|Reviews for Pokémon Scarlet|
| Galaxeia chapter 32 . 4/7
Here we are again at the end of another excellent arc. A TON has been covered in this one, holy crap—a lot has happened, and a lot has changed. It is still effective to wrap it up with a short POV from everyone (except Orion, understandably), peek into each of their heads at this moment.
The interaction between Kaylee and Gina was rather touching. I think this might be the first scene where they really have one-on-one time, and it's neat to see both of them branching away from their normal friend groups. Gina's always been kind of a floater, despite her attachment to Jason and Amaris, but nevertheless it is nice to see her reach out to Kaylee (even though it's a conversation Kaylee doesn't want to have) as she once reached out to Zahlia, sort of.
Then there's this about Orion and Zahlia: "He shot forward to meet her halfway, and in the space between their hands met and clasped, both of them part human and part intangible art." This image yet again recalls the meowth/haunter drawing metaphor from before; it is as if artwork and dreams are the media through which Zahlia and Orion can communicate, or bond, and reach each other at last. They have gone from being unable to touch, to being partly real and partly intangible together, just like dreams, to… well, that's getting ahead of things. They have such a beautifully illustrated heartache of a connection.
I also liked Zahlia's haunter's screen time. He might be one of the most interesting pokémon in the group. Several of them have very distinct personalities already—Jason's ivysaur and Gina's charmeleon, namely—but haunter is one of the most expressive at times. The distressed look on his face before he rushes Blake is telling; he is like Zahlia in some ways, trying to communicate silently but being misunderstood.
I do have one small thing to bring up that I've saved until the end of this arc because I was keeping an eye out for mention of it earlier. At the end of Rose when Edith is introduced, she is first shown as being flanked by four pokémon: an ivysaur, drowzee, vulpix, and poliwhirl. We have seen a lot of the other pokémon at her rehab center, but nothing of these four (except maybe poliwhirl early on?) since they were introduced. Reading through this time, I rather expected to see at least a small mention of them from time to time, as they seemed to be protecting her before. What happened to them? And if she really does have an ivysaur, shouldn't it hang out all the time with Jason's? (Or hate it, maybe, but at least have some kind of relationship with it…?) I could also see Kaylee fawning over the vulpix, and the drowzee being helpful with Orion's dreaming problems…
There is also one tiny thing that irks me that comes up in this chapter and carries over to the next arc, but I hesitate to criticize it too much because it works so WELL in this story. So, on the one hand, people with 8 badges who challenged all the gyms on "easy mode" are turned away at the Elite Four. But they would have a HELL of a time in Victory Road if they've got only low-level pokémon. Then, on the other hand, guests and travel companions DO get through Victory Road (or are allowed to) so long as one person has the 8 badges. I surmised from this that the "easy mode" trainers can only realistically get through Victory Road when accompanied by a stronger trainer or two… but I have a hard time believing any stronger trainer would help an "easy mode" trainer get through Victory Road in the first place. Some clarification on HOW exactly this all works would be helpful at some point, as I had to think about it a little too hard to come to the conclusion I did (and that might even be wrong, I dunno). Perhaps making someone read out some funny angry posts on that "AN ELITE SCAM!" message board would suffice, or even just having Victoria question Gav about it and him explain based on what he read. I think that would fit both of their characters just fine.
Finally, the ending is SO hopeful compared to the bleak last few chapters. Master journey, yay!
| Galaxeia chapter 31 . 4/6
Real quick note from the previous chapter: the typed heading says Chapter 29, not 30 as it should.
As for this chapter, Orion always strikes me for how observant he is. He often gives very introspective, thoughtful analyses of the people around him, and, even though we now know that he is a supposedly volatile alpha (which was CRUSHING to have confirmation of the first time I read this), he always comes across as surprisingly rational and assessing—totally opposite what we've seen of Zeke and Nathan. Perhaps it is because he is a naturally triggered alpha.
It is also absolutely heart-wrenching how Orion internalizes and yet accepts all of what he's learned in the week away from the group, and what he has to do… even more so after what happens with Zahlia (I definitely partied a bit when they kissed). That scene further drives home the metaphor of haunter and meowth playing together even though they can't touch, too.
"Beth managed to speak up just enough to not draw attention to herself, but not so much that she would draw attention to herself." I'm not sure this makes sense… what it's saying is that she both speaks up enough, but not enough, to draw attention to herself, which is contradictory. Maybe what you meant was she spoke up enough to make her point heard, but not enough to draw attention to herself? Not sure.
| Galaxeia chapter 28 . 4/6
The whole unfortunate scenario with Whittaker-Cheng makes me think that the news story that prompted them to seek him out was actually targeted at them to get them to come out of the woodwork… and, of course, to get Orion. If not, then how else would Whittaker-Cheng have known to expect them? Hmm…
"You've crossed some of the wrong people already, but it's not too late." Zeke and Nathan, I'm guessing? Or by extension from Zeke, Vaughn?
"No one wants to hurt any of you. I mean, you're kids. That would be so screwed up." Well, actually… they almost killed Amaris already. Yep, definitely don't trust this guy.
| Galaxeia chapter 27 . 4/6
There are two quotes about Blake in this chapter that pique my interest:
1) "He might be crap at faking emotions he wasn't currently feeling, but hiding the ones he did feel was second-nature to him. It must have been a trait Zahlia and he got from their mother."
2) "…you're a passably good liar. You must have gotten that from your mother." (Zeke to Blake.)
In my review for Ch 13 I wondered about the "Nakawa family trait" that Blake seemed to have gotten (rhetoric weaving). These two new quotes make me think that that ability is indeed from Nancy, which is intriguing because Nancy now sounds like way more of a badass than she comes across as later—she is good at manipulation, hiding emotion, and lying. One would think that crime-syndicate-higher-up Vaughn would be the one with all these traits, not his (ex-)wife.
Also, the hint that Zeke drops in this chapter... WHAM. Well played.
| Galaxeia chapter 23 . 4/6
I just have a couple of random thoughts/things to point out/threads to continue following from this chapter, nothing really substantial. I may have missed some things; I read and took notes for this chapter through Chapter 30 while dealing with a significant real-life issue that may have resulted in less careful reading. :/ Sorry. Hopefully back to normal after that/now though.
Re: my previous discomfort with Armstrong's character, Gav refers to him as "so much a dad now that both of their father-figures were gone"… He's got to have more to him than we've seen. I just hope we do get to see it.
Re: wondering about Amaris's parents, Gav calls him an orphan, which confirms that they are indeed dead. Makes me wonder what happened, of course; Amaris has never talked about it.
Quote: "When the initial four of them had been in the 'growing pains' phase of their new group, Gav had made ita point to teach Beth and Victoria to be at least tech savvy enough to dodge most malignant had put Victoria through 'training,' asking her to surf the web as safely as she could, taking as many precautions as possible and tracking her steps with care." I totally know what you did here—you changed how you wanted to word the sentence but didn't finish editing it all the way. Thus, it reads like two halves of two separate sentences mashed together… because that's what it is :P
Quote: "Things had been chaotic ever since the group had returned from Pallet, to say the discovery of Fremont's broadcast had…" I think you might've meant "…to say the least. The discovery…"
I am also assuming that this chapter takes place somewhere around, probably just a bit before, your holiday special (it matters in my head, haha).
| Galaxeia chapter 22 . 4/3
There are a couple things I really love about this chapter. First, Orion's musings about falling asleep next to Zahlia are adorable. It's kind of sudden and matter-of-fact, but also really cute. I'm pretty sure I was shipping them by now the first time I read this, and it just made me warm and fuzzy inside to suddenly discover that they have this kind of trust and closeness, however unusual.
Second, this chapter contains one of my all-time favorite images from the entire series. You write, "…Orion had four different drawings of Meowth and Haunter. They couldn't touch each another, but they tried to play together anyway." I. LOVE. THIS. SO. MUCH. It is an incredibly poignant metaphor for Orion and Zahlia. For me it recalls their very first attempted battle; recalls that Zahlia was supposed to be reporting on Orion but stopped; recalls that, despite the tension in the group towards Zahlia and how Orion in particular has cause to be angry with her, he isn't; recalls Zahlia's quiet wallflower tendencies and how Orion reaches out to her regardless, and is in fact the only one to consistently do so aside from Blake; and drives home the fact that they are close but at the same time not… Ugh. It's just so good. It describes their relationship at this point so beautifully. (I also just realized there is an error in that too—"each other" or "one another", but not "each another". I'd almost argue for "one another"; it seems to fit the sentiment better.)
Since I've been keeping tabs on the Fremont divorce timeline, as I've come to call it, there are a few things in this chapter worth noting for reference: Jason "once got in a fight with this snotty kid in his grade at Marsh Elementary." This implies he was at least in kindergarten before the divorce, which fits the analysis I did way back when; he should have been 4-5, which is kindergarten age (and Orion in fact remembers him being in kindergarten in the blue ink incident). There is also a separate reference to Jason outperforming Orion at 4 years old, which is also consistent with my analysis.
There are a couple of other minor typo errors—I think at one point Edith accidentally becomes a "he", and there is also a "power chords" that should be "power cords," since power chords are a thing you play on the guitar and you're definitely not talking about guitar in this context.
One last thing that made me laugh:
"Smack it!" Jason directed.
"Doesn't really help technology as much as people think," Gav said in a monotone, barely paying attention.
My reaction: PFFFT I beg to differ, my kitchen lights require a good punch or two in order to work xD
| Galaxeia chapter 21 . 3/26
I'm not individually reviewing Chapter 20, but I do at least want to say that reading through it was like having tunnel vision. It had quite a WHAM factor.
Alana has been called a number of things with regard to her position in the lab throughout the series; in Chapter 21 she is referred to as a "researcher". That makes sense for her to be getting database notifications on her PDA, whereas it doesn't if she is an intern as she's been called in previous chapters.
Quote: "So… what are we going to do, then?" Beth asked, frowning. "Have some of us go back to Pallet and do half the research there?" I think you meant Edith's, not Pallet, since they're in Pallet now.
Sorry I've been slacking on my reviews! Had a whirlwind of real life stuff, good and bad, going on, and I'm still in the midst of some of it. More reviews might come slowly for a while.
| Galaxeia chapter 19 . 3/19
This chapter, following directly from the previous, also has a number of cute exchanges between Gina and Amaris, particularly the part where he admits he never goes anywhere without at least five burn heals now. From him, that's a hell of a compliment, and the fact that Gina is proud of it is pretty adorbs. And, the battle between them is a nice contrast to their very first one; it's in the same place and is starter-v-starter as before, Gina both issues the challenge and wins instead of Amaris, and their competition is no longer antagonistic but friendly. It shows a HUGE shift and progress in how far they've come as trainers and as friends. Furthermore, the banter at the end of the battle is far more supportive than insulting. I loved Amaris's little "that's what I get for going easy on you" (I don't believe him) and the accompanying mischievous smile—that's like, whoa, walls down! AND I loved that, when he fully smiled at last after watching that epic double evolution, Gina's "strange, pleasant queasiness increased". GAH. Feeeeeeels.
Okay seriously, enough about Amaris. :P Moving on.
Your description of the different powder moves bulbasaur can use is pretty cool! Never occurred to me that Poisonpowder, Sleep Powder, and Stun Spore could present so differently, but it makes sense that they would.
There are a couple of incomplete sentences in this chapter:
1) "There was in a corner of the lab obscured by bookshelves, and not wanting to look like a creeping trespasser, Gina cleared her throat." There was…. A person? A silhouette? A kumquat? Haha.
2) "The scales were warmer than before, almost hot; it felt like her starter had been all day." Out in the sun all day?
You've also got another "plant-type" here, and Alana's back to being an intern again (she was an intern in Rose 1, and then a research assistant in Rose 27). She seems to have quite a bit of clout in the lab for an intern, too.
My reviews have now caught up to where I am in my actual reread, so I better get on that!
| Galaxeia chapter 18 . 3/19
This is a sweet chapter full of feels and I totally get why it, plus 19 and 20, is the jumping-off point for accepting Amaris. He grows SO MUCH in these three chapters, or rather we get to see how much he has grown. He's not quite the same person here as he was in Rose, and the transition is/has been a truly beautiful thing. I wholeheartedly think it is thanks to Gina: she has given Amaris exactly what he needed and wanted, and in the process has earned his—dare I say it—affection. Plus, she herself has learned that he's not as ornery and caustic as she used to believe, and I think she's grateful, relieved, and maybe a little hopeful about it in addition to growing fond of him. Even though he's still very much Amaris, these are new waters and anything can happen.
There are a couple of paragraphs describing Jason deciding to "relieve the Nakawas of their post with Kaylee"; the whole section feels awkward and out of place. It just doesn't quite make sense that he'd want to do that all of a sudden, as it's not been established previously that he was worried about that sort of thing, nor close enough to the Nakawas OR Kaylee to have this much concern over it. I get that you needed Jason out of there so the following events with the community center ladies can happen, but the method is kind of clunky. It might make more sense to have him call Edith/receive a call from her and have a bad connection or something, leading him to leave in search of better service.
Early on in the chapter we see Jason's kadabra "pok[ing] him occasionally with its spoons". I rather like Jason's kadabra; it's got a sense of humor, doesn't it (memories of its sleeping positions during its catching scene)? However, kadabra only has one spoon.
| Galaxeia chapter 17 . 3/19
Well, I definitely wasn't expecting ominous glowing drugs in this the first time I read it. My interest was piqued for sure! I liked the details you added about the tear in the tourniquet hose, and the roll of tape being smaller than the space keeping it.
You accidentally call Victoria and Beth the "Lancaster sisters" in this… At least, I think it's Victoria and Beth you're referring to, since they're the only actual sisters in the group, but it's a teensy bit misleading in its context because Beth moves next to Kaylee and appears to be interacting with her rather than Victoria when this phrase shows up.
"Jason had always been uncomfortable with shades of grey. Something should either be true or not true. Simple as that." This is a great insight into what makes Jason tick. He's not one I connect with as much because I don't always do well in real life with super energetic people like him, so laying it out this way is really helpful to me in understanding him.
| Galaxeia chapter 15 . 3/19
Uhhh yeah, so I guess we do find out that Vaughn Nakawa is a high-ranking crime syndicate member earlier than I remembered (was thinking it was much later for some reason when reviewing Chapter 5). I guess there's still not really any confirmation that it's TR or TR-related though.
Anyway, a first full chapter from Blake and his backburner, yay! He's an interesting POV—so much more of an observer than anything else at this point. And yet, he's the best choice for this chapter because the others are all angry, scared, or being interrogated. Blake is the only one who isn't any of these things—mind, he does show bursts of annoyance when the others are particularly harsh on Zahlia, but they are short-lived for the most part—and thus you can give us the information we need to know without complicating the delivery.
I'm not sure why it's coming up now, but why is Blake the only one who has a nicknamed pokémon? Just curious.
Considering how docile Orion usually is by nature, seeing him in a furious fistfight with Zeke is a little shocking. It does line up with the odd things that've been happening to him lately, where he punches Gav in Silph and gets a bit feral during the fight in the woods, but the Orion we met in Rose certainly wouldn't have done something like this. At first I thought it was in defense of Zahlia, which is kind of sweet, but of course now I know it's not JUST that. Good to see the escalation of what's going on with him in action.
Also during this fight, Zeke shouts at Zahlia, "Showing no signs, huh?" about Orion; in Chapter 13 it sounded more like Zeke didn't know what the signs were, as he asked Zahlia about them. Maybe that was just a bluff, though?
"It was kind of amazing that the group lasted all the way through their next of walking without another incident." Errr… next bout of walking? Next period? Next few minutes?
And yep, there it is again… Quote: "We all have—" he seemed to censor himself there, and continued a little haltingly, "screwed up families, as it turns out. Except you, Gina." There have been brief reminders like this a few times… and I, with my skill of infinite over-analysis, came up with a tinfoil theory based on it. xD The evidence is all pretty circumstantial and farfetched, but the theory is fun to entertain nonetheless. Here we go: I've noticed that you seem to have been intentional in choosing Japanese-sounding names for the villains running the show. Nakawa, Azakawa—I did not find conclusive evidence that these are actually Japanese, but they do have a similar ring. Well, Gina's surname Ikeda is also Japanese. It's not her birth surname, nor her mother's, but rather her adoptive grandparents', whom we (and Gina, according to the first chapter of Rose) have never met (that's kind of odd, as there was no indication they are dead). My tinfoil is that Gina has actually been adopted into an old crime family; that the crime families in question are all of a similar ethnic background, perhaps because they were discriminated against (hence their alliance); and that these little mentions of how Gina's family is normal are in fact ironic hints otherwise and the truth will be revealed the more the group digs.
Hah, I know I'm probably way off base! After all, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and tinfoil is just tinfoil. I would be far more surprised if I was right, even partly, than wrong, but it's fun to have crazy conspiracy theories sometimes.
| Galaxeia chapter 13 . 3/18
Oh okayyy, one more review before I enter pass-out mode and become one with my bed.
One thing I really like about Zahlia's POVs, and this chapter in particular, is how we are still left with a sense of not knowing everything about her despite being in her head. She is still a mystery; she still has secrets revolving around her family that she keeps from both the group and the reader. It's frustrating in a way, but also helps inform us when reading other POVs who still distrust her, such as Kaylee (although Kaylee's pretty clearly motivated by more than just distrust). However I think Zahlia's mystique has always stemmed more from her being a very private person and an introvert than actively trying to hide things from her friends. She's protective of them and doesn't want them hurt or involved in her personal struggles, but that comes across as untrustworthiness instead of legitimate concern because of her quietness.
One of those struggles, of course, is Zeke. On my first couple read-throughs I didn't pay quite as much attention to how frightening he really is. You do a great job of portraying him as unstable and violent—QUITE a scary pairing, especially since at this point we don't know why he's like that. Poor guy; I really feel for him, even as much as I'd want to run the other direction if I ever met him.
"She was peripherally surprised at how good Blake was becoming at weaving his rhetoric, another Nakawa family trait that was shaping up to look genetic." Isn't Blake technically not a Nakawa? He and Zahlia share a mom, who doesn't seem to be a Nakawa by blood—that's Vaughn, who is NOT Blake's father. So, is this genetic thing actually from their mom? For that matter… why is Blake's surname Nakawa, if he's not blood with Vaughn? Did he take his mother's married name? Or am I missing a fun twist, like Nakawa is actually Nancy's maiden name and both her husbands took it? :P (Vaughn at least doesn't seem like the kind of guy to do that, but what do I know. Also, I can't remember if Nancy actually married Blake's dad or not, my bad.)
| Galaxeia chapter 12 . 3/18
I literally just realized during my reread of this chapter that Silph is RECREATING the master ball, since the original blueprints were deleted. Huh. I probably should have known this already, but I guess I missed it, forgot it, or didn't connect the very obvious dots between "blueprints deleted" and "recreating" before.
In a similar vein, Gav says "…it's possible they're going to use the rebuilt master balls for something else." Uhhhh did we just see the rebuilt master balls for the first time in Azure 7?! (Or 6, I guess, but I wouldn't have come to this conclusion without reading 7 first.) Oh man. This would not have occurred to me if I didn't just so happen to be rereading this chapter right now when Azure 7 is fresh, because this comment of Gav's is so throwaway otherwise, and three whole arcs earlier.
| Galaxeia chapter 10 . 3/18
Right, so, this is the HOLY BALLS chapter because it was freaking INTENSE. Gah. The near-death incident where Amaris's pidgeot gets returned in mid-flight was horrifying. Like, not only is Amaris ABOUT TO DIE, but also, in case there was ANY question about it, the people they're up against CLEARLY have no qualms about killing not just people, but minors. God, the group is so in over their heads. I'd be so much less rational in Gina's place here, I'd be babbling like a creek and probably crying and hugging people once back on the ground. I guess the fact that she (and Amaris) did not fall into that trap is testament to the gravity of the situation, and to what I assume is the group's conditioning toward knowing how to handle oneself in serious crisis. There's no time for getting emotional and going into shock when you're fighting and running for your life.
To be fair, I guess Gina doesn't really care much about killing someone either, seeing as her pidgeot knocked their pursuer off his venomoth and it hardly fazed her (adrenaline, perhaps?). Considering who it was and what they had done/were doing, though, I doubt I'd care much either.
I also had a moment of confusion when Gina put her hand on her pidgeot's poké ball… for a second I thought I'd missed something, because I knew she had a pidgeotto but not a pidgeot… then I went back and checked and sure enough, it evolved just after the Silph battle (mentioned in the previous chapter). Derp on my part; I even remember reading it before, now, because of the "presto-chango" part. Hah.
| Galaxeia chapter 9 . 3/17
So, my notes on this chapter are full of indications of me laughing at something. That must be a good sign. :) Right off the bat this chapter puts a big ol' smile on my face, simply because it's Amaris (duh). He's so matter-of-fact and sarcastic and dry-humored in his head, which is 100% my kind of humor. The "monumental task" of getting out of bed? Hilarious. Trouble standing up because the human body doesn't "approve of being certain its own demise was right around the corner"? Cracks me up. Focusing on "walking like a normal person"? Can't breathe! Okay, maybe that's a BIT of an exaggeration, but you get the point.
His reflections on the fight where Gina got punched ended up on my radar as well; even though he (supposedly) doesn't like Gina much, the instant she got a fist to the face all he remembered experiencing was a "new surge of adrenaline, flying fists, and Jason's particularly impressive flying leap". That sounds an awful lot like him being protective of Gina, as his only focus was taking out the guy that punched her. Furthermore, in the previous chapter, Victoria notes that Amaris's "eyes were trained unblinkingly on Gina's steadily-growing bruise". Yup, definitely very much like protectiveness and concern; if he didn't care even a little, he wouldn't be fixated on her shiner.
Speaking of Gina being punched in the face, the part where she starts laughing at the phrase "punched in the face" also had me cracking up inexplicably. It's contagious! I can actually hear Beth's tone of voice when she gets Gina with it, too.
The detailed pondering of the group that Amaris does in the latter half of the chapter is stunning. Seeing the characters we've all come to know now through his eyes is really a reflection of who he is too, and a lot of it actually corroborates what I said about him in my review of Chapter 1, if somewhat indirectly at times. One example: he "sometimes wondered why he and Gina had never gotten along very well in their childhood"; since he's always been portrayed as her antagonist and we've only been in his head a few times so far, it's VERY interesting to hear this thought from him. (This line, among other things, is one reason why I said "supposedly" three paragraphs above with regard to his dislike of her.) It's almost like he's admitting to the reader that, ohhh I don't know, he does have feelings. ;) And since Gina's the only one of the group who elicits more than flat dislike, simple respect, or grudging acceptance from him… I think that's why I ship them, even if it ends up going nowhere. (To me the evidence suggests otherwise though, even considering events in Azure, but I suppose I'll have to wait and see.) My goodness, more insight into Amaris… he's just too fun to analyze! He's an onion for sure. You've done such a fantastic job with him.
"It wasn't any of his business if Jason couldn't tell when his own friend liked someone or wished they would drop dead." This line amuses me greatly for numerous reasons. I'll just leave it at that.
There are a couple of minor typos in the third paragraph: "chord" should be "cord", and "on" should be "in" (final sentence in that paragraph). And, in the second to last paragraph, there's a "we" that should be a "he".
To wrap things up, I will share two points, word for word, from my notes:
1) Ohhh no WONDER I love Amaris; he uses the phrase "ass-crack-of-dawn", which is one of my favorite ways to describe that horrible time of day. Haha!
2) God, this chapter is actually hilarious.
Thanks for the multiple laughs!