Pokémon: Black/White/BW2 (2010)

The Official CLC Review Of Pokémon: Black/White (2010)

[Black 2 And White 2 Review At Bottom Of Page Below Our Regular B/W Review!]

Despite a ~mixed roster of new creatures/legends, region, & feature +’s like seasons, exp. share, athletics, etc., B/W is a cityscape gothic VG neoadventure of big 21st Century NYC lights, Greco-Roman mythology, Medieval folklore x fantasy x fairy-tales, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Zoroastrianism, Biblical Christianity, LOTR, Tarzan, Zorro, Witchcraft, Judaism, Slavery, Kitsunē キツネ, V For Vendetta, Game Of Thrones, etc. – a de/reconstruction of the world’s biggest media franchise and greatest fiction universe ever made from crux original ’96 TIME | Conservative | Pontifex criticisms, psychoanalysis of the USA through a color-spectrum prismatized allegorical lens of the tricky/illusive nature of evil in contexts of history, religion, politics, science, cinema, ecology, capitalism, and gender/race, and royalty-themed 21st Century Shakespeare w. the greatest story, [N-led] characterization, (chi ro knighthood x crusade x groupthink x yt cult maga/nazi) villains, & hyperambitious/complex/brave themes in the history of PKMN: truth vs. idealism, liberation, war, existentialism, dialectic, civilization, youth, law, apex predation, knowledge, balance, violence, love, hate, fear, generalization, harmony[i/a], vigilantism, justice, freedom, oppression, renewable energy, parenthood, ancestry, megalomania, psychology, multiculturalism, humanity, and life. 9.7/10.

Plot Synopsis: Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version are 2010 role-playing video games developed by Game Freak, published by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo for the Nintendo DS. They are the first installments in the fifth generation of the Pokémon video game series.

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

The Official CLC Top 10 Gen. V Pokémon: 1. Hydreigon. 2. Zoroark, 3. Cofagrigus. 4. Reshiram, 5. Escavalier, 6. Tornadus, 7. Stoutland, 8. Haxorus, 9. Braviary, 10. Axew

Official CLC Review

Gen. V: How Do You 1-Up/Follow.. God?

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God. The Very Creation Deification We Base The Crux Of Life & Civilization On. That’s what PKMN thematized back in ’06 with the release of Gen. IV and Diamond/Pearl/Platinum – contrastively juxtaposing it with science-fiction and retrofuturism for one of the best video games of its franchise and DS era. A love-letter to previous generations w. bold new evolutions of the mythology/overworld for new demographics, DP adventured through a beautiful new Hokkaidö-inspired mountain-core region in Sinnoh w. the best 2D visual aestheticization of PKMN, diverse orchestration, magic new pre/post evos of old ‘mons, the #2 best starters of the series, clean NDS technical proficiency, feature calibrations and – though in ~complacency – advancements (e.g. Contests, Poketch, Battle Mechanization, Underground, Gender Differences), & avant-garde storyline mixing church-like religion allegory with science-fiction galaxy x time x creation physics by complex ’50’s retro-futuristic cyberpunk antagonists, epic scale/ambition aggrandization, & all-time great legendaries. ‘How Do You 1-Up God?’ That must’ve been the question on the palate of every dev and exec in the boardroom of Nintendo, Game Freak, and The Pokemon Company when it became time for preliminary discussions of the next generation – one difficult and ~impossible to answer in the context of PKMN. The franchise had now gone to the tropics and japan, remixed mythology from Persia, China, Maya/Aztec, Slavic, India, JPN, Polynesia, Russia, Egypt, etc., and gone from themes of life to creation mythology to religion to science-fiction to rebirth to the elements of nature and hubris of mankind. What now?

New York City

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A few dimensions they had lightly touched on, but not fully capitalized on were: time, royalty, civilization, and the criticism of its own franchise plaguing its PR departments back since TIME Magazine in ’96. The vast majority of franchises would slow-bleed these crux themes out into multi-gens of video games for corporate box-office/VG profits in complacency for the status-quo of safety establishmentarianism; PKMN decided to risk everything in the ultimate high-stakes poker gamble and batsh*t crazy dice-roll – *ONE* duology of new games that might just hold the crown of best-overall of its collection upon new release: Black/White. Despite a ~mixed roster of new creatures/legends, region, & feature +’s like seasons, exp. share, athletics, etc., B/W is a cityscape gothic VG neoadventure of big 21st Century NYC lights, Greco-Roman mythology, Medieval folklore x fantasy x fairy-tales, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Zoroastrianism, Biblical Christianity, LOTR, Tarzan, Zorro, Witchcraft, Judaism, Slavery, Kitsunē キツネ, V For Vendetta, Game Of Thrones, etc. – a de/reconstruction of the world’s biggest media franchise and greatest fiction universe ever made from crux original ’96 TIME | Conservative | Pontifex criticisms, psychoanalysis of the USA through a color-spectrum prismatized allegorical lens of the tricky/illusive nature of evil in contexts of history, religion, politics, science, cinema, ecology, capitalism, and gender/race, and royalty-themed 21st Century Shakespeare w. the greatest story, [N-led] characterization, (chi ro knighthood x crusade x groupthink x yt cult maga/nazi) villains, & hyperambitious/complex/brave themes in the history of PKMN: truth vs. idealism, liberation, war, existentialism, dialectic, civilization, youth, law, apex predation, knowledge, balance, violence, love, hate, fear, generalization, harmony[i/a], vigilantism, justice, freedom, oppression, renewable energy, parenthood, ancestry, megalomania, psychology, multiculturalism, humanity, and life.

The Concrete Jungle

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The City. Anyone of the billions of worldwide urbanites cramming into shoebox-sized apartments amidst the hustle-and-bustle, traffic noise, overpriced QOL, smog, walkable shops/restaurants, graffiti, concrete jungle, and skyscraper-clad streets knows what it’s like to live in the neomecca of 21st Century civilization. Fleeting references in past regions (Jubilife, Saffron, Goldenrod, Hearthome, etc.) rendered in cute 8-bit chibi visuals, though, never fully embraced what was a wild west new terrain for PKMN – one filled with narrative, worldbuilding, and experiential possibility the devs tackled head on in the newest region of the pokéworld: Unova. Despite an ugly-sounding, harsh, vowel-laden gruntlike name, Unova is a fantastic region holding its own with the consistently-godly region-designs of the games: even surpassing them in some areas. Down to the number of syllables (3) and phonetic pronunciation of its name (U-no-va), it’s clear the major inspiration for the region was New York City [NYC]. The first bonafide reference to a country outside of Japan in the overworld, this was a big celebratory step for the video games in a path that would eventually take us to France, England, Polynesian Islands, etc., all beginning in the mecca of entertainment PKMN owes a vast portion of its success and reign-aggrandization to the world’s biggest media franchise of all-time to: America. Tokyo, JPN x Cape Town, South Africa x Santorini, Greece x Amsterdam, Netherlands x Mexico City, MX x Sydney, Australia can be found in references snuck into the region, but ~95% of Unova is based on the cityscapes of the United States: NYC x Los Angeles x Miami x Boston x Phoenix x San Francisco x Las Vegas x Atlanta x Memphis x SA/Dallas & more, all under a crux eulogization of the New York metropolitan area from its downtown to factory towns and industrial complexes.

A True, Authentic NYC Experience In Side-Plots: We Become Investigative Journalists At A PKMN New York Times

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From the rural trailer-park mountain log cabin tawn hidden amongst the fall red-orange leaves of Nuvema Town to the forgettable pit-stop of Accumula to main st. Small-Town America of Striaton City to old abandoned industrial research facility of Dreamworks to railroad track clad, loft-lined, café-mocha’d, brick-laden Brooklyn/Soho-referencing graffiti cool urban art scene of Nacrene City (complete with an avant-garde impressionism beehive honey-soaked art gallery bug gym) to winding river-fenced woods of Pinwheel Forest to Brooklyn Bridge copying Skyarrow Bridge complee with big semi-trucks and beeping traffic noise below to Big City Manhattan experience of Castelia City [the biggest, perfect city experience in PKMN: dwarfing our size with major skylines and 50+ story skyscrapers unlike anything we’ve ever seen and filled with every last detail like docks, sewers, dumps, construction sites, crowded restaurants, art studios, clothier boutiques, parfumeries, npcs in suits with briefcases rushing down main st. to get to their 9-5’s (almost 1,000 people countable living in the region: unheard of at the time in PKMN!), endless parks and streets of walkability, neon signs, advertisements in a times square, etc.]. There’s also a sandstormy construction site and desert castle and ancient ruins with quicksand pits on Route 4 and Relic to add diversity in topography around the cityscapes, Broadway x Atlanta x Cape Town x Los Angeles hyperfuturistic electric-energized fun city with professional sports, opera/playhouses, and amusement theme parks complete with laser tag and professional sports stadiums, Battle Subway capitalizing on the major transportation method in NYC: a cool underground train station and battle spot as epic as Gen. III or IV’s battle Frontier or Island, and Golden Gate red bridge over bay evocative of San Francisco Driftveil Drawbridge leading to a latinx-flavored tex-mex spanish roof deserty art deco barbecue meaty cold storage town in Miami x Dallas x Memphis-themed Driftveil City.

A Cityscape Neoadventure Of Bold New Exp. & Celebration Of Life In The Big Metropolis, Brought To Life By Remarkable Scale Aggrandization And VG Architecture

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Driftveil is made 10x cooler by a breathtaking archtiecture copper art-deco gym taking you 10+ stories below ground to oil/jewel mines in the Driftveil Gym (one of the best gyms in PKMN; all of the gyms in Unova are S-tier and some of the most imaginative and puzzle-genius of any gen) alongside a staticy gloing-blue rock cave with electric spiderwebs in Chargestone Cave, Australia-esque cargo shipping and airport hangar city with a gym shooting you out of literal cannons, Celestica Tower as a new-age Lavender town tower of fallen ‘mons laid to rest (R.I.P.), and labrinythian path twist mountain. Routes between the city/towns of 21 settlements reflecting vast populational saturation and diverse demographics are numbered 1- like Kanto (particularly important inspiration for much of the game, as we’ll get to more in-depth later). The whole overworld is leading to the last five major areas: amongst the greatest areas in the history of PKMN and of core importance to the story and themes: Iccirus City, Dragonspiral Tower, Opelucid City & Gym, PKMN League, and N’s Castle. Iccirus City might just be our favorite city in the history of Pocket Monsters: an old-world medieval aestheticized city lost in time [perhaps by juxtaposition satirizing that America, because of its religious conservatism and evil lingering discrimination/prejudice, is still ideologically stuck in the middle ages] that just screams ‘dragon’ with every fiber of its being, down to the mossy brick-and-mortar buildings, wooden windmills, craftsmen, axe laborers, armored knights and princess/frog PKMN encounterable, marsh topography around a central moor, and people dancing traditional folk dances in the grass/dirt roads. This is besides Dragonspiral Tower: Unova’s oldest building and the mythological green marble cracked ionic/doric/corinthian column shrine where the legendary PKMN came to life before remaining in deep slumber waiting for a new generation of heroes-of-olden to reawaken them and fight for truth vs. idealism virtues.

References To NYC, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Phoenix, SF, Dallas, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Etc.

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The only flaw of the city is its bizarre anti-type choice of gym: a (nevertheless, brilliantly-constructed with its frozen ramps and skate ponds) ice gym when the one in the next city over and a leader choice of Iris would’ve easily cemented it as the greatest city PKMN ever made. Across another new flavor of metal bridge with open blue-gate floors to see the cars going by below is contrastively-juxtaposed the future: a hyperadvanced neon blue city feeling out of the year 3000 called Opelucid, boasting easily the coolest gym of all-time in its mechanized dragon black-and-white interior architecture. Victory Road is not just the forever-brown cave of past gens but a new vision with its purple-gased deserty landscape, leading up to the coolest Pokémon League to-date: a Greco-Roman Mt Olympus of Sky Pillar-esque proportions hiding epic Elite Four domiciles: a steel turbine roller coaster up to a fight-night cage-match boxing ring, haunted green/purple/black library complete with cobwebs and floating ghost-held books and thunder-claps, galaxy-starred stairway-to-heaven on an otherworldly celestical planet and fairy tale queen throne, and luxe candlelit hall of a spooky manor with dark satanic aestheics. N’s Castle is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture befit with godly iconography and white/gold opulence fringed with tiled waterways and the blue logo banners of Plasma towering over the city like the villain team does over the story metaphorically.

Future Vs. Past: Contrastive Juxtaposition Of Time And Civilization To Synergize With Themes/Legends

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The Post-Game (even despite its overlevel problem ~ruining it from a gameplay perspective with rando trainers on routes and wild ‘mons all being 10-20+ levels higher than even the Elite Four seconds beforehand and unfightable at current level, content-packed and meaningful) unlocks new areas of the main overworld for the first real time in PKMN [not just a detached island or frontier like the Battle Areas, but true cities and story-important ones] – from the Zoroark subplot in the trailer of the spooky fogset Lostlorn Forest akin to Yosemite to futuristic architecture of Marvelous Bridge to misty nature routes to cliffside Santorini-thematized white and blue city overlooking the sea in Lacunosa Town to billionaire beachhouse-lined Malibu, Calfiornia x Florida Undella Town (hiding a Red in G/S/C level surprise cameo in a Cynthia now able to kick our a*s in a whole new region!) to another new feature in the game: version-exclusive cities and areas: Black City and White Forest. Black City is one of our Top 5-7 favorite areas in the history of PKMN: a dark hyperfuturistic neon city with a noir-like old-school grime and pollution along with tough lvl 70+ trainers and criminal entreprises running a black market selling rare and expensive luxe items like Gotham City (we’d expect Batman to be overlooking us from one of the rooftops), and White Forest is great too: a huge wild area to encounter other gen ‘mons. Finally, there’s the Netherlands Dutch-evocative old village cobblestone bridge, Giant Chasm snowy cavern holding a secret monster (Kyurem) of urban legend terrorizing the citizens of Lacunosa so much they’re afraid to go out after dark or alone, and water route in Undulla Bay letting us HM Dive (yes, our favorite HM is back!) into an ancient undersea temple ruin of a lost civilization with $1.7M+ worth of buried treasures and an Indiana Jones level mystery and score of who, what, when, where, and why is responsible for this pokéatlantis of Abyssal Ruins (we dive further into the mystery later-on). We wish there were a few more concrete references to USA world-famous attractions like a true Statue Of Liberty or Mt. Rushmore or Hollywood, CA or The Grand Canyon or Washington, DC & The White House, but the amount of A+ locations makes up for the flaw.

A Modernized Fairy-Tale W. Dungeons, Ice Caves/Castles, Dragons, Princesses, Knights, Etc.

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The overworld is brought to life by a mixed A/V package. From the opening gothic-aestheticized watercolor renaissance/baroque painting-in-motion of a king coronation ceremony with compositional elegance and jaw-dropping artistic value, B/W promises a breathtaking visual stylism. What is delivers is not that. We vastly appreciate the infusion of motion into the canvas; whether it’s a flock of Pidove outside Nuvema Town or fall leaves twirling lightly in the breeze on routes or creatures making their idiosyncratic movements during battle, the overworld certainly feels alive. The problem is: it’s too hyper and distracting, especially in the godawful seizure-inductive battle/encounter screen with jittery camera angles flailing wildly around the scene to unnatural lens framings and unfinish, rough battle animations and gray afterimages in HP. There is also a huge delay from when you press an attack to when it’s carried out in the visuals and the menu lacks charm feeling corporatized and indsutrial techy like a blueprint grid from calculus homework, even more perplexing given the ugly design of the encounter screen, animations, and UI [User Interface]. The overall visual style of the overworld is fine, but – again – in an awkward ~growing-pains teenage stage, just like R/S/E in Gen. III was between Game Boy and Game Boy Advance, here between DS and 3DS. It’s not quite 3D and not quite 3D: a Goldilocks-paradox that does retain some charm from the 2D 8-Bit Chibi Legacy Visuals to coronate the last truly-great Golden Age gen. of PKMN, but feels too different and bizarre to match the charm of D/P or HG/SS.

New Features & Worldbuild Expansion: Oerfect For America, Sports In PKMN

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The camerawork facilitates this wow-factor by curving around a central axis, zooming in and out, and tilting in multiple XYZ planes, dimensions, and perspectives for a cinematographically-advanced composition angles/lenses. Also, there are freaking cinematic cutscenes: indescribably-epic and packing that extra punch of experiential awe in legendary encounters and the battles of champions for maximum entertainment value. There are also new ways to encounter PKMN in the overworld: flying shadows from above, dust clouds rumbling from below the ground, walking through wetland puddles, etc. Beyond, we can see rotation battles balancing 3-vs.-3 to push the envelope (even though it can get ~vexatious with the constant rotations every turn), TM’s are permanently in your bag for unlimited usage [huge improvement, even if they’re too scattered, unfindable, and expensive; I couldn’t even find the typical useful ones like Flamethrower, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Psychic, etc. after checking every item ball I saw, and their worse low-accuracy counterparts like Blizzard, Fire Blast, Thunder, and Hyper Beam cost 100,000 freaking pokedollars to buy… EACH!], and a complete revamp of the EXP. system.

Too Much City, Not Enough USA Landmarks For Authenticity Of Region – No Washington, DC, White House, Hollywood, Mt. Rushmore, Grand Canyon, Deep South, Yosemite, Hawaii, Route 66, Las Vegas, Pacific NW, FL Swampland, Space Needle, Colonial Towns, Or Even A Statue Of Liberty

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The Score Of B/W is far superior: a mysterious, dark-energy chef d’oeuvre with amazing flow and ominous atmospherics achieved foremost through liquid harmonic arpeggios and minor-key choral chants. From the slow rusticism of acoustic guitar strums in Nuvema to cartoon-life bouncy effervescnece of route music (perhaps the best in the whole series), nu/jazzwave of Dreamworks, 80’s retro city funk of Castelia, swing-evocative trumpets of Nimbasa (another classic score), heartstring-fluttering piano in the emotional Bianca dad scenes, mellow contemplative pads of Driftveil, old-school synthewave electronica razzmatazz of Misaltron, 3/4 time signature chant step with accordions to match the dragon medieval setting of Iccirus (honestly one of our favorite scores ever for a city), and – best of all – the Plasma scores: the greatest musical achievements ever in PKMN whenever N, Ghetsis, or the grunts step on-screen by the mystery-laden, royal, dramatic symphony of phantasmagoria and evil, grime-infested, silenced, tribal drum, devil-incarnate dark religious choral chant of hell in the bosses’ themes, Gen. V’s score is epic. Beyond the A/V package, the overworld is also enlivened with many exciting new features and upgrades. Most striking in a new feature is how 10x more advanced and realistic the architecture is. You can walk up and down sloping hill terrains, twirl in spin curvature deflectors and jump over ramps over icy abusses, fly in cannons, walk through tree-stumps, venture onto patios, transfuse through bouncy honey walls, move mechanized dragon arms, slide down cliffs, float in zero gravity, etc. Cities now extend 1,000x our avatar’s height and provide a true sense of awe/dwarfism to translate the real-world scale of cities into an 8-bit video game.

A Mixed Execution Of Realism Making The Region As Dull, One-Note, Monotonous As Black-And-White: Seasons

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The Exp. system in B/W automatically curtails or boosts experience gain by your ‘mons level in comparison to what it’s fighting. This is genius and far more realistic, and there’s another huge good-and-bad advancement here in a new item: The Exp. Share. Able to give exp. to ‘mons that aren’t battling, this was originally in this gen a brilliant new item for training low-level or inexperienced ‘mons – a huge QOL update (alongside ones like the pokemart and PKMN center being fused into one building), not having to switch them in and out to waste time and detract from the battle experience. Here, it only works for one PKMN that holds the item – and is thus a great advancement that doesn’t ostensibly make a huge difference in the difficulty of the games… as it would upon later generations, ~ruining the challenge of any game by forced/mandated auto team-wide exp. gain: a gift turned into a nightmare by the hands of capitalism. Other new items in the game are good: light/dark stone holding legends inside, ring target letting you hit a PKMN not normally affected by such moves like normal-vs-ghost, wonder launched letting you use items when battling friends over wireless comunications, dowsing machine to hunt for hidden items hidden below the surface like gold in the overworld, pal pad to register friends and link over wi-fi to challenge themto batle or trade, Entralink and game-sync to retrieve memories and dreams of sleeping ‘mon friends, c-gear communications via infrared connection to connect with friends and battle or trade wirelessly without having to struggle to remember wi-fi passwords (technological witchcraft for the early 2010’s and a huge bonus), and the Xtransceiver: basically a proto-smartphone able to do advanced tech features like four-way video chat.

The [Glitch Hop, Rough/Unf.] Battle Screen & UI

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Besides alternative notices like a problematic boost in ‘can’t get away’ RNG percentage when trying to run from wild PKMN encounters – even 20+ levels higher not being able to run kind of kills enjoyment in wild hunting and necessitates repels to not have to deal with the annoyance and dialogue boxes being on the top, bottom, or anywhere on the screen, there is a huge flesh-out and injection of hyperrealism in the overworld. There is a news ticker showing the real-world time and date in the transitional gates between routes and cities, we’re able to become waitresses at restaurants and investigative journalists like in the New York Times by statistician at Passerby Analytics HQ conducting surveys and interviews finding out demographics and virtual advertisement data for big firms and readerships for authentic big city experiences, and encounterable sports stadiums, amusement theme park rides, musical theatres in the overworld letting you have fun playing basketball/soccer/football/baseball or ride a ferris wheel or dress-up and perform choreographed dance numbers for roaring crowds and critics for a whole new dimension of fun in pokeuniverse, and – craziest of all – seasons. A huge update giving depth and hyperrealism to the overworld, seasons match the game’s season to your real time to mimic the weather patterns of your timezone and date-of-play: if you fire up B/W in December, expect snow in the overworld; August? Red/orange leaves will fall. This is a great idea, but one poorly-executed and unnecessary. People don’t take months to finish this game, and PKMN is not a game of major replay value seeing as how you’d have to start over the whole story again to get the most out of gameplay. It was a far better system beforehand, wherein there were self-contained climactic geography/topography areas like snow in one route and sunny beach in another route and deserty sandstorms in another route to give us the full experience of nature.

Growing Pains & A Goldilocks-Paradox Visuals: 2/3D

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Here, B/W – ironically – feels one-dimensional, monotone, and black-and-white in its one note season region, which could’ve also been fixed by making each season last only a week or something since it would only take most players a few weeks to beat this game (less if they’re not diehard fans). Sigh. This can be overlooked in context of a major groundbreaking new feature synergizing with its story and themes while laying the groundwork for its characterization: multicultural diversity. There are Black people in the overworld: finally! People speak different languages like éspanol, franćais, and l’italiano. This was not a huge flaw of previous games seeing as how they were set in Japan and it would make sense for the population to be predominantly-japanese as well as eulogize its country-of-origin/creation [still a mega-minority on the world stage, demographically], but one needed for a story set in the cultural melting pot of the big city and America/NYC they hit out of the park and excelled in beautifully: especially in its characterization, story, and themes all meriting the crown of best of all-time. The characters in B/W are a parable of great [even mythological] writing, bad design. Let’s start with the main trio of protagonists. For the first time in the history of PKMN, the boy player avatar is better designed than the girl one. The male avatar is very good: Ash-like (down to the blue vest and red hat) and classically PKMN trainer, but the female avatar is a comprehensive mess: absolutely f*cking terrible. We know the setting is supposed to be America, but why purposely choose a river trash Kentucky all/blue-lives-matter MAGA high-school-dropout-getting-off-her-dayshift-at-Walmart design (complete with ripped jorts, yikes) or the girl the vast majority of players will pick by tradition, especially coming from Dawn in Gen. IV [how tf did we go from that masterpiece.. to this?].

A Score For The Ages

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I’m surprised they didn’t make the boy avatar a barefoot, buck-toothed, beer-belly, bald hillbilly taking a swig of moonshine between KKK meetings and (hypocritical) church sessions to match: godawful design in every possible way; we hate, hate, hate the girl avatar design in B/W. The other 2/3 of protagonists’ designs aren’t better in design: ones that definitely were designed to mimic/remix the egacy characters of the OG Kanto Animé Trinity: Ash/Misty/Brock (Cheren: Brock down to the serious personality on introduction and spiky-haired Asianosphere influence, Bianca: Misty down to even the orange/green color-scheme and traveling alongside Ash in anipoké), but ~fail… at least, design-wise. Why does Cheren have a sprout on his head with a rando loose tie and facial proportions too low on a head as misshapen as a potato, and why does Bianca have a fivehead the size of a mountain equal size of the entire portion of her eyes, mouth, and nose: a head shaped like a damn watermelon? I have never seen anything like it: it’s like attack of the megaminds or something, like they’ve never seen a human being or real-world head before proportionally. Maybe the interns were allowed to draw the two most important [non-N, as we’ll get to] characters in the game dotting every proclamation mark across your journey, which would be a f&*x% stupid decision but the only logical explanation for a team going from characters like Dawn, May, Cynthia, Gary, Volkner, Koga, Brawly, Wallace, Bugsy, Claire, Giovanni, Archie/Maxie, etc. to this. What the B/W overworld [for the vast majority, on that matter] lacks in character design, they make up 10x more so with writing and characterization.

The Best Characterization Of Any Gen

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The protagonist trio are some of the worst designed but best-written characters in the series, for example. Childhood friends with vastly contrastive personalities, Cheren being a hyperdetermined, conscientious, serious, quiet, reserved, ambitious, skinny, insecure, superficial, grounded inferiority-complexed nerd incel mega-trainer with a chip-on-his-shoulder needing external validation and status/power/accolades to prove his worth as a person plays off nicely against the 180 flighty, bubbly, goofy, forgetful, thicc/pear-shaped [props to B/W for being more feminist in this design, not adhering to body & beautification standards], hat-tilting, illogical, effervescent, fun-loving teenage daddy’s girl [love, love, love how the game actually shows parental dynamics and realistic reactions to their kids leaving home to adventure on their own here like Bianca’s overprotective dad, even our Mom explains that PKMN journeys are standard for the overworld as ways to grow up and loving/nurturing (despite our dad – again – out of the picture picking up that proverbial box of cigarettes for 10+ years w/o explanation] and happy-go-lucky blonde as vibrant in personality as her lime green clothes ensemble unsure of herself or what she wants in life and more out for the adventure & experiences/meetings.

The M/F Avatars

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The entire arc of this menage-a-trois across B/W from the moment we all three take that first step onto Route 1 together is a story of youth and coming-of-age: an adventure as much as about finding yourself and who/what you want to be as the Pokémon around us; B/W is the zenith accomplishment of this major theme of the series, giving far more depth and exposition to this major point hitting squarely its target demographic and the nostalgia of childhood with emotion and importance in the most crucial, foundational, future-shaping time of our entire lives. Oh, and two friends/rivals means double the PKMN battles with all three starters in action. Bravo. The other characters are memorable and interesting, due foremost to their writing to cover the bad [but fleetingly-good: Ingo from Battle Subway, Iris, and Alder the Champion coming foremost to mind] designs. There’s the first female professor and young genderbent Oak in Prof. Juniper studying a different angle for PKMN research: when and how they came into existence (we only wish more on that topic was revealed by her experiments and findings in-game to better flesh out the Arceus it must connect back to), type-diverse brother restaurant waiter trio Chili/Cress/Cilan cheekily picking the type of advantage against your chosen starter for the first gym battle, C-gear revolutionizing scientists (again, female for a show of feminism) Fennel and Amanita, and eccentric Andy Warhol-esque bug-artiste Burgh.

Great Writing, Bad Design: A Trio Of Protagonists & Crux Theme Of B/W: Youth, Coming-Of-Age, And Finding Yourself And Who/What To Be In Life

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Additionally, there are new trainer archetypes in the overworld: waitres/resses, preschoolers, nursery aides, breakdancers, policemen, doctors, sports players by position/sport, clerks, receptionists, bikers, gang leader roughnecks, bakers, pilots, workers, and hooligans [playing nicely further off the city aesthetic]. More characters include electrized model/popstar Elesa, nightmare train conductors and battle subway admin twin brothers Ingo/Emmet, heartbreaker biker Charles, oil business tycoon and Texas mining king with a southwestern drall and old west sheriff motif Clay (complete with humorous social commentary on capitalism by the ostensibly richest man in the pokeworld so far – at least until the post-game when there is a billionaire at his beach house in Undella Town able to pay $1.7M cash for sunken undersea treasures from Abyssal ruins – makes us do extra work before giving us the TM owed and every other trainer ever gives us right away), determined pilot battle girl Skyla, ice kimono superhero-warrior Brycen, old god-typified dragon-master Drayden, bubbly princess and heir to the dragon-throne Iris, drag-esque blonde lipstick non-binary LGBTQ fighter Marshal, ghost librarian/novelist Shauntal, drowsy rude fairy tale star girl Caitlin, and cocky arrogant macabre rich boy Grimsley of the Elite Four. Then, there’s Alder.

The Jesus Figure, Champion Of Unova, & Ultimate Fire-Type Trainer [From Reshiram Tail Hair To Volcarona] Ironically Devoid Of Passion In Spirit By Fatigue, Overpower, And Tragedy Inspiring Nihilistic Existential Crisis: Alder

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The Champion Of Unova, Alder is a life-enjoying, happy-go-lucky, passionate, God’s creation-eulogizing, goofy-yet-wise figure on a crusade to share [and reinspire] his love for PKMN after having to tragically watch his best friend-and-pokémon die from illness – what changed his entire perspective and outlook on life after being a power-hungry trainer (much like Cheren for character-parallels). He’s worn down from the trainer game over years of battle – and looking to retire as soon as he finds a worthy successor no one is powerful enough to claim as a mantle, so he goes on escapades to try to find some meaning and solve his nihilistic existential crisis. The pressure is that he knows the entire region and history is watching him, so he’s stuck in a job he finds no love in anymore – the perfect fire-type trainer even down to his chosen sun motif/volcarona and hairstyle of red looking exactly like the fire legend Reshiram’s tail, ironically devoid of his spirit’s fire anymore. In addition to being similarly characterizationally to how major historical accounts like that of Hamilton described the First President Of The United States: George Washington [further playing nicely into the America themes], The Pokémon Company directors and writers have revealed in past interviews he was originally designed to be a Jesus figure in the pokeworld: this can be seen in his sun god like character design synergized with his major team-leader ‘mon: Volcarona, personality/actions aforementioned, physical prowess (he jumps down a freaking cliff that would kill 95% of people instantaneously, and walks it off like it didn’t faze him / in the animé, he’s able to lift and throw a nearly 600-lb Gigalith into the air with his bare hands), and what can be gleamed from the 2022 game Pokémon: Legends – Arceus. In the Sinnoh prequel games set centuries or millennia in the past, people are afraid of the fantasy creatures we’ve now grown to love [& for good reason, when they attack and try to kill them]. There are urban legends and ancient myths of a ‘hero of Hisui (the prequel original name for Sinnoh)’ who wielded 10 Pokémon at a time no one else could even handle or fathom one and is seen on a shared portrait besides their two founders, worshipped by both the warring Diamond & Pearl clans dominating the region.

The Lugia, The Witch, And The Chiaroscuro

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The portrait shows him looking exactly the same age as he does in Unova here, as well as wearing his signature necklace of pokeballs at a time in ancient Hisui wherein pokeballs weren’t even invented yet – so it must have been actually the present-day Unova Alder transported back in time to Hisui like we are through our avatar as the main protagonist character and new-hero of the game. It would also explain his knowledge of ancient outmoded Japanese, cement his status as a Jesus figure, and why he doesn’t know how to use PKMN boxes in present-day Unova if he spent a long time in Hisui around zero technology. Alder must’ve been chosen by God in a social experiment with humanity to see if they can or deserve power and dominion reign over PKMN: if there can be a connection, love, and evolution to mutual beneficiality and symbiosis between the two vastly different demographics. It’s said even by God when we finally confront Arceus that it was proven so even to the point of him challenging and defeating Arceus to impress him and make him bestow a blessing upon mankind, so he is a crucial and hyperimportant figure in PKMN: the messiah we also become a follow-up secondary proof/analysis of in Legends: Arceus to lead the civilizational change to a time where people and pokemon work together as one like we know in the present games.

Of Dungeons And Dragons

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The Story Of B/W Can Be Described As One Thing: VG Shakespeare. A royalty-synergized, gothic, medieval vs. futuristic cityscape neoadventure of subterfuge, puppeteering, faux-religion hypocrisy, and megalomaniacism by a lost ancient civilization feudalistic order of knights/sages and apocalyptica prognosticating elemental doom by two messianic heroes of mythological legend battling it out on a potentially-cataclysmic world stage & franchise-de/reconstruction riskily tearing open the very fabric of its own fantasy universe [the ultimate one in the history of fiction] into chaos and self critical-analysis, the plot of Gen. V is absolutely jaw-dropping. Themes in this batsh*t crazy, avant-garde storyline might just be the most IQ-intensive, complex, diversiiform, aesthetic/setting synergistic, and comprehensive of any video game we’ve ever played: truth vs. idealism, politics, liberation, youth, love, coming-of-age, family, history, heroicism, psychology, existentialism, hunger/drive, cultism, domestication, ethics, unity, division, empathy, violence, God, religion, mortality, law, environmentalism, the similarities and differences across race/gender/class/creed, the foundations and dark fiery past vs. [potentially] bright electrical future of civilization, and what it very means to be human… explored through a lens of pocket monsters.