Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?
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    Default Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    One thing that's always kind of annoyed me is how little screentime Elite Four members have gotten in the games, even compared to Gym Leaders. With a few exceptions, they're almost never seen outside of their rooms, and they never have any interaction with the protagonist outside of the standard boss battle. The PWT may have been the ultimate worst example of this, with its deliberate exclusion of Elite Four members with the lamest excuse ever. (If the Elite Four members really were "too busy," then why weren't Lorelei and Agatha, at least, there? They weren't Elite Four members anymore by the time of B2W2.)

    The anime makes things even worse with it's ignoring of the normal Leagues of the games in favor of Tournaments, which means that Elite Four members barely exist in the anime. To this day, the Gen 1 group are still the only Elite Four who have all had full episode appearances, and none of those appearances involved Ash battling them in succession to become Champion.

    Do you think Elite Four members have drawn the short straw in terms of characterization? I admit that some of my all-time favorite Pokémon characters--Lorelei, Lance, and Karen--are Elite Four members, and while Lance, at least, got off better than most (mainly because of his promotion to Champion), the two ladies haven't been so lucky. Poor Lorelei is still rotting away in the pre-DS era and is unlikely to ever appear in another game that isn't a Gen 1 re-remake, while poor Karen is unlikely to ever get an anime counterpart, didn't get even the slightest bit of fleshing-out in HGSS (like Lorelei did in FRLG), and will probably also not appear in the games again unless there's a re-remake. How sad.

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    Minion of the Damned cityvillain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    I always wish the Elite four and Gym leaders will be better integrated in the game. It would be nice to see them interact with you in game making the storyline longer and more complex. In X/Y, I was happy to see Malva again after the main storyline. But I'm mostly disappointed at how passive most of the characters are especially the champion, Diantha.
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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    Quote Originally Posted by cityvillain View Post
    I always wish the Elite four and Gym leaders will be better integrated in the game. It would be nice to see them interact with you in game making the storyline longer and more complex. In X/Y, I was happy to see Malva again after the main storyline. But I'm mostly disappointed at how passive most of the characters are especially the champion, Diantha.
    I've heard the same things about XY's characters before elsewhere, so I'll take your word for it. Granted, even as underwritten as they are, at least, the Gym Leaders and Champions are likely to get some cross-promotion elsewhere, whether it be via the anime or things like the PWT. It's the Elite Four, on the other hand, who gets completely screwed over, always being buried into the very end of the game and never having any lines or appearances outside of their League room, and rarely, if ever appearing in cross-promotional material, such as the anime.

    These are supposed to be some of the games' most powerful and important trainers, and yet, they're treated as if they aren't any more notable than your average Youngster Joey or Picknicker Liz. (Both of whom, shockingly, might actually have more in-game characterization than the likes of poor Karen. At least, you can get their phone numbers and talk to them outside of battle.) It's sad that people were actually surprised to see Malva outside of her room and with a backstory that went beyond "Elite Four Member."

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    sure plays a mean pinball Pinball Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    I don't really want more backstory or more character out of the Elite 4 members. To me, the fact that you don't know much about them is the whole point. They're an exclusive clique; they're mysterious. You're not really supposed to hear their stories; their purpose is to battle you. I also think we get more than enough personality from most of the gym leaders. Sure, you get the odd one that's boring as mud, but I think overall the gym leaders carry themselves rather well, personality-wise. And they're definitely shown as more important and having more character than regular trainers. Well... most of them, anyway. (Roxanne for most boring Gym Leader of all time.)

  5. #5

    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinball Wizard View Post
    I don't really want more backstory or more character out of the Elite 4 members. To me, the fact that you don't know much about them is the whole point. They're an exclusive clique; they're mysterious. You're not really supposed to hear their stories; their purpose is to battle you.
    So, you would prefer for them to remain generic, personality-free mooks with less character development and visibility than that random Youngster on the first route? Well, don't worry, both Game Freak and the anime's writers agree with you 100%, so that's unlikely to change anytime soon.

    And, besides, isn't "battling you" the purpose of the Gym Leaders and Champions, as well? You need to defeat them to beat the game, right? So, why do they get any backstory or development? Shouldn't they just be a bunch of generic, faceless people, too?

    (Plus, I'm actually not a fan of the "Mysterious Elite Four" thing, anyways. I loved how they were constantly alluded and referenced to throughout RBY, starting with the email on Oak's PC at the very beginning of the game. It made them feel more intriguing and "real" as characters. Unsurprisingly, the Gen 1 Elite Four are still one of the franchise's most-developed Elite Fours, if not *the* most-developed, which says a lot.)

    Some of us like these games for more than the "critters battling other critters" aspect and find it very unfair that certain characters (like a certain blonde Champion from DPP) get tons of spotlight and all of the development in the world, from both canon and fandom, alike, while other characters who have the potential to be equally as great (such as almost every Elite Four member) get practically nothing in every department. Isn't there something wrong than that? Why do these powerful and (allegedly) respected trainers have less screentime than even many random Youngsters and Lasses, let alone Gym Leaders and Champions? (And, yes, even the "boring" Gym Leaders like Roxanne have gotten far more canon development than the likes of Karen or Phoebe, undeserved as it may be.)

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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    I wanted to know more about Grimsley and his life when he was an aristocrat, but they never explained much except for his gambling habits and that his family is broke. I find that disappointing.
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    sure plays a mean pinball Pinball Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    Quote Originally Posted by BettyN View Post
    So, you would prefer for them to remain generic, personality-free mooks with less character development and visibility than that random Youngster on the first route? Well, don't worry, both Game Freak and the anime's writers agree with you 100%, so that's unlikely to change anytime soon.
    Just because you don't explicitly see character doesn't mean there isn't any. I like the mystery behind the Elite 4. I like to sometimes draw my own conclusions about them. And how on earth do they have less development than "random youngsters on the first route"? The fact that you don't even know the youngsters by name should ring an alarm that maybe there's more to the Elite 4 members than that.

    The reason I think Gym Leaders merit personalities over Elite 4 members is because of that mystery I associate with the latter. Gym Leaders have personalities because they're out in the open. They're in random cities scattered across the region. They communicate with the people. Elite 4 members are their own clique, secluded in the Pokémon League. If they had as much personality as the Gym Leaders, then where would the line be? I don't want to randomly run into Elite 4 Members during the game. The small details in their speeches should be enough to separate them from regular trainers, and their seclusion should be there to separate them from Gym Leaders. Gym Leaders are approachable. Elite 4 Members are on a higher level. That's why we don't get as much personality revealed from them, because we're not supposed to fully understand them.

    (Note that I rarely watch the anime, so I can't comment on that front. But, well... the personalities on the show are usually pretty bland throughout, IMO.)

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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    Haven't they always been "screwed over" since this franchise's inception? I mean, Gym Leaders in Kanto weren't much better either (little detail here, little type preference there), but over the years, Gym Leaders have improved by a lot. Just look at any game past Gen III. And yet the Elite Four remain fairly uncharacterized, with maybe the exception of Flint in Sinnoh. Plus, they seem completely disconnected with the outside world. Remember in B/W, when that castle just erupts out of the ground and all the Gym Leaders show up there to deal with the Sages? Most of those guys don't live anywhere close to the League, yet they swoop in to save your face, while the E4 can't be bothered to defend their home front... or even notice what's going on. Really, Kanto's E4 probably got the most characterization; Lorelei had a poststory thing in FRLG and Agatha had a past rivalry with Oak. Plus, I can't really forget what they did in the Adventures manga as a brutal bunch of villains, but that's kinda beside the point.
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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    In my opinion, I guess I feel that we don't really need that much characterization of the Elite Four Members. They just kinda stay up there at the League and do their own thing. They're sort of meant to be a bit more private an you don't know too much about them. We can tell a good bit about them anyway just by their opening dialogue. I can get more about Siebold's backstory/personality in his dialogue than I can about someone like Misty or Erika's in their's. What else do we really need?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackOsprey View Post
    Remember in B/W, when that castle just erupts out of the ground and all the Gym Leaders show up there to deal with the Sages? Most of those guys don't live anywhere close to the League, yet they swoop in to save your face, while the E4 can't be bothered to defend their home front... or even notice what's going on.
    To be fair, it isn't like they just swooped in out of nowhere; Cheren (and supposedly Bianca) told them what was happening and to basically go stop it.

    Lorelei had a poststory thing in FRLG...
    ...She did? Where? I've never heard of this. If it's on one of the Sevii Islands, I guess I know why I don't know about it, then since I never did that.

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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    Quote Originally Posted by Team Gaara View Post
    Lorelei had a poststory thing in FRLG...
    ...She did? Where? I've never heard of this. If it's on one of the Sevii Islands, I guess I know why I don't know about it, then since I never did that.
    That's exactly it.

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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    Quote Originally Posted by BettyN View Post
    The anime makes things even worse with it's ignoring of the normal Leagues of the games in favor of Tournaments, which means that Elite Four members barely exist in the anime. To this day, the Gen 1 group are still the only Elite Four who have all had full episode appearances.
    That's not true, all of the Sinnoh Elite four have had episodes too. Didn't you check your facts?!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Gaara View Post
    Lorelei had a poststory thing in FRLG...
    ...She did? Where? I've never heard of this. If it's on one of the Sevii Islands, I guess I know why I don't know about it, then since I never did that.
    Yes, it is there, her house is on one of the islands, the third one I think.

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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    [QUOTE=Pinball Wizard;5367804]
    Quote Originally Posted by BettyN View Post
    Just because you don't explicitly see character doesn't mean there isn't any. I like the mystery behind the Elite 4. I like to sometimes draw my own conclusions about them. And how on earth do they have less development than "random youngsters on the first route"? The fact that you don't even know the youngsters by name should ring an alarm that maybe there's more to the Elite 4 members than that.
    The Youngsters have all had names since Gen 2, and you can get the phone numbers of many of them. Take Joey, for example. He's an extremely overconfident little kid in Johto who really loves his Rattata. How do we know this? It's what he constantly tells us whenever he calls us, which is about every five steps (yeah, I know).

    Now, let's look at another character from the same games--Karen. What do we know about her? She loves Dark Type Pokémon, and thinks that trainers should try to win with their favorites instead of the strongest Pokémon... And, that's it. We don't know where she's from, or who her family is, or even, when and why she became an Elite Four member.

    In other words, she has the exact same amount of character development as Youngster Joey. And, likewise, she's also been in the exact same number of games as Joey--GSC and their remakes.

    And, sadly, searching around the fandom, such as Tumblr, DeviantArt, or FF.net, she's also about as popular as Joey, if not even less. Sure, people remember her "Strong Pokémon, Weak Pokémon" quote, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a ton of fanart and fanfic of her (especially stuff that isn't sexist and inappropriate), and not too many people consider her one of their favorite characters.

    As a fanfic writer, I love to take underwritten characters and create entire backstories and personalities for them out of scratch, and that's something I've certainly done with Karen, among others, but... Most fans don't like to do that. Either they're unconfident in their writing abilities, or they're scared of getting insults like "Mary Sue" leveled at them, or any other reason, but the characters who get the most love in fandom are already the ones who get the most love in canon. You won't find a whole lot of Karen fanfic, but you'll find tons and tons for Misty or Cynthia.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackOsprey View Post
    Really, Kanto's E4 probably got the most characterization; Lorelei had a poststory thing in FRLG and Agatha had a past rivalry with Oak. Plus, I can't really forget what they did in the Adventures manga as a brutal bunch of villains, but that's kinda beside the point.
    I agree 100% (although I don't have many nice things to say about their depiction in Adventures, but that's a discussion for another time). The Gen 1 (not "Kanto," Kanto and Johto share a league and don't have their own Elite Fours) Elite Four always seemed to be the most fleshed-out as characters, which is why they're my favorite bunch. Taking GSC and FRLG into account, we know that Lorelei is a cold, calculated trainer from Four Island who has a soft side she keeps hidden from others (her doll collection), that Agatha is the oldest Elite Four member ever and had some sort of rivalry (possibly affair) with Prof. Oak, and that Lance is the grandson of a Clan Elder from Blackthorn City who has a very caring and compassionate, yet noble, personality and is the cousin of Clair, Blackthorn's Gym Leader. Bruno, we know the least about, but even then, we do know that he likes Ember Spa and is friends with Brawly.

    Now, let's look at another Elite Four--Hoenn. What do we know about them?

    Sidney likes Dark Types, is a punk, and uh... At least, Karen had a cool quote.

    Phoebe likes Ghost Types, trained on Mt. Pyre, and has a grandmother there. Um, "better," I guess.

    Glacia likes Ice Types and is from another region. Well, what region? Yawn.

    Drake likes Dragon Types and was "saved" by an unnamed Pokémon some time in the past. Yes, they couldn't even bother to name the Pokémon that "saved" him.

    And, none of them had any relevance to the game's plot, whatsoever. None of them had any connections to the Gym Leaders and/or Champions, or any of the other significant NPCs, for that matter, and you never even saw any of them outside of their rooms, let alone getting involved with the Magma/Aqua stuff, or any of that. You could've replaced them all with Karen, Agatha, Lorelei, and Lance, and it wouldn't have changed the game one bit. This is *not* how you design important NPCs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Team Gaara View Post
    ...She did? Where? I've never heard of this. If it's on one of the Sevii Islands, I guess I know why I don't know about it, then since I never did that.
    Thank you for proving my point. (And, Lorelei was one of the better-developed Elite Four members!)

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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    They've had more recently, with Malva, Marshall(?) sort of, Flint etc.

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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    To be honest, I agree about what most people think with the "Elite four are supposed to be private and mysterious" thing. They are intended to be the strongest trainers in the region, and need to have a bit of mystery bout them. I mean seriously, with the horribly punny naming, it should be a spoiler to their type specialty if we met them earlier. Gives us time to prepare, since we know what to expect. Bam. There goes 1/4 of the challenge of the Elite four or something. Idk if this makes any sense.

    But what's ridiculous is that NPCs don't even seem to know of or mention the E4 at all. There's only that one NPC who makes a vague statement about the League. I should not be shocked when a guy in a restaurant in X/Y mentions an Elite 4 member by name, but I am. That rarely happens. Not counting RBY/FRLG, of course.

    There's not really any excuse for them not being mentioned or encountered during the post-game. We already know who they are, why can't we just meet them in a cafe to say hi? At least they're trying to give them lives, jobs and personalities now in recent games. Flint, Marshal, and Malva interactions were a step in the right direction.

    Concerning the PWT, maybe having 4 possible opponents in a tournament wouldn't have been a good idea. There was a much larger variety of 8+ gym leaders in the tournaments, and many champions as well. It would be more predictable, I guess. Combining them would generate a massive tournament with 24+ people, so that might not be that much better of an option. They still could have found a way to include them. Maybe they could've combined them into the gym leader tournaments?

    But anyway, the Elite Four do seem to be getting better with each generation. I'm happy knowing at least a few Elite Four members aren't loners that stand in a room forever. At least they have friends and jobs.
    Last edited by Toadkerfy; 25th September 2014 at 07:09 PM. Reason: changed something

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    #TeamNohr Team Gaara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have Elite Four members been "screwed over," storywise?

    Quote Originally Posted by Furretz View Post
    That's exactly it.
    Makes sense. I could never figure out how to do the Sevii stuff and gave up on it. What happened with it?

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