Welcome to Princely Prodigy, my fanpage dedicated to Trip (Shootie), Ash's rival in the Black & White (Best Wishes!) series! He's not a very popular character, but he's genuinely one of my favourites (along with Iris from the same saga and Lillie from the Sun & Moon series), so I decided to dedicate this section of my site to him, even though I already have one for the whole series (see my Best Wishes! Appreciation section for more on the saga he's from).
Before his journey, Trip was a very studious child who studied battling endlessly before the journey and was a very big fan of Alder! we have seen a childhood memory of his that's very important to him:
He likes to document his journey in photographs and is almost always seen with his camera. He dresses in line with the popular fashion of the time of airing (2009-2010's fashion was weird, there really was a trend of layering bright blazers/jackets over neutral colours...), so fashion might be an interest. Ghost types seem to be his favourite, as he has two rather ominous ones that feed off spiritual energy.
He studied Pokemon battling extensively before his journey and has a very by-the-book battling style; he is easily thrown off by unorthodox battling styles. While his battling style can be harsh, bordering on cruel to opponents (such as having Serperior suffocate Pikachu until it nearly loses consciousness), Trip does not take unfair advantage of things like Oshawott's phobia, only taking pictures to point out to Ash why his attack keeps failing, before continuing the battle without taking advantage of it. He is also never abusive to his own Pokemon, he is only distant to them for much of his journey, prioritizing battling, and having a rather awkward and solitary nature... he is getting better at bonding with them by the end, but even before that, it's pointed out that Serperior loves him (and shown in how Serperior curls around him and mirrors his expressions at times), Trip cares about Vanillite's feelings, and Conkeldurr intimidates Ash when he gets close to Trip.
Trip's chosen partner Pokemon is the Regal Pokemon, Serperior (chosen as a Snivy, but it quickly evolves to Serperior early in the series) and his entire team's theme (with the exception of the childishly cute, ice-cream-like Vanillite) revolves around the theme of nobility and royalty.
Serperior is based on knights and French royalty/nobility as depicted in Rose of Versailles, Conkeldurr's Japanese name is literally "old warlord," Frillish sports a crown and a frilled collar, Tranquill which evolves into Unfezant is as much a pigeon as a pheasant (most likely based on a Mikado/Emperor pheasant... pheasants are also traditionally associated with the emperor), and Lampent will also sport a crown whenever it evolves into Chandelure. Vanillite might either convey his hidden—but still present—childish nature, or another tribute to Alder, who trains a Vanilluxe in game... or both. Either way, it's one he speaks with and is protective of in his most distant days.
Satoshi (Ash)'s manner of speaking in the Japanese version is rude and downright vulgar in cities (teenage boys who use "ore" to refer to themselves don't use it around their mothers in the cities... but in rural areas, like Masara/Pallet Town, this is completely acceptable). Conversely, Shootie (Trip) uses the rather boyish "boku" to refer to himself and a more formal speaking style (although nowhere approaching Lillie's highly grandiose "watakushi" and lady-like "desu wa" in Sun & Moon) that is much more polite and befitting higher class boys.
Like all major rivals, Trip's design incorporates purple (his backpack, belt, and in freeze-frames, even his black hoodie is stylized purple) to signify arrogance, as it was commonly only afforded and worn by royalty; Trip's design also incorporates a second colour forbidden to commoners in ancient China, orange. His pageboy hair style is also the standard European "prince" haircut in anime and manga (you can see examples of this in Dauphin of France Louis-Charles in Rose of Versailles, Prince Lilus in Ojou Alexandra, and even King Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum in the videogame Ni no Kuni II)... or even fairy tale adaptations, like The Legend of Snow White or World Fairy Tale Series.
Alder—the Unova Champion is Trip's childhood hero, who he always addresses politely as "Alder sir" (Adeku-san) he watched his televised matches and cherished the memory of meeting him in-person at a festival three years prior to his journey. The Alder of his memories was strong and confident and told him winning lots of battles was the most important thing and to grow up quickly so he can battle him... Trip took these words to heart, for better or worse. What was to Trip, a defining moment in his life, was probably just another day to the forgetful old Champion, who forgot Trip entirely... worse still, Alder's philosophy changed dramatically! Alder now cared more about enjoying life and bonding with Pokemon than endless battling and questioned if he ever gave Trip such advice.
The first time Ash meets Alder is the second time for Trip, and Alder is in a very bad state, sleep-deprived from wandering all night, he dozes off while battling and shows his uglier flaws (he's a womanizer!), Trip's idealized image of him is shattered. The path of prioritizing strength above all else which Trip began to question thanks to Ash in the Venipede incident, he quickly doubled back on, because of his disappointment at what he saw to be the end result of kindness and gentleness.
Quick to judge, Trip left in bitter disappointment, telling Ash he'll follow the path he believes is right... missing the chance to see Alder bravely stop a rampaging Pokemon with his own strength and gently remove the nail that injured it.
When Trip entered the Junior Cup and had his dream battle against Alder, Alder was powerful and focused, while Trip's confidence was quickly unraveling. He asked what Trip was fighting for and Trip said it was to prove his strength to Alder. Afterwards, Alder reassured Trip about his insecurities and answered his earlier question, saying he believed loyalty and trust were more important than strength. These answers seemed to put Trip at ease and restored his respect for Alder, while acknowledging his flawed nature.
Ash—Trip meets Ash on Ash's first day in the Unova region, which also happened to be Trip's first day of his Pokemon journey! Trip starts off rude to Ash for being from Kanto and particularly rural Pallet town and for having an uncouth manner of speaking (this is clearer in the Japanese version, Satoshi/Ash's speaking style is acceptable in rural areas among lower classes, it sounds quite offensive to upperclass city folk), as well as just being put off by his friendliness and naive optimism, such as his belief in peaceful negotation as opposed to violent means, which seemed to Trip incompatible with the real world... or at least with life in Unova as opposed to whatever idyllic countryside he imagines Ash hailed from. He is very rude and condescending to him at first, although Ash also brings out the more childish side of Trip he tries to hide.
While he initially dislikes Ash's concern for him, he does attempt to advise Ash and points out weak points he needs to work on.
Initially, Trip gets in the way of Ash and friends' attempts to peacefully communicate with the Venipede stampede and thought Ash's self-sacrificing nature was pointless, but when he sees that Ash's means brings results, he wordlessly assisted Ash by saving his Pidove (which happily evolved into a Tranquill after being saved by Trip's own Tranquill), and joined his side. This experience led Trip to question his philosophy on Pokemon battling, the one he learned from Alder three years ago, leading him to ask Alder if strength and winning Pokemon battles really was the most important thing to a Pokemon trainer.
Although Trip likes to imagine himself a logical and rational adult, he is, in truth, as childish as Ash in some respects, but masks it... most of the time. He elbows and shoves Ash to get to Alder first, and when Ash shoves him, he shoves back, and they have to be broken up by Alder!
Iris— Trip first interacts with Iris the third time he runs into Ash and, although he's initially confused by her illogical fear of Vanillite and tells her off for hurting its feelings, he's instantly curious about her after learning she's from the Village of Dragons! He does awkwardly take picttures of her without asking, which Iris tries to tell him isn't exactly polite.
While he doesn't interact much with Iris, their few interactions are quite funny, as she knows exactly how to press his buttons and rope him into battles with Ash (Iris loves to tease her friends by calling them childish... and Trip wants nothing more than to prove how mature he is!). He never seems to realize he's been tricked into a battle and thinks he's proving himself to them.
Cilan— Trip likewise does not interact very much with Cilan, but he respects him as a Gym Leader of the Striaton Gym and, in the Japanese version, politely addresses him as "Dent-san" (comparable to "Mr. Cilan"). Similarly to Iris, he does look thoroughly bored and slightly irritated by Cilan's drawn-out mid-battle Evaluations (Tasting Time!) and Connoiseur (Sommelier) shenanigans.
Despite having limited appearances in series and being rather uninvested in the rivalry outside of a moral clash (making this a very one-sided rivalry for much of the series!), Trip is designed and portrayed as the main rival of Best Wishes! (Black & White.) He was also was backwards adapted into the videogames, which the previous anime-original rival, Paul, wasn't! Sadly, these game appearances are Japan-only.
It's a fair question! He's a minor character, although he's framed as Ash's main BW! rival, he's easily outshined by a whole cast of brighter, louder, and funnier characters, so, why...? Or why not a more successful, veteran rival like Paul? (Actually, I was a big fan of him and his brother Reggie during DP's run!)
I love Ghost types and his training two of the creepiest Ghost types in his region, omens of death, both of whom feed on humans' spirits or spiritual energy makes him all the more interesting!
I have always loved the characters others tended to hate. I noticed what folks didn't pay much mind to and related to them... my oldest fansite was dedicated to Jessie of Team Rocket! She was my first favourite, then came Harley, the Veilstone brothers, Trip, and lastly, Lillie! Although I have a soft spot for nearly every single BW! rival, my second place is probably Georgia with Burgundy as a close third. ^^
Lastly, Trip makes me feel very nostalgic, he reminds me of a lot of my favourite literary characters growing up! Definitely the first one would have to be Draco Malfoy, given that it was Harry Potter that got me into reading for fun. Snooty, stuck-up blondes, with aristocratic bearing, associated with snakes (I love snakes!! 🐍), that look down on the protagonist, but could have been friends with them if things went a bit differently (namely, if they weren't raised to be so prejudiced!)... the fact that Harry and Draco's sons are super close makes me happy. ;3;
Only tangentially related, but if you're wondering why Trip, Lillie, and Iris decorate the link button of my main website (Birds and Stars), despite the main site having very little to do with Pokemon, we'll continue on the previous note with two of my other favourite literary characters growing up: the strangely wise, yet childishly insistent and single-minded prince from The Little Prince and the patiently persevering, dignified even "in disgrace," imaginative Sara Crewe from A Little Princess (although I was only familiar with the live action movie version with the more idealistic ending), so characters with aristocratic bearing or who try to conduct themselves like royalty (whether or not that they actually are) easily appeal to me...
the young lady-like Lillie (she was even nicknamed "princess" by her father!) also quickly became a favourite for the same reason! I loved her from the moment her design was revealed, from how dainty and delicate she looks to her eerie resemblance to a certain glass jellyfish, and her backstory only made her more sympathetic and more someone you want to cheer on and watch grow stronger. When I was younger, my bio-mother's cat suddenly scratched me (very unlike her!) and left a lasting scar. Although I always loved cats, I couldn't approach them for a long time, but overcame my fear while taking care of an outdoorsy cat who I named Tipsy (keeping a cat indoors is safest, in most places!), then got an indoor Persian kitty I named Snowy after that. So hearing Shiron recieve her name in the dub was incredible... Lillie having repressed memories and becoming averse to touching Pokemon due to trauma also made her all the more relatable to me, her recovering the last of her lost memories was so cathartic, as well as watching her hug all the Pokemon she couldn't touch before... she really felt tailor-made for my tastes!
Iris being a sarcastic, playful, tomboyish wildchild, who can fight, catch fish bare-handed, climb trees, yet growing her hair long and wearing very poofy, pastel clothes with giant pink bows and/or tiaras, with a bit of a princess theme herself also made her very endearing and easy to see myself in, having been a free-spirited tomboyish child, yet also absolutely adoring pastels and pretty clothes!
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