I just want to point out that Alder is an awesome champion. So many people flag him for being “weak” without realizing the reason why he spends his time as champion preaching love for pokemon. It’s because when he was young he and his partner pokemon pursued strength without understanding the meaning of strength. When his beloved partner fell ill, he slowed down and took time to think about what really makes a person strong. In the beginning of the game, Cheren believes that the only brand of strength is being strong in battle, but when Alder challenges him to think deeper on route 5, it turns Cheren’s world upside down. Alder isn’t meant to be a difficult champion. In Black and White you end up battling N for the moral throne, so to speak, and Iris replaces him in BW2. Battling him in any setting is optional. It’s who Alder is and the perspective he brings to the Black and White conflict that matters, not his theme or how much of a challenge he is to face. Because champions are characters just like everyone else, and should be so much more than a faceless final boss. That’s what Steven, Iris, Diantha, Lance, Cynthia, etc all are. They all have personalities, quirks, and their own ways of doing things. I love Alder. He just has a different brand of strength.
The in-depth serious answer is below! But here’s the quick, kinda rude summary:
My bluntly honest verdict is: some kinda Freudian unresolved daddy issues, but like, unsurprising with PokeAni’s dreadful dead/distant/deadbeat dad track record. Touching mentor-and-protege dynamic once the breaking-and-rebuilding-of-pedestal ordeal’s through. Gently resolved with redirecting him to focusing on learning to make friends and enjoying the time he has now instead of rushing to meet some intangible ideal of strength; very wise and sweet.
I absolutely do not want to see this become requited in canon, I feel like it’d defeat the purpose, there’s no way to make it work and creeeeeeeepyyyyy.
It is amusingly bizarre how much the fandom overlooks this, because it explains a LOT about Shootie/Trip’s weird little obsession and explains his… honestly, very apparent jealousy and possessiveness about Adeku (which Adeku highlighted in his first ep with that “a woman’s heart” barb), the weird borderline stalkery behaviour, and even the dub hardly covered it up so much as awkwardly danced around it: “By any chance, do you love/like me?” to “Do you have any admiration for a man such as myself?”
SMOOTH, real smooth.
I’m gonna have to say right off the bat I do not wish to see it requited in any stretch of the imagination, oh my God. That is no mere age gap, that is an AGE CANYON. Adeku is old. SO old. He was an old man when they met and Trip was, what, six? Seven??? How old was that kid, where as his parents?!
I liked the way Adeku handled it, it was very wise! Minus maybe asking the question in the stadium, place and time?????? But, I suppose it’d be much creepier/weirder to ask it in a place that isn’t public, aha… the whole ordeal was gonna be Awkward no matter how he went about it.
I do wish more fans stuck around instead of writing Adeku off for the careless, sleep-deprived, and messy way he behaved in his first appearance, he is powerful, both how amazingly powerful he was in his battle with Shootie (acknowledging the kid’s strategy as being excellent, that another opponent would have surely been defeated, “CHIKASHI washi ga CHAMPION!”/”However I am theChampion!”was an absolutely epic line, alright?! Iwane’s animation REALLY sold it too, “Come at me full force, I’ll neither run nor hide!” too, aaaaaah) and incredibly wise and kind in his reassuring Shootie when he thought his loss was because he was missing something or doing something wrong…
Very gentle and reassuring there, no, you didn’t do anything wrong, so what if you lost? It’s alright, isn’t it? It’s not all about that. Stressing the importance of trust over winning. And redirecting him to focus on making friends and enjoying his journey instead of focusing solely on relentlessly pursuing power and letting everything pass him by, look, your partner loves you, are you living up to those feelings? It’s a really nice contrast to the advice he (supposedly?) gave Shootie as a small child, that it’s all about winning battles and to grow up quickly. ^^;;
Lambie, did you just paraphrase nearly all their interactions, YES, BUT I can’t help it, favourite scenes, favourite episode, so good, and such an important conversation and it really helped take Shootie out of that mindset where he has to seal himself off from any kind of feelings or connecting with anyone else, even his Pokemon, and you can see the profound effect it has on him because he changes for the better almost immediately after it. No coldly rejecting Satoshi, no more insults, they’re starting to become friendly, “Don’t lose before you battle me!” and it’s just really sweet…
I think he’s definitely had a very good effect on him, but yeah, strictly as a mentor.
Shootie’s feelings… the fact that he stated his goal was just Adeku, but later elucidated as being to prove his strength to him and earn his acknowledgement… but, Serena’s persistence is rewarded and there might bea possibility for her feelings to be requited, it’s age-appropriate, etc., for Shootie… well, no such possibility, so he had to be put down. (Gently.)
It’s important to note Shootie doesn’t really talk about his goals or dreams like the other kids do. He keeps to himself, but even when things come to light, he almost never says he wants to be a Champion and that’s it, except as a small child. He talks about wanting to be strong, considers this a part of proving himself to be that, yes, but otherwise… if he talks about becoming Champion, as I recall, he mostly talks about it in terms of that promised battle. When he does talk about ending Adeku’s reign as Champion, it’s solely to prove his methods as being superior, to prove he’s right, Adeku’s wrong, etc.
It always, always revolves around Adeku! It’s very circular. “Becoming a Champion” isn’t the end goal. Which is why I could see him, honestly, later taking his journeys more casually. He’d train diligently, certainly, he wants to be strong, but content just to drift from place to place, not tied down by any sort of position or career. His little game appearance even labels him as “wanderer,” he’d probably follow Adeku’s footsteps in that respect.
It’s strange how singularly obsessed he is with him and gaining his approval or attention, whether he adores or resents him, and makes me think the kid has got no other significant adults in his life, because seriously, not one mention of anyone else, it’s just Adeku-san, Adeku-san, Adeku-san, prove my strength to Adeku-san… and the curious absence of parental figures in his flashback, how’d this kid get here???
-Alder learns how to dab, much to the regret of his grandson
-Team Plasma official pin-up calander feat. Ghetsis Harmonia
-Colress roundhouse kicks Ghetsis in his dick
-Alder and Ghetsis explain the birds and the bees. Alder takes the usual route of using confusing metaphors to explain it to one of his students while Ghet just goes: “Ya mom and dad fucked, she got pregnant, and out you came. That’s it.”
Then Alder just has a horrified expression on his face and threatens to strangle him.
Alder is my favorite pokemon champion all right and let me tell you why. Hes a wanderer he goes around teaching people the joys of pokemon and stresses that power isnt everything. This is because his trusted partner volrona died. He orginally was fighting to become the strongest but after volcarona died he was forced to reevaluate his priorities. So he travels unova in search for the answer and he finds it. Cherishing and enjoying life is more important than power.
And heres an interesting fact. He didnt beat a previous champion or the elite four to become the champion. He was elected by the elite four. Which is totally unheard of for pokemon. (I believe since unova is based off of america the creators were paying homage to our presidential system by doing this. But thats just me spectulating.)
Now heres the funny thing. When you beat the elite four and go into alder’s chamber, N has already defeated him. You cant even challenge him until you go into pokemon league a second time.
Does this make him the weakest champion? Probably. But that’s the point. He gave up strength for the more humbling purpose of teaching. He wants others to learn what he has learned. hes just got some deep character development behind him and i love him for it. The end.
I was thinking about creating a pokémon Teacher AU and…
Lance: a maths teacher who’s fully aware that all of his students hate maths, so instead of teaching them about maths he just teaches them about his culture and heritage as a Dragon Master.
Steven: an enthusiastic, well-travelled and popular geography teacher whoes classroom is full of interesting things he’s brought back from holiday, like bottles full of volcanic ash, amethyst geodes the size of his head and a collection of various quartzes. His students like to prompt him to talk about his travels in the hopes he’ll forget to set homework.
Wallace: a modern languages teacher and head of the language department. Teaches French and Spanish usually, but also started clubs for students keen on learning Latin, Ancient Greek and of course, Modern Greek.
Cynthia: a history teacher who really doesn’t want to teach what she’s being forced to teach (“Kanto politics? Really? NAH IMMA TEACH YOU ABOUT SINNOH HISTORY SIT YO ASS DOWN”) tends to ramble a lot about stuff not relevant to the course.
Alder: teaches religious studies but nobody cares about that shlock, he’s the captain of the school football team and all the students know him on a first-name basis.
Diantha: a charming and friendly drama teacher who uses charm and the allure of cakes and videos to hide the fact that she can’t teach for shit.
I have a few more headcanons involving gym leaders, E4 and Rangers, but what do you guys think so far?