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Pokémon (Black & White era, Seasons 14-16)

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Pokémon the Series: Black & White
Pokémon the Series- Black & White.jpg
This isn't the best way to continue a beloved anime based on a video game...
Genre: Adventure
Comedy
Fantasy
Running Time: 22 minutes
Country: Japan
Release Date: September 23, 2010 - October 3, 2013 (Japan)
February 12, 2011 - December 7, 2013 (USA)
Network(s): TV Tokyo (Japan)
Cartoon Network (USA)
Created by: Satoshi Tajiri
Distributed by: Kunihiko Yuyama
Seasons: 14-16
Episodes: 142


Pokémon the Series: Black & White, known in Japan as Pocket Monsters: Best Wishes! (ポケットモンスター ベストウイッシュ, Poketto Monsutā Besuto Uisshu!), is the fourth series of the Pokémon anime, spanning seasons 14 to 16. It premiered from September 23, 2010, to October 3, 2013 (if the special episode is included) in Japan, and from February 12, 2011, to December 7, 2013, in the United States.

Plot

Pokémon: Black & White

A new land, new rivals, new challenges, and all-new Pokémon make the 14th season of the Pokémon animated series one of the most exciting ones yet! When Ash and his mother accompany Professor Oak to the distant Unova region, Ash discovers Pokémon that he's never seen before… and that he can't wait to catch! He may have Pikachu at his side together with new friends Iris and Cilan, but he'll still need plenty of new Pokémon on his team if he wants to challenge Unova's expert Gym Leaders. His quest to become a Pokémon Master just got even tougher!

Rival Destinies

New foes, new friends, and dozens of never-before-seen Pokémon await Ash and Pikachu in Pokémon: BW Rival Destinies, the new season of the Pokémon animated series. As Ash and his friends continue to explore the Unova region, he’ll find himself up against the ultimate battle challenge: Alder, the Champion Master of Unova! His friends also face their trials, one fighting for the right to continue her travels, another confronting a returning challenge from the past — and all three of them must team up to save an island from the clashing forces of three powerful and mysterious Legendary Pokémon!

Adventures in Unova (and Beyond)

Ash and his friends Iris and Cilan have foiled Team Rocket's latest evil plan, but a new danger lurks on the horizon! But first, with eight Gym badges in hand, Ash is ready to take on the region's ultimate challenge: the Unova League, where he'll face familiar rivals and new opponents in his ongoing quest to become a Pokémon Master! Meanwhile, Iris has been having some trouble connecting with her powerful and stubborn Dragonite — can a visit home to the Village of Dragons help sort things out for the aspiring Dragon Master? And what exciting new adventures await our heroes beyond the Unova League? The answers are to come, as the journey continues!

Bad Qualities

  1. Unlike the past Pokémon generation eras like Indigo League (Season 1), Adventure on the Orange Islands (Season 2), Johto League (Seasons 3-5), Advanced Generation (Seasons 6-9), and Diamond and Pearl (Seasons 10-13), this Pokémon generation era is a three season-long mess with some of the characters being questionably written, poorly executed stories, mediocre rivals, Ash acting out of character for no reason other than bad writing and many other problems that could have been easily avoided/ignored completely.
    • Out of these 3 seasons, Season 15 is usually considered the worst of the bunch as it not only sped up the show's decline in quality, showed so much flanderization, and had a few more bad episodes than the rest of the bad seasons, but this season holds some of the worst episodes of this era such as "Dazzling the Nimbasa Gym" (while not the absolute worst, it is the most infamously hated in the acclaimed Pokémon anime), "Battling the Leaf Thieves", "A Restoration Confrontation: Parts 1 and 2" (part 1 is average, but part 2 is really bad), and "Battling Authority Once Again!".
  2. The Black & White anime is a rip-off of the Indigo League season (Season 1), except it, doesn't have the same charm as that season. No wonder fans label Black & White the "Indigo League rehash".
  3. In the very first episode, Ash loses to a Level 5 Snivy, a battle that his Pikachu, having experience from all of Ash's adventures, should've easily won. Yes, Pikachu gave out after Zekrom unleashed a powerful amount of electricity, but that's inexcusable even for Pokémon standards, considering how grass types resist electric moves and Pikachu has many moves that would've gotten around Snivy's grass-type resistance (Iron Tail, Quick Attack, etc.). The writers of Black & White knew nothing about Pokémon.
  4. Ash has been flanderized beyond recognition in this era, going from a strong and caring trainer who gradually matures and learns from his mistakes into a poorly-written, stuck-up, whiny brat who messes everything up and keeps making rookie-level mistakes, which makes this era frustrating for fans.
    • It would also be noted that he's also become a punching bag, too. Iris calls him a "stupid kid" over the smallest things, he gets curb-stomped by Cameron and is treated like garbage by Trip, which is not fair. Even if Ash was an idiot in Unova, even he doesn't deserve the treatment he goes through. It's not funny, it's just mean and sad!
  5. Jessie, James, and Meowth have largely discarded their comical personas and have become competent agents, even managing to evade getting the humiliating "blast off" from Ash when their plans fail. While this is not a bad idea on paper, it's poorly executed in the show.
    • As such, their Wobbuffet had to remain in Kanto during this series but would come back for X&Y.
    • It should be worth noting that, while both Jessie, James, and Meowth do have serious moments in previous seasons, they don't overstay their welcome.
    • It's also worth noting that the change was divisive, coming off the fans' repeated wish to make Team Rocket a more serious threat. The first two seasons overdid this balance and pushed the team too far into the "serious threat" territory; however, it's agreed that season 16 finally managed to create a perfect balance - Team Rocket was more serious than the old portrayal until B&W, but not too serious not to be funny. This was the template used for X&Y onward, thankfully.
  6. Many of the Pokémon battles are poorly done, with Ash's gym battle with Elesa being considered one of, if not the, worst of the entire franchise.
  7. While the voice acting for both English and Japanese is still good, Sarah Natochenny did a lackluster job voicing Ash Ketchum because she'd just gotten started voicing him and is a huge step down from the beloved Veronica Taylor.
  8. The rivals in this series are bland, forgettable, and come off as filler.
  9. The Adventures in Unova season has the Unova League early on, after which comes mostly filler. Not to mention, making Season 16 a two-part season is completely pointless.
  10. Some of the characters get a drastic personality change compared to their gaming counterparts:
    • Cilan has changed from an unsure and somewhat cowardly but gentle, friendly, and soft-spoken character into a generic eccentric boy with little-to-no personality at all.
    • Alder was a solitary severe wanderer who is wise, but in the anime, he's an older version of Brock (Fun fact: Both Alder and Brock say "Show me what you got!" when preparing a sync move in Pokemon Masters EX).
    • Iris is a tomboyish and wild but kind and helpful young girl who will bravely stand up against evil forces and help out others in the games, but in the anime, she's just a rip-off of Misty who acts like a Mean Popular Girl to everyone and constantly calls Ash a "stupid kid" over the smallest of things, which gets annoying fast. Sure, Misty has been mean to Ash sometimes, but she's nowhere near as mean as Iris.
  11. Cameron is considered to be Ash's worst rival yet, as he's extremely stupid (for example, he assumed that the Championship was held in Johto and thought that a trainer needed 7 badges to be in the championship) and is still somehow able to defeat Ash because his Lucario was an ass-pull waiting to happen (his Riolu evolved into a Lucario at the last minute just to defeat Ash). Plus, he's a rip-off of Ritchie from the Indigo League season, except Ritchie is likable.
  12. Sheamus is a completely unlikeable character since he abandoned his Tepig and left it to die from starvation just because he didn't want to put any effort into training it. He's nothing more than a clone of Paul and Silver, but unlike him, both of them had a reason to be the way they are.
    • For Paul, Reggie (his older brother) lost a battle and retired from battling altogether. Now, this isn't a bad thing since anyone can lose in a Pokémon battle, but Paul was affected by this and became the way he is because he looked up to Reggie all the time. Fortunately, he eventually changed his ways after he lost to Ash in the Sinnoh League.
    • As for Silver, Giovanni (his father) left him to focus on his training ever since he lost to the protagonist. Silver vowed to never be as weak as his father was, only to end up like Paul.
    • Sheamus, on the other hand, is Damian from the Indigo League but much, much worse.
  13. Trip is nothing but a bland clone of Paul (Ash's DP Rival) and Gary, plus he's a complete jerk to Ash for no real reason. He's also a xenophobe, constantly referring to Ash as a "Boondock" and people from Kanto as "Boonies", and an "invincible villain" who always manages to beat Ash until their final battle.
  14. A lot of pretty bad/mediocre/average episodes in this era (except for the episodes from this era that are passable). The writing is not any better, as it feels like something out of the Star Wars sequels, not in an iconic anime like Pokémon. Examples of the worst that are not filler are:
    • "In the Shadow of Zekrom" (depending on your view, started this era on a mediocre note)
    • "The Battle According to Lenora"
    • "Emolga and the New Volt Switch"
    • "Beheeyem, Duosion, and the Dream Thief" (the worst "traveling with Meowth" episode)
    • "The Beartic Mountain Feud"
    • "Dazzling the Nimbasa Gym" (the worst Gym Battle episode and the most hated in the entire Pokémon anime series)
    • "Battling the Leaf Thieves"
    • "A Restoration Confrontation: Parts 1 and 2"
    • "Battling Authority Once Again!" (the worst Dawn-era episode)
    • "Mission: Defeat Your Rival"
    • "Lost at the League" (not only the worst Unova League episode and the worst episode of the bad seasons but also considered to be one of the worst episodes of the entire anime in general)
    • "A Unova League Evolution" (the one where Cameron wins, as well as the misleading title in the Japanese version, and ended the Unova league on a sour note)
    • "Meowth, Colress and Team Rivalry" (the worst episode involving Team Plasma)
    • "Danger, Sweet as Honey"
    • "The Path That Leads to Goodbye"
    • "Mystery on a Deserted Island"
    • "Celebrating the Hero's Comet"
    • "Team Rocket's Shocking Recruit"
    • "Best Wishes Until We Meet Again" (a mediocre send-off to Iris and Cilan)
  15. In the first season, Team Rocket steals a meteor known as a Meteonite, intending to harness its power, which was to culminate with a face-off with Team Plasma amidst the chaos caused by the Meteorite being disturbed. However, the two-part climax ended up being banned before even airing out of respect for the victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. While this was understandable, it meant that the entire buildup was all for nothing. What a waste!
    • Because of this, Team Plasma would not appear or even be referenced again until the third season, and it would be difficult to view them as a credible threat in light of Team Rocket's activities in the meantime.
  16. The two special episodes made after "The Dream Continues!" are left undubbed in other countries outside of Japan because they are Japanese-exclusive. The first one revolves around Brock and Cilan, and it would've been great if that episode had been dubbed. But no, fans would never get to see Brock's return in the international and US dubs outside of the one episode he was given in the Black & White era.

Good Qualities

  1. The animation is still really good, and a nice step-up in quality from the previous seasons.
  2. The series finally discarded the "girl has a bike that Ash destroys" running gag, as (of course) it had become old hat by this point.
  3. It had some great concepts throughout the era, but most of them were poorly executed due to bad writing.
  4. This was the point where Mega Evolution was being conceptualized in the form of Mega Mewtwo Y, though it was called "Awakened Form" at the time.
  5. For the first time, Meowth quits Team Rocket and travels with Ash for a while, which was a nice change. It's too bad that his "betrayal" was all part of Team Rocket's planned heist.
  6. Despite being annoying, Ash's rivals are not all that bad (except for Cameron and Trip).
  7. The voice cast in the English and Japanese versions hasn't changed that much, and they still do a nice job.
  8. With the massive exception of Elesa. Ash's gym battles are still entertaining to watch, with highlights being Ash's battles against Burgh, Clay, and Roxie.
  9. At least Jessie and James became competent to some degree, although their return to being comical villains in season 16 was welcomed as well. Seeing them "blast off" again was rather satisfying after they had managed to avoid it for the first two seasons.
  10. Dawn from the Diamond and Pearl series returns in Black & White as a recurring character.
    • Ash's Charizard also returned, along with a flashback of Ash's past relationship with it.
    • Fan-favorite character Cynthia also returns from Diamond and Pearl, even playing a big role in stopping Giovanni's plot to take over all of Unova.
  11. The theme songs (mostly the English ones) of the Black & White seasons are amazing, with great messages added in, and the Japanese theme songs are not bad either.
    • The only downside is that Season 15's theme intro uses episode footage rather than footage from the Japanese intro (albeit because, at the time, the Japanese version was still using "Best Wishes" as its title theme, so the dubbing team had very limited footage to go with).
  12. This era still has a lot of good episodes, such as:
    • "The Battle Club and Tepig's Choice!"
    • "Snivy Plays Hard to Catch!"
    • "The Bloom Is on Axew!"
    • "Here Comes the Trubbish Squad!"
    • "Minccino - Neat and Tidy!"
    • "Rematch at the Nacrene Gym!"
    • "Sewaddle and Burgh in Pinwheel Forest!"
    • "A Connoisseur's Revenge!"
    • "Dancing With the Ducklett Trio!"
    • "The Lost World of Gothitelle!"
    • "A Venipede Stampede!" (despite the buildup being wasted due to the two-part climax being banned)
    • "Battling For the Love of Bug-Types!" (despite skipping the banned two-part climax)
    • "The Dragon Master's Path!"
    • "Ash and Trip's Third Battle!"
    • "Facing Fear with Eyes Wide Open!"
    • "Iris and Excadrill Against the Dragon Buster!" (considered to be the best episode of the bad seasons)
    • "Movie Time! Zorua in 'The Legend of the Pokémon Knight'!"
    • "Reunion Battles in Nimbasa!"
    • "Cilan Versus Trip, Ash Versus Georgia!"
    • "The Club Battle Hearts of Fury: Emolga Versus Sawk!"
    • "Club Battle Finale: A Hero's Outcome!"
    • "Meowth's Scrafty Tactics!"
    • "Crisis From the Underground Up!" (despite Meowth revealing that his "betrayal" was all part of Team Rocket's planned heist)
    • "Battle for the Underground!" (which ended season 14 on a high note)
    • "Enter Elesa, Electrifying Gym Leader!" (which started season 15 on a high note)
    • "Lost at the Stamp Rally!"
    • "Stopping the Rage of Legend! Part 2" (an improvement over Part 1)
    • "Battling the King of the Mines!"
    • "Explorers of the Hero's Ruin!"
    • "Battling the Bully!"
    • "Cilan Takes Flight!"
    • "An Amazing Aerial Battle!"
    • "Climbing the Tower of Success!"
    • "The Clubsplosion Begins!"
    • "Search for the Clubultimate!"
    • "A Clubsplosion of Excitement!"
    • "Commanding the Clubsplosion Crown!"
    • "Caution: Icy Battle Conditions!"
    • "Clash of the Connoisseurs!"
    • "Rocking the Virbank Gym! Parts 1 and 2"
    • "All for the Love of Meloetta!" (which featured the return of Cynthia and Dawn from Diamond and Pearl)
    • "Piplup, Pansage, and the Meeting of the Times!"
    • "Iris and the Rogue Dragonite!"
    • "Jostling for the Junior Cup!"
    • "Ash, Iris, and Trip: Then There Were Three!"
    • "Goodbye, Junior Cup - Hello Adventure!"
    • "Meloetta and the Undersea Temple!"
    • "Unova's Survival Crisis!" (also counts as the best, and ended season 15 perfectly)
    • "A Village Homecoming!"
    • "Drayden Versus Iris: Past, Present, and Future!"
    • "Team Eevee and the Pokémon Rescue Squad!"
    • "Curtain Up, Unova League!" (which started the Unova League arc on a high note)
    • "Strong Strategy Steals the Show!" (the best episode of the Unova League)
    • "Cameron's Secret Weapon!"
    • "New Places, Familiar Faces!" (which redeemed Team Rocket)
    • "The Name's N!"
    • "Saving Braviary!"
    • "The Pokémon Harbor Patrol!"
    • "The Fires of a Red-Hot Reunion!" (also counts as the best, and marks Ash's Charizard's permanent return to Ash's team, since he is left at Oak's lab at the end of Black & White)
    • "Team Plasma's Pokémon Manipulation!"
    • "Secrets From Out of the Fog!"
    • "Ash and N: A Clash of Ideals!"
    • "Team Plasma and the Awakening Ceremony!"
    • "What Lies Beyond Truth and Ideals!"
    • "Farewell, Unova! Setting Sail for New Adventures!"
    • "Crowning the Scalchop King!"
    • "Capacia Island UFO!"
    • "The Journalist from Another Region!"
    • "A Pokémon of a Different Color!"
    • "The Dream Continues!" (also counts as the best because of Ash's redemption, Jessie's Wobbuffet's return, perfect series transition to X&Y, and was a perfect way to end the bad seasons)
  13. The "Meloetta and the Undersea Temple"/"Unova's Survival Crisis!" two-parter was wonderfully dark, tense, and suspenseful, making up for the unfortunate loss of the Meteonite arc's conclusion.
    • Plus, it marks the first time that Ash and Giovanni have met face-to-face since the Mewtwo Returns special.
  14. Ash did start to improve in later episodes, which was a relief. Otherwise, his portrayal would've gotten worse if they stuck with his out-of-character moves from said era.
  15. Some genuinely funny scenes that are akin to those from the earlier seasons, such as Axew's reckless maraca shaking in "A Maractus Musical" and Alder attempting to ask Cynthia out on a dinner date, only for Cynthia to immediately shoot him down in "Jostling for the Junior Cup!".
  16. Out of these 3 seasons, Season 16 is considered to be the least bad season of this era and can be viewed as an improvement over the previous 2 seasons as it has fewer bad episodes, Ash's Charizard returns to his team, there are more great episodes like "The Fires of a Red-Hot Reunion!" and "The Dream Continues!", Jessie and James revert to their original personalities, Ash becomes more tolerable, and considered to be average at worst. However, it is still notably flawed, similar to the other two seasons, especially since this season has the worst episode of this era and one of the worst episodes of the entire anime in general, being "Lost at the League".
    • Although Season 14 was the season where the series' decline in quality became noticeable, it's considered a balanced average season, since half of this season is good/decent, it's just the other half that's bad/mediocre/average.

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