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[Theory] PokéSpe: Is Kusaka going to break the name tradition?


Well-Known Member
Okay, I wanted to have published this before, but I didn't finish to write it until now.

I think Kusaka might be planning to break from the name tradition, and he might be considering this for a while. I mentioned this theory before, but I never completely explained my reasoning, so, here we go.

This post is long, so some stuff I wanted to mention was turned into footnotes for a better text flow. There's also a TL;DR before the footnotes.

Before we go into the meat of this theory, let's first get a review of the name tradition.
As all PokéSpe fans know, the manga likes to name its main characters after the games. This is what I call this the "name tradition". I use this name for so long that I don't remember if I made that term up, or if I saw it in a Brazilian fan site, but it's what I'll call it here.

But anyway, here's the history of the naming tradition.

PokéSpe started in 1997 with what was later named the Red, Green, and Blue chapter, based on the three games that were out at that point. The first three main characters were Red, based on the game protagonist, Green, based on the Rival from the game, and Blue, based on an unnamed girl from the guidebook cover, who would later serve as the basis for the female protagonist on the remakes. They were named after the three games that were already out.
This formed the core of the Pokémon main series's main characters for a few generations: Two player characters, and a Rival. We also had the Starters distributed among the trio, and eventually we had a total of three Pokédexes. The Starters themselves all coming from the Professor, as would be the case in the games for most Generations.

Then, Game Freak started to make another Gen 1 game, but based on the anime, titled Pocket Monsters Pikachu. A PokéSpe arc based on the game started a few months before the game's release, with a new protagonist whose name was not stated. Only in October, after the game's release in Japan, was the name "Yellow" revealed, according to notes here.
This made Yellow the first PokéSpe main character to not be named after a game, as her game's Japanese title is Pikachu.
You could say the English title counts, but Kusaka and Mato couldn't know about it at the time. They probably chose the name "Yellow" to keep the color pattern, and because they couldn't have a human with a Pokémon name. We'll only see that kinda if Game Freak ever names a game Pokémon Kabuto and Kuwagata.(*1)

So Yellow was an unorthodox protagonist in every sense: Original design, not named after a game, without a traditional Starter, even having a borrowed one, and without a Pokédex of her own, again borrowing someone else's. The latter point put Yellow in a weird limbo where she was considered a Pokédex holder, but didn't own a Pokedex, a limbo that would later be solved in the FRLG chapter.

The Yellow arc also introduced the resonance sound, where three Pokédexes produce a sound when they are in proximity and in the hand of their true owners.

Moving on to Generation 2, we have the Gold, Silver, and Crystal chapter. At first it starred only Gold and Silver, named after English translations of Kin and Gin. Then later, after Crystal Version was released, we had Crystal, based on the game's new female protagonist. From that point on, the games started using English names in Japan, instead of Japanese words. This makes Crystal the first Pokédex holder whose name is not a translation of a game title.
Furthermore, the games introduced Minaki (Eusine), a character whose name is apparently derived from the kanji for "crystal". Though not exactly a main character in PokéSpe, in the old days he had a profile page in the website, though so did Crystal's mother.

After two Generations, we have established two patterns.
First, we have three characters: The boy, the girl, and the Rival. The Starter distribution goes so the boy is beaten by the Rival, who is beaten by the girl, who is beaten by the boy.

Second, after we change a protagonist between Generations, the next protagonist's Starter is of type strong against the previous one's.
So Red has Bulbasaur, and Gold has Cyndaquil, meaning the third Generation one would have the Water Starter.

Then came Ruby and Sapphire. These games were the first to give you two Rivals. However, one was the opposite player character, a concept that would be reused in Generations 4 and 6, so we still had just three characters. Mitsuru (Wally), however, couldn't be named by the player and was the first Rival to not have a Starter.
After some discussion, Kusaka and Yamamoto decided Sapphire was the female protagonist, and not the Rival, meaning that Ruby would get Mudkip and Sapphire would get Torchic. Treecko's fate would take longer to decide.

The RS chapter was at one point renamed Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald chapter in the magazines. In the 2004 September and October issues of Shogaku Grade 6 magazines, we had a 2-part story titled "Departure! The Third Pokédex Holder", which was about Mitsuru beginning training in the Sky Pillar.
As we can see, Kusaka chose Mitsuru to be the third Dex Holder. It made sense because he was a Rival, and had a green hair. He would be the first Dex Holder whose name was completely unrelated to a game title, even retroactively.
To compensate for this, Kusaka put an entire green theme on Mitsuru to make him a full-fledged representant of Pokémon Emerald. So Emerald had Treecko, an entirely green team, and even got green clothes. And he even fought Rayquaza in the third part of "Departure! The Third Pokédex Holder", published on December 2004 in Pokémon Wonderland vol. 3. Said chapter we currently know as chapter 258.

But then, something strange happened. On Pokémon Wonderland vol. 5, published on July 2005, almost an entire year after Emerald's Japanese release, the Battle Frontier chapter started publication, starring an original character named Emerald.
Clearly, Mitsuru was intended to be the third Dex Holder, even appearing in promo art with the third Pokédex and Sceptile. But when the volumes came, the scene where Mitsuru registers himself on the Pokédex is edited to display an error, and Grovyle never evolves into Sceptile while in his team.

For some reason, Kusaka changed his mind about the third Dex Holder, and this decision was a very late one. Some believe it was because he would be too ill to take on the Battle Frontier. I personally believed it was either meddling from some higher-up, or Kusaka wanting to explain the sillhouette in chapter 150.(*2)
However, this Reddit thread offers a better theory: There would be no way to write a character arc for him in the Battle Frontier.

Regardless of the true reason, we can say this change sort of strengthened the name tradition. It also left Mitsuru on a similar limbo as Yellow: A character with a borrowed Pokédex and a borrowed Starter, with the difference being that he was no longer a main character.

In Gen 3, we also had FRLG, which introduced upgraded Pokédexes. This allowed to solve Yellow's weird limbo by giving Red's old Pokédex to her. However, Green and Blue's old Pokédexes are destroyed, closing the door on the possibility of them receiving new owners.
The arc also introduced the ultimate moves, a concept that would be important until the finale of the Emerald chapter, which also introduced Volt Tackle as the fourth ultimate move.

The DP games went with a more traditional Rival, keeping the number of characters to 3. But this time, PokéSpe decided it didn't want to wait for the third version, and just had the three characters travel together from the start, but hid Platinum's name until the game's release.
Ironically, that was the last time the franchise did a traditional third game, and makes me wonder what they would have done if Platinum had never been released. Demote Platinum from main character status, or abandon the strictness of the name tradition?

Like in Gen 3, Gen 4 had remakes, this time of Johto. Once again new Pokédex models were introduced. The remakes gave a new name to the male protagonist and replaced the classic female protagonist with a new character named Kotone (Lyra). Kusaka simply had Crystal wear Kotone's clothes, as the two characters didn't coexist in the same game. It's possible he didn't even see them as separate.
Anyway, HGSS simply had the Johto use the new Pokédexes with no explanation to what happened to the old ones. We are simply meant to assume they are back with Professor Utsugi.

Gen 5... Is where things start to fall apart.
BW had the usual male and female protagonists, but it also had three Rivals! One that gets the Starter strong against yours, one that gets the Starter weak against yours, and one that gets the other game's cover Legendary. And none of these is the opposite protagonist or can be named, so we get a total of five characters to have three Starters and represent two games.
So what Kusaka did? He gave a Pokédex to Black, and the other two being damaged to prevent Cheren and Bel from being official Pokédex Holders, buying time for White and the third game.
He also did something unusual: He gave White a Tepig, the same Starter as Black, instead of the tradition-mandated Snivy, who was apparently claimed by Cheren.

Eventually, White gets a Servine while her Tepig goes to N, and it's revealed there's two sets of Starters, a clever use of the fact there's two Professors. In hindsight, Bubu (Gigi) existing was probably foreshadowing the existence of two sets, and probably Kusaka's plan was to have the six Starters being divided among six characters: Black, Cheren, Bel, White, N, and "Gray", an original character to represent Kyurem's game.

Except there is no Gray, and instead we get Black 2 and White 2 for the sole purpose of destroying the manga's traditions. Well, not really, but that is kind of what it's achieving.
B2W2 adds a new pair of protagonists, and a single Rival of the old school fashion, that you can name and everything. So we now have 8 characters, four games, and two sets of Starters.

As B2W2 looms, Kusaka gives Bel's Pokédex to White, and destroys Cheren's. The fandom collectively loses their minds for months trying to guess what Kusaka is going to do for B2W2. The first chapter to be released is focused on Hue, who has his default name and not one based on the game titles, and is about the day his sister's Purrloin is stolen by Team Plasma.
Everyone thinks "This is our protagonist. We'll have Black and White wearing the B2W2 player clothes, with Hue to complete the trio. This will be different from other times and the traditional setup is saved."


Instead, we get introduced to two weirdos named Lack-Two and Whi-Two. Lack-Two gets a Starter and Whi-Two doesn't. They get Pokédexes and Hue doesn't. The arc gets a gazillion hiatuses (read more here), and we get introduced to a third set of Starters.
Unusually, the new protagonists' names are not the same as the games, but that's likely because having characters named "Blacktwo" and "Whitetwo" would be awkward.(*3)

XY then gives us four Rivals, bringing us to a total of 5 characters. In a forced attempt to keep the name tradition, Kusaka has one of the Starters and Pokédex being blown away, to buy time for the release of a Pokémon Z game. Many fans thought GF would instead follow B2W2's footsteps and release X2 and Y2 or XZ and YZ, specially with a datamine implying Gen 6 was supposed to have two more games. I personally believe the plan was Z and Delta Emerald (read my theory here). In keeping with tradition, X and Y had their game names, but the other Rivals, Sana, Tierno, and Trova, would travel with them, but would not be treated as main characters.

For the Starter type rotation pattern, PokéSpe did something strange. So far the rotation was the following: Red, Grass -> Gold, Fire -> Ruby, Water -> Diamond, Grass -> Black, Fire. Because the rotation so far was by Generation, you would expect X to have the Water Starter and Lack-Two to fill the Rival role. But instead, continuing the weirdness of Gen 5, Lack-Two/Water was counted as part of the rotation, and X received the Grass Starter instead.

The games did something unusual: The Professor, Platane (Sycamore), offers a second set of Starters, the Kanto ones, to the player early in the game, instead of the postgame as usually done. This is possibly related to development stuff.(*4) While this could have been an opportunity to give Starters to the other three kids, Kusaka instead had X receive a second Starter, while the other two just continued with the Professor.
At one point it became clear there would be no third game at all, and Kusaka had the third Pokédex be destroyed, and Fennekin join Pachira's (Malva) team. In the finale, Fennekin, now a Delphox, was returned to Trova to join the group of friends, but it was not shown who would become its Trainer, perhaps so Kusaka could decide in the volumes.

Afterwards we got Hoenn remakes: Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Once again, the Hoenn trio has the new Pokédexes and we're not shown what happens to the old ones.
The ORAS games also introduce two new characters, Lutia (Lisia) and Kazura (Chaz), who are arguably the player's Contest Rivals. However, that doesn't seem to be acknowledged by the fandom.

The Sun and Moon games for the first time had the Starters not being connected to the Professor, but PokéSpe still had Kukui giving them, showing Kusaka considers this part of the manga's tradition. The games had the usual two player characters, and also two Rivals, Hau and Gladio, but it also did something new. For the first time, it introduced a main character that is not part of either category: Lillie. So once again we have a total of 5 characters.
PokéSpe once again had Sun and Moon have Starters and Pokédexes, but did nothing about the third Starter early on. It also said nothing about a third Pokédex existing. Instead, it just said Sun's Pokédex was not the only one, but was vague on whether only two existed. And after Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were announced, Hau was given the third Starter Popplio. No character representing the USUM games was created.

Now we are in Sword and Shield. Once again the game has two players and three non-player Rivals, bringing a total of five characters. And also, it has DLC that introduces two new Rivals, bringing the number to at least seven. And I say "at least" because we might have more Rivals for the Crown Tundra.

This time the manga did unusual thigs. First, the main characters aren't named exactly the game titles. Instead they have names that are derived from "sword" and "shield", but are not identical to the game titles. Additionally, they have surnames that are Japanese translations of the games' titles, in what is basically a reversion of the Gen 1 and 2 naming conventions.

Second, is an apparent break of the Starter rotation cycle. In SM, Sun has the Fire-type Litten and Moon has the Grass-type Rowlet. The rotation cycle implies Soudo should have Water-type Sobble while Shieldmillia gets Fire-type Scorbunny. While Shieldmillia did get Scorbunny, Soudo instead got Grookey, the Grass-type Starter.
The reason for this apparent Water-type skip is unknown. The SwSh setup has it so the female protagonist gets the Starter strong against the male, also a break from the pattern rules. Finally, the third Starter, Sobble, was given to Manabu (Marvin), a character based on a random NPC Trainer.

Additional info
Before I dig into my theory there are some bits of info I want to mention.

The scrapped "Snatch arc"
Recently, I found some old Q&A answers from Kusaka where he said he wanted to make an arc based on Pokémon Colosseum. Specifically, question 151 and question 257, which he specifically called "Snatch arc", although the first time is because the fan from Q151 used that name.
While the Snatch arc didn't happen, it's likely such an arc would have broken the name tradition, as we have two main characters, but only one game. Though it's likely Kusaka would have done something like naming them Losseum and Colossia. It would, at the very least, break the rule of "Just as many main characters as games", a slogan that was up in the official site during the early days.

As for why the arc didn't happen, I gave my theory here in my reply to Lolipiece, but TL;DR, there were problems with the serialization of Emerald, and when Kusaka and Yamamoto finally finished, Pokémon Platinum was already out. There was no way a Colosseum arc could exist without delaying DP being collected, and doing it would imply doing its sequel XD later.

Kusaka and insider info
It has been mentioned on Twitter at some point that Kusaka and Yamamoto have access to beta versions of the games. Kusaka is also part of the editorial board for Pokémon Fan. We don't know, however, how much insider info, if any, they have on the games.

However, there's these two tweets by Yamamoto from November 16, the day after SwSh's release. The tweets say these things:
-Yamamoto'ss SwSh copies haven't arrived yet. He has drawn the first chapter without playing the game.
-Yamamoto received LGPE copies from his editors before, but was unable to play due not having a Switch. His Switch has been charging since the morning. The wording implies his Switch is literally new.

We don't know what was Kusaka's experience. He hasn't tweeted since August 2017.

Other Pokédexes in the games
In the DP games, Shirona (Cynthia), a character that was neither playable nor a Rival, was mentioned to have owned a Pokédex. This was a first for the games. While Pokédexes are implied to be common in the games' world, to my knowledge, the only non-player and non-Rival characters to mention having Pokédexes are Shirona and Dexio. Additionally, Lutia in ORAS at one point says she has been thinking about filling a Pokédex.

The Alola protagonists
There's an odd situation regarding the protagonists of the Alola games: Each of them has two names they are associated with from pre-release trailers.
-The SM ones are You (Elio) and Midzuki (Selene), which are derived from "sun" and "moon". The name Midzuki has been used in official merchandise.
-The USUM ones are Kouta (Ray) and Koumi (Ailey), which are derived from "light", Necrozma's element.

Because of these names, some fans interpret the player characters of both games as separate.
The easiest argument against that is that the characters are just wearing different clothes and you can customize them to look like their SM designs.
However, it can also be argued that Kouta and Koumi are thematic names, which only happen for canon names. Also, the dark skin options for SM and USUM are different.

Personally, I see this as similar to the debate of whether Leaf and LGPE Blue are different characters. While the Alola pairs being different characters is an interpretation I'm skeptical about, there is
an official image that depicts them as separate.

Possible USUM and LGPE arcs
As you know, the SM arc was renamed to Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon. And the SwSh arc has started without an LGPE arc happening. This has led many to believe USUM and LGPE arcs won't happen, but I'm not so sure.

First of all, Yamamoto was asked in November about LGPE. His answer was an ambiguous one: "As fas as I can answer now, there are no plans to do it, but also no plans to not do it". That in itself implies it at least hasn't been ruled out.
Second, the RS arc was at one point renamed to RSE in its magazine run, but reverted to just RS in the volumes.

And third, the ending of the SM arc has elements that seem to be foreshadowing both USUM and LGPE. Lillie goes to Kanto, which could be foreshadowing LGPE. And Sauboh (Faba) gets lost in Ultra Space, which could a setup for him forming Rainbow Rocket or bringing them to Alola. Out of all Ultra Space areas, Ultra Ruin, which is pretty clearly an alternate universe Hau'oli, is the only one that has not been mentioned so far.

And while weaker evidence, Sun and Moon still haven't worn their hats. In the DP arc, the Sinnoh wore their Pt clothes for a short scene, then quickly reverted to their DP designs until the Pt arc.

It's possible Kusaka and Yamamoto want to wait a while before deciding whether to make these arcs, to see if their workload eases up.

Now, the moment you've been waiting for: The theory
With the review done and the additional info out of the way, it's finally time to delve into the theory. I think Kusaka is going to break the name tradition, and he might be building up to it for some time. Why? Well, let's see the evidence.

Shirona is implied to be a former Dex Holder
Yes, you read that right. When I was reading the DP arc, this really caught me by surprise. No one in the fandom ever talks about it this. Bulbapedia doesn't even mention it.
There are two scenes where Shirona alludes to being a former Dex Holder. When she first meets the trio, she notices their Pokédexes, and when they leave she comments on being nostalgic. And second, when she learns they gave up their Pokédexes to save the lake Pokémon, Shirona comments on how she understands what a sacrifice it was.

Looking at the Q&A section, there's question 380:
Question 380 said:
Professor Ōkido created the Pokédex, but who was the first Trainer to receive it? Was it Green? But in the games (Diamond and Pearl), I think Shirona says something like "I also used to travel with a Pokédex"...... That really caught my eye!
(Question from user Ura-san)
Yeah, that line only appears shortly in the games, but it also caught my eye (laugh). Well, I might include it in the manga, so pay attention to the story. Shirona is also the first female Champion, and her introduction in the Grade 6 June 2007 issue had many positive reactions. (Kusaka)
Discussions about the Pokédex in PokéSpe usually are limited to the player characters and Rivals, but as we can see, Kusaka actually commented on the possibility of another character getting one.
And while PokéSpe never confirmed it, the implications are still there. Why he was so willing to do it, despite being super strict about the name tradition immediately after Gen 4, might be due to a possible Orre arc still being on his mind at the time. There's not much way to fit the Orre games in the name tradition.

The lack of confirmation might be a product of timing. Due to the Grade 5 and 6 magazines ceasing publication, the Pt arc was cut short. It's possible Kusaka didn't find a way to fit the revelation in the volume-only parts (which, by the way, include the entirety of volume 40). It might happen when we get DP remakes.

One other thing that is notable, is the whole deal with Draco Meteor is somewhat similar to the ultimate moves. It is the strongest Dragon-type move, a tutor move in the games, and Shirona has to train to be able to use it. You could say it's the fifth ultimate move. And what's more, in the manga's entire history, Shirona's Garchomp is the only Pokémon to ever use it. Only one, despite lots of Dragon Trainers existing after Gen 4.
Keep Draco Meteor in mind because I'll bring it up again.

Hue and the Unova Starters
BW and B2W2 are where things get weird. Despite being willing to break the name tradition before in RS and seemingly DP, Kusaka got super rigid with it in BW. But then in B2W2, there are signs he may be stepping back.

The first thing to note is how important how appears to be in the B2W2 arc. He has a much larger role than Cheren or Bel ever had in BW, although their roles were expanded in this arc. He is in almost every chapter. The first-ever B2W2 thing to be published was a prologue about him. And top it off he was given a Starter in the finale. It's almost like Kusaka is buliding him to be a Dex Holder.

The second is Lack-Two and Whi-Two's backstories: Lack-Two is an investigator undercover in the Trainers' School, and Whi-Two is a former Plasma grunt trying who has gone into hiding. Because of those stories, there's a high chance that the names "Lack-Two" and "Whi-Two", chosen just to keep the name tradition, may not be their real names.
Yes, I know there's a scene where Whi-Two's mother actually calls her Whi-Two, so there's that hole. But what I'm saying is, Kusaka knew from the start he would work on B2W2 during Gen 6. Therefore, he would be able to see whether B2W2 was an one-off thing or if sequels would be the new thing. So, it's possible he made this call so he could have the option to change their names if he came to the conclusion the name tradition was obsolete. After all, if there no longer third versions, the "rule of 3", 3 characters, 3 Pokémon, 3 Pokédexes, couldn't hold up.

For what it's worth, the amount of time B2W2 has been running allowed Kusaka to insert SM references in the arc. We had a Kuchinashi (Nanu) cameo, and a reference to Burnet being a fan of wrestling.

The third thing is how the Starters were handled in B2W2. Lack-Two starts with a Dewott, while Whi-Two doesn't have a Starter early on. Cheren's Snivy also appears in the very first chapter. However, while Bel appears in the first two chapters, her Oshawott is nowhere to be seen. Only her Lampent is shown.

Due to a reference to Dewott's scalchop having broken once, it was theorized at one point that Lack-Two's Dewott and Bel's Oshawott were the same Pokémon.(*5) Reading the line in volume 52, I'm not sure if that implication is possible, but I don't know if that line was different in the magazine run.

While I always interpreted Dewott's existence as foreshadowing a third set of Starters, I can't help but admit that Kusaka might have intended for it to be Bel's Oshawott at one point. In that case, the intent might have been for Lack-Two to have Bel's Oshawott, Whi-Two to have Bubu-chan, and maybe Hue have Cheren's Snivy.

Bel's Oshawott would only appear in B2W2 in chapter 541, which was published after the USUM games were announced. This makes it so Lack-Two's Dewott the first DH's Starter Pokémon to not come from a Professor, barring some eleventh hour reveal in the unreleased volumes. This fact, in and of itself, is a break from the manga's traditions. Even in the SM and SwSh arcs the Starters come from the Professors, despite not doing so in the games.

Finally, to complete a third set of Starters, the manga introduced a Pignite belonging to Banjirou (Benga), and a Snivy belonging to a Plasma grunt, who later defects to Hue. Both of these introductions happened long after USUM's release. Due to Starters usually being associated with the Pokédex and Professors, the existence of such a number of Starters is curious, which brings me to my next point.

The absence of the resonance sound in B2W2
This is something that was first brought up in 5ch. When Black, White, Lack-Two, and Whi-Two are all together for the first time, their Pokédexes don't resonate. This is notable for a bunch of reasons.
First is that, ever since the introduction of the resonance sound in the Yellow arc, every time all Pokédex holders from one region meet, the resonance happens. It happened in GSC when Crystal met Gold and Silver. It happened in Emerald when Ruby and Sapphire met Rald. It happened constantly in DP. Even when the first 10 Dex Holders gathered, all of their Pokédexes resonated.

It was even explicitly stated before in DP: "When 3 Pokédexes of the same model are close, and in the hand of its true owner, they resonate". I don't remember if those were the exact words, but that was the meaning. Well, here we have 4 Pokédexes of the same model, meaning we implicitly have 3 in the same place, and yet there's no resonance.

Of course, you can say the Unova Pokédex is the first time they have more than 3, so it's different, and they can't resonate because Cheren's Pokédex was destroyed, so we have one missing. But let's go back to the legendary gathering of 10: All of the Dexes resonated, including Yellow's.
Yellow's Pokédex is a first model, of which two were destroyed. In theory, it shouldn't be able to resonate. And yet it did. In theory, a resonance of "every Pokédex ever" should require 12 to happen, and yet it happened with 10.

In short, there's no evidence that a destroyed Pokédex should prevent a resonance to happen. Which means, a lack of resonance could be evidence there's more Unova Pokédexes around. In that case, it means a break from tradition.

Couple that with the large number of Starters, and we could be building up to all the Rivals: Cheren, Bel, N, and Hue, all getting Pokédexes. Hue is already getting Snivy. It's unlikely Samurott would remain with Araragi the Father in the end, as Starters always go to a Trainer, so maybe it would go to N. I know some think N getting a Pokédex doesn't make sense, but with his character development, it might happen. And anyway, his reason for not liking the Pokédex makes more sense in the games.(*6)

The odd one out is Banjirou's Pignite. I find it unlikely Banjirou would get a Pokédex. If you asked me to guess a 9th Unova Dex Holder I would pick Iris(*7), though I don't think it's actually gonna happen. Banjirou having a Pignite feels more a means to complete the third set in the first place.

I think Banjirou will give his Pignite to Whi-Two, maybe even as a way to flirt with her or something. Per the rotation pattern, Whi-Two should have a Fire-type Starter. While most people are saying she'll have Bubu (Gigi), I actually think the Tepig is going to stay with White. Buoh and Bubu are often paired as a couple, which mirrors Black and White, just like RURU and Kiruru, and Pika and Chuchu. Giving Bubu to Whi-Two would feel off because it would break from that. And while Whi-Two worked with Bubu in the finale, it could be a temporary thing.

So the final setup would be Black with Buoh, White with Amanda and Bubu, N with Samurott, Cheren with Servine, Bel with Oshawott, Lack-Two with Dewott, Whi-Two with Pignite, and Hue with Snivy. Nine Starters, 8 Dex Holders.

You might find it unlikely for the Rivals to get Pokédexes this late in the game, but remember in RGB Blue didn't get her Pokédex until literally the penultimate chapter.

Kalos group
Unlike with BW, where Cheren and Bel were sidelined, Kusaka seems to follow Hue's footsteps with the Rivals in XY. Rather than sidelining them, Sana, Tierno, and Trova all travel with X and Y. It's possible this was done, again, in case Kusaka later decided to break the name tradition.

At any rate, the XY arc didn't give them Pokédexes, but technically speaking the XY arc isn't exactly done. There's still the full volumes that need to come out, and we have no way to know what will be added.

About Starters, my theory when the XY arc started was that those three would get the Kanto Starters, but X got Charmander, likely just because of Mega Charizard X. Now, I think Delphox is going to go to Sana, because in the last chapter it's said it was being protected by her Furfrou, while Bulbasaur and Squirtle might go to Trova and Tierno.

Alternatelly, there's one other thing I think could happen is Matiere (Emma) receiving the Pokédex that was with Fennikin. I'm still in volume 2 of XY, so I don't know how exactly major she is, but on Bulbapedia, Super10ZX has her on their list of major supporting characters, along with a list of chapters she's in (her alter ego in his list of antagonists), so I'm trusting that. I've recently read some game-related XY thread somewhere, maybe Bulbagarden but I'm not sure, where one of the comments mentions how Matiere is basically the protagonist's fifth friend. In a way, that's sort of spot-on, specially with XY basically being about friends rather than Rivals (Masuda said at the time they don't really use the term "Rival" at Game Freak, despite later using the term in the official sites of LGPE and SwSh). I think it fits.

So, the third Pokédex is seized by Team Flare along with Fennekin, and destroyed by accident without any noticing. That seems like a narrative waste meant to preserve the manga's main gimmick. But in theory, the full volumes can change it so instead the Pokémon is given to Matiere/Esprit and done. As for a Starter, I don't really know. I can't see duplicate Starters happening in Kalos, except for maybe another Greninja?

Volume 6 says Kerokero has Battle Bond. While Ash-Greninja needs to be showcased at one point, I'm not sure if giving Ash-Greninja to Y is necessarily the best move, because I feel like whenever Megas come back to the games and Kalos Starters get them, normal Greninja will be able to Mega Evolve, but Battle Bond Greninja won't. Though I admit that the only way this could be retconned is if it happened in SwSh's Expansion Pass. The two new Regis do have X and Y symbols on their faces, so who knows?

It's also possible Kusaka could just ignore Starters altogether and treat Espurr as Matiere's mascot, despite it not having any kind of signature move or ultimate move. Then, if XY remakes introduce Kalosian forms for the Kanto Starters(*8), just give her one in the remake arc.

If Kusaka does decide to break the name tradition, I think Sana, Tierno, and Trova are likely to become Dex Holders. Matiere less likely but could. I don't see Dexio and Sina happening, despite what the games say, due to how minor they are in PokéSpe. With Shirona, she was actually a major character, and a popular one at that. Dexio and Sina, I'm not sure if they are popular.

Hoenn and old Pokédexes
Now back to Hoenn. This is interesting because Mitsuru was once intended to be third Hoenn DH. With new Pokédex models and data transfer, Mitsuru could be Yellow'ed into having Emerald's old Pokédex. At any rate, we are sure to get more Mitsuru in the full volumes because, if I remember correctly, PokéSPedia hinted at him being the one to use Mega Altaria.

Now about that, why Mega Altaria? Sure, Altaria is one of the Pokémon he has in the games, just like Magnezone. And since Gardevoir is already taken by Ruby, and they decided to give Gallade to Sapphire for shipping purposes, Mitsuru needed a different Mega Pokémon. But why Altaria, the one that is already the ace of another game character? I've thought about that sometimes since I learned of that PokéSPedia trivia.

The first theory I came up with about it being close to green (see Green Is Blue on TV Tropes), doesn't make sense because Magnezone shows Kusaka is no longer invested in giving him a green-only team, and if he was, Mega Tyranitar is unclaimed.

More recently, I looked at the list of Pokémon that can Mega Evolve to see if I could find a clue. Then, I noticed one thing: Out of every Pokémon that can Mega Evolve, there's only three non-legendaries that can use Draco Meteor: Garchomp, Altaria, and Salamence. Kusaka might have been saving Mega Garchomp for Shirona. Salamence is already taken by Higana (Zinnia), and is a major plot-related Pokémon, so repetition was unlikely. And there's no way Mitsuru is ever catching Latios, Latias, or Rayquaza. By elimination, only Altaria was left.

And why Draco Meteor? Well, like I said before, it's the fifth ultimate move.

As for Lutia and Kazura, I don't think that's gonna happen. They aren't seen as Rivals by the fandom, and one of them most forget exists. That could change if DP remakes introduce a Contest Rival, but it would need to happen at most in 2021 to affect PokéSpe.
But looking at Bulbapedia's synopsis, those two do nothing in the arc. I don't think Kusaka would expand them that much.

The Alola calendar poster
While the ones from Unova, Kalos, and Mitsuru are somewhat weak and inconcrete evidence, and I admit I could just be affected by confirmation bias. After all, the breaking of the name tradition, which would allow Rivals to become Dex Holders again, is something I really want to happen. However, with Alola, I think we have more solid evidence.

First of all, unlike BW and XY, the SM arc had no shenanigans with the Pokédex and Starters, which could feel repetitive three times in a row. Sun has Litten, named Yen, from the get-go, then Moon gets Rowlet seven months later. Hau is first seen with Popplio three months after USUM's release. No third Pokédex is mentioned, but we know Moon got hers offscreen.

Then we had the 2018 calendar, the last page of which features an illustration we see not only Sun and Moon, but also Hau, Gladio, and Lillie. While Sun and Moon are indeed more in the foreground than the others, the fact this group illustration exists makes it seem like we're meant to think of all of them as main characters in the arc.
That, in my opinion, is the strongest existing evidence that Kusaka is considering to allow Rivals to become Dex Holders again. I know some people find the notion of Hau being a main character strange because of his small role, but with volume expansions he could do a lot more. I'm pretty sure we'll get chapters following his training.

Furthermore, no characters named the USUM games were introduced. That is somewhat a break from tradition. While that could be due to plans to create a separate USUM arc in the full volumes, I'm not sure they would put new protagonists in that arc. I would rather they use the game titles, and make surnames based on them for Hau, Gladio, and Lillie. So, for example, Hau would be Hau Ultsun, and the siblings would be Ulmoon.

Also, while weaker evidence, the official website never added character profiles for Sun and Moon. In fact, despite having character profiles of the protagonists of each arc for years, the official website now has that section as under construction, and has done so for a long time. It could be that they're waiting a volume-only reveal of the name tradition no longer being absolute to update that section to say "oh look, the Rivals are main characters again", but it could just be that they're saving money by not paying someone to update it.

About Starters, Hau has Popplio, but then there's Gladio and Lillie. In my opinion, instead of using Starters, we could get Solgaleo and Lunala, game mascots like the Kanto Starters, as replacement for those. Gladio gets Solgaleo and Lillie gets Lunala. Why? Well, first of all, Lillie took care of the Cosmog that became Lunala, so it becoming her Pokémon is a no-brainer. By elimination, Gladio gets Solgaleo.

But there are two things I want to point out. First, in the epilogue, when Gladio is traveling the Ultra Space with Dulse and Ryuki, they're riding Solgaleo. Second, Gladio has a Lycanroc, which is Midday form. The Midday Lycanroc part feels deliberate, specially when Kusaka could have used Dusk instead, which I feel like Hau is going to have.
On a separate note, I also think Gladio's Lycanroc could have come from Kukui, and be similar to Professors gifting Starters to Dex Holders, but it will still take a few years to confirm or debunk.

And while we talk about using cover legendaries as Starter replacements, I want to mention that Amamo (Zossie) is the one caught Necrozma. It might be nothing, and any other URS member could have done that, but Amamo is the one who's most interested in Trainer stuff, and is the one who is closer in age to the Alola group, and new Dex Holders in general (who are almost always in the 10-12 age range). I could see her becoming a DH if Kusaka is interested in having one from Ultra Space. Someone got to fit the Dex with UB data after all. Even if not a Dex Holder, I think she might be the one to use the Z-Move Light that Burns the Sky.

There's no LGPE arc for now. We don't know if there will be. But I want to discuss this part.
From what I've seen, everyone outside of Japan who talks about an LGPE arc expects the Kanto group to wear the new characters' clothes. So for example, Yellow gets Ayumi's (Elaine) clothes, Green gets Shin's (Trace), etc. I don't think that's gonna happen.

The reason this is the most common theory is because of Crystal getting Kotone's clothes in HGSS. But there's a key thing no one has in mind: The two Johto girls didn't coexist in HGSS. If they did, Kusaka would have introduced a new character.(*9) But with LGPE, the new characters explicitly coexist with the classic Kanto trio. So, I think they would be new characters in PokéSpe as well.

Now, the games this time are titles Let's Go! Pikachu and Let's Go! Eevee. You can't exactly follow the name tradition here. You can't have human characters with Pokémon names. The closest you can do is something similar to B2W2, like naming them Hikaru/Pikaru/Pikasso and Eve, or something.

Additionally, for Shin, I think it would be awkward to exclude a new Rival from the Dex Holders in a region that previously didn't. That's all I can comment so far.

Galar Starter weirdness. Name tradition morphing into surname tradition?
For Galar, there's a lot of weird stuff going on. DH names not following the pattern, Starter rotation cycle broken, a freaking early route NPC getting a Starter. It's all madness, and could be perhaps the strongest evidence that Kusaka wants to change how PokéSpe does things.

First things first. The new protagonists are not named Sword and Shield, but Soudo Tsurugi and Shieldmillia Tate. Both of those names are derived from the titles but are not the titles. "Tsurugi" and "tate" are just "sword" and "shield" in Japanese. Shieldmillia contains "shield", pretty straightforward. Soudo is a pun on "sword", which, strangely, is written in kanji.

My initial theory was that it's related to Swod (Sordward) and Shildy (Shielbert), the two characters introduced in the SwSh postgame. But I was unsure about that because the twins technically are not named Sword and Shield, and even the katakana is different, so there was nothing preventing Kusaka from using those names. But when I brought that up in the PokéSpe Discord, someone mentioned that ソッド (Swod) is too similar to ソード (Sword), so using that name spelled that way could be confusing and sometimes look like a typo. This could be why Soudo's name is in kanji. And following that line of thought, Shieldmillia is not Shield because if one can't have the game, neither can.

But the theory this decision is related to the twins, requires that Kusaka know about them in the first place. Remember how Yamamoto got his SwSh copies late? The reason he mentioned that, is because someone asked the LGPE protagonists, Kakeru and Ayumi. Yamamoto was confused by the names and thought those SwSh characters. He was clueless about them.

We don't know about Kusaka's side. Yamamoto drew the first chapter before even playing the game, but the inclusion of Manabu (Marvin), a random early game Trainer, means that Kusaka must have at least started playing before writing. But we have no clue how much he knew. Manabu is, after all, an early game Trainer. We have no way to know if Kusaka already knew about Swod and Shildy.

If he did get to play a beta version, it's possible they were actually named Sword and Shield at one point, or someone showed him the designs and he assumed those were the names. After titles with numbers and Pokémon names, the last middle finger the games could give to the name tradition is having NPCs with the game titles as names, and perhaps Kusaka might have preferred to play it safe. Or maybe he thought a third game could be named Lance or Spear, which are the Japanese names of Proton and Beedrill, but I'm not sure because pretty much everyone expected more two versions. I didn't ever see a third version theory.

And then there's the surnames based on the game titles. I mentioned above the idea of game-name-inspired surnames for Hau, Gladio, and Lillie. It's an idea I've thought of since XY. And maybe it's actually going to happen? It's possible that Soudo Tsurugi and Shieldmillia Tate are supposed to be transitions from the name tradition to a new tradition focused on surnames. So, for example, if Gen 9 games are Rook and Bishop, the PokéSpe protagonists are not going to be Rook and Bishop, but rather, say, Chess-rou Rook and Board-ko Bishop.

Following such a pattern would allow for Rivals to become Dex Holders again. Since Rivals apparently aren't going to be nameable anymore, Kusaka could instead give them surnames, as the games basically never bother with those. For example, the SwSh Rivals could have surnames taken from legendary swords and shields or related. Klara and Savory from the Isle of Armor could have Yoroi and Armor as their surnames. And if there's a Crown Tundra Rival they can have Kanmuri (Crown) as the surname.

It's not exactly weird in my opinion. Someone on 5ch even suggested in January that Beet and Mary's names could be Beet Yoroi and Mary Kanmuri. So, I can say that I'm at least not the only one to have a similar idea, but I'm not sure how many people think that way.

Moving to the Starters, the rotation pattern was seemingly broken, with Soudo getting Grookey instead of Sobble. The biggest question is, why? I think there's three possible answers.

First, this is the start of a new pattern. With my suggestion that Kusaka is changing PokéSpe's patterns, this is possible. The pattern so far dictates the girl gets the Starter weak to the main boy's. But in SwSh it was opposite: Soudo got the Grass-type Starter, and Shieldmillia got the Fire-type one. The theory of a new pattern works.

The second, is that there's a Water protagonist between Sun and Soudo. That theory was proposed on 5ch as soon as it was revealed Soudo had Grookey. But the only two possibilities for that are LGPE arc and USUM arc, and here is where the theory becomes more unlikely.

With LGPE, the Water Starter is the Squirtle line. Since the games introduce three new characters, it's possible they could get a Starter each. But the problem is that the LGPE Starters are Pikachu and Eevee. Even the LGPE trio gets the Kanto Starters, they shouldn't count for the rotation, after all, they aren't the Starters for that game.

With USUM, you would need a new protagonist with a Popplio/Brionne/Primarina. But I don't that would happen. An USUM arc would certainly be Episode RR, which means a Dex Holder reunion. But all DH reunions have the problem that they always happen at the end of the arc. Part of that is because all these arcs had to set up and develop new protagonists. A DH reunion that doesn't have that problem would be one that doesn't need to develop new heroes. And with Rainbow Rocket being a merger of all evil teams, it feels like the DHs from all regions should be around for longer than usual. Therefore, it's best if USUM just kept Sun as the protagonist instead of putting some new face.

But let's say for the sake of argument they bring new faces. Let's call them Ut-Sun and Ut-Moon. Well, Ut-Sun needs to have a Pokémon on the Popplio line. Because there's already a set of Alola Starters, this one needs to somehow distinguish itself from Hau's Primarina. With Unova, we had the Starters all be at different evolution stages. But here's the problem, after Gen 5, every Generation introduced something that at least requires a fully-evolved Pokémon. Megas? Needs final form. Gigantamax? Needs final form, except Pikachu, Eevee, and Meowth. Exclusive Z-Moves? Needs final form except Pikachu and Eevee.

While Unova Starters can use the Pledge at any stage, the Alola ones can only use their exclusive Z-Moves after fully evolving. If Ut-Sun had to keep his Starter a Brionne, he wouldn't be able to use Oceanic Operetta, essentially being denied the most special part of Gen 7's gimmick. He would need to have Primarina. And in that case, the easiest way to distinguish the two sets of Alola Starters, would be to make the second one shiny. PokéSpe isn't very big on shinies, most likely because it's a manga, which are usually in black and white.
Luckily, all the Alola Starters' final stages have shinies that would be pretty easy to tell apart in manga format. Incineroar is white instead of black. Decidueye has black wings. And Primarina has blond hair, which is usually white in manga. Normal Primarina's blue hair is depicted with a texture in PokéSpe.

That said the prospect of a second set of Alola Starters is one I find unlikely. In BW, the existence of multiple Starters was arguably foreshadowed from the start. But the existence of more Alola Starters hasn't been hinted anywhere. Sure, Starters are not legendaries, so it's not like they need to show us more exist. But the thing is, the introduction of more Alola Starters could mean another protagonist with a Starter that doesn't come from a Professor, unless they're given by Professor Burnet.
And who would be Ut-Sun and Ut-Moon? Original designs? Parallel universe versions of Sun and Moon?(*10) Sudden reveal that both Sun and Moon have twin siblings? And if we assume Ut-Moon has shiny Incineroar, who would have shiny Decidueye?

While I don't see that theory as impossible, I think there are too many problems with it.

The third possible answer, suggested on 5ch, is that Dande (Leon) counts as the protagonist between Sun and Soudo, and he'll have Inteleon. While possible, as Dande does have one of the Starters in the game, and appears to be designed to resemble a Pokémon protagonist, this answer feels a bit unorthodox to be correct. After all, Dande is not an arc protagonist.

But then, there's the fourth possible answer: What if it the rotation pattern hasn't been broken? According to the rotation pattern, the current protagonist should have a Water Starter, but Soudo has Grookey. But you know, Manabu has Sobble.
I think you can see where I'm going. I've seen this brought up on both 5ch and r/pokespe, but, what if Manabu, not Soudo, is the actual protagonist of the SwSh arc? It sounds weird, but it actually makes sense. Manabu is traveling with Soudo and Shieldmillia, and has been around from the start. Heck, he has even nicknamed Sobble! Even Hau hasn't nicknamed his Pokémon, although that can change in the full volumes (the BW Agency Pokémon weren't nicknamed in the magazines, I think), so yeah, there is some argument to be made that he's the real protagonist.

But why would Kusaka do that? Well, apparently, Game Freak's plan going forward is use DLC to replace third versions. For PokéSpe, that basically means a death of the rule of 3. Without three games, you can't have three characters with game names, and following the name tradition strictly would mean there would always be one Starter left out. If Kusaka knew about GF's plan, which we have to way to know he did, killing the name tradition (and starting with a protagonist that's not a player character, even) is the easiest solution to the third Starter problem. And if you go by my point about surnames, we don't know what's Manabu's surname.
It has also been suggested on Discord that the introduction of a third character is also to balance the Rivals, so we have two trios: The main trio, and Rival trio. Now, why a random NPC instead of an original character, is a question I don't have a theory for.

If Manabu is really the protagonist, that is the strongest evidence possible that the name tradition is being abandoned. And there's a chance Kusaka might even retroactively do this with the arcs that still need full volumes. It also means Manabu will become a Dex Holder, breaking Sapphire's record of youngest DH (she's the only one known to have a Pokédex before turning 11). So, there's a big chance the SwSh Rivals get Pokédexes as well. Specially since this time the Pokédex is a smartphone app instead of a physical hardware. In theory, there should be no limit to how many people can obtain it.

The only weird thing about Manabu eventually becoming a Dex Holder, in my opinion, is that it could open the door for Petashi to also become one, since he has been around in the B2W2 arc from the start. I don't think Petashi will actually get a Pokédex, but I feel I should bring up, that in the B2W2 arc poster, he's in the same ground level as Cheren, Bel, and Hue.

Now let's talk about Starters for the Rivals. I initially had a theory of applying the legendary mascot principle for them, but it relied on Hop getting Sobble, so it already fell apart.
I'm not sure how to fit Starters for them. Maybe ignore the entire notion of Starters as character mascots for those three? Or duplicate Starters. Again. Once more there's the problem of distinguishing the Starter sets, and not fully evolved, they can't use their signature moves or Gigantamax.
One thing I feel the need to point out, is that Beet's name is written ビート, and Thwackey is the Beat Pokémon (ビートポケモン), so I could see it happening just for that. If so, my bets are Hop getting Drizzile, and Mary getting Raboot.

For Klara and Savory, the legendary mascot principle works. Urshifu is the cover mascot for the Isle of Armor DLC, and has two forms. And Kubfu seems to be sort of a pseudo-Starter. If my theory about the IoA Rival getting the Urshifu form opposite to the player's choice is correct, that might be what happens.

I have no idea about Crown Tundra, though.

So what do you think? Do you think the name tradition will be broken? Are Rivals going to be allowed to join the rank of Dex Holders again? I hope my theory makes sense to you.

-Kusaka has been considering to break the name tradition for a while.
-Cheren, Bel (Bianca), N, and Hue will get Pokédexes in the B2W2 finale.
-Sana, Tierno, and Trova will get Pokédexes in the XY full volumes. Matiere (Emma) may also get one.
-Mitsuru will get Emerald's old Pokédex in ORAS.
-Hau, Gladio, and Lillie are also main characters in the SM arc, and will get Pokédexes.
-Name tradition will be replaced by surname tradition. Rivals and other Dex Holders will get surnames related to the game names.
-Soudo Tsurugi and Shieldmillia Tate's names are meant to be a transition between name tradition and surname tradition
-Every SwSh Rival will get a Pokédex.
-Manabu (Marvin) might be the real protagonist of SwSh instead of Soudo, which would fix the Starter rotation issue.

(*1) Blue's name, ブルー, has the same spelling as Snubbull. While that is just a coincidence, it could also be the reason why the game character is named Leaf everywhere outside of LGPE, where Snubbull doesn't appear.
(*2) In hindsight, the sillhouette was probably intended to be Ruby, who is from Goldenrod.
(*3) The weirdness of those names is part of the reason everyone was discussing B2W2. Before the arc started, I believed the protagonists would be clones of Black and White made by Team Plasma to justify the names, but living in hiding in Aspertia under the aliases of "Kyouhei" and "Mei".
(*4) According to a confirmed leak from 2013, the game was going to have two Professors. The main one was Patrice, while Sycamore was a second who gave the Kanto Starters.
(*5) Bel's Oshawott's scalchop was broken in the Striaton Gym battle.
(*6) The manga no longer requires catching to register data. In fact, that requirement was retconned out with a handwave at the end of GSC.
(*7) Iris was introduced somewhat early on in BW. She has had a big role, is sticking with Black and White in the finale, is around "main character age", and was a main character in the anime. Also, in theory, her Pokémon can learn Draco Meteor.
(*8) No, seriously. I legit think Kalosian Kanto Starters can happen in a remake.
(*9) If a Let's Go Johto game happens, and Kris and Kotone coexist, that's probably what Kusaka will do.
(*10) I'm getting clone theory flashbacks.

BenLee really not taken

Hey everyone, Bhrjr here.
For Sun and Moon's Pokedex, I don't think it's quite vague as to whether there is only 2. In chapter 8 of Sun and Moon arc, Moon says 「実はね、図鑑がもう一台あるって博士からうかがったので」Here, もう一台 can be interpretated as "one more," which probably meant there's only a 2 of them, and Moon's Pokedex was a spare one.

And now that I think about it, if Kusaka was given the opportunity to retcon dexholder's names he might have done it with gen 1 and 2 dexholders. For example, Red would be "Aka Reddo" 赤・レッド and Gold would be "Kin Gorudo" 金・ゴルドー

Another thing I found was this sketch in artbook: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1d5WiN1denLfoAPZ4FTy6fjSd9kplxtSC/view?usp=sharing This pretty much shows that Lack-Two was meant to complete the starter trio with Black and White. Which, Kusaka must have changed his mind in 1-year hiatus from 2018 to 2019 to instead have the 9 starter pledge move finale.

And this is again unrelated, but speaking of dexholder names, what about their title? We see for Kanto and Johto dexholders, their titles were assigned in-universe by Professor Oak. So what about the rest, from Ruby to Schieldmilia? Maybe if Sird returns in the "DP remake arc," she would be the one to assign titles to the remainder out of obsession.

About the Kusaka having access to beta version, he apparently has access to even spinoff games. One example is in the last BW2 chapter, where Lack-Two was seen with Victini. This is actually pretty much a Masters Reference, where February leak revealed Nate would be coming out with Victini.

So マナブ(Marvin's) surename would be combination of Yoroi 鎧 and Kannmuri 冠? ヨロムリ・マナブ!

Lastly, bit unrelated, but I also thought of something about paralell universe. In ORAS arc, Zinnia states 「この星と同じような生命の営みがあったらどうする」, and also in SMUSUM arc we see Ultra Ruin isn't mentioned. This 2 details gave fans an impression that Pokespe isn't doing paralell universe, as it would be too confusing. However, with how SwSh arc is destroying expectations like bricks, maybe paralell universe will be mentioned in ORAS volume edit, to surprise fans and foreshadow Rainbow Rocket.
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I've read everything. Do I get a virtual cookie?

Some bullet points:

- I support the theory of Marvin being the 3rd wheel because of something you probably forgot:

In the old days, we could use NPCs as "avatars" when we went online or went to that room for local trade. Remember how you could pick a trainer class to represent you?

Marvin being a protagonist is somewhat a homage to this idea and a way to fix the whole starter mess

- I highly doubt Kusaka could just make up last names for the rivals. The main characters are one thing since they are meant to be named by the player so by that logic you can come up with full names for them (not Pokémon but Persona 5 does let you give a last name for Joker). Characters who are named might be another thing since what if Game Freak decides to assign last names for them all? Is it unlikely? Yes, but if it happens, what he does? Feels too much effort for something not worth it.

- I don't think Kusaka gets info way too much in advance. Tetsuo Yajima, the director of the XY anime had revealed he only found out he should warp up the series 1 year before Sun & Moon started. One year sounds a reasonable time but for animation it's somewhat tight. If that happens for a promotion tool that gives the most exposure to the brand, it's safe to say the manga would get info even later. That's supported by all those tweets you linked.

- For the Kalos starter, what if rather than XY remakes we just got a Z version? I mean, GF is taking the route of wanting to surprise us by not doing obvious things. Ditching a Gray version for sequels. Not making Z and going straight to ORAS then new gen. Dual "3rd versions" in the form of USUM. DLC for SwSh

With all that Z becoming a one-shot Kalos remake doesn't seem too out the realm of possibility. Sure they like putting two games to lure the hardcore collectors to get both so they can double the money but what if by the time we are duo said remakes they just say "you know what? Rather than just making them choose between Yveltal and Xernears, let's have them after Zygarde this time". Of course those are just theories haha

- Same thing above applies to SM. USUM is technically enhanced remakes already. And third versions at the same time. Would they make a third set of Gen 7 games in the future? Maybe he let things open that way so he can easily adjust whenever that happens.

I think he would have made original character again (the name Ultra seems adequate if you ask me) or even treat the USUM PCs as different people but considering what happened at the time with them barely having room to finish Gen FIVE arc by the time Gen SEVEN as a thing, he'd probably dismissed it.

As for the starter thing, remember that USUM states Poipole are technically starters in Ultra megalopolis so a scenario where the PCs are different people can have one of them be from Ultra Space and have Poipole filling as a starter.

- LGPE is an odd ball here. I think Yamamoto's tweet is more to give people hope in case the publishers randomly decides they have to make one but all things considered I don't think that's going to be the case. I can see Yellow using Elaine's outfit in a future appearance though.

All in all, great post, man!

BenLee really not taken

Hey everyone, Bhrjr here.
Aaannndd...volume 55 doesn't seem to be hot with the idea "You're a dexholder, he's a dexholder, everyone's a dexholder!"
Also, it does make sense for Manabu to be the "real protagonist." Now that I see, Soudo doesn't seem to have any character flaws whatsoever, so he probably won't have a major development. As for Schilly, they could go something like "She learns to become more serious," but that would mean something like "her being hyperactive harms others," which I feel might be too similar to Black.
But for Manabu, we see he has flaws, such as being knowledgable in Pokemon battle but hasn't actually experienced any. Also, Sobble's evolution line all have different personality, which might reflect how Manabu develops. Lastly, since he was just an unimportant NPC in the games, it would mean that Kusaka can do ANYTHING with the character, make him villainous, dies at the end of the arc, etc.

Draco Meteor being the 5th ultimate move? I can imagine Kimberly and Shirona's grandma being bffs.

The Magician is Black No. 1, huh? And we remember Lack-Two did have a code name, Black No. 2. Whi-Two probably doesn't have a code name.
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Well-Known Member
Just talk about my opinion. ;)

Yellow is one of player alternative names in Japanese version.

I think Hugh is the first rival to break the tradition. He can be named in the game, but because of the number of versions, he failed to become a Pokedex holder. If there is a rival from the starting versions that can be named, it will break the tradition again if he is not the second protagonist. (This has not happened yet.)

About Shildmiria, I guess they changed her name because Shield (Shirudo) sounds like a boy's name in Japan.

And Kris and Lyra, although in Pokemon Master they are divided into two characters, up to now, the official products still tend to focus on the remake characters as the focus of publicity - They adopted Lyra as one of Johto trio instead of Kris, and also use separately Leaf and Blue (Green) as one of Kanto trio in Pokemon Master and LGPE. This means we should not have the opportunity to see Kris and Lyra as two characters at the same time in core game or the official products of Johto trio.

Kusaka has been committed to creating a single universe in pokespe. Even if they later introduced the parallel world, it might just be a world like Distortion World, Pokemon Dream World, Sinjoh Ruins, Ultra Space, Mirror World, Ultra Ruin anime ver, etc.
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The Anime/Special's canon know it all.
About Kerokero's bond transformation and the missing Red & Green (M)'s bt looks and the battle tree/Pokemon World Tournament as not complete yet and all Ani!Satoshi's Hat and no Pikachu's two z-move ? why kusaka didn't bother give do any of it !
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Staff member
About Kerokero's bond transformation

It's possible we could see it in the full volumes. Doubt it, though.

Also, we didn't even know Croaky had Battle Bond until after XY ended.

And as a reminder, Ash-Greninja wasn't announced for the games until a month befor SM came out. XY was basically over at that point.

and the missing Red & Green (M)'s bt looks and the battle tree

Just because they're in SM doesn't mean he's obligated to bring them back. Also, we just saw them in XY and ORAS.

Also, again, stuff that can be added in the volumes.

Pokemon World Tournament as not complete yet

Let's be honest, there is no way the PWT could be included in B2W2 and given enough focus to be fully satisfying. Not with our current schedule.

and all Ani!Satoshi's Hat and no Pikachu's two z-move ?

We did see the hats. Well, their logos. Also, again, again, stuff can be added in the volumes.

why kusaka didn't bother give do any of it !

Hey, do you not understand the situation Pokespe is in right now? Like seriously.

Trying to include even half of the stuff you just brought up would take a lot of time to implement properly. Time Kusaka does not have, what with tons of Pokemon games coming out and the gap between Generations being a whole year shorter than it was a decade ago. Even Kusaka probably realized it, which is why USUM wasn't a separate arc and we don't have a LGPE arc...yet.

None of this is even relevant to the stories of the games they're from, so why is it such a big deal if they're skipped? Sure, it'd be nice if they were included, but I think Kusaka should focus on creating a well-written story than a mindless fanservice-fest.

Try to be considerate instead of picking the lazy option and blaming everything on a single person, please.


The Anime/Special's canon know it all.
Um i was planning on talking about all of this later after i took small short nap (just say i didn't get enough sleep last night) and i was trying not to be hard on Kusaka-Sensei .
If i did sounding like that i am then i was little mad at how some thing that he add playing it out like how similar to the elements in the games. (not always great) and some thing that he never seem enough of a time to fleash it out .....yet i feel like game freak forch him leave those out to me

It's possible we could see it in the full volumes. Doubt it, though.

Also, we didn't even know Croaky had Battle Bond until after XY ended.

And as a reminder, Ash-Greninja wasn't announced for the games until a month befor SM came out. XY was basically over at that point.

Just because they're in SM doesn't mean he's obligated to bring them back. Also, we just saw them in XY and ORAS.

Also, again, stuff that can be added in the volumes.

Let's be honest, there is no way the PWT could be included in B2W2 and given enough focus to be fully satisfying. Not with our current schedule.

We did see the hats. Well, their logos. Also, again, again, stuff can be added in the volumes.

Hey, do you not understand the situation Pokespe is in right now? Like seriously.

Trying to include even half of the stuff you just brought up would take a lot of time to implement properly. Time Kusaka does not have, what with tons of Pokemon games coming out and the gap between Generations being a whole year shorter than it was a decade ago. Even Kusaka probably realized it, which is why USUM wasn't a separate arc and we don't have a LGPE arc...yet.

None of this is even relevant to the stories of the games they're from, so why is it such a big deal if they're skipped? Sure, it'd be nice if they were included, but I think Kusaka should focus on creating a well-written story than a mindless fanservice-fest.

Try to be considerate instead of picking the lazy option and blaming everything on a single person, please.
and you know that you do post triple reply posted to me right ?
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BenLee really not taken

Hey everyone, Bhrjr here.
Coming back to the idea of "rivals getting the dexholder," it might not make much sense. We know the thing that essentially makes dexholders, are Pokedex. So if rivals also get Pokedex, does that mean they also show up whenever a group illustration is drawn showing all the dexholders? And if everyone in the world of Pokespe get a Pokedex...no one will be a dexholder (protagonist).


Staff member
We've already had villains use Pokedexes in FRLG and they've never once been included, so that clearly won't be an issue.


Well-Known Member
We've already had villains use Pokedexes in FRLG and they've never once been included, so that clearly won't be an issue.

But the villain is unofficial. If we have a non-version name rival who gets Pokedex, he/she will be official.

In the case of Sword & Shield chapter, even if the rivals get Pokedexes, they are obviously not the protagonists of this chapter.


The Anime/Special's canon know it all.
Coming back to the idea of "rivals getting the dexholder," it might not make much sense. We know the thing that essentially makes dexholders, are Pokedex. So if rivals also get Pokedex, does that mean they also show up whenever a group illustration is drawn showing all the dexholders? And if everyone in the world of Pokespe get a Pokedex...no one will be a dexholder (protagonist).

But the villain is unofficial. If we have a non-version name rival who gets Pokedex, he/she will be official.

In the case of Sword & Shield chapter, even if the rivals get Pokedexes, they are obviously not the protagonists of this chapter.
To be honest i am bit biased towards special manga but i feel whole thing about that Zukan Owners feel like stupid set up was dumb as anime in Ag-Dpt arc DO show trainer outside Satoshi and his group have Zukan too .
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