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BW Fan Opinion Chronicles: Pre-BW

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Before the latest season of Pokémon started, people were already forming opinions about it. In this article, I will attempt to compile those opinions of the past based on conversations I had with a few individuals, so those who were not around the forums at the start of Best Wishes will learn of the very strange ideas people had at that time. And for those who were around, perhaps this article will result in a chuckle or two. In my opinion, this is a good read for any Pokémon anime fan because, based on the way things have played out this saga, the contrast between how wacky some opinions were and how spot on others turned out to be is quite interesting. But don’t take my word for it, have a look for yourself.

● BW is believed to be a fast-paced season compared to DP, where many events will happen without a lot of breaks or fillers.
● There was a blog post by one of the storyboarders that Ash’s new female companion (Iris) had pretty hair, while his rival (Trip) was stated to look similar to Shinji [Paul]. The same artist also mentioned that Brock wasn’t there, so this led many people to believe that there will be a new male sidekick.
● The name “Best Wishes” (Japanese only) didn’t roll well with many people, as it sounds like a name that the dub would come up with. When the dub didn’t keep this title, fans were similarly dissatisfied. Do note that this is a pun of Isshu, which is the Japanese name for Unova.
● When a character sheet (called a settei) for the show was leaked, some people initially believed it was fake, including Dogasu. This sheet featured Ash, Iris, Team Rocket, Pikachu, Don George, Umbreon and the Unova starters. Some new Pokémon were also seen, which were Axew, Woobat, Servine and Dewott (Servine and Dewott’s names stated there weren’t their Japanese names).
● There was speculation on whether BW would be a reboot.

● There was talk of Ash being replaced with another protagonist prior to the settei being leaked.
● Ash's new eyes were one of the changes that surprised fans, although some of them readily accepted the change. His outfit also received mixed reaction.
● Ash is predicted to win the Unova League, even though the series had yet to begin airing!
● There was hope that Ash would canonically age because the protagonists of the BW games were going to be older than the previous protagonists in the main games.
● Ash will capture all three starter Pokémon during his journey. Since Johto was the last time Ash captured the Water starter of the region, the prospect of him owning an Oshawott was the most favored of the three.
● There was a hoax about Ash being Iris’ "knight" in some sort of weird medieval quest, which was posted by a supposed employee in Japan. This riled up some excitement in the fandom. It was debunked quickly, because the time this message was posted clashed with normal business hours. (Note from the future: There is an episode that touched on this scenario. Homage or coincidence?)
● Ash’s Oshawott is speculated to evolve all the way.

● Iris’ design threw many off for how different she looked. Iris’ strange clothes and hair were the main reasons for the shock. Despite her looks, Iris is thought to be cute, like the storyboarder had described. Iris is thought to be an original character, because nobody expected her to be a Gym Leader in the games. Because of this, the anime team is praised by some fans for attempting to create an original main character.
● Some fans called Iris a mountain witch, due to her wild hairstyle.
● Iris looked too young to some people and was thought of as weird by others.
● Iris was rumoured to be a girl who can read other people’s minds or communicate with Pokémon, and solve other Pokémon’s problems with Ash as her protector.
● Iris’ silhouette gave people some “creative” and “interesting” ideas.
● When Iris was revealed to be a Gym Leader, there was some outcry about this revelation.
● People were wondering if Iris would be a coordinator or a Pokémon Musical participant, but it didn’t seem like it because of her less-than-girly appearance. This caused many to hope that the male sidekick would take on this role.
● During the first preview of the series, Iris is seen swinging among the vines. This caused the fans to suddenly take a liking to her.
● Lenora was thought to be Iris’ mother when her artwork was first revealed by one fan.

● Overall, Cilan was not as warmly received as Iris.
● Rumours of a new male sidekick were circulated, and this was a bit startling to some, as they were unsure of the change considering how long Brock lasted in the show. In addition, nobody expected Cilan to be the male sidekick.
● There was a rumour that a coordinator called “Reimu” would join the group. Some thought Reimu would be a girl, since it’s a girl’s name. Logically Cilan was thought to be called “Reimu” because he’s the only one whose name wasn’t revealed, before it was revealed to be “Dent”.
● When Iris’ and Cilan’s silhouettes were first revealed, Cilan was thought to be Ash’s rival, opposite to the train of thought that was held when Paul was promoted alongside Dawn during the initial stages of DP (Paul was thought to be the male sidekick).
● When Cilan’s character design was first revealed, there were mixed opinions. Luna Tiger, the former head of Shipper’s Paradise, wished it was fake, because his design was so unsettling to her. The main reason Cilan’s design threw people off was his lack of sclera (a feature new to the Pokémon world) and his strange choice of outfit. Others like the butler or waiter look. (Writer’s opinion: Personally, I thought Cilan would have a different outfit when he set his travels with Ash. I was thinking more like the clothes fishermen usually wear.)
● There were rumours that Mamoru Miyano was going to voice a main character. Even without knowing what character he would be voicing, fans were excited. When it was revealed that he would be voicing Cilan in the previews, Miyano fans were extremely pleased.
● Cilan was predicted to be the new Coordinator, due to a preview scene showing him under the spotlight while acting and looking fabulous. A few people hope this is the case.
● Comparisons to Brock and Misty were made when it was revealed Cilan and Iris were Gym Leaders in the games.
● Speculation for his dub name started not long after Generation 5 began. Most speculated names begin with a “D”, like Dean, Dimitri, Dominic and Dante. Some other guesses include Vincent and Fabuleux.

● The Rockets getting new black uniforms upset a number of fans.
● Others were excited to see Team Rocket all “serious” in their trenchcoats.
● Giovanni was also shown in a new outfit, leading to joyful speculation about him having a larger role in this season.

● People thought Don George was going to be Ash’s travelling companion, since he also appeared in the settei. As a result, some perverted jokes were made and he was jokingly referred to as a paedophile.

● Hilda was expected to be the next female main character, because fans expected the tradition of using female protagonists from the games after what May and Dawn did. Many were outraged by her absence from the show. By the way, some fans thought Hilda was a bad name, so they continue to refer her as White (rarely you will see someone refer to her under her fake or prototype name “Whitlea”) or Touko for Japanese name users.

● Some fans wished Brock would continue to remain on the main cast.
● There was the theory that he would rejoin the group a few episodes into BW, similar to what happened in AG and DP.

● Bouffalant was expected to be Tauros’ evolution.
● Alomomola was expected to be Luvdisc’ evolution.

OK, that’s it! Yup, this article is quite short, because those are the opinions I gathered. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I had writing it.

Thanks for reading.

Special thanks to the following people for providing me valuable information about the past:

@CommanderPigg; Giving a ton of details like none other from the list. I am very grateful for that.
@Tsutarja; Providing substantial information about the past. Not as much as the Pigg, but good enough.
@Musashi; Some information is provided, but stands as one of the first people to give me information.
@adyniz; Giving quite a bit of new information.
@Joshawott; Gave little information, but still good enough.
@SaxyStar; You might not be seeing yourself being credited, but for compiling the weird Iris pictures, you are duly credited for providing a window to the past of weird things to allow people to marvel at the “Iris Insanity”.
@Iteru; Provided some corrections for certain historical opinions.
@Kakuna Matata; Didn’t provide me information, but deserves credit for checking the article’s grammar and spelling.

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  1. Tsutarja's Avatar
    Overall, Cilan was not as warmly received as Iris.
    The name “Best Wishes” (Japanese only) didn’t roll well with many people, as it sounds like a name that the dub would come up with. When the dub didn’t keep this title, fans were similarly dissatisfied. Do note that this is a pun of Isshu, which is the Japanese name for Unova.
    It's funny how much things change.

    Great article! :D
  2. CommanderPigg's Avatar
    I think that mostly the MamoMiya fangirls were excited for Dento before his official preview release (cuz we know that anyone he voices turns to gold XD)

    I wanted Dento to be named Bentley! I raged for a good 20 minute when Dento was named Cilan in the dub.

    Aaaah, those were the days~

    the Pigg
  3. Tsutarja's Avatar

    Haha, pig. :P
  4. Bubble Frog's Avatar
    @CommanderPigg; @Tsutarja; Cilan's name in German dub of the show is ”Benny" :P
    @winstein; All, good times. I remember all that stuff, it was very interesting how fans speculate. Miyano is a popular VA in Japan, so that's where mainly his popularity stems from. A good VA can really help a character.


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