It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for Crossroads Comics!
This week we’re taking a look at another ask blog: Ask the Isle by Kuixotic. Ask the Isle follows a group of islanders residing on the island of Tano. A small but mighty island that is close to Alola, but far enough away to be considered its own separate location, has a very interesting history to it, as do its residents. There’s no one word to really describe Ask the Isle‘s story. It’s interesting and unique, unlike any other Pokemon story or blog I’ve ever read, but I think the most fascinating part about this blog is its historical lore. So today as part of my analysis of Ask the Isle, we’ll be looking at the blog’s story and its lore, since I find these are the two most appealing aspects of the blog to me.
Since both of the sections covered today are going to be rather spoiler heavy for the blog, I’ll also give a brief non-spoiler explanation about these two elements as well. First, the story has a very interesting blend of both original and in-game concepts to it. For example, things such as Shadow Pokemon or the Draconids from Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are implied to exist. However at the same time, because this blogs takes place in a wholly original setting, there’s a lot to it that is straight from the mind of Kuixotic. I think the story really thrives in this state as well since the way it’s been presented, it somewhat hinges on you having some knowledge of Pokemon and its lore in order to fully understand it. However, by relying on the fact that you would know what Shadow Pokemon or Draconids are, it allows Kuixotic to spend more time on the aspects of the story that are wholly original and not waste time trying to explain what most fans probably already have a basic knowledge of, or could simply Google.
Secondly let’s briefly cover the lore without spoilers. This lore is FANTASTIC. It’s some of the most interesting worldbuilding and backstory for a piece of Pokemon media that I’ve seen in a while. Without getting into specifics, Kuixotic definitely draws on inspiration from the Caribbean, both in terms of lore and history, and uses it to bring the island of Tano to life. And boy does it work very well. Several of the major points in Tano’s history are based on historical events from the Caribbean, especially the more tragic parts, but once again Kuixotic does a really good job of weaving their original story with this pre-existing content. Any readers who have taken a basic US or North American history class will have at least basic understanding of what is going on and that really helps to sort of accent the backstory and the struggles that Tano and its people faced during that time. It’s just a really cool read that I enjoyed a lot!
There is a lot to cover when it comes to Ask the Isle‘s story, with the blog currently undergoing its seventh arc. It’s done well to cover the ground it has in the roughly two years it’s been active but as a result, this means in terms of story there’s a lot of eggs in this basket that we have to look at in order to get a full picture. So, let’s get started. Ask the Isle currently has six completed arcs, three of which are regular arcs and three of which are interludes. Each of these serve to give more backstory to either Nat, the island of Tano itself, or its inhabitants, including those in the interior. The interesting thing about these arcs is that each one leads into another in some form or fashion. For example, at the end of the second arc, “Tiny Travels”, we learn of a character named “Quetzal” who is said to be a guardian of sorts for the group. Later on in the forth arc, “Ozone Flyby”, we meet this Quetzal, who is a Rayquaza that is bonded to Nat. Since then, even though Quetzalcoatl has left, we’ve continued to learn about then bond between them and Nat in subsequent arcs, particularly the current one. This is the case for a lot of major notes throughout the arcs and shows a lot of forethought on Kuixotic‘s part. While it’s not uncommon for ask blogs to be more off the cusp, Kuixotic‘s ability to foreshadow shows that this is not at least wholly the cast in Ask the Isle, and I think that’s something worth appreciating.
Additionally, Ask the Isle also does a great job of developing the cast as a collective rather than solely having each arc focus on a single individual. While there certainly are arcs like that, like the aforementioned “Tiny Travels”, which puts a large emphasis on Luxu, others spread the scope beyond one person. Sometimes this takes the form of a main character and another cast member, other times it’s the main trio, and sometimes it’s the island as a whole. This can be see best in the fifth arc, and second interlude, “The Magi”. During this arc, readers learn a lot about the interior and the history of Tano. We also learn about the Magi and some of the other spirits dwelling within the interior. It’s really interesting and makes the whole world around the main protagonists feel more alive, especially since the Interior and its inhabitants play a big role in some of the other arcs. The story also finishes out with some minor development for Oscar, Luxu, and Nat, though how it factors into the story at large remains to be scene.
Where the blog really truly shines though, at least for me personally, is the lore and worldbuilding of the island of Tano. Kuixotic actually has set up an entirely separate blog for the history of the island of Tano, titled The Glowing Isle. As previously stated, this section of the log takes heavy inspiration from the historical events of the Caribbean, particularly during the colonial period. The four villages of Tano island lived in relative peace, even interacting with the nearby island region of Alola, until explorers from Kalos came seeking more land for their kingdom. Unovan explorers were soon to follow and this lead to a great conflict as the Tano region tried to resist being colonized by these foreigners. It all came to a head in the village of Raiex when one of the Darkrai that lived there was slain. This led to the exploitation of the land, to the point that none of the Titan Legendaries could salvage Tano. So the villagers did what they had to and the Ciquex of the villages requested the Titans purge the island. Those that wished to perish with Tano, including the Ciquex, helped the remaining villagers that wished to flee leave the island, bound for Alola. Once they had evacuated, Lugia created a storm twice the size of the island that lasted for 40 days and 40 nights, killing all those who remained, including any Kalosians and Unovans who tried to flee. Eventually, after the storm passed, the northeastern part of the island is all that was left. This also happens to be where the blog itself takes place. It isn’t exactly clear what has happened in the time between the events of The Glowing Isle and Ask the Isle, but I’m sure in due time we’ll find out.
So in short, Ask the Isle is a super interesting blog with a cool story, very interesting worldbuilding, and a neat cast of characters. The art is also very pretty and really adds to the charm of the whole blog. It’s also generally just very nice to see a POC protagonist as well, since most ask blogs in the community don’t feature humans that much, so POC rep isn’t super common (at least in my experience). All in all, this is a blog I’d highly recommend. You can check out Ask the Isle on Tumblr and read its lore at The Glowing Isle. You should also check out Kuixotic too!
And without further ado, let’s check out the rest of this week’s lineup!
PMD: Chanterelle Go, Magikarp!
PMD: Explorers of Life Whoopsie.
PMD: Wildfire There’s the exit!
Pokemon: Shadow of the Sun Ooh what a pretty garden.
Renegade Redemption Hesitation is never good.
Shinka: The Last Eevee The quest official begins.
Between Truth and Ideals Seems there was a bit of a miscommunication.
Dear Sergio Even the great Champion Leon has to be the stern older brother sometimes.
Digimon Saviors 2 Hang on, Leomon! We’re almost there!
In Blood We Rise Theodore please, he said it’s fine.
PMD: Alliance Oh man the plot thickens!!
SlumberTown These two are such an adorable pair.
The Caretaker Huh… neat.
Deadly Syns Bill’s back!
Jet’s Black Nuzlocke Absolute chaos!
PMD: Keepers of Light Raiders huh?
Severance Looks like the Oreburgh arc isn’t finished quite yet!
The Brains and the Brawns Raph did it! But at what cost?
Undertow Big cat acquired!
Wanted! Pokemon Colosseum Nuzlocke Well this could be going better.
Asking Anorith This baby deserves all the berries!
Ask Galactic Finley Makes sense I guess.
Ask Mint and Poptart These two are so cute.
Ask Savel Ooh now things are really starting to get interesting.
Ask the Traveller That doesn’t sound good.
Flake and Rudy Yeah you tell em, Nymph!
Team Next-Gen Awww poor Kuno, haha.