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The guardian deities (Japanese: 守り神 guardian deity) are Pokémon in the Alola region who protect the islands where they live. Each of the four main islands in Alola has a guardian deity: Tapu Koko on Melemele Island, Tapu Lele on Akala Island, Tapu Bulu on Ula'ula Island, and Tapu Fini on Poni Island. The Island Kahunas are each chosen by their island's guardian deity.
They are also referred to as the tapu (Japanese: カプ kapu), the guardians (Japanese: 守り神 guardian deity), the sacred guardians (Japanese: 守り神 guardian deity), the island guardians (Japanese: 島の守り神 island's guardian deity), the spirit guardians (Japanese: 守り神 guardian deity), the land spirits (Japanese: とちがみポケモン Land Spirit Pokémon), or the guardian tapu (Japanese: 島の守り神 カプ island's guardian deity kapu).
The guardian deities are known to take part in battles to decide who is the strongest of them all, and this inspired humans to create the Battle Royal format. They share the signature move Nature's Madness and its corresponding Z-Move Guardian of Alola.
Base stat comparison
In the games
Pokémon Sun and Moon
Among the guardian deities, Tapu Koko plays the largest role within the games' storyline, appearing before the player picks their starter Pokémon to save them after they fall from a broken bridge with Nebby in tow. Tapu Koko, in recognition of the player's bravery, gives the player a Sparkling Stone, which is later refined by Hala into a Z-Ring. Tapu Koko later appears to defend Melemele Island against the then-unidentified Ultra Beast BuzzwoleS/PheromosaM alongside Hala. After becoming Champion, the player and Lillie visit Tapu Koko at the Ruins of Conflict to give thanks to it, after which the player battles it.
Tapu Fini, while not physically seen, plays a small role in the story as well, granting Hapu the title of Island Kahuna after her grandfather, the previous Kahuna, passed away.
The player can battle and catch the other guardian deities after the credits roll.
In the anime
Tapu Koko first appeared in Alola to New Adventure!, where it gave Ash a Z-Ring. In the next episode, it challenged Ash and Pikachu to a battle, where it taught them how to use the Z-Move Gigavolt Havoc before fleeing. In Trial and Tribulation!, it briefly appears to return Ash's Electrium Z after his battle with Hala. In SM019, it has a rematch with Ash in front of the students at the Pokemon School, and rescues both him and Pikachu after they fall off a cliff during the battle.
Tapu Lele made its first appearance in SM020, where it was briefly spotted by Ash at nighttime.
In the manga
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
Tapu Koko first appeared in the Sun & Moon chapter, attacking Sun and Moon. After a short battle it escapes, leaving behind a Sparkling Stone. The other guardians are later mentioned during the Kahunas meeting about the recent sightings of the guardian deities. Afterwards, Tapu Koko saves Moon at Mahalo Trail, when Nebby breaks the bridge as Moon is defending it from Spearow.
In other languages