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Tear Jerker / Pokémon Sword and Shield

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As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.


Story

  • Just after you beat the Motostoke gym and are about to head to Hammerlocke, Bede and Hop get into a battle off-screen. When you meet Hop again, it turns out that Bede thoroughly defeated him, insulting him both before and after for dragging his older brother's name through the mud with his lack of skill and even questioning if he has anything to show of his own with how much he talks about Leon and the protagonist's skill over his own. After this, Hop spends the next several battles putting himself down and swapping out his entire team save for his starter, and it takes until after the player obtains the sixth badge before Hop's finally able to regain his spirit and start using his older Pokémon again.
    • In regards to Hop's switching out his team members, the most notable thing when you battle him for a fifth time is the complete absence of Wooloo - Hop's first Pokémon he's had long before the start of the game and been using alongside his starter since the first battle against him - something practically unheard of among the rivals in Pokémon games - the Pokémon he leads with in every fight, and the Pokémon mentioned even in his League Card. You know the loss to Bede hit him hard when he even traded out his original partner.
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    • Even before his battle with Bede, if you look inside Hop's house, it's filled with Leon's trophies and accomplishments, to the point where even in the living room there's a photo of Leon framed next to his jersey over the fireplace rather than anything of Hop. The whole thing gives a serious impression of one of two things, or possibly both: Parental Favoritism, whether it's unintentional or not, or a potential Inferiority Superiority Complex. Even before he starts actively doubting himself more, it's clear Hop's connection to the "undefeated Champion" comes with its fair share of burdens.
    • Basically any time you face off against and defeat Hop is this. It isn't new for rivals in Pokémon games to take losing badly, but no other rival goes quite as far in hammering in just how badly their constant and inevitable defeats at your hand are affecting their self-esteem.
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    • Speaking of beating Hop, his defeat animation in the Champion's Cup semifinals (and in the Slumbering Weald before Sordward and Shielbert arrive) is devastating, showing him instinctively grimace as the camera pans behind him to hide his face while he briefly shakes and has to force himself out of it before accepting his loss. You can tell he's absolutely trying his hardest not to break down at the prospect of not being the one to face off against Leon and become the champion, and the fact this comes after he's managed to overcome the worst of his self-doubt and learned to stick with his original partners just makes it even more heartbreaking. The Slumbering Weald part isn't made much better due to him immediately losing again to Sordward/Shielbert. Poor kid can't catch a break...
      • The fact Hop is still so supportive and a good sport towards the player character, even with how visible it is it pains him to lose. The way he forces himself to stop shaking and the defeated smile he gives before just thanking them for being the one who made it that far with him hurts to watch.
        Hop: [Player]... Thanks, mate. I'm really glad you were the one here with me.
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  • Team Yell's situation, while not to the same degree as Team Skull's, ultimately turns out to be quite sad and understandable. They're the Gym Trainers of the Dark-type Gym in Spikemuth, a small and shabby-looking town which has fallen into relative obscurity largely due to its lack of a Power Spot for Dynamaxing, whose Gym Leader himself has entered something of a depression due to blaming himself for the situation. Marnie, his younger sister, wants to compete in the Gym Challenge and become Champion so she can help restore Spikemuth, and Team Yell have essentially formed to cheer her on as the only representation from their little town and to try and help get their town and Gym back on the map. They aren't even really villainous at all - they ultimately just want to support any rising star from their humble little town in any way they can.
  • Bede, while a considerable Jerkass and probably the smuggest rival since Blue, ends up becoming pretty sympathetic when you read his League Card. Orphaned at a young age, he didn't get along with any of the other children and in general doesn't seem to have had anything to really live for until Chairman Rose gave him a Pokémon and gave him a sponsorship. While he might be a pompous jerk, knowing his dedication to the Chairman and his smug attitude over being "chosen" is likely because it's the only thing he's ever had to aspire to - especially when all this is for a man who doesn't even remember his name at first - is incredibly depressing.
    • This, of course, can make it quite hard to watch him get disqualified from the Gym Challenge by the Chairman after his attempt at destroying the mural in Stow-on-Side. It's the first time the player will see Bede legitimately shocked, and he pleads for the Chairman to consider alternatives before being dragged away - while his punishment is arguably warranted, when you consider battling and assisting the Chairman's goals is essentially Bede's entire life and he's being disowned by the closest thing he's ever had to a parent, it becomes very hard not to pity him. It doesn't help that Sonia specifically brings up how she heard Bede has no family afterwards.
      Bede: You... you must be joking, right? You're disqualifying me from the Gym Challenge? But you're the one who endorsed me! There are a hundred different ways we could sort this out... why are you choosing the worst possible option?!
      • Made worse by the fact that, while still a crime, Bede was ultimately following Oleana's orders, and as Opal later puts it, he was used by her and thrown away. In the end, no matter how rude he is, Bede is essentially a youth with no family who loyally followed orders from the closest thing he had, only to be discarded like trash by said people in his bid to try and please them. It's really no wonder he's an asshole.
      • Compounding that is that Oleana had the same background as Bede. Meaning that she probably sees Rose in the same light Bede does—and thus is very aware that he seeks to be Rose’s favorite. This isn’t just using him and throwing him away—she’s actively ridding herself of the competition!
    • It doesn't help that, for most of the game, Bede is depicted with Dull Eyes of Unhappiness unlike any other character, almost driving home just how miserable his entire existence really is. After he's been taken in by Opal, the effect is noticeably absent.
  • You can meet a shy little girl in Hammerlocke named Paula, who will ask you to deliver a love letter to a boy called Frank in Ballonlea. Pretty cute, right? Then why does the item description mention that the letter looks very old? When you reach Ballonlea and speak to the first little boy you see, he'll say that he's not Frank, Frank is his grandfather. Hand the letter to the old man, and he'll remember his childhood friend, Paula, and how she was very ill. She kept this a secret from him, and when he found out, they had a big argument and falling out. His family moved away shortly after and he hasn't seen her or had any contact with her since then. Go back to Hammerlocke, and you'll find Paula's no longer there. Examine the spot where she was standing, even though there is no sparkle indicating an item, and you will receive a Reaper Cloth and an eerie voice thanking you for delivering the letter...
  • When you beat Leon in the story-mandated Champion fight, his losing animation consists of him pulling his hat over his head and frowning before grinning and throwing it in the air in celebration of your accomplishment. The very definition of a Graceful Loser, and a sign that Leon is proud of you for finally making it this far. However, if you beat him AGAIN in the optional Battle Tower, he has a new animation that consists of him simply pulling his hat over his head and frowning as his hands start shaking, showing that losing his winning streak and his title as Champion has clearly affected him a lot more than he's willing to admit.
  • Given his general expression, it can be rather striking to see Chairman Rose looking legitimately saddened to disqualify Bede from the gym challenge. While there's quite a bit of room for doubt, if you genuinely believe his words on seeing his younger self in Bede, it's pretty depressing to see the guy be forced to disqualify someone he genuinely cares about.
    • There's also Rose's frowning and his pre-battle animation of looking down at his Ultra Ball during the player's confrontation with him near the end of the game - it's painfully clear from how he's animated that Rose doesn't enjoy the extremes he feels he has to go to for the sake of his region's prosperity. After all he's done for Galar and how genuinely he was motivated by his care for it, it can hurt a little seeing him destroy his entire reputation within one night from his desperation to keep it alive.
  • Like Alder before him, Mustard lost his first Pokemon which affected him to the point he frequently lost battles afterwards, losing his title as Champion to boot. This is thankfully something the player never gets to experience in game, but it really hits home on the reminder that for the majority of them, Pokemon are also not immortal and are subject to death. It leaves an empty feeling of the idea of the player someday losing their own starter Pokémon. Especially if they kept it since the beginning.

Pokémon

  • Togekiss' Sword Pokédex entry states that it's seldom seen anymore due to the rampant emotions of conflict happening around.
  • Galarian Corsola is heartrending because of the reminder of real world tragedy. It's a ghost type. Because of coral bleaching killing off all the coral around Galar. Which is happening to reefs in real life, right now. Human damage to the climate is now so bad, even the coral reefs in video games are dying (albeit the climate change that effected Galar's Corsola is noted to have been in ancient times, and humans are not implicated as a cause).
    • What's even more sad is that Galarian Corsola is getting a lot of attention for its potential as a Stone Wall: With the ability Cursed Body, an Eviolite, and an ideal moveset, it can stall out and grind down other Pokémon with Whirlpool and Will-o-Wisp. It can even shrug off Dynamax attacks that would've severely damaged or KO'd a normal Pokémon. It only took Corsola becoming undead for people to start giving it the attention it desired.
    • The Pokédex that claims that the climate change that affected these Corsola happened in ancient times is the same Pokédex that claims that the amalgamations that are this region's fossil Pokémon actually lived in prehistoric times. It's possible that, just as the latter dex entries could have been made up to cover Cara Liss's rear regarding her creations, Galarian Corsola's Pokédex entry could have been similarly fabricated to cover the fact that modern pollution is the real cause (albeit, the fact that Galar's Corsola in modern times are found in places that used to be covered in ocean, and that they've been extinct for so long that the Mareanie/Toxepex of the region never learned to feed on them, suggests that the climate change that effected them involved a lot more than just warming water).
  • The very existence of the four Fossil Pokémon is both this and Nightmare Fuel. The -zolts have the front half of a small yellow dinosaur on disproportionately huge lower bodies, while the -vish have the head of a fish on the bodies of land creatures. What makes these particularly awful is the fact that they're fossils spliced together from two separate extinct Pokémon, and now in their unnatural state they're basically suffering from just existing. Arctozolt shivers constantly as it's not used to the cold of its lower half. Dracozolt can barely walk due to how twisted its proportions are. Arctovish struggles to eat since its head is upside down and Dracovish has difficulty breathing out of water. It's both heartbreaking and horrifying to think that these poor Pokémon would be brought into existence in such a miserable state, and to make it worse, it makes the player Trainer seem almost a sadist to intentionally allow such Pokémon to be created.
    • What's worse, similar to Corsola, the competitive battling scene is taking an interest in the Drake based mons, namely Dracovish and its Strong Jaw + Fishious Rend combo, which, under rain and with a Choice Band, can OHKO the aforementioned Corsola and hits like a nuke on everything else. So people will keep spawning these abominations en masse just because they're abnormally strong. Makes one wonder how far we as Trainers should have to go to get a competitive edge...
    • What's possibly just as bad is releasing them. You, knowing full well that these affronts to nature have an extremely high chance of dying soon after they go back out into the wild, due to their numerous physical deformities and conditions, and choose to do so anyway. However, it may count as a Mercy Kill of sorts, as while they were suffering when with you, they may at least have had fun at camp, and when they die out in the wild, they won't be suffering any more.
  • According to the Pokédex, Gigantamax Eevee becomes friendlier when it Gigantamaxes, and thus, tries to play with anyone while in this form- only to end up accidentally crushing them with its immense body.
  • If you thought Unovan Yamask's lore was sad, wait until you hear about their Galarian cousins. Galarian Yamask have lost control of their own spiritual bodies thanks to the cursed stone slab they're forced to carry around, which is slowly sapping their energy away until there's nothing left. What's worse, it's implied that when they evolve, the relic completely assimilates Yamask, making the poor little ghost disappear out of existence, with its energy being used by the stone slab to incorporate more stones into its body and form a Runerigus.

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