Part II: The Chapters of Unova

For the anniversary of the release of Pokémon Black and White, we continue our tribute to the games. Part II focuses on the main storyline and its synthesis of narrative and gameplay.

A Chilling Discovery

The hilly Route 12 leads to Lacunosa Town, where “everyone lives according to the rules.” During the day, not a single soul is inside the houses—everyone is out and about, enjoying themselves within their walled town. At night, however, you’ll find yourself entirely alone unless you enter a building. No one sets foot outside when the sun sets. Some townsfolk explain that they all retreat inside at night out of fear of a “monster” in the nearby Giant Chasm. An elderly woman in particular has trouble staying up late, meaning you must find her during the day to speak with her. If you do, she recounts the entire legend of this quaint hamlet:

“There’s a great big hole at the back of this town. A long time ago, a huge meteor fell from the sky and made the big hole. A very scary monster was hiding inside the meteor! People say the monster appeared in the village at night, bringing a cold wind, and it stole away people and Pokémon… So the villagers built big walls to keep the monster out and made a rule that no one could go out after dark.”

In one of the most fascinating pieces of lore in the Pokémon series to date, the entirety of Lacunosa had their town’s structure and even way of life changed due to fear of this monster that descended from a meteor. More than just a throwaway Pokédex entry—in fact, the “monster” in question’s Pokédex entries speak nothing of Lacunosa—this myth actively affects the world as the town and its inhabitants were forced to change.

But the woman adds an interesting tidbit to the end of her tale: “Of course, nowadays nobody believes in such things. But you know… Even now, the people of this town stay inside after dark. Isn’t that strange? I guess old stories and old traditions have some influence on our current life.” This is a clear reference to the main plot of Black and White, keeping even the post-game areas thematically relevant. Why do we keep catching Pokémon? Just because it’s tradition doesn’t mean it’s right or warranted. Through the plight against Team Plasma, it was determined that remaining alongside Pokémon was for everyone’s benefit so long as they worked together harmoniously. In a similar fashion, the people of Lacunosa Town don’t feel particularly set back by their tradition of going inside at night, so they continue it. But it’s not enforced, as they no longer believe in the legend, so you may move about—or remain indoors—as you please. While some traditions should rightfully be questioned and done away with, others are perfectly fine to uphold. After questioning the legend it was based on, the people of Lacunosa decided for themselves what this tradition meant to them. And here we see, more clearly than anywhere else, why the dichotomy of tradition and modernity, of old and new, is so frequently repeated in Black and White: because while we must continue improving ourselves by reevaluating our pasts, there are still some things from those pasts that we can maintain into the future.

Route 13 is a long, complex route that takes a bit of effort to navigate. But the result is worthwhile for all the experience you can receive, not to mention the route leads either southward to another new town, or northward to the Giant Chasm that was spoken of in Lacunosa Town. A fog quickly settles in over the area, and players must descend into a cave to progress further. Players who brought a Strength user with them to open the shortcut from Lacunosa directly to the chasm will find the cave a quick stroll, but taking the long way around provides access to plenty of mushrooms as well as rare items such as Star Pieces, befitting the lore of this meteor crash site. Upon exiting the cave, you’re greeted to more fog in an open yet maze-like forest, flush with trees, one-way ledges, useful items, and both tall and dark grass filled with frighteningly strong encounters. If you manage to find your way to the center of this mysterious place—a small clearing with a crater—a monstrous cry rings out. Without warning, the world turns white. Heavy snow plummets down. The music stops. There is nothing but you and the cold.

You wander around with only the howl of the wind and the crunch of the snow beneath your feet to keep you company. You find there’s only one place you can seek shelter: the entrance to a cave situated due north. Once inside, the music—the same used in important locations such as the Celestial Tower and Dragonspiral Tower—begins again. There are wild Pokémon in here, but no items or anything exclusive… save for the enormous beast hunkering at the cave’s center. This, without a doubt, is the “monster” that has terrorized Lacunosa to the point where their entire way of life was altered. It’s constantly leaning forward, as if off-balance, and its wings are uneven and misshapen. Its tail is somehow reminiscent of the base of Reshiram and Zekrom’s, but the turbine itself is missing. With a hollow cry, the beast begins battle.

Its name is Kyurem, and its battle theme is surprisingly a variant of the aforementioned duo’s, featuring a slap bass. But where there once was either fierce flames or powerful lightning, there is nothing. Silence. While there is nothing in Black and White, not even a Pokédex entry, to confirm any connection, these subtle design and musical choices are enough to sow the seeds of wonder within you. Maybe—just maybe—there’s something more to the Boundary Pokémon than currently meets the eye. It has more than enough lore for the time being, what with its connection to Lacunosa Town and the frighting experience you just endured, but if more about this Pokémon were to someday be discovered, it would surely result in quite the adventure.

Your mind racing with theories, you leave the cave to find the snow has disappeared. Trees block your passage to the west, so you have no way to go but southward. A one-way ledge stands between you and the main forest—once you leave this area that leads to the cave, there’s no coming back. Because there aren’t even any hidden items back where you just came from, there’s no fear in taking the leap and resuming your adventure, but the fact that you may never return certainly adds to the mystery of the place all the same.