It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for Crossroads Comics!
This week we’re going to take a look at Across the Divide by pkmnMasterWheeler. Across the Divide is a Let’s Go Pikachu nuzlocke and stars our heroes Ash and Pikachu as they journey through Kanto! Well… sorta. After falling through an Ultra Wormhole, Pikachu finds himself in a familiar region, but this isn’t the Kanto he once journeyed through. Left with more questions than answers, Pikachu ends up joining forces with Nutmeg the Rattata on a quest to journey the region in hopes of finding clues to the whereabouts of Ash, or at least a way to get Pikachu home.
I’ve been following this comic since it started and it’s a really creative concept. Across the Divide is one of several Nuzlocke comics in recent years that lack a human protagonist despite being a nuzlocke of a mainline game. As a result, it makes for a rather interesting adventure, especially in one like Let’s Go Pikachu. The Let’s Go games in general fall into a weird category for nuzlocking already given how all the mechanics are changed up for this game. Being able to see Pokémon in the overworld and getting EXP through catching Pokémon can lead to some violations in the traditional nuzlocke rules. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though, far from it actually as pkmnMasterWheeler shows us here.
In fact the ruleset used in Across the Divide is part of what makes this comic so interesting. As shown here, many of the rules are the same as your typical Nuzlocke challenge. If a Pokémon faints, it’s considered dead, you have to nickname every catch (which isn’t stated her but given every character in this comic is named, it’s presumed), and the dupes clause are all three included in this ruleset. However, pkmnMasterWheeler modified the catching clause for this game to not only adapt to how Let’s Go Pikachu is played, but also to make it harder. So first, as a modification of the typical catching rule in Nuzlockes, rather than just catching the first Pokémon she runs into in the wild grass, pkmnMasterWheeler catches the first Pokémon she sees on the route. In the event she spots multiple Pokémon at the same time, pkmnMasterWheeler is able to use a random number generator to determine which one is her encounter. Pretty solid adaptation for the Let’s Go environment that has Pokémon spawning in the overworld. In addition, other Pokémon can still be caught for grinding purposes (since wild battles are not a thing in these games and Pokémon must be caught in order to earn EXP), but they cannot be used in any capacity beyond that. Finally, in order to make this more challenging, only one Pokémon may be caught before each gym, not including the starter. This allows for a total of 9 Pokémon to be used throughout the entire run. It’s not clear if this will impact gift Pokémon in any way, but either way this makes it much harder since it really limits how many Pokémon you can have at any given time. pkmnMasterWheeler also increases the difficulty by limiting her party size to four Pokémon at a time and making it to where no Pokémon can evolve past the stage they were caught at. According to pkmnMasterWheeler, this is done in an attempt to make the game more like a PMD game, which makes sense because in those games, you’re usually limited to a party of three or four and cannot evolve until the post game.
All in all this is a really cool ruleset that not only adapts itself well to the game being played but also makes a game, that is generally regarded as fairly easy, much harder. However that’s not all that’s great about Across the Divide. Far from it. Next up, lets analyze the use of colors, or rather, lack thereof.
Out of all the comics that pkmnMasterWheeler authors, Across the Divide is the only one done in grayscale. And there’s actually a pretty good reason for that, at least from a storytelling standpoint. Across the Divide‘s prologue is actually done almost entirely in color, but shifts into grayscale as Pikachu falls into the Ultra Wormhole. On top of likely making the comic much easier to produce, there’s a strong history here for a shift in color scheme in a story like this. In fact, the Wizard of Oz does something similar in its movie, albeit the opposite. Those that have seen the movie will recall that when Dorothy is in Kansas, the movie is in grayscale, but it shifts into color when she enters Oz. This is why Dorothy’s infamous slippers were actually changed from silver to ruby. While she wore silver slippers in the book, ruby slippers provided much more of a pop when entering a more colorful world.
Similarly, Across the Divide shifts from a colorful world to a grayscale one. This change in tone likely indicates a darker world than the one we know, since this is a nuzlocke after all, which is not something Ash has ever encountered in this adventures. It also gives the reader a sense that “we’re not in Kansas anymore” and is a great way to show a shift in dimensions. This might be Kanto, but it’s not the Kanto Pokémon fans are familiar with, which this change in colors really helps to drive home. All in all it’s a great and really underused technique so I’m glad to see it well executed in this story.
Across the Divide is a really great comic. It has an interesting story, ruleset, and worldbuilding that can entertain both nuzlocke and PMD fans alike. In addition, its use of the change from colorful to grayscale shows a really grasp of artist techniques by the author, which is something really worthy of praise. This is not to mention that pkmnMasterWheeler authors a lot of comics, including: Pokémon Yellow Nostalgialocke, Golden Sun, and Between Truth and Ideals. It’s really quite impressive just how much she authors and I really have to applaud her for it, since I know it can’t be easy. If you’re interested in supporting the author, or reading any of these comics, you can check it all out on Deviantart, ComicFury, Tumblr, Twitter, and Twitch.
And without further ado, let’s check out the rest of this week’s lineup!
PMD: Chanterelle Oooh I am digging this worldbuilding a lot.
PMD: Explorers of Life Bad idea BAD IDEA!!
PMD: Wildfire Another main character met!
Shinka: The Last Eevee Nick use Sand Attack! It’s super effective!
Across the Divide What will they decide?
Dear Sergio What a cool Eternatus design!
Hypoxia || A Pokemon SS Nuzlocke That was a close one!
Mirrored Image Where could they be?
PMD: Adventures In Viraska Battle begin!
PMD: Anamnesis T pose to assert your dominance.
Soul Food This must be quite the shock to a person of faith.
The Caretaker Gonna be hard to sleep after that.
A Normal Eeveelution Comic Don’t you just hate it when people don’t stick to the script?
Bob and Bart You sure got him?
Deadly Syns Burg no!!
Fallen Flowers A heroine appears!
For What It’s Worth Let’s face off against the gym then!
PMD: Turncoats The son is welcomed home.
Relic Radiation Oh man it’s an ambush!
Soul Brothers Looks like they might have just found a lead.
Ask the Underworld Nothing like a bit of spring cleaning.
Ask Willow Leafeon Defend the fort!
Floating On Now what is that?
Genesis: A Gijinka Story Yeesh, harsh much?
Paula Peroff Seems very Edgeworth energy to me.
PMD: Outlanders New friend, perhaps?
Steven AUniverse: Ask WhitePearl and Steven OH SNIZZITY SNAP
Team Next-Gen Kuno seems to have a lot of free time on his hands.
The Forgotten Mimikyu Oh the poor thing…