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What are Truth and Ideals in B/W?

Discussion in 'Pokémon Generation V Discussion' started by Lord Dialga, Jan 18, 2012.

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  1. Lord Dialga

    Lord Dialga The Deity of Time

    In Pokemon games released within the past decade, the concepts explored have representation in various forms, primarily in criminal groups seeking to control these concepts and legendary Pokemon that illustrate the majesty of these ideas. For Ruby and Sapphire, it was the power of the landmass and the vastness of the sea; for Diamond and Pearl, it was always-progressing time versus the vastness of space, with the concept of antimatter thrown in for Platinum.

    In Pokemon Black and White, we get a vague, but somewhat more developed conflict between two concepts that flow through the nation of Unova: truth and ideals. These concepts, unlike pevious generations, and actually cleverly incorporated into the places and people of the Unova region.

    In the first stance, we have locations that are more defined by their traditions then by their Gyms and Leaders. The towering skyscrapers of Castelia suggest a somewhat idealistic view of people coming together through a common interest and common cause, as Burgh points out in his cleverly written defense against Ghetsis' assertion of intimidation to achieve obedience.

    The quiet little town of Lacunosa, seems to operate on a very faithful tradition of sociable daytimes and secluded nighttimes, in contrast to the never-sleeping cities beyond their area. Whether this tradition, after Kyurem has been subdued, is continued out of doubt or simply comfort, it is not elaborated on.

    Opelucid City is also an area worth mentioning. Alternating between living a truth of Amish-style traditions and values, or pursuing the egalitarian future of endless possibilities, the core beliefs of the two people are reflected in various ways: the conflict between the father and the son, the time-machine Easter Egg (which honestly, does not deliver much of a payoff as you might expect), and even subtly, in the leaders themselves, the elder Drayden and irascible Iris.

    Last on our area evaluation, Black City/White Forest are also worth a look. These two areas, are curiously, the representation of the opposite concept than that the player is looking to fulfill. In Black, the city is home to adventurous trainers, and unfortunately, greedy salespeople. In White, the quaint forest is home to many unique Pokemon, and somewhat humbler people. Frankly, one could argue whether the two locations would have been better off swapped for the other version, to better complement the Opelucid made for the opposite concept(which makes Team Plasma's mission more convincing).

    Secondly, we have several characters that reflect personalities of these two concepts: firstly, the two rivals, Bianca and Cheren.

    Bianca, a more personable rival, is always optimistic about meeting new people and having new experiences, always looking for the best thing to do rather than just following her desires. Eventually, her search for "truth" leads her back to where she started, presumably setting her up for a content lifetime of Pokemon research among her mentor, Professor Juniper.

    Cheren, the more thoughtful of the two, is surprisingly more tactile in his goals. His "ideal" to become the Champion makes him somewhat threatened by the possibility of new pursuits, (though this by no means makes him ignorant) which makes his feelings uncertain towards his progress and towards the uncertain future. However, he finds his own measure of peace by resolving to simply be a good friend and grow stronger in his own right.

    And finally, we have N, the "child of Pokemon". As those of you who have played the games know, N's sole purpose is to help his parenting companions of Team Plasma achieve their goal of liberating Pokemon by making it his own "truth", or "ideal", so much that he actually succeeds in befriending one of the legendary dragons, through tragically, he discovers that the core of his knowledge is a sham by the malevolent Ghetsis, who cares more about their dragon's power then what it stands for.

    After playing these games thoroughly, I came to my own conclusions about what "truth" and "ideals" are supposed to be in general, and what makes them different from the other. Bear(tic) in mind :D , these are my personal opinions, and should only be accepted if my arguments make sense.

    Firstly, I think that "truth" in general, is supposed to represent a kind of selflessness to fulfill a bigger purpose, no matter what it is. It is meant to reflect on what past efforts for the greater good led to, and what can preserve values and bonds for the present.

    "Ideals", in my opinion, are the more liberal of the two concepts: they look towards the future, draw from strong passions, and actually look in the present to tools to achieve the future, creating a reverse strategy of leaving for the new from the now, whereas truth comes back from the old to improve the now.

    Now, as to how that ties into the games: in the main plot, the objective is to stop the antagonist, N, from achieving his goal of separating Pokemon from humans by finding the dragon that can best combat his. In picking a game that represents the true scope of the story, I think that Black best represents the journey of the two.

    You start off the game, as a character, and presumably a veteran player, with an already set system of knowledge, and your own cute little Unova starter, to follow the age-old path to the League, E4, Champion, and Hall of Fame.

    But, no sooner has the game started, a new question is asked at Accumula Town by the enigmatic Plasma: "Is Pokemon Training truly benevolent to both, or convenient to one and torture to the other?" This is the question that starts the slowly escalating war between you and Plasma.

    As the game progresses, you learn more about the leader, N. He appears to be set based upon the game's script just to catch the opposite dragon, but listen carefully to his dialogue:

    "I'm a Trainer, too, but I can't help wondering...are Pokemon really happy that way?"

    Here, he paints himself as an uncertain Trainer trying to find his way in the Unova region. However, even after he has heard the voice of your Pokemon...

    "As long as Pokémon are confined in Poké Balls... Pokémon will never become perfect beings. I have to change the world for Pokémon, because they're my friends."

    Despite his claims, N, like Cheren, attempts to reconvene himself of his intentions, and that despite hearing a different view, is set upon fulfilling that vision of what has not happened yet, the future...the ideal.

    And you know the rest. N decides upon a dragon at Nacrene, reveals his position as Plasma King at Nimbasa, and has a blowout with Juniper at Chargestone. And here, I want you to ask yourself: which quote seems to properly convey N's goal?:

    "Tsk! Why? Is it impossible for me to win while feeling bad about being a Trainer? As if I could pursue my ideals with something as meaningless as a battle!"
    "Tsk! Why? Is it impossible for me to win while feeling bad about being a Trainer? As if I could pursue the truth with something as meaningless as a battle!"

    A bit confusing, wouldn't you say? An ideal, he can attribute as his own. But....the truth? Is N saying that he's pursuing his dream just to see if it's real, when he earlier confirmed that he already knows what he wants to do?

    And eventually, the battle escalates to the Pokemon League, and to N's Castle. And this, is where the battle between the two teens reveals the second dragon: Reshiram (Black), or Zekrom (White). And this begs the question: is the player's goal their core belief, or is it something they "dreams" of preserving?

    I think that the player's journey is one that reveals many different challenges: the challenge to capture Pokemon, to help other Trainers, and to discover the world for what it really is. And when you get down to it...that's really the fundamentals of Pokemon! It's not just beating the boss and being done with it, it's about discovery, realization, and establishment of who you want to be. Which is why I believe that the player's journey in Black and White is one of truth, making Reshiram a perfect fit for them.

    But, this is just my opinion. As Cheren said before Victory Road, "There are as many truths and ideals as there are people and Pokémon. The most important thing is that we help one another out."

    And I think, that is the core statement of the Pokemon community, one that I know will keep as a family of battlers, traders, and those still trying to "catch 'em all." That, ladies and gentlemen, is my truth.
  2. Lord Dialga

    Lord Dialga The Deity of Time

    Sorry to double-post, but just to clarify:

    The "time-machine Easter egg" is the event in Opelucid City where you have to bring an Opelucid-hatched Pokemon that knows Charge from the opposite game. You get a Cell Battery as a reward....no cool cutscenes, no special features, just an item to use in Battle Subway.

    Also sorry that this has little to do with Truth and Ideals, but I just wanted to make sure I could address any inquiries about that statement.

    And also, this thread is open to as many of your interpretations of the two concepts I discussed earlier. What do you consider to be "truths" or "ideals" when playing these games?
  3. AmbipomMaster

    AmbipomMaster #TeamInstinct

    If Cheren and Bianca both symbolize truths and ideals respectively, then why doesn't Cheren agree with N in White and Bianca agree with N in Black?
  4. Lord Dialga

    Lord Dialga The Deity of Time

    Well, just because they represent similar concepts that N supports doesn't mean they automatically agree. Bianca and Cheren both love Pokemon, and want to find their own truth/ideal throughout the course of their journey, regardless of who challenges their perceptions.

    Bianca is still shown to be unconflicted about her love towards her Pokemon, especially her Munna, which is stolen by Plasma as a sample act of their agenda. Even after she hears N's passionate rebuttal of Juniper's argument in Chargestone, she still analyzes his feelings about what he believes in, and uses that to judge its relevance to her journey.

    Cheren, similarly, holds true to his beliefs when you and him are confronted by N in Accumula Town, comforting you with the knowledge that your Pokemon do grow to love you and make you stronger by being together. Curiously, he does show more defensive attitudes when Alder offers his input on his personal goal, presumably because he fears the philosophy undermining his ambitions, which is a trait many convicted people share.

    N, admittedly, shares similarities with Cheren with the strength of his ideals, though they may be different. Firstly, they are both intelligent about many aspects of the Pokemon world, as a student Trainer and a "child of Pokemon" respectively. Second, they hold so tightly to their beliefs, that they believe that any setback is a sign that their dreams are not meant to succeed. Those that pursue ideals often find they expect the road to achieving them will also be ideal. But there are key differences. Cheren, though his growth is slow in philosophy, comes to open his mind to other worthy pursuits that will still help him fulfill his dreams. N, however, nobly but stubbornly clings to his opinion until the epic climax, when his dragon and team fall at your hands, and his upbringing is revealed as nothing more than a hoax for dictatorship by his own foster father.

    Even the end doesn't guarantee that N has forsaken his dream of separate worlds for Pokemon and people, only that he now realizes how little he knows about them, and himself, thus making his quest for ideals now a quest for truth.

    And again, this isn't intended as a Truth>Ideals bias, because both are equally good in their own right. Whether you seek truth by studying religion, taking a look at the library for something interesting, or trying out painting when you're already an avid drawer, or you're an idealist who wants to make a new invention, advocate change in your community and/or country, or maybe even just finding a better shortcut to the supermarket, both will serve you well. The importance is that you discover whether your means of finding these are helping others realize that vision.
  5. Adrexus

    Adrexus Do it the bird way!

    Concerning which of the games best captures the concept of truth and ideals. I think you could spin it either way.

    Pokemon are originally from nature. And as such have urges and functions in those environments that are different from humans. Now obviously pokemon did adapt to live with humans, but that would've been after so many years of domestication. It begs the question "Aren't pokemon still primal beings" The domesticated pokemon could be said to be the ideal pokemon, obeying its trainer at every whim and working for the good of humans. But why should pokemon be forced to slave for the sake of human ideals? I believe that without pokemon, the humans in that world would not've been able to create the civilization they have built. They would have to adopt a lifestyle closer to nature.

    So N could be said to be fighting for the true and the right. The way pokemon should be is to exist in nature without any human institutions ruling over them. Domestication is a human institution infringing upon the natural rights of pokemon to exist as wild beings. Pokemon came from nature (with a few exception though) which represents the truth as many people perceive nature as being a sort of "unspoiled world" And technology is perceived as progressive and futuristic. So pokemon should return to the wild and go back to the way they existed previously. So N really is pursuing the truth as he is trying to get pokemon to reconnect with their natural roots. Or at least that's how N perceives it. The player character is pursuing the ideals of society which say "Yes, we should be allowed to keep pokemon and use them for our benefit" Without pokemon, humans would have not've been able to create the ideal society to which they are accustomed.

    I think ultimately black and white show us that we should not afraid of the values that people hold. There are many different cultures and societies around the world. Should we dismiss these people as stupid just because we don't understand their way of life? Many different ways of existing together have worked. Who is to say that either the industrialized, convenient way of living or the earthy, simple lifestyle is the right one? The games show us that understanding the differences among each other is important. I think that is ultimately the moral of Pokemon Black and White.

    But the third game is yet to be out, and hopefully that will fill in a lot of the holes. Perhaps N will be shown as being torn between what is ideal and what is true? He may not even be clear on which side he actually stands. I do not know. So I wouldn't hold on to any particular ideology right now as there is still more to come.
  6. Lord Dialga

    Lord Dialga The Deity of Time

    Interesting....+ response

    To be honest....this is a very convincing standpoint. The issues of ideal domestication and true liberation work very well with the points you've made.

    Aside from what can be personally perceived from characters, I would only disagree with one thing. You said that Pokemon have urges and functions in their environments different from humans, correct? Based on your assertion, Pokemon, in the circle of life, are captured against their will, and must come to serve, and love their Trainers no matter what.

    This is where prior history comes in handy for understanding this complex relationship. In Canalave City's library, you'll find a book that details humans' relationship with Pokemon. Apparently, Pokemon and humans were once equal entities that decided to serve each other in helping build their environments. Because of this partnership, one Pokemon proposed that they all appear to humans to help them whenever possible, which is why they show up in tall grass.

    Obviously, there was some element of idealism when they were working together, and maybe even more when they decided to appear to humans. But then again...could it also be an epiphany of their own?

    The positive assertion in Black and White is that both Pokemon and humans grow stronger together. Those few that evolve by Happiness in Day/Night are great examples of the strength of this bond. I wonder if Pokemon knew the truth about their potential if they trained hard enough, and sought out Trainers because of that belief.

    Now, with that said, Unova has been demonstrating some curious differences from earlier regions. For one thing, it's started showing Pokemon in their final stages, like Tangrowth or Mamoswine. But we also see Pokemon like Crobat flying around. Are Pokemon developing stronger bonds with their fellow creatures in this region that allow them to tap into their true power?

    But again, what you say does raise some good points. And I think that questions like these, if considered by the Grey game's writers, could lead to a very intelligent sequel to Black and White. Which begs the question....does Kyurem represent neutrality, uncertainty...or open-mindedness?
  7. arceus7

    arceus7 Arcane Of The Wild

    ... One thing Cheren completely forgets is there is no such thing as situational truth. No situational version of right and wrong.

    Yeah black was the best representation of the story that I agree with

    Kyurem Represents Translucency and balance. But he in his current form is incomplete changing his overall meaning depending on which game he is from. *Its why I made a physical kyurem for white and a special kyurem for black
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  8. Lord Dialga

    Lord Dialga The Deity of Time

    This is also another Plasma analysis I was thinking of:

    The dragon the team pursues is different in each version, to complement the hero's dragon. But even so, Team Plasma's members could equally consider their plight to free Pokemon a strong "truth" that must be proved, or an ideal they strongly long for.

    However, Ghetsis, the head of Team Plasma, is shown to not only be indifferent to Pokemon's feelings, but he also has an ideal of ruling the world that he has organized Team Plasma for, and beforehand, recruiting each of the Seven Sages. In that respect, his quest had very facetious "truth" to its ends. But you could argue in White, that's what makes N more genuine than his father, just as you could sympathize with his "ideal" in Black more than that of Ghetsis's.

    I almost wonder if the Three Dragon Orbs he left the Shadow Triad to give our hero will be capitalized more in Grey. Perhaps an exploration on how truth and ideals are related to the concepts of time, space, and antimatter? Hmmm...
  9. KanadianCarnage

    KanadianCarnage New Member

    Anyone with pokemon black who has the trainer with electivire please pm me!
  10. Lord Dialga

    Lord Dialga The Deity of Time

    I hate to be rude, but this isn't the GTS Thread. We're actually discussing symbolism in Black and White about the concepts of truth and ideals within the main story.

    And BTW, if you want an Electivire, go for an Adamant/Jolly/Mild one.
  11. Kall El

    Kall El ..Silence..

    Interesting thread and dicussion bro :]
    I have to say BW have been the deepest game we've had in the series, in terms of plot development, character development and the usage of deep themes.
    My two cents on this..
    In terms of characters Bianca has always been the inexperienced trainer who has had this urge to go out and travel, the type of person who needs to make a lot of mistakes to grow.
    She was a nice character and has huge personal growth as the game progresses.
    Her objective is to adventure, make new friends and learn her true identity which she does at the end of the game.
    Cheren on the other hand is very intelligent and has some idea with his goals.
    He wants to collect pokemon and become the strongest trainer in Unova.
    Which he proceeds to do, but at one point his confrontation with Alder makes him question his direction in life.
    Is power and sucess as a trainer the only significance, is there more to life?
    At the end of the game like Bianca he learns more about himself and this will be shown further in BW2.

    I agree with the orignal poster, I need to do more research on ths but -
    Truth seems like the original concept and idea which is originated from history where as ideals is the liberal concept/idea that looks into the future.
    Team Plasmas belief was to seperate Trainers from Pokemon as they believed the relationships was restricting and causing hurt to the Pokemon.
    N's difficult childhood was the perfect scapegoat and chance for Ghetsis to take manipulation of him to help achieve his goal of power and control over Isshu.
    Liberation is one thing, but the overall objective for Ghetsis was power he used liberation and ideals to cover his true agenda.
    Will add more to this post as I do more research, but keep them coming guys - this thread is very interesting! ;]
  12. GameMaster10

    GameMaster10 Gaming Guru

    I think it is interesting to note that the swap of Resham and Zekrom in Black and White confuse the issue, as N receives Resham the pokemon of Truth in White, but he receives Zekrom, the pokemon of ideals in Black. This means that one Version is set up slightly wrong. Which do you think it is?
  13. *futachimaru*

    *futachimaru* Music Maker/ Dreamer

    BW wanted to focus on Taoism where they believe that yin and yang represent good/bad
    the good one, yang (reshiram) represents moving life, men, life and birth
    the bad one, yin (zekrom) represents still life, women and death

    What they want to say is that the world cant exist without yin and yang balacing teh world. illnesses can be caused by too much yin or yang.

    and in the game, they are making the good and bad fight, which is why it destroyed unova once.
  14. Lord Dialga

    Lord Dialga The Deity of Time

    I think the reason for the dragon swap is to show that the player is truly unique in the Unova they inhabit. Wheras Black has more technologically/competitive focus, N seeks out Zekrom to win over the corresponding world. While in White, he pursues Reshiram in order to appeal to Unova's historic tradition. Thus, Reshiram/Zekrom is meant to provide the player with a sort of influence over the people they meet and what they stand for.
  15. Himiko

    Himiko New Member

    Hey Lord Dialga, you provide the well needed insight needed to tackle down my research analysis of Pokemon Black and White. Could I please put this forum post in my bibliography?
  16. Lord Dialga

    Lord Dialga The Deity of Time

    Sure! Be my guest! So what's your research analysis thing for? Is it related to the new games?
  17. empoleon49

    empoleon49 Dawn's number 1 fan™

    The whole ideals and truth in Gen V was truley awesome. It was nice to finally see a serious story, but I a yet to play B/W 2, so I am still in the dark about some of it.
  18. Red3473

    Red3473 New Member

    Black and White actually do represent truth and ideals.

    Reshiram breaths fire and dragons breathe fire. (Truth)
    Zekrom shoots lightning and some people believe dragons have lightning powers. (Ideals)
  19. Aquarelle

    Aquarelle Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Please don't revive two year old threads.
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