Generation Five: The Reasons Why We Wish We Didn't Have To Say Goodbye

By skylight. Art by andrew3391.
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February 2010 marked the start of a brand-new beginning for Pokémon. Generation V was said to be the generation that was reminiscent of the beginning of Pokémon, yet also gave the feeling of a brand-new world and adventure.

It all started when we saw the silhouettes of Zorua and Zoroark on Pokémon Sunday. Pokémon fans went crazy, knowing that two brand-new Pokémon signified a brand-new generation: Generation V. It wasn't long before the mascots, Reshiram and Zekrom, as well as the names, Pokémon Black and Pokémon White, were revealed. All that was left was an agonizing year's wait until the English release. In May 2010 we got to see the starter silhouettes and learnt that (at the time) Pokabu, Mijumaru, and Tsutaaja would be our starters. This lead to a) hate on Mijumaru for having an unusual face, and b) fan speculation on the English names. While most speculated names varied, one was pretty consistent, and that was the name "Smugleaf" for Tsutaaja due to its face giving fans the impression it was smug.

As we got closer to the September 18 Japanese release, the fans started to build a picture of what Generation V would be like. One of the first things discovered about the games was that the characters appeared to be older than in previous games. This lead to fans suggesting that the games might finally cover more mature themes (and they were right on that!). A few months later, courtesy of CoroCoro, we caught the first glimpse of the new Pokémon other than Zorua/Zoroark, Reshiram, Zekrom, and the starters. These were what we now know as Pidove, Klink, Blitzle, Munna, and Patrat. At the time there was also debate as to where in Japan or the USA Isshu (which we now know as Unova) was based around. A few months later we learnt Isshu actually was based around the USA, making them the first main-series Pokémon games based on a country outside of Japan.

A short while before Japanese release, the starter evolutions were leaked. The fanbase thought they were fake and were so dedicated to proving the same that they made gifs of this. Soon after it was confirmed that these were indeed the evolutions. Fans were left disappointed when they discovered Serperior wasn't actually part-Dragon-type and Emboar was another Fire/Fighting type starter. As months went by, fans learnt the starters' English names (much to their disappointment) as Tepig, Oshawott, and Snivy. Fans also discovered that the games actually did have a darker storyline, Isshu was now Unova, and that Generation V brought a lot of powerhouses to competitive play. We also discovered that Ash left Brock and Dawn in Sinnoh to instead travel with Cilan and Iris (both in-game Unova Gym Leaders, much like in Generation 1 with Misty and Brock).

English fans finally got to see Unova first-hand in March 2011, and by May 2011, the Dream World was live for everyone.

Soon after the English release, fans started to speculate on what the eventual third game would contain. Kyurem was thought to be the mascot and the storyline speculation ranged between a story dedicated to "My Little Keldeo", or a Grey Mountain, even.

In February 2012, Black 2 and White 2 were announced much to the surprise of the fan-base. Fans were split on how to feel about Black Kyurem and White Kyurem, and the fact that they needed to buy two more games rather than just one. Not only this, but Black 2 and White 2 were said to be sequels to the originals and would tie up any loose ends, rather than a brand-new adventure in a slightly altered Unova (which is what a third game would have been about).

In June 2012, the games were released to the Japanese audience. Many things changed; we got hidden abilities for Unova Pokémon, we had new cities, new Gym Leaders, a reformed Team Plasma, a new Champion, and Pokémon from before Generation V found in the regional PokéDex!

The English fans got to experience the sequels in October 2012. Four months later, X/Y was announced, which meant the ride through Generation V was about to be over.

Now that we've arrived at the last month before X/Y, it's time to reflect on what made Generation V the generation never to be forgotten.

Black and White

Black and White were the first real taste we got of Generation V. These games were revolutionary in more than one way. First game with only the new generation's Pokémon. First game with such detailed characters and storyline. A brand-new experience system. Pokémon Global Link. The C-Gear. Seasonals. Triple Battles. Rotational Battles. No evolutions of previous Pokémon at all. First games set outside of Japan. Perfect score in a Famitsu review. The list goes on!

Despite all the firsts and features, there are a few prominent things that stand out in these games. N is considered one of the most significant characters in these games and is one of the figureheads of the games (and probably the generation, too). The reason N stands out so much is that he had a noble goal—to free all Pokémon from their human oppressors. As nice as that was, it didn't really cut it in Unova as all the Gym Leaders and basically any important character tried to get him to stop what he was doing. What's most interesting about N is that he had a pure heart from the start to the finish, even when Ghetsis turned on him. This is something that kept the fans hooked, as the saga between N and Ghetsis built up to a climax at the end (resulting in the player character having to face both N and Ghetsis).

Other than the storyline, the games also had another thing going for them—graphics! The castle rising scene is just one example of the many cutscenes Black and White had in order to help fans better connect to both the games and the story. Mechanics were also improved from previous generations to make playing easier, as well as loads of new (and often unnecessary) features. The games also had a load of motivational quotes, too. N's quote at the end of the games was a good example of this. "Make your wonderful dream a reality, and it will become your truth!" There were exceptions though, as "My name is Elesa. I'm this town's Gym Leader. I also happen to be a model" isn't exactly the most motivational quote ever.

Black 2 and White 2

Fans didn't really know what to think when Black 2 and White 2 were announced. Their hopes for a Pokémon Gray were dashed; however, the sequels proved to be even better.

The games had pretty much everything Black and White lacked; Pokémon from other regions in the regional PokéDex, a load of unreleased hidden abilities, a conclusion to everything that was left hanging in Black and White, move tutors, a larger map, and better Pokémon to choose from early on.

One of the main selling points of these games was that fans could use the Pokémon they had grown to love from generations 1-4 before the Elite Four. This was a luxury they didn't have in Black and White, so the majority of the fanbase responded positively to this change. The games also had new Gym Leaders: Homika and Marlon, an updated Elesa, and Cheren finally became a Gym Leader! Alder stepped down too, which meant fans got to see Iris become the Champion of Unova, something which was foreshadowed to an extent in Black and White.

New features, such as Hidden Hollows, pleased the majority of fans as they could now get even better Pokémon than they could find in the Dream World. The games also had upgraded music, as well as an animated trailer to advertize the games, both of which were popular with the fans. There were also other new features such as PokéStar Studios, which allowed the fans to make Pokémon movies! In addition to this, there was the fact that Team Plasma separated and got brand-new uniforms. Corless, the new villain, also gave players a brand-new NPC to try to figure out. The other interesting part of these games was that Kyurem changed formes; it could become Black Kyurem or White Kyurem, depending on which version you had!

The Pokémon

Generation V provided Pokémon fans with 156 brand-new monsters to play around with. Pokémon such as Excadrill and Genesect found their way to Ubers, while half of the musketeer Fighting-types found a home in OverUsed. The generation wasn't only strong offensively, it was also good defensively, with walls like Jellicent and Ferrothorn becoming huge in the competitive world for their defensive stats.

Even though some Pokémon were great to use competitively, not every Pokémon had a positive reception from the fanbase. Fans criticized Emboar for being a Fire / Fighting-type starter for the third generation in a row, Oshawott was called out for having a dull design, and fans laughed at Stunfisk helplessly jumping around on the ocean floor. Other Pokémon were more heavily criticized, with fans wondering what Pokémon had come to with a Pokémon based on ice cream, and how they thought Garbodor's design was complete garbage (both literally and figuratively). Despite this, some Pokémon had extremely positive receptions. Haxorus was praised for its name, concept, and general design; Volcarona was praised for its typing, moves, concept, and design; while Braviary and Victini were praised for reflecting the USA positively.

The Pokémon of this generation were also creative, to say the least: a lizard wearing pants, a ghost of the sea, a flying robot, a Pokémon born carrying timber, a samurai otter, and a deer that changes at every season, to name a few.

Brand-new Pokémon also brought about a different competitive atmosphere. Team preview, Eviolite, and Scald in particular made a huge impact on the competitive world. The power creep in conjunction with with Drizzle and Drought being given to Politoed and Ninetales as Hidden Abilities changed the competitive atmosphere dramatically, too. Offensive (and defensive) rain and sun teams reigned in OU, and strong powerhouses like Keldeo shook up the metagame. Some say it was for the best, while others loathe Generation V for this reason.

The Other Games

Generation V offered an assortment of different spinoffs, including titles such as PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond, Pokémon Rumble Blast, Pokémon Rumble U, and Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure. Two titles stood out for different reasons. One for the fact that the concept was unheard-of before and involved crossing over with another franchise, while the other was long-awaited.

Pokémon Conquest was a war game which featured a cross-over between Pokémon and Nobunaga's Revenge. This was the first cross-over Pokémon had ever done, so fans were initially unsure whether the game would flop or not. Overall the game was popular, but it had a repetitive nature, and due to the fact that post-game you lost everything you obtained in the main storyline, the game lacked longevity.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity was the next step in the Mystery Dungeon series. While it was praised by many for the nice graphics, the fact that the games were much easier than previous games, and didn't have an extremely compelling storyline compared to other Mystery Dungeons were a let-down for some fans.

Other Pokémon Media

Generation V also had a brand-new manga adventure, new TCG strategies, and most of all, a brand-new saga in the Pokémon anime. As well as this, Generation V had a whole lot of extra features to the games to increase global connectivity.

One of the most talked-about features, Pokémon Global Link, was implemented back at the Japanese release. Within the Pokémon Global Link, you could explore the Dream World and capture Pokémon with different Hidden Abilities through playing mini-games; participate in the Global Battle Union, which records statistics found in Random Matchup in the games; customize the games themselves through enabling C-Gear skins and PokéDex Skins; enable Pokémon Musicals; and get rare Pokémon, C-Gear Skins, and other customizable things of that nature which would enhance the games.

There were also other things for the 3DS, such as PokéDex 3D (a 3D PokéDex), Dream Radar (an Augmented Reality game that allowed you to get items through capturing dream clouds, as well as the alternate formes of Landorus, Thundurus, and Tornadus), and PokéDex 3D and PokéDex 3D Pro.


Generation V brought about huge changes to the Pokémon world, and although it might not have been enjoyed by everyone, the one thing that is for certain is that this generation will definitely be remembered.

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