Three months ago, Professor Kukui’s assistant, Lillie, was revealed as a “mysterious” character. With the recent reveal of the new Ultra Beast UB-01, and the introduction of the Aether Foundation’s president Lusamine and Team Skull’s Enforcer Gladion, it seems the mystery surrounding Lillie is only deepening.
Alola’s Three Siblings?
It’s impossible to miss the striking physical similarity that Lillie, Lusamine and Gladion share. All three have bright green eyes and blonde hair. This is a combination that is unique amongst all the currently-revealed characters from Sun & Moon, most of which have tanned skin and either dark or brightly coloured hair.
Gladion’s name may be derived from the gladiolus flower, also known as a ‘sword lily’. Lusamine is likely derived from gladiolus and jasmine, meaning all three names are related to lilies and flowers. It is likely that Faba and Wicke too are related to these three. Faba sports blonde hair and brightly coloured eyes, and his name is derived from the faba (broad) bean, whereas Wicke, although not sharing the physical genes of the other characters, has a name derived from the wicker, a type of material made from weaving together plant stalks, branches, and shoots. Perhaps Wicke is the basket that holds this family together?
However, the connection between Gladion, Lusamine and Lillie is most pressing. These three characters, when laid out, seem to represent a spectrum. Lusamine, the president of the Aether Foundation, is glamorous, confident, elegant, and dressed in white and yellow. She exudes confidence, and leads a group which apparently cares for hurt Pokémon on their artificial island. She is a symbol of light and life, much like the Aether Foundation.
On the other hand, Gladion is dressed in the more violent colours of black and red, in an angry and aggressive pose. He follows up his aggressive appearance with similarly aggressive behaviour, demanding a battle from the player. It is not known what his role of an Enforcer of Team Skull entails, but it implies a role which is brutal and carries out the work of Team Skull without caring for repercussions.
While Lusamine’s Aether Foundation have created an artificial island to care for hurt Pokémon, Gladion owns the new Pokémon, Type: Null, which is said to have been constructed artificially to combine the strengths of different types of Pokémon. The Aether Foundation seem to embrace artificial life – in the form of the island, or the Ultra Beasts which the Aether Foundation is hinted at being involved in – for the sake of purity, whereas Gladion’s artificial Pokémon is an unbalanced conglomeration of parts of different Pokémon.
Where then does that leave Lillie?
Aesthetically, Lillie’s design incorporates elements from both Gladion and Lusamine. Her pale-coloured dress – not brilliantly white as Lusamine’s, it is important to note – reflects the purity and good-nature of the Aether Foundation, but her posture and body language is somewhat tense, with a tight grip on her backpack, furrowed brows and a frown, similar to Gladion’s body language.
But then what is Lillie’s connection to Gladion and Lusamine? Their similar appearance indicates they are family, and Lillie’s design suggests she has a dark secret, or some sort of ‘impurity’ threatening to break through her angelic facade. However, there may be yet another connection to Lillie’s mystery.
Is Lillie UB-01?
The visual similarities between Lillie and UB-01 are striking. UB-01 is described on the official Pokémon website as having movements which “resemble those of a young girl”. These movements are clear in the trailer, with UB-01 floating in a manner almost like a ballerina.
Beyond its movements, UB-01 looks similar to Lillie in body structure, with long thin legs and a hat-like shape. Furthermore, Lillie’s dress is an almost-ghostly colour, similar in colour to UB-01.
Lillie was also previously described in the Treehouse Livestream as having something living in her bag and being very fond of reading.
So that begs the question – how are Lillie and UB-01 related?
There are two major possibilities:
Lillie is UB-01
On the Pokémon official website, UB-01 is described as “constantly changing shapes” with its “body composed of a glass-like substance”, and UB-01 has an observable “survival instinct”. Perhaps this survival instinct manifests itself in UB-01 choosing to take the shape of Lillie in order to survive, or gain new information to survive in a more discrete way. Lillie is described as an avid reader and is said to be working with Professor Kukui for “personal reasons”, which could be Lillie/UB-01’s very survival!
Lillie was said to have something living in her bag – but perhaps it is not that something else is living in her bag, but the key to her re-transformation into UB-01 is living in her bag.
At the end of the Japanese trailer we see UB-01 appearing out of a portal. In previous cutscenes we often see the player character together with Hau and Lillie, but in this cutscene, Lusamine is present and Lillie is not. This at the very least seems to indicate that UB-01 and Lillie are related, if not the same.
UB-01 is built in the image of Lillie
This second possibility takes the position that Lillie is a human, but UB-01 is built in her image. Perhaps Aether Foundation built UB-01 in Lillie’s image as she was seen as a pure figure and something to aspire to. But this begs the question of why the Aether Foundation would construct UB-01 – assuming they did in the first place – in the image of Lillie.
What’s perhaps most exciting is we don’t have the answers. It’s clear there is a connection between Lillie, UB-01, Lusamine and Gladion, and it seems integral to the plot of Pokémon Sun & Moon. As for what that connection is, despite all the speculation and theories we can delve into, it seems that only time will tell.
Edited by bobandbill.