Pokémon Sun & Moon heralded the last generation of mainline Pokémon games to be released on handheld-only consoles (with the Nintendo Switch considered a hybrid). They were in many ways a culmination of the franchise's past few years, giving existing Pokémon new forms and attacks.
Eevee was one example, given new moves and even a new evolution in the form of Sylveon. The backstory behind one of these moves -- involving battles with numerous Eevee-using trainers -- includes a message so sad, it directly contradicts the Pokémon franchise's usual childlike optimism. Here's how a team of side-quest trainers gave Sun & Moon a deep, if rather pessimistic, lesson about holding on to one's dreams.
The Eevee Trainers
This Eevee-related quest can only be achieved in the Sun & Moon games after the player has become the Champion, where they will interact with a Megamart employee named Kagetora. His mission for the player is to defeat a legion of Eevee-using trainers -- whom he's been trying to defeat for over 30 years.
These trainers, spread throughout the Alola region, all have particular quirks and backstories. One example is an older woman named Rea, once a merciless trainer who literally hunted down her opponents, with time literally freezing around her cryokinetic Glaceon. Once defeated, she reveals that she now tries to savor as much time as possible with her family, rather than battling.
Likewise, a trainer named Linnea once used her Leafeon to bring dead trees back to life, but now she focuses on using her money and resources to keep herself as young and beautiful as possible. Even Kagetora himself battles the player at the end, with his 30-year goal finally being attained thanks to the player. The final reward for victory is the Eevium-Z, which allows Eevee to use a special attack.
The Eevee Side Quest's True Message
While the battles may seem like mere padding to round the game out after completing the main story, the Eevee trainers' accompanying message is incredibly different for the franchise. The Pokémon series, especially the anime, is usually all about racing after one's dreams and working to achieve them, no matter how insurmountable the odds seem. Given that those dreams -- such as becoming a Pokémon League champion -- drive the main plot, they are inherently fairly easy to attain.
The Eevee trainers' underlying theme, however, is to let some dreams die and stop living in the past. Fittingly, almost all the Eevee users are not only adults, but elderly adults at that. This helps illustrate how long they've been wasting their lives foolishly aiming at goals that were simply never meant to be. It also contrasts the wide-eyed optimism inherit in the youth of Pokémon protagonists, showing the darker side of wanting to be the very best, like no one ever was.
As much of a downer as this seems to be, it still drives the message of younger trainers being able to achieve their dreams. After all, it's the player's young protagonist who ultimately defeats all of the older Eevee trainers. In other words, perhaps dreams can come true -- if you still have time and age on your side.