In many ways Best Wishes seems to be Tomioka's take on Kanto. As we all know Takeshi Shudo was in charge of Kanto, so Tomioka was never fully in charge of the show like he became afterward.
It seems like they're finally learned how to switch off between giving sidekick characters their proper due. While neither of them will have a co-star role, the writers are balancing off both Cilan and Iris and given them each a role one after the other. It seems like their backstories are being explored and they're being more to do than just be, "Ash's sidekicks."
Looking back, Misty or Brock stepping out of the sidelines and into the action was very rare. Part of this is because back when the show first started, it had to focus on the concept of Pokemon itself and Ash's story as they didn't know if the series would be a success or not. Yet as a result, many characters suffered for it and was a result of trial and error in many cases. The same could be said for the way Gary was handled as a rival.
In the end, neither Misty nor Brock really got the development they needed, and both wound up just being, "token sidekicks" besides the rare moments of glory the writers gave them. As we can see here, Iris and Cilan seem like they're going to be far better character arcs, especially by the time this saga ends.
What is your take on all this? Are Iris/Cilan an attempt to, "do things right" this time around?