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Are Team Rocket Actually Bad?

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Nintendo

Team Rocket’s Jessie and James have clashed with Ash in the Pokémon anime for decades. But are team Rocket bad? Or is there more to them?

Here’s three reasons why we think Team Rocket might not be as bad as you think.

Ash Ketchum has faced many enemies throughout the Pokémon anime, but none are quite so familiar as the Team Rocket trio: Jessie, James and Meowth.

Yet, despite Team Rocket’s persistence, they’ve gained a reputation of being fairly unsuccessful bad guys. Is this purely for comedic effect? Are Team Rocket actually bad? Or is there more to this bumbling trio?

Here are 3 reasons why we think Team Rocket may not be the villains they’re made out to be:

3. They never ever mistreat Pokémon

One of the biggest characteristics of a villain is their total lack of empathy. But despite being portrayed as the bad guys, Team Rocket have this quality in spades.

One thing Jessie and James never do is mistreat their Pokémon. On the contrary, they always try to act in their best interests.

Think back to when James leaves his Chimecho with relatives who end up caring for the sick Pokémon, or when Jessie forcibly releases her Dustox – all so it wouldn’t make the same mistake of missing out on love, like she had.

Plus, back in Season 6 when they encounter poachers keeping a heavily injured Ekans caged, they are appalled – branding it “sickening”.

Jessie, James and Meowth all risk their necks to see off the poachers and free the injured Pokémon. But that’s not all. Not only do they set it free, but they also order their own Arbok and Weezing to lead it to safety: releasing their own Pokémon to help the injured Arbok survive.

And this isn’t just a one-way street. In Pokémon XY: Kalos Quest’s “Facing the Grand Design!”, after James and his Inkay actually help to stop the planet from becoming a hugely uninhabitable wasteland, James once again displays the unselfish love he has for his Pokémon. He offers to release Inkay so it can stay with the good Malamar of the forest (who clearly like it). But Inkay flatly refuses, showing that this love was clearly reciprocated; definitely something you wouldn’t see if a trainer was inherently evil.

2. They help save Ash – and the world – from destruction

Another point to contemplate when considering the question “are Team Rocket actually bad?” is their habit of saving the planet – not just once, but several times.

One of these instances was in Pokémon The Movie 2000: The Power of One. Team Rocket leave their villainous tendencies behind to actually help Ash and save the world.

The movie centres around an ancient prophecy that the world will be destroyed – and Team Rocket can’t help but stay true to their motto and “protect the world from devastation.”

When Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres’ battle makes it impossible for Ash to get to the final orb he needs to set the world right, Team Rocket uses their mech skills to jerry-rig a lifeboat into an airboat by attaching a broken helicopter propeller.

Couple this with them helping free the legendary birds earlier in the movie (and their sacrifice when they let go of Lugia so that they wouldn’t slow it down) and it’s easy to see how Team Rocket were not the villains here: they were the heroes.

But you may think: this is all well and good but, saving the world benefits them too, so it doesn’t really prove that they’re actually good. Yet it’s not the just planet they’ve saved – they’ve also saved Ash’s life too.

In Pokémon 3: The Movie – Spell Of The Unown, Ash almost falls to his death when Entei’s attack sends Charizard hurtling towards him. Fortunately though, Brock, Misty, Pikachu and Team Rocket have time to jump in and pull Ash back from the brink.

Are Team Rocket actually bad? This uncharacteristically good act suggests otherwise.

1. Their shared trauma forges an unparalleled loyalty

Jessie and James both had a difficult start in life. Jessie’s mother went missing when she was a child, leaving her in a foster home to grow up in poverty. On the other hand, despite James being born into wealth, he grew up feeling restricted and miserable.

They both joined Pokémon’s Team Rocket in an attempt to prove themselves, and they constantly battle for the approval of Team Rocket’s leader, Giovanni. Their goal is to gain his praise and acceptance – likely as a result of them feeling inadequate to their caregivers.

But this difficult start in life has also created a deep sense of loyalty. Not only do Jessie and James show loyalty to Team Rocket, but also to one another and their Pokémon.

Take what happened in the Pokémon Chronicles episode, “We’re No Angels!” when Team Rocket blast off and land in a small village. Unexpectedly, they’re immediately lauded as heroes (much to their dismay) and even (accidentally) save the town from a rampaging robot whilst trying to prove their villainy.

Whilst trying to think of ways to exploit the unfamiliar ‘hero’ status they’ve been bestowed with, one of their new-found fans – Kate – swiftly develops feelings for James; feelings which he clearly reciprocates.

Ever loyal, Jessie and Meowth are willing to stay – and even change their villainous tendencies at James’ request – until an accidental button press sends them flying back to Ash.

And it’s these displays of unselfish loyalty that really throw doubt to the question of ‘are Team Rocket actually bad?’

You see, Jessie and James weren’t born into a family: they made their own. And although they’ve each had their own separate chances to leave the world of villainy behind, they never do. Because they’re evil? Perhaps. But maybe also because neither of them wants to abandon the only true family they ever had.


So, are Pokémon’s Team Rocket actually bad? Or are they just misunderstood? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Read about 7 Nintendo Switch games to be excited about, including Pokémon snap HERE.

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Animal Crossing 2.0 – Review

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Nintendo

On November 5th, Animal Crossing 2.0 alongside the DLC Happy Home Paradise was released. It was the last major free update to hit the latest game in the franchise and added a host of new features to the game. After almost a month of playing it, here’s our review and everything new in Animal Crossing 2.0 from Nintendo.

Background

Animal Crossing has been around for 20 years, with its first release on 14th April 2001. Since then it’s released several versions of the game for the DS, Wii, and so on.

The latest version, New Horizons, came to the Nintendo Switch at just the right time; at the very beginning of Quarantine. It was easily the most popular Nintendo game last year. But it had a fatal flaw; rather than including everything upfront, Nintendo would release periodic updates where they would add to the game. The goal was to keep the game feeling fresh, but the result was that New Horizons felt unfinished. The game was bare-bones compared to past versions of Animal Crossing and didn’t have half as much to do. With the release of the last free update, New Horizons finally feels like a complete game. So what’s new? While there were a lot of things added and small things fixed, we’re just going to focus on the major gameplay changes and additions.

Brewster

The beloved pigeon, Brewster, has been in Animal Crossing since 2005. He runs a cosy coffee shop, The Roost, usually located in the Museum. But he has been missing from New Horizons. A fan favourite, his absence has definitely been felt. Brewster is one of the most demanded additions to New Horizons. With the update, you can find him gyroid hunting on one of Kapp’n’s Islands and invite him to your island, where he will set up the Roost once more. You will also find some of your residents and NPCs there and can invite current and past Animal Crossing characters to the Roost via Amiibo card.

Kapp’n

Speaking of Kapp’n, the turtle is back. In past versions of the game, Kapp’n is usually the one taking you to your new village at the start of every game. Whether it be by taxi, bus, or train, Animal Crossing typically kicks off with the retired seafarer. But New Horizons didn’t feature Kapp’n at all; until now. Now you can have him take you on island tours via his little boat off your dock. Some of these islands are extremely rare and feature exclusive items. He also sings you a little song while you make the journey..

Gyroids

Gyroids have, once again, been a part of every Animal Crossing game until New Horizons. They are little singing things that can be placed like furniture. In New Horizons, you can find a fragment on Kapp’n’s islands, bury it, water it, and a gyroid will grow the next day. Or some may be buried on your island after a rainy day. While past versions of gyroids have been annoying, the New Horizon’s gyroids are adorable and delightful. In New Horizons, Brewster is an avid collector. You’ll even get a Brewster gyroid after drinking enough coffee.

Cooking / Farming

Cooking has also been added to the game, something entirely unique to New Horizons. You can purchase crop starts from Leif, start a farm, and then cook the produce you grow. This opens up a whole host of fun recipes, and you can gift your creations to your residents. Eating a meal will make your villager stronger for longer, the same effect eating fruit previously had.

Group Stretching

You can also host a group stretching event in the plaza. Random villagers and NPCs will join you. You can use your controllers to actually stretch with them, or use the joysticks if you’re stuck with a Lite or don’t feel like standing up.

Harv’s Island

Harv’s Island was previously… pretty useless. There was really nothing to do there aside from taking pictures, which is fun once. Now you can help him build an open-air Farmers Market/Commune. For 100,000 bells each, you can invite NPCs to set up a permanent shop. Among these are Leif, Redd, Kicks, Saharah, Reese, and Cyrus, who have all been seen in New Horizons. But it also introduces the return of Tortimer, the mayor from past games. (Who some fans theorized was dead until now). Harriet, a hairdresser who introduces a ton of new hairstyles to the game. And the fortune-teller Katrina. This expansion to Harv’s island is a huge resource.

You no longer have to wait for these NPCs to come to your island to purchase goods from them. It also opens up more customization for previously uncustomisable items. And it’s another goal to work towards after you pay off your home loans.

Ordinances

You can now issue Ordinances through Isabelle in the town hall. These include things like adding a Bell Boom so that you find more bells and goods are worth more, but things also cost more. Or the Beautiful Island ordinance, which will have your villagers pick up weeds and trash and will cause your flowers to grow faster. You can also issue that your villagers wake up earlier or go to bed later.

Happy Home Paradise

In addition to 2.0, a DLC was added to the Nintendo Store. Happy Home Paradise allows you to “get a job” building vacation homes. You report to your boss Lottie for work, alongside your coworkers Niko and Wardell. From there, you choose a character and build a home for them. They will give you a theme and some items they want to see in their home. You can also design facilities, like a cafe or school and assign characters to work in them. Using an amiibo card, you can also design homes for NPCs like Isabelle or Tom Nook, where you will have free reign over the design.

Happy Home Paradise also introduces partition walls which allow for more design options in your house. It also includes a lot of new furniture. When you’ve designed enough vacation homes, you are able to then redesign the houses on your island.

HHP adds a lot to the game. Animal Crossing’s flaw has always been that it gets too repetitive. HHP adds some flavour and a lot more to do. So even long after you’ve paid off your home loan and made your island pretty, you can still really engage with the game. It adds to and boosts life on the island, but also extends the world a bit. You can interact with more characters beyond just your residents and have more interaction with NPCs beyond purchasing goods from them.

Overall

All in all, the 2.0 update and Happy Home Paradise have elevated New Horizons. It makes the game feel new and adds what many fans have been asking for. While they are both great, it’s hard to shake the feeling that this all should have been included from the get-go like past versions of the game. After playing a skeleton of a game for a year, we now truly have a new Animal Crossing game.


Do you like Animal Crossing 2.0? Do you agree with our Animal Crossing review? Let us know in the comments below.


We compare Animal Crossing with Stardew Valley HERE.

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