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Weekly Article – Reminiscing the Days of pre-Gen 5 (Part 1)

This March 2010 Coro Coro magazine scan represents the beginning of Generation 5

To me, Generation 5 was special. It was the first Generation where I got to experience the pre-release of a Pokémon Generation, as well as experiencing the whole of it. The idea that Pokémon have Generations was intriguing to me because I didn’t know that. I used to think that the games are inter-compatible (only separated by hardware), but knowing that Pokémon is progressive in terms of Generations is very interesting.

At one time, when Generation 4 was on for a bit long, the idea of a new Generation being released seemed like a dream. It seemed like some people were doubting that a new Generation could exist because we didn’t get any information on what Generation 5 would be like. This is understandable since Generation 4 didn’t really felt like it is finished, since the games could potentially go on, with online being introduced. In spite of this, some still held out hope that Generation 5 is real, including me.

If you are ready to read more about the subject, let’s proceed.



The “Z” Pokémon

Who's that Pokémon?

The first glimpse of Generation 5 was the 13th movie’s title. It was called “Phantom Ruler Z”, which is a tradition in Pokémon movies: they don’t reveal the starring Pokémon early. Even the latest movie starring Diancie once had a title leaving it out (“The Cocoon of Destruction”). Because of this, speculation on this “Z” Pokémon was under way.

On Pokémon Sunday, the Pokémon-based variety show of Generation 4, a silhouette was shown. By now, you would have known that this is Zoroark, but speculation was really crazy at that time. Some people thought it is possibly an evolution of an existing Pokémon, an alternate form of an existing Pokémon, or something else out there. As soon as Zoroark was revealed in its full glory, Generation 5 officially begun.

Zoroark was possibly introduced first to replicate the success of Lucario’s debut movie, but to be honest, I didn’t see this, probably because I didn’t even see Lucario’s movie. I guess that movie solidified Lucario as a cool Pokémon, so this movie was released. It was also the last cross-Generation movie we have so far, since Generation 6’s first movie will be released next Saturday in Japan. Alongside Zoroark, Zorua was shown as well, so that’s one thing different from Lucario: Riolu was shown much later.

In addition to this information, we also got a glimpse on what the games for Generation 5 would be like after around a couple of month. The environments shown was much different from the Generation 4, because it made better use of 3D. Even the battle field is in 3D! Even then, sprites are still used, so it’s not a full transition to 3D. It was for the DS instead of the 3DS, so that was a relief for DS owners who weren’t in a hurry to upgrade their device.


The New Key Pokémon

Snivy was thought to be a bird, Tepig was thought to be a hippo, and Oshawott was thought to be a raccoon. Those were some of the speculation made by fans.

Not long after that, three more silhouettes were shown on Pokémon Sunday, which are the starter Pokémon. Like with Zoroark, the speculation on how they will turn out was pretty wild. The excitement might have been misplaced, since some of the fans were already attached to the fan-made Pokémon based on those silhouettes alone.

When the starters were finally revealed, it was Snivy that was the best one among the three. It even got the name “Smugleaf” that I’m not fond of using (note that we don’t even know their English names yet). Oshawott had the worst first impression of the three, leading to some people not liking it. Perhaps if it was shown smiling and showing its tiny fangs and holding its shell, then it might be on the same level as Snivy in terms of popularity.

The mascot legendaries were revealed as well. We have Reshiram and Zekrom, whose types weren’t known for a period of time. The names Black and White were also shown. It continued the trend of Pokémon using colours for the version names, but this one seemed to fit in more than before, since the legendaries have that colour. What we didn’t know was that those names have significance beyond the colour, for it also defined the themes of those games. In this way, it is a transition from using colours as names to using other means of objects as names, starting from X & Y.

Even with only seven Pokémon revealed so far, it seemed that there were more to come…


Other Details

The Pokémon weren’t the only things revealed around that time. The player characters were also revealed. Their designs were more of an urban style. It’s also revealed that there won’t be customisable trainers, which was one of the many things fans wanted (but were disappointed, naturally). In X & Y, we have taken this feature for granted, but I hope you remember that there was a time where disappointment happened. It helps that 3D models made customisation a reality, so technical limitation was in play back then (remember characters were sprites).

Another amazing tidbit was shown in Pokémon Sunday. Previously, we saw what the battle scene was like in a magazine, but we didn’t know how it’s like in action. On a Pokémon Sunday episode, that’s what we say, and it was glorious. Why? Because the sprites are constantly animated, unlike the static sprites in past games. Seeing Entei moving was refresing because it made the battles look livelier. This is another feature we cannot live without, since animated sprites was one thing players prefer in the Pokémon Showdown battle simulator. Hearing part of the game’s music was also a bliss, considering we don’t know much about the games at this point.


I think that’s all we will cover for pre-Generation 5 for today. So far, we covered the first Pokémon revealed (Zorua & Zoroark), the starters and the cover legendaries. Since there is a lot to cover regarding this subject, there’s more to come next week. What are your thoughts on this particular time in Generation 5 history? I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.

Thanks for reading.

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