So, it's been quite the 24 hours for nostalgia. The new Alola arc (based on the Sun and Moon Pokémon games) ongoing in Japan released the second of two parts featuring Ash and his friends from Alola (Lillie, plus Trial Captains Lana, Mallow, Kiawe, and Sophocles--all of them are characters pulled right from the game, with Lillie being the unfortunate daughter of the evil Team Leader of the region--who actually will be showing up for the first time in the next episode, but I digress...) visiting Kanto and reuniting with Brock and Misty. Last week's ep was cute, with Brock and Misty meeting the new characters (there's a cute scene where Misty hits it off with Lana, who is also a water-type trainer, and Brock and Kiawe seem to hit it off, as well, though trying to stop their Marowaks from fighting, heh). There was also an adorable scene where Ash, Brock, and Misty get a little time for themselves and reminisce about the old days. Even Jigglypuff (who hadn't been seen since Hoenn) shows up again.
But as cute as part one was, part two (which I actually watched unsubtitled because I didn't want to wait) was just amazing
. Brock and Misty hold some exhibition matches to show off for the Alola crew. There are some sparring matches first (Brock vs Sophocles and Lillie and then Misty vs Lana and Mallow), and then two big matches: Brock vs Kiawe and Misty vs Ash. And the biggest thing revealed is that Brock and Misty now have Mega Stones/Keystones for their Steelix and Gyarados respectively to Mega-Evolve. Mega-Evolution is a game mechanic introduced in Gen 6 (the previous gen) where certain fully-evolved Pokémon can gain a temporary Mega Forme if the bond with the trainer is sufficient. Ash didn't get a Mega during the gen 6 arc, but he had a special Battle Bond Forme for his Greninja which was slightly different in that no Stone was required. But Brock and Misty have Mega Stones and the reveal was amazing--Brock carries his keystone in a necklace under his shirt, and Misty carries her in her hair tie. And it brings about so many questions--how did the get the Stones, how did they train to use them, and gah!
More than that, it's how we've seen Brock and Misty grow from when we (and Ash) last saw them. With Ash being the only member of the original trio to be a consistent player in each saga, it's possible to watch him grow and develop as a trainer. And that’s great; he’s come so far, and it’s been great to follow his journey and growth for the last 20 years.
And now, after so many years, we see just how far his first companions, Brock and Misty, have come since their debut 20 years ago, too. Everything about these exhibition matches was amazing, but best of all were the keystone reveals–to see Brock and his first Pokémon having reached amazing heights, and to see Misty having not only conquered her fear of Gyarados, but now command one at its strongest.
These are characters that I grew up with in my highly influential years–the first characters that sparked my imagination and inspired me to follow my dreams and write. And to see them again after all this time, and see how far they’ve come and how much they’ve been able to achieve, is simply indescribable
And I also got to visit my other favorite anime yesterday; I finally saw last year's 20th anniversary Yu-Gi-Oh movie, Darkside of Dimensions
. This one, I saw in English--I have a fondness and loyalty towards the 4kids voice actors who did the first 8 seasons of Pokémon and all 5 seasons of Yu-Gi-Oh. Pokémon is out of their reach now, sadly, since it doesn't look like the current anime owners have any intention of bringing them back (which is why I watched the Brock & Misty reunion eps in Japanese), but when the YGO movie was announced, I was willing to hope that there might be a chance, despite the fact that 4kids as a company no longer existed--and I'd even decided that Eric Stuart returning to voice Kaiba would be the deal-clincher for me, and lo, both he and Dan Green were announced to return as Kaiba and Yugi. But then
they later announced that everyone
from the 4kids dub was coming back to reprise their roles, except for Maddie Blaustein, sadly, who had passed back in 2008; it was a bit of a sad moment to hear everyone else but not her, but everyone else was in perfect form, and it was great to hear them again!( Spoilers and stuff under the cut )
So, overall, even though the story and characterizations were "ehh," the message was good and it was great to hear everyone (sans Maddie, sigh...) again--it really was like visiting old friends! And I got an MFU plotbunny out of it--the movie seems to suggest that the Millennium Ring is inherently evil even before (and after) Zorc corrupted it; it's basically sentient like the One Ring (when it takes over the disciple and merges him with a monster, it basically says that the disciple is no longer in control--again, post-Zorc) and feeds into people's inner fears and hate/anger, and that Mahad was the only one pure of heart enough to resist it. Granted, the items were created from a horrific ritual and probably all have different degrees of evil associated with them (the Eye seems to be the other one that messes people up a lot, seeing what happened with Akhnaden and Pegasus), and Thief King would have had a lot of hatred and anger in his heart for the Ring to feed on.
But now I want to have Napoleon temporarily end up with the Ring and the Ring be astounded that it's not able to influence him until something starts happening to Illya since only then
Napoleon starts feeling angry and afraid--but, of course, in the end, he fully resists the Ring and discards it/gives it back to Shadi. I can probably tie this in with the Ammit Medallion arc, which will wrap up Lionheart and Kid's story, as well. That won't be for a while, though--I have a Halloween fic in the works for October, and then I want to do the first Lionheart and Kid novel itself for NaNo in November!