Pokémon Black and White: A Review On Ash’s Unova Journies

I know a lot of the fan base is going to curse me for this, but I LOVE THE BLACK AND WHITE (Best Wishes in Japanese) SEASON of Pokémon. The hate for this series is utter nonsense and the constant “Ice Cream Pokémon” criticism is starting to get old. It’s actually much better than it looks and if people would stop comparing it with the Original Season, Advanced Generations and the Diamond and Pearl Season. You’d be able to see how old school the Black and White season really is.

Story wise, it starts off as all new Pokémon seasons do with Ash Ketchum setting out on a new adventure. Yet, he’s still 10 years old. How does this guy never age? Teach me your secrets master! Anyway, he sets out on a journey to a brand new region with butt-loads of brand new Pokémon to discover and for him to catch. No one should expect much of a difference here.

Pokémon Black And White: Animation Wise

In terms of animation, Black and White is especially decent. Ash’s re-design has received some hate as of yet, and I feel that he may look a bit TOO young. Plus, the secondary characters are easily recognizable by trademark colors. But perhaps what really makes it shine is that the not-so-important side characters LOOK rather good.

Normally, brown hair and black eyes are the main features you’ll see in side characters in past seasons. But not in Black and White. You’d easily recognize these characters right away should they make a re-appearance along the way.

Pokémon Black And White: Sound Wise

When it comes to sounds, Black and White’s soundtrack still suffers from being lost in the translation between Japan and the US. Emotional orchestral pieces found in the OST are exchanged for rock tunes. However, the biggest offense here has to be the opening theme songs.

I’m not necessarily saying that the Japanese theme songs are better (though they’re pretty freakin’ amazing), but after Diamond and Pearl, you kind of get a little tired of songs singing about friendship, destiny and all that jazz. This was never part of the series to begin with. Nonetheless, the sounds were pretty much amazing, regardless which dubbed version you’re watching.

Pokémon Black and White: The Voice Acting

When it comes to voice acting, it should never be a complaint by the fans; 4Kids Entertainment lost the rights years ago and most of the characters from that era are now in the void. Sarah Natochenny (Ash’s current voice actor) is no Veronica Taylor (Ash’s previous voice actor), has improved a bit. Compared to her first dubbing appearance in Battle Frontier of Advanced Generation, she sounds more natural, albeit a tad nasally and fake. In all honesty, she would do better if she stop trying to sound like Taylor or a boy in general.

When it comes to Pokémon voices, they still sound like the same person. It’s actually easy to point which Pokémon has a dubbed voice and which ones aren’t. They don’t sound nearly as creative as older generation Pokémon, just saying their names in the tone that looks suitable to their appearance. Lampent and Chandelure has to be my most favorite voices here.

The Characters In Black And White

What I really want to talk about are the characters. In the days of Diamond and Pearl, the episodes were nearly all filler and existed solely to introduce the Pokémon of the day and slap in some unimportant characters to the plot just so they could explain something. The only thing those episodes succeeded in doing was stalling Ash long enough so I could beat the game faster than he could get to the next town. Unless a Pokémon evolved or there was an important battle, the episodes were a waste of 22-long minutes with boring characters talking about friendship.

However, the Black and White Season is different. Enter Cilan and Iris, both have received some hostile criticism from fans as “replacements” for Brock and Misty. I suppose there are some similarities. Both are gym leaders (though Iris in the anime is different, in the games she’s a Gym Leader). Iris wants to be a Dragon Master, and Cilan wants to be an S-Class Pokémon Connoisseur.

Though the hate for both seem to sky-rocket, I’ve fallen in love with both these characters. For starters, Cilan is annoying and nerds out on a weekly basis. He has a wide range of interests though, compared to Brock’s single obsession with pretty women. As for Iris, she’s just like a doll, limited to only a couple of phrases like “you’re such a kid” and freaking out about Ice type Pokémon all the time. Nonetheless, she’s a reliable friend to have.

Pokémon Black And White: Final Words

Overall, Black and White doesn’t seem to be getting the credit it truly deserves. The characters are quirky and lovable. Plus, there’s more focus on the story than advertising Pokemon and heck, they’ve reached a region of Unova where there’s a butt-load of KANTO region Pokémon! And may I also add that Ash flips his hat once more? It’s a rare sight, but he does and it’s animated in the same style as the first season. Can you just say RESPECT FOR BLACK AND WHITE with me?

Seriously, Black and White is not as bad as it looks. There’s still room to improve on, I’d give you that. Disgrace to the entire series? Probably when the “Ice Cream Pokémon” can live near volcanoes.

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