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.

Primed for Conflict

Prime Pier is where Team Plasma has chosen to dock their boat in Castelia City—appropriate, as prime numbers can only be divided by 1 and themselves, unlike composite numbers that can be broken down further. The world, with Pokémon and people united, is currently composite, and Team Plasma must make it prime. At the pier, the player finds Burgh with someone new and, surprisingly, Bianca. It seems Bianca was successful in finding a Munna of her own, but Team Plasma has stolen it just as they had stolen the child’s Pokémon on Route 3. The new character here is a young girl Burgh refers to as Iris, and her youth shines through in her heavy-handed dialog: “But that’s so bad! Taking people’s Pokémon is really bad! ‘Cause it’s really nice when people and Pokémon are together! They each have something the other doesn’t, and they help each other!” The girl named Iris enforces again the ideals of the Pokémon universe, but the truth is that Bianca was too weak to protect her own Pokémon, which she woefully laments.

As Burgh and the player chase after Team Plasma, Iris stays behind to be Bianca’s self-proclaimed “bodyguard,” and tells you to go after the blatant “bad guys.” Burgh manages to locate Team Plasma in what curious players would have found was before a suspiciously empty building. Now guarded by three grunts, the player battles one while Burgh displays the power of a Gym Leader by taking out two at once. Bianca and Iris join up and follow you and Burgh inside. As suspected, the building is no longer empty. Instead, three grunts stand behind two unfamiliar sages and Ghetsis himself. Although this temporary hideout has been discovered, Ghetsis foreshadows that they “already have an exceptional base of operations.” Burgh ignores the remark and asks what Team Plasma’s “guiding principle” is. Ghetsis ignores the inquiry in response and instead offers a question of his own: “Is everyone familiar with the legend of the founding of the Unova region?”

Iris, the excitable youth that she is, speaks up—she knows this legend, about a Dragon-type Pokémon. Its color matches the name of the game the player plays, but not the color of the creature on the boxart. Ghetsis finishes the legend for her, bluntly saying he knows “the truth” of it all. The dragon appeared before a hero seeking either the ideal or the true way to bring together—not pull apart—people who disagreed so strongly that they were all at war with each other. But even the dragon “bared its fangs” at anyone who opposed it. “Together,” not apart, “the power of this Pokémon and the hero brought unity,” connection, “to the hearts of everyone in the land, and that is how Unova was created.” At this Ghetsis reveals his intent to bring back both the hero and the Pokémon of legend to Unova, which sounds oddly similar to what N told players back in Nacrene.

But there’s a catch. Ghetsis raises his left arm in a quick flourish: “If we can win people’s hearts and minds, we can easily create the world that I—I mean, Team Plasma—desires!”

No one seems to catch Ghetsis’s little slip, and instead Burgh retorts with worldbuilding of his own: Castelia City is filled with all sorts of different people of different backgrounds, and yet they’re all living together. Even with all their differences, there will always be something they have in common—in this case, a love for Pokémon. Burgh questions if Team Plasma’s goals would have the opposite of his desired effect—that by trying to drive them apart, people and Pokémon would only grow closer. This, however, simply amuses Ghetsis. He accepts this rhetorical “defeat,” and Munna is returned to Bianca entirely unharmed.

“The friendship between Pokémon and people can be very touching,” Ghetsis notes, applying a rhetorical skill known as “concession” to gain favor by recognizing the opposing argument. But he follows it up with a refute, stating Pokémon must be liberated from “foolish people” all the same, and in order to do so, Ghetsis once again insists that they will recreate the legend of Unova in its entirety, “and win the hearts and minds of everyone.”

As Team Plasma escapes, Iris offers to continue safeguarding Bianca as she looks around Castelia City, and the player may freely resume exploring Castelia to their heart’s content. They may even attempt to battle the Gym Leader who’s been an invaluable help against Team Plasma so far.

The Castelia City Gym: Cheren is already a “certified Trainer” here. If players check back at Nacrene City, they’d find that Cheren became a certified Trainer after themselves, with Bianca defeating Lenora last—and it appears Bianca will be last to challenge this Gym, too. A victory against Burgh and his surprisingly spry Bug-types nets players the Insect Badge, and on the way to the next city they get the opportunity to face off against both Bianca and Cheren. Bianca wants to see how much she’s grown since receiving training from Iris, and Cheren wants to see if he can finally surpass you now that you both have the same number of badges.

After your victory with Cheren, you both receive a call on your Xtransceivers. Juniper wants to meet up with you in front of the gate to the next city. When you catch up to her and Cheren in the gate leading to Nimbasa, Juniper gives you both Ultra Balls. She then heads south towards Route 4, saying she’ll meet up with Bianca—taking action, rather than waiting around for Bianca to arrive.

Cheren, appreciative for this opportunity to explore the world, decides to go back to Route 4 to catch some new Pokémon. It’s here that the player will have many things to do at their own leisure: they can continue exploring Route 4 or the Desert Resort it’s connected to, or move away from the business center of Unova towards its entertainment center, Nimbasa City.