In Pokémon Sun and Moon, there is a kindly old man who runs the cafe located in every Pokémon Center. He offers the player refreshing drinks, a necessity under the hot Alolan sun, and gives them special beans, the foodstuff that will make your Pokémon love you. He is also weird as fuck.
Since its release Pokémon Sun and Moon has proven to be one of the most ambitious entries into the series, changing many of the old gameplay standards players have come to expect, and fleshing out NPC characters to fill out the cast and world-building. While many players will be content knowing that the character’s mom and rival are now actual people beyond just healing stations and requisite Pokémon battles compared to their previous incarnations in past games, one character has grown to vex me with his mysterious ways.
I’m talking about the cafe owner in the Pokémon Center, who espouses some pretty strange shit whenever I buy something from him.
A new feature to Pokémon Sun and Moon is the inclusion of this new cafe in each Pokémon Center location. Each cafe is owned and operated by the same, kindly looking old man, who offers such refreshments as Moomoo Milk and Roserade Tea. While he serves as an invaluable dispenser of Pokebeans, a colored bean you can feed your Pokémon so that they’ll not starve, it’s the old man’s worldview that first piqued my interest. It wasn’t until multiple visits to his establishment that I realized, something was definitely up with him.
From his words I understand that he’s very dedicated to his tea and coffee craft, but at the same time, what’s his deal? Without a frame of reference, it’s very difficult for me to imagine Pokésnacks to be any different than the ones we can find in the real world, but perhaps I’m wrong to assume such things? After all, dialogue reveals that his grandson spent all morning getting those tea leaves (from actual Roserades?) and I just can’t let that hard work go to waste.
“This highly aromatic tea is made with extracts from Roserade’s favorite leaves which we have fermented.”
Is it perhaps the opposite? Are drinks and confectionery goods harder to come by in the Pokémon world? One could make a case that since they might be made and harvested from actual Pokémon, it is unlike actually milking a cow. Especially given that the Pokémon cow approximation, a Miltank, knows moves like Tackle and Rock Throw, I can imagine approaching one to milk would be difficult.
Also, let’s say one succeeds in harvesting the leaves of a Roserade for tea. Where does that leave the Pokémon? Does it survive without leaves? Is it even alive at the end of the ordeal? Why can’t they just harvest normal tea leaves?
“Each day the sun rises, filling the world with light. Each of us grows big and strong, bathing in its light so bright. Each night the moon rises and quietly shines down. Each of us wrapped in peaceful silence, not one heart with a frown … I wrote that poem myself. We take for granted that the sun and the moon keep shining down.”
It wasn’t until several encounters that I realized the cafe owner’s true motives.
“The reason I run a cafe is because everybody’s always rushing around and busy these days. I hope people can come here and relax, even if it’s just for a little while.”
There’s sadness in the cafe owner’s heart, that’s for certain. However, if harvesting drinks like this means that people like you and me can find a sanctuary from the hectic life of Pokémon mastery, he’s willing to work hard for us. The path to becoming a master is paved with blood, sweat, and tears after all, and this kindly old man creates a calm space for trainers, even if he himself could gain from having a little more chill. It’s sweet, in a still weird kind of way. Kind of like how Moomoo Milk probably tastes.