After thousands of hours, they are now the very best, like no fish ever were.

Ordinarily, setting out to beat a Pokémon video game isn’t such a Herculean task. The franchise’s core fanbase is little kids, after all, so the level of challenge has to be something that’s manageable for a grade schooler. But the group of gamers who six months ago set their sights on finishing Pokémon Sapphire are anything but ordinary, because they’re fish.

Since the start of summer, Japanese Twitter user/YouTuber Mutekimaru Channel has been chronicling the Pokémon journey of four betta/Siamese fighting fish he owns, Maurice, Lala, Moo, and Ponyo, who play the game by swimming around their aquarium on camera, with different sections of the tank corresponding to different controller inputs. Just getting out of the game’s first town was a challenge, but eventually the fish found their way out into the Pokémon overworld and started defeating bosses and earning gym badges. Another impressive development came last month, when Lala found a glitch in the game’s Seafloor Cavern that had gone undetected by human gamers in the 18 years since Pokémon Sapphire’s original release.

Now, though, comes Mutekimaru Channel’s fish’s greatest accomplishment, as they’ve finally beaten the game!

For a human player, the main Pokémon Sapphire storyline is a 30-something-hour playthrough. The Mutekimaru squad spent just a bit longer, as their quest to becoming Pokémon Masters took 3,195 hours, which included more than a dozen losses in the final boss gauntlet. Still, that just made it all the more exciting when the fish achieved victory, as shown here when the team’s Walrein downed its last opponent, a Metagross, with an Ice Ball attack.

The fighting fish’s fighting team that defeated the last boss consisted of:
Tentacruel (level 77)
Walrein (level 73)
Mightyena (level 72)
Swellow (level 74)
Manectric (level 72)
Camerupt (level 67)

Those are all 10-15 levels higher than the Pokémon the last boss commands, but given the fact that Mutekimaru Channel’s fish can’t look up online FAQs to maximize lower-level characters combat potential, a bit of level-grinding seems fair.

▼ The final Pokémon roll call and ending credits

But as proud as Pokémon fans are of these fish, the thing that makes Mutekimaru Channel happiest is that all four fish are happy and healthy at the end of the project.

▼ The fish’s well-being always comes first, as shown in Mutekimaru Channel’s statement here.

In keeping with the capricious and spontaneous nature of the project, Mutekimaru Channel’s fish beat Pokémon Sapphire while he was sleeping, and he wasn’t aware of what had happened until he woke up and checked on their overnight progress. He now says he’s thinking about what his next project will be, and while he’s not sure he’s ready for another on the scale of this Pokémon/aquatic life endeavor, we can’t wait to see what he decides to do.

Source: Twitter/@Mutekimaru_ch
Images: YouTube/むてきまるちゃんねる -Mutekimaru Channel-
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