I’ve to admit it; even if it isn’t my favorite region, Alola is the best region in terms of character development and narrative. Everyone (except for a few exceptions that feel more like a filling character) has a story to tell, ambitions, and an objective to accomplish, making the region and the story pretty interesting.
What Will You See In This Guide?
I’m making this guide because Alola has a lot of in-depth details that not everyone can discern (unless you have played this game several times). You will learn more about the characters, their perks, their origins, and how they made it to their current situation.
Also, you’ll see their Pokémon Team. This can be more important than you might think, as sometimes, a Pokémon team can say a lot about their trainer. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Elio & Selene
I’m sure these two names don’t get to your mind when you remember your adventures in Alola but don’t worry, you didn’t miss a thing. Steven Tyler would be proud of you. In fact, the character you control is more than just a shallow, dead-eye muppet. They have a name; Elio is the boy, and Selene is the girl.
Elio & Selene are the main characters of the story. Both have the same origin and story, which is the one you live when going through Alola. To avoid confusion, and because it sounds epic, I’ll name them The Protagonist.
The Protagonist isn’t more than a little Kanto kid who traveled to Alola with their mother as both were looking for a fresh start. While in Kanto, The Protagonist meets Professor Kukui through the Pokémon World’s Skype. I hope they don’t charge as much as they do in the real world.
Professor Kukui is more than just the Professor. He seems to be in charge of the whole Alola and is always keen to improve it. Thanks to Kukui, Alola gets a Pokémon League! People love Kukui as he’s always helping Melemele’s citizens. In addition, he brings interesting projects to Alola. I’m sure that, without Kukui and his Pokémon League project, Alola wouldn’t be appealing to the tourists.
Yes, I love to imagine “What If” scenarios in Pokémon. But I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Anyway, Kukui was one of the first trainers to complete the Island Challenge alongside Molayne, whom we will meet later in this guide. Also, it is said that Kukui faced Lance, the Kanto and Johto Champion, so for sure, he’s a strong trainer.
Kukui is also responsible for training and teaching the basics to you, which is great, as he’s also the self-named Champion of Alola, or at least, it’s the last challenge you face before becoming the Alolan Champion. And when Kukui is tired of the monotony of his job as a researcher, he puts his soul in the Battle Royal Dome, but not as Kukui, if not as The Masked Royal.
Professor Kukui’s Pokémon Team
The last time the player faces Kukui, he’ll have the following team:
- Alolan Ninetales
And his last Pokémon will depend on the starter you choose for your adventure:
- If you choose Litten, Kukui will have Primarina.
- If you choose Popplio, Kukui will have Decidueye.
- If you choose Rowlet, Kukui will have Incineroar.
Hau is the grandson of Hala, the Kahuna of Melemele. He’s an 11-year-old kid who will start his Island Challenge alongside you. As both start their adventure together, he’ll be your rival throughout the story. At first sight, Hau seems like a chill-out trainer who doesn’t care about losing or winning battles because he’s just training and doing the Island Challenge for fun. But there’s a turning point for Hau when he meets Gladion.
After a painful defeat in the Aether House against Plumeria (Team Skull’s secondary leader), Hau starts to rethink his goals and behavior. It seems like Hau wasn’t conscious of what was happening; the world is in peril, one of his friends, Lillie, got kidnapped, and he’s doing the Island Challenge by inertia, not because he wanted it.
That’s where Gladion appears, giving Hau a great lesson; as people, we need an objective to look for instead of just living life only doing what pleases us. From that point onwards, Hau got serious and played an important role, not only as a rival, if not also as a friend.
Hau’s Pokémon Team
Hau’s team will variate depending on the starter Pokémon the player chooses.
- If the player chooses Litten, Hau will have Vaporeon and Decidueye.
- If the player chooses Popplio, Hau will have Leafeon and Incineroar.
- If the player chooses Rowlet, Hau will have Flareon and Primarina.
The rest of Hau’s team will be composed of Komala, Crabominable, and Alolan Raichu.
Lillie & Nebby
In the first cinematic of the game, you’ll see a blonde little girl running away from a facility while avoiding some guards until something makes her teleport to the beach.
That girl is Lillie, and the thing that made her disappear was Nebby, a Cosmog she rescued from the Aether Foundation. Lillie was found by Professor Burnet (Kukui’s wife), and she took the little girl to Kukui’s lab to give her a safe place to be.
So, at the start of the game, Lillie is pictured as a mysterious girl with many secrets, and as the game goes on, we start learning a lot from her. Lillie was running away from Aether Paradise because she realized that poor Nebby was about to be used for a cruel experiment that most likely would destroy it.
Why was Lillie on Aether Paradise? Easy, she’s the daughter of their leader, Lusamine. So, thanks to her adventure through Alola with you, Lillie goes from being a shy girl who’s afraid of everyone to a motivated girl who isn’t scared to give her opinion or even a helping hand when someone needs it.
Gladion is Lillie’s older brother and one of your rivals during your Alolan adventure. As soon as he knew that Lillie had escaped from Aether Paradise, Gladion did the same, only to look and protect her. On his way out, Gladion discovered some Pokémon, named Type: Null, being used for experimentation, so he decided to steal one of them, hoping to save the rest later.
That’s the main thing about Gladion; he can do everything to protect the people he loves. He can even risk his own life only if he knows his family will be alive. Gladion is such a wonderful character, as he breaks the archetype of the rival trying to get strong only to defeat you, and instead, he tries to be the strongest trainer only to protect the ones he loves.
That’s where Gladion meets you and, therefore, Hau. Thanks to Hau, Gladion realizes that, sometimes, getting some help doesn’t mean you are weak; instead, accepting that you might need to trust someone makes you smarter and stronger.
I’ve never seen something like Hau and Gladion’s friendship in Pokémon, and I heavily appreciate it. The story isn’t the strongest point of Pokémon games, so seeing a well-narrated story in this game is almost magical.
Gladion’s Pokémon Team
The last time you’ll fight against Gladion, he’ll have the following team:
Silvally will have a type depending on the starter you chose at the start of the game.
- If you choose Litten, Silvally will be Water-type.
- If you choose Popplio, Silvally will be Grass-type.
- If you choose Rowlet, Silvally will be Fire-type.
Lusamine is the main antagonist of Sun & Moon. She’s Aether Foundation’s president, and at first sight, she seems like a humble woman who only cares about helping Pokémon and people. Of course, that’s Aether Foundation’s objective.
But that’s only a facade. In reality, Lusamine is a cruel woman with a single objective; getting to see Ultra Space and meet the Ultra Beasts.
Let me get things straight; Lusamine wasn’t evil; she was obsessed. She was obsessed with getting to the Ultra Space and meeting the Ultra Beasts; that’s pretty much it. After getting to the Ultra Space, she lacked a plan, so I’m sure that was her only objective.
Then, why was she so obsessed with the Ultra Space? This one is a tricky question, yet, it has an answer.
Have you used the Poké Pelago? Well, you might know that it was under the charge of Mohn. Mohn is a seemingly older man who doesn’t care much about anything other than the Poké Pelago. Well, sometime before Sun & Moon events, Mohn was actually Lusamine’s husband, and he was a reputed researcher. Mohn founded the Aether Foundation to protect the Pokémon world and know more about it.
Mohn, alongside Lusamine, Faba, and Wicke, learned about Ultra Space, so they started researching it. Eventually, Mohn and Lusamine concluded that the only way to make it to the Ultra Space was through an Ultra Wormhole.
So the only thing they had to do was to catch an Ultra Wormhole. And they did! The problem was that, during their investigation, Mohn got sucked by the Ultra Wormhole, totally disappearing. In his place, Cosmog appeared, and that’s how Lusamine got Cosmog in the first place.
Losing her long-life company isn’t cool, so it’s obvious it affected Lusamine, who got obsessed with going to the Ultra Space with the only hope of seeing her lovely husband for the last time. As you might know, Lusamine makes her way to the Ultra Space, where she gets possessed by a Nihilego. It’s pretty poetic, in a way.
But, thanks to Lillie and you, and with some help from Nebby, who evolved into Solgaleo or Lunala, Lusamine gets out of Ultra Space. She realizes all the mess she has been making in Alola and starts caring more about Pokémon and her children. That’s why I don’t think Lusamine is evil.
Lusamine’s Pokémon Team
The player needs to fight against the possessed Lusamine. She’ll fight against you with her team:
I’ll briefly talk about Wicke, as she plays an important role in Sun & Moon. She was part of the research team that saw how Mohn disappeared and how Lusamine got nuts about trying to get Mohn back. As it was obvious, Wicke was against Lusamine’s craziness, but she couldn’t do much besides letting Lillie and Gladion escape from Aether Paradise.
On the other hand, there’s Faba, who isn’t more than a victim of Lusamine’s craziness. He has been a researcher for the Aether Foundation since the beginning, and it’s faithful to Lusamine, even though he knew everything was getting out of hand.
He constantly tries to stop you because he’s only following orders. Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure he wants to stop Lusamine from committing an error like Lillie or Gladion.
Faba’s Pokémon Team
Besides being a researcher, Faba is also a skilled Psychic-type trainer. The last time the player will face him will be in a title defense battle, and he will go with the following team:
It’s time to talk about Guzma, the leader of Team Skull, a group of social rejects. Guzma is a wonderful character who is deeper than it seems.
Everything started for Guzma a long time ago in Melemele. I’ve said that Kukui is a great trainer. Well, Guzma also trained with him, as both received classes from Hala, Melemele Island’s Kahuna. Both started their Island Challenge together.
Kukui succeeded, but Guzma didn’t. In fact, Guzma hated the whole Island Challenge concept and tried to train and face the Challenge in its own way. Guzma’s dream was to become a captain, or probably a Kahuna. Still, he was never taken into account by the Tapus or the other Kahunas because of his desire to break the mold and try to do things differently.
Feeling like he didn’t fit in any place, Guzma created Team Skull and gave a chance to all of those trainers that, like him, didn’t feel like they belonged in any place. Guzma is a great guy with hopes and dreams, but he got constantly stepped on by the ones who played by the rules.
Yes, Guzma is my favorite character; he’s greatly developed!
Guzma’s Pokémon Team
Guzma is a Bug-type trainer. The last time the player can battle against him, he’ll display the following team:
There are only pieces of info about Plumeria. Still, she got to be Team Skull’s Admin because of its natural leadership talent and her great (and friendly, don’t get confused) relationship with Guzma. Yes, she’s a great commander who always cares about her group. Team Skull’s members call her “Big Sis” because she treats them like her family. That’s wonderful!
On the other hand, Plumeria hates everything that interferes with Guzma or Team Skull, to the point where she doesn’t hesitate to attack only to protect her family. When Team Skull dissolved, she started training alongside Nanu, Ula’Ula Island’s Kahuna.
Plumeria’s Pokémon Team
Plumeria is a great Poison-type trainer. After training with Nanu, she gets skilled enough to challenge the player to a title defense battle with the following team:
- Alolan Muk
Hala is Melemele’s Kahuna. He is in charge of giving the kick-off to your Island Challenge through a ceremony that isn’t more than a glorified starter-choosing moment. I’ve talked about Kukui being the strongest Alolan trainer, but Kukui wouldn’t be the number one if it weren’t for Hala, who was his trainer when Kukui wasn’t more than a trainee.
Hala is a very traditional man; as he’s a Fighting-type specialist, he’s mentally and physically strong even if he’s an older man. But, nonetheless, he’s not a strict man unless someone messes with his territory. Hala is very proud of being Melemele’s Kahuna; he’s like a professor who lives for his job! I love it!
Hala’s Pokémon Team
Kukui names Hala one of the Elite Four members in the Alolan Pokémon League, and when the player faces him, he’ll have the following team:
Olivia is the Kahuna of Akala Island. She was born in Konikoni City, in Akala, and she got to be the Kahuna of her Island at a very young age. Despite being very young for the job spot, she has performed it perfectly, so there’s nothing to criticize her.
As a Kahuna, she’s always keen to help and is very vibrant; you won’t see her slacking!
Olivia’s Pokémon Team
Olivia is also part of the Elite Four of the Pokémon League, and she’ll face the player with the following Rock-type team:
- Alolan Golem
Nanu is the Kahuna of Ula’Ula Island. In short, Nanu is a far cry from Olivia; he’s a very relaxed man who doesn’t care much about being the Kahuna of his Island; probably that’s why Team Skull created their HQ there. Nonetheless, Nanu had his glory days as a detective. He had a high position in the International Police and was a reputed officer.
But then, he retired. Tapu Bulu saw his potential, and that’s why he’s Ula’Ula Island’s Kahuna.
Nanu’s Pokémon Team
Nanu isn’t a member of the Elite Four. Kukui offered the spot to him, but he declined. Nonetheless, Nanu has a strong team. He’ll always be keen to battle against the player, and he’ll use the following team:
- Alolan Persian
Hapu is the youngest and newest Kahuna of all four, as she was chosen as Poni Island’s Kahuna shortly after The Protagonist visits the Island. Hapu is very closed and doesn’t like to share much of her life with others. Nonetheless, she was chosen as the Kahuna because her grandfather, who passed away, was a Kahuna, and he taught her everything about Tapu Fini, the legends around Poni Island, and the Ruins of Hope.
Hapu’s Pokémon Team
Hapu is a wonderful and strong Ground-type trainer, and the last battle against her will be a title defense one, so prepare your Grass-types, as this will be her team:
Kahili isn’t a Kahuna, but she’s part of the Alolan Elite Four, so I’ve to add her. There’s not much info about her, but we only know that she won the Island Challenge, which is enough for Kukui to name her part of the Elite Four.
Kahili’s Pokémon Team
Kahili is a very skilled Flying-type trainer. This is her team:
- Fire-type Oricorio
The Trial Captains are in charge of closely following the progress and challenging all the participants of the Island Challenge, so, of course, you’ll cross your way with them. Some are interesting, and some just appeared a couple of times. Let’s see them:
Ilima is the first Trial Captain The Protagonist meets. He’s a polite guy with good manners and the strongest trainer that the Trainer School (in my opinion, totally useless) has ever produced. Ilima is also the protector of the Verdant Caverns, so it’s known that he’s the only one who can grant trainers access to the zone.
Ilima’s Pokémon Team
Ilima is a Normal-type trainer, and he’ll challenge you with the following team:
Lana is the Trial Captain of Brooklet Hill on Akala Island. There’s not much to say about Lana besides knowing she’s very shy, but she always cares for her friends and family. She deeply loves the water, and her favorite hobby is fishing.
Lana’s Pokémon Team
Lana won’t battle against you unless you defeat Olivia. You’ll find Lana in Konikoni City, and she’ll battle against you if you first defeat her twin sisters in a double battle.
This is Lana’s team:
Kiawe is the Trial Captain of the Wela Volcano Park on Akala Island. Kiawe is a young man very attached to his family, who loves to dance, and his dream is to visit the entire world to learn about new traditions and dances. It’s sure he fights for his dreams because he splits his Trial Captain responsibility with a part-time job to save some traveling money. He’s a great example for everyone!
Kiawe’s Pokémon Team
You can only battle Kiawe in Pokémon Sun. You’ll find him in Paniola Town, but only at night and only after defeating Olivia. Then, you’ll have to go to Royal Avenue. There, he’ll challenge you to a battle.
As it was obvious, he’s a Fire-type trainer. This is his team:
Mallow is the Trial Captain of the Lush Jungle on Akala Island. I picture Mallow as Kiawe’s coequal; both are responsible for their family, and both want to achieve dreams in what they want the most. In Mallow’s case, she wants to cook and continue with her family’s cooking business in Konikoni City.
Well, she isn’t the Gordon Ramsay of the Pokémon world, as she has a lot to learn, but at least she compensates for her questionable cooking skills with a lot of commitment and energy!
Mallow’s Pokémon Team
You can only battle Mallow after defeating Olivia. You’ll find her in a restaurant in Konikoni City, and she’ll leave towards the Lush Jungle. You can battle her there.
She’s a Grass-type specialist and will have the following team:
If you want to learn more about Mallow, you can read this article completely dedicated to her!
Sophocles & Molayne
Molayne was the Trial Captain of the Hokulani Observatory on Ula’Ula Island. He got tired of the job spot, so he’s currently training Sophocles, the current Trial Captain. Molayne did the Island Challenge alongside Professor Kukui. He completed it and then became the Trial Captain of the observatory. He’s very smart and loves to research everything about outer space.
On the other side, Sophocles is smarter than Molayne, but he’s just beginning to develop his true potential.
Sophocles’ Pokémon Team
Sophocles will challenge you to a title defense battle with his powerful Electric-type team:
- Alolan Golem
Molayne’s Pokémon Team
Molayne will also challenge you to a title defense battle, but in this case, he owns a Steel-type team:
I want to point out that Molayne owns a Metagross, which is very hard to do, and only a few trainers can do it because he’s difficult to dominate. This talks a lot about the strength of this guy!
Do you remember Nanu, Ula’Ula Island’s Kahuna? Well, Acerola is in charge of Nanu, as she keeps Nanu up on his arduous task of protecting Ula’Ula Island. Both aren’t doing the best job ever because Team Skull took Po Town completely. Someone has to put their priorities in order, though.
Acerola is the Trial Captain of the abandoned Thrifty Megamart. She is an orphan who lives in the Aether House alongside some other kids and Pokémon. Contrary to what you might think, she loves to talk with people and is always keen to meet with new Island Challenge participants!
She’s a great Kahuna prospect, and I’m sure she’ll get the spot if Alola gets a new game!
Acerola’s Pokémon Team
Despite her age, Acerola is a wonderful Ghost-type trainer. She’s so strong that Kukui gave her a spot as part of the Elite Four. So, she’ll challenge you with the following team:
Mina is probably the most mysterious Trial Captain, as she doesn’t give you a trial. Instead, Mina just sees you. That was enough for her to give you her blessing to continue with your Island Challenge. That’s a bummer, and she’s an irresponsible Trial Captain. But not everything is perfect in Alola.
Mina is completely devoted to her art, to the point where nothing else matters. She’s a wandering artist who goes wherever her heart takes her. It is romantic, but I’m worried; does she eat something?
Mina’s Pokémon Team
Mina is a Fairy-type trainer. This is her team:
Question: Who’s the strongest trainer in Alola?
Answer: Contrary to popular opinion, Alola is filled with many strong trainers, like Kukui, Molayne, Faba, Acerola, and Kahili. I’ll go for Molayne; owning and training a Metagross is an arduous task!
Question: Does Red appear in Sun & Moon?
Answer: Yes, he does, as well as other interesting characters like Blue, Cynthia, or Wally. But don’t get hyped, they are just NPCs from the Battle Tree, and those character versions aren’t canonical!
Question: Is Looker in Sun & Moon?
Answer: Yes, the same Looker constantly annoying you in Pokémon Platinum and Black & White appears again. As you start the Post-Game, he’ll entrust you with the task of catching all the Ultra Beasts that escaped from the Ultra Space. Anabel, one of the leaders of Hoenn’s Battle Frontier, will also help you with this task. I love this cameo!