by Tanner Kinney
Nintendo recently announced that Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon would have a villain team composed of villains from every (mainline) game from the past 20 years. What?! Is that even legal? All of the most dastardly Pokemon meanies team up to destroy Alola or the gap between dimensions and parallel universes or something; I lost track of the plot after Alpha Sapphire’s post game. This means that not only do we get to see some favorites like Archie and Maxie again, but also Cyrus, Ghetsis, Lysandre, and Giovanni. Also the Aether Foundation from Pokemon Sun and Moon I guess, but who cares about that? This means whole new encounters with fan favorites along with remixes of amazing songs for their new battles. The question we all ask now is, who’s the best villain? Which ones were the most effective, most devious, or most memorable villain of the bunch? Well, I’m going to go through and give a short rundown on what each villain accomplished or failed to accomplish in their respective game. There will probably be a few lore errors, and if you have a problem you can email me at this webzone email@example.com; I’ll even give you a pizza roll. Only one though.
Team Rocket’s Giovanni
The original gangster, or mobster in his case, Giovanni did surprisingly little in his first appearance in Red and Blue. He battles you a few times, and after you beat him he just kinda disappears. Team Rocket’s goal is simple, they want to steal pokemon. For what end? I dunno; sell them on the black market, I guess. The anime did a much better job at characterizing Giovanni and made his goals much clearer. He wants to control Mewtwo so he can an ultra-powerful pokemon that no one would be able to defeat, which is why he ordered the creation of Mewtwo in the first place, a being as powerful as the mythical Mew. Giovanni in the games, however, just kinda stands there. He did send you through spinning tile puzzle Hell though, which makes him a truly evil mastermind. What will he do as leader of Team Rainbow Rocket? Probably about the same thing he usually does, stand there and monologue. One thing is for certain though, Giovanni definitely isn’t winning any “Dad of the Year” awards, as per usual.
Team Aqua’s Archie
Archie was easily the more likable of the two villains from Gen 3, because who doesn’t like pirates or beards? His personality was also great and is even better in Alpha Sapphire. He’s bold, buff, hearty, and is a great leader for his team. His plan is also the less dumb one of two, though still very dumb. He wants to expand the oceans so water pokemon can prosper, because the oceans aren’t big enough. Anyone who’s played Ruby and Sapphire knows this is factually incorrect, as it feels like most of Hoenn is water. Some would argue that there is, in fact, 7.8/10 too much water in Hoenn. So he makes it rain, but Kyogre is a big ancient stone whale who don’t take orders from no one. It’s good to note that Archie in Ultra Sun and Moon has the original design from the Gameboy Advance games, rather than his redesign in the remakes. What does this mean? Well, that’s a great question, but first we need to talk about parallel universes.
Team Magma’s Maxie
Maxie is a smart guy with conviction and facts behind what he’s doing. He’s definitely the smarter of the two, at least in general terms. Maxie could probably beat Archie in a spelling bee. Maxie was also always the good of the two for me, considering I played Pokemon Sapphire as a kid. His plan is actually the dumbest plan in all of Pokemon, including the teams in the spin-off games, including Team Snagem’s non-plan of “steal pokemon because we want friends”. He wants to expand the land for the land pokemon. How does he go about this? Well, obviously you intensify the sun to dry up the oceans. What do you mean “water cycle?” This plan is mathematically perfect! You can argue that Groudon could control the weather to prevent rain from happening, but inevitably rain has to fall. Maxie’s plan failed before you even interfered with it. He has his old design, similarly to Archie, which probably doesn’t actually mean much in the long run.
Team Galactic’s Cyrus
Cyrus is probably my favorite villain from the mainline Pokemon games. He’s just so fantastic. He’s intimidating, cold, calculated but still a great public speaker and leader. There’s a reason he has so many devout followers within Team Galactic. Hell, I’d join Team Galactic if I had the choice. He doesn’t talk down to you like a child, at least for the most part; he talks to you as if you were another person. His plan is the most convoluted of any Pokemon villain and weirdly enough the most successful. He wants to summon Dialga and Palkia by using the captured Lake Guardians. He then wants to control Dialga and Palkia so he can literally reshape reality and make him the god of the new world. How freaking cool is that? If you played Pokemon Platinum, you also know he basically would’ve succeeded if not for interference from Giratina. His battle theme is also easily my favorite of any villain leader minus Colress, who isn’t technically Team Plasma’s leader in Pokemon Black and White 2. If anyone should be interesting to see interpreted in Ultra Sun and Moon, it’s Cyrus.
Team Plasma’s Ghetsis
I never liked Ghetsis much. I know people thought he was deep, manipulative, intimidating, and complex, but to me he always seemed very one-dimensional. N was a much, much better villain with a significantly better battle theme. On the surface, he tells N and the world that Team Plasma is only about freeing pokemon from their owners. That’s an interesting idea, right? The ethics of Pokemon is a really interesting topic to discuss with the zero friends you have, because you are concerned about the ethics of Pokemon. Ghetsis, however, is a big meanie, liar-face who just wants to use the legendary pokemon to have ultimate power. Surprise! Both games he’s actually relatively successful though, getting his message across to the people in Black and White then legit ice-nuking Unova in Black 2 and White 2. He 100% also tries to murder your character in Black 2 and White 2, which shows how little remorse he has. He’s cold-blooded and evil, but that’s where it stops. What will he do as a member of Rainbow Rocket? Hopefully try to murder the protagonist again, because that’s what he does best.
Team Flare’s Lysandre
Lysandre is my favorite non-surprise villain twist in all of video games. What a shock that this man with ridiculous hair talking about wiping mankind off the face of the planet is evil! Who’d of thunk it? Lysandre is big, has an honest and good heart, and is a man of great fashion sense. Team Flare has some of my favorite villain designs second only to Team Skull, and Lysandre rocks his outfit. It’s a shame his battle theme is just a remix of the normal Team Flare battle theme. Lysandre is probably the least effective villain in all of Pokemon history, considering his plan never even gets close to succeeding. His giant space laser just kind of breaks after you catch the legendary powering it, and he dies. He is probably one of the first major villains who has a death in-game, though maybe he got out. How else would he be in Rainbow Rocket? To be honest though, like most of Pokemon X and Y, Lysandre is just a little underwhelming as a villain. Maybe they’ll improve him in Ultra Sun and Moon? I honestly doubt it, but at least he’ll look good while doing nothing.
Aether Foundation Faba
Who? The short guy? The guy who gets mocked and ridiculed by freaking Hau of all poeple? Nah mate, he’s not gonna be doing anything worthwhile. He wasn’t even the leader of the Aether Foundation, the much more interesting and cool Lusamine, but it’s speculated she’s going to be helping the protagonists rather than hurting them. I didn’t remember he even existed until writing this, and I played Sun and Moon again fairly recently. You know who could’ve taken his place? MASTER GREEVIL! Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness was such a fantastic game, and Master Greevil was a great villain who definitely wasn’t suspicious the first time you met him. He did turn over a new leaf at the end of the game though, so maybe he’s just not evil enough. Or, I dunno, MIROR B! The man with the best battle theme in Pokemon history from Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness, beating out HIMSELF from Pokemon Colosseum. Miror B and his afro deserve to return in another Pokemon game, though Nintendo doesn’t like talking about the Gamecube Pokemon games. Probably because nothing on the Gamecube sold well other than Melee.
Will this nostalgia-fest of a villain team actually be effective? Will any of the villains have personality traits outside of one that extends to their whole character? And where the hell is Team Cypher or Team Snagem in all of this mess? The answer to all of those questions is probably a series of shrugs and then back flips to make you forget you asked the questions in the first place. I’m just hoping Ultra Sun and Moon will be worth the money I’m paying for another Pokemon game not even a year after the previous one. How can Nintendo keep getting away with this? They have all my money anyways. Please Nintendo, leave my wallet alone! It’s so empty and fragile.
Sources: Kotaku, YouTube
Images: YouTube, Bulbapedia, Kotaku
Tanner is both a Telecommunications and Theatrical Studies major. Tanner keeps a large collection of gaming related stuffed animals. Self-proclaimed expert in all things related to former Indiana governor Paul V. McNutt. Has beaten the PSP version of Final Fantasy in under two hours.