ByLiv Sommerlot, writer at
Liv Sommerlot

With its premiere looming closer and closer, footage from the Pokémon Sun and Moon anime series continues to tease, showing off new characters, scenery, and Pokémon.

The most recent extended preview has given us the most in-depth look yet! Ash still looks like a small child with a mustache, but at least the rest of the anime seems relatively polished, and hey! It might even turn out better than we expected!

We here at Now Loading have gone into full analysis mode, snip-snip-snipping apart the trailers and gathering up all the most important info YOU need in order to make an informed opinion about the newest installment of the Pokémon anime series. Get ready to meet all the new characters, marvel at the new Pokémon, and groan at the unnecessary gags!

Pokémon Sun and Moon Anime Extended Preview! The Top 5 Things We've Learned

But why does the school have slides?
But why does the school have slides?

1. Ash will be going to school with four of the Trial Captains... and another girl!

The Pokémon Sun and Moon games deviate from their predecessors by introducing "Trial Captains" rather than the Gym Leaders of old. These Trial Captains preside over certain islands' challenge trials and give guidance to participating Trainers. That being said, from the information we've received thus far, they're faaaaaairly similar to Gym Leaders—they even each specialize in a certain type of Pokémon!

In the Pokémon Sun and Moon anime, the Trial Captains will be Ash's new schoolmates! With one exception: instead of normal-type Trial Captain Ilima, Ash will be joined by a third girl named Lillie, perhaps to keep the male-female ratio even (I can only guess...).

So without further ado, here are Ash's classmates during his new and wondrous "school life," as it's so extravagantly described over and over again in the Japanese:

  • Lillie

Described as a "a mysterious girl who is central to the plot of Pokémon Sun and Moon," Lillie apparently hates Pokémon battles but loves to read. In the game, at least, she assists Professor Kukui, though in the anime she appears to be one of his students.

It would seem that she's not from the region given her blonde hair and pale skin, but we'll need to wait for the anime's release before making any assumptions. Also, she has uncanny braids in the shape of hearts. Weird.

  • Mallow

The Trial Captain of Lush Jungle, Mallow specializes in Grass-type Pokémon. From the trailer, we can gather that she's outgoing, boisterous, and enjoys cooking. If I had to hazard a guess, there might be some... tension between her, Ash, and Lillie (love triangles, ahoy!), but we'll have to wait for more evidence to know for sure. Her main Pokémon appears to be a Bounsweet.

  • Lana

An expert when it comes to Water-type Pokémon, Lana is just as dedicated to her family as she is to Pokémon, and she'll do anything for her younger sisters. Mostly I just wanna know what happened to the whites of her eyes... Her main Pokémon appears to be a Popplio.

  • Sophocles

Sophocles excels in using Electric-type Pokémon. He's also incredibly skilled when it comes to mechanics, has invented a number of machines, and can be seen using a computer in the trailer. That being said, he's also apparently rather shy... His main Pokémon appears to be a Togedemaru.

  • Kiawe

The 12-year-old with a six-pack, Kiawe is a Fire-type Pokémon expert. In the Sun and Moon games, his main Pokémon is a Marowak, and he spends his days studying the traditional dances of the Alola region. In the anime, however, the Pokémon he's shown using its Z-Move with is a Turtonator, so they might have changed things up. I hope not, though! I wanna see this guy dance!

2. Samson Oak is the headmaster of Ash's new school.

The hip, tan cousin of Professor Oak, Samson Oak is none other than the headmaster at Ash's new school. He's certainly more... lively than his Kanto cousin, making rapid-fire Pokémon pun jokes at the drop of a hat and even dressing up as an Exeggutor.

How much of an influence he'll actually play in the anime is yet to be determined (after all, Professor Kukui, Ash's hot new teacher, is technically the new professor for the series), but so far it seems like he'll mostly just be there for comic relief... Arduous comic relief...


3. We'll get to see Z-Moves for characters other than just Ash.

Z-Moves are the next big thing in Pokémon Sun and Moon. As Professor Kukui puts it in the trailer, "they're special moves passed down throughout the Alola region," which provides a nice excuse as to why no other professors or masters of Pokémon anywhere else in the entire world have heard of or used them.

But I digress. Z-Moves are pretty cool, and they involve a Trainer and his/her Pokémon doing some kind of strange motion or dance together to perform super special powered-up attacks. In previous trailers, we've seen Ash and Pikachu use their Z-Move, but in the newest trailer, we also get to see Kiawe using a Z-Move together with his Turtonator.

I'm hoping this means we'll get a chance to see lots of other characters use their Z-Moves, as well! They'd be a fun way to show off every character's unique personality, and simply add new dynamics to the tried-and-true Pokémon anime battle sequences.

4. We'll definitely get to see all the different starters... as well as some Alola forms?

Each of the three Alola starting Pokémon—Litten, Popplio, and Rowlet—have now appeared in the anime trailers, which hopefully means plenty of airtime for the three lovable starters (and perhaps even their evolutions?!). We've also seen a number of other new Pokémon, as well. Here's a list of all the new Pokémon that have been seen so far in the trailers:

  • Litten
  • Popplio
  • Rowlet
  • Tapu Koko
  • Bounsweet
  • Bewear
  • Turtonator
  • Mimikyu
  • Yungoos
  • Rockruff
  • Pyukumuku
  • Grubbin

As far as Alola forms go, we've only gotten a glimpse of an Alolan Exeggutor, but I'm hoping that its presence indicates we'll at least be seeing a few more! The new Alola forms are some of my favorite "new" Pokémon in the Sun and Moon series, so I'm hoping for at least one or two more appearances once the anime starts.

5. "Alola" is apparently how they say "hello" in the Alola region?

The Alola region is clearly based off of Hawaii, what with its island setting, its tropical-themed Pokémon, and even its various names—in both the Japanese and English versions, many of the characters have names originating from Hawaiian words and dialects.

Image credit: JGKlein
Image credit: JGKlein

For instance, Trial Captain Sophocles' name comes from the plant Sophora chrysophylla, which is a species of flowering plant endemic to Hawaii. His Japanese name is "Maname," which is how you say Sophora chrysophylla in the Hawaiian dialect. In a similar fashion, Mallow's Japanese name is "Ma'o," the Hawaiian word for "Hawaiian cotton." Her English name "Mallow" is a family of plants that includes cotton.

Now for this latest example of Hawaiian culture seeped into every fiber of Pokémon Sun and Moon, the very word "alola" itself seems to be how you say "hello" in this region—just like the word "aloha" has come to be used in Hawaii! You can hear Ash's classmates greet him using it when he enters the classroom for the first time, as well as his response in that strangely gravely voice he now has.

Better practice your "alola's" now!

Pokémon Sun and Moon Anime Premiere Date

The Pokémon Sun and Moon anime will premiere in Japan on November 17th just one day before the Sun and Moon games will launch. There will undoubtedly be more trailers and previews before the big date, so check back often for the latest updates on what could be either the best or worst Pokémon animated series to date!

Watch the full Pokémon Sun and Moon Anime Extended Preview below:

Feeling any better about the upcoming anime series now that more info has been released? Still pressed about Ash's obvious age regression? Sick of hearing about the Pokémon anime?!?

(no, you're not)


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