“I was scared. No, I was terrified. Terrified that I would never get the chance to follow my dreams and live my life to its fullest. Terrified that the only world I would ever explore would be the four walls of my bedroom, and that the only journey I would ever take would be through the lifeless representations on my globe. Terrified that the only battles I would ever participate in would be behind a screen, and that the only Pokémon I would ever catch would come from store shelves.
"You have no idea how much that morning with you and your dad changed my life. When I went to Mr. Norman’s gym, my body was filled with so much fear, and every word I uttered felt like ten thousand Cacnea spikes in my throat. But I knew that all my fears would come true if I didn’t do anything, and that day was when I decided that I had to do something. That something turned out to be the best something in the world—catching Ralts.”
“How did you feel when you caught Ralts?”
“I don’t think I could ever describe it correctly. Not because I can’t, but because I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. When I caught Ralts, it felt like all the years of terror and isolation that tormented me every day just melted away from my thoughts. And the fact that Ralts understood what I’ve been through and how I felt—and I hope Gallade still does—made it all the better.”
“Do you think your journey would be any different if you caught a different Pokémon that morning?”
“I think it would be very different. I can’t imagine going on my journey without Ralts. In my trip from Petalburg to Verdanturf, it was only the two of us, and I found out more about myself in those ten days than in the ten years I’ve spent in hospital wards and bedrooms. And I learned a lot about Ralts, too, and the world of Pokémon as a whole, and I don’t think I would’ve warmed up to being a trainer so quickly if it weren’t for Ralts guiding me every step of the way. I couldn’t even contain my excitement when I finally arrived at my uncle’s place, even insisting that I challenge the Mauville Gym with just Ralts! But wait, you were there to witness that, and you even have the win to prove it…”
“But you’ve really grown since then, and become quite a skillful trainer. What piece of advice do you have for your fellow trainers?”
“I’m not sure if I should be the one giving advice since I’m no Gym Leader or Pokémon Master. I’m sure you’ll give better advice than I would…”
“Come on, you can do it! I’m sure you have a lot of wisdom underneath that green hair of yours.”
“Oh, all right. Well, uhh, a great way to begin your journey is to, uhh, find the perfect partner, and, uhh, a great way to go through your journey is, uhh, to love that partner with all your heart. Uhmm, it may sound like really basic advice, but that, uhh, extra effort you exert in forming a strong bond with your first Pokémon goes a long way, Because of Ralts, I found it much easier to bond with Roselia and Skitty and Magnemite and Swablu. Because of Ralts, I found it much easier to apply everything I learned from reading hundreds of books to my entire journey. Because of Ralts, I feel like a much better version of myself, not just as a trainer, but also as a human being.”
I made a post a little while back about how I have a headcanon that May is from Ecruteak City, and I want to expand on it based on some observations from the anime that I found interesting. To start, I’m definitely no expert on Japan or Japanese culture, so if I flub anything, let me know!
Specifically, I’m going to be taking a look at gym architecture. Here’s the Petalburg Gym:
The architecture looks pretty traditionally Japanese. The City of Petalburg, however, appears to be a bit more modern:
What’s more, gyms in general are not structured like the Petalburg Gym. In the anime, gyms are often structured in a unique way to benefit the gym leader and the type they specialize in/way they battle. Looking at other Hoenn gyms, none look anything like the traditional set up of Petaulburg’s:
Rustboro Gym (Rock specialist):
Dewford Gym (Fighting specialist who emphasizes surfing for his training):
Mauville Gym (Electric specialist):
Fortree Gym (Flying specialist):
Mosdeep Gym (Psychic specialist with emphasis on the Space Center):
Sootopolis Gym (Water specialist):
The exception is Lavaridge’s gym, which has traditional architecture as well. But I think this is because the gym is supposed to represent a Japanese bath house, as Lavaridge is famous for hot springs. This is the gym in comparison with a Sentō, a type of Japanese bath house:
Back to the Petalburg gym. Whether it’s coicidental or not, there is one gym the Petalburg gym shares resemblance too—and that’s Ecruteak’s.
They’re strikingly similar! As I stated earlier, the architecture for the Petalburg gym is a bit odd compared to the more modern architecture of the rest of the city. However, the architecture for the Ecruteak gym isn’t odd at all! The city itself is very traditional, its motto in the games being, “A Historical City Where the Past Meets the Present”. The city itself is based of Kyoto, Japan, a very traditional as well as one of the best preserved cities in the country. The city of Ecruteak looks more like this:
When Ash, Misty, and Brock go to the city in the anime, they make many references to how traditional it is compared to any other place they’ve been, Misty even noting that the gym is “unlike any gym” she’s ever seen. Because of this, it’s interesting Petalburg seems to mimic it in a more out of place city.
Even May’s house in Petalburg, which is either attached or at least in close proximity to the gym, has some connections to architecture seen in Ecruteak City.
It might be a bit hard to see, but the same wall is present and there’s an implication of a rock garden in both.
So, headcanon: It’s stated Norman is a new gym leader (and I have their family move from Johto to Hoenn due to the main protag in RSE moving from Johto to Hoenn), and unless a gym leader is simply taking over another gym (like Flannery), due to how unique gyms are to a gym leader as an individual, it’s likely gyms are constructed specifically by what they want. It is likely Norman had his specified, since he has a green house specific for his wants for his Pokemon.
Because of this, I think Norman purposely had his gym built with architecture commonly found in Ecurteak City, using its gym as a template. Norman is native to Hoenn, but Caroline is not, and their family grew up in Ecruteak once both settled from their journeys. When Norman got his job and they had to move, he had his gym and home built in a way where it would be reminiscent of Caroline’s home as well as the home they shared and raised their family in.
Kyubox is here to tell you the tale of Wally, because suffering.
Wally is living in Petalburg City but is suffering from his illness. He’s going to be relocated to his relatives living out in the country in Verdanturf Town instead however, in the hopes that the clean country air will aid his recovery.
He doesn’t get better.
Moving does nothing.
The clean air means nothing.
Wally is going to die.
Wally is desperate to live. Not because he doesn’t want to die but because he never got to even start his dream of becoming a Pokemon trainer.
Furious at the world and furious at himself for being so weak, it is when he is at his most vunerable when he hears a voice speak to him.
“I can grant any wish you want. All you have to do is make a contract with me.”
Wally feels the hope well up inside him. “If I become healthy then I can become a Pokemon trainer!” he thinks to himself. The contract is made and the hope in Wally’s heart is used to construct a soul gem.
From the perspective of his family, it seems that moving to Verdanturf Town did the trick and Wally became healthy after getting some of that clean country air. None of them know the truth however.
And they will never know the truth either.
Wally throws himself into training his beloved Ralts. As he and his Pokemon improves, he feels thankful to the mysterious creature that granted him this miracle. He’s confident that now that he is healthy he can become a great Pokemon trainer.
He feels impatient and excited to test himself so he tries to challenge the Mauville City gym leader.
But there’s a problem.
You stop him.
You defeat him before he even takes the first step towards his dreams of greatness.
Wally is disappointed and upset but he rallies soon enough. He just needs to try harder next time, that’s all! He’s sure that he’ll win next time. He’ll become the best for sure! He’s healthy now so there’s nothing stopping him anymore!
Wally keeps trying again and again but he simply cannot meet his own high expectations. Despair slowly sets in, clouding his mind. His failures torment him and drive him to become better, to become the best. His passion becomes madness, worrying his family and friends.
WHY ISN’T HE ANY BETTER? HE’S HEALTHY NOW ISN’T HE? HE MADE THE CONTRACT! HIS WISH WAS GRANTED! SO WHY?!
Wally runs away from home, towards Victory Road.
This is where the strongest of the strong meet. This is where the best of the best gather. If Wally can make it here then surely, surely….!
Then you appear.
It’s always you.
You are the one that set him on this path.
You helped him catch his first Pokemon.
You defeated him in Mauville City.
And now you’re going to defeat him here, at Victory Road.
You’re going to deny Wally his hopes, his dreams and his aspirations.
Wally refuses to give up though.
He camps outside Victory Road.
The despair and hatred in his heart rooting him to the spot.
He has vowed to not leave until he defeats you.
But he never will.
Eventually, Wally disappears.
No one ever sees him again.
Victory Road is temporarily closed while investigations about a “monster” attacking trainers passing through are underway.
By the way….
Kyubox heard that in other versions of the game Wally becomes the Champion.
That doesn’t change a thing though.
It just means that once again, it’s you who stops Wally.
It’s you who defeats him. It’s you who destroys everything he worked so hard for. It’s you who snatches his dreams away and crushes them under your feet so that you can become the Pokemon Champion.