Close and reopen your browser, open a new tab, and log into the forums on the new tab.
    If you've followed this process and are still having issues, please contact us via the "Contact us" link at the bottom of the forum.

Bulbagarden Forums

Esserise
Esserise
I’ll probably be reading it on Fanfiction, since the version on here requires more scrolling. Have a spot on my bookmarks.

I have read what you’ve posted so far. I’ll be going to bed soon, so I’ll just leave some general thoughts for now. The way you retold the Crystal opening was an unexpected twist right off the bat that immediately caught my interest (telling it from Suicune’s POV was pretty slick). Great job there. The first chapter was a good start. I liked the dream fake-out, and the quick shift from that to the brief plague/extinction exposition gave the story a really unique feeling compared to the main series games. To my mind, if they ever had the games start like that, it would be an intro to rival the intro of Explorers of Sky in terms of tone-setting. And then it segues into an enjoyably human scene where we get some nice character interactions. The protagonist and their mother felt real right away, so good work on that as well. (The pancakes line was a nice touch that gives Ernest some appreciable texture.)

I don’t want that praise to come off as generic; I hope you’ll understand if I don’t have a whole lot to offer yet as it was a short two chapters. But more than even before, I do think you’re onto something strong here, and I am eager to read more. Although I should also note that I am not much of a writer myself, so I can’t give you much in the way of technical criticism. From me, any criticism will probably be more simply, “What I liked, what I didn’t quite like, and why or why not.”
Silktree
Silktree
If I wanted every single comment to be a critical analysis... That'd be like a death wish. The only two replies I've received on BMGf are a bit insulting because it's clear that those two members were just after more reviewer points (one of them rushed off to mention my story in the review game thread).

In contrast, the SPPf posts are positive and yet critical. But I only need one person as a beta reader who offers input on style rather than the plot. What I want to see from most readers is some sort of discussion, but that may be an unrealistic expectation.
Silktree
Silktree
Just for the record, I expect sequels to include new version mascots alongside a modest number of new Pokemon. I've come to accept that pairing Mewtwo with a new Celebi form isn't something Game Freak would do.

So I am not worried about Mewtwo being included in USUM. I assume that practically all legendaries will, anyway. If only because the National Pokedex is being used for VGC again, and Pokemon from older games aren't eligible.

I can show you an idea I have just to prove a point that new mascots could work in an old region. The fact that Kanto didn't have ordinary legendaries to begin with works in favor of sequels.
Silktree
Silktree
1. A new territory north of Mt. Silver has recently been found. It is home to several unknown species, and is basically an extension of two special locations from the anime: Mt. Quena and Tree of Beginning. The lake has healing properties (for Pokemon and people), while the tree is the place where Mew's DNA creates new species.

2. The version mascots are new legendaries: A scarlet-colored leopard (Fire/Dark) and a teal-colored tortoise (Water/Grass), making the version names Scarlet and Teal as an evolution of Red and Green/Blue combined.

3. A war happened long ago in the era of "feudal Japan": Kanto and Johto were at war over this sacred territory; it was clear that any region that absorbed the territory would become incredibly wealthy, and so greed reared its ugly head. While the tortoise guarded over the territory, the leopard begrudged the tortoise and wanted to ruin harmony in whatever way possible. So it was all too eager to join forces with whichever side of the two warring regions happened to find it first.

4. Lugia had the power to the stop the war (see what happened to the Whirl Islands), but not without inflicting damage on the area - an unacceptable risk. Instead, Mew wiped out people's memories and territory become virtually unknown, to prevent any further strife. Likewise, Mew fled to Guyana. The only thing left was a deep sense of remorse and understanding that the regions should cooperate. As far as anyone knew, the area north of Indigo Plateau was a collection of uninhabitable mountains, and Indigo Plateau itself was a symbol of the truce.

5. In modern times, this peace is threatened when unknown Pokemon begin to migrate to Kanto and Johto and people ask the obvious question: Where did they come from? Only a few people discover the answer, creating a dilemma: Are the two regions united enough to face the truth without jeopradizing peace? Perhaps the answer is simple: Yes, they are. But the protagonist has to witness the war via Celebi's time travel before any such conclusion can be made.
Silktree
Silktree
The Giovanni aspect... That's more worrisome. I wanted him and Lusamine to be redeemed in sequels, but now he might kidnap her in USUM? Would that wrap up both characters, or would it set up a greater plot?

I hope that the so-called leak is false, but who knows.
Esserise
Esserise
Ah, alright. I won’t worry too much about giving it a technical eye, then.

I don’t expect you to tell me this if you think I should just wait and see (that’s totally valid), but since I know this story is borrowing at least somewhat from your original Kanto sequel ideas, I was wondering if you were still planning on integrating the SM elements like Lusamine’s fusion with Nihilego. I only ask because you have this dual-narrative with Kris and Ernest taking place years apart, and was curious if you’d work in a third POV, or introduce the SM details by way of being historical fact in Ernest’s time, or just scrap them altogether in favor of something original. But again, if you think it would make a better surprise, then don’t tell me!

On another note, I don’t usually do a lot of reading, but you’ve kind of reminded me that I used to love keeping up with the semi-monthly serial updates for a franchise I used to follow.

Now, about your sequel idea. It is as ever, very intriguing right off the bat. You’re really good at developing concepts with a lot of potential. In a twisted way, it’s kind of disappointing, because just from reading that list, I know I would love a game exactly like that. It’s got a unique flavor that is very mystical, and feels significant without feeling overly epic. It’s both eye-catchingly unusual for what we know about Kanto, but fills in exactly what Kanto is missing (both a historic and a mythic quality) and still feels relevant by way of involving Mew. It is only so fitting to position this genesis tree on the border of the first-ever region (and makes far more thematic sense for the series than some mountain in Sinnoh being the beginning of everything). The mascots you’ve proposed would be a delightful (and much, much needed) break from DRAGON DRAGON DRAGON PSYCHIC PSYCHIC MORE DRAGONS. The Teal name is pretty clever, and making a plot point out of the fact that Kanto and Johto share a border and a League is just a perfect detail.

The only problem? I don’t think Game Freak are that creative. <:p But then, you did say that it was a proof to show it could be done... it’s just, I already know the real result, if there is one, won’t be as interesting!

As for the leak, I’m actually somewhat convinced. I didn’t notice until now that the summary in the thread’s OP isn’t a verbatim transcription of the leak itself, which is from three months before the USUM announcement and *does* mention “RR” with regard to Giovanni. The fact that the user’s name was USUM is fairly compelling to me, because I don’t remember anybody suggesting those names on any of the sites I hovered around on. It was all Stars, Eclipse, S2M2, Kanto sequels, or DP remakes. So I’d put me at... 60% swayed.

I don’t have a clue as to what they’d be intending to ultimately do with Giovanni in that scenario, though. I will say that I’m torn about the idea itself. On the one hand, it reads like utterly squalid fanwank fulfillment. But on the other hand, it is SO over-the-top and involved that no matter how ridiculous it is, it would easily blow away the expectations I have for USUM.
Silktree
Silktree
Thanks for the compliments.

1. I am not going to use Llilie or her family, so expect a lot of deviations from my previous ideas. Nihilego being the plague catalyst never really felt elegant to me. Lillie works as an interesting character for games with bland PCs... and not nearly as well when there are two fleshed out protagonists. Plus, Game Greak are giving her an alternate story in USUM, the anime is doing its own thing, and - hopefully - there will be a sequel eventually. I like her, but not enough to give her even more screentime.

2. Yes, it will take a miracle if they go for that kind of plot. I am pretty much done thinking about what they could come up with. Just let me revisit Kanto and Johto with an adequate storyline that involves at least some of the older legendaries.

It's tempting for me to write another fanfic about Amber and Teal, but it wouldn't work. Neo Celebi works for me since the GS Ball exists and almost certainly didn't contain the catchable Celebi, but there aren't any hints to hidden legendaries near Kanto. So Game Freak could introduce them, but it wouldn't be right if I did.

(I know that the very idea of a plague is a huge deviation from canon, but screw that. The Crystal intro and Ilex Forest shaking scream ominous.)

3. I believe the USUM leak even though we haven't seen new Alolan forms yet, but the Chinese one could have been based on it. I thought that we would just fight the bosses in the Battle Tree or some other facility.
Silktree
Silktree
I just pray that if Rocket Rainbow is a thing, the story won't end in Giovanni's defeat again. Simply because having Giovanni return for USUM, regressed rather than developed, would be odd if it had nothing to do with future sequels. Worrisome, even.

On the other hand, Lillie and the entire foundation going to Kanto to stop Giovanni would be decent enough. Just get rid of the villains from apocalyptic universes, lol.

Ideally, they'll just use the SM world for sequels because that is what most people know.
Silktree
Silktree
Chapters 2 and 3 are up. Are you that one follower on Fanfiction.net? If so, I don't need to notify you every time.
Esserise
Esserise
Good call on Point #1. I’m happy to hear that, because it means I’ll have even less of an idea of what’s coming.

I don’t have a Fanfiction account so that follower isn’t me. But I will be checking in frequently just to see if it has updated. For now, I have read Chapter 2, but not 3. I have some of my thoughts saved in a document, but I want to finish Ch. 3 as well before posting them here. Work the past few days has been extremely busy, and I’ve had other IRL things to take care of, and I admit that I’m like a bear to honey when it comes to the leaks thread, so I haven’t managed to sit down and read it yet. I should be able to either today or tomorrow, though.
Esserise
Esserise
Chapter 2
You’ve set up some good seeds here. The most tantalizing being Kris’s troubled home life. I think there’s a lot of promise in that, so I’ll be looking forward to how that develops. I was initially thinking that Kris sounded a little older than you’d intended (I personally know a 12-year-old who isn’t anywhere near as fluent in their diction, but in fairness, I also tend to mentally age-up the Pokémon protagonists anyway). However, this concern was washed out by Kris’s recollection of her dad. It hit me, that in having to deal with that at such a young age, it would have hardened her and forced her to learn to be more self-sufficient. I appreciate that kind of subtle informing of a character’s tone.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I am assuming this was a deliberate contrast with Ernest, whose mother is very involved in his life.

I was surprised to see Lyra show up, but I enjoyed their interaction, especially the mental commentary about her hat, and Kris being able to find at least a modicum of common ground there. I also enjoyed the more world-building details, such as the Pokéwalker reference, Lyra’s Marill having a nickname, and Kris referring to the Teddiursa as “cubs.”

I also like how you’ve diffused Kris’s story from Ethan’s. The Pokémon League stuff is taken care of, so now an original story can emerge. I’m looking forward to seeing Kris and Ethan interact. And come to think of it, Silver as well, should he find his way into the story. I am curious about two things, though. First off, it is established that Ethan did indeed take down Team Rocket - but did he obtain the [Version] Wing and summon the corresponding bird? I suppose it’s convenient for you that the original games don’t force the player to follow on that, so that element of the narrative can be manipulated in whatever way you wish. And second, Ethan thwarted Team Rocket - but we know from the HGSS Celebi event that his older self was also battling Giovanni at the same time. I’m wondering if that event is still canonical to your story, since I am certain that Celebi will come into play later.

And of course, the comment about induced evolution having the potential to spawn a disease - I can only assume that that is the replacement for Nihilego as the plague-starter. But let’s just wait and see about that. :)

One thing that did slightly confuse me was the final line - I just wasn’t sure if that was Kris’s thinking, and if so, where it was coming from (I may be missing some subtext, but Poké Balls didn’t seem like much of a subject in the chapter), or if it was a narrator of a higher consciousness capping the chapter off by planting a thematic seed. The reason why I suspected it might be the latter was due in part to the formatting, because at least on the Fanfiction.net version, it matches the formatting used for the final line of the prologue, which was Suicune’s thought, and neither of Ernest’s chapters have ended in that style.

Chapter 3
I really like the dialogue between Ernest and his mother, in both the first chapter and this one. They share an agile wit that makes their conversations feel sharp, but without feeling aggressive. I suppose it wouldn’t be fair to say that I think I prefer Ernest over Kris so far, given that the latter has had one fewer chapter to shine in, but I say this mainly just to emphasize that I’m liking Ernest quite a bit. In particular, everything after they stepped out of the car felt very authentic to me, with Ernest being shy and withdrawn (but still introspective), his mother knowing how to cover for that (as a parent would) while also being willing to make small jokes about it, and the teacher’s dialogue walking that line between friendliness and professionalism.

So, the plague happened in 2002, then? That’s a tighter deadline than I was expecting for Kris, but it’s a better decision than what I had in mind.
Silktree
Silktree
Nice observations. You're certainly attentive.

1. Both Ernest and Kris use advanced vocabulary since their loneliness has made their inner worlds richer. And yes, Ernest imitates his mom while Kris tries to be the mother she never knew (perhaps I'll incorporate her mom's diary to explain the mechanism). Also, it is admittedly a way to make a first person perspective work for me.

2. Ethan has the Clear Bell right now, which will be mentioned soon. But the story will deconstruct the importance of these items... (I hate how the Rainbow Wing was given a life of its own in Movie 20.)

3. The Giovanni event will not be adapted. I vastly prefer the Origins interpretation to HGSS and USUM's spins on the character. Also, Celebi has bigger things to worry about.

4. The last line is Kris', and I'm a little worried that it surprised you. While it is meant to be an abrupt ending, it ties into her interest in walking alongside Pokemon.

5. I'm glad you like Ernest. Other readers seem rather indifferent to his problems and attitude.

6. Did you recognize Giselle? Look her up on Bulbapedia.

7. I picked 2002 since it is the "big crunch" for the first two generations.
Silktree
Silktree
I honestly hope there are no regional variants in USUM, for two reasons:

1. It would be so cheap to get people excited over, what, five lines at most? A last minute stunt.

2. Regional variants have some lore, unlike Megas for the most part. To create forms tied to a specific universe would make that lore a lot less elegant. It would arguably discard the SM universe, although I suppose that variants don't have to be obtainable in every future game.
Esserise
Esserise
Thanks.

2. Ah, I see. That’ll be interesting. :)

3. I suppose that’s not a surprise given your previous opinions on the HGSS event. It’s no big loss, of course. I’m sure whatever you have in mind will be a lot more worthwhile.

4. Well, I should stress that it was mostly the formatting of it that threw me off. I did have a feeling that it pertained to the walking Pokémon element - after all, the entire chapter keeps that concept in view with Nelly and then Snout (which, structurally, I thought was a great example of details subtly illustrating themes, by the way) - and I imagine that would have come across more clearly to me if I’d been certain that it was Kris’s thinking.

5. Yeah he pretty much leaps off the page for me. I don’t know what to say for the other readers - maybe he just needs to grow on them a bit?

6. Ahh, I didn’t catch that, which is perhaps a little surprising since I have visited that page fairly recently. The Cubone detail makes sense now. Out of curiosity - I don’t know exactly how much of a difference it makes to you in comparison to Crystal being the “definitive” Johto saga, but the fact that Giselle appeared in Yellow has me wondering if that is the canonical Kanto saga for this story. I don’t know if it’s relevant to anything you have in mind, but I could at least imagine the possibility of Red having also walked along with his Pikachu providing a small throughline for the Pokéwalker project.

7. Gotcha, that makes sense.

—Alola Forms—

I mean, me, I’ve gone through the “five stages” as far as not having new Alola Forms goes. I’m not saying I actively don’t want any, but if there are no new ones, it’s not going to bother me.

I do agree that it would feel like a stunt if they revealed them this late. I’d understand not revealing any of them so that they could be an actual surprise for when we pick up the game, but realistically I don’t think there’s any way they could resist showing at least one or two, if there were more to be shown at all.

On your second point, I see what you’re saying, but I’m assuming that if they did introduce any new ones in USUM, they wouldn’t actually claim that they’re available this time due to it being a “different universe” or what-have-you. They’d just say “New regional variants discovered!” and leave it at that. Sure, *we* would fill in the blanks that it’s because USUM are an AU, but I think the games would just pretend like they were always there and we just never came across them. Kind of like the new areas in B2W2. Obviously they existed during BW, we just never saw them at that time (for of all the obvious reasons). AU or otherwise, I feel like new regional variants would get the same treatment - “Just pretend they were there.”
Silktree
Silktree
I could accept new variants if Alola actually had new areas, but whatever. Obviously I wouldn't complain if I got a neat design or two.

(Eirher way, I want SM to be the "canon" games, especially if Lusamine never does anything wrong in USUM and Giovanni surpasses Cyrus in terms of grandiosity.)

2. I like using italics to represent a shift in the character's tone and/or a cliffhanger.

5. My brother says that Ernest is too opinionated, and someone on BMGf said that it isn't clear why he cares about creatures that he never knew. Granted, both statements were made before Chapter 3. The general idea, which I'll flesh out further, is that Mayson wanted to be with her son as much as possible and her own childhood was basically imprinted onto him. Adjusting to the presence is even worse for him than for her since he doesn't have his own memories (and she's still working on Pokemon-related research).

6. I don't quite consider Yellow as the canon version, but then I'm implementing some HGSS elements into a Crystal story, so I am not sticking to any one version. As long as there is no contradiction and it's relevant to the story I want to tell, it's all good.

Red will have a Pikachu and all three starters, just like in all the Johto games. But is Pikachu his starter? No, but I will reference him when discussing the Pokewalker project soon. (Actually, thanks for the idea.)
Silktree
Silktree
Chapter 4 is up: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12690976/5/Reverberations-of-Time

It's quite longer than the previous ones. You'll see that there is a horizontal line about two thirds into the page; the part after that wasn't originally intended. I wonder if the addition was a good idea or if it would be better to keep it for the next chapter.
Silktree
Silktree
Chapter 5 is up.
Esserise
Esserise
Cool, I should have enough time to read them tonight or tomorrow.
Esserise
Esserise
To start, I need to apologize for being late again. Once the games were datamined, that took up a lot of my focus, which only compounds my usual routine. I should take this moment to give some advance notice - this upcoming week is only going to be busier, with USUM coming out and then Thanksgiving being next week. I so despise the long car rides that it all entails, but there’s nothing I can do about those.

But onto the story.

Not to take the attention off of Kris, but I want to mention that Lyra has caught my interest more than I would have expected. Maybe that’s precisely *because* I didn’t expect much from her, but regardless, I quite like the personality you have managed to color into her in such a small amount of text.

But I am intrigued to see where Kris is going, and to learn more about her perspective. I must admit that at least on the surface of it, I myself don’t feel any ethical concern about Cyberspace, so I am curious to see if her experience will shift my opinion of it. And how will her experiment turn out? It is an unusual prompt for a Pokémon story (welcomely so), and it touches on a notion that has been in my head ever since B2W2 established N’s goal to be the creation of a world in which Pokémon and humans live together without Poké Balls, so it has my attention. I like that you’ve established that nobody has ever raised more than one Pokémon without Poké Balls - thank you for clarifying what the games could never be bothered to.

(Here’s a small trivia question, since you have filled in that particular detail: Do you have an idea of how long ago, within the fiction of your story, Poké Balls were invented? I think I’ve actually asked you a similar question before in regards to the canonical game lore, but my query seems more apt in this setting, especially since, you know, Kurt.)

I’m just speculating aimlessly here, but I can’t help but wonder if that is somehow going to make the plague situation worse - my assumption would be that Pokémon living in close quarters in the physical world would create an environment that is more susceptible to the spread of disease. However - and I am probably overthinking it here, but this *is* just speculation - the PC in the games has been shown to keep at least one virus active for far longer than it would normally be...

Come to think of it, I wonder if Kris is still alive by Ernest’s time. Something you’ll come to address, I’m sure. If I may ask, do you have an idea of how long the story is going to be once completed? I know that’s the sort of estimation that can be very elusive, but it seems like there are a lot of ideas and complexities to get through so I would be a little surprised if your projection were on the shorter side.

Speaking of surprises, Red’s proper name being Ash was a shocker. So his Pikachu was a bit of an outlier, huh? I like how you wove that in with the Pokéwalker. I very much appreciate such details in lore.

And on the subject of nicknames, Ethan has one too... I wonder if “Gold” is perhaps a response to Silver somehow? Roger mentioned that Ethan would bring Toto back someday, so my thinking at the moment is that Ethan wanted to remind himself of that goal in some way. I am *very* eager to see your interpretation of Silver, since you’ve always seemed like such a fan of his character. He has a lot of potential, and even among rivals he is pretty unique.

Okay, I’m getting a bit forward-thinking with all of the plot stuff. I do also want to mention that the Starter “choice” scene for Kris was an appreciably warm moment, and played out very clearly in my head. It reminded me of SM’s Starter choice scene, which I already loved, so it’s nice to see that sequence livened up for the older Starters. Also, I liked Gold in his short introduction. Very level-headed and casual, which is a good differentiation from Kris and Ernest, but I could believe him when he talked about how stressful the imminent League challenge was.

Onto Ernest’s chapter...

The first half was a very vivid read for me. I’m not quite sure what the key ingredient was, but the relationship between Ethan and his grandfather was very pleasant, and the bullying scene felt sharp - but what further reiterates to me that Ernest is a very unique character is his reaction to it. Not only in the personal internal honesty in the immediate moment after the experience, but also in his introspection on the following day. Usually, I see bullying scenes as being either to generate angst for the protagonist or to prompt a discussion about what makes the aggressor behave that way. But you’ve kind of turned that on its head, and made Ernest take a look at himself, even though he wasn’t at fault. I really, really enjoyed that approach and it made him stand out all the more to me.

(Did you anticipate that I’d go nuts over that Timegate Traveler reference? Good lord I’m easy to please, lol. But it’s a savvy reference anyway, in terms of both worldbuilding (pirated copies off of skeevy websites to get around the government ban - subtle but intricate, it’s good work) and thematics. Which, of course, Ernest himself notes within the narrative.)

I don’t think I can form an opinion of Alan quite yet, but Giselle proves ever more fascinating. Although, despite the air of mystery surrounding her motives, her character and engaging manner of speech feels genuine. She feels naturally quirky rather than artificially enigmatic, and I like that.

I also can’t help but draw comparisons between all of these coexisting projects. The Pokéwalker and PBS - both examining Pokémon in the context of some kind of cyberscape. Meanwhile, the PBS is all about battling (loved the dig at the turn-based games :p), but Kris is going to try to raise Pokémon without Poké Balls at all, and we know that she doesn’t like battling, so I see a contrast there. And then there’s whatever Ernest’s mom and grandfather are working on... I don’t know what that could be yet, but I do wonder if it could pertain to the rest of these.

I want to apologize again for my untimely response, and reiterate that I am very engaged in this story. It’s just hard for me to find enough time to dedicate to it, sometimes, and I always want to put more focus and thought into more thematically dense endeavors such as this, but that in turn requires more time.
Silktree
Silktree
You don't have to apologize for taking your time. I mean, it was a bit annoying to see you post a lot on USUM instead, but I get it. You give me a lot more input than the other readers do, so you obviously give the story more thought while reading it.

1. The modern Poke Balls were invented in 1925 as per the anime, so that's my take on cyberspace as well. The Apricorn balls are a different story. Let's just say that they were invented around 100 years earlier.

2. I think that the story will be around 80 chapters long, although it's obviously hard to say since the chapters are getting longer and I only have a road map. It won't be finished before 2019.

3. Ernest and Vincent's dynamics are based on my relationship with my (deceased) grandfather, so it -should- feel authentic. And I was also bullied at times, for that matter.

4. Yeah, I knew that you'd appreciate Timegate Traveler. I won't reference too many post-Johto elements, but fun things like that can fit nicely.
Top