Trial By Fire

Welcome to Fire Dancer, a fansite dedicated to the Trial Captain Kiawe from Pokemon Sun and Moon and owned by Destinie. It is not the most creative title on the block but I think that it serves this character well. Kiawe is one of the Trial Captains of the new Pokemon games and one of my new favorite characters. I happen to be drawn to male characters that are associated with fire, not sure why, perhaps it is because most of these characters tend to have bold personalities? I also really like Kiawe's design and his role in the land of Alola. This site is a small tribute filled with my personal musings about a character that appears briefly in the games. I do hope that you enjoy your stay and I bid you "Alola"!

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Basic Information

Name: Kiawe (Kaki)
Hometown: Paniola Town
Region: Alola
Class: Trial Captain
Type: Fire
Reward: Firium-Z

Trial Captain

Kiawe is the third Trial Captain that you face on the islands of Alola. Pokemon Sun and Moon breaks the mould of the gym leaders to a small degree and shakes things up a little bit. For each island you must face that island’s Trial Captain(s), complete the trial, battle the guardian deity, and finally battle the Kahuna before the island trial is essentially "cleared". Gym Badges have been replaced with "Z-Crystals": Mysterious Crystals that enhance a Pokemon's move. The crystal is "equipped" on the Pokemon that has a move matching the type. Kiawe gives the player the "Firium-Z" crystal that when attached to a Pokemon will enhance one fire move and also grant the Z-Move "Inferno Overdrive".

In the game, upon defeating Kiawe, you are then able to fly using Charizard and this also opens up the Poke Pelago for you to use, so defeating Kiawe is definitely a key element in the gameplay. Unlike the previous trials that have you track down a certain Pokemon or types of Pokemon and defeat them, Kiawe asks you to watch his Marowak dance in fire dancer fashion and then choose what was different from each dance. The trial itself is not difficult because it gets very goofy as it goes on. It is three rounds, the first being the trickiest. You must battle a Marowak after each round.

Alolan Marowak is a Fire and Ghost type so you’d do well against it with water, dark, ghost, rock, or ground-type moves.

In Pokemon Sun, after defeating Olivia, you are able to visit Kiawe in his room at night. At this time you will be able to battle him. His team consists of:

Growlithe

Type: Fire
Level: 26
Attacks: Bite
Fire Fang

Fletchinder

Type: Fire/Flying
Level: 26
Attacks: Ember
Quick Attack
Peck

Marowak

Type: Fire/Ghost
Level: 27
Attacks: Flame Wheel
Hex
Bonemerang
Will-O-Wisp

Island Culture

The islands of Alola are based on the real world islands of Hawai'i, one of the states of the United States of America and part of what is considered Polynesia. As such, many traditions and elements were drawn from Hawai'i and interpreted in Pokemon Sun and Moon. One of the most iconic elements of Hawai'i is the Hula, a Polynesian dance. Prior to colonization on the Hawai'ian islands, the native Hawai’ians had shared their stories in the oral fashion and in the form of Hula. Hula is a source of entertainment to tourists and is now seen during Luaus, while there are those who are looking to preserve the sacred roots of Hula.

"It is time for us to return to our dance. The feelings of the Alolan people and our Pokemon, and the true nature of Z-Power… The answers lie in our dance! And so we must dance on!"

Hula is used to pass down stories of great warriors, to praise the gods, and to celebrate major life events such as a birth or marriage. Kiawe's fiery passion for his dance shows how this dance is also very important for the Alolan people. It is no coincidence that the Z-Moves are all dances that very closely resemble moves you may see from a Hula dancer.

While Kiawe himself does not practice Hula per se, his fire dancing comes from the type of fire dancing one would witness at a luau. However, fire dances are a relatively new addition to Hula and were popularized in the early 1990’s with the revitalization in the interest in Polynesian culture. Originally in dances in Samoa the dancers would use knives. It was not until 1946 when a Samoan-American named Uluao Letuili decided to light his knife on fire and thus birthing the fire dancer into traditional Hula. [1] While this type of dance is not traditional in Hawai’i, it is in Alola, and Kiawe is a student who takes his studies very seriously. It would make sense that in their culture, while the world is building around them, that they would practice to continue to keep their culture alive and well in Alola.

Even though Kiawe is a fire-type trainer the significance fire plays in all cultures cannot be ignored, especially in cultures rooted deep in ancient traditions. Fire Dancing has been incorporated into Hulas that tell stories of, or pay homage, to the gods. Fire may be used in the dance of Pele, telling the story of the fire goddess and her sisters, or perhaps in the stories of Maui and how she stole fire to give to mankind. Perhaps Kiawe's Z-move tells us the story of how fire was given to man through Pokemon? Or what role fire plays in their bond together?

"My Marowak and I are students of the ancient dances that have been passed down in Alola for generations."

Marowak

One cannot discuss Kiawe without also discussing the Alolan Marowak, which are also his close friends in his dance, as they all continue to dance together to understand the relationship between people, Pokemon, and Z-Power. Marowak's bones are the same as those of a fire dancer of a luau where each end is lit and they twirl in around their bodies. Their movements are stiff but reminiscent of a true fire dancer. While we do not see Kiawe fire dance himself in the game it can be assumed that he taught these moves to the Marowak in the true island tradition.

What is very interesting about Marowak is its typing. Unlike the traditional Marowak, which is a ground-type, Alolan Marowak somehow becomes a ghost and fire type. What could have sparked the change in these Pokemon where Cubone has not changed but its evolution has? And so radically? The fire element seems obvious: it is a fire dancer, therefore, it should be fire type. But what about the ghost typing?

The first thought would be to revisit the Marowak we meet in Pokemon Red and Blue versions. It is a ghost that the hero can identify once they have obtained the Silph Scope. Perhaps their evolution requires their death and in doing so Cubone then adorns the skull of their dead parent?

Another theory could be that the Marowak represents a ghost of a culture that is slowly fading or long, since past. Kiawe must uphold the traditions of his people because, as we continue our adventure through Alola, we rarely (if ever) come across another Fire Dancer. As reflective of our current society, as generations pass on, much of the traditions from older cultures will tend to pass unless there are those that fight to preserve them. So perhaps Kiawe and Marowak are illustrations of the ghost of a past culture and those who long to keep it alive.

Attire

It may be difficult to pin Kiawe as a fire dancer at first because his outfit does not seem to match what a dancer might wear during a Luau, however, the belt that he wears bears fringes that may resemble grass skirts. His shoulders are also adorned with what could be tattoos. Tattoos are very prominent and important in Polynesian culture as tattoos illustrate your accomplishments and milestones in life. His dark skin makes him stand out in comparison to some of the other trial captains as it can be assumed he is a descendant of the native islanders. Kiawe's red clothing and hair show visually illustrate the fact that he is a fire trainer and that fire is his visual theme.

Name

In addition to his visual theme, his name comes from a species of mesquite tree that was first introduced to Hawaii in 1828. [2] Though it is an invasive species on the island it is used mainly as firewood and provides good flames for heating and cooking. His Japanese name, Kaki means "fire".

Anime

In the Pokemon Sun and Moon anime, Kiawe is a student at the Pokemon School along with Lillie, Sophocles, Lana, and Mallow and are taught by Professor Kukui. Kiawe's personality is somewhat more cool and aloof than in the games as he sounds, and acts, older than most of the other students. He seems to also be an expert on the "Z-Ring", the bracelet that holds Z-Crystals, as he already holds one for completing a Grand Trial. Kiawe scolds Ash for believing that he can learn to do advanced Z-moves like Kiawe.

"With a Z-Ring, the feelings of a Pokemon and its trainer must first become one."

Kiawe is very passionate in the anime and hot-headed, typical of a character who holds the fire attribute. It seems that he, unlike the other characters, must take some time to warm up to Ash. It seems that he finds Ash naive as Kiawe believes that Pokemon, people, and nature must all come together in harmony and that is how Z-moves are able to be performed, and that they are somewhat of a sacred art. He claims that Ash needs this mindset in order to achieve his goals of using the Z-Ring. Ash does not understand, but per his usual demeanour, he will try as hard as he can to achieve them.

Linkage

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Did you like this site? Well here are a bunch more other great Pokemon shrines and fansites that you should visit!

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Credits

Aside from where noted, some information and images on this site were accessed from Bulbapedia. Video game screenshots were taken from this youtube video.

All written content on this site was created by Destinie for entertainment purposes only. This website is in no way affiliated with The Pokemon Company or their properties. This is simply a fan effort. Fire Dancer is part of The Scratchcat Network.