Episode 113 Review

This was a fun episode to write. I suppose I should start things off by disclaiming, I am by no means a shipper, and I tend to not like shippings in general. This episode was not meant to seen as a Rocket Shipping episode. I’ll admit that it kind of felt like that, but it was more meant to be a character piece for James, exploring his love/hate relationship with Jessie.

Ever since writing the Team Rocket Movie, I’ve been wanting to do some more serious Team Rocket episodes. I realized that I hadn’t yet touched upon their history, before becoming Team Rocket, and the episodes that do that were always some of my favorites, especially James’. So obviously that meant I had to write an episode for James that focused on his engagement with Jessibelle. From there, I realized that setting up a fake wedding between Jessie and James to get Jessibelle off of James’ back could be a fun concept, and I ran with it. The name “Holy Matri-phony” was specifically selected to call back to the original Jessibelle episode, “Holy Matrimony.” I consider this episode to be a sequel to that episode. As such, I watched that episode (along with the other Jessibelle episodes) before writing this episode for inspiration. One thing that resulted from watching that episode is that this episode felt much more like a classic episode of Pokémon, if you ask me. To build an even stronger story for James, I also decided to bring in Nanny and Pop-Pop, even if only in a flashback.

Cosmic Destiny Chapters 1 and 2 Review

Cosmic Destiny began its life very much like Cosmic Quest did. It all started as one of the games I would make up when I was young. Just as I made up Luna, Terra, and Sol Versions, I made (what I called at the time) Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rangers of the Sun and Rangers of the Moon. Ever since reviving my custom Pokémon in order to create Cosmic Quest, the Mystery Dungeon story I came up with was always in the back of my mind. At some point in the past two years, I decided that I really wanted start writing my Mystery Dungeon concept as a story, but I always felt that I had no excuse. I decided that in order to have one, I would wait until the next Mystery Dungeon game was released, and tie it in to that. To tell the truth, I had begun to lose hope that that would ever happen. Ironically, only two weeks before Rescue Team DX was announced, I was talking with my brother about my Mystery Dungeon story concept, and how I was almost ready to give up on waiting for a new game. You could say that the announcement came at the perfect time.

Anyways, time to talk about the story itself.  It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone at this point that a Mystery Dungeon story made by me, meant to tie in with Tenno, would take place in space. It was just such a natural step for me to take. I came up with the idea of using space rangers as then type of team as it seemed to fit, seeing as rangers could conceivably perform rescues, explore, fight outlaws, and do many of the other things that Mystery Dungeon games have you do. One of my explicit goals in making the story was to make it so that the player character’s time as a human actually mattered, and to weave the story of the absence of humans into the story, unlike other Mystery Dungeon games. I haven’t covered these topics too heavily yet, but perhaps you’ve noticed them pop up already.

Kappaqua’s character was actually changed since my original concept. Originally, the partner character was timid and afraid, you know, the stereotypical Mystery Dungeon partner character. When revamping my story, I decided to go with something different, an overly-bold partner that doesn’t get along with the main character at all. Speaking of characterizations, I’m actually finding Turcell pretty difficult to write. Hypothetically, I have to write his character like he’s the blank-slate silent protagonist you usually see, but that’s just not as interesting for the story.

And since we’re talking about difficulties, without a doubt, the hardest part about writing this story is the dungeons. Dungeons just weren’t meant to be written about. They exist purely as a gameplay element, and do little for the story beyond being a obstacle in your way, and yet you spend 80% of your time playing the game in the dungeons. Basically, what I decided to do was to add some extra character moments to the dungeons, that wouldn’t have appeared in a hypothetical game’s story. This allows me to write dungeons without them feeling meaningless, and also gives me an excuse to write some extra character-building dialogue, especially for Turcell. Hopefully as I continue to write this story, I’ll get a solid feeling of how to best write dungeon sequences.

Episodes 111 and 112 Review

Having Ash battle Ryu in an all-out dragon fight was an idea I’ve had for a very long time. It was first inspired some time after Ash captured Goomy in Kalos. It was then that I realized that him using a team of his previously captured Dragon-Types would make for a fun battle with Ryu, not to mention a challenge that Ryu would gladly accept. Since then, the only Dragon-Type that Ash had obtained was Naganadel, but I unfortunately could not justify Ash somehow contacting Naganadel in a different dimension and bringing it here just for this battle, so I had to settle for using Charizard as the fifth dragon. I didn’t think anyone would particularly mind an excuse to bring Charizard back anyways.

This battle’s primary purpose was to put Ash and Ryu’s rivalry back on track. Admittedly, in my attempt to not over-use Ryu, I’ve probably been under-using for a while, and therefore the rivalry hasn’t been all that well-defined. This battle marks the turning point where the rivalry gets serious again, and starts to receive the focus it deserves. As you might have gathered from Ryu’s speech at the end, the relationship between Ash and Ryu is suddenly a lot more complex than it was before.

Another goal with this battle was simply to provide one of the most memorable battles I could. If this were in the real show, I’d want it to rank among the most memorable battles of all time, such as Ash against Gary in the Johto League, or either of Ash and Paul’s full battles. Not only that, but full six-on-six battles are a big deal, and I didn’t want to waste the opportunity. As such, I went all-out in the scripting and choreography of the fight. I wanted you to really be able to see the battle play out in your head. You might have noticed that once I got to the Charizard vs. Dragonite fight, I took things to a whole new level, adopting a completely different way of writing the battle. This was done in order to express how intense and dramatic, yet also majestic and thrilling, the fight was.

As far Heala/Curemodo’s part goes, I feel like it was only natural to have it evolve here. The main reason I even gave Ash a Heala to begin with was to fuel his rivalry with Ryu. Heala’s personal rivalry with Jangmo-o furthered this goal. As such, Heala was written as the central figure in this battle, which I suppose is only natural, given that aside from Pikachu, it was the only Pokémon Ash used that was on his current team. Despite that, I still worked hard to make sure that all of Ash’s other Pokémon other got their chance to shine in one way or another. After all, what’s the fun in bringing back an old favorite, if it doesn’t do anything meaningful?

I truly hope you all enjoyed these episodes, as they most certainly rank among the greatest Cosmic Quest episodes of all time, if you ask me. I would even dare to say that they could potentially rank among the best Pokémon episodes of all time, were they animated. Is that too much hubris? What ever.

Episode 110 Review

This episode was basically intended to normalize Galar Region stuff to my series, hence the inclusion of both Inteleon and a pre-evolution of Duraludon. The idea for this episode first came to mind soon after seeing Inteleon for the first time. The very first thought was “Wow, this looks like a tall, skinny, and feminine version of Dashilisk.” From that, the idea of having an episode were Dashilisk has a crush on an Inteleon seemed natural. And of course, doing a spy-based episode with Inteleon as the central character seemed like the next logical step.  The easy pun from The Spy who Loved Me further solidified it as a Bond parody.

Now I must admit, I never actually seen a Bond movie before. I’ve of course seen plenty of parodies from various TV shows, so I know the common jokes and stereotypes used,but I couldn’t really make any of my own. Honestly, I think the episode kind of suffered for it. There was only so much I could write that I felt confident would work well in a Bond parody. Had I actually known something about Bond movies first hand, then I probably could have come up with a better episode.

Of final note is Soludon. In Sword and Shield’s pre-release, I was absolutely certain that Duraludon was going to be just like Dragonite, Salamence, Garchomp, etc. before it, and be the third stage dragon of the region. I was certain, that I just assumed it as fact, so suffice it to say that I was extremely surprised to learn that Duraludon was a single-stage Pokémon. I quickly decided that I should rectify this issue and give it a pre-evolution of my own. This works out nicely too, as I’ve somewhat neglected Baby Pokémon, having only put out Honbee so far.

Episode 109 Review

Writing a tie-in episode for a new generation is definitely a challenge. It was hard for my Sun and Moon special, it was hard here. The problem is, I just don’t know enough to write coherent story from. For tie-ins for third versions and remakes, we already know most of what’s going on in those games, but for a new generation, all we know is what’s revealed in pre-release. I would have liked to include either character from Galar, Pokémon from Galar, or even the region itself a lot more in the episode, but we just didn’t know enough about any of those things. In an ideal world, I would have done some sort of episode featuring Pokémon like Zacian, Zamazenta, or Eternatus or characters like Leon, Rose, or Hop. The problem with that we barely knew anything about those Pokémon and characters, assuming we even knew they existed. So, in the end, I decided a plot centered around Dyanamax would be the best bet, as we knew quite a bit about it already. From there, I decided a Kaiju movie-like plot would be the best way to utilize the gigantic Pokémon. The good news is that everything seemed to work. I didn’t have to retcon anything in the episode due to a misunderstanding of the mechanic or a bad guess on my part.

As I said above, this episode was meant to emulate Kaiju movies, a genre of movies from  Japan where giant monsters attack humanity. The most famous of these is Godzilla. Gigantamax Charizard was selected to play the role of Godzilla for obvious reasons. Bringing in another giant Pokémon to battle the first is also a fixture of Kaiju movies.

Also, I may have said that I had to make no retcons, but that’s only for now. There is one major possible problem. I wrote this episode with the assumption that Ash will eventually gain the ability to Dynamax his Pokémon. Given that Dynamaxing is such a prevalent feature in Galar, and practically required to challenge its gyms, I figured Ash gaining this ability was a given. However, the Galar anime is looking extremely odd, and as far as I can tell (as I’m waiting for the dub to watch it) Ash is not partaking in the Galar League, meaning he is not necessitated to be able to Dynamax. The other assumption I made is that Pikachu is able to Gigantamax. This seemed like relatively safe bet, as it is implied that Gigantamax Pikachu is the same Pikachu from Let’s Go Pikachu, and in turn, the Let’s Go Pikachu was based on Ash’s Pikachu.

Episode 108 Review

This episode was all about showing off Brenda’s new style and justifying the shift in her way of training and performing. As I said in the previous episode’s review, Damien worked as a convenient foil for Brenda’s style of transformation, and that continue to play a part in their rivalry in this episode. I had Brenda come in first place in the Appeal Stage, a rare feat for a main character, to make it abundantly clear that this new style was working well for her. Of course, her battle in the final round couldn’t be as clear-cut, or there would be no drama, but I tried to write the battle in such a way that she would have never won that battle had she not been focusing on  transformations, primarily in the way that she transformed Wispirit’s confusion into an advantage. Damien using an Ayssoul to battle Brenda’s Wispirit was also a calculated move. It further emphasized the opposite nature of the two. While they both used Ghost-Type Pokémon with the same signature move, Brenda was using a more whimsical and cute Fire-Type, while Damien was using an eerie and creepy Water-Type. The two Pokémon were complete opposites, despite their similarities.

Also of note is the  recurring transpiration gag. Originally, I had only planned for it to come up in Jessie’s failed appeal, but I had several people mention how they were looking forward to seeing where the joke went, so I decided to get a little more use out of the gag.

Episode 107 Review

Let me start off by giving credit where credit is due. My brother, ChaosProjectAuthor, is the one who came up with the idea of having Brenda’s new style be based around transformation and change. He came up with the idea when he was writing his guest-written episode That’s the Spirit, and asked if he could put it in. At the time, I had deferred finalizing plans on what Brenda’s style would be, as I knew I wouldn’t be writing another episode for quite some time. I liked the idea, so we made it happen.

Before knowing what Brenda’s style was going to be, I knew that I wanted this episode to be where she solidified it, and I also knew I wanted to introduce Damien as a more fleshed-out character. It worked out well that I could set up Damien’s style as the polar opposite to Brenda’s, as it help to develop both of them and introduce the dynamic of their relationship. That, in turn, led to the idea of stranding them together and forcing them to work together.

Team Rocket Movie Review

The idea for the Team Rocket movie first came to me nearly a year ago. I was contemplating Team Rocket (of which, as you might know, I am a big fan), and it occurred to me that they really do deserve their own movie. There was just so much potential. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was something I needed to make happen. The earliest concept was simply that I wanted them to “blast off for real” in the climax, and I worked from there. I decided to work in a plot I had initially earmarked for a future multi-episode Team Rocket arc. The plot have would Jessie, James, and Meowth attempting to impress Giovanni, and get serious like in Unova again. This would come with a joke that putting the black uniforms and taking them off works like a switch for Team Rocket, changing their personalities back and forth between silly and serious.

As an aside, I would like to explain that while there was many things I didn’t like about the show during Unova, it was the portrayal of Team Rocket that irked me the most. The entire purpose of Team Rocket was that they were this absurd, larger than life group who self-identify as evil, and yet fail miserably at it. Unova Team Rocket spat in the face of everything they were. The change made to Team Rocket would be equivalent to Ash suddenly deciding he no longer wanted to be a Pokémon Trainer and abandoning Pikachu. Obviously no one would be happy if that happened to Ash, so why should we be happy with Team Rocket’s change?

That being explained, I decided that if I wanted to write a piece that really dug into Team Rocket’s character and identity, I should focus on explaining why Unova’s change was wrong. I decided to focus the movie on demonstrating why a change for the more serious may seem good, but is actually disgraceful. With this concept solidified, the rest of the movie kind of just fell into place. I decided early on that I wanted a “celebrity” Team Rocket member as a main character, and settled on Pierce, as the sudden cancellation of Unova’s Rocket vs. Plasma arc left him as a complete enigma that people wanted to see more of. With that decided, I also realized that the story of the Meteonite was left unfinished and full of potential.

For another aside, for those who don’t know, Unova was originally set to have a pair of episodes called Team Rocket vs. Team Plasma (Part 1 and 2). They would have served as a finale of the Unova’s Team Rocket story arc up to that point. In an unfortunate twist of fate, these episodes were set to air right around the same time a major earthquake hit Japan. Due to the large-scale destruction of a city depicted in the episodes, it was decided it would be in poor taste to air the episodes so close to such a destructive disaster. The episodes were never aired, and later retconned as non-canon. this left several story plots unresolved, most notably, the Meteonite, a mysterious rock collected by Team Rocket in an earlier episode. Due to summaries and previews of these episodes, we know that the Meteonite’s purpose was to act as a replacement for the Sun after a volcanic eruption blocked it. And so The Team Rocket movie became a conclusion of sorts to Team Rocket’s uncompleted mission in Unova.

Another major aspect of the movie was its music. I decided that having musical numbers would perfectly drive in the ridiculous personalities of Team Rocket. In the beginning the only song I really had available to me was Double Trouble. But my brother, being musically inclined, had recently expressed an interest in creating some original music for Sol Version. I realized that it would be great if he could make an original song for the movie, and so, Blasting Off Again was added to the soundtrack. That was going to be it. If I could have a third song, I would, but there just weren’t any options. I could do Team Rocket Forever, but only a small portion of that song was ever translated to English. But late in the development of the movie, I realized that creating a full translation of the song wouldn’t be all that difficult, and so my unofficial fan-dub of Team Rocket Forever became the final addition to the soundtrack.

For those who don’t know, Team Rocket Forever was a song first released for a CD in Japan. Portions of it were later put into the show, leading to the dub to have a semi-translation of a small portion of it (You know us as Team Rocket, and we fight for what is wrong…). Since this portion of the song was translated out of context from the rest of the song, it isn’t so much of a translation as it is a completely separate song set to the same background music. When doing my translation, I incorporated this semi-translation with my own translations and reinterpretations to create what I am referring to as a semi-dub of the song. Perhaps I’ll make a post later explaining how I translated it in detail.

In the end, I was incredibly pleased with the result of the Team Rocket Movie. It might just be one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written. It demonstrated everything I love about Team Rocket, and put it in a great story. It is a piece that demonstrates everything I love about the group, while also further developing their characters.

Episode 106 Review (Featuring ChaosProjectAuthor)

Hello, Cosmic Quest readers! This is ChaosProjectAuthor, but you can call me Chaos. Most of you probably know me better as the guy who makes the sprites you’ve seen around this website, and by extension, for the recently-revealed Pokémon Sol Version project as well. While I’ve been deeply involved in the development and planning of Cosmic Quest since the very beginning, this is the first time I’ve ever participated in the actual writing. So now I’m here to review the episode I wrote.

Continuing from where I left off on my own website (where fans of Yuni’s other works can get some behind-the-scenes info on Yu-Gi-Oh! Millennium as well), when Yuni first suggested the possibility of a writer’s exchange, I was hesitant, but definitely interested. Who could say no to free advertising? Well for me, the first challenge was apparent. Yuni knew exactly what he wanted to write for my story. But what would I write for his? In order to be an effective advertisement, I would need to make sure that the entire episode reflected who I am as a writer, so that potential readers drawn to my stories could know what they’re in for. That meant coming up with an episode idea that is largely character focused, that has room for emotional growth, and that connects to the reader on that same emotional level. In my own writing, that’s always my goal. The style of the Pokémon anime isn’t quite so conducive to that as the Sonic universe that I’m used to working with, and that’s what made this a challenge. But on top of all that, I also wanted to show that I know what I’m doing, to take advantage of this opportunity, by writing a story that could only exist in the Pokémon world. In my own story, which tends to be at least somewhat grounded in scientific reality, I would never just have a flat-out ghost as a character. But in Pokémon, where we’ve already seen clear proof of ghosts from the Pokémon Tower of Kanto all the way to Acerola’s “Mimikins” my idea for Shinx in this episode fit right in. And of course, writing a story that can only exist in the Pokémon world also means relying heavily on the inherent bond between Trainer and Partner Pokémon, which, conveniently enough, allowed me to add a lot of emotional depth to the episode without much extra work. You don’t need to do much to show a bond like that, because any Pokémon fan will understand that it’s there.

But I’ve gotten a little ahead of myself. I was faced with the problem of what to write, and there was no obvious answer. I’ve recommended episode ideas to Yuni before, and all of them have made it in, so in that sense, it felt like all of my best ideas were already used up. After a lot of brainstorming, I had a few preliminary ideas. I considered an episode involving Team Rocket shenanigans, but in the meantime, Yuni wrote an episode that felt a little too similar to what I had in mind. I considered an episode that would bring back an old character, but I was worried about that being in even more conflict with Yuni’s ideas than my previous consideration. Lastly, I considered an episode that would introduce a new Pokémon, as well as a character from Pokémon Sol Version that none of you know about yet! For quite a while, that was the idea I was leaning towards, but I felt like it would’ve fallen just a little short in terms of the emotional weight that I was looking for.

As it was getting down to the wire, just a couple of weeks before I needed to start writing, I had a dream. And that dream became Episode 106. How close was that dream to the final product? Shockingly close, actually. The story of Shinx and Pichu, the burned bakery, and Pichu’s attempt to get in the way, it was all there (though Pichu was a Pikachu in the dream, and it got a few ridiculous dream-induced plot points that naturally had to be removed). Rabbolt’s role in the story had to be added, but I was very happy to get the chance to work on Rabbolt’s character, since that’s been something I’ve been complaining about to Yuni for a while. And with the other Electric-Type Pokémon already there, it just made sense. What’s funny to me is that the inspiration for my own story, The Chaos Project, came to me in a dream in almost exactly the same way. That odd connection alone was enough to make me certain that this was the episode I had to write.

One other point of note is this episode’s integration with the rest of the story. At the time I started planning, I had no idea that Brenda was going to be experiencing any kind of overarching character development, but I knew how I could fit it right in before I was even done reading the previous episode. In fact, Yuni shared with me that he still wasn’t quite sure what do with his plans for the development of Brenda’s style, which means that I was not only able to acknowledge that plot point, but quite probably influence its direction for the rest of the story. But even I don’t know what the result will be! I guess we’ll all just have to stay tuned!

And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to read Yuni’s episode of The Chaos ProjectOr better yet, if you’re interested in Sonic and enjoyed my episode of Cosmic Quest, read The Chaos Project from the beginning!

Episode 105 Review

This episode marks the first step in the next phase of Brenda’s journey. She’s dealt with her training issues and her friendship problems with Michelle, so now it’s time for her to truly figure out what she wants to do with her Pokémon Coordinator career. With her next contest right around the corner, it was only apt to place this here. I brought in Blaise pretty much purely because I thought it was time to introduce the next member of the Elite Four. Her having an Infearno helped me to forge a connection between her and Brenda. Her interest in contests is something that would be somewhat of a fabrication for the show, as my original character concept for her had nothing to do with them, but the changes I made still worked alongside her original concept.

I chose to focus on the move Rain of Terror because it felt like something that could be changed into many different variants, thus allowing it to be a blank slate upon which Brenda can inscribe her new style. Also, it’s a pretty powerful Ghost-Type move, allowing for Wispirit to become a better battler.