“I met this guy while I was shopping in Lilycove one Saturday morning. He seemed nice, though he carried himself in an assertive way. But he had a certain gentleness in his voice when he invited me for a Soda Pop in the roof deck. We talked about our stress, our families, our dreams—basically slices of each of our lives. When I said that my shopping in the Department Store was on a weekly basis, he told me that he’ll see me here at the same time next week, making sure he’ll pay for more Soda Pops. Assertive, but gentle.
"That went on for a couple of weeks, the Soda Pops becoming plentier and the talks becoming deeper. We talked about each other’s lives, and shared things we hadn’t shared with anyone else before. What started out as waiting until the sun was too hot became watching the sun set in Lilycove Bay.
"None of my teammates knew about it, so it felt like my personal escape. I mean, I’m loyal to Team Aqua and all, but it’s rare to find your own thing within the team if you aren’t an admin or one of the head grunts. So this was something for me and only me. And obviously, it didn’t last.”
“A while ago we had a face-off with our rivals, Team Magma, atop Mt. Chimney. Of course, I see him in a red uniform, and of course, team policy means that I’m forbidden to see him again. I was too distraught to go to the Department Store the Saturday that followed, and the Saturday after that. But I’ll go there someday, when I’m ready to face him.”
“If by any chance he sees this, what do you want to tell him?”
“I’m a bit embarrassed to
be here in my uniform. I’d be in a more toned down outfit, but I
forgot to pack one when I left the base this morning. I know I’d miss the
schedule if I go back, so I’m just gonna toughen up and go for it.”
“Go for what?”
“Watch some contests. I
know I’m gonna get a lot of cold looks from the fancy-shmancy audience there,
but I don’t care. I only get one day off a month, and I’m not gonna let those
prissy wannabes ruin it.”
“Why do you like watching
“It’s just a whole other
kind of thrill, you know? The good ones, their appeals are out of this world,
and it gets me excited right down to my bones. It’s all really appealing and
spectacular, and there’s nothing in this world like it. And watching it live is
a whole other experience from watching it on TV—when I watched my first live
contest, I realized how I’m missing the entire point of contests when I’m
behind the screen.”
“Have you ever thought
about participating in them?”
“Hell no! I can’t afford
all that! My Pokémon can’t even attack properly, and you expect them to attack
in a way that makes them appealing? And besides, who’s gonna take an Aqua Grunt
seriously in a contest? I’m already a loser in battles; I’ll be a bigger and more
spectacular loser in contests.”
Here’s some quick shots of some new stuff for my Magma/Aqua collection–my first settei! I’ll be framing these babies later in the week.
“Settei” are reference sheets that animators use to make sure that characters are drawn consistently between episodes/teams/individual artists. These settei have the generic male and female team grunt designs, but also the individual “background grunts” for Team Magma that pop up throughout the Hoenn saga, as well as Team Aqua’s submarine. It’s pretty neat to see these designs make it all the way to final animation!
Another cool thing to notice is the dates. See how the grunt designs were finalized at the end of September 2002? The Ruby and Sapphire games weren’t released until late November of that year. The anime has to get info about new games from GameFreak ahead of time, so that Ash can arrive in a new region right when the new versions hit shelves. That’s also why you’ll see the next gen’s Pokémon start to pop up in the anime months before new games are released.
Ahhh, I’m so excited to own these settei! My goal is to have as many Team Aqua and Magma animation references as possible, so if you ever see or hear of any for sale, let me know right away! I’m willing to pay very handsomely for this sort of thing.