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Fan Fic / Pokémon Story: Sinnoh Journey

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Mesa Verde Town is the site of the next Pokémon Contest that Dawn will be participating in. Naturally, she meets yet another new rival there, vying for the same Contest Ribbon as her. Will Dawn prevail? What other lessons will this competition teach her that will be useful along the way?
Official summary

Pokemon Story: Sinnoh Journey is a Pokémon fanfiction written by Grade-AMasterpiece set in the anime's universe. This story takes place between episodes DP029 (The Champ Twins!) and DP030 (Some Enchanted Sweetening!) of Ash’s Sinnoh campaign.

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Ash, Brock, and Dawn arrive in Mesa Verde Town, a cliff dwelling town wedged into the southern stone of Sinnoh's Route 205, that is geographically located between Floaroma Town and the Eterna Forest. Dawn has her sight on earning a ribbon from the Mesa Verde Town Pokemon Contest. Naturally, nothing comes easy; a new rival is there vying for the same prize.

Sounds like an actual episode, doesn't it?

Although the main bulk of the story is said contest, there are extra chapters after its conclusion that cover parts taking place in the future, tie up loose ends, and set up for the sequel. It is recommended to read them.

Pokemon Story: Sinnoh Journey is the first installment of a saga called the "Pokemon story series". Its other components are:

  • Pokémon: Nova and Antica: The main crux of the saga and this story's sequel. Ash returns as the main character as he sets out to a new region to encounter new and old things. Please keep all relevant tropes there.
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  • Pokemon Story Chronicles: A collection of side-stories or excerpts (called "entries") that enrich our understanding of the Original Character introduced in this fanfiction. Although it needs no work page and much of it is referenced in the character page, its section on the recap page should more than suffice.

You may find the story on FanFiction, Archive of Our Own, and Deviant Art.

Tropes:

  • An Aesop:
    • Having no real end-goal can lead to unhappiness and a lack of fulfillment.
    • Rivals aren't necessarily enemies. You can have a rival that can be a friend and still can drive to you to be better.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Instead of the final four like in the DP anime, Ash reaches the final two in this story's version of the Lily of the Valley Conference. He and his Pokemon also put up a much more satisfying fight in the defeat than the soul-crushing curbstomp portrayed against Tobias.
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    • May's handy defeat of Aaron in the Wallace Cup in a round she beat a nameless NCP makes her appear all the more competent. It made May also look more stronger of an obstacle to Dawn.
  • Adapted Out: Tobias and Darkrai are nowhere to be found. Aaron essentially replaces him as Ash's final opponent for the Sinnoh conference. Considering how contentious a character Tobias is, how awesome the battle between Ash and Aaron is, and this makes it the farthest Ash has gotten in a conference (until Kalos, but the story was written before the time), it's for the best.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: This happened between Aaron and Ian in the past thanks to their diametric philosophies and views of each other clashing.
  • Canon Welding:
    • Takes place in the anime-verse, but the narration references Sinnoh's Route 205, a game-verse concept.
    • Furthermore, Aaron’s hometown of Metropolis Town is said to be in Orre. Marian and later May are well aware of the region despite being anime characters.
  • Character Development: While Aaron projects the air of a cool, calm person, he hides some issues of his own. Mainly, he starts off as someone who unconsciously treats his "rivals" as "enemies", obstacles to his goal. Once he accepts that and after battling Dawn, Aaron begins to have fun with his rivalries, even rediscovering the excitement of one. Compare his muted reactions in Chapter 4 to him in his three-part battle with Ash — at times, he gets as hyped as Ash.
  • Central Theme: The precarious balance between your personal goals and your friendships that may or may not be related to them.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Dawn is the focus character for the first couple of characters. Then, the focus suddenly shifts to Aaron. Ash gets a little bit in his three-part battle with Aaron. All in all, the story spends more time developing time Aaron and then Ian. If that disappoints you, the sequel should help.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Chapter 1 simultaneously establishes a few of Aaron's personality traits. He's calm and levelheaded, never reacting with the same distress as Ash and the group. He isn't soft, using Meowth as leverage against Team Rocket until his own Pokemon are safe. He's also analytical, only stopping in to help when he catches the precise moment he can save his Riolu and Mawile.
    • Chapter 3: Ian's darker choice of clothing and grim demeanor contrasts with the brighter setting the narration makes. Then, his more manic side emerges when Gengar suggests scaring two girls, which he fully intends to do. His Odd Keystone gets in the way of that, but when Spiritomb arrives all its spectral and abominable glory, Ian is more than thrilled to take it on.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Aaron has been through the same challenges as Ash with the Pokemon to show for it.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Obviously, Dawn has her own canon story where she gains five ribbons. Her loss against Aaron is predetermined from the start. That said, the enjoyment comes in the form of character interactions and deeper emotional developments that make it all worth a read.
    • On the flip side, Aaron being pitted against May in the Wallace Cup ensures he won't be bending canon and winning in that tournament. Other than his two off-screen losses to Zoey, it's the only time in the short story he's shown losing. And rather handily at that.
    • Similarly, although this story lets Ash go to the Sinnoh League finals (as opposed to the semifinals), he isn't supposed to win. Naturally, Aaron takes that honor from him.
    • Ian and Aaron only make it as far as the quarterfinals of the Sinnoh Grand Festival, having battled Nando and Zoey respectively. Although, their matches were off-screen.
  • The Ghost: Two characters named Isabella and Caecus were namedropped when Ian talked to Jacob. They never make an appearance in this story.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Ian is introduced on Sinnoh's Route 205 where the Hallowed Tower is located. To make the reference clearer, Ian places an Odd Keystone in the tower and nets himself a chance to catch a Spiritomb.
    • Game Pokedex entries say Tangela can harmlessly regenerate their vines. Scizor is forced to tear some off, while apologizing, to escape its clutches.
    • Aaron's hometown, Metropolis Town, is located in Orre.
    • The "white hand" joke from Lavender Town is used by Ian on Dawn.
    • Ash's Pikachu beats Aaron's Steelix, the evolution of Onix, by using water to make it suspectible to electrical attacks. Just like all the way back in Pewter City with Brock.
  • Original Character: Aaron Shadow, Ian Darusu, and Jacob Forut.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: In Chapter 12, Aaron and Ian reconcile their differences, and Jacob tells them know his school is on a break session. They're heading to the Tenla Region for next journey together.
  • Rewrite: According to the FanFiction summary, this is a rewrite. The original version is only available on the author's DeviantArt account.
  • Sempai Kouhai: Dawn's Kouhai to Aaron's Sempai. To a slightly lesser extent, Ash's Kouhai to Aaron's Sempai. Yeah, Aaron is pretty much an older mentor figure to them.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Unfought: Dawn never battles either Aaron or Ian despite the build-up to a potential one.
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