The Black and White era of the Pokémon anime didn’t go far enough in the franchise’s attempt to reboot, and as a result fans felt that Ash’s character development was hampered. Pokémon Horizons rebooted the successful anime by introducing new protagonists, an overarching story, and repeating adult characters, giving it a fresh start and appealing to a variety of audiences. Abandoning Ash has allowed Pokémon to embrace new ideas and bring a fresh twist to the series, benefiting both the series and its fans.
The Pokémon anime has gone through various eras during its 25 years of existence, some being better received than others. One of the most controversial eras of Pokémon anime for many fans is the Black and White era, the anime associated with the Unova region, and the 5th generation Pokémon games. Black and White represents a reboot. the entire series, which many anime fans dislike. However, the new Pokémon Horizons series has proven that Black and White’s problem isn’t with trying to reboot but that the series hasn’t gone far enough.
Overall, the fifth generation is an attempt to return Pokémon to its roots, which is as true of the Pokémon anime as it is of the game. The Pokémon Black and White game attempted to do this by featuring only new Pokémon throughout the story, set in a faraway land where familiar Pokémon from the first four generations are rare. There is little connection to previous generations, a fact that some fans do not appreciate. With that in mind, it makes sense for the anime to want to try something similar at the same time, to give the entire series a new look.
Restart Anime without losing any
However, restarting the anime is a much more difficult issue than restarting the game. Anime already had a cast of characters that had gone through more than ten years of development at the time. Ash and Pikachu are still quite popular, although there are some people who are interested in anime in the Ruby and Sapphire and Diamond and Pearl eras, so they want to keep them. The Black and White series will also be the first to be created entirely on the big screen, as the 4:3 to 16:9 transition occurs midway through Diamond and Pearl. That set off for the series some stylistic changes, something that helps firmly establish this as a new era for anime.
When looking at Black and White, it’s easy to see how they try to emulate the first season: Ash begins with his mother and Professor Oak before embarking on an adventure with Pikachu, where he teams up with two the character is the gym head in the games (Misty and Brock in the original, Iris and Cilan in Black and White). Ash catches all three starter Pokémon, just like he did in Kanto, and they even repeat his original, with both fire starters being abused by the previous trainer first. when Ash gets them. Ash even sees the legendary Pokémon, Zekrom, in the first episode, just like with Ho-Oh.
The problem is that Ash is no longer the new coach; he should have had a lot of experience after his time in all four previous regions, but that’s not how he was treated. Ash loses his first battle in Unova to a newly acquired starter Pokémon, perhaps Pikachu’s most embarrassing defeat in the entire series. Especially in the early episodes, much of the knowledge that Ash gained seems to have disappeared completely, as if he had been reset to his state from the very beginning. Many fans feel like all of Ash’s progress has been wiped clean, which leads some to question why they keep watching the show, if Ash forgets every few years.
How Horizons Succeeded While Black And White Fail
The Black and White Era wasn’t warmly received by the most die-hard fans for these reasons, and the anime producers eventually withdrew some of these changes, adding in the constant references. (There was a time when Ash’s Charizard returned) and tried to better tie the new anime to the old anime. For example, Jessie and James have been retooled as more capable villains, not only initially going after Pikachu, and they’re even given new black uniforms to prove they have intentions. business. At the end of Black and White, however, they reverted to their usual antics (and clothing), which persisted for the rest of Ash’s time in the anime.
On the other hand, Pokémon Horizons didn’t try to keep Ash around and found a new Pikachu as a way to keep the anime mascot. By introducing new main characters, it makes sense to start from scratch, letting Riko and Roy draw their own lessons through their own stories. Horizons also clearly has more overarching stories than Ash’s anime usually do, with relatively few one-off episodes (so far) and a larger ongoing storyline that’s clearly been planned in advance. Pokémon Horizons has also done what Ash’s anime has never done: introduced recurring adult characters, like Friede and the crew of the spaceship.
These adult characters provide a way for longtime fans to still relate to the series but from a new perspective. While younger viewers will naturally associate Riko and Roy, there are also characters like Friede who are still pretty cool but also capable adults the kids can count on when the situation turns out to be. should be serious, a resource that Ash never really had. Two different audiences can enjoy Horizons on two different levels, which is quite difficult to do. It’s a big change from the previous anime formula, but it’s much more in line with the kind of story Horizons wants to tell.
Black and White not fully committed to reboot
In the end, Black and White simply hasn’t gone far enough in the reboot attempt. They think that by keeping Ash, they are spoiling the most dedicated fans of the series, but that’s not the case. Keeping Ash instead of creating a new hero to follow simply limits the type of story they can tell, because by that point Ash is already a very developed character. That’s part of the reason why Ash remained a relatively flat character for most of the original anime—Ash developed the character from the start and subsequent series repeated the same story rhythms (making Ash looks terrible because more lessons need to be learned). once), or neglecting to let Ash develop entirely in favor of the other characters, a problem that continues far beyond Black and White.
If the Black and White era introduces a new hero, even with a slightly different twist, it’s likely that the series will be much better received by the series’ most avid fans. Trying to keep Ash relatively popular just because of his and Pikachu’s popularity is a mistake that has tied the hands of anime screenwriters for so long. Later series, like XY, Sun and Moon, and Journeys, all rocked things a lot more than Black and White, with XY typically being more of a shine, while Sun and Moon focused on one. character class in a fixed location, and Journeys builds directly on Ash’s Champion Alola Victory by sending him on missions around the world.
Now that the Pokémon has finally had the courage to leave Ash, it sees a whole new set of ideas and feels fresh again, for the first time in a very long time. Even if it hurts to say goodbye, it’s the best thing for us Pokémon franchise and give fans a brand new start.