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He's got a special lure, too?: An analysis of Cilan and Iris

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He fills the obvious niche Brock does, caretaker of the group, cooks food, generally acts as the voice of reason. However other than that its pretty obvious he's his own character.
Yet at the same time he fills the niche of the shoujo-type character that Ash's past coordinator friends had previously filled, which quite honestly, seemed fairly obvious from his introduction. If you want to say he fills the "obvious" niche Brock fills, then I can say he fills the "obvious" niche the female coordinators have filled just as easily, except he's not being hated by Dawn fans for somewhat taking her role.

The point being, as this article illustrates, is that Cilan and Iris aren't merely a replacement Brock and [insert female trainer] respectively, and, to act as you have been, claiming that character X had substituted character A and character Y for character B is a bit of a shallow comparison.

On the article itself:

and the fandom continues to ignore that our perception of "race" cannot apply to a fictional world and compartmentalize away
I'd like to argue that that it can, considering that race itself is just a figment of our imagination, so if Brock fits the criteria of stereotypical 'black' features for a fictional character in the minds of the population, then he's as black as any multi-racial dark skinned individual in people's minds. The whole idea of compartmentalization is that we simplify things, so Brock's nonexistant anime race is simplified.

In any case, I too found the article quite good.
 
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Its obviously they aren't, but when characters come in directly after others, its hard not compare. I suppose this late in the series, character replacements aren't considered a big deal anymore because they're now expected.

Back during the Brock/Tracey and Misty/May switches, they were the first time characters were replaced, and thus seemed new and special at the time. By the time Dawn came in we knew the "cycle" and it was also at that point many people pegged the DP series as Brock's last saga, and they turned out to be right.
 
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Its obviously they aren't, but when characters come in directly after others, its hard not compare. I suppose this late in the series, character replacements aren't considered a big deal anymore because they're now expected.
It's hard not to compare, but the basis of people's comparisons seem to be that Cilan has a penis and Iris doesn't. When Cilan was first shown, the immediate thought was "Brock replacement" and as for Iris, "What kind of female replacement is that?" It's natural, since we knew nothing else about them. Of course, now that the series has progressed, you can see that they aren't simple gender replacements as their roles have mixed, yet some users such as yourself, keep comparing Cilan strictly to Brock, or Iris strictly to the female cast--something this article doesn't do.

Even amongst the gym leader relations, yes Cilan was immediately known to be a leader, but he also has similarities to Misty in having gym leader siblings he could leave his gym to. Then there's also all the other blurring characteristics of the two characters between Iris and Cilan.

Really, I don't think you actually understand why I'm calling you out on your comparison to Brock and seem to think I'm calling you out for comparing in the first place. It's not that you compare, its who you compare to that I'm calling out.

If I had one real criticism about the article, its the random way compartmentalization was brought in and linked as a side note on Brock's race. It could have been brought up earlier, as compartmentalization is exactly what this fandom does when calling Cilan a “Brock replacement” and Iris as the “[female character] replacement” when its quite clear they don’t fit into either one’s role and to argue that one replaced the other is completely pointless.
 
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I think things are a bit mixed here. Cilan is getting slightly more screentime than Iris, but not by much. Cilan is probably aimed at the same people who liked the Contests, at least in Japan since they like shoujo characters like that. Some people have even said the way Cilan battles reminds them of a coordinator or contest battle.

But the set-up to Brock is similar. We even meet Cilan in episode 5, just like we met Brock in episode 5. Ash traveled with Misty/Iris for 4 episodes, then in comes the first Gym leader at episode 5, where he decides to travel with Ash.

If anything I agree, the roles are a bit mixed between both Iris and Cilan. It also helps matters that Cilan admires Ash, whereas with Brock he was more Ash's mentor, at least at the beginning. And Iris, THANK GOD, is not spending every single episode trying to hide some sort of crush from Ash. Oh god, imagine if there was some sort of Neopokeshipping that started? (And yes, I am well aware Negaishipping is the pairing of Ash/Iris).
 
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*gasp* Did Luna write this? ^_^

I liked this article. Being an anime regular, this sort of deal is made much more explicit and much more biased on the forums...nice to see some other insight on it. I don't really agree that Cilan is that well developed in terms of actual...depth (I think we know much less about his past and family life than Brock...and I've yet to see a flashback or anything :p) but in my opinion, he does more than enough in the entertainment department to not garner as many criticism for that (which...I understand where some of the frustration may come from Iris/non-Dento fans).

And Iris, THANK GOD, is not spending every single episode trying to hide some sort of crush from Ash. Oh god, imagine if there was some sort of Neopokeshipping that started? (And yes, I am well aware Negaishipping is the pairing of Ash/Iris).
You're right, that role is now filled by Cilan *runs*
 
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Well the Pokemon writers were never known for their originality.

It seems like every character is more or less going to have traits that overlap with certain other characters. God knows people compared Dawn to both Ash and May, where some thought she felt like a combination of both of them.
 
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Is anyone else genuinely disturbed how every thread about Cilan turns into somebody commenting about Cilan x Ash shipping, because I am.

If you guys call development and screen time Cilan flouncing about, annoyingly, showing off his 'personality' whilst you call a lack of screentime Iris talking about her childhood, interacting with her pokemon and expanding on her goal then I'm sorry you're so blinded with bias.
 
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Cilan has no depth whatsoever, if we're gonna be honest here. He only has hobbies and sparkles.

Iris got a backstory for herself, hints of her potential future and development. Plus, she still has many flaws such as her immature behavior and hypocrisy when calling Ash a kid. Basically, writers made efforts to let us know about her growing up in the village, they established a mutual rivalry between her and the Dragon Buster, they made her grow a little in episode 36 of Best Wishes when she admitted her mistake. Not to speak of her interesting personality, she's quite and enjoyable and well established character with dreams, flaws and a great future. She has great chemistry with both Ash and Cilan, especially Cilan since she contrasts his cheerful and over-the-top personality with her snarky comments and cynical attitude towards some aspects of life.

While Cilan does have a rival, he does not consider her as one thus making the "rivalry" one-sided.

It's a sad truth, but if writers keep treating Cilan like they're treating him right now I'm pretty sure people will grow bored of him. And I hate to be pessimistic, but judging by what they did with him so far, I see no further development in his personality, I see no flaws and no depth. He's enjoyable as he can get but even when he garners screentime, Iris is the one with actual depth, flaws and established past.
 
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Cilan is a lot like Dawn when DP started.

When DP first started it felt like Dawn had no flaws either. She was this huge co-star out of nowhere, she was considered "pretty," she wore dresses, she caught 3 pokemon quickly, she got into the finals of her first contest, she won her first ribbon only 25 episodes in, (for the record, May didn't win her first ribbon till 40 episodes), and so forth.

Dawn didn't start having flaws until she lost those two appeal round contests in a row. At the very beginning of DP, Dawn did seem like she was treaded the line into Mary-sue territory. The writers had to give her a number of contest losses to make her seem realistic, otherwise she had the most sue-ish personality of the main cast.

It felt like Dawn was geared to go into modeling or become a princess rather than a standard pokemon trainer like what Misty, May and Iris were. Good thing the writers evened Dawn out with those losses. I feel Cilan will go through struggles too.
 
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Cilan is a lot like Dawn when DP started.

When DP first started it felt like Dawn had no flaws either. She was this huge co-star out of nowhere, she was considered "pretty," she wore dresses, she caught 3 pokemon quickly, she got into the finals of her first contest, she won her first ribbon only 25 episodes in, (for the record, May didn't win her first ribbon till 40 episodes), and so forth.

Dawn didn't start having flaws until she lost those two appeal round contests in a row. At the very beginning of DP, Dawn did seem like she was treaded the line into Mary-sue territory. The writers had to give her a number of contest losses to make her seem realistic, otherwise she had the most sue-ish personality of the main cast.

It felt like Dawn was geared to go into modeling or become a princess rather than a standard pokemon trainer like what Misty, May and Iris were. Good thing the writers evened Dawn out with those losses. I feel Cilan will go through struggles too.
Not the way writers are treating him currently.

The only sort of "development" I foresee for him is ... *gasp* he's a "dancing sommelier". -.-
 
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Not the way writers are treating him currently.

The only sort of "development" I foresee for him is ... *gasp* he's a "dancing sommelier". -.-
To be FAIR, the screentime that Iris got for her backstory was for Iris. Why focus on both of them at the same time? I mean, we'd have backhistroy on Iris AND backhistory on Dento while still focusing on Ash at the same time. It'd feel a bit crowded. It's still early in the series and there is absolutely no reason why they should NOT give backhistory on Dento. I'll laugh if they give him something totally epic and unexpected. Like he fished because he was shy and to get away from...stuff

BESIDES. We have Miyano's awesome, amazing voice acting to make it different and awesome EACH TIME. Every time Dento has a "new side" it is NEVER the same. It is always different. Like his fishing side is NOTHING like his detective side. I detected a bit of a (non japanese) accent with that one X3 honestly him doing this stuff just for the hell of it may not make him the best "rounded fullfilled character" but it makes him the sweet lovable charming character like you see in classic tv shows ^.^ He already IS a dancing Sommelier. LOOK AT HIM TWIRL AND SPIN :DDDDD

Kick Iris out of the way first then focus on twirly spinning sophistacated sparkley Dento :-D I like it. I don't care ;_; honestly I'm still waiting for my beach scene. Beach scene FIRST then a cute backhistory on seeing his brothers as sweet chibis. If you want MORE look up cute Japanese videos and pretend they are canon
 
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Well if we strictly compare the first 40 eps of Kanto to the first 40 eps of Unova, it does seem like Cilan has more episodes.

In Kanto at this time, Brock had the Pewter Gym ep, the Vulpix/Suzie ep, and I think that was it by that point. I'm looking through the Kanto episode list right now and none of those eps were Brock-centered eps otherwise.
The Maiden ghost episode.
Yeah, he mostly serves as a plot catalyst in that, but it's more than he did in the Rokon episode, where his whole purpose is to introduce the character of the day and her problem in order to set the stage for Satoshi and Kasumi's inner beauty/external beauty argument which the episode mostly centers around. Real character-focused episodes was a rarity until Jouto rolled around.
 
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Great article; thanks for taking the time to write that! :)

I agree that for the most part, it feels like Cilan takes after the previous female characters while Iris takes after Brock. Also like others have said, I think Cilan appeals more to the female audience as previous female characters did. Neither Cilan's career as a connoisseur nor Iris's goal of becoming a Dragon Master have been focused on nearly as much as Dawn's and May's goals of becoming Top Coordinators; right now, they both feel like they've received as much attention as Misty's goal of Water Pokémon Master and Brock's career as a Pokémon Breeder. Additionally, neither Cilan nor Iris are like Dawn, May, or Misty to a lesser extent in that they've developed; both still feel like the exact same people that were introduced from the get-go of BW. I also side with those who are saying Cilan hasn't gone through character development or been given much background (all we really know is that he has two brothers). While Iris hasn't experienced much character development, either, she's at least been given some history (how she lived in a Dragon Village, acquired Axew as a baby, and met Excadrill as a Drilbur).

Cilan doesn't have more or less than Iris in terms of development; instead, it feels like his personality is showcased more (which explains why some fans seem to be growing tired of him while others are bowing down to him). Of his many focus episodes, only one really focuses on his career as a connoisseur; in the rest, he's just doing whatever for the heck of it. (I'm willing to hold off on labeling fishing as a mere quirk of his until we see more of him, however; the fact he's shown this skill more than once may hint that it's more than just another of his talents.) Despite his lack of development, I don't think he's been poorly written or should be labeled as a Gary Stu; I think the writers are purposely making Cilan out to be this incredibly versatile character for entertainment purposes, and it works because he has an upbeat, willing-to-try-anything attitude like the article mentioned.

While Iris has definitely been given a personality, the writers don't showcase it nearly as much as Cilan's. Iris could easily be a detective, actress, fisher, etc. in various episodes; however, this isn't as fitting with her more laid-back demeanor. Because she cannot fit into these playful roles as well as Cilan, what do the writers do? Give her a more serious goal that makes sense given she takes matters more seriously (which also explains why she calls Ash a kid and facepalms whenever Cilan goes into a taste!gasm). This is why I think it feels like Iris receives less focus; she can't fit into various roles and still feel in character like Cilan can.

To sum this up, I don't think Cilan fits the mold of previous female characters perfectly, and neither does Iris with Brock. However, if we're to go with who fits what previous role best, those are the most accurate conclusions in terms of screen-time. Personality-wise and development-wise, I feel like both are equal; it's the utilization of each character's personality and traits that sets them apart. This is why Cilan seems to be getting more when in actuality, he's more or less just as developed as Iris at this point.
 
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The Maiden ghost episode.
Yeah, he mostly serves as a plot catalyst in that, but it's more than he did in the Rokon episode, where his whole purpose is to introduce the character of the day and her problem in order to set the stage for Satoshi and Kasumi's inner beauty/external beauty argument which the episode mostly centers around. Real character-focused episodes was a rarity until Jouto rolled around.
Yeah, but Brock was still the problem solver of many of those early episode. Such as in the Lt. Surge ep and others.
 
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To be FAIR, the screentime that Iris got for her backstory was for Iris. Why focus on both of them at the same time? I mean, we'd have backhistroy on Iris AND backhistory on Dento while still focusing on Ash at the same time. It'd feel a bit crowded. It's still early in the series and there is absolutely no reason why they should NOT give backhistory on Dento. I'll laugh if they give him something totally epic and unexpected. Like he fished because he was shy and to get away from...stuff

BESIDES. We have Miyano's awesome, amazing voice acting to make it different and awesome EACH TIME. Every time Dento has a "new side" it is NEVER the same. It is always different. Like his fishing side is NOTHING like his detective side. I detected a bit of a (non japanese) accent with that one X3 honestly him doing this stuff just for the hell of it may not make him the best "rounded fullfilled character" but it makes him the sweet lovable charming character like you see in classic tv shows ^.^ He already IS a dancing Sommelier. LOOK AT HIM TWIRL AND SPIN :DDDDD

Kick Iris out of the way first then focus on twirly spinning sophistacated sparkley Dento :-D I like it. I don't care ;_; honestly I'm still waiting for my beach scene. Beach scene FIRST then a cute backhistory on seeing his brothers as sweet chibis. If you want MORE look up cute Japanese videos and pretend they are canon
I respect your opinion and I really hope they do something with him, but I'm just going by how things are currently. Everyone believed Dento was going to be the new Dawn, and yet Iris got the development and depth. It's strange. I hope he doesn't turn out to be solely an "entertainment character" and writers do something with him.

Something other than a hobby.
 
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Interesting analysis which described things in very neutral and insightful way.I especially like part where article observed on differences between Iris and Cilan development.

I will agree how Cilan so far received little more focus than Iris did but her screen time is imo being used more productively.For start we know how she received her pokemon,more of her back-story was revealed explaining motives behind decision of becoming dragon master and by who she was given task to raise and evolve Axew.She also received some character development at this point becoming more self-critic being willing to admit her flaws compared to her early attitude not being able to handle criticism being at times hypocritical.

With Cilan things are little bit different.He has that goal of being connoisseur which is rather passive compared to Iris with not much room left for him to go forward in that area considering how he is just on step below highest position someone could obtain in such profession but for lack of that writers compensated by having him involve more in other areas of his expertise(like fishing,resolving mysteries et).Which is smart thing since it ensures that character stays active.

However my biggest concern about his character though is lack of any real flaws with not much standing on his way.
He doesn't have any personal struggles,doubts or crisis going within his character which would restrain him from going forward being successful in more or less anything he did so far.Than again Cilan is type of character whose flaws are not supposed to be treated as something serious serving as someone who brings entertainment value and comic relief which is good in adding to overall enjoyment but on negative side this really hinders his potential to grow further in character sense.

Fresh face and good personality can only get you so far,and in order to maintain people interest there would be needed to implement more substance to Cilan story which doesnt have much going for it at this point unless something changes soon enough.

Thank god this was actually a well done and non-bias piece.

From the title, I thought this was going to be a Misty/original trio/1998/nostalgia love fanboy article. Much to my surprise, it actually analyzed the characters nicely.
I dont see why that would be case,Si far analysis of characters and pokemon were done in constructive and pretty objective way,Personally i would love to see analysis of Misty and Brock characters being made at some point too.

Cilan is important simply because he was always the predicted Brock replacement since AG. We didn't know of Cilan of course, but everyone always talked about what would happen if Brock was replaced a second time, and new guy isn't just Tracey 2.0.

Almost brings back memories when Misty was removed, huh? Oddly enough they waited two gens to create a new female with similarish traits to her. I guess they wanted to make sure May stood out on her own as a new female protagonist rather than a Misty expie.

If Iris and Cilan were introduced earlier I doubt they would have flew as well. It's just now after sooooo many years since the original trio met it's end, it's interesting to see a similar dynamic with alternate characters.
I understand how its to expect that sometimes some traits for one character overlaps with another one setting up groundwork for comparisons being made,but im not sure if Misty and Brock are right and only characters to who Iris and Cilan could be compared being faur to call them as replacements.

They are supporting characters having few similarities like Iris liking to tease Ash and Cilan serving as caretaker/cook for group but aside from few things in common Iris and Cilan serve in Best Wishes completely different purpose.
Misty and Brock were primary Ash coaches/mentors helping him to grow as trainer during his rookie days when he was still new to things not knowing much,while Iris and Cilan are acting more like his evaluators with more focus being shifted on development of their own stories because of improvement in writing being made.

Not to mention Brock and Misty has vastly different personalities compared to Cilan and Iris with different stories and past surrounding them.Same goes for dynamic and character interactions between BW trio having unique and distinct enough chemistry from any other group(including original trio):

Neither Cilan's career as a connoisseur nor Iris's goal of becoming a Dragon Master have been focused on nearly as much as Dawn's and May's goals of becoming Top Coordinators; right now, they both feel like they've received as much attention as Misty's goal of Water Pokémon Master and Brock's career as a Pokémon Breeder.
Actually from what i noticed Cilan and Iris received more focus on their respective goals of becoming top connoisseur and dragon master than it was case with Misty and Brock this early with Iris for example explaining motives behind her decision of wanting to come dragon master with some step forward with her Axew being made with both characters receiving rivals like Langley and Cabernet to add more substance to their stories and development.

Screentime wise they received more or less same focus like Misty and Brock this early did(give or take one or two episodes),but difference is in which way that screen time was used with Iris and CIlan more focus being pout o development of their stories at this point while with Ash first traveling companions most focus they got at this point was directly or indirectly tied with Ash development as trainer learning things from them serving different roles.
 
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I respect your opinion and I really hope they do something with him, but I'm just going by how things are currently. Everyone believed Dento was going to be the new Dawn, and yet Iris got the development and depth. It's strange. I hope he doesn't turn out to be solely an "entertainment character" and writers do something with him.

Something other than a hobby.
;-) I never said that I DIDN'T want backstory, I'm all open for it. I just can wait, I enjoy Dento how he is right now HECK I'd like to see another side of him. I like many of his sides because he does things that I like. Well, actually I more like fishing, I love fishing shows so to me, his fishing side is my favorite and I hope it comes back again :) he doesn't have THAT many sides. If you look they are all logically related (Fishing, Science, Detective) apart from his Movie Side, which if you look at that HE KNOWS what he's talking about. I like that about him. :)

We won't ever get something intense in the Pokemon anime when it comes to backstory. I mean like with Iris it wasn't THAT good, it just showed how she caught Doryuzu and why it didn't listen to her. It didn't show much about Iris other than she was a reckless little girl. I'd be more interested in seeing the way how she lived. Likewise with Dento, I'm not sure if I'd be interested about why he chose the path of a Sommelier. I'm more tempted to see what he was like when he was younger and growing up with his brothers. I just don't think Pokemon is the right Anime for stuff like this ^^;
 
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;-) I just can wait, I enjoy Dento how he is right now HECK I'd like to see another side of him. I like many of his sides because he does things that I like. Well, actually I more like fishing, I love fishing shows so to me, his fishing side is my favorite and I hope it comes back again :) he doesn't have THAT many sides. If you look they are all logically related (Fishing, Science, Detective) apart from his Movie Side, which if you look at that HE KNOWS what he's talking about. I like that about him. :)
Thats part of reason why like his character too.Cilan is type of character which likes to be realistic"down to earth"trying to find explanation behind unusual and unorthodox scenes in scientific and logical way remaining skeptic about paranormal having its hands in it being way to mask his fear from it.His flamboyant,sometimes arrogant and patient attitude compliment well his character with his interest for various things like fishing,science,resolving mysteries opening more sides to him.

We won't ever get something intense in the Pokemon anime when it comes to backstory. I mean like with Iris it wasn't THAT good, it just showed how she caught Doryuzu and why it didn't listen to her. It didn't show much about Iris other than she was a reckless little girl. I'd be more interested in seeing the way how she lived. Likewise with Dento, I'm not sure if I'd be interested about why he chose the path of a Sommelier. I'm more tempted to see what he was like when he was younger and growing up with his brothers. I just don't think Pokemon is the right Anime for stuff like this ^^;
I dont know,personally i enjoyed in Iris back story quite alot being nice to find out how she got Excadrill,by who she was given task to raise Axew with flashback from Drayden bringing connection to her goal of becoming dragon master announcing their possible future clash in future.

I always like when we get flashbacks and more info on some character past and background liking when we find out for example more about Dawn past and her childhood friends,how Misty started to fear Gyarados and in what way sisters treated her,how Brock received his first pokemon etc. being way to find more about them giving more depth to their stories.

For that reason i would like to find about Cilan past and what motivated his choice of becoming connoisseur,But not only from him,it would be nice to get more background info from other past characters too.,Like with Misty with who many things were left unanswered not being known much about her family and parents,what influenced her in deciding to become water master or with Tracey about whose past we dont know anything etc.
 
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Thats part of reason why like his character too.Cilan is type of character which likes to be realistic"down to earth"trying to find explanation behind unusual and unorthodox scenes in scientific and logical way remaining skeptic about paranormal having its hands in it being way to mask his fear from it.His flamboyant,sometimes arrogant and patient attitude compliment well his character with his interest for various things like fishing,science,resolving mysteries opening more sides to him.
Sometimes I think the reason we don't get much on him is when looking at it through Dento's pov he seems to be the type of guy who just "assumes" things. In other words you probably wouldn't get an answer from him unless you ask him. He'd be too interested on the things around him XD I don't think he's the type of guy who's wrapped up in the past, or wrapped up in the future. He focuses on the present which makes his character sort of explode XD I'm perfectly fine with him being the entertainer atm as long as he's entertaining me ^^;


I dont know,personally i enjoyed in Iris back story quite alot being nice to find out how she got Excadrill,by who she was given task to raise Axew with flashback from Drayden bringing connection to her goal of becoming dragon master announcing their possible future clash in future.
I didn't mind Iris's backhistory as much as I let on that I did ^^; it wasn't sooo bad, but my favorite backhistory in Pokemon History would be Silver's in Pokemon Special. So when you compare Iris's to THAT it doesn't seem much XD but hey, it's the anime of course ;)

For that reason i would like to find about Cilan past and what motivated his choice of becoming connoisseur,But not only from him,it would be nice to get more background info from other past characters too.,Like with Misty with who many things were left unanswered not being known much about her family and parents,what influenced her in deciding to become water master or with Tracey about whose past we dont know anything etc.
Lol I'd honestly be happy with anything they give Dento. I'd LIKE to know more about his family though, well Pod and Corn at least. I'd hope they'd come back some time. I want to see more interaction between those three. I've always wanted Dento to start missing his brothers at some point, but I don't think the writers would want to focus on some human emotions that don't focus on the Pokemon themselves :<
 
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