Nemona may seem fairly one dimensional at first glance, and, admittedly, she is very obsessed with battling. But take a closer look at her character, and you see that there’s a lot more depth to it. First and foremost, she’s a very interesting twist on the “friendly rival” concept that’s been around basically since Bianca in Black/White. While Bianca served as an excellent contrast to Cheren, and rivals like Hau and Hop showcase their struggles and their own personal Pokémon journeys alongside the player, with you learning and growing together with them, Nemona fulfills a completely different role to these past rivals. The game goes out of its way to tell you right off the bat that she’s already a Champion, but that she sees the potential in you immediately, and it's ignited her battle passion. She chooses her starter as the one weak to yours not because she’s unaware of type matchups, but because she doesn’t want to scare you off from battling too early on. She acts as your mentor and cheerleader as she journeys through the Paldea Region, raising up her new starter alongside you. And, when you finally defeat the Gym Leaders, and take out the Elite Four, she couldn’t be prouder, or more ecstatic. That final battle against her is the perfect climax for her story arc.
But then comes the 4th arc, and everything thereafter, and this is where a lot of the depth to Nemona’s character comes into play. Much like some of us get obsessed over one thing or another, Nemona is hyper focused on battling. That drive, combined with relatively absent parents, led Nemona down her own path, and she became a battling prodigy. Her skills drove a wedge between her and other people, as they all spitefully claimed that Nemona’s prowess was due to her upper class status. Nemona felt forced to put limits on herself, until she met you. In you, Nemona finally finds someone whom she can battle at her full strength, and actually experience a challenge.
It’s also worth noting that, to my knowledge, this is the very first time that the game will actually accept a loss to the rival character and continue the story. I believe in all previous games, if you lose to your rival, you must redo that battle until you win. If you lose to Nemona, that’s it, the game just moves on.
Arven’s character is extremely well developed. The neglect from his parents perfectly explains why Arven’s cooking skills, though somewhat sloppy, are impeccable. He developed a passion for cooking out of sheer necessity. His abrasive nature and cautious attitude are because he was betrayed by the two people who should have had unconditional love for him, namely his parents. But, when he gets to know a person, his absolute loyalty and dedication to his friends is specifically because he does not want to be like his parents. He needs the human connection that his friends provide, and he wants to be a better friend than his parents were parents. Finally, his anger towards the sandwich legendary is because he holds that Pokémon responsible for driving his parent back to the Area Zero labs and leaving him with nobody except Mabosstiff for company. Arven’s dedication and desperation to protect those whom he cares about shows that he is truly a better person than his parents, no matter what scientific contributions they may have made.
Hassel takes his roles both as an educator and an Elite Four member seriously, and refuses to hold back when you face off against him as the final hurdle in the Elite Four challenge. When you defeat him, he doesn’t get angry, or jealous, he cries tears of joy. He is truly happy at your success, and, once again, that is the mark of a good educator. As someone who has had resentful and spiteful teachers, one of whom nearly pushed me completely out of the STEM path, I appreciate the qualities of good educators, wherever they may be found. Though, it is admittedly a sad state of affairs when fictional teachers are better than IRL teachers.
Hassel’s left-handedness and his wonderful teaching assistant, Professor Gible, are both positive points in his favor, as well.
As I previously mentioned, there are many characters aside from the above that I like. But these are the ones whose personalities, designs, or character arcs stood out for me the most. One thing Scarlet and Violet did very well was creating very compelling characters, and good characters serve as an excellent foundation to a great story. But that’s another article for another time.