In a recent interview, Pokémon Sun and Moon producer Junichi Masuda explained why the new Alola region is based on Hawaii. The islands already have a connection to Pokémon, as the world championships for both the games and card tournaments have been held there many times. Masuda thinks it’s a very energetic land with extremely varied environments such as seas, volcanoes, and waterfalls, in addition to different weather conditions. For Pokémon Sun and Moon, the team was looking for a location that emphasized life energy, and a Hawaii-themed region seemed like the perfect fit.
The Pokémon themselves also represent this idea of life force and energy, as the team has taken time to give them proper expressions. Since the
Pokémon franchise started being developed for 3DS, the transition from 2D to 3D has given the team a strong understanding of these articulate expressions. For example, the grass starter Pokémon Rowlet has a relatively simple design, but certain expressions like tilting his neck or becoming thinner when he faints bring him to life, Masuda explained. The legendary Pokémon that decorate the games’ box art were also created to emphasize this theme of energy, as Solgaleo and Lunala are based off the sun and moon, respectively.