Hello, my dear PUCLonians! A warm welcome back to The Fluff, and thank you for waiting during my little summer hiatus. Now that Autumn is almost upon us, the release of Ultra Sun and Moon looms ever closer, but still our knowledge of these games is extremely scarce, to say the least.
Many wise people on the Internet have pointed out that this is very normal for the third version/sequels in a Generation, but the contrast with the deluge of spoilers we got for Sun and Moon is staggering. While I would love to think that this means the Pokémon Company has learned to leave more than one or two surprises for us to discover while actually playing the games, the truth is probably that there’s just not much to say. So, while I kept refreshing Serebii waiting for Joe to get his hands on CoroCoro scans, I thought, why not go back to the very beginning, when all we had was a few seconds of gameplay and, well, the titles?
Besides being ridiculously over the top, the “Ultra” in USUM’s titles must have something to do with Ultra Beasts and Ultra Space, right? Otherwise, we’d have gotten “Super Sun and Moon”, or something like that. So does this mean the fearsome Ultra Beasts will manage to be more than a glorified fetch&catch post-game quest this time? Will we spend more time in Ultra Space, given that, you know, we capture a Pokémon that can freely travel through it?
Speculation on a frame in the recent trailer poses that we could be seeing “Kartana’s Ultra Space”, which I find a bit of a leap based on just that image, but an interesting concept for sure. It could very well be said that the Ultra Space we see in Sun and Moon is “Nihilego’s”, as it fits it quite nicely, and that’s the only kind of Ultra Beast we see while we’re there. If this turned out to be true, and we got to see a different part of Ultra Space for each Ultra Beast, I’d honestly be delighted by the amount of new content (although the very thought of Guzzlord’s Ultra Space fills me with fright. Guzzlord eats everything, so will there be anything at all left there? And can there be more than one, or will they eat each other? It’s honestly disturbing).
Of course, this would present a bit of a dilemma; in Sun and Moon, the Ultra Beasts got essentially ripped out of Ultra Space by Lusamine’s actions, and they go after Fallers (people who have gone through Ultra Wormholes, so essentially us) because they want to go back home. It’s sad enough that we can only give them a new home on our belt; if we truly visit their Ultra Space in USUM, does that mean we go there to capture them? Isn’t that a bit… Lusamine-like? I realize we do this to Pokémon on a regular basis, but we usually never rip them from their entire home dimension.
Even if we do not see more Ultra Space in USUM than we did in Sun and Moon, I really agree with Thatch and everyone else who’s saying we need more Ultra Beasts in the plot. Tapu Koko battling UB-02 went kind of nowhere, and I do think Pokémon needs to get away from the “get 7 badges while everything is fine, then all hell breaks loose, you fight, get the cover legend, then everything is fine again, go ahead and finish the game” structure. I mean, they pretty much managed to do it in a game with no badges, too! It’s gotten to the point where it’s frankly annoying. The games are not a hundred hours long, we can handle plot sprinkled throughout even with the goldfish attention span Game Freak attributes to us (for which we need a two-hour tutorial, but can’t handle a Battle Frontier).
… sorry, that got a little out of hand. And to be fair to Sun and Moon, at least Lillie’s plot, which is tied to the main one, did develop throughout the game, so there’s that. And these games certainly have a very good story, although they’re not quite up to Black and White. (I really love Lillie, but N is unreachable in my heart.)
Anyway, back to our speculation! The one thing we know for sure about USUM is that it focuses heavily on Necrozma. Now, is Necrozma an Ultra Beast? What we know from Sun and Moon would indicate that it’s not: it doesn’t have an aura when we encounter it, it can’t be caught easily in a Beast Ball, is does not have the Ability Beast Boost, and it is not classified as an Ultra Beast anywhere, in-game or out. But the Pokédex does state that it it thought to have come from another world in ancient times, and the way we find it is the same as the Ultra Beasts. A common theory is that Necrozma was an Ultra Beast, but in the time since it got to our world the residual energy from the Ultra Whormole/Ultra Space has faded, leaving behind a Pokémon that’s way more similar to those from little old Earth. (Is the Pokémon world planet even named Earth? It is in the dub of one movie, but those also reference the Minnesota Vikings, and as such no dub is canon to me. Not to mention the anime is not canon to me with regards to the game world, but that’s another story altogether.)
But… what does this all mean for USUM, when the main feature is what looks like a fusion between Necrozma and the cover legends? It’s interesting to note that at this time we’re not even sure what, exactly, we’re seeing on the cover art for Ultra Sun and Moon.
The disturbing, luminous figure lurking half on each box is made explicit in this Japanese promo picture, and a Reddit user (I can’t find the comment again, sadly) pointed out that while the head’s shape is reminiscent of Deoxys, its eyes actually match Necrozma’s perfectly. So is Necrozma a being of light trapped in its black crystal body/armor? Is that why it’s so angry and aggressive? Are the cover legends Solgaleo and Lunala in something like their Radiant Sun and Full Moon phases and wearing Necrozma as armor? Or, as many speculate, are they light projections created by Necrozma?
I tend to think we’re looking at the actual Solgaleo and Lunala, wearing Necrozma… or possibly just its body. The presence of the light creature on the cover has to mean we get to see it clearly at some point during the game, otherwise I’ll feel incredibly cheated. So perhaps the cover art shows a new form for Solgaleo and Lunala… and a new form for Necrozma? I’d find this extremely interesting.
Another very interesting thing is this screenshot from the trailer.
Facing Necrozma at the Altar of the Sunne might mean several different things, mainly that the location is used for a different purpose in USUM’s story. Considering we haven’t seen even a glimpse of Lillie in USUM promotional material, it could be assumed that her role is at least different, and we no longer have a Cosmog/Cosmoem trailing us the whole time, so Solgaleo and Lunala might very well enter the story in a completely different manner. Will Necrozma somehow summon them from an Ultra Wormhole? Will they show up to stop it from attacking us? How different can the plot be, really? (I hope it’s very, very different, of course.)
And while we’re talking about the Altars… a relatively small feature of Sun and Moon was the ability to visit “the other world” by going there again. It was the way to get the other Cosmog, and to switch between the day/night cycle of the two games… and absolutely nothing else.
But the way in which Sun and Moon were parallel universes (like X and Y, or Ruby and Sapphire) actually went deeper, and it had to do with the Ultra Beasts. UB-02 and UB-04 were different Ultra Beasts in the two games, but the number indicating them was the same: there is no trace of Pheromosa and Celesteela anywhere in Pokémon Sun, and likewise no mention of Buzzwole and Kartana in Pokémon Moon. These two pairs of Ultra Beasts share at least one type, and seemingly a concept, but are polar opposites in other ways: Buzzwole and Pheromosa are both Bug/Fighting, semi-humanoid bugs with incredible attacking power, but one is very masculine and with good physical bulk, and one is incredibly frail and feminine. Celesteela and Kartana, meanwhile, are both Steel-types inspired by Japanese traditions, and Celesteela even masquerades as a Grass type like Kartana somewhat, with its bamboo-like look and access to moves like Leech Seed; but Celesteela is ginormous and super-defensive, while Kartana is hilariously tiny and aptly paper-thin on the Special Defense side. So are they not just separate Ultra Beasts, but perhaps alternate versions of each other? If you really do visit the world of the other game passing through the breach left behind by the Ultra Wormhole, why don’t things change to match the presence of the correct UBs? (Besides the fact that Game Freak wanted some of them to be version exclusives, of course.) Is the place you go not the parallel game, but another thing altogether? Will this ability return in USUM, and will it carry more consequences?
We don’t really have any answers at this time, but you know what? I’m very much fine with that. My curiosity is piqued, and researching things for this article has actually revived my hype for USUM, so yay for that! I hope it did something similar for you, if your own hype was in need of (ha) fluffing up.
Before I leave you, let me ask you two things: would you be interested in an article discussing my favorite Ultra Beasts, and some neat details I’ve discovered about them? And is the Fluff better without Pokémon-Whimsicott’s comments? After two years, I’m looking to freshen things up a little (and she wrote for another year before that, so to speak, so she probably deserves a long vacation), so if you have any suggestions or criticism to give on this regard, they’d be incredibly appreciated. (As always, requests for article topics are golden, too.)
Thank you so much for reading this far, and I’ll see you next time!
The Fluffiest Whimsicott