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Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon (ポケットモンスター サン&ムーン Pocket Monsters Sun & Moon) is the sixth Pokémon anime series that premiered on 2016 to 2019 in Japan and on 2017 to 2020 in America. This region has Ash going to a school in Alola, with Lillie, a young girl; and Mallow, Lana, Sophocles and Kiawe, originally Trial Captains as his companions.

English dub:

  • Season 20: Sun & Moon (Episodes 1-43)
  • Season 21: Sun & Moon: Ultra Adventures (Episodes 44-92)
  • Season 22: Sun & Moon – Ultra Legends (Episodes 93-146)

Japanese version:

  • Sun & Moon (Episodes 1-146)

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This series provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Lusamine receives one of the more significant cases of this, going from Pokémon Sun and Moon's controlling, emotionally abusive and borderline insane Big Bad... to a bubbly, embarrassingly-affectionate womanchild with no overpowering obsession with Ultra Beasts/stopping Necrozma.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Ash is only required to defeat one Pokémon per island in order to face the Kahuna so he doesn't receive Z-Crystals he can't use (he receives a Fightinium Z from Hala, but Tapu Koko swaps it out for the Electrium Z since none of his current team know any Fighting type moves, while Hapu just lets Ash pick any Z-Crystal from a selection due to none of them having Ground type moves either). Other characters take part in trials that are more beneficial to their team than Ash (Team Rocket for Darkium-Z, Lana for Waterium-Z, Lillie for Iceium-Z, Kiawe for Flyium-Z).
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  • Adaptation Expansion: The series occasionally depicts trials for Z-Crystals that are found as conventional items in the game. In cases such as Iceium-Z, this comes accompanied by large sized versions of Pokemon that didn't officially have Totem forms.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Team Skull's involvement with Lusamine and the Aether Foundation is virtually zero in the anime, unlike in Pokémon Sun and Moon where the two organizations team up to open Ultra Wormholes for their own gain. This even extends to Gladion, who is Team Skull's enforcer in the games but is unaffiliated with and even hostile towards the villainous gang in the anime.
    • Necrozma's backstory makes no mention of Ultra Megalopolis, the ancient populace of which were the catalyst for the Legendary Pokémon's vicious nature and pillaging of light. Instead, Necrozma lost its light when it exhausted its power protecting Poipole and Naganadel's world from a meteor.
  • Art Evolution: Sun & Moon has the most drastic change in animation and art style compared to all of its predecessors. To better accommodate the new Slice of Life format and easing the burden of producing consistent quality episodes on time, OLM simplified the character designs and teamed up with a leader in animation software, ToonBoom Animation. As a result, the animation is far more frenetic and expressive than previous series, with the art style being more streamlined or made Off-Model as a necessity to allow a much greater amount of characters and movement per shot.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Show-wide, Matori appears more prominently in this series, acting as The Comically Serious to the Team Rocket trio and appearing as an antagonist proper a couple of times.
    • Within just this series, Kiawe's Charizard was originally solely a Ride Pokemon, though as the series continued it began to find more and more use, culminating in Kiawe finally "un-retiring" it as a battler after it earned him Flyium-Z, and it becoming part of the main group in Ultra Legends.
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • Alola changed up the overall series formula where instead of being an ongoing adventure around the region, it's now more of a Slice of Life series where Ash goes to school.
    • After six regions, Alola is the first where Ash doesn't catch the regional bird Pokémon.
    • Alola is the first region where Ash doesn't catch a Water-type Pokémon.
    • Ash's outfit is also different from all previous versions: shorter pants, no jacket/sweatshirt, and no Fingerless Gloves.
    • The Alola League Conference is the first instance a series protagonist other than Ash officially participates (namely all of them, as well as Team Rocket even).
    • Alola is also the first region where Ash wins the Pokémon League Conference and thus becomes the (first) Champion of Alola.
    • Alola is also the first region main characters are allowed to capture and utilise Mythical or other special breed Pokemon.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Kiawe was far more humorless and stoic in the first few episodes, coming off more as an Aloof Ally, a far cry from the comedic Large Ham he is for the rest of the series.
    • Mallow was initially far more of a Genki Girl, bordering on scatter brained on occasion. While she retained her Plucky Girl energy, she was usually The Straight Man of the group afterwards.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Subverted for Team Rocket for once. They go through an official trial per se to get Darkium-Z, but after beating the Totem Raticate, they just steal the crystal without its approval. The Raticate and its posse at the very least doesn't think they earned it fair, and come to get it back, though after one look at Bewear, they decide to just let it go and make a break for it.
  • A Death in the Limelight: "One Journey Ends, Another Begins..." heavily focuses on the old Stoutland, Litten's caretaker, who is stricken with an Incurable Cough of Death throughout the episode, constantly compared to a tree losing its leaves, and taken to a Pokémon Center by Ash after Litten drags him towards their home after Stoutland collapses. Despite being discharged the next day, Stoutland fails to recover and leaves Litten to pass away on its own.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Some main Pokemon appear jarringly late into the series. Sandy, Shaymin and Meltan don't appear until some time into Ultra Legends the final season. Magearna is the most egregious case, only reactivating and getting inducted into Lillie's team by the penultimate episode.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The very first scene of Sun & Moon is Ash and Pikachu on vacation, riding on a Sharpedo and enjoying the vast scenery of Alola's wildlife before being surprised by a Bruxish, which causes them to topple into the water. This sets the tone of Sun & Moon being more akin to a Slice of Life show rather than a To Be a Master quest that characterizes the rest of the series.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: An In-Universe example. Pikachu, a Kanto-native Pokémon, is quite popular in Alola.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Team Rocket returns, of course. This time, they have a new competitor for this loser status: Team Skull. This delinquent gang wants to be intimidating as their name implies, but they are easily repelled by anyone who has a Pokémon. They are mostly represented by a Terrible Trio composed of Tupp, Zipp and Rapp, and they are so incompetent as villains that they end up making Jessie, James and Meowth look excellent. The last part is not an exaggeration, as Team Rocket has always come out on top every time they compete with them.
  • G-Rated Sex: Though the occasional egg pops up, the game's Breeding mechanic hasn't really been covered in the anime. That probably has to do with the fact the anime is made for kids. Then, all of a sudden, "A Dream Encounter!" features the legendaries of Alola, Solgaleo and Lunala, pretty much procreating a brand new Cosmog. Right in front of Ash. Of course, the way it comes about involves both Legendaries dissolving into space dust and mixing together to instantaneously form a brand new Cosmog.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Guest Pokemon appear as usual, though are allocated more cleanly to trainers this time round. Nebby and Poipole (later Naganadel) to Ash's team, Shaymin to Mallow's. The latter two even represent their trainers in the Alola League.
  • Immaturity Insult: : In "10,000,000 Reasons to Fight!", after Lusamine has merged with Nihilego, Lillie tries to snap her out of it by calling her out for being such a womanchild:
    Lillie: You treat me like...nothing more than a little baby! But you're acting like a baby! A selfish, totally immature child! That's why that Ultra Beast has taken control of you!
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: The Alolan Meowth in "Acting True To Form" gets away with trolling the Team Rocket trio, and ends up in a comfy position as Matori's Pokemon in headquarters. Unfortunately for it, this series marks the start of Matori taking a more active role, and thus the two end up subjected to the same Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain shtick as the trio in some later appearances.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Most of Team Skull consist of bungling hipsters that make even Team Rocket look competent. Their leader Guzma however, while still a blusterous thug, is much more deadly and vicious in battle. This comes to a head when he enters the Alola League, making clear he will abolish it before it even starts should he become champion. He gets a good way there, delivering a calculated No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to both Ilima and Lana, with Ash just barely managing to defeat him.
    • Most of the Ultra Beasts are quirky aliens that are either petty Jerkasses or Non Malicious Monsters. Nihilego and Guzzlord however are treated as much more dangerous and sinister creatures. Nihilego was directly responsible for instilling Lillie's PSTD-formed phobia of Pokemon by almost abducting her at an early age, while Guzzlord is a terrifying rampaging demon whose endless appetite apparently destroyed another dimension.
  • Mandatory Unretirement: Though Charizard itself doesn't seem to mind going into action, Kiawe preferred utilising Turtonator and Marowak for battling purposes initially, only using Charizard as a Ride Pokemon. After they are both captured by Tapu Fini however, he is forced to utilise Charizard in its Secret Test of Character. Charizard's reliability and the reward of Flyium-Z is enough to convince Kiawe to put it in his main battle team full time.
  • Minimalist Cast: Zigzagged with the main cast's Pokemon. Only Ash and Kiawe have more than two Pokemon on their team the whole series. Since all of them are routinely out of their ball and interacting with each other however, it still gives the effect of a large cast.
  • Myth Arc: Based around the region's ancient mysteries and how they affect Ash and his friends in the present day: the Z Crystals, the "Tapu" Guardian Pokémon, the legendary Solgaleo and Lunala, and the Ultra Beasts that come from Ultra Space.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Never Say "Die":
    • While the episode doesn't outright say it, it's made very clear in "One Journey Ends, Another Begins..." that Stoutland has died.
    • "Showering the World with Love!" reveals that Minior don't really last very long in their core form. They disintegrate into space dust a day or two after breaking out of their shell. The Minior dust becomes food for other Pokémon like Rayquaza.
  • No-Sell: In "When Regions Collide," Sophocles tells Togedemaru to use Zing Zap on Brock's Geodude. Togedemaru's attack hits Geodude straight on, but Sophocles is shocked when Brock's Geodude simply grins and flexes its biceps. Sophocles understandably forgot that the Kanto Geodude is Rock- and Ground-typed, making it immune to Togedemaru's Electric-type attacks.
  • Olympus Mons: This is the first series in which main characters are allowed to officially capture Mythical or Legendary tier Pokemon. Ash captures the Ultra Beast Poipole, and later the Gen VII Mythical, Meltan. Mallow also unofficially captures the Gen IV Mythical, Shaymin, while Gladion has the man-made Legendary, Silvally in his team as in the games. Combined with cases such as Solgaleo and Lunala allying with Ash and Gladion in the Necrozma arc, or Tapu Koko inducting itself as Kukui's Guest-Star Party Member in the Alola League, there's a plentiful amount of times the main cast get to be armed with elusive tier Pokemon.
  • One of the Kids: Compared to most previous series, the powerhouse Pokemon routinely take part in the antics and playful moments with the cuter ones. Evolved Pokemon also tend to retain their quirks from their younger forms. Even the later Olympus Mons of the group retain childlike, approachable personalities.
  • Reality Ensues: This is the first series nearly every noteworthy character participates in the league. Most of the positions are expectant of their development the series. Though they all pass the preliminary match (a chaotic battle royal where they could work together), Lillie and Mallow, who only sporadically battled and trained, are rather easily eliminated the first time they fight an experienced opponent. Lana and Sophocles do better due to taking a crash course beforehand and imputing reasonable strategy to compensate for their low power, but still ultimately lose to a battler who is clever and strong. The trope favours the professional battlers of the team, with Kiawe making the semi-finals and Ash, with six regions of experience finally winning a conference.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: After his demotion and second chance following the Ultra Space arc, Faba is relatively less malicious, but some of his devious impulses remain and even when trying to do the right thing, doesn't quite fully get it.
  • Sentai: In the Sun and Moon anime, Ash and his Alola classmates are tasked to protect Alola from the Ultra Beasts as the "Ultra Guardians". They also wear uniforms that resemble Sentai uniforms.
  • Skewed Priorities: In this series, the twerps captured mythical Pokemon. While Team Rocket did make some ongoing attempts to steal them as well, Pikachu remained their top priority. Mimikyu in particular discards anything for Pikachu.
  • Slice of Life: Unlike previous series, which primarily focused on traveling across the region seeking new Gym Battles, Sun & Moon has Ash stay on Melemele Island (specifically, the Pokémon School and Kukui's residence house) and often has episodes focus on his daily life with his fellow classmates and neighbors. Anytime Ash travels to another island, it is treated like a one-day field trip event. Consequently, battles are downplayed in favor of comedic shenanigans with expressive animations, and important events like a Grand Trial only happen once in a blue moon.
  • Spirit Advisor: The Poni Island guardian, Tapu Fini, possesses the power to generate images of the dead. This leads to several spirits channelling to their loved ones throughout their tenure on Poni Island. Hapu's late Grandfather allies with Tapu Fini to set up her trial to inherit the role of Kahuna, as well as with the spirit of Kiawe's Grandfather to set up a trial for him to earn Flyium Z. Torracat reunites with the Stoutland that cared for it as a Litten to be tutored Fire Blast, while Mallow gets closure from her late mother. It is tacitly implied the latter reincarnates into the Shaymin that Mallow cares for afterwards.
  • Story-Breaker Power:
    • In a similar vein to Mega Evolutions, Z-Moves are extremely powerful techniques that a Pokémon can perform if its trainer has the appropriate Z-Crystal. Z-moves can very easily turn the tide of a battle if performed correctly, but using the powered-up move leaves the Pokémon exhausted. Like Mega Evolution, the limits in the anime aren't the same as the game - the only limit on Z-moves appears to be how much energy the Pokémon has, while in the games Z-moves can only be used once per battle and require it to be holding a Z-Crystal.
    • Woah! Ash and his friends manage to catch an Ultra Beast! That'll surely help him in his Island Challenges right? Oh wait, they released it so it can go back to its home dimension…
    • Nebby also departs into Ultra Space shortly after evolving into the gargantuan Solgaleo, only making a couple reappearances as a Guest-Star Party Member afterwards. Fat chance keeping a legendary that can travel dimensions, Ash.
    • Downplayed to some degree with the Mythicals, Meltan and Shaymin, who do stick around till the end of the series, but only appear quite late in, with Meltan only evolving in time for the final match in the league. Justified since they are kept relatively mortal compared to other examples.
  • Team Rocket Wins: The Sun & Moon series may have been their best record of success yet (at least when not in disguise). That's not saying much, but one step at a time:
    • The most literal example of this trope happens in "The Sun, the Scare, the Secret Lair!", when Team Rocket finally manage to defeat Ash in battle. Jessie's Mimikyu even tries to attack Ash's Pikachu while it's down, and the only thing stopping Team Rocket from making off with it is the wild Bewear that was following them around.
    • "A Team-on-Team Tussle!" had Team Rocket successfully obtain a Darkinium Z-Crystal by defeating a Totem Raticate.
    • Z-Crystals are useless on their own though, so how do they remedy this? Not only do they manage to obtain a Z-Ring from Nanu, but James' Mareanie learns a Dark type move (Knock Off) and successfully performs Black Hole Eclipse. They also obtain a Mimikium-Z so Jessie's Mimikyu can perform its species-exclusive Z-Move Let's Snuggle Forever.
  • Third-Option Adaptation:
    • Averted, surprisingly. After previous series have either merged both versions of the games or created a new story altogether, it is almost surreal to see the Sun & Moon series choose Pokémon Sun as its primary storyline to adapt; Ash faces only Totem Gumshoos for the first island challenge, Nebby evolves into a Solgaleo, and our heroes gather at Altar of the Sunne with no hints of an Altar of the Moone. While Lunala does appear, it's long after Ash and friends have rescued Lusamine from Ultra Space.
    • Subverted with the Totem Raticate; while Ash didn't fight this Moon-exclusive Totem Pokémon, Team Rocket did in a Mêlée à Trois, battling fellow Goldfish Poop Gang Team Skull (loosely adapting an event in the middle of the same trial) over who gets to fight Totem Raticate. They actually win, with their reward being a Darkinium Z.
    • Played straight with Ash's Lycanroc. Instead of Midday or Midnight Lycanroc, Ash's Rockruff evolves into a third evolution, Dusk Forme Lycanroc, way ahead of its debut in the remake, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Alola students to varying degrees:
    • Kiawe starts off a strong but limited Mighty Glacier, but following his encounter with Marowak, starts evolving into a rounded Lightning Bruiser, avoiding the usual male companion curse by keeping toe to toe with Ash throughout the entire series, even reaching the semi finals of the Alola league where he gives Gladion a decent fight.
    • Lana and Sophocles evolve from very niche trainers with little to no battle efficiency to decent tactical battlers by the time of the league. Especially the case for Sophocles' Vikavolt, who goes from Plucky Comic Relief to being able to match Kiawe's Pokemon.
    • Unusually downplayed with Lillie and Mallow. Though they get token boosts and Z-Moves like everyone else, their lack of battle and training focus in their limelight means they remain fairly stagnant otherwise. They become competent enough to stomp bungling villains and pass the preliminaries of the league, but not much else. Most effective Character Development they do get is introspective instead.
  • Troublemaking New Pet: An Alolan Meowth plays around with this when it joins Team Rocket in "Acting True to Form." While it maintains the trope's usual Bitch in Sheep's Clothing act, it is smart enough to only pick on their original Meowth and be genuinely helpful to Jessie and James, bewildering them into thinking the latter is paranoid. When it finds better digs at their boss Giovanni's headquarters however, it quickly drops the act and abandons them, mocking all three through a communicator. Meowth can only sigh I Warned You to Jessie, who is infuriated the Alolan Meowth double crossed her for Matori of all people.
  • The Unchosen One: Zigzagged. The Tapus personally mentor or assist Ash throughout his trials. The exception however is Tapu Fini, whose trials are directed to Kiawe and Hapu instead. As such, the Poni trials are the only instance Ash doesn't need to complete at least one trial before facing the Kahuna.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: While the Sun & Moon series is seen as the most light-hearted the anime has been in a while, it also has some of the most poignant episodes in the show, particularly in how upfront the series is about the topic of death:
    • "One Journey Ends, Another Begins...", which can be considered one of the bleakest episodes in the series, as it features the presumed death of an old Stoutland, who was Litten's primary caregiver.
    • "Showering The World With Love!" starts off a rather light hearted episode with Poipole bonding with a Minior. As it turns out however, Minior have extremely fleeting life spans, and at the climax of the episode, the individual degenerates into dust right before a heartbroken Poipole.
    • "Memories In The Mist!" delves into the backstory with Mallow, whose mother passed away when she was young, and under harsh parting words. The use of Tapu Fini's magic allows her to meet with her mother's spirit. The aforementioned "One Journey Ends, Another Begins..." is also called back to, with Torracat meeting Stoutland's spirit.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Downplayed for once with Team Rocket. Though they remain a chaotic Goldfish Poop Gang from start to finish, they do bother gaining access to the region's gimmick and trying to refine their schemes and artillery to the twerps' offences to maintain a slither of Not So Harmless cred, along with Mimikyu remaining a threat to Pikachu the whole series.
 
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10,000,000 Reasons to Fight!

In an attempt to free Lusamine from Nihilego's influence, Lillie proceeds to call out her mother for allowing it to control her due to her obsession with Ultra Beasts as well as her Womanchild tendencies.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight

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Main / IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight

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