Pokémon GO’s Professor Willow has received a quietly disturbing makeover

Saturday’s conclusion to Pokemon GO Fest 2022 saw the arrival of a handful of Ultra Beasts, the welcome end to Rhi’s harrowing story, and more importantly, the return of Professor Willow after an ill-advised course of illegal steroids.

During the first weekend of June at GO Fest, Willow mysteriously disappeared into an ultra wormhole that appeared in the sky and was replaced by Rhi, some kind of cursed man-robot from another dimension, a member of the GO Ultra Recon Squad. We then endured three months of Community Days and Special Research with this character at the helm, where Niantic’s galactic brains decided to have him speak in the most obfuscating language, making sure that no child playing the game had any idea what he was sputtering. . on. But finally, Willow is back! Hurrah! Except, um, they did some work on it and took a soul out of it.

Willow has never been unpleasant to look at. A very attractive young man, he previously always leaned towards the camera, a wry smile on his face, his eyes warm, soft and beautiful. Beautiful brown eyes, where you could sink and sink and sink… I’m sorry. However, no matter how cute she was, she still joked around with the same abysmally-written shitty dialogue, making it incredibly hard to like her. Shhh, Professor Willow. Shhhhh. Just shhhhh.

I had hoped that Professor Willow would return as a sputtering wreck, eyes hollow and sunken, eyes that have seen horrendous visions he could never explain. We would know that wherever he had been he had broken it in a way that he could never fix. Instead, it looks like he was spending the summer at Stan’s Discount Reconstruct-U-Good, “Facial surgery and used cars for the whole family.” And he is not well.

It’s really hard to put into words why I find the new Willow so… sinister. Clearly, the change from a nice pair of glasses to a flashy “LOOK AT ME!” glasses is not a great start. (I guess we should be thankful she’s not wearing a steampunk top hat.) But maybe it’s the hardening of all those features, the new square chin and, while not comically horrible, the lack of any expression in her eyes. He seems bored, bored by your stupid wish that I tell you to collect 10 fire-type Pokemon, like he’s had enough of this shit. Too much of this shit.

Gif: Niantic / KotakuGif: Niantic / Kotaku

That little wrinkle that used to be next to his smile was once a touch of cheekiness, a bit of irony that suggested he too knew he should do better than pretend he’d never seen a Galarian Pony before. Now, further to the left and slightly down, it looks like the beginning of a grimace, like a teacher starting his seventh year of school.

Old Willow wanted to be our friend, and maybe he was trying a little. New Willow is inwardly sighing because we are still here, wondering when she will be able to return to her real friends.

The Internet was quick to react to this peculiar change. From my extensive research, I’d say that opinion is split almost exactly down the middle, with half expressing some levels of thirst dehydration, and others (correctly) denouncing the change. “Why does it seem like Professor Willow is my dad who left me as a kid and came back years later with a motorcycle and a new wife and is trying to reconnect with me in my teens?” asked @lilfishsong. “Excuse me, why the hell is Professor Willow such a sweet biker showing Blue Steel in the update?” questioned @OhSynapse.

THEORY: All is not well. This is not Professor Willow. This is a impostor from the other side of the wormhole, here for nefarious purposes. Beyond the fact that he’s looking at me like he’s wondering what my spleen tastes like, there’s another clue hidden within the game. Go to the News tab and click on “Coming September 1, 2022: The Season of Light” and you won’t get the usual story summary with a link to the blog, but a single sentence. It reads,

Keep an eye out for Professor Willow…

This then links to the YouTube video below, which is full of astronomical hints about upcoming Pokemon in the new season, and… no mention of Willow at all.

Yes. Keep an eye on him. Because you are not right. He is dead inside. He is going to kill us all.

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