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Pokémon the Series: Black & White (ポケットモンスター ベストウイッシュ！, Pocket Monsters: Best Wishes!) is the Generation V series of the Pokémon anime. It aired from September 23, 2010 to September 26, 2013 in Japan, and from February 12, 2011 to December 7, 2013 in the United States. The series covers the main protagonist, Ash Ketchum, and his Pikachu's adventures in the new region of Unova. As always, the past female companion of Ash, Dawn, has left the series, and is replaced by a girl named Iris, who has an Axew. Ash also has a male friend in this series named as Cilan, who is also a Gym Leader. Team Rocket are still in the series, and new antagonists appear in the form of the crime syndicate Team Plasma. Team Plasma is after the Legendary Duo Reshiram and Zekrom, similar to how other villainous teams went after the Legendary Pokémon in their respective regions. Ash also has a new set of clothing based on Pokémon Black and White's male player character's design.
Every non-Asian localization of this series titles their dub seasons under the term "Black & White", or any translation of it, similar to the fifth generation of games. Ash Ketchum starts off his journey leaving behind the Pokémon he caught in the Sinnoh region at Professor Oak's Lab. This time Ash is going to compete in the Unova League by gaining the eight badges while capturing and befriending new Pokémon.
In the original Japanese version, this generation is split into four story arcs:
- Pocket Monsters: Best Wishes! (BW001-BW086)
- Pocket Monsters: Best Wishes! Season 2 (BW087-BW110)
- Pocket Monsters: Best Wishes! Season 2: Episode N (BW111-BW124)
- Pocket Monsters: Best Wishes! Season 2: Decolora Adventure! (BW125-BW146)
- Pokémon: Black & White (Season 14)
- Pokémon: BW Rival Destinies (Season 15)
- Pokémon: BW Adventures in Unova and Beyond (Season 16)
- Team Rocket
- Team Plasma
- Ash's Pikachu
- Ash's Charizard
- Ash's Unfezant
- Ash's Oshawott
- Ash's Pignite
- Ash's Snivy
- Ash's Scraggy
- Ash's Leavanny
- Ash's Palpitoad
- Ash's Boldore
- Ash's Krookodile
- Trip's Serperior
- Trip's Frillish
- Trip's Tranquill
- Trip's Lampent
- Trip's Conkeldurr
- Trip's Vanillite
- Iris' Axew
- Iris' Excadrill
- Iris' Emolga
- Iris' Dragonite
- Cilan's Pansage
- Cilan's Crustle
- Cilan's Stunfisk
- Team Rocket's Meowth
- Jessie's Woobat
- Jessie's Frillish
- James' Yamask
- James' Amoonguss
- Georgia's Beartic
- Georgia's Bisharp
- Georgia's Vanilluxe
- Stephan's Liepard
- Stephan's Sawk
- Stephan's Zebstrika
- Bianca's Emboar
- Bianca's Escavalier
- Bianca's Minccino
- Bianca's Shelmet (traded away)
- Burgundy's Darmanitan
- Burgundy's Dewott
- Burgundy's Sawsbuck
- Burgundy's Stoutland
- Cameron's Ferrothorn
- Cameron's Hydreigon
- Cameron's Lucario
- Cameron's Samurott
- Cameron's Swanna
- Cameron's Watchog
- Virgil's Eevee
- Virgil's Espeon
- Virgil's Flareon
- Virgil's Glaceon
- Virgil's Jolteon
- Virgil's Leafeon
- Virgil's Umbreon
- Virgil's Vaporeon
- Gym Leaders - The gym leaders of Unova will appear in some episodes, most likely battling Ash.
- Elite Four
- Professor Juniper - She is first seen in the first two episodes of Best Wishes.
- Professor Oak - He will most likely be shown sometimes in the series, mostly video chatting with Ash about his journey.
- Delia Ketchum - the mother of Ash Ketchum, will most likely will appear talking to Ash on the video chat, making sure that he is doing well and that has everything he needs for his quest.
- Don George
- Freddy O'Martian
- Subway Boss Ingo
- Subway Boss Emmet
- Anthea and Concordia
Retired/Returning Running Gags
- With Brock no longer traveling with Ash, his crush and flirtatious tone over attractive girls has passed, with Cilan replacing him. Unlike Brock, Cilan does not flirt with girls. In Brock's special episode, he still flirts with girls.
- Ash's Pikachu doesn't destroy Iris' bike since she does not have one, as she prefers to swing on vines.
- Team Rocket shifts from their foolish and comical personalities to their smarter and more mature personalities in this series, but revert to comic relief before it concludes
- Because of this, their Boss Fantasies gags are dropped.
New Running Gags
- Bianca always accidentally knocks Ash and Pikachu into a body of water due to her clumsiness.
- Stephan gets upset when people mispronounce his name, similar to how Butch's name was mispronounced by most of the characters in the series.
- Cameron is shown to display great ineptitude as a trainer. Examples include his introduction, where he believed he only needed 7 badges to enter the Unova League, and also thought a full battle was 5-on-5 rather than 6-on-6.
- Main article: Episode Guide
- BW, an abbreviation that is used in season 15 and 16 of non-Asian localizations of the anime, is an abbreviation that is applicable to both Best Wishes and Black & White.
- The original Japanese title of the series contains a pun as イッシュ is how "Isshu" is spelled in Japanese katakana characters. "Wish" is spelled as ウイッシュ uisshu which contains 「イッシュ」Isshu.
- The first Japanese opening of this series is all CGI-animated with only Pikachu and the Generation V Pokémon and no humans. The first English-dub opening has only the scenes from the first Japanese opening.
- The Pokémon appearing in the anime and in the Unova region are different from the previous anime, just like in the video games.
- There are no previous Pokémon from Generations I-IV appearing in the wild or used by trainers in the Unova region. However, many of the Pokemon from the previous seasons appear starting from the 35th episode of Rival Destinies up to the Adventures in Unova and Beyond season.
- The only previous Pokémon from Generations I-IV appearing in the anime are the three Generation I Pokémon, Pikachu (belonging to Ash), Meowth (belonging to Jessie and James of Team Rocket) and Persian (belonging to Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket). Roxie's Koffing was the first pre-Generation V Pokémon to appear in this series other than the main characters. Furthermore, out of every pre-existing Pokémon, only Meowth and Pikachu were series regulars up until Dawn made an lengthy guest appearance during Rival Destinies.
- When Team Rocket is in Unova, their role is different in this series from the previous series.
- Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket, wears a new gray outfit.
- Jessie and James of Team Rocket have changed clothes due to a promotion, wearing black uniforms instead of their old white uniforms. However, they later revert to their original uniforms later in the series.
- Along with their promotion, Jessie, James, and Meowth transformed from the most comical characters in the show into the most serious. They became extremely competent compared to previous series, and were not shown in a comical manner at all. Following the cancellation of the Team Rocket vs Team Plasma 2-parter, they were demoted and went back to their white uniforms. Along with this, they became less serious and occasionally appeared in a comical fashion, but they remained largely the same and did not "blast off" or return to their roles as comic relief until towards the end of the series.
- Team Rocket does not appear in every episode, unlike in all prior seasons.
- Jessie, James, and Meowth are now in Unova under Giovanni's orders, rather than following Ash with the intent of stealing Pikachu.
- The reason Jessie and James left all their Pokémon at Team Rocket headquarters is because they are not native to Unova and may look less suspicious. Meowth is considered a member rather than a Pokémon, so he was sent with Jessie and James. Wobbuffet does not appear at all in this series until the last episode, where he rejoins the group.
- As with other series, Ash's previous friends (Misty, May, Brock and Tracey) do not appear in this series, although Dawn has been referenced in the opening theme and first episode. However, Dawn returns for several episodes in the Rival Destinies season where she reunites with Ash and competes with him in the Junior Cup tournament.
- The characters living in Unova are different from those in Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh, coinciding with a soft reboot of the anime.
- Ash meets Iris and Cilan in a similar fashion to when he first met Misty and Brock but Iris never had a bike like Misty, May and Dawn had.
- In the narration for the first episode of Best Wishes, Ash is said to be still ten, which is ironic since Pokémon has been airing for thirteen years.
- This series would be considered a soft reboot of the Pokémon: Original Series, as it uses many dynamics from the first series.
- Ash turns his hat around when catching a Pokémon like he did in the original series.
- Ash tries to catch every Pokémon when he first arrives in the Unova region.
- Ash captures the three starters, the region's first bird, and a worm bug type Pokémon. This is the same as his first 6 Pokémon, just caught in a different order.
- Ash's level of experience as a trainer regresses significantly in this series, with him acting more as a rookie trainer while also not being as inexperienced as he was in Kanto.
- The series reuses music from the original series.
- The protagonists have different goals than those from Advanced Generation and Diamond and Pearl.
- Ash is the only competitive Pokémon trainer. Instead of a female competitive Pokémon trainer, there is Iris, who has a goal that does not revolve around competitions.
- Ash is again the only one in his group to participate in League Battles.
- Iris and Cilan don't enter a Pokémon Contest. This may be because the Pokémon Contests are replaced with Pokémon Musicals.
- Ash captures a Sewaddle, which is the first time Ash captured a worm-based Pokémon since Caterpie. This also marks Ash catching his sixth Pokémon in his journey at a new region, since his Johto journey though he kept some of his original Pokémon and didn't choose to make a fresh start yet.
- Besides Ash usually catches a lot of Pokémon but so far he only usually keeps 5 from each region, not counting ones that can be called upon. Currently only his Johto and Unova journey, does Ash capture and keep 6 Pokémon from the region. He even catches more than 6 Pokémon on his Unova journey which was the first time he has ever done that since the Original Series.
- Dawn and Brock both got their own side episodes that only aired in Japan. Forrest owns a Rhyperior and has taken over the role as the Pewter City Gym Leader and Dawn's Cyndaquil evolved and she traveled to Hoenn along with her current party to partake in Pokémon Contests.
- The art style of this series is different from the Original Series, Advanced Generation and Diamond and Pearl.
- Ash now has brown eyes.
- When Pokémon come out of a Poké Ball, they appear as a silver ball with blue sparkles instead of white light.
- When Pokémon are seen on the Pokédex, they appear as rotating images instead of still pictures.
- Pokémon now evolve with a blue light around it instead of a white light.
- The attacks that Pokémon use, like Hyper Beam, are CGI-animated, instead of traditionally animated.
- The "To Be Continued" logo at the end of every episode is a different font instead of yellow with an arrow pointing it.
- Unlike when Ash captured Krabby, when Ash caught his seventh Pokémon Sewaddle, the Poké Ball simply shrank with the button glowing red and remained inactive instead of automatically transferring to the professor. Also, Ash had to travel to a Pokémon Center and manually transfer one Pokémon he has on hand. All of this is due that he sends his Pokémon to Professor Juniper.
- The Gym Leaders of Unova all make an appearance at least once in the series, even those from Black 2 and White 2:
- This is the first time this anime does not follow the badge order from the games.
- The Legend Badge was the only badge from the Generation V games never to be seen.