Pokémon trainers are a strange breed. Training Pokemon to fight on your own earns decent money if you visit every region, upgrade every gym, and be the best like no one has ever been, but for most schmucks, that’s not. is just a hobby. I guess it’s a lot like video games – our trainer, the hero of the story, is a Ninja or a Pokimane, while the rest of the trainers we meet are just average Joes who train alongside Pokemon . As we move towards Scarlet & Violet, we need new types of trainers.
Because being a coach is a hobby or a side hustle for most people, they are often dressed for their day job as they roam the streets looking for challengers, or even busily at work. Sailors, fishermen, drivers, firefighters, cameramen, magicians, policemen, office workers and many other types of trainers appoint trainers who clearly have other concerns in life than training Pokemon . Then there are the coaches whose course is more of a hobby than a job, but that still tells us a lot about them; Juggler, cyclist, hiker, beauty, swimmer, etc. This is a classic Pokemon staple, and we need to see the lore grow in Paldea.
I’ve written about these types of trainers before. I always felt a bit changed that we played as a very generic little kid while our opponents became Firebreather Billy. But I made peace with it. Sword & Shield offered a decent range of customization for your trainer, and I only expect that to grow in Scarlet & Violet. But knowing that we can never be a beauty or a magician only makes me more eager to see what else Paldea has in store for us.
Pokemon is always better when it’s a little silly and creative. For all the gameplay improvements and additional tweaks in Sword & Shield, my favorite part of the game was the Ball Guy. Just a guy dressed as a Poke Ball. Clearly a riff on the sporting motif of Galarian culture, Ball Guy was a perfect fit for everything Sword & Shield embodied, while still managing to think outside the box. Scarlet & Violet must keep this spirit. Paldea is based on Iberia, so a continuation of the sports theme would be welcome, but it’s understandable that the developers would also choose to go in a different direction.
Iberian culture is, like many cultures in southern Europe, fond of history and myths. Lyrical legends, ancient architecture and artistic traditions that have spanned the centuries are at the heart of the Iberian Peninsula. Pokemon has always been theatrical, but it never really delved into theatrical culture. We have actor trainers, but they are more Hollywood than comedians.
Any musically oriented characters we encounter tend to be very modern like the Rocker rather than more classic and contemplative – could this be an area Paldea is tapping into for new trainers? The dancers also have a modern flair (or at least a “mate” style take on the mega cool clothes worn by urban break dancers), making way for a more romantic Iberian flamenco dancer to strut your stuff in. There is a range of possibilities. Scarlet & Violet will likely have an underlying theme, like sports in Sword & Shield. What is this theme does not really matter. What’s important is that Pokemon explore it in depth, creatively, and most importantly, with a Ball Guy level of silliness.
Next: Revisiting Kanto: The Complete Journey