In Pokémon Sword & Shield, Hop is one of the player character’s rivals and the little brother of Champion Leon. Hop is greatly inspired by his older brother and wants to grow up to be just like him, but in the newest episode of Pokémon: Twilight Wings, he is going to learn the hard way how his words can affect others.
When watching clips of Leon with his own Pokémon, Wooloo, Hop makes it clear to his Wooloo that he thinks Charizard is a cooler Pokémon than Wooloo, and that a flamethrower attack is the only way to success. This makes Wooloo try to imitate Charizard and use his flamethrower.
When Wooloo fails to live up to the Charizard-standard Hop set, and Hop tells him he can’t use that move, Wooloo becomes angry at himself and runs away from home to try to be more like Charizard.
He tries to breathe fire and even fly, but he injures himself by falling down a hill and ends up on gym leader Milo’s Wooloo farm. This is the first time we have gotten a scene centered around Milo in Twilight Wings.
Milo discovers Wooloo’s collar and address tag beneath his wool and sends him home via a Corviknight taxi. However, Hop isn’t home. He has been searching everywhere for Wooloo.
When the taxi flies over a worried, shouting Hop, Wooloo is willing to make one more jump: this time into an apologizing Hop’s arms. Hop assures Wooloo that he loves him the way he is.
While this narrative is told gently through cute and colorful images, it tells the important message of not putting comparisons or unrealistic expectations onto the ones that we love. It also reminds us that if we look up to someone in our life a lot, we should let them inspire us, but there is danger in wanting to be exactly like them.
Hop learns to treat his Wooloo better and may begin to realize that he has to, to some extent, forge his own path, rather than be an exact replica of his older brother.