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Crossroads Comics #175 – Sweet ReLeaf

It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for the first Crossroads Comics of 2022!

This week we’re taking a look at Sweet ReLeaf by Shindisama (she/her). This story is a FireRed nuzlocke comic that follows Leaf, a trainer who is journeying across Kanto with the desire to make friends and have a good time. However, as she clashes with her rival and discovers Team Rocket’s dark plots for the Kanto region, Leaf will have to gather strength with her team and within herself to face down these new challenges.

Sweet ReLeaf is an absolutely adorable and funny comic that appears to be taking a more lighthearted approach to its storytelling. While more recent updates have had a more serious tone, the details of which we’ll get into more in the spoiler section, the comic overall thus far has left me feeling very warm and fuzzy, with a smile plastered on my face as I read through the pages. On top of the art style making me want to pinch the cheeks of every character that’s appeared thus far, the interactions, jokes, and dialogue have all been really enjoyable. The more jovial tone is a bit of a breath of fresh air, as most nuzlocke comics nowadays tend to lean more on the darker side of things. It’s a nice change of pace that I’m hoping sticks around for the rest of the story. With that said though, Sweet ReLeaf isn’t afraid to take out its readers hearts and stomp on them, as evidenced by the fact that it left me tearing up when I finished binging the comic during my lunch break today. The comic itself may only three chapters long at this point, but Shindisama flexes her writing skills by getting you attached to and invested in the characters very quickly.

Spoilers Ahead

Similar to Tala’s Nuzlocke Adventure: The Silver Souls, Sweet ReLeaf generally has a comedic tone overall, cracking jokes that poke fun at the characters. These jokes not only make the comic a more enjoyable read due to its humorous tone, but it also makes the serious moments hit that much harder. This is most evident in the most recent updates, wherein we experience our first loss: Gina the Mankey. Both in the comic and in the author’s actual playthrough, she isn’t actually present for very long, but her impact is enormous. As stated earlier, Shindisama does an excellent job of getting you attached to the characters quickly, and Gina is no exception. The Mankey quickly won me over by showing Scruffy that he didn’t need to worry about being the best or the strongest, because that isn’t what it means to be a hero. This pep talk gives Scruffy the confidence he needs to succeed and eventually use to avenge Gina’s death. In-game, Gina effectively saved the entire run, according to the author. In Shindisama‘s own words, “In one last desperate gamble, I sent Gina out to spam Leer, again and again, until she was taken down by Charmander. Then, I sent Scruffy in on that free switch… if Gina hadn’t survived long enough to take its defense down low enough… Thank you, Gina. You were a true hero to the very end.” Shindisama also notes that she had just caught Gina right before triggering the rival fight on Route 22, having been unaware there was one there. This meant that Gina went into the fight without full health, cleverly represented by Gina’s lack of arms. Overall, Gina may have only been present for a short while, but she’s a great showcase of Shindisama‘s writing and design skills.

It’s also worth noting that this is far from the last major serious moment that is set to come in Sweet ReLeaf. Earlier in the same chapter, we get backstory into Leaf’s character setting up for not only an intense rivalry between Leaf and Gary, but also a subplot involving Team Rocket and Silver, the rival from the Johto Saga games. While we don’t know much about that aspect of things yet, I believe that the path Leaf is set to face will make her question her morals and everything she’s come to believe in over the past few years. Whether she sticks to her guns or allows this to shape her isn’t clear as of yet, so we’ll just have to wait and see in the meantime.

Spoilers End

Shindisama‘s cleverness doesn’t end there. One other interesting thing of note that I wanted to mention is her use of catches in Sweet ReLeaf. While many Nuzlocke authors choose not to depict Pokémon that they never used, i.e. box fodder, Shindisama doesn’t opt for this, instead finding unique and interesting ways to integrate them into the story instead. So far, there’s been at least two such instances in Sweet ReLeaf, with likely more to come. I won’t give away which characters these are, but it’s something I really liked and wanted to make mention of in this article.

Sweet ReLeaf is only three chapters long right now, so what better way to start out 2022 than by reading this adorable comic! You can check out Sweet ReLeaf on Deviantart. And be sure to check out the rest of Shindisama’s amazing artwork while you’re there!

Without further ado, let’s check out the rest of this week’s lineup!

Crossroads Comics
PMD: Explorers of Life Rough start to the morning, eh?
PMD: Wildfire Solid introduction for this guildmaster haha!
Pokémon Rising Shadows Not the chimney cake!
Rejuvenation: The Interceptor Journey Woo advance payment!
Shinka: The Last Eevee Seems like some solid advice.

ComicFury Comics
Adventures in Naljo – A Pokémon Prism Nuzlocke Oh no! A crit!
Golden Shrike The right decision, really
Nemini Crede These are such adorable gijinka designs!!
Pokémon: Destiny Falls Oh boy that looks painful
PMD: Another Perspective This Charmander is TOO CUTE!!
PMD: Burning Resolution Gasp! A main character!
PMD: The Search for Shaymin Looks like Orchid has some psychic powers
Sunset Pokémon Nuzlocke Dog!
The Beyond Did it work?
The Essence of Being Pain.

Deviantart Comics
Basti’s Black 2 Nuzlocke This guy has some INSANE anime face syndrome.
First Summer – A Rijon Adventures Nuzlocke It’s time for a gym battle! Let’s get down to rumbling!
Golden Sun A perfect setting for an intense battle!
Myths of Unova: Episode Grey Things are brewing in Unova once again.
PEA Shorts More moms yay!!
PMD: The Bonds Between Time Well at least it’s nothing serious.
Pokémon Royal Yayy! They got Leon’s approval!
Shiro’s Quest: A Nuzlocke Adventure in Hoenn Oh look Shiro befriended another powerful psychic type.
Truth or Dare Nuzlocke Oi watch out for those glasses! The boy needs those!
Undertow Gladion sent out Type: Null! It caused Confusion!

Off-site Comics
A Tale of Two Rulers Ganondorf has a point!
Ask the Traveller Poor thing is too shy to share
Ask Eden That sure is… an answer.
Ask Glorious Guild That’s a bit disconcerting.
Ask PredaCorp Solid advertising campaign!
In Blood We Rise Look at all this pretty artwork!
Moképon Pretty shocking how powerful Rat is!
Peachy Gulpin Birthday baby!
Team Next-Gen Babies abound!
The Glass Scientists An outside perspective is just what Jekyll needs!

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