Pokémon Black and White are the first half of the fifth generation of Pokémon, made for the Nintendo DS. The games were released on September 18, 2010 in Japan; March 4, 2011 in Europe; March 6, 2011 in the U.S.; and March 10, 2011 in Australia and New Zealand.
In this installment, Game Freak shakes up a number of series traditions. The player characters are now teenagers and have several rivals in their childhood friends. There is a greater emphasis on story, with you encountering not only the villain team, but also your (now female) Professor and the various Gym Leaders regularly throughout the story. Game mechanics have been overhauled, with HMs not being required to traverse the region and TMs being infinite use being just a few of the changes. Long-time staples such as the Game Corner and Safari Zone are no longer present, while Pokémon Centers and Marts have been merged into one building. And, most notably, there are no Generation I-IV Pokémon in the regional Pokédex; throughout your main adventure, every Mon you encounter is a brand-new one native to Unova, which is the first main-series Pokémon region not to be based on a Japan prefecture, being inspired by the New York City metropolitan area.
Unlike the previous Nintendo DS installments, Black and White support the more-secure-than-WEP WPA encryption, as well as the revised WPA2 encryption, when playing online; this requires a DSi, DSi XL, or 3DS, however, as the original DS and DS Lite do not have hardware support for WPA.
In another shake-up, these games were also the first to not receive an Updated Re-release (à la Yellow from Generation I, Crystal from Generation II, Emerald from Generation III and Platinum from Generation IV), instead receiving direct sequels in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 in 2012.
The Iwata Asks interview for the games can be read here.
Not to Be Confused with the 2001 simulation game Black & White. The English dub of the Animated Adaptation known as Pocket Monsters: Best Wishes in Japan also shares the same name as these games.
There was also an online Japanese release of Pokémon Battle Chess: BW Version, a "chess and Shōgi"-hybrid board game themed after Pokémon Black and White, available here (online gameplay instruction manual; supplementary information.
Tropes used in Black and White:
- 2˝D: The overworld is similar to Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, having set paths in a 3D-style setting. The updated battle screens, however, have 2D sprites set on a 3D landscape.
- '80s Hair:
- The player characters — one huge ponytail, and one mullet.
- Professor Juniper has something of a beehive do going on.
- Grimsley of the Elite Four has the iconic hairstyle of the lead singer of A Flock Of Seagulls.
- There's a guy in Black version's Opelucid City with Peek A Bangs. To top it off, he plays a keytar.
- Abusive Parents: Ghetsis manipulated his son, N, to help with his goal of conquering the region. To do this he kept N in isolation since childhood from other humans, with only Pokémon for interaction (and only those that had been abused by humans, at that), so that N would grow up to hate humans.
- Almighty Janitor: When you enter the Battle Company building in Castelia, you're greeted by the building's janitor. He's actually the strongest trainer in the building. (Really a subversion: He's actually the head of the Battle Company, who likes to disguise himself as a janitor to find good trainers.)
- Alternate Universe: It's implied that the different versions of each pair of games are parallel universes of each other. Not only is Opelucid City drastically different between Black and White, and the space across from Marvelous Bridge either contains Black City or White Forest, but there is also a small sidequest where you can show an electric Pokémon from the other version of the game to an NPC to receive an item and actually allow them to contact his alternate counterpart between the two universes, even if for a brief moment.
- Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted, you can't see either player character's bag when they are facing the right side.
- Americasia: Despite the Unova region being mainly based on New York City and northern New Jersey in the United States, it has quite a few Japanese influences including but not limited to:
- The Abundant Shrine dedicated to Landorus, who is based heavily on the Shinto god of rice and fertility Inari.
- The Preschooler class (called Kindergartner in Japanese) wears Japanese Kindergarten uniforms.
- Village Bridge having an enka singer.
- The Clerk class being based on Japanese salarymen and office ladies, and the latter being outright called that in the Japanese versions.
- The Sky Arrow Bridge and Entralink taking influences from the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Imperial Palace respectively.
- The Oshawott Line being based around samurai.
- Sawk and Throh originate in this region, and are based on karate and judo practitioners respectively.
- Americans Are Cowboys: The male Pokémon Ranger trainer class have the looks of cowboys. The Ground Gym Leader, Clay, is actually a subversion, as he was designed as a Japanese immigrant who got rich when he struck oil and dresses like one because he can.
- Amusement Park: Nimbasa City's Amusement Park.
- Animal Wrongs Group: Team Plasma steal Pokémon to "liberate" them from other Trainers. Some of them know the truth, but they do it anyway.
- Ant Assault: The game introduces Durant, a Bug/Steel-type ant Pokémon which has the highest Speed of all Steel-types that aren't Mega Evolutions, with similarly high Attack and Defense stats, plus they have 0.3 m in height and large mandibles.
- Anti-Frustration Features:
- Various dungeons have Doctor or Nurse Trainers who, when talked to after being defeated, will completely heal the player's Pokémon free of charge. Handy if you're halfway through a dungeon and don't want to backtrack to a Pokémon Center.
- Because capturing Reshiram/Zekrom is necessary to continue the story, the two have a higher catch rate than other Legendary Pokémon — 45 as opposed to the typical 3. In addition, if the player happens to run out of Poké Balls, a Team Plasma grunt gives a free Ultra Ball out until it is caught.
- Though nothing happens to indicate it in the cutscene prior (except a small bell sound), your Pokémon are fully healed in between the final battle with N and facing off with Ghetsis. Likewise, N restores the party after capturing Reshiram/Zekrom before he battles them.
- TMs now have unlimited use. As a trade off they're now much more expensive but it's worth it to be able to change your Pokemon's moves whenever you want.
- Anti-Grinding: All Pokémon now receive an additional experience modifier based on the ratio between user and opponents' respective levels; as your party members level up, the same opponents (e.g. wild Pokémon) award fewer experience points than they did before. On the flipside, this means that low-level party members (such as freshly bred Pokémon) level up faster when you defeat high-level opponents (especially since it stacks with all the other modifiers, like the bonus on traded Pokémon or Trainer battles, and the Exp. Share...)
- Anti Poop-Socking: You could only visit the Dream World for one hour per day when it was open. Perhaps indirect, since Nintendo's worried about traffic jams on its servers. You also couldn't take more than one Pokémon back from the Dream World at a time.
- Art Course: The Gym Leader of Castelia City is Burgh, an artist and Bug-type Pokémon expert. His Gym is designed after those two traits: a hive-styled building with honeycomb-shaped rooms that doubles as an art gallery for Burgh's paintings.
- Artistic License – Physics: Skyla's No OSHA Compliance gym has cannons that the player can be shot from. One of them shoots the player straight into a wall. Despite this, no serious injuries occur, unlike what would happen in real life.
- Ascended Extra: Caitlin, who merely sat in the background in Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver during battles at the Battle Castle, is now an Elite Four member.
- Ascended Fridge Horror: A common source of Fridge Horror in the series was how moral the Pokémon battles themselves actually are, and how people could potentially take advantage of the world being centered around the sport by creating Fantasy Gun Control. Cue Team Plasma, an organization based on the idea that it's morally wrong to force Pokémon to beat each other nearly to death for sport. The organization has two conflicting leaders — N, who honestly believes in the organization's mantra, and Ghetsis, who only preaches this to try and convince everyone else in the world to release their Pokémon so that he'll be the most powerful Trainer around. Guess which one has a Heel-Face Turn, and which one's the final boss... It's ultimately subverted, as the only reason N believes this is because he was purposefully raised from birth to think so. By the end, he realizes that Pokémon and humans can coexist after all, and that Pokémon don't mind serving their trainers.
- Ascended Meme:
- Snivy was the second most popular nickname for the Grass-type starter (or its evolution) after it was first revealed, by the name of Tsutarja, in Japan.
- Pignite was one of the most popular nicknames for Tepig. TPCi ended up naming its evolution Pignite, instead.
- Athletic Arena Level: Big Stadium and Small Court in Nimbasa City. The sports in both facilities change from day to day and of course the actual players are trainers.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: N being crowned by Ghetsis and Team Plasma is the focus of the opening cutscene.
- Badass Longcoat: The Subway Bosses Ingo and Emmet, Cynthia, and the Veterans. The female Veterans also come with Scarf of Asskicking and Cool Shades.
- Bait-and-Switch Boss: For the first time in the series, you don't directly fight the champion after beating the Elite Four. Instead, you're required to catch your version's Legendary (Reshiram/Zekrom) and take down N. You still don't end up doing this until a long time and about 20 or 30 level-ups afterward.
- Big Applesauce: Unova is mostly based on New York, with a little bit of New Jersey added in.
- Big Boo's Haunt: Celestial Tower is the typical Pokémon resting spot and naturally is home to over half of the resident Ghost types of Unova's Pokédex.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Gym Leaders, when you encounter the Sages after beating the Elite Four.
- Blah, Blah, Blah: What you hear from a researcher that explains the Poké Transfer.
- Blatant Lies: The description of the Desert Resort is that it's "nicer than the average desert!" It has a perpetual sandstorm that is much heavier than a normal desert, to the point that some brightness settings make it almost difficult to navigate.
- Bilingual Bonus: Some NPCs in the game speak French, Italian, Spanish, and German.
- Bishōnen: N and Cheren are on the pretty side. The Striaton City Gym Leaders Cilan, Chili, and Cress may count as well.
- Blackout Basement: As usual there are a few caves which are extra dark without the use of the Flash TM.
- Bold Inflation: Averted. For the first time ever in the international versions, the names of the individual Mons are no longer written in all capital letters by default.
- Boss Bonanza: The Pokémon League falls into this, even more than usual. You have the Elite Four battle, then immediately afterward, catch the version mascot and then, the battles with N and Ghetsis. Fortunately, there's phlebotinum to heal your Pokémon before pushing onto those last two, so you aren't going in depleted.
- Boss in Mook Clothing:
- After beating the Elite Four, you can find Dragonite, Tyranitar, and Metagross in the certain areas of the wild.
- In the post-game, you gain access to a location known as the Challenger's Cave. Aside from a few items, some higher leveled Pokémon from non-Unovan regions, and a few trainers, the place is nothing special on the surface. However, while going through the cave, you can encounter the trainer Veteran Shaun. He has a party of six powerful Pokémon, including Gyarados, Excadrill, Gigalith, Druddigon, Crobat, and even Snorlax. All of which are probably about fifteen to twenty levels above your current party, assuming you dive right into the cave after beating the main story.
- Boss Remix: The battle theme for Reshiram, Zekrom and Kyurem, introduced within this game, is a remix of Johto Route 42's theme from Pokémon Gold and Silver.
- Bowdlerise: The original Japanese dialogue for the various "ferris wheel dates" is laced with very suggestive double entendre - in context, it sounds like some of them are outright trying to seduce you. This was largely removed from the English translation.
- Breaking Old Trends: Generation V mixes the formula up quite a bit.
- Gens I-IV were based on Japanese areas, but Gen V is the first to feature a location not based on Japan, Unova being a counterpart to New York City.
- Gens I and II also featured Kanto, with Gen II allowing you to go to Kanto after defeating Johto's gym leaders, while Gens III and IV also featured Kanto through remakes of the first two generations. Generation V is the first to avoid Kanto entirely, through the games themselves or remakes.
- After Generations III and IV featured remakes of previous generations, Gen V is entirely self contained, instead featuring direct sequels. The Generation III remakes would feature a generation later.
- All previous generations had the structure of two primary versions and a third version that acts as a midway between the two, Gen I having Yellow, II having Crystal, III having Emerald, and IV having Platinum. Gen V is purely Black and White; no Grey version here. Ironically enough, however, there is a "Grey" Legendary Pokémon to the Black and White Legendaries, Kyurem, who is focused on in Black and White 2.
- The first four generations had Pokémon from previous generations, and would introduce new evolutions of them. Generation V shakes things up by not having any past Pokémon appear in Unova until the National Dex is obtained at the end of the game.
- Gens I-IV were based on Japanese areas, but Gen V is the first to feature a location not based on Japan, Unova being a counterpart to New York City.
- Broken Bridge: Including several literal ones. Other than the Driftveil Drawbridge being open to let ships pass through, they didn't even bother to think up reasons anymore:NPC: There is something ahead, and the road is closed now.
- Brooklyn Rage: Being set in Unova region which is based off New York, this game has shades of this trope. A kid-friendly Brooklyn Rage variation, though.
- Bubblegloop Swamp: The Moor of Icirrus, as well as the southern part of Icirrus City, if the game is not in winter time.
- But Thou Must!: Played with - in a normal gameplay, you're required to catch your version's legendary; if you knock it out, it will get right back up and the game will tell you that the Pokémon wants you to capture it. However, if you have full party and the PC, then you don't have to.
- Cast of Expies: Many of the Pokémon introduced in Black and White are obvious stand-ins for Gen I Pokémon (e.g. Woobat and Zubat, Roggenrola and Geodude, etc).
- Catchphrase: "I'm a heartbreaker. My name... Charles."
- Character Select Forcing: The game all-but forces you to use the elemental monkey acquired in the Dreamyard against the 1st gym. To keep you from using anyone else, they raised the starter evolution level to 17 so you can't just overwhelm the leader with it, made Pidove unavailable until after the gym to avoid having trainers who chose Oshawott as their starter using it against Pansage, only put Normal and Dark Pokémon with neutral effectiveness against the monkeys on the early routes, and made trading unavailable until after the gym to keep players from bringing in better Pokémon from another game early on. While it's still very possible to overpower the leader with your starter/Lillipup/Patrat/Purrloin, it's obvious they wanted you to use the monkey.
- Chekhov's Exhibit: When you explore the museum in Nacrene City, just before your second Gym challenge, you can examine an odd, unidentified rock that was excavated from the Desert Resort. Unlike the other pieces in the museum, which involve fossils and a meteorite, nothing's known about it, it's just there because it's pretty. Four Gyms later, it turns out that it was the Light/Dark Stone, depending on version, that contains the game's cover Legendary.
- City Noir: Black City, the city that runs on Greed. That, and it's full of pitch black buildings.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Reshiram and Zekrom, in relation to their respective games, are the first ever inversion of this trope in regards to their status as version mascots, as part of the Yin-Yang motif.
- Combination Attack:
- The three Pledges (Grass, Fire, and Water Pledge) can be combined in Double and Triple battles to increase their damage and create additional secondary effects.
- Having multiple allies use "Echoed Voice" or "Round" simultaneously cause the moves to inflict greater damage.
- Common Place Rare: You can't actually get a fishing rod until the post-game.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
- As usual, some of the Gym Leaders and Elite Four have fully-evolved Pokémon at lower levels than what is required to actually get those evolutions in the first place.
- Ghetsis has a Hydreigon at level 54 (Zweilous evolves at level 64).
- Console Cameo: The player has a Wii in their bedroom. After the first battle with Cheren and Bianca destroys their room, the Wii appears unharmed.
- Contemplate Our Navels: As per usual in the NPC text of a Pokémon game. It gets a bit weirder when the kindergartners start waxing philosophical, as well.Kindergartner: Rrrraaaaar! I'll run! You gonna chase me? You run! Am I gonna chase you? Change your perspective — and the reality changes.
- Continuity Nod:
- Remember the final Rocket Grunt in Kanto from HeartGold/SoulSilver, who mentioned wanting to revive Team Rocket in his homeland? Yep, turns out he's from Unova. He ends up giving up on crime and settling down to raise a child.
- Caitlin of the Elite Four is the same Caitlin that appeared in Platinum and HeartGold & SoulSilver at the Battle Castle; she makes vague references several times to Darach, her butler in those games.
- The Magikarp Salesman from the Mt. Moon Pokémon Center is back, only now getting the Magikarp for $500 is absolutely worth it. In fact, there's an optional Triple Battle trainer in the gatehouse directly after the salesman which will boost your new Magikarp to evolving if you just stick an Exp. Share on it.
- A Trainer in Generation I said that there should be a pink Pokémon with floral patterns. Fast-forward to Munna...
- Cynthia talks about how the player character reminds her of the protagonist from Platinum and references Giratina.
- A Team Plasma grunt in N's Castle mentions Team Rocket and Team Galactic.
- The museum features a fossil of a Dragonite, Thick Clubs for Marowak, an Armaldo fossil, and a meteorite with a space virus (Deoxys).
- A Black Belt mentions that he came from a Fighting Dojo in Kanto (if you talk to him after the Pokémon battle), and refers to himself as the Karate King.
- A trainer in the Desert Resort references Go-Goggles.
- A trainer in the Village Bridge mentions that Route 12 is great for training for Pokéathlons in Johto.
- A book in Lenora's Gym references Poffins from Sinnoh.
- A girl in Undella Town on vacation from Hoenn mentions Steven from Ruby and Sapphire as a Trainer who, despite being strong, is said to focus on collecting stones.
- Upon defeat, Game Freak Morimoto references Steven's self-introduction in his Ruby and Sapphire Trainer's Eyes profile (Japanese version only).
- Pikachu appears several times: as a bush in Striaton City, on a billboard in Castelia City, and as an NPC that can be spoken to.
- The Driftveil Drawbridge is also known as the "Charizard Bridge" (making Charizard the only older Pokémon to be mentioned by name during the main story line). If you stay on the bridge for long enough, you can even hear a Charizard's cry.
- Convection, Schmonvection: Exaggerated when N summons his dragon to battle you. It arrives and sets off a heat wave/electric shock strong enough to instantly evaporate almost all the water in the room. You and N are both alive immediately afterwards.
- Convenient Questing: Comes with the linearity of the game, it looks like that the player, Team Plasma and N all follow the same path throughout the main plot. The only exception is when a quest requires the player to backtrack (or fly) to the Relic Castle.
- Convenient Weakness Placement: While not unusual for the series, particular note goes to how Elesa's gym plays with this. Many NPC's mention how Electric is weak to Ground-type pokemon, with Sandile being readily available south of the city Elesa's gym is part of. However, Elesa and some of her trainers make use of Emolga, which are immune to Ground-type moves unless struck with the Rock-type Smack Down first. This means that to make them vulnerable to Ground-type moves, it would be best to catch the Rock/Bug-type Dwebble, also readily available south of the gym. However, the best user for Smack Down available to you is Roggenrola, which would have been found near Nacrene City, two cities away... but the Player's recent acquirement of a Bike, combined with a series of long straight routes back to Nacrene, means getting back there very easy.
- Copy Protection:
- Playing a pirated ROM of the game? Your Pokémon won't gain any experience!
- There was Anti-AR in the game, preventing real copies of the game (but not pirated copies) to not be able to use Action Replay. In Japan, it was patched posthaste with the AR, but elsewhere it's took awhile to get patched, and only for the Micro SD model of the ARDSi.
- Creator Cameo: There's always one of these in the Pokémon games, but this time you get to battle him! His name is Morimoto, as in one of the game designers and the creator of Mew, Shigeki Morimoto. You fight him in a building in Castelia City after beating the game. His Pokémon are pretty high leveled, too, in the 75+ range. Despite being best known for creating Mew and has said it is his favorite Pokémon, his team does not include it.
- Critical Annoyance: The creators made a deliberate attempt to avert this for the first time in the mainline games; rather than the constant beeping whenever your Pokémon is at low heath from the previous generations or the few quick beeps of successive generations, in this game and its sequel the battle music instead changes into a frantic soundtrack that incorporates the old-school beeping into its melody. Unfortunately, it always replaces any other battle music that might have otherwise been playing.
- Critical Hit:
- Two new attacks, "Frost Breath" and "Storm Throw", will always land a critical hit (double damage, ignores stat changes hindering user) unless the opponent has specific protection (Lucky Chant, Battle Armor etc.) against critical hits.
- Throwing Poké Balls at wild Pokémon now has a chance to "critical-hit" as well in the form of a Critical Capture, where the game performs only one check to see if Pokémon broke free instead of threenote
- Crutch Character: See the series' page here.
- Curse of the Pharaoh: Yamask and Cofagrigus have the Mummy ability, which changes the ability of an opponent Pokémon if it uses a move that makes contact with them into the Mummy ability. Cofragrigus has the appearance of an Egyptian sarcophagus and the ability invokes the idea of the Pharaoh's curse.
- Darker and Edgier: This story deals with more complex social/emotional issues than previous entries in the series, like animal abuse, some Gray-and-Gray Morality, and a bit of Deconstruction of a couple of the franchise's staples like To Be a Master.
- Death Glare: If you beat N and then lose to Ghetsis, upon returning to the Throne Room Ghetsis gives you one of these and immediately battles you.
- Death Mountain: If it is not winter time, Twist Mountain is a deep and spiraling mountain with a large open center where a mining operation is going on.
- Declaration of Personal Independence: Bianca's father initially wouldn't let her go on a Pokémon journey, and she ran away from home. In Nimbasa City, you come upon him having found Bianca, and demanding she return home, but finally he relents, after she tells him how much stronger she's grown since battling with her Pokémon.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: It's implied throughout the game that N's interactions with the player character are making him start to see flaws in his worldview. Does this prompt him to question his viewpoint and make a change for the better? Nope. Instead, he doubles down on it and desperately tries to rationalize himself, refusing to believe or accept that he's wrong just as many real life extremists and victims of indoctrination do. It's not until the player character defeats his legendary dragon that N finally sees that he was wrong.
- Defeat Means Friendship:
- There is a TV program about a Black Belt in Victory Road who made friends with a Pokémon after defeating it in a judo match.
- A backpacker on Route 14, after defeating him, asks if he's your friend now.
- N. Although he has been acting somewhat antagonistic towards you for the whole game, he decides that the player character is his friend by the end.
- Developer's Foresight:
- If the player tries to get around catching the Title Legendary by filling every PC Box and have a full party, you won't have to catch it and can be fought later at Dragonspiral Tower.
- On your birthday, if you talk to the owner of the Musical building, he'll give you the Toy Cake prop. If you fiddle with the clock so he gives it to you when it isn't your birthday, he'll say 'Even if it isn't your birthday, I won't ask for it back.'
- The move Splash can now be affected by the move Gravity, even though Splash doesn't do anything anyway.
- After going through Chargestone Cave you met up with Cedric Juniper, who will mention how you met a Klink (which is guaranteed to happen since you fight N just before and he has one on him). If you don't encounter one in the cave (possible with Repels to stop Random Encounters) and avoid fighting N (impossible without cheating), he instead acts bewildered that you haven't seen one yet.
- If you win your first two battles without taking damage, Bianca and Cheren will comment on this. As your opponents will have to use nothing but status moves for this to happen, no one would realistically come across this.
- Disc-One Nuke: See the series' page here.
- Disturbed Doves: When you step outside your house for the very first time, a group of Pidove in front of the house will fly off. If you start your game during the night, they're Woobat instead.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Basculin come in red and blue varieties, and the Pokédex says that the two will start fighting instantly when they meet. Bloods and Crips, anyone? Or more cynically, Democrats and Republicans.
- Dream Land: This debuts as an added online game feature, in which asleep Pokémon explore their dreams. It is similar in gameplay to the Pokéwalker, but without having to walk in real-life.
- Dub Name Change: This is the first game in the main series to change the region's name, from Isshu to Unova, bringing back the O featured in the other four. Notable, because each other language has its own name for Unova, rather than just using the English or Japanese name.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: In the Battle Item shop in Nacrene City, an NPC notes that it's called Dire Hit in Unova, but is the same thing (despite the item always having been "Dire Hit"). This makes more sense in the Japanese version, as the item went from "Critcutter" to "Critcut" in Generation 5.
- Dueling Messiahs: The player character and N Harmonia take the roles of the conflicting heroes of Unova - one representing truth, one representing ideals. If N wins, then humans and Pokémon will be separated and Ghetsis Harmonia will take control of the entire region, but if you win then the region will stay as it is and Ghetsis's plans will fall apart.
- Easing into the Adventure: They need some way to explain to newcomers to the series how to play, so they chose to have the two rivals demonstrate the mechanics.
- Easter Egg: In Nacrene City, the first house you can enter holds a Generation I/II Gym statue, though you can't interact with it.
- Elemental Absorption: More prominent than ever, various old and new abilities allow Pokémon to absorb certain types of attacks and benefit from them instead of taking damage. Also present with Reshiram's and Zekrom's signature moves, which power up if followed by their counterpart.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: There's a kid NPC early on who challenges you to a game of literal Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors. It teaches series newcomers about elemental relations in the process.
- Excuse Plot: Actually averted this time. Platinum averted some of it before (by giving the subplot more of an emphasis than it had in Diamond and Pearl), but in Black and White, the plot is literally everywhere, up to the ending at the Pokémon League.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Shown in Ghetsis, and a factor as to why his plans fail. He truly believes that everyone, including himself, sees Pokémon as tools and don't really care about them. He allows N out into the world to encounter Pokémon trainers to further strengthen his point. This ends up backfiring on Ghetsis, as N sees that most trainers actually have strong relationships with their Pokémon, causing N to question Plasma's cause and befriend the PC.
- Evil Is Bigger: Hard to tell with the sprites, but official sources have Ghetsis listed at 2 metres/6'6" tall.
- Fanservice: While it's nothing new, several young trainers wear very revealing outfits...
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Surprisingly, the tradition of making Pokémon regions based on regions of Japan was broken. Instead, Unova is the Pokémon equivalent of New York, with a bit of New Jersey thrown in for good measure.
- Fantasy Counterpart Map: Unova is designed based on the New York metropolitan area (including parts of New Jersey). Although Pokémon regions also take inspiration in their cities and geographical landmarks from their real equivalents, Unova differs noticeably at some points to prevent the whole region from being one big city. For instance, it has a desert right above the equivalent of lower Manhattan.
- Ferris Wheel Date Moment: In Nimbasa City, there is a ferris wheel on which you can ride with a different NPC each season and N. On this ride, the conversations are pure Ship Tease. Furthermore, the NPC options are different based on which gender you pick, and there's even a Gay Option depending on the translation.
- Fictional Constellations: The game introduced constellations based on the western zodiac; a couple of these appeared in the anime as well.
- Fictional Zodiac: These games introduced a fictional zodiac loosely based on the Western one. The mons incorporated into this are (in order of month) Sawsbuck, Simipour, Alomomola, Whimsicott, Bouffalant, Klink, Crustle, Braviary, Gothorita, Lampent, Scollipede and Fraxure.
- Fight Woosh: In addition to the usual mix (wild Pokémon, trainer battles, etc.), legendary Pokémon now come with their own unique Fight Woosh. Cobalion, Virizion, and Terrakion use a variation on the shattering-glass effect.
- First Town: Nuvema Town. Similar to older games it is the location of the homes of the player character as well as Bianca and Cheren and is also the location of Professor Juniper's Lab.
- Forced Tutorial: The Dream World programmers thought it was a good idea to link tutorial messages to cookies, rather than accounts. Meaning that if you don't store temporary internet files between sessions, you see them every day.
- Foreshadowing: Members of the Elite Four make various offhand remarks to the effect of another challenger coming through just before you. That was N, of course.
- Foul Waterfowl: Swanna are based off of swans and they're said to have awful tempers.
- Frictionless Ice: In Cold Storage south of Driftveil City and in the Icirrus Gym.
- Friend to All Living Things: N is able to understand how Pokémon are feeling, and everything he does is motivated by his desire to protect them. Deconstructed, as he was conditioned into such through emotional and psychological abuse and neglect, and is effectively a cultivated feral child.
- Friendly Fireproof: The new Telepathy ability protects the owner from its allies' attacks (such as Earthquake) during Double and Triple Battles.
- Game Gourmet: A maid on Route 5, known as the Gourmet Maniac, will buy any manner of food or ingredients from you for higher than they'd normally sell for, including stuff your Pokémon don't normally eat such as Sticks (scallions for Farfetch'd), mushrooms, honey, Leftovers, Lucky Eggs, and Shoal Salt.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation:
- Magikarp's Pokédex entry states that, while it can leap up a mountain with Splash if it lives for many years, "the move remains useless" in combat.
- Scrafty's Pokédex entry states that it gangs up on and beats opponents that enter their territory, as well as being able to spit acid. However, it wouldn't learn any acid move until Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon nor Beat Up until Pokémon Sword and Shield.
- Part of Ferroseed's animation clearly shows it spinning rapidly, but it does not learn Rapid Spin (although it does get Gyro Ball).
- It's perfectly possible to play through the game as the sort of trainer N despises: Regardless of your Pokémons' actual happiness values, N still says that they like you. This is mainly an artifact of the game's happiness mechanics — trying to get a Mon upset is actually pretty hard to do, since the only ways to really decrease their happiness is to routinely let them be knocked out in combat, or spend a fortune on feeding them the bitter herbal medicines. Just about anything else you can do increases their happiness value — in fact, even mundane activities like Level Grinding and just walking around will slowly put them in a better mood. The player may as well be a Friend To All Pokémon.
- In the story, N curb-stomps the League Champion with the help of Reshiram or Zekrom. Later, if you go back to challenge him yourself, his Pokémon are a good +20 levels stronger than before. It's explained that he was largely out of practice (due to retirement) which is why he was defeated by N; by the time you face him, he's got his team back up to speed.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: N does not believe Pokémon are tools. Save for the final battle, every time you encounter him he has a different team made exclusively of Pokémon that can be found in the local vicinity — because he releases them and asks his "friends" for help. This even includes Zekrom and Reshiram.
- Conversely, Ghetsis sees Pokémon as nothing but tools. His Hydreigon is shown as underleveled (suggesting forced, artificial evolution).
- Genki Girl: Bianca, Professor Juniper, and Iris.
- Gilded Cage:
- The room you find Victini in is a nice cozy bedroom, where it has been for the past 200 years. Apparently it was built by the landowners to keep Victini safe from those who would exploit its power. Once it's been caught, everyone agrees it is much safer in your hands.
- N's childhood room in Team Plasma's castle. Not only is it huge, but it has virtually everything a child could have like a basketball court, play blocks, a half pipe, various train sets, tires, dart board, plane mobile, and a bed. Sadly, the reason it was so massive was to keep N away from contact with the outside world until he grew up.
- Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Cheren's VS sprite.
- Global Currency: Unova is based on New York, but the currency is still Yen in the Japanese versions.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: Bianca went to the various cities you've traveled through to get the Gym Leaders to help.
- Gotta Catch Them All: In addition to the obvious, after the main quest ends, you get to go find the remaining Plasma Sages with the help of Looker.
- Gratuitous English: A good deal of the interface in the Japanese version is in both Japanese and English. There is even a "Howdy Hour" on the TVs!
- Gratuitous German:There is a room where some trainers speak foreign languages (including Spanish, Italian, and German). The German was surprisingly good (the man says he bought a car, which would help his business due to being able to easily visit the next city over, but he can't pass his driving test).
- Guide Dang It!:
- If both your Pokémon faint in the same turn in a Double Battle, you're supposed to select a new Pokémon, then select which fainted Pokémon you want it to replace. There is nothing in the game to suggest this course of action—people who attempt to simply select two Pokémon will be told that the second one can't switch out, which has led many players to believe they're experiencing a glitch.
- Want a Zorua? Want a Zoroark? Want a Victini? Want to know how to navigate the underwater ruins in Undella Bay? Wanna know how Black City and White Forest work? Good luck finding any of these out based on information available in the game, because they don't tell you. Undella Bay is a double one because the official guide only gives you a map of the first floor and explicitly tells you to figure out the rest yourself.
- For the first time in the series, after you beat the Elite Four, you're allowed to heal and change your team before facing the endgame. There's even a friendly NPC who will teleport you back to the Pokémon Center. Players may actually be at a disadvantage on their first run, having used up all of their rare healing items instead of saving them for the final bosses.
- Hartman Hips: It's a staple of Ken Sugimori's artstyle, really, but even then, Bianca still stands out.
- Healing Shiv: The move Healing Pulse, which only works on a target other than the user. It's supposed to be used for Double and Triple Battles, but if you're lucky enough a high-leveled wild Audino may use it on you.
- Helpful Mook: Higher level Audino may heal you with Healing Pulse. In addition, there are trainers classified as Doctors and Nurses. Defeat them, and they will then heal your entire party to full every time you talk to them afterwards. Very useful, since they tend to be positioned deep in caves/Routes.
- Hide Your Lesbians:
- Inverted! One of the possible Ferris Wheel "dates" for a female PC is a waitress. In the Japanese version she just bounces boy troubles off you, but in the English version, she's jealous of how "smart and pretty and nice..." the female PC is, with no mention of "him" (just a failed relationship with someone, with no given sex), and is now characterized as very nervous, and shy.
- Also played straight in the Hiker males can "date", who is far less blatant (and creepy) in his homosexual advances in the U.S. version.
- High-Tech Hexagons: Present everywhere, including the shape of Unova itself.
- Hitodama Light: The Litwick family of Pokémon possess a flame powered by draining the life energy of the creatures around them. Their purplish flames increase as they lead living creatures to the ghost world.
- Hollywood New England: Humilau City is most likely based off of Fairfield County (particularly Greenwich), Connecticut.
- Hornet Hole: Castelia's Gym, being Bug-type, is based on a giant beehive with each of the rooms being six-sided and the player having to push through walls of stick honey to move between rooms.
- Hub City: Castelia City. At the very least, it's a metropolis far grander than any seen in previous generations.
- Hyperactive Sprite: Unlike all previous games in the series, the battle sprites in Black and White are not static but are constantly jumping around.
- Hypocrite: Team Plasma's ultimate goal is to "free" all Pokémon from their Trainers, who they believe are abusing them by forcing them to fight. This is recited by a Grunt who immediately beforehand kicked a Munna repeatedly to get it to drop some Dream Mist.
- Don't forget how N's Castle was built by overworking Pokémon that they had stolen from other trainers. This is blatantly admitted by one of the Team Plasma Grunts there. Yeah...
- This is likely intentional, considering the true goal of Team Plasma as revealed by the end of the game - for Ghetsis to take over Unova, and from there take over the entire world. The only member that's in Team Plasma for sure to "liberate" Pokémon is N, who is the least hypocritical of the bunch.
- This even applies to those members who are using "freeing Pokémon" as a cover for their plans of world domination. They're trying to convince people to release their Pokémon... and they do this whilst using/battling Pokémon themselves- blatantly going against everything they're 'supposed' to stand for.
- Hypocritical Humor: A Team Plasma scientist tells the player, "Team Galactic and Team Rocket drew too much attention to themselves. That's why their plans were thwarted." The scientist is in a huge castle that just emerged from the ground, rather noisily. Which, by the way, rose from the ground right behind the LEAGUE. In fact, Team Plasma is even more publicized than those other teams, as Ghetsis makes multiple speeches to various townsfolk.
- Although as stated above it's hinted that Plasma has only just recently entered the public view given that they apparently were around when N was a wee kid.
- I Am the Noun: Ghetsis proclaiming that "I AM PERFECTION!"
- Idealist vs. Pragmatist: This factors into the backstory, with the Heroes of Truth and Ideals. The two— supposedly the founders of the Unova region— once shared a powerful dragon Pokémon, but disagreed on whether to pursue absolute ideals or pragmatic truth. As a result of their schism, the dragon itself was split in half, with Reshiram going with the pragmatist and Zekrom going with the idealist. Which one the main character ends up siding with depends on which version they play.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: One of the trainers you can battle in the Sports Complex in Nimbasa City is a female Ace Trainer who talks about wanting to be an ordinary girl while she's there. After you beat her, she says that she "doesn't want to think very much about Pokémon right now" and gives you a PP Up so you'll leave her alone, but not without her saying that she just enjoys being an ordinary girl for the heck of it.
- Improbable Power Discrepancy: The most powerful Pokémon you fight before the end of the main story is at level 54. The first NPC trainer you come across after the ending finishes will likely have something in the low-mid 60's.
- Inescapable Ambush: Done frequently by Cheren and Bianca in random locations as you progress in the games, sometimes borderline on stalking. They might catch you unprepared/after beaten down by a Gym Leader/Plasma.
- The Ingenue: The reason why Bianca's father is so protective of her.
- Innocuously Important Episode: Shortly after your Nacrene Gym victory, Team Plasma steals the head of the Dragonite skeleton that was on display in the museum. After you chase them down, lose interest in the skull completely due to it not being what they thought it was. Four Gyms later, it's revealed that they were after an artifact that is supposed to summon one of the two dragons of the Unovan creation myth. They took the Dragon Skull because it was, well, dragon-shaped. It turns out that they should have gone for the unidentified stone sitting in a different corner of the museum.
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: Genesect. Golett and Golurk also qualify, although they are really golems possessed by a spirit.
- Made all the more awesome when you realize that, despite the typing and lack of any visible means of it, you can teach a Golurk to Fly.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: A traffic cone blocks a path in the Dreamyard until beating the main story.
- Interface Spoiler: Sort of. Even without the into that makes it incredibly obvious that N is an antagonist from the beginning, the fact that he has unique Battle Theme Music and an animated trainer sprite (a luxury that is only given to two other trainers) would probably give away that he's going to be very important anyway.
- Item Get!: Unlike the other games in the series, the player character will do a dramatic Zelda-esque pose when picking items up off the ground in forests and caves.
- Joisey: Driftveil City possibly represents Elizabeth with its shipping ports. Mistralton City obviously represents Newark since it has the airport. Route 7 is eerily similar to NJ's Highway Route 7 since they both run through a swamp. Finally Icirrus City may represent one of the cities in Bergen County since the Meadowlands Swamp make up most of the southern part.
- Karma Houdini: Subverted. Ghetsis gets escorted away by Alder and Cheren. Then he gets rescued by the Shadow Triad. However, Ghetsis lost everything he's been working for for years, and the only people loyal to him now are the Shadow Triad. And he is also on the run. It's Double Subverted when Ghetsis gives the 4th Generation mascots' orbs (who knows how he got them) to you through the Shadow Triad, who imply that he's trying to pull a scheme on you right now, which will possibly be explained in the sequels.
- Kick the Dog: To make sure the player realizes Team Plasma are criminals after their initial appearance, their subsequent appearances have them literally kicking (or some form of striking anyways) a Munna, then stealing someone's Pokémon.
- Knight of Cerebus: Ghetsis.
- Knight Templar: Team Plasma, complete with armor and an emblem very similar to the Chi Rho symbol.
- Last Chance Hit Point: The ability "Sturdy" now functions the same as the Focus Sash in previous generations, allowing a Pokémon to survive an otherwise lethal hit if they were at full HP beforehand. In short, if you're not using high-damage attacks that also cause damaging status ailments, don't use a multi-hit move such as Double Kick, or don't have a Pokémon with the passive ability Mold Breaker (which nullifies Sturdy altogether), you cannot knock these Pokémon out in one hit, making wild battles so much more aggravating. Alternatively, if there's a Pokémon you really want to catch that has Sturdy, it makes it that much easier to catch it, as you don't have to worry about the first hit accidentally knocking out the Pokémon .
- Leaked Experience: The flipside to Anti-Grinding means that equipping a low-level Pokémon with the Exp.Share causes them to catch up to your other party members even faster than in previous games.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: On Skyarrow Bridge, an NPC says "The way the bridge curves right here... I've never seen anything like it!" While its not that abnormal a bridge (by real life standards), it is the most three dimensional scene in any Pokémon game up to this point. And they have this conversation to remind you of that.
- Leitmotif: Cheren, Bianca, Ghetsis, N, Professor Juniper, Papa Juniper (though his is just a remix of his daughter's), Alder, Looker, and Cynthia all get one, as well as the usual generic trainer themes. N even gets an Ominous Music Box Tune remix of his.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: The Dream World, like any heavily flash-based web page, involves a lot of loading as you move between screens or do actions. The exact amount of loading time varies by computer speed, but the loading is more noticeable when performing small actions, like planting Berries in the garden.
- In-game, Unova has lookout stations (gates) between almost every town in this generation, although it does hide the background loading better than Generation IV did.
- Locomotive Level: The Battle Subway is quite obviously a subway. Unfortunately The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard which makes the battles here all that much worse.
- Long Song, Short Scene: A fairly awesome version of the Red/Blue Champion battle theme greets you... in the finals of the annual Video Game Championships.
- The music that plays when N summons his castle is one of the most epic songs in the game. Too bad it only plays in such a small area that takes at most 10 seconds to move through and advance to a new area with it's own music and it won't be heard from again when the main story is finished. To add on to that, it returns in the sequels for a plot-important cutscene, during which it's harder to miss, but at the same time you have no control over your character or pausing during it.
- The Lost Woods: The Pinwheel Forest subverts this with two paths. It has a straight path out as well as a maze path but the straight path is blocked on the first visit requiring you to explore the winding path. Lostlorn Forest is also this but it is not a full dungeon and is just an optional area.
- MacGuffin Blindness: The Dark/Light Stone, depending on your version, is sitting in plain sight in the Nacrene Museum, but Team Plasma doesn't notice it.
- Made of Indestructium: After your very first Pokémon battle with Bianca, the Trainer's bedroom is completely trashed, but upon inspecting their Wii, it's not even scratched.
- The Man in Front of the Man: N tells the player that he is the king of Team Plasma, meaning that the Seven Sages all defer to him. However, at the end of the game it's revealed that one of the sages, Ghetsis, has been orchestrating everything and had been manipulating N all along and only let him believe he was in charge.
- Meaningful Name:
- For the Canon Names of the player characters, "Hilbert" means "magnificent in battle" while "Hilda" means "battle woman".
- Unova. Take away the 'U' and you get nova which is an exploding star. If you read about the history of the US flag, before the Civil War, it was only used for forts, embassies, ships and on the 4th of July.
- The word Unova contains nova comes from the Latin novum meaning "new", as well as the Spanish word uno, meaning "one". Unova is stated to be very far away from the regions in other Pokémon games, and is a new beginning of sorts.
- Unova itself can be interpreted as a Significant Anagram for the "Un"ited States "Ov" "A"merica.
- Metropolis Level: Castelia City is the largest city in the game, heavily inspired by Manhattan. It includes four streets that connect to a central plaza, towering skyscrapers populated by businessmen (including the Game Freak employees you can battle), more NPCs walking past you in the street than in any other area, several ocean piers, and a seasonal shop to buy special ice cream.
- Missing Secret: Challenger's Cave appears to be the Gen V equivalent to Cerulean Cave, being a cave flled with high-level Pokémon that an NPC blocks until the postgame. Inside, Trainers even talk about a Legendary Pokémon lurking in the cave while training its student... but no such Pokémon is present. Even though the Mythical Pokémon Keldeo is a student of the Legendary musketeers, no encounter for it or any of its masters is programmed or even Dummied Out.
- Ever wonder about that clown in Castelia who claims to be able to unlock anything? He was part of an unreleased event, where you could obtain the Lock Capsule in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver and then transfer it to these games using the Relocator obtained in the same building. He would open it to find the otherwise unavaliable TM for Snarl, with a note claiming it was sealed to hide it from Team Rocket. Much like Pokémon Diamond and Pearl with the Azure Flute, it was Dummied Out.
- Motor Mouth: N speaks pretty fast. This is actually portrayed through his dialogue; regardless of what you have it set to normally, his dialogue always scrolls at the maximum speed. If you already have it set at max speed his goes even faster.
- Multiplayer-Only Item: The Wonder Launcher is an item that allows you to use items in matches against other players, including items that do not show up in Singleplayer games such as more powerful XS defense if used correctly.
- Mundane Made Awesome: When you get a Gym badge, you see it flying across the screen and slamming into the badge case which takes up the whole screen, complete with loud swishing and clanging sound effects.
- Mundane Utility: The television show "Moves for Living" is all about how useful the new Pokémon moves are in everyday life. This may be a subversion, though, since Pokémon moves can't be used by people (and techniques/fight tactics that are moves like Tackle and Low Kick are already being used everyday, both in the Pokémon world and out of it).
- Musical Nod: Unova's Elite Four theme incorporates a bit of Hoenn's Elite Four theme into it.
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules: In interior Pinwheel Forest, Team Plasma Grunts will confront you even if you don't cross their line of sight, which doesn't happen with other Trainers.
- Mythology Gag: The games have a lot of throwbacks to the Generation I, such as the messed up house and home town structure.
- The move "Soak" is imported from the TCG. This move changes the target's Pokemon type to Water, making it vulnerable to attacks that are strong against Water types, like Electric. Much like Brock's Onix in Ash's gym battle against him.
- For example, N beating the champion before you could be a throwback to Blue beating the Pokémon League before you.
- N also declares at one point that he will become "Unbeatable, unlike any other!" Remind anyone else of "I wanna be the very best / Like no one ever was"?
- Another first generation throwback is the return of a separate checkpoint for each badge at the gate to the Pokémon League. They even go the extra mile here and theme each path to the checkpoint based off of the last badge you got approved.
- A trainer you battle near a waterfall by the Village Bridge says after you beat him that maybe he should train by standing under a waterfall. This is almost certainly referencing Chuck from Johto, who stands under a waterfall inside his gym for training.
- Players of the first generation remember the Magikarp salesman who sold you one for $500 for a Pokémon that can easily be caught with an old rod two cities later. In Pokémon Black and White, the salesman returns and unlike before, it's really a cheap deal for said Pokémon because he's the only method of getting Magikarp and its evolution Gyarados besides breeding.
- In Nacrene Gym one of the children's books you can read is about "Two boys and a girl on a Pokémon Journey".
- Near Victory Fanfare: When a Gym Leader is down to their last Pokémon, the music changes into a remix of the main theme.
- Payback will no longer deal double damage if the opponent switches out the turn it's used.
- Magic Guard no longer prevents the owner from getting paralyzed.
- Selfdestruct and Explosion no longer treat the target's Defense stat as half the normal value when damage is calculated. The user is also treated as having fainted before damage is dealt, meaning they can no longer force a tie and cause the user to lose in a last mon one-on-one situation.
- Zigzagged with Feint. On the one hand, its power is reduced from 50 to 30. However, it now works all the time rather than just while the target is using Protect or Detect while still retaining the effect of bypassing them.
- Never a Self-Made Woman: Professor Juniper is the first female Pokémon Professor (barring Ivy, but she is animé-only so it still counts). She's also the first Pokémon Professor stated to have learned her trade from her father.
- Never Say "Die": Averted in both the Japanese and English versions. Cofagrigus's Japanese name can be translated as Deathkarn, and Yamask's is Deathmas. In the English translation, although this is played straight most of the time, Lampent's White Dex entry specifically uses the word "death". The "Never Say 'God'" variant of this trope is also subverted in the English version, with Ghetsis' line "A Pokémon, even if it's revered as a deity, is still just a Pokémon!".
- Nightmarish Nursery: At the end of the game, it is possible to go into N's childhood room. The creepiness factor is played for all it's worth, with one of the trains on the train set moving on its own, an Ominous Music Box Tune version of N's theme is playing, and everything is either unfinished or covered in Pokémon claw marks. One member of the Shadow Triad even mentions how he doesn't know what to feel walking into the room. It gets even worse in the sequel, as it has sustained damage since then, which is reflected in the music going off-key.
- Nintendo Hard: With only new Pokémon to choose from, some of the bigger battles can be difficult to find appropriate counters against. Additionally, some of the trainers are unusually high leveled and pack strong Pokémon to fight you with, even before the first Gym.
- Non-Damaging Status Infliction Attack: This generation introduces the move, "Bestow", which gives the attacker's held item to the target, provided the attacker's not carrying Mail or some other special items.
- Noob Cave: Wellspring Cave located on Route 3. On the first visit it is a short round path with your first battles with Team Plasma grunts, but of course it is deeper and can be explored more with HMs.
- No OSHA Compliance:
- Driftveil Gym requires that you run on skinny rafters over a large pit.
- The Mistralton Gym has you go from station to station to get to the Gym Leader by being fired out of cannons. One of them even shoots you too far, sending you crashing into a wall, which the player does not get injured from.
- The Icirrus Gym has Frictionless Ice as well as ramps going over what appears to be bottomless chasms. One trainer there even Lampshades this, wondering aloud about how Gym Leaders expect strange things out of trainers like being launched out of cannons and skating around on Frictionless Ice.
- Opelucid Gym has large statues of dragons that you need to walk on the backs of. There are no railings and, again, they're above a pit that's at least 20 feet deep.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Shows up for the battle music for Ghetsis.
- Ominous Music Box Tune: N's room has a music-box rendition of his theme as background music. Said room is filled with (new and recently played-with) toys more suited for a small child than the young adult N actually is, and a Shadow Triad member describes the room as "the world that was provided to our lord N"; combined with the music box tune, there's a distinct impression that something very wrong was going on with N's upbringing.
- Ominous Pipe Organ:
- Appears in the BGM for the final battle with N.
- One can also be heard in a portion of Team Plasma's battle theme.
- An organ is used in the music playing throughout N's Castle.
- One Game for the Price of Two: Played less straight than previous generations in the series.
- As always, certain Pokémon (like Sawk and Throh) are more readily encountered in one version than the other, and a few species (like Rufflet and Vullaby) are completely exclusive to their particular version. Trading Mons between versions, as always, is still a requirement if you wish to truly catch 'em all.
- Opelucid City's design differs significantly between versions; in Black it is a city of rapid technological change, while in White it is a city steeped in history and traditions. The Gym Leader also varies between versions (Drayden or Iris), though their Pokémon lineups are identical save for the genders of their particular Mons and their Druddigon's Abilities.
- White version features "Triple Battles", full 3-on-3 combat where positioning determines who can attack whom; Black version features "Rotation battles", 3-on-3 affairs where only one may attack at a time, but rotating between them is a free action. Each can be found in the other's post-game and they are very rare in either case, though.
- Black Version features Black City, a large metropolis which has a population and amount of buildings that changes in size based on how long the player took to reach it and how many times they used the Entralink. White Version instead has White Forest, a forest which contains wild Pokémon which change in variation along with how long the player took to get there and how many times they use the Entralink.
- One-Letter Name: The green-haired boy is just called "N", short for Natural Gropius Harmonia.
- One-Time Dungeon:
- N's Castle is destroyed by the end, and cannot be revisited.
- The part of the Giant Chasm where Kyurem is found is inaccessible after it is caught, though there's not much reason to go back there at that point.
- Optional Boss:
- Cynthia can be found vacationing in Caitlin's villa at Undella Town and battled. After the initial fight, she can be rematched once a day during the Spring.
- Shigeki Morimoto can be found in the Game Freak building in Castelia after you've beaten the game. He can be fought once per day during every season.
- Several stationary Pokémon at relatively high levels can be found throughout Unova, with many more appearing after N and Ghetsis are defeated and the credits roll. This includes the prerequisite third game legendary mascot, Kyurem, a Musharna available only on Fridays, and more.
- Palmtree Panic: Undella Town, being a beachside resort town and all.
- Peninsula of Power Leveling: See the series' page here.
- Permanently Missable Content: Landorus will only show up at the Abundant Shrine if you bring both the kami specifically from your game and the one from the opposite version. If you happen to have released, traded, or migrated your Tornadus/Thundurus into another game, then Landorus will never show up, even if you trade in another one.
- Perspective Reversal: Cheren wants To Be a Master, analyzing every opponent he meets to give him an advantage, while Bianca is somewhat aimless and clumsy in her battles, becoming a Trainer largely to try to figure out what to do with her life. By the end of the game, Cheren has reached a roadblock and is questioning if he even has the personality to be a champion, while Bianca comes to terms with her father, who didn't want her going into the dangerous world on her own, and has decided her path for her future, assisting Professor Juniper in the lab.
- Physical Hell: The move Inferno is introduced in these games. It has 100 Power and always burn the target if it hits that isn't Fire-Type. However, said move's accuracy is 50%.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: Bianca was under the assumption your cute little starters would be too weak to cause much damage from having a Pokémon battle in your bedroom. After the battle is finished, the entire room is wrecked (except for your Wii). This gets lampshaded heavily by both her, Cheren, and even your mother, who all point out that despite being so little, Pokémon can still pack a punch.
- Pińata Enemy: Audino gives out surprisingly large amounts of experience, and can be located virtually anywhere — just wander around until you see a patch of shaking grass, chances are roughly 1 in 2 that it's an Audino.
- In some areas, shaking grass can't be anything but Audino.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Though every female except May has a pink version of whatever the Pokégear expy is of the game, Black and White takes it to new extremes. Hilbert has a blue bicycle, fishing rod, badge case, and Xtransceiver, as well as a red Pokédex and red Pokéballs when the latter is shown being used in the overworld. Hilda, on the other hand, has a pink overworld bicycle (though it's red in the item bag), pink rod, Xtransceiver, badge case and Pokédex, as well as pink Pokéballs when she uses them to summon a Pokémon in the overworld. Oddly enough, the Pokéball on her vs. mugshot is still red.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The Shadow Triad. You aren't given to know what their actual jobs within Team Plasma are, since for the most part their only interaction with you is to appear out of nowhere, tell you to come with them, and then guide you about a dozen steps in the direction you were going anyway. The one exception is in the post-game, where they appear to give you the Orbs of Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina and inform you that you'll never meet again. Averted in the sequels, where they act as recurring bosses.
- Poor, Predictable Rock: Averted in one of the Gyms for once. The very first one tests you on type advantages, and the Gym Leader uses whichever of the monkey trio has an edge on your starter.
- And it goes right back into being played completely straight. In the Dreamyard, a NPC gives you whichever elemental monkey has a type advantage over the Gym Leader's for free.
- Port Town: Once again there are a few. Castleia City is a port as well as a big metropolis. Driftveil City is an industrial port, and Mistralton City is an airport town.
- Pre-existing Encounters: In addition to the usual Trainer battles and some legendaries waiting in plain sight to be encountered, occasionally a patch of grass will shake, indicating you can encounter a rarer Mon than the normal Random Encounters will provide. A few breeds (like Audino and Emolga) can only be encountered in this manner.
- Progressive Instrumentation: As you pass the Badge Gates for Victory Road more instruments get added to the song until the full Victory Road theme starts playing.
- Psycho Supporter: The Shadow Triad are the only members of Team Plasma to remain loyal to Ghetsis once his true motives behind creating the team are exposed. Probably justified in that he did save their lives once.
- Punny Name: Some of the English names, even compared to past games; for example, "Foongus" and "Amoongus".
- Reconstruction: Outright stated by the developers to be part of the point behind the games; after four game-pairs which were fairly similar, they're deliberately going back, taking everything about Pokémon apart, and rebuilding it to make the games fresh, more interesting, and more fun to play.
- Retired Badass: The player's mother used to be a Pokémon Trainer herself. At one point, she even met the sequel protagonist's mother on her journey.
- Recurring Riff: Several battle themes use a recurring beat in the background. It's most notable in the background of the Elite Four battle theme.
- Regional Redecoration: The Giant Chasm was formed by a meteor impact that is implied to have contained the original dragon that Reshiram, Zekrom, and Kyurem are all derived from.
- Roswell That Ends Well: Elgyem and Beheeyem are highly implied to be the survivors of the Roswell Incident.
- Route Boss: The first gym is unique for the series in that there are multiple gym leaders. Whichever one you end up facing is determined by the starter you picked.
- Running Gag: There is always a fisherman with a team full of Magikarp. Always. However he doesn't show up until the post-game, so this version of him comes at you with a team of L60+ Magikarp.
- Whenever you have a rival battle indoors, Bianca/Cheren will always remind you to be careful, lest the area end up like your room at the start of the game.
- Scenery Porn: Game Freak decided to really show off with these games.
- The Skyarrow Bridge is particularly this. Not only does it curve around, but the camera pulls back and zooms as you cross to show it off to best effect. Each and every time you walk across it.
- Every bridge in the game has this.
- Castelia City is probably the most detailed town you'll ever see in the Poké universe outside of the anime.
- The Royal Unova is perhaps the best example of this in the game; if you go out on deck, you are treated to a full 3D view of the various bridges of Unova, and eventually the Castelia City skyline. It's only accessible after obtaining the National Dex, however.
- The Skyarrow Bridge is particularly this. Not only does it curve around, but the camera pulls back and zooms as you cross to show it off to best effect. Each and every time you walk across it.
- Scunthorpe Problem: The Global Trade Station imposes a blacklist of words that are prohibited in Pokémon nicknames. Some of the terms caused problems with several specific Pokémon's species names (such as Cofagrigus or Skuntank), but most of these problems (save for Nosepass and its evolution, Probopass) have since been fixed.
- Emolga's Japanese name is Emonga, but had to be changed in translation as "mong" is an offensive UK term for someone with Down's Syndrome.
- Seasonal Baggage: Seasons are present in this game. Some of the Pokémon also change depending on the season, most notably the deer Pokémon Deerling and its evolution, Sawsbuck.
- While Deerling doesn't change its type with the seasons, it knows the move Camouflage, which changes its type with the environment. Proper use of this will let you cross up your opponent by suffling the deer's weaknesses (of which it has a lot).
- Secret Character: Among the new "event" Mons, Zorua, Zoroark, and Victini cannot be acquired without possessing specially distributed Mons or items. Keldeo, Meoletta, and Genesect cannot be acquired in normal gameplay at all.
- Sequel Hook: Arguably Ghetsis escaping custody and going on the run with the Shadow Triad.
- With the announcement of the sequels, this is all but confirmed.
- Another potential sequel hook: After six of the Seven Sages are arrested in the postgame portion (Ghetsis gets away, sadly), Looker mentions that someone told him of an "N-ish" person flying on a dragon being spotted in a faraway land.
- An interesting proposed hook is that Sage Ryoku says that nobody's exactly sure that N's really related to Ghetsis.
- Sage Rood also says that he hopes to see N rise up against Ghetsis one day.
- There's also Kyurem, the third Pokémon in the tao dragon trio who has no bearing on the storyline in both Black and White, but can be caught in both games at an isolated spot. Remember Rayquaza and Giratina?
- On the subject of Kyurem, within the game code are two very powerful ice moves, one of which paralyses and one of which burns. These moves can't be learned by any Pokémon in Black and White, but considering the types of the other members of that particular trio, different formes for the third version seem VERY likely. This is also supported by the fact that Kyurem's battle theme is the same as Reshiram's and Zekrom's.
- This is indeed the case, with Black Kyurem and White Kyurem revealed with the announcement of Black and White Version 2.
- Shifting Sand Land: Route 4 is a construction site in the middle of a desert with Pokémon found in deep sand instead of tall grass. Just Northwest is the Desert Resort, a resort in name only because it is a barren desert with a constant raging sandstorm.
- Ship Level: The Royal Unova, an optional cruise ship that can be sailed on after the main game is completed. Like any ship in a Pokémon game it includes trainers to battle.
- Golurk, the massive haunted golem, learns Fly, has huge biceps and has ankle and wrist bracelets and has a "Gao" esque roar. For absolutely no reason.
- Also, it looks like a suspicious suit of armor with a soul attached to it.
- Purrloin is this to the villainess from Yatterman. Its head greatly resembles Doronjo's mask, and when it stands on its hind legs, the markings on its body resemble the rest of her outfit, right down to the long gloves.
- Hydreigon resembles King Ghidorah. Its Japanese name is Sazandora.
- On the topic of Godzilla shout-outs, Volcarona looks suspiciously like Mothra.
- And in the same vein, Scolipede looks quite a bit like Battra's larval form
- Reshiram and Zekrom are incredibly rare dragons, considered to be counterparts of each other. One is white with blue eyes, and the other is black with red eyes. Hmm...
- Some noticed. (NSFW ads on the far side of that link)
- Zekrom also looks like it stole its legs and shoulder pads from fellow black-colored character Darth Vader. Not helped by the fact that the lightning it uses glows neon blue rather than yellow or white, just like Palpatine, Starkiller or any other given Sith Lord (but not Vader himself).
- Krookodile (and Krokorok) could be one to the Kremlings from the Donkey Kong Country series. Remember that they are crocodiles whose names start with a "k" instead of a "c".
- There is a rock type move called smackdown: "Do you smell it?"
- Zoroark and by extension Zorua look uncannily similar to Oki from Ōkami
- Four of the legendaries (Cobalion, Terrakion, Virizion, and Keldeo) are based on The Three Musketeers. (If you're wondering why there are four guys based on a trio, read the book. Or at least the trope page.)
- The animated portraits that appear in some conversations bear more than a passing resemblance to cutscenes in Game Freak's obscure Super Nintendo game, Bushi Seiryuden.
- Like the previous games, there are a few shout outs to the Mother series, but this gen there an exceptional amount of Mother 3 references in particular, like the Dark/Dragon type line, the theme of Nature vs. Technology, an overall Darker and Edgier atmosphere, and the N's Farewell theme at the end of the game having fragments of Mother 3's Love Theme in it.
- The "Waitress" trainer class strongly resembles Tessie, an NPC from Mother 3.
- To top it all off, some of the new 'mons visibly resemble MOTHER 3's chimeras...
- The "Round" move is reminiscent of EarthBound Beginnings. (Which makes sense, since Creatures, Inc. worked on it.)
- Shauntal of the Elite Four may be a shout out to Velma of Scooby Doo fame, due to her similar appearances, fascination with ghosts, and intellectual disposition.
- Listen closely to the sound for Thrash, it's the start to the Super Mario Bros. theme.
- An office worker in Castelia City states that he is woken with a slap each morning, looks like a wreck, but doesn't care.
- A shoutout to the days of Red and Blue, the Magikarp Salesman returns, still selling Magikarp for $500... only this time, it's not a scam as it's the only way to legitimately obtain a Magikarp in Black and White without trade or transfer.
- Two of the trainers in the Ground-type Gym are named Isaac and Felix, who, in their source games, are Venus Adepts.
- At the Route 9 Mall, there is a waitress named Flo.
- The scientist who runs the Transfer Machine — i.e. sending your Pokémon through time and space — makes use of the words "allons-y" and "molto bene." And just in case that doesn't convince you it's a reference, he says "fantastic" no less than three times.
- In the Japanese version, White Forest's only trainers, who Triple Battle you, are Nursery Aide Yukari and School Kid Shinji, standing next to each other.
- One that's actually kept in the English version — in the Nacrene Gym, you fight Scientist Satomi.
- In Nimbasa City's larger Sports Dome, one of the soccer players tells you to join the training of their team, Pokémon Eleven. In addition, Nimbasa City was named Raimon City in the Japanese version, so this had to be intentional. Likewise, some of the basketball players are named LaMarcus and Derrick.
- Just before he battles you, a Youngster on the Royal Unova will declare that he's "not just some kid who wears shorts."
- There's a kid with extremely wealthy parents in Undella City who is named Riches' Draco.
- One of the battlers in the Battle Subway introduces herself with "I must break you".
- Cheren mentions seeking a flawless victory at one point.
- Doctor Hank can be found in Twist Mountain.
- The Grunts screaming "Plasmaaaaaa!" after being defeated may be a reference to Cobra Commander.
- Whimsicott, the cotton-based Pokémon, can learn Tailwind. Why? No reason...
- Seven sages, with one having slightly more plot importance, led by a young, green-loving hero... hm...
- A mistranslated Shout-Out goes to the popular (especially in Japan) Dragon Quest series, where one of the Team Plasma members says, "my stress level has maxed out! The more hyper I am, the faster you'll go down!" In the original Japanese, this was a proper reference to tension levels in Dragon Quest VIII and beyond.
- Golurk, the massive haunted golem, learns Fly, has huge biceps and has ankle and wrist bracelets and has a "Gao" esque roar. For absolutely no reason.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: After Ghetsis' plans are ground into the dirt, he tells the player, Alder and Cheren that N is "a freak without a human heart". Cheren tell Ghetsis to shove it, saying that Ghetsis, not N, is the heartless one.
- Silence of Sadness: N is usually a Motor Mouth, but he becomes silent from utter remorse when Ghetsis reveals that he was only an Unwitting Pawn for his conquest of Unova, calling him out as a disgrace to their family the whole time. N starts to talk again after the player battles Ghetsis, though.
- Silly Reason for War: It's eventually revealed that in Unova's distant past the two brothers who controlled the legendary dragons destroyed it in a battle over what was arguably a theoretical debate on philosophy—or, rather, they were fighting over whether it was better to live your life according to your ideals, or to live your life searching for the truth. The brothers weren't even fighting over specific ideals; they were just fighting over the concept of ideals themselves. The sequel reveals that they were incited to war by their own ambitions, as anthropomorphized by another legendary Pokemon.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The entire area around Icirrus City including Twist Mountain becomes snowy and frozen over in the winter time. Brycen's Gym plays this straight at any time of year with its typical ice puzzles. The Cold Storage also has ice puzzles.
- Songs in the Key of Panic: Accompanies the traditional Critical Annoyance siren.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The Near Victory Fanfare begins playing when a Gym Leader has only one Pokémon left. However, with some Gym Leaders, their last Pokémon can tear you apart. So you get to watch your team get destroyed while the happy song plays.
- Spanner in the Works: The Hero befriending N is ultimately this to Ghetsis' "perfect plan", as it results in him questioning Team Plasma's plans enough to want to have a final battle with the player in order to see whose belief is right concerning Pokémon.
- Spell My Name with an S:
- The female rival's Japanese name has been spelled Beru, Bel, Bell, and Belle. Considering "Cheren"'s etymology, "Ceren" is also valid.
- Cheren's name is kept as "Cheren" in the English localization, though Bel is renamed to "Bianca". In the French version, Cheren is spelled "Tcheren" to bring the pronunciation closer to other languages ("ch" is usually prounced "sh" in French).
- There's also "Dento" (Cilan in the English games) who appears to be "Dent" (as in the corn), "Poddo" (Chili) is "Pod", and "Koon" (Cress) is..."Corn".
- Geechisu/Geechis/Geetis/Geecis/Ghetsis has the same issue with his name, which each language's official localizations having its own take on the spelling as well. Word of God confirms that it's derived from the G and C# ("Cis") timpanis that play during his battle theme, but didn't give a spelling.
- The German version straight-out uses "G-Cis", since the German pronunciation of the music term and the Japanese pronunciation of his name are - barring transcription/transliteration conventions - exactly the same, so it might be a case of Gratuitous German.
- Splash Damage: Positioning matters in Triple Battles; if a user on the side position uses a technique that hits all opponents (Surf, Earthquake, Discharge, etc.), it will only affect the two opponents adjacent to the user, leaving the far-side opponent unaffected.
- The Fire element also has Flame Burst, which inflicts moderate damage on its target and all adjacent opponents receive 1/16th their maximum HP in damage, even if they're on the far side and can't be targetted directly.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix: Like in the Gen IV games, characters use sprites while the overworld uses 3D models.
- Stealth Pun:
- Deerling is a fawn with a flower on its head, making it both Flora and Fauna. It also changes forms based on the season, so it's equal parts Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather.
- Shauntal of the Unovan Elite Four is apparently a writer, appearing in all sprites with a pen and book in hand. She trains Ghost-types. This makes her a ghostwriter. Also, her Japanese name contains the Japanese word for "death." Pen and book...
- The ability Big Pecks seems to refer to pecking, an action that birds are known for. However, it's actually referring to pectoral muscles, or breasts.
- Truth in Television: In most cases, pectoral muscles in birds do make up a larger percent of body weight than other animals.
- Combined with Punny Name, Undella Town is the town in which you get Dive. Nearby is a bay in which you can use said move. In other words, you can go unda' le bay.
- Team Plasma equipped Genesect with a "plasma" cannon.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Hilda (as the player) and her mom.
- N and Ghetsis look similar enough that in the earliest trailers people thought they were the same person!
- Stupidity Is the Only Option: Sure, follow some random creepy guy who keeps coincidentally showing up wherever you are and may or may not be stalking you into a Ferris wheel car, where you'll be totally defenseless! What Could Possibly Go Wrong?? As it turns out, not much, as N is not a psychopath. That does not make following a stranger into that car any less of a stupid move, however.
- Surprise Creepy: As usual, some of the weirder Pokédex entries. More unusually for the series, the more involved plot with some fairly dark themes at that caught a lot of players off guard.
- Surprisingly Good English: Virtually all usages of English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish appearing in both versions of the games are grammatically correct and fluent.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: When diving, you can stay underwater with no ill effects.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: When confronting Team Plasma in Castelia City: "Not a soul is in here! No other Team Plasma members, nor any of the Seven Sages, are inside." You are told this by a bunch of Team Plasma grunts outside the building.
- Tagline: "Start from a new beginning."
- Take a Third Option: Instead of using Generation I and II style color names or Generation III and IV style "normal" namesnote , Game Freak decided to use real names that mean black, white and transparent.
- Take Over the World: Once the player defeats N, Ghetsis reveals Team Plasma's true goal. Team Plasma really don't care about the "liberation" of Pokemon. It was all a ruse to manipulate the populace into disarming themselves so they can conquer the Unova region with minimal resistance, and used N's hero status as a pawn to carry it out.
- Take Your Time: Justified. By the end of the game, N wants to wait for you to come and fight him, because he wants to determine once and for all whether his ideals or yours are the correct ones.
- Taking You with Me: "Final Gambit" causes the user to faint, in return dealing damage equal to the user's remaining HP. Game Freak went out of their way to ensure Shedinja can learn it.
- Techno Babble: The people at Poké Transfer don't even bother trying to make an explanation that makes sense; either that, or it's implied the snippets of what the player does hear comes in between them dozing off.
- Temple of Doom: The Relic Castle. It is the ruins of what was an underground city 2,500 years before the events of the game. At first only the top two floors are accessible until the player finishes the main story. once the player can go down to the fifth and final floor they can encounter Volcarona in the deepest point of the ruins. Also after the main game is the sunken Abyssal Ruins in Undella Bay. There are 32 relic items here including most of the elemental plates.
- Temporary Online Content: The Dream World was shut down in January 2014, making it impossible to get any more Pokémon with hidden abilities outside of breeding previously obatained ones. You also can no longer plant berries, as this was done in the Dream World. While it's still possible to get some berries offline, many of them are only available in limited quantities per game, and that's not even getting to the Dream World-exclusive berries.
- The Maze: The Abyssal Ruins. Even worse because the player has only 500 steps to make it through.
- Theme Music Power-Up: The main Pokémon theme kicks in once you've got an opposing Gym Leader down to their last Pokémon.
- Theme Naming:
- In White, the Opelucid Gym Leader is a young girl named Iris. In Black, the Opelucid Gym Leader is an old man whose Japanese name means "iris."
- All of the Gym Leaders, Elite Four, and the Champion are named after plants in the Japanese version.
- The male rival is named "Cheren" which is Slavic for "black" and the female rival's various names in different languages all mean "white."
- The initial trio of Gym Leaders' Japanese names are (tri)Dent, (tri)Pod, and (tri)Corn. In the English games, they have food-based names. Quite appropriate, considering they are waiters. Their names also represent their respective Pokémon types Chili (hot, spicy = fire) Cilan (derived from cilantro, a herb = grass) and Cress (from watercress, a semi-aquatic herb = water)
- The sages, with the exception of Ghetsis, are named after colors. In the English games, Zinzolin is French for reddish purple, Ryoku(shoku) is Japanese for green, Giallo is Italian for yellow, Rood is Dutch for red, Bronius (from braun) is German for brown, and Gorm is Gaelic for blue.
- One naming theme is actually broken — partially. Though "Juniper" is still the name of a tree, it's a coniferous tree — all the other professors have been named after deciduous trees.
- The Harmonia family is prone to music names. Ghetsis is named after the G and C-sharp tritone, called "The Devil in Music". N's true given name is "Natural", a note that is neither sharp nor flat. Also, "N Harmonia" sounds like "enharmonic," meaning a note that sounds the same but is written differently. This possibly reflects his Anti-Villain status.
- The towns are all named after various patterns and Japanese seals. The English version has all the towns named after clouds.
- This Is a Drill: A new attack, Drill Run, used by Fearow (Japanese name is Onidrill) and the mole Pokémon Drilbur and Excadrill. It's slightly weaker than Earthquake but has a higher chance to get a Critical Hit.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: The move Smack Down is a Rock-type removes immunities to Ground-Type moves. Since this would only be useful against an opponent that has a weakness to Ground covered up by an immunity to Ground, this move is only really useful against an Electric or Poison Type opponent that is also part Flying or has Levitate. This makes it uniquely suited specifically to fight Elesa and her Electric/Flying Emolgas. In addition, since her Emolga's use of Volt Switch means she will be one of the few opponents to switch often, it makes her particularly vulnerable to Stealth Rock.
- Timed Mission:
- The game does not tell you this, but if you do not beat the Elite Four within 10 real-life days (starting from the moment you created a new file), your White Forest or Black City will empty out its inhabitants, making it totally useless unless you have access to another player's Black City or White Forest respectively (you can convince the inhabitants there to join you).
- The Royal Unova gives you a limited amount of time (marked by five blows of a horn) to find and battle between three and seven Trainers hidden among the passengers in the ship's cabins. Some passengers will make you lose time by talking your ear off, but if you can defeat all of the Trainers before time runs out, you'll win a rare item.
- Time Travel: If you use Pal Park to transfer a Pokémon from a Generation III game to a Generation IV one and then use Poké Transfer to bring it into these games, its info screen will say that it arrived "after a long travel through time".
- Title Drop:N: "I will separate Pokémon and people, and black and white will be clearly distinct!"
- Toggling Setpiece Puzzle: Raising and lowering parts of giant dragon statues in the Opelucid City Gym. This is done by stomping on switches from upper parts (since Ground Pound isn't a thing for humans in the game); the dragon statues will raise or lower their claws and bend their necks to reroute the paths, allowing the character to make their way to the leader.
- Token Black: Lenora for the Gym Leaders, Marshal for the Elite Four, and Dirk for Hilda's Ferris Wheel dates.
- Too Awesome to Use: Averted with TMs now being usable an unlimited number of times, in contrast to previous generations where they were single-use items. As a tradeoff, they're far more expensive to buy and do not restore PP.
- Took a Level in Badass: Hey, remember Caitlin from the Sinnoh Battle Frontier's Battle Castle? And how she never battled you? Yeah, well, she's an Elite Four member now.
- Translation Convention: Averted, bizarrely enough. The final Rocket grunt from HeartGold and SoulSilver maintains his Gratuitous English Japanese-is-not-his-first-language speech patterns, despite the fact that he should be talking normally given Unova's basis.
- Tron Lines: Black's version of Opelucid City is absolutely covered in these, from the buildings to the pavement. Black City's buildings also make use of it.
- Troubled Child: N's upbringing by Ghetsis, locked in a room with meaningless toys, socially isolated, and emotionally abused, so that he will become a Tykebomb for Ghetsis to take over Unova and then the world. Implications are strong that Ghetsis planned to dispose of N when he played his part. To rub salt in that, one of the Plasma agents mentions that N might not actually be Ghetsis's son, and might have been kidnapped from another family to be raised in a psychologically-abusive, socially-maladjusted environment as a disposable figurehead for Team Plasma.
- True Final Boss: Alder, which is a unique example considering the player is led to think they will fight him after beating the Elite Four for the first time.
- The Unfought: The Shadow Triad and six of the Seven Sages aren't battled by the player.
- Variable Mix:
- Some routes have additional percussion in the Background Music when you're walking around.
- In Accumula Town, entering one of the houses and talking to pianist and drummer NPCs will add piano and percussion tracks to the Background Music.
- Several cities will add another instrument to the background track depending on your proximity to a street performer.
- On the Battle Subway, new instruments are added for each car you enter.
- When you go to get your first badge for the Pokémon League approved at the first gate, there is silence. Then, when you enter the next room to get the next badge approved, drumming is heard in the background. More instruments are added as you get badges approved until the full instrumentals for the Victory Road theme are playing.
- On the Village Bridge, you can turn the vocals, beatboxing, flute, and guitar on or off by talking to particular people.
- In several areas with basement floors, the music goes into a lower key the further down you go.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: N's Castle. It's not so much a dungeon as it is the location for the final battle between you and N.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Battling Audino is an excellent way to gather large amounts of experience fast, but they often use a move called Heal Pulse that will actually heal your Pokémon, so you might feel a bit bad about beating the crap out of it and thirty of its cousins.
- Vile Vulture: Vullaby and Mandibuzz are dark-type Pokémon and their designs are based on vultures, specifically the turkey vulture.It makes a nest out of the bones it finds. It grabs weakened prey in its talons and hauls it to its nest of bones.
- Villainous Breakdown: Ghetsis, after N is defeated. He completely flips his gourd, verbally abuses N, and finally decides to stop playing Chessmaster and fight you personally, proving to be an even more dangerous opponent than N.
- Villain Opening Scene: The opening cinematic before the title screen doesn't give little snippets of various characters or show off some of the new Pokémon like the previous games, but rather focuses on Team Plasma crowning their king.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Lenora. Her Pokémon are levels 18 and 20, respectively, which is a huge step up from what you've been facing up to this point. Both can use Retaliate, which is a fairly strong attack in its own right, but gets even worse if her Watchog uses it immediately after you take out her Herdier (it has an already respectable Base Power of 70, which doubles to 140 if used after another of her Pokémon are KO'd). Worse, her Watchog can and will use Hypnosis to put your entire team to sleep.
- Watch Out for That Tree!: The cannons in Skyla's gym will launch you all over the place until you work your way to her; most of them deliver the exact amount of power to get you to the landing spot, but one is overtuned and will fire you into the far wall.
- Western Zodiac: There's a TV show that announces horoscopes featuring Pokémon that roughly coincide with the animals of the zodiac. For example, if the real-life sign Pisces is from late February to most of March, the equivalent is the fishlike Alomomola, throughout all of March.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: N and Team Plasma seem to believe that humans and Pokémon should be separated to make the world more black and white, and want to free Pokémon from humans. Although, since it's been proven time and time again that Pokémon enjoy human company, the intentions aren't as well as they might seem at first glance.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: A Team Plasma scientist in N's Castle mentions they have hacked into the Pokémon Storage System and are preparing to release everyone's Pokémon. No mention is made of this huge hole in security being fixed.
- Wingdinglish: The Abyssal Ruins feature an English-based one.
- Wolverine Publicity: Pikachu makes several cameos as an NPC and as various background objects, while the Driftveil Bridge has the in-universe nickname of "Charizard Bridge". Both Pikachu and Charizard are unobtainable without trading or transferring, even during the postgame. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire would later treat Lucario in a similar way.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Yamask when it evolves into Cofagrigus, which eats humans and turns them into mummies.
- The World Is Just Awesome: If the Skyarrow Bridge doesn't convince you the first time you see it, nothing will.
- Yin-Yang Clash: Reshiram and Zekrom, who once fought around Unova's founding according to legend. This battle is later invoked once more between the player and N, though which one wins varies with the version.
- You Can't Thwart Stage One:You'll only have to fight N's legendary if Alder doesn't beat him first. The Champion is pretty confident that he can beat Reshiram/Zekrom. He loses.
- You Shall Not Pass!: Six of the Seven Sages attempt this when you try to confront N, under Ghetsis' orders. Before they can even try to fight you, the Gym Leaders show up thanks to Bianca calling for aid. They then perform a much more successful one on the Sages so you can go confront N.