Draw This Again: Alpha Team

Back in the early 2010’s, with Bionicle having just ended, I got into playing Pokémon games. Late in my first playthrough of Platinum, I found out that one could name their pokémon… and with that my first characters were born. I elaborated their story over the years, though I sadly didn’t bother to write it down (much is still in my head, thank goodness). Basically, these guys were my first foray into creating art and stories, and though neither my DS nor its Platinum cartridge are with me anymore, this “alpha team” has stayed. While I don’t have any plans to write/put out their story anytime soon, I did feel like drawing some again and ended up sketching the whole lineup. The top picture is an old one; by no means my first of the characters, but definitely the first time I put them all together on paper after working on their designs for like a year. A slightly more recent version of it is buried somewhere way, way down in my gallery. The bottom picture is today, almost exactly five years later. I’m glad there’s been some progress .


In order of joining the team, the characters:

William the Infernape. The starter and hence the leader of the team, whether he’s willing or not. Though he got better with time, he initially didn’t have much confidence in either himself or his ability to take on the role. Early traumatic experiences also left him prone to bouts of panic; anyone more knowledgeable than a starting trainer would’ve questioned his psychological fitness for the journey. Coaching from Fae eventually helped him overcome both these problems. Unsurprisingly, his fighting style was more about technique than raw aggression. He ran a physical set with Close Combat and Blaze Kick.
Jasper the Crobat. Fast friends with William almost from the moment he joined the team, Jasper always was an incorrigible prankster. This tended to get both him and William into trouble, but the only permanent scars either racked up in the process were to the latter’s nerves, which Jasper’s infectious enthusiasm in part helped to overcome. More concerning was Jasper’s apparent inability to take even dire situations seriously himself, making him a handful on the battlefield until a number of close calls forced him to grow up a bit. He established himself as the upbeat spirit and motivator of the team afterwards. Jasper ran a Nasty Plot + special attacks set, fighting in a boom-and-zoom like Toothless; How to Train Your Dragon was big at the time.
Tiburon the Garchomp.* A somewhat bizarre mutant from the outset (I had a thing for throwing mutagenic stuff at characters back then, see Fae below), Tiburon joined the team as a Gible already displaying some Gabite traits and evolved only once after that, becoming a Garchomp still displaying many Gabite traits. This only compounded the mystery that he habitually surrounded himself with; outwardly neither friendly nor hostile, he remained very taciturn and devoted himself mainly to training and a hobby of collecting gemstones. This led to much speculation among the rest of the team about his true nature, but one thing was certain: his combat capabilities were considerable, to say the least. Because of this, he served as a kind of fallback for the team; if all else failed, one called Tiburon to the field and he’d clean it up.
Fae the Gardevoir.* Fae joined the team as a poacher refugee and has been to hell and back since with storylines including the rescue and subsequent death of her mother from a Team Galactic facility and drug abuse in an effort to unlock psychic abilities that she had previously found difficult to harness. All this culminated in an overdose leading to a botched semi-evolution that left her as a bizarre human-Gardevoir chimera (again, mutagenic ideas run amok). No longer a pokémon in the strictest sense and with her powers severely limited by the transformation, she stuck with trainer and team as a traveling partner to continue taking care of both. Ran a Calm Mind + special attacks set until the Platinum story climax, was then replaced by Citrus as the semi-evolution took place during the distortion world part of the story.
Zalika the Milotic. Youngest member of the team, Zalika had a disarmingly gentle personality but was tenacious in a fight. Took after one team member after another but eventually developed a close relationship with Fae and Jasper in particular. Equipped with particularly tough scales in a simple pattern, she wasn’t much suited for nor fond of contests and took instead to a ‘tank’ role in the field. She lost a tail fin early on because of it but continued undaunted, becoming the indestructible pivot that the rest of the team relied on in the field. Ran a recover+hypnosis+some attacks set.
Maurice the Weavile. Caught after essentially being evicted from his pack for being too nice, Maurice was all too willing to sacrifice everything for teammates and trainer and nearly did. Standing up against a powerful fighting-type in a battle when a blizzard had already brought the rest of the team to their knees, he took a massive blow to the head, shattering his gem and leaving him in critical condition. His body recovered, but his brain didn’t; the overly nice Weavile was replaced by a primal and occasionally downright sadistic one. In this state, when he fought he fought to the death, making him a no-go as far as battles with trainers were concerned. A relationship with Citrus eventually brought back glimmers of his old self; she proved a calming influence on him and he adored her. Ran a priority-based physical set.
Citrus the Weavile. As a shiny weavile, Citrus never had it easy. Ridiculed in her pack for being different (sneasels can be cruel like that), she pretty much welcomed getting caught by a trainer just to get away from there. She immediately became his prize possession, but kept out of fights for fear of injury and spoiled to no end, she rapidly developed a massive weight problem. Her treatment also made her the envy of the rest of the trainer’s team, and soon she found herself mocked mercilessly again, this time for her size. Desperate, she took the radical measure of total fasting to eliminate what she thought was the problem, bringing herself to the brink of starvation. Picking up on the deteriorating situation, her trainer was by then willing to trade her away for her own good. Through a trade, she was brought into the alpha team primarily to try and calm Maurice, who’d just come back from the brink of death and had changed radically for it. The task was a daunting one, but Citrus managed it and, with support from the rest of the team, she physically recovered as well. Unfortunately, her own trip to death’s doorstep via starvation effectively declawed her; she stayed with the team, but mainly as Maurice’s partner and conscience and didn’t dare get into a fight herself. His unquestioning love for her and encouragement from the rest of the group slowly re-built her self-confidence, though, and after Fae’s overdose and subsequent transformation effectively took the Gardevoir out of her fighting slot, Citrus filled it with a set of hard-hitting, blunt physical moves boosted by Swords Dance.