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WARNING: Major spoilers for Pokémon Sun and Moon and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon follow. Read at your own risk.


Team Skull

The villainous team of the Alola region. Their designs are based on punk culture, and unlike the crime syndicates and terrorist groups before them, they operate more like street gangs than anything else, having a strong sense of familial bonds throughout their ranks. Not to be confused with the trio of Poison-type Pokémon from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers.

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    Tropes that apply to the organization as a whole 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/team_skull_grunts_sm.png
  • Adorkable: Despite being a villain team, nobody save for Lillie takes the Grunts seriously, and they always gesture wildly when they talk, during battles, and even when taken aback. Plumeria even calls them her "cute, dumb brothers and sisters".
  • Affably Evil: They're actually pretty personable, speaking casually and showing a great deal of inter-team brotherhood, even in regards to their Pokémon.
  • Ambiguously Gay: When you walk in on two female Grunts arguing in the Team Skull base, one of them will, depending on your gender, remark that "a boy" or "a cute girl" overheard their argument.
    • Elsewhere in Po Town, a male Grunt wonders if the reason another male Grunt keeps waving at him is because "he realizes how hot I am".
  • Anti-Hero Team: Becomes this at the end of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Like other villainous teams before them, such as Team Rocket and Aqua/Magma, they have a penchant towards using Zubat.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In Po Town and Aether Paradise, when a male grunt spots the player, a voice clip is played saying "dokuro", the Japanese word for skull.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: To Team Rocket. They're both criminal organizations, but while Team Rocket is The Mafia and mainly operate underground, Team Skull are Gang Bangers who work out in the open. They both exploit Pokémon for profit, but while Team Rocket's ultimate goal is world domination, Team Skull's members turned to crime just to survive.
  • Curtains Match The Windows: Pink hair and eyes for female grunts and bright blue hair and eyes for male grunts.
  • Dark Is Evil: They wear all-black outfits, and are shown to steal Pokémon and commit petty crimes throughout Alola. Even moreso, when their boss turns out to be in cahoots with the even more evil Aether Foundation.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the Kid Hero, in a world where young children are sent out into the world alone. Many members mention suffering from horrible self-esteem over always losing, homelessness, and failing to complete the islands' trials. When you finally reach the town they are based out of, it is in ruins with almost no power or supplies. As one Grunt says early on, they're not out to take over the world or anything, they just want money. Albeit the postgame (where various grunts get employed or taken in by other characters) makes it clear their situation was not so desperate that they had no other options, and they just chose to focus on revenge against the society they feel that cheated them.
  • Delinquent Hair: Almost all members of Team Skull revealed have unusual hair colors, with the male and female grunts having bright blue and pink hair, Plumeria having pink and yellow hair. The exception is Guzma with his white at the top, black at the bottom hair.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Implied by the sheer number of empty bottles seen lying around the Shady House.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Female grunts wear purple eyeshadow.
  • Floral Theme Naming: Plumeria, Gladiolus, and Guzmania are all genera of flowering plants.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: The ending of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon shows Guzma and Plumeria standing in front of the Team Skull grunts, with the Team Skull logo crossed out in a big red X on the back of his jacket. He makes it clear that Team Skull is officially disbanded. The grunts change out of their outfits but still insist on staying with their boss. Guzma is amused by this.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Strangely enough, at no point in the story are Guzma and Plumeria in the same place, nor do they interact with each other on-screen. Later averted in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon where they appear together during the credits.
  • Gang Bangers: Their gesticulation, speech patterns, and attire, as well as their more informal tone compared to previous villain groups, make them resemble American street gangs. Specifically, their outfits, as well as the fact that Guzma and Plumeria are named after plants prominent in Central and South America, gives them a resemblance to Latino street gangs from the West Coast. Furthermore, their motivation is that they're broke trainers who were never able to make a legitimate earning, and turned to a life of crime in the desperate hope of keeping themselves afloat, a common origin for a lot of American gang members.
  • Going Through the Motions: When walking or speaking, the grunts gesture dramatically like stereotypical gang bangers.
  • Good Costume Switch: Reformed Grunts, such as the one at Mallow's family's restaurant, have removed their Team Skull articles, now appearing as Alolan Punk Guys/Girls.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Post-game, Hala takes two Team Skull grunts under his wing, and they say that they're training so that they become strong enough to help people in need. One also appears in Mallow's parents' restaurant, happy that she was given another chance. Meanwhile, Plumeria and Guzma dedicate her lives to training once again, the latter doing so with Hala in Sun and Moon.
  • Helpful Mook: In Po Town, two Grunts are hanging around inside the Pokémon Center and will heal your team like any normal Pokémon Center for the paltry fee of 10 Pokédollars. They'll cheerfully bust a rhyme out for you in your support.
  • Ignored Enemy: Even when they first appear, they're completely ignored until they force you and Ilima to pay attention.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: With the exception of Lillie, nobody takes them seriously, ever. With certain dialogue choices, even the player character brushes them off as nothing more than a nuisance.
  • Japanese Delinquents: While their designs are based on punk and Latino culture, they have quite a few hallmarks of the yankii subculture, such as bandanas, face masks, Delinquent Hair, excessive jewelry, and tattoos. They also care for each other grunt like brothers, just like a Japanese group of delinquents would.
  • Jive Turkey: They all speak in absurd street slang with the exception of Plumeria and Gladion.
  • Kick the Dog: Most of their early actions are too funny and hopeless to be regarded as bad, but the first real nasty thing you see them do is when a couple of grunts mock their ally Gladion for being homeless. They also steal a Yungoos belonging to a preschooler at the Aether House, so they're not above stealing from little girls.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Before you fight Guzma in Aether Paradise, you have to fight a couple grunts back to back. A third one stops you... only to let you pass without any trouble, since he's smart enough to not fight a battle he can't win.
  • Laughably Evil: Confirmed by Word of God to be 100% intentional. Team Skull has become a target of mockery in Alola, mainly due to their street gang aesthetic and designs, but their plans not being able to back them up due to them being ineffectual. As for their members, there's Gladion's constant poker-face and hand gestures, Plumeria's description of her own minions as "stupid", alongside Guzma explicitly being noted as a failed Trial Captain. You can even walk away from them during your first encounter with them!
  • Men Can't Keep House: Hilariously true here for the most part. Most of the Shady House is in shambles and barely livable, and even Guzma's room is cluttered. Plumeria's room, however, is clean, neat, and tidy.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: The Grunts gesture wildly as they walk and speak.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: A minor example occurs when a pair of grunts the player previously encountered trying to steal berries from an elderly man try to mess up your first Trial. After losing to you again, they give up on fighting you and simply try to capture the Yungoos (in Sun) or Rattata (in Moon) that is constantly switching between three holes as you're trying to catch it. By blocking two of the holes, they restrict the Pokémon to one hole.
  • Noble Demon: They genuinely seem to care about each other, with Plumeria being one of the first Admins to grow pissed off when you hurt her minions. Which makes sense when you learn that they're a bunch of failures who wound up homeless because they couldn't make a living as trainers on their own. They became a would-be family when Guzma brought them together.
  • Obviously Evil: Team Skull is too sinister a name to belong to anything other than a group of villains.
  • Outlaw Town: Po Town, a small town that they took over, made into their headquarters and proceeded to run to the ground. It is so horribly destitute that they have the only Pokémon Center in the game that charges you for their services.
  • Palette Swap: A truly unusual case of this: all of the Team Skull Grunts are palette swaps of the Alolan Punk Guy/Girl trainer class, just with Team Skull apparel on, and they have the exact same losing animations. There's signs that it might be intentional, though, between the way several of the latter Trainers talk exactly like Team Skull Grunts and how a Punk Guy and Girl are seen with the reformed Plumeria during the credits, suggesting that they might be "off-duty" Grunts who've simply taken off their Skull merch.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • They aren't too shy about their self-esteem issues.
    • A Meta version appears in Verdant Cavern with two male Grunts "trying" to harass you, with one conversation lampshading the reuse of character models.
    • Another one has an argument between two female Grunts in Po Town, which culminates as another lampshade concerning why everyone is referred to as "Grunt".
  • Serial Escalation: Inverted. Unlike previous evil teams, these guys aren't out to conquer the world or control some powerful legendary Pokemon. They're just out to steal whatever they can get their hands on, particularly money, while also just being dicks to Trainers going through the island challenge.
  • Sexy Walk: The female grunts walk like this, similar to Plumeria.
  • Strange Salute: The mooks pose before battle by crossing their arms across their chest and then curling them to their sides to gesticulate a skull and crossbones.
  • Trash of the Titans: They've taken residence in a mansion, and the interior is a mess, with garbage and graffiti everywhere and a fallen chandelier blocking one of the stairwells. Only Plumeria keeps her room clean.
  • The Un-Reveal: Their origins are said to have originated as a group formed around one of the Kahunas, who was then struck down by one of the island deities. The identity of the Kahuna and original leader of Team Skull is left unmentioned beyond that.
  • Valley Girl: Two female grunts in Po Town talk like this.
  • Visual Pun: The goofy "arms curled towards hips" thing the grunts do is supposed to be their arms and body mimicking the shape of a cartoon skull. The white saltire on their shirts also makes it look like a skull and crossbones.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: The grunts sport these on a loss.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: Female grunts wear cut off shorts.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Or at least, Would Steal From And Kidnap Children. Team Skull at one point steals a Yungoos from a preschooler, and later, Plumeria kidnaps Lillie to bring her back to the Aether Foundation's headquarters (although Lillie agrees to go with Plumeria in order to protect the other children who were with her at the time). Albeit it's notable that Plumeria is very regretful about the whole thing later on, she followed orders but was against the whole plan.
  • Yakuza: Very clearly the type of thing Guzma wants to invoke with the team, but also very clearly not the case, with the difference between them and the real Yakuza - Team Rocket - being shown clearly in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Female grunts have pink hair, and male grunts have bright blue hair.

    Guzma 

Guzma (グズマ guzuma)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/guzma_sm.png
"Wanna see what destruction looks like?
Here it is in human form - it's your boy Guzma!"

The leader of Team Skull. He's a fierce and merciless battler, and seems to have a past with Professor Kukui. He is a Bug-type specialist, until the Battle Tree, where he diversifies his team into Poison-types and Dark-types.


  • Achievements in Ignorance: When he shows up at Team Rainbow Rocket's Castle to rescue Lusamine, he unintentionally causes two Rainbow Rocket Grunts to tell him where she is.
  • Abusive Parents: A house on Route 2, his childhood home, hints that Guzma may have had a very troublesome childhood. It's implied that his father beat him, but Guzma later retaliated and ran away from home afterward. His father says "I tried to set that boy straight, but instead, I was the one who got beat." And then there's the bag of bent and broken golf clubs found in the same house. What makes it more unsettling is that the very lady he follows orders from is an abusive mother herself. Further hints that he may have been abused as a child can be seen in his catchphrase about being "the hated boss who beats you down and beats you down and never lets up" (which could be a freudian slip about what his father did to him), and the way he slips into third-person and screams "Guzma! What is wrong with you?!", which combined with his Always Second Best status, further looks like sublimated emotional abuse.
  • Always Second Best: Not even that. Almost all of the trophies in his childhood bedroom are bronze, so he was always third best. He also has a single silver trophy, meaning that the one time he actually got second best was an accomplishment for him.
  • At Arm's Length: He does this to two Rainbow Rocket Grunts, holding his hands against their faces while they futilely swing their arms at him.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: His bravado isn't just for show; he's easily a very strong battler, and definitely the strongest member of Team Skull. When you confront him in Aether Paradise, he's already defeated Gladionnote  and is ready to rip you apart. Also, his team when you battle him in the post-game is on par with the Elite Four, and he can also be found amongst many strong, fightable (and recruitable) trainers in the Battle Tree.
  • Ax-Crazy: Downplayed. He isn't necessarily murderous as far as the story goes, but he's definitely violent, irritable, and aggressive to the point of being mentally unhinged.
    "You wanna know what I do when some machine messes up? The first thing I do is give it a nice hard smack! I mean, most of the time I smash it to pieces, but hey, what can you do? (donning a Slasher Smile) Now let's see if I can't fix you!"
  • Badass Boast: His section's establishing quote.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: According to Plumeria, he likes Lusamine because she's the only adult who ever seemed to acknowledge his strength.
  • Benevolent Boss: Even if it isn't as immediately obvious with him as it is with Plumeria, Guzma does care about his underlings. If you speak to him in the postgame of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, he'll tell you that he's working hard to become stronger so that he can make sure no one messes with his "homies". This is also the reason he formed Team Skull in the first place, as a means to give fellow social outcasts a place to call home.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He's just as much of a Large Ham as the rest of his team, but unlike them, he's actually a threat.
  • Big Bad: The Leader of Team Skull, and as such, he acts as one for the first part of the game. Later subverted, as he is actually The Dragon to Lusamine, who operates the much more competent and just as villainous Aether Foundation.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Played with. He certainly acts like he wants to be feared by everyone despite not being the biggest threat to Alola, and there may be a scared, broken boy with self-esteem issues underneath his loud, boastful attitude. But he's still a hostile, destructive gang leader who's out to do as much damage as he can and is perfectly willing to back up his threats.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Of all of the villain team leaders (with the exception of Giovanni, as he was a Gym Leader note  as well as a Villain Team Leader), he is the only one who carries a team full of a certain type of Pokémon. In Guzma's case, he specializes in Bug-type Pokémon. Fittingly, this may be because his original aspirations were to be a Trial Captain, the Alolan equivalent of Gym Leaders, and his dedication to a single-type team is a holdover from those dashed hopes. His favorite Pokémon and ace is Golisopod, a giant isopod that stands taller than him.
  • Bling of War: He wears various bits of jewelry, such as a gold watch and a Team Skull pendant. He takes off the pendant after disbanding Team Skull.
  • Bonus Boss: He can be challenged to a match when you visit his childhood home after becoming Champion in Sun and Moon. In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, he's instead one of the Title Defense challengers you can battle.
  • Break the Haughty: In Sun and Moon, when you find him in Ultra Space, he realizes Lusamine has gone too far when both are stuck in Ultra Space, and he gets possessed by a Nihilego when he cockily tried to capture it. By his own words, his body and mind were driven out of his control, and he experienced fear for the first time. Meanwhile, Lusamine is just on another level and was gone for him, and it's implied he tried to talk her down, but it didn't work.
  • Broken Ace: If the trophies in his parents' house on Route 2 are any indication, then he most certainly is. Not only that, he had actually trained his Pokémon since he was younger during his island trial, and he also failed at becoming a Trial Captain, feeling like society cheated him when this happened. These are the reasons to why he formed Team Skull, as he wanted to take in people that weren't as different for him, and despite being The Ace and The Leader of the team, he is a broken ace one at the end of the day. Fortunately, by the end of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, he works to ammend his issues.
  • The Brute: Views himself as such, being a burly looking man who calls himself "destruction in human form".
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Post-game in Ultra Sun And Moon, he has the audacity to visit his old home on Route 2, and beat his father in a battle.
  • Catchphrase:
    • It's your boy Guzma!
    • He's also very fond of describing himself as "the hated boss who beats you down and beats you down and never lets up."
    • "Guzma! What is wrong with you?!", which he says whenever he loses a battle.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Introduces himself as "destruction in human form."
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: To Giovanni. They both lead criminal organizations and specialize in one specific type, and in the end, they both disband their gangs in order to focus on becoming stronger trainers. But while Giovanni is the Big Bad of his game, Guzma is The Dragon to the real big bad, Lusamine. And while Giovanni is training because he intends to reassemble Team Rocket someday, Guzma is able to move on and is training in order to better himself.
  • Cool Shades: Guzma wears an asymmetrical pair of sunglasses on his forehead. He swaps them out for a symmetrical pair after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Sports these, likely to reflect his angry and intimidating demeanor.
  • The Dragon: He is one to Lusamine, the president of the Aether Foundation.
  • The Dog Bites Back: It's implied his Start of Darkness occurred when he finally delivered a return beatdown to his abusive father.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: And this is despite his mother being an abusive parent. If you visit his house in the postgame, his mother will say that while she heard all sorts of rumors that her Guzma was up to no good, she knew they were "all lies", implying he couldn't bring himself to fess up to her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Despite being the leader of a gang, seeing himself as "destruction in human form", and wanting to vandalize Alola, he's the only villainous team leader to not plan to take over the world, or do something to it. Reinforced by Episode RR in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
    • He also feels Lusamine's Omnicidal Maniac tendencies are going too far, at the end of Sun and Moon.
    • In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, he also doesn't seem to take backstabbing well, as Faba did to Lusamine.
  • Evil Is Hammy: He's very loud and expressive, to say the least.
  • Evil Laugh: While it's not heard or shown in his dialogue, one of his animations before battle is a maniacal laugh.
  • Freudian Excuse: He's implied to be as violent and aggressive as he is because of a rough childhood, particularly because his parents abused him (moreso his father) until he snapped, beat his father up, and ran away from home. Afterwards, he tried to become a Trial Captain, but failed. This combination led Guzma to see society as the source of his problems and drove him to try and take revenge on Alola as a whole.
  • Foil:
    • To Kukui. Guzma mentions that both of them failed at becoming Trial Captains, but instead of doing something good with his talents like Kukui, Guzma went crazy and created Team Skull instead.
    • To Plumeria, his second-in-command. Guzma is loud and gets angrily very easily, while Plumeria always keeps her cool. While Guzma happily goes along with Lusamine's plan (until the events in Ultra Space), Plumeria is against kidnapping Lillie and regrets being a part of it. She apologizes sincerely for her actions and has nothing but nice things to say to the protagonist. When the protagonist meets Guzma after Team Skull's disbandment in Sun and Moon, he gives them his lucky Dawn Stone while refusing to call it a gesture of apology.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • His encounter and battle themes both contain samples of the Aether Foundation theme, which hints towards who he answers to.
    • Inverted in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. He knows Hala's grandson, Hau, and that he's approximately the same age as the main character. Which makes more sense since, after his Sun and Moon postgame fight, Hala is revealed to have been his former mentor.
  • Good Costume Switch: Sort of. After disbanding Team Skull, he swaps out his sunglasses, ditches the necklace, removes his tattoos, and crosses out the Team Skull logo on his jacket with red paint. The resulting look is largely unchanged except for the removal of all Team Skull motifs.
  • Guyliner: Wears dark gray eyeshadow.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Guzma is known for getting angry very easily, and expresses it physically. When you sit in his chair, you'll notice that the arms of the chair have wear and tear from him slamming his fists on it angrily. He'll also freak out and yell at himself for losing at you constantly.
  • The Heavy: The Team Skull goons who serve as the most regular obstacles to the player are all working for him, and once the player arrives on Ula'ula Island, Guzma takes (negative) notice of them and becomes a Recurring Boss. He's not the Big Bad, but he is the game's most frequent obstacle.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • In the post-game, he disbands Team Skull, with his title changing from "Team Skull Boss Guzma" to "Pokémon Trainer Guzma". After being defeated, he leaves with Hala to train and become stronger.
    • More so in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Guzma helps the protagonist take down Team Rainbow Rocket, primarily by keeping an eye on the entrance to their castle and intercepting grunts who pass by while the protagonist investigates the interior, and becomes one of the potential challengers after the player character has become the Champion, meaning that Guzma has cleaned up his act and finally completed the Alola challenge.
  • Hidden Depths: In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Plumeria suggests that despite how much Guzma rants about his hatred of many of Alola's traditions, he still cares deeply about his homeland and hence was willing to jump into another dimension to try to protect it. She admits though that Guzma himself may not realize this.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Yes, Guzma is the leader of Team Skull, which are all a bunch of delinquents that plan to cause damage to Alola, with him being the most competent of them all. However, the reason he took all of the grunts into Team Skull, including Plumeria, is because he knew how bad they must have felt after they failed to make an impact to the society they are a part of, and felt cheated by them. Deep down, all what Guzma wants is for him and the people he sympathizes with to be recognized, though of course, he will not let the positive side of him be seen by the heroes.
  • Humanity Ensues: Ironically, this is what happened to "destruction in human form" himself at the end of both games.
  • I Gave My Word: Defeating him in the Shady House has him actually give back the Yungoos that Team Skull kidnapped. Likewise, defeating him in Aether Paradise has him let you through, letting you battle Lusamine.
  • Incoming Ham: He makes his first appearance by loudly announcing "Greetings, cowering public!" and introducing himself as "the hated boss who beats you down and beats you down and never lets up" and as "destruction in human form."
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: For all of his fearmongering and bravado, it's implied that his less than stellar upbringing combined with his failure to become a Trial Captain left him with some confidence issues. Team Skull is his way of trying to compensate for them and lash out.
  • Irony: Being a gang boss who's a Large Ham and has a tendency to break technology by hitting it, it's made apparent that he's smarter than your average Team Rainbow Rocket Grunt (i.e: "experienced" Mooks part of The Mafia), and Faba, as he has an incredulous look as a reaction to the latter revealing to Lusamine that he backstabbed her just to further his own career.
  • It's All About Me: Played with. Guzma formed Team Skull as a way of lashing out after failing to complete the Alola Challenge, more specifically because he couldn't pass the trials and instead of moving on, Guzma is blaming society instead. Though given the implications he was abused in the past, the trials were probably not the only factor, and his underlings were all kids who couldn't make a living as trainers and are also blaming society for their troubles, so Team Skull's ambitions aren't just for him alone.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Settles into this in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, after his Heel–Face Turn. In the post-game, Guzma thanks you for saving the world from Necrozma and demonstrates to actually get along a bit with Hau, the grandson of Hala, who was Guzma's former mentor. Likewise, Guzma helps you in Episode RR by taking down a pair of Team Rocket grunts, and despite claiming that he did because they were getting on his nerves, he later reassures the player character that he's got his/her back by holding the entrance and holding off said pair of grunts. He's also helping the player character because Team Rainbow Rocket kidnapped Lusamine, the only person who truly recognized his strength, and he wanted to return the favor by saving her.
    Guzma: Maybe when you bring out the best in others, it helps you find the best in yourself too, huh?
  • Large and in Charge: Even while slouching, Guzma is visibly one of the tallest characters in the game, and his bravado as the leader of Team Skull isn't for show. His height is even made note of on a few occasions; according to official character sheets, his height is anywhere from 6'6" to 7'2" (the variation presumably due to Sun and Moon having most adults have similar heights).
  • The Leader: Of Team Skull.
  • Meaningful Name: The Guzmania genus is part of the plant family known as Bromeliads, many species of which are notable for being home to micro-ecosystems, and Team Skull gives off much more of a casual and familial tone than previous villainous teams. More specifically, Guzmania bromeliads flourish in hot, humid climates, such as tropical places like Alola.
  • Musical Spoiler: His theme actually glitches out at several points, playing a snippet of the Aether Foundation Leitmotif.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: Seems to turn into this at the end of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. His "heroism" part is played up in Episode RR where he describes himself as a "nobody" before teaming up with the player against Rainbow Rocket grunts. Besides, his design and traits had already mimicked many of those examples in the genres, and he has the speech of such.
  • Noble Demon: The entire reason Guzma formed the team was to lash out at a society he felt cheated by. So he took in a bunch of weak trainers and other failures that knew how hard and unfair the life of a trainer can be, and gave them a home and a purpose.
  • Not So Different: In his first appearance, Guzma attempted to pull this card between himself and Professor Kukui, as they both failed to complete the Alola Challenge in their youth. But Kukui points out that they are indeed different, because unlike Guzma, Kukui didn't fail to become a Trial Captain, he just chose to do something else, like become a professor.
  • #1 Dime: In Sun and Moon, he carries around a Dawn Stone that he received after his first ever victory as a good luck charm, even past the point where it's become apparent that it hasn't been very lucky for him where it counts. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon seem to replace it with a Grip Claw.
  • Personality Powers: His signature Pokémon is Golisopod; a cowardly weakling that became big and strong, but underneath its fearsome appearance is still the same coward it always was.
  • Put on a Bus: In the postgame of Sun and Moon, he goes to train with Hala. He comes back briefly on the Battle Tree for Moon, where you can face him off or team up with him.
    • Averted in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, where he can instead be found at the trailer park outside Haina Desert.
  • Rebel Relaxation: He crouches down while battling rather than standing up.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: After disbanding Team Skull, his attitude still hasn't changed one bit. He even makes a point of telling you he'll never change. Averted in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, where he mellows out by the end of the game.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Once it becomes clear just how far Lusamine's fallen off the deep end, he decides he really wants no further part in her plans. He can't actually go anywhere given where he is at the time, though.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: One of the causes in Guzma's descent to villainy is found in his trophy collection: he has a single silver trophy and the rest after that are bronze.
  • Shock and Awe: Vikavolt replaces his Ariados as the other very slow Bug-type in the remakes, giving his team not only a secondary special attacker other than Masquerain but it also helps his team handle Flying-types more efficiently.
  • Signature Mon:
  • Sore Loser: He doesn't take losing to a child over and over again very well.
  • Start of Darkness: The formation of Team Skull was the result of his being rejected from being a Trial Captain after running away from home to escape his abusive father.
  • Tattooed Crook: He has tattoos of Team Skull's emblem on his forearms.
  • Third-Person Person: He slips into this when he loses a battle. After all, he's probably used to hearing himself berated for failure this way.
    "Guzma! What is wrong with you?!"
  • Took a Level in Badass: Compared to his role in the original games, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon shows him actually completing the island challenge and facing you as one of the potential opponents for the title of Champion!
    • He even helps you take back Aether Paradise and rescue Lusamine from Giovanni and spends a good chunk of Episode RR holding back two Rainbow Rocket Grunts.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Tapu Cocoa, if one of the clues needed to get through the Shady House are any indication.
  • Walking Spoiler: There's a reason why there's a lot of white in this page. Most notably, knowing too much about him reveals that he is Lusamine's second-in-command during the events of Ultra Space, and that Team Skull was collaborating with the Aether Foundation behind the scenes the whole time.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: During the Team Rainbow Rocket arc, when confronted by multiple Team Rocket Grunts, Guzma simply attacks and restrains the trainers themselves rather than waiting for them to bring out their Pokémon.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Sports this look in his pre-battle animation.
  • Worthy Opponent: Averted and Played for Drama. In the post-game, he's chastised by Hala for only recognizing his own strength, and his failure to see the strength of others is what keeps dragging him down. Indeed, his go-to "Guzma! What is wrong with you?!" indicates he sees the player's victories as personal failures and nothing else.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Heavily implied. He threatens to beat the player character up right before the battle with him in Po Town's Shady House.
  • Younger Than They Look: Despite his white hair, Guzma seems to be a lot younger than he looks, probably in his early twenties. Plumeria's wording that "Lusamine was the only adult who ever acknowledged his strength, rather than the only person, and his parents and Hala referring to him as a "young man", further reinforce this, and it's mentioned that he failed at becoming a Trial Captain, and 20 is the cutoff age for Trial Captains. In case this is true, he's likely the youngest villainous team leader in the main games, moreso than Cyrus.

    Plumeria (Plumeri) 

Plumeria / Plumeri (プルメリ purumeri)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/plumeria_sm_1.png
The sole admin of Team Skull, she's described as the "Big Sister" of the gang and looks out for the younger members while keeping them in line.
  • Anime Hair: Pink and yellow hair drawn into four long strands, pink in the front and yellow in the back.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Her role as the admin of Team Skull is likely this, since she doesn't contribute much aside from being a strong trainer.
  • Bare Your Midriff: She wears a tank top that exposes her midriff, which also has a tattoo of Team Skull's emblem.
  • Benevolent Boss: While Plumeria is not the actual leader of Team Skull, she's the admin of them, the second-in-command to Guzma, and she cares about her grunts, treating them like her siblings. She also has a Golbat which evolves into Crobat later in the game. This is reinforced when she mentions that you "picking on" the grunts is her Berserk Button.
  • Big Sister Instinct: She is fiercely protective of her "cute, dumb brothers and sisters". This is the reason she initiates the first confrontation with the player, who has dispatched several Skull mooks by then with little effort.
  • Blow You Away: She owns a Golbat, later a Crobat.
  • Bonus Boss: Appears as one of the potential challengers for the player's title as champion.
  • The Brute: See Asskicking Equals Authority above.
  • Cool Big Sis: Fittingly for a group partially-based on Japanese Delinquents, she serves as this to younger Team Skull members. She is in a sense everything the grunts want to be: intelligent, powerful and "cool." Even her room in the headquarters is organized and well-kept compared to the mess that the Grunts and Guzma make of their rooms. Yet despite being so objectively "superior" she sees the grunts' flaws as making them cute and deserving of her attention rather than scorn, which just makes her more beloved by them.
  • Dark Action Girl: She's a skilled battler with strong Pokémon and works for the resident evil team.
  • Death Glare: Her pre-battle animation has her sport one, and due to her yellow eyes, it's actually quite unnerving.
  • The Dragon: To Guzma, though it's subverted as it turns out Guzma is this to Lusamine and she implicitly quits after having to kidnap Lillie.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She did not like kidnapping Lillie one bit.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: She wears lots of eye makeup - dark eyeliner and eyeshadow, and white eyeshadow - applied all around her eyes. Fittingly enough, she gets rid of the white makeup after reforming, making it less excessive.
  • Face of a Thug: Plumeria has one heck of a Death Glare, wears a constant scowl, works for Team Skull, and generally looks like the kind of person you don't want to meet in a dark alley. However, she's actually fairly pleasant with a fierce Big Sister Instinct, and the only reason she initially has a bone to pick with you is because you were beating on the grunts. She's also one of the least antagonistic villains in the series.
  • Foil: To Guzma, her boss. Guzma is loud and gets angrily very easily, while Plumeria always keeps her cool. While Guzma happily goes along with Lusamine's plan (until the events in Ultra Space), Plumeria is against kidnapping Lillie and regrets being a part of it. She apologizes sincerely for her actions and has nothing but nice things to say to the protagonist. When the protagonist meets Guzma after Team Skull's disbandment, he gives them his lucky Dawn Stone while refusing to call it a gesture of apology.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Her room in the Team Skull HQ has two Pokémon dolls on her bed.
  • Good Costume Switch: After Team Skull is disbanded, she removes her white eye shadow and tattoo, and dons a Salazzle-themed bandana and pair of pants.
  • Gyaru Girl: She has pink and blonde hair, and accents her eyes with white makeup. Her design is clearly inspired from ganguro style, further exemplified by the baggy clothing fashion that the entire organization wears.
  • Hair Decorations: Plumeria wears two skull-shaped hair clips, with her four bunches of hair going through the eye portions.
  • Hartman Hips: Her hips are quite wider than her body, and she tends to walk and show this off.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Turns over a new leaf after Team Skull is disbanded, albeit even while she's still with Team Skull she is notably less antagonistic than other members and outright against things like kidnapping.
  • Hidden Depths: Her Title Defense defeat dialogue implies that she's not as confident in herself as she puts up. Indeed, this hints as to why she may have joined Team Skull.
    Plumeria: "I failed again... like I always do. I promised myself I wouldn't! I told myself I would never fail again!"
    • Further, in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon we learn her favorite Pokémon is Bounsweet. She has a desire to watch over "cute, dumb" things and Bounsweet is notably fairly defenseless and while often harassed by other Pokémon, it tends to not be very good at communicating it needs help. This is likely why she is the Cool Big Sis to the grunts and in turn, why they all adore her.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: She's a lot more level-headed and in control than her superior. Makes one wonder how Guzma got her to join...
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • While she is a member of Team Skull, she is beloved by the grunts as a caring big-sister figure. She's also genuinely remorseful for her part in kidnapping Lillie, and personally apologizes to her for it.
    • She has an additional moment in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon for her kindness to shine. She doesn't really approve of kidnapping Lillie, but she actually respects Lillie for being able to stand up to herself when she and another grunt came by to take her, instead of accusing her of being a thief like the originals did.
  • Meaningful Name: Plumeria flowers are not only pink and yellow in color, they're also symbols of family and believed to provide shelter to ghosts and demons, fitting her status as the "big sister" of the team.
  • Multicolored Hair: It's pink and blonde.
  • Nice Girl: Heavily downplayed until the climax of the game, but it's there. Plumeria notably lacks some of the antagonism typical of villain team admins. She only battles the player character because they had defeated a bunch of her grunts, who she loves and treats them like her siblings. Later, she apologizes to Lillie for kidnapping her and mentions she wasn't on board with it at all, and she has nothing but nice things to say to Lillie and to the player before they go to save Guzma and Lusamine. When she appears as a challenger at the Pokémon League, it's hinted that she disliked knocking a bunch of Pokémon out to reach the Champion and is very sensitive to letting other people down; plus, her Golbat's evolution to a Crobat (which is only achieved through high friendship) implies she does love her Pokémon.
  • Nice Hat: After Team Skull's disbandment, Plumeria switches her skull hair decorations out for a Salazzle-themed bandanna, which matches her pants.
  • Number Two: The second-in-command of Team Skull, and The Dragon to Guzma. Strangely, they only interact once, and this is in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
  • Only Sane Woman: More cool-headed than Guzma, and the only member of the team to not be a Large Ham, nor gesture while she speaks.
  • Perpetual Frowner: She never smiles in any of your interactions with her, not counting the epic Slasher Smile she gives you in the Demo. She finally cracks a genuine smile in the ending of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
  • Poisonous Person: Specializes in Poison-type Pokémon, and gives the player a Poisonium Z.
  • Self-Deprecation: Like Team Skull as a whole, she doesn't hide her self-esteem issues. She automatically assumes that Lillie won't and shouldn't forgive her for kidnapping her, and has no problem with it because she believes it's deserved. Lillie, of course, does actually forgive her.
  • Sexy Walk: Like most of the older, notably attractive females in the game, she has quite a bit of hip movement when she strides forward.
  • Signature Mon: Salazzle. She even wears a bandana and pants modeled after it after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: An odd example. She has a low opinion of her grunts' smarts, but rather than it annoying her, she finds it oddly endearing. She pretty much thinks of them as her cute dumb younger siblings that she, as their Cool Big Sis, needs to watch over.
  • Tattooed Crook: She has a tattoo bearing Team Skull's emblem on her midriff. She removes it after Team Skull is disbanded.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon reveals that she shares Guzma's preference for Tapu Cocoa.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite being responsible for Lillie's kidnapping, she's nowhere to be found when Hau, Gladion, and the player raid Aether Paradise. Perhaps justified when she explains later how much she regretted being a part of the whole thing to begin with, presumably she took the first opportunity to leave the place.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Subverted. She does kidnap Lillie as part of Team Skull's plan and leaves her in Aether Paradise, but is resentful for doing this and apologizes to her for this before they enter Vast Poni Canyon.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: An unnatural shade of yellow, as well as pink. Both accentuate her Gyaru Girl appearance.

    Gladion (Gladio) 

Gladion / Gladio (グラジオ gurajio)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gladion_sm.png
An Enforcer of Team Skull. A young man who places strength in battle above everything.
  • Adapted Out: In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, his Sneasel was switched out for a Zorua.
  • Agent Scully: Implied. He gives you one of the flutes needed to awaken the Legendary Pokemon, but doesn't seem to believe in the existence of it himself.
  • Anti-Hero: Revealed to be this as he wants to save Lillie from being kidnapped and to stop Lusamine from possibly destroying the planet. He also isn't the nicest guy ever.
  • Anti-Villain: Despite allying himself with Team Skull, he doesn't seem to particularly care for their goals and mostly just does what he's told. He even warns the player and Hau to be careful of them at some point. He becomes an Anti-Hero after defecting from Team Skull entirely.
  • All the Other Reindeer: Because Gladion is hired muscle for Team Skull, the grunts are quick to remind him that he is not a real member of the team, and so they don't respect him. Though they do recognize that he's a stronger trainer than a lot of them and will back down from a fight with the player after learning that you beat Gladion.
  • Aloof Ally: After Lillie gets kidnapped by Team Skull, Gladion teams up with the Player Character and Hau to rescue her from the Aether Foundation. Despite that, he still struggles with opening up to them, even explicitly blocking them from entering a room containing information about what exactly Type: Null is.
  • Artificial Brilliance: In his first battle in the Ultra games, his Zorua is disguised as his Zubat. The two Pokemon don't share weaknesses and Zorua's Dark-Type makes it immune to Zubat's Psychic weakness, easily capable of catching unaware Trainers off-guard. Less so later on, however, as Zoroark is later seen disguising as Type: Null and Lucario, both of whom share a Fighting weakness with it.
  • Artistic Age:He's older than the protagonist, but is shorter than his younger sister Lillie. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon and most spin off material such as the anime seem to scale him up to make his age more obvious.
  • Benevolent Boss: Contrasting the rest of Gladion's cold and aloof persona, he's very compassionate towards his Pokémon, especially towards Type: Null, and continues the trend in previous generations of owning Pokémon that only evolve with high friendship ratings. To wit, his team composition in your battle on Mount Lanakila sports no less than three such examples: Crobat, Lucario, and his ace Silvally. He even takes over as president of the Aether Foundation in Sun and Moon and changes it for the better in the post-game.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Toward Lillie. Even if their relationship was a bit strained after he left her with Lusamine, Gladion cares for her a lot and quickly performs a Heel–Face Turn to team up with the player and Hau to rescue her.
  • Blood Knight: His main concern is becoming a strong battler, and even after Lusamine is dealt with, he feels that the best way to thank the player character is through giving them a good battle.
  • Bonus Boss: Appears as one of the potential challengers for the player's title as champion.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name:
    • While he never denies that Lusamine is his mother, he almost never refers to her with that title - he either calls her by her name or, even more jarringly, just "the president". It's yet another point of contrast between himself and Lillie, who always addresses Lusamine as "Mother" despite their strained relationship.
    • Averted in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon,, where Gladion does address Lusamine as Mother, both to her face and to other people. This is likely a reflection of how their relationship in that story is better, as Lusamine isn't quite so horrible.
  • Character Tics: Covering his face with his right hand while clutching his right side with the left. He switches hands in his pre-battle animation. May cross into Chewing the Scenery.
  • Clothing Damage: The rips in his clothes are apparently a result of Type: Null not knowing its own strength.
  • Catchphrase: His losing-battle dialogue is "How annoying!"
  • Chick Magnet: Implied by the ending credits of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, where the majority of the crowd that gathers to see him off is made up of female Aether Foundation employees.
  • Chuunibyou: Gladion has many hallmarks of this character type. He's got an angry demeanor and denies being friends with any human characters, is obsessed with strength, poses dramatically during battle, and even gets called out by Hau on acting mysterious just to seem cooler.
  • Color Motif: His colors mainly consist of red and black as they are on his outfit and fit his personality. Silvally can also have either the Fire or Dark typing. Both of those types are indicated by Black and Red for colors. This suffers deep contrast to Lusamine and his sister Lillie. He's also one of the best cases of Dark Is Not Evil.
  • Cool Boat: Takes command of one with Team Skull livery.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: In a similar vein to Ryuko Matoi and Shadow the Hedgehog, he's not as sinister as his black and red Color Motif might suggest.
  • Death Glare: His eyes narrow when he's particularly angry.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Downplayed. While he does warm up to the protagonist, he still goes out of his way to state that they aren't really friends.
    • In the Spanish version of the retellings, after battling him at Mount Lanakila, his dialogue suggests that he already considers the player character a friend, but he seems unable to understand why they would do the same for him
  • Disappeared Dad: His father Mohn was researching Ultra Beasts, and disappeared during an experiment.
  • Emo Teen: Design-wise, he wears red and black punk clothes and has Peek-a-Bangs. Personality-wise he's aloof, cynical, and abrasive. This is even lampshaded in his concept art, with "Gotta express that middle-school arrogance and being emo." Of course, he has a lot of things to be emo about.
  • Expy: Of a previous character in the series at that, namely Silver. They're both antagonists that are mainly concerned about getting stronger, their primary colors are red and black, both use the Zubat and Sneasel lines, stole their primary partner Pokémon from a lab, and they're the offspring to the leader of a villainous team. That said, Gladion is nowhere near as much a Jerkass as Silver was before his Character Development.
  • Foil:
    • A Spear Counterpart thematically to Lillie. Both have straight blonde hair and green eyes. He wears red and black, places a high value on being strong in Pokémon battles, and works for Guzma and in a degree, Lusamine, the true villain. She wears white with light blue, is not fond of making Pokémon fight in battles at all, and works for Kukui. Gladion even means Sword "Lillie," see below. Makes a bit more sense when it's revealed that they are actually siblings, with Lusamine as their mother. Additionally, both stole Pokémon from their mother in order to rescue them from the experimentation of the Foundation.
    • He's also one to Hau in terms of their personalities. Gladion's pretty put off by the way Hau can stay upbeat and cheerful even after losing a battle, while even Hau notes how overly serious and hard to get along with Gladion is.
  • Foreshadowing
    • Unlike Plumeria and Guzma, Gladion's theme sounds nothing like the Team Skull theme, hinting to his status as an outsider.
    • It also shouldn't come as a surprise that he's related to Lillie and Lusamine considering they all share the same hair and eye color.
  • Get Out!: If you visit Gladion in his motel room, he straight up says this to your face, telling you to leave his room.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Gladion is on the side of good, but he's still a pretty grumpy person.
  • Grade-School C.E.O.: He's not much older than the protagonist, yet he becomes the acting president of the Aether Foundation in Sun and Moon while Lusamine is undergoing treatment in Kanto. Faba is not pleased, try as he might to hide it.
  • Grumpy Bear: Gladion's default mood tends to fall into this. Even after he warms up to the Player Character and Hau he never actually "cheers up."
  • Haughty "Hmph": He does this so often it's practically another catchphrase. And Hau calls him out for this, too.
  • Heroic BSoD: He suffers a minor one after losing to Guzma at Aether Paradise, wondering if all the days he spent struggling on his own were all for nothing.
  • Hidden Depths: Gladion genuinely cares for his Pokémon to the point his Type: Null evolves into Silvally out of trust. Turns out he's not that bad of a guy. Additionally, his team includes a Crobat and a Lucario, two Pokémon that only evolve through friendship. Then there's also the fact that the Moon dex entry for Silvally states that Gladion himself gave it that name, and the last four letters for it spells "ally". He is also far more aware of the workings of the Aether Foundation and Team Skull than he initially lets on.
  • Idiot Hair: Even with his messy Peek-a-Bangs, Gladion noticeably has this going on. He's not an idiot per se, but he does have an impulsive streak.
  • Irony: Works as an enforcer for Team Skull after he runs away from the Aether Foundation, which supports Team Skull financially.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: When he learns that Lillie and Cosmog were captured by Team Skull, he forces you into a battle out of blind rage. After losing, he acknowledges that his actions were irrational and apologizes.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Is pretty cold and aloof most of the time (especially to Hau), but he genuinely cares about his Pokémon as noted by the fact his Type: Null (And later, his Crobat and Lucario) all evolve by friendship. And he absolutely loses it when Lillie is kidnapped by Team Skull. In the post-game, with Lusamine in Kanto to find a cure for Nihilego's toxins, Gladion takes over as president and insures that the Aether Foundation's intended purpose of protecting Pokémon is a reality.
  • Lean and Mean: He's quite skinny for someone his age, and his personality is initially far from friendly.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Downplayed. He's fairly levelheaded for the most part, but when he gets angry he makes some pretty rash decisions, like starting a battle with the first person he lays eyes on. Speaking to Wicke during the infiltration on Aether Paradise will further reveal that he'll just jump into things without thinking of the consequences whenever he gets worked up over something.
  • Limit Break: His Lucario has a Steelium Z, enabling it to use the Steel-type move Corkscrew Crash.
    • In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, his Zoroark gets the Darkium-Z instead, enabling it to use Black Hole Eclipse. This also adds a bit of foreshadowing to Gladion's reaction when Nanu first demonstrates the move to the player, especially since it's heavily implied that Nanu is the one who gave Gladion his Z-Ring.
  • Made of Iron: Implied. Gladion's Clothing Damage is said to come from his Type: Null attacking him. Type: Null was also built to battle the Ultra Beasts, and it has a decent base Attack stat of 95. He also survived all of those attacks and isn't even shown to have trouble moving.
  • Meaningful Name: The Gladiolus genus of flowers is colloquially known as the Sword Lily, fitting his Blood Knight nature and tying him to his sister. It also symbolizes honor and integrity, which ties in to his warning against the player as seen above. In addition, "Gladiolus" has the same word root as "gladiator", which also goes along with Gladion's strive to be a strong battler.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Gladion isn't exactly hammy, but his exaggerated hand gestures more than make up for it.
  • Morality Pet:
    • Type: Null is the most obvious one, but he eventually not only gains regular implied Morality Pet Crobat, but also Lucario and, obviously, Silvally, all of whom evolve through high friendship.
    • Lillie is also one to him, as he defects from Team Skull as soon as he learns they kidnapped her.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: His reaction to Hau saying Lillie looked "fantastic" after her Significant Wardrobe Shift has shades of this. He's okay with Lillie and the protagonist's Ship Tease though.
  • Paper Tiger: Gladion looks intimidating, but he's not exactly impressive in combat.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: His blond bangs cover his right eye, a trait shared by his mother.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Wears a near constant scowl on his face in almost all of his appearances.
  • The Power of Friendship: In a case of Gameplay and Story Integration, despite his rough exterior, half of Gladion's team is actually comprised of Pokémon that requires a high level of friendship with their trainer in order to evolve.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: As a hired gun of Team Skull, Gladion doesn't carry out acts of delinquency when he's off the clock. On the flip side, being a hired gun also means Gladion is left out of the loop about Team Skull activities that don't concern him. Like when Team Skull kidnaps Lillie and Nebby and hand them over to the Aether Foundation.
  • Put on a Bus: In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Since Lusamine is never affected by Nihilego's toxin, she's able to stay in Alola to run the Aether Foundation and so Gladion is the one who leaves on a boat at the end of the game. Wicke tells you in the postgame that he has gone to Kanto and Johto to train. Though it's for a while as he returns strong as a title defense challenger.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: His clothing is mostly black with some red accents. Subverted with the "evil" part, though; he's an Anti-Villain at worst.
  • The Rival: Notably in that he's the first rival since Silver to not be your friend. He's also the first one to be a part of the villainous team, which gives an additional reason for this beyond simple competition. And like Wally, Gladion never gets one of the three starter Pokémon; instead his final Pokémon is Type: Null.
  • The Runaway: His mother Lusamine is extremely controlling, and Gladion ran away when he couldn't stand it anymore.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The reason he ended up stealing Type: Null and abandoning his mother's operations.
  • The Sixth Ranger:
    • He isn't an official Team Skull member, just hired muscle.
    • He's also this for the good guys joining later in the game.
  • Shoulders of Doom: The hood on his sweatshirt has pointed edges, giving a spiky look to his shoulders.
  • Signature Mon: His partner is the mysterious Type: Null, which later evolves into Silvally. In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, he also gets a Kanto starter of the same type as the player's chosen starter during his title defense battle but his ace is still Silvally.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: While he has plenty of Pet the Dog moments in Sun and Moon, they're taken to a new level in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. He has many more lines that show how much he cares for Lillie (at one point outright stating that he left home so he could train to become strong enough to protect his sister). When he learns that Team Skull took her back to Aether Paradise, he blames himself for not being around to protect her, whereas the original games had him fiercely berate the player and Hau for not being around in his stead. He even shows a lot more care for Lusamine. He begs her to let him go into the Ultra Wormhole and fight Necrozma himself, because he can't stand the thought of losing her the same way he lost Mohn.
  • Tritagonist: Since part of the main plot is dealing with his mother, he qualifies as this after the protagonist and Lillie.
  • Tsurime Eyes: His eyes are slanted upwards, giving him an angry look. This is another point of contrast between him and Lillie.
  • When He Smiles: 99% of the time he's seen scowling or frowning. The few times he does smile, such as when he warms up to you and Hau during their infiltration to Aether Foundation, and after your final battle with him, when he acknowledges that Hau was right about The Power of Friendship and when he sees Lillie happily enjoying herself at your victory celebration are very heartwarming to see as a result. In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, he has another scene where he smiles. When he's leaving Alola, he was pleasantly surprised when he sees that Lusamine came to bid him farewell.
  • Worthy Opponent: Considers the Player Character, and later Hau, this. He even talks the Skull Grunts out of trying to pick a fight with the PC because they'd just end up getting their Pokémon hurt.
  • Your Size May Vary: In the original Sun and Moon, his model appeared slightly shorter making Lillie his Big Little Sister. In both Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon and the anime, his design seems to be resized to be slightly taller, implying this was a design error.
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