Pokémon the Series: Black & White
Pokémon the Series: Black & White is the fourth series of the Pokémon anime, ranging from seasons 14 to 16. It premiered from September 23, 2010 to September 26, 2013 in Japan, and from February 12, 2011 to December 7, 2013 in the United States.
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!
Pokémon BW: 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 own 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!
Pokémon BW: Adventures in Unova.
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 to come, as the journey continues!
- Unlike the past Pokémon generation eras like Indigo League (Series 1), Orange Islands (Series 2), Johto (Series 3-5), Advanced (Series 6-9), and Diamond and Pearl (Series 10-13), this Pokemon 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.
- Clearly, the Black & White anime is a rip-off of the Indigo League season (Series 1), except it hardly had that much of the same charm from the first season as fans label this the "Indigo League Rehash" of all seasons.
- In the very first episode, Ash lost to a presumed Level 5 Snivy, while his Pikachu, having experience from all of Ash's adventures, should've won. Yes, Pikachu gave out when Zekrom unleashed a powerful amount of electricity, but that's no excuse considering how grass types resist electric moves, and Pikachu has many moves that could win against Snivy (Iron Tail, Quick Attack, etc.). Clearly the writers of Black and White either have got a spell of amnesia of the franchise, or knew nothing about Pokémon.
- Ash has acted out of character in this era. Who ranged from a strong and caring trainer who makes and learns from his mistakes into a poorly-written, stuck up, moronic, rude, and bad trainer who messes everything up and completely forgets everything one time too many, which makes the era really frustrating for fans.
- It would also be noted he's also become a punching bag, too. He is treated like a little kid because Iris calls him a little kid over the stupidest and smallest things, he lost to Cameron, and is treated like absolute garbage by Trip, which is not fair. Even if Ash was an idiot in Unova, even he mostly doesn't deserve the treatment to go through. It's not funny, it's just mean and sad.
- Jessie, James, and Meowth have largely discarded away from their comical personas, and have actually become competent agents, even managing to evade getting the humiliating "blast off" from Ash when their plans fail. Which is not a bad thing, but was still poorly handled anyway.
- As such, their Wobbuffet had to remain in Kanto during the series, but would come back for the XY series.
- It should be worth noting that while both Jessie, James, and Meowth do have serious moments in previous seasons, those don't overstate 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 2 seasons overdid this balance and pushed the Team too far into the "serious threat" territory, however, it's agreed 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 XY and onward, thankfully.
- Many of the Pokémon battles are poorly done, Ash's gym battle with Elesa being considered one of, if not, the worst in the series.
- The rivals in this series are bland and forgettable and they come off as filler.
- The "Adventures in Unova" season has the Unova League early on, after which comes mostly filler. Not to mention, making Season 16 be a two-part season is completely pointless.
- Some of the characters get a drastic change in personality compares 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 almost no personality at all.
- Alder was a serious solitary wanderer who is wise, but in the anime, he's a goofy person who, get this, flirts with girls. Yeah.
- Iris is a tomboyish, wild young girl who is a kind and helpful person who will bravely stand up against evil forces and help out others in the games, but in the anime, she's just a Misty rip-off who acts like a Mean Popular Girl to everyone and constantly calls Ash "a kid" over the stupidest of things, which has clearly got annoying after the first few times. Sure Misty has been mean to Ash sometimes, but nowhere near as mean as Iris.
- Cameron was considered Ash's worst rival yet, being extremely stupid (for example, he assumed the Championship was held in Johto and thought that a trainer needed 7 badges to be in the championship), and yet he was able to defeat Ash only because his Lucario was an asspull waiting to happen (his Riolu evolved into a Lucario last minute just to defeat Ash.) He is like Ash when he was in Kanto, but worse. Plus, he's a rip-off of Ritchie, except Ritchie is likable, but not him!
- Shamus is a completely unlikable character since he abandoned and abused his Tepig for no actual reason. He is nothing but a clone of Paul and Silver, and unlike him, both of them had a reason to be the way they are.
- For Paul, Reggie (his older brother) lost a battle, and has since retired from battling altogether. Now, this isn't a bad thing since anyone can lose in a Pokemon battle, but Paul was affected by this, and became the way he is because he looked up to Reggie all the time. Fortunately, he did change his ways after he lost to Ash in the Sinnoh League. And 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. But Shamus has no reason to be rude, and is basically Damian from the Indigo League but worse.
- 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 Kanto as the "Boonies".
- A lot of the episodes in this era were pretty bad (except for the episodes from this era that are passable). But the writing is not any better as the writing feels like something out of the Star Wars prequels, not in an iconic anime like Pokémon. Examples of the worst that are not filler are:
- "The Battle According to Lenora"
- "Beheeyem, Duosion, and the Dream Thief"
- "Dazzling the Nimbasa Gym"
- "A Restoration Confrontation Parts 1 and 2"
- "Lost at the League"
- "A Unova League Evolution"
- "Danger, Sweet as Honey"
- "The Path That Leads to Goodbye"
- "Team Rocket’s Shocking Recruit"
- 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. The two-part climax was dropped because of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, which is understandable, but because of that, the buildup was for absolutely 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.
- The infamous scene in an episode where Pikachu SLAPS Oshawott is incredibly mean spirited, and out-of-character for one of the cutest and most popular characters in the show's run.
- Granted that he was about to steal the Pokémon's food, but that doesn't make it that much better.
- The two special episodes made after "The Dream Continues!" are left undubbed in other countries outside of because they are Japanese exclusive. The first one revolves on Brock and Cilan, and it would be great if that episode was dubbed. But no, fans would guess they never get to see Brock's return into the international and US dubs of the one episode he was given in the Black and White era.
- The animation is still really good at least.
- The series finally discarded the "girl has a bike that Ash destroys" running gag as (of course) it would have gotten old in this day and age.
- It had some great concepts throughout the era, but most of them were poorly executed due to poor writing.
- 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.
- For the first time Meowth leaves Team Rocket and travels with Ash for a while, which was a nice change, before revealing his "betrayal" was all part of Team Rocket's planned heist.
- Despite being annoying rivals, Ash's rivals are not bad at all (except for Cameron). In particular, Ash's opponent (Cameron) in the Unova League has struggled a lot in getting to his battles, which actually makes the viewer want him to beat Ash.
- The voice cast in the English and Japanese versions haven't changed that much, and they still do a nice job.
- With the massive exception of Elesa. Ash's Gym Battles are still entertaining to watch, with highlights being Ash's Gym Battles agents Burgh, Clay and Roxie.
- 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 them having managed to avoid it for the first two series.
- Dawn, a notable character from the Diamond and Pearl series, makes an appearance in the series as a recurring character.
- Ash's Charizard returned, along with a flashback of Ash's past relationship with it.
- 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 (Abit that's because at the time, the Japanese version was still using "Best Wishes" as it's title theme, so the dubbing team had very limited footage to go with).
- A few good episodes such as "The Fires of a Red-Hot Reunion!" and "Piplup, Pansage, and a Meeting of the Times!" as examples.
- The "Meloetta and the Undersea Temple" climax was wonderfully dark, tense, and suspenseful, almost making up for the unfortunate loss of the Meteonite arc's conclusion.
- Ash did start to improve in later episodes, which was a relief. Otherwise, his portrayal would have gotten worse if they stuck with his out-of-character moves from said era.
- Some genuinely funny scenes akin to the earlier seasons, such as Axew's reckless maraca shaking in "A Maractus Musical".