I can certainly say it always feels good to come back to writing after such a long break, and I do apologize that it had to be the episode before the gym battle where I stopped.
I’ve explained before that each Tenno gym battle is supposed to show off a different positive trait of Ash’s. This gym battle was all about the improvised and unorthodox strategies that Ash is known for. Whether it’s Heala causing Yang-Xing to slip, Turtsol purposefully taking hits to absorb energy, Pikachu sacrificing itself to deliver one massive attack, or Heala blocking Lock-On, Ash always seems to have something up his sleeves. One interesting problem this theme caused my writing was that most of these strategies involve Ash’s Pokémon delivering a finishing blow without first being knocked out. So, if I wanted each of Ash’s Pokémon to get at least one of these creative moments, I would have to have Ash have a perfect victory against Astrid and lose no Pokémon. Clearly that would not make for a good battle, as there would be no tension, drama, or excitement. Not to mention, it would also make Astrid look somewhat incompetent as a gym leader. I kept that closely in mind as I wrote the battle, and was very careful to show off Astrid’s strength at every chance I could. Having Cyclpotic single-handedly turn the battle around helped with that issue too.
The big reason I wanted Ash to have a Heala on his team was to take his rivalry with Ryu up to the next level. It’s a bold statement on Ash’s part. Heala may be a Dragon-Type like Ryu likes, but it’s one that Ryu outright refused to capture. Now with a dragon-Type on his team, Ryu has a more vested interest in battling Ash, while Ash has even more of a reason to beat Ryu, so that he can prove Ryu was wrong about Heala. And now it’s not just Ash who wants to defeat Ryu, but Heala too want’s to prove that it is a worthy Dragon-Type. This episode was the start of that next phase of the rivalry. Ryu has played a fairly minor role in Cosmic Quest up until this point, but from here on out things will start getting more serious.
There was also Team Rocket helping Heala with it’s training. I like the idea of Team Rocket getting a personal interest in one of Ash’s Pokémon, so I thought that this would be the perfect time to assign such a relationship. Now that they’ve played a part in Heala’s training, Heala’s success is a matter of honor to them now, creating an interesting dynamic where they are at times forced to root for Ash when he’s battling alongside Heala, such as at the end of this episode.
Three episodes in under two weeks!? Nope, Dialga isn’t messing with time, Episode 86 is here!
Ash and Heala were hard at work getting over its anxiety issues, but then Ryu appears. Now having a Dragon-Type on his team, Ash wastes no time challenging Ryu to the rematch he’s been waiting a long time for. But is Heala ready for a full-fledged battle, especially against such a powerful opponent?
The character Guide has been updated accordingly.
At some point since deciding to give Brock the clear and defined goal of earning Certificates of High Medical Honors, I realized that the other thing Brock was going to need was a rival in his goal. Of course, there is an inherent flaw with giving Brock a direct rival. Healing Pokémon shouldn’t be a competition, and introducing a rival would make it into one. So, I decided the best way to go about it would be to make it so that the rival’s character flaw was that he saw healing Pokémon as a competition. From there, I realized that this would make him a very different person from Brock, so I decided to go all the way and make him the exact opposite. Where Brock is kind, caring, and humble, Alistair is arrogant, selfish, and egotistical. When writing for him, I wanted to make him a character that you loved to hate, and judging by several reviews and private messages I received, it was a success. Often times when you have a character who acts like a jerk, they do it in a way that makes them cool and/or funny, like Gary, or they have complex characters that make them interesting enough that you forget how big of a jerk they are, like Paul. With Alistair, I just wanted him to despicable, with no redeeming traits.
As for Heala, I know many of you were happy to finally see Ash catch it. I know I’ve had many reviews, comments, and messages asking if and when Ash would catch it. To tell the truth, when I first had Heala start to follow Ash, I didn’t quite plan on it taking this long for him to catch. It’s just that a long string of important and unmovable episodes took place, such as the Team Planetary episodes, the Crater Town gym battle, or the Ultra Sun and Moon special, so Heala’s capture had to be pushed back.
Classification: The Antivenom Pokémon
Description: Heala may have a nasty venom, but they are better known for the natural antivenom they produce, which can neutralize nearly any poison.
Evolves into Curemodo at level 38
Trivia: Heala’s antivenom works not just to counteract the effects of venom, but other toxins, such as pollutants, poisons, and even radioactivity. Because of this, ample supplies of its antivenom are kept on hand at all time at most hospitals around the world.
Also, Heala’s signature move, Detox, has been added to the Atackdex.
For a while I’ve been messing around with the idea of Dragon/Poison-Type Pokémon that’s based off of a Gila monster and evolves into a Komodo dragon, but I was never able to come up with a solid concept. When attempting to come up with a name for said Gila monster Pokémon, I remembered that Gila is not pronounce gil-a, but rather hil-a with an h sound instead of a g. When trying to come up with names based off of that, I thought of the name Heala, and the concept of an antivenom Pokémon came to mind pretty fast. I felt like it was a unique enough idea to go ahead and make the Pokémon. Basically, this entire episode formed as a way to display this concept. It might have been a tad on the morbid/violent side for Pokémon, but that kind of came with the territory.