…y’know, after the scale of my last project, finishing this one just doesn’t have the same inherent drama. Then again, I’m a little scared to try for something bigger, for fear I may rope myself into reviewing every Pokémon ever and die before I finish. Hrm. Anyway, on with the show!
The Champion of the Unova region, the New York-inspired setting of Black and White, is an exuberant, light-hearted giant of a man named Alder, who is the Pokémon universe’s equivalent to Bear Grylls. The man jumps off a cliff, for heaven’s sake, quite casually, without comment, and apparently for no other reason than that it was faster than walking. Not content with sitting in his palace at the Pokémon League waiting for challengers, Alder prefers to spend his time exploring Unova, and claims to know “every corner” of the region; it is on just such a trip that he first meets you and Cheren, one of the two rival characters of Black and White. Cheren is… well, I wouldn’t call him a jerk, to be fair; compared to Blue he’s an absolute saint, but he tends to look down on people who don’t take life as seriously as he does, and he’s extremely focussed on becoming a more powerful trainer, to the exclusion of all else. Cheren’s great ambition in life is to become the Champion, and he’s not impressed when he meets the current Champion, in his words, “goofing off” at a festival outside Nimbasa City, feeling that such frivolity is beneath the dignity of this noble office. Alder responds by questioning why Cheren wants to become Champion in the first place and what he thinks the whole point is, something Cheren doesn’t seem to have ever thought about. Another day, after Alder watches you defeat Cheren in a battle, Cheren is disturbed and annoyed that Alder described it as “a fine battle,” assuming that Alder was pleased he had lost (because, after all, what about a battle could possibly matter besides who won and who lost?). You later learn that Alder is interested in Cheren’s motives because he sees something of himself in Cheren; when Alder was younger, he was equally obsessed with becoming stronger, an obsession shared by his Pokémon partner. In time, though, Alder’s Pokémon (whose species is never mentioned, though it could conceivably have been one of Unova’s three starter Pokémon) became sick and died, causing Alder’s outlook to change. He now views strength for its own sake as transient and ultimately pointless, and focuses more on enjoying life.