If there’s something I felt in the main campaigns in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, it was that characters like Arven, Nemona, and Penny all felt like our friends. Even if we were in competition, it also still felt like we were working together. The way paths tied in together, I came away feeling like we all sort of grew as people as we went on our “treasure hunts.” After going through the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Teal Mask DLC, Game Freak left me with the impression that Carmine and Kieran felt more like traditional rivals due to their actions and personalities.
Editor’s Note: There will be spoilers for some story events involving Carmine and Kieran and their character progression, though exact events will not be mentioned.
When we first meet Carmine and Kieran in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet The Teal Mask, they come across as surprisingly antagonistic. After Professor Briar sends us to Mossui Town to get help for one of our classmates who felt ill after traveling, Carmine blocks our way. Kieran cowers behind her as she forces us into a fight with her, and she’s dismissive and arrogant the entire time. Even after we beat her, she suggests we can’t get in unless we become her grunt, and it takes an interruption from an adult to get her to back off.
It’s interesting, as it’s more in line with some of the older rivals we encountered in past games. The initial attitude is perhaps more reminiscent of Gary Oak, which I found a little refreshing and interesting given how many friendly rivals we’ve encountered in recent years. It also makes the gradual progression as she we see Carmine begin to open up, accept us, and even acknowledge the player fun to watch. Granted, given the speed with which it happens in the DLC storyline makes it seem a bit less believable than the growth of the friendship with main campaign characters. However, the fact that we’re also connecting with her beloved little brother “Kiki” on our trip in Kitakami does help make that seem a little more understandable.
Speaking of Kieran, his attitude and reactions end up being an interesting contrast to Carmine’s in the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Teal Mask DLC. Part of that is because he starts out as being friendlier toward the player. Yes, he’s initially hiding behind his sister and isn’t as forward with speaking up and getting to know the player. However, his immediate reaction isn’t antagonistic, and instead it seems more curiously wary. As we spend time going through Kitakami and taking pictures of signboards, we’re learning about the ogre’s history as well as his own. We get a better idea of why he is the person he is and the connection he’s developed.
It also means that as we go through the adventure, Kieran’s behavior at the end becomes both understandable and shocking. When we hit the very end of the Teal Mask DLC, we see this outburst. It doesn’t exactly come across as mean, but it represents how childish Kieran still is. He’s felt and wanted something for years. Now knowing that he had a chance at something, but someone else is getting that chance… it’s fascinating to see his reaction. I found it very human.
I appreciated how the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Teal Mask add-on handled Carmine and Kieran. It offered a contrast to the characters we met and adventured alongside in the main game. So, even though our time on this journey was much more brief, it still helped them stand out and it feel like there was a sense of progression and character development.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet and The Teal Mask DLC are available now on the Nintendo Switch. The Indigo Disk add-on will appear in Winter 2023.