The Summer of Pokemon: Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon Go, and Pokemon Sun and Moon (But Mostly Alola Raichu)!

The summer is officially at an end for me. I began yet another semester of grad school. Although I am now going to be loaded with assignments and am looking for a second job or full time job, my goal is to still update this blog at least once a week and try to stay as active as possible in the anime and fan community. My subsequent posts will probably be shorter, but that is probably a good thing, since I tend to go on and on and on (I am doing it right now! @.@). This post is incredibly long, but please bare with me and try to get through all of it!

It has been an interesting summer. When I left my teaching job and decided to take some time off, I said to myself that I was going to catch up on anime. I was going to binge tons of shows until my brain withered away into a dried prune. But that didn’t exactly happen. Yes, I have kept up to date with the new season; I am currently watching New Game, ReLife, Amanchu, Rewrite, The Art Club Has A Problem, Ange Vierge, Sweetness & Lightning, Qualidea Code, and Love Live Sunshine. This is a lot of anime, a lot more than I normally watch. But the summer still wasn’t the binge fest I thought it would be- countless hours of eye-burning in the dark as I glared at a bright screen, the air full of nothing but the high-pitched voices of female Japanese characters.

But instead, I played Pokemon. Tons of Pokemon. This has been normal for me in the past (I have been a Pokemon fan since 1999), but I haven’t really played as much for the past two years. However, I played and was more involved in Pokemon than ever this summer thanks to three things: Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon Sun and Moon, and, of course, the infamous Pokemon Go.

Alpha Sapphire: Recreating and Improving A Past Generation

When Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby were released in 2014, I had just started grad school. I received the game as an Xmas gift, and at first I started playing it. However, adjusting to grad school and working was difficult, so I didn’t have a lot of spare time. When I did attempt to play, I had trouble getting into the game. Despite the fact that everyone seems to absolutely love Hoenn, the original third generation games and Pokemon are my least favorite. There are many Pokemon that I do like, such as Skitty, Swablu, Spheal and so on, but the majority are just… I dunno. Lackluster. The colors are very bland in my opinion. As for the game itself, don’t get me wrong. I loved Ruby and Sapphire, but there is just something missing for me. Anyway, because of these factors, I barely played Alpha Sapphire since 2014.

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Some cute, vibrant versions of Hoenn Pokemon.

In June, after the school year ended, I decided to restart Alpha Sapphire from the beginning and give it a proper play through. With renewed focus, I realized how great these games really are. I have to say I am impressed. Firstly,  the graphics are a big improvement from X & Y in my opinion. They are crisper and clearer. Plus, the animators did more with the graphics. You can see characters’ facial expressions more as they react, such as Professor Birch as he gets chased around by Pokemon. You can also see the characters’ small movements more clearly. One example is when Wally wrings his hands together nervously.  Besides minute details, they put a lot of effort into some of the scenes. The opening scene on the moving truck alone was enough to show how much the graphics have improved. There are many great scenes, but my favorite part, however, was the part when you take the boat over to Dewford and you can see the ocean water and Wingull flying by :3

Wally

You can see Wally’s timid expression and his nervous hand gestures very clearly.

 

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The scene on the boat to Dewford. Notice how clear the Wingull and the water looks.

Other than the graphics, I was really impressed with the after game story and events. Before restarting, I honestly had no idea the Delta Episode was incorporated into the game. I was pleasantly surprised with it, though. I liked the way they created new information about Mega Evolution and were able to interweave it with the existing story and lore from the original games. It is all connected in a very clever way. Some of the new story segments in the Battle Resort were cool too, but I am not really into battling  because I am much more interested in filling my Pokedex. I have managed to do it with every generation so far and I plan on doing so with this game. I never filled up my X & Y dex, so I am going to do so in Alpha Sapphire, especially since the new Mega Evolutions cannot be transferred to X & Y. Before I go on, I need to explain that I catch all of the Pokemon from scratch. Yes, even though I have every other Pokemon in my other games, I take the time and effort to capture every single Pokemon that is available in the game. Am I crazy? Slightly. But if something isn’t obtainable in the game, I will obviously trade it from another.

Going along with my quest to “catch ’em all” comes the Eon Flute option. If you aren’t aware, this option lets you ride on Latias/Latios’ back around Hoenn! It is so cute and cool, and is another area where you can notice the use of better graphics. Other than flying around on Latias (which is admittedly really fun), this option allows you to find and catch Pokemon you normally couldn’t get in the Hoenn region. It is a huge help for me and will make filling my dex less time consuming. There are also a myriad of legendary Pokemon. I have all of these legendaries but catching them will make for some trading bargaining chips ;D  If you are interested in using this method to get some rare Pokemon, check out Serebii’s list of Pokemon available.

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A screenshot of May flying on Mega Latias using the Eon Flute.

As of right now, I currently have 187 Pokemon in my National Dex. It is going to take me forever to fill up the rest of it and I will probably complete it way after Sun and Moon come out, so I am definitely going to be starting them late… But hey, it will be worth it in the end.

Pokemon Go: Medicine For Jaded Inviduals

If it isn’t obvious from my Adventure Log, I have also been playing Pokemon Go. I honestly had no idea this game was coming out and at first I was really confused. I was even more baffled when I downloaded the app and it didn’t work at all on my phone for two days. However, eventually I got it to work and I became just as absorbed as everyone else, running around in strange places trying to find Pokemon. In doing so, I discovered all kinds of new places, mostly nature trails and parks. As I explained in my adventure log, Pokemon Go has actually really helped me with depression and anxiety. Before it came out, I was stuck in my house all day, having panic attacks about my future career options.

Pokemon Go got me out of my house and out of my head. In a strange way, Pokemon Go has also made me more appreciative of where I live. For a while, I have been wanting to move away from my house in New Jersey. It is crowded, the economy is bad, and everything is expensive. I have been living with my parents for 24 years and I have been trying to get enough money to move out for two years, but to no avail. I have been just so sick of everything and so impatient to get away. But Pokemon Go forced me to revisit many places in my town and in the surrounding areas. Places I haven’t been to for years, places that hold bad memories, places I never even imagined could be near me. I actually became excited to explore my hometown. It made it fun again and gave me a new perspective on things. Do I still want to move out and eventually live somewhere else? Yes. But Pokemon Go has given me a tool and a way to make things more interesting and meaningful while I am still stuck here.

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A picture of the park that I visited in my first Adventure Log.

It’s upsetting that I won’t be able to play as much now that grad school has started. I am also going to be looking for a second job or full time job, which will also get in the way of playing. However, I will still try to play when I can, or on the weekends. And even if I am not playing, I plan to write more adventure logs on the places I have found that made good places to catch Pokemon.

It is disappointing to say that I haven’t caught any extremely rare Pokemon. I am just desperately trying to catch enough Pikachu so I can get a Raichu! But as of right now, I have 73 Pokemon, so I am about half way there (at least until they release more generations @.@).

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It is pathetic compared to some people’s dexes, but I am proud of the 73 Pokemon I have caught.

It has truly been fun being part of the phenomenon. The initial explosion and confusion the game caused throughout the world, the rise and demise of the three-step glitch and Pokevision (I still disagree with this), and all of the adventures I had.

I didn’t really get to play in this area since my phone died, but here are some pictures I took on the Wildwood Boardwalk that shows the colossal impact Pokemon Go has had on American culture.

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Vending machines on the Wildwood Boardwalk. These were just two of many.

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Some examples of countless Pokemon Go shirts for sale on the Wildwood Boardwalk. I would have gotten one, but they aren’t the best quality.

Pokemon Sun and Moon: Awesome Old and New!

Another thing that got me more involved in Pokemon has been the release of the new Pokemon in Sun and Moon. The majority of them have been really well designed in my opinion, but here are my favorites. (For a complete list of the new Pokemon that gets frequently updated, click here).

Rowlet / Mokuroo

rowlet

Rowlet is definitely going to my starter. It is adorable and its design in based off a Barn Owl, which is one of my favorite real world animals. (They are beautiful, you should look up pictures!)

Komala / Nekkoara

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Komala is koala and it battles while asleep! Can you get any cuter than that?

Pekipik / Tsutsukera

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It is a tiny little woodpecker. It is perfect.

Cutiefly / Aburi 

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As strange as this may sound to some people, I actually really like bugs and therefore I love bug Pokemon. This is little cutie (pun intended) is no exception.

Todogemaru

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Electric rodents types are the best. Enough said.

Salamandit / Yatoumori

salandit

This little guy has the coolest ability in years. He is able to poison other Poison-type Pokemon! Other than that, he looks like a little thief! He is one of the cutest and cleverest Pokemon in a long time.

THE MOST IMPORTANT POKEMON (IF YOU READ THIS FAR!)

Other than the entirely new Pokemon, Nintendo has also released Alola Forms, where they re-envisioned some of the older Pokemon from the first generation. The Ice-type forms of Sandshrew and Vulpix are priceless. The Fire/Ghost Marowak is incredibly bad ass.

But the best by far, and the most significant, is Alola Raichu.

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If it isn’t obvious from my  name and my About Me, Raichu is my absolute favorite Pokemon of all time. It has been ever since I was a child. As an avid Raichu fan, it has been very frustrating seeing Raichu get pushed to the side for all of these years. Pikachu is constantly in the spotlight. It gets all of the attention and what does Raichu get? Nothing. A couple appearances in the anime and in the games and that’s it. I actually plan on writing a post about why Raichu is seemingly so unpopular at some point. It may be more popular than some other forgotten Pokemon, but for a cute and surprisingly strong Pokemon, Raichu doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

Since the introduction of Mega Evolutions, I have been praying for the creators to make a Mega Raichu, so it could get some kind of attention. Here are two Mega Raichu ideas that I really would have liked-

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Mega Raichu by Glitchedmew

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Mega Raichu by Phatmon

My wish wasn’t answered in X & Y or ORAS, but it has finally come true in Sun and Moon. Raichu got a new form and it is ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE. It rides on its tail- how cute and creative is that? And it is also part Psychic, which is sounds like an awesome and interesting type to use. You know what Pokemon is going to be on my team! 🙂

I honestly can’t express how happy I am, so instead here is some fanart of Alola Raichu for you to devour.

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Who is your favorite Pokemon so far? If you want to talk about Pokemon, comment below or contact me on one of my social media accounts. I am also active on the PokeCommunity, which is a great and friendly forum to talk and connect with other Pokemon fans. My username is- shockingly- Rai (my profile is broken though for some reason O.o). I hoped you liked this blog post!


Bibliography

cubewatermelon. Cube Watermelon, August 2016, http://cubewatermelon.tumblr.com/post/148760910562/finally-raichu-gets-some-damn-respect-thanks

Glitchedmew. Mega Raichu v2. Digital image. DevianArt. DevianArt,  26 Dec. 2015. Web. 1 Sept. 2016.

Kaiami. Pokemon Hoenn Sheet. Digital image. DevianArt. DevianArt, 23 Nov. 2011. Web. 1 Sept. 2016.

Phatmon. Mega Raichu. Digital image. DevianArt. DevianArt,  8 April. 2014. Web. 1 Sept. 2016.

Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. Nintendo. 2014. Video Game.

ばん. Alola Raichu. Digital image. pixiv. pixiv, 2016. Web. 1 Sept. 2016.

カフェ. Raichu and Alola Raichu. Digital image. pixiv. pixiv, 2016. Web. 1 Sept. 2016.

 

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