Best Wishes has brought about many changes to the anime. One of the big ones that has caused much discussion is Musashi, Kojiro, and Nyasu's new attitude. They are no longer the goofy, comedic, blasting off bad guys they once were. They are now serious, competent, and know when to cut their losses and escape, villains. There has been much debate as to the cause of this change, as well as whether or not they're even "in character" anymore. At first glance it would appear to be a drastic change that came out of nowhere, but I believe there's something more going on. This article will be focusing on how they act in the Japanese version, and was updated right before BW043 aired. But before we focus on what's going on with them now, let's go back to Diamond and Pearl to see how they were.
Character development What stands out the most to people about the Rockets in Diamond and Pearl is Musashi's Contest career. She went from never having won a single ribbon to reaching the Top 4 in the Grand Festival. While Musashi's character development is obvious, what isn't is the way Kojiro, and to a lesser extent Nyasu, have changed as well. Earlier, he and Nyasu was more timid around Musashi. They did what she said, but often didn't like it and made sarcastic comments to each other about it. Now, thanks in part to Musashi becoming more competent in battles and having a better attitude, Kojiro and Nyasu respect her more. Kojiro went from being worried something bad would happen to Manene when she used him in Contest appeals, to happily lending it to her in DP123. When Musashi lost a Contest later on, Nyasu vowed to win her next ribbon for her, something he never would have done before.
There's also more shared leadership. Kojiro has been taking charge more and more in late Diamond and Pearl such as DP142 where he took charge of the rocket ship that the evil Togepi was controlling, the league episodes where they were selling merchandise, and DP190 where he had the rare opportunity of sitting in the first seat on the Koiking sub, investigating "treasure". They now all seem to work together well and agree on what to do. It's a subtle change, but if you look back at older episodes I'm sure you'll notice a difference.
So where could the Rockets go from here? Musashi isn't as hotheaded and succeeds at Contests. Kojiro is no longer a wimp, stands up for himself and takes charge. Nyasu is more of a team player. With no Contests or Musicals due to Satoshi being the lone star of the show again, what's left for the Rockets—just more capturing Pikachu and blasting off again? They needed a bigger change, so Best Wishes gave it to them. They even got new uniforms, which they had requested way back in DP002! Out of character? Now that we've established that how the Rockets got to this point, let's deal with the common complaint of how the three, mainly Musashi and Kojiro, are acting out of character.
In previous regions, Sakaki just gave them busy work to keep them out of the way, but at the end of Diamond and Pearl he specifically called them back to Kanto for a special assignment. They burst into tears of happiness that they finally seemed to be moving their way up in the world. They know this is their big chance and they don't want to blow it. But why are they so competent all of the sudden? I believe it has to do with the trust Sakaki has put in them. When the three believe they can do anything, they're usually very successful.
How did Musashi win her first ribbon? She believed the Contest was rigged, so she acted like she was unbeatable and won. I'm sure we all remember "Flaming Moltres" but it shows how Kojiro was the same way. When he believed that was the Pokemon that represented him, he thought he could do anything and was successful in his plan until he found out the book was a fake. As for Nyasu, I ask you to remember the episode where he feel in love with a Nyarmar. He was basically unstoppable and even kicked Goukazaru around pretty good until Nyarmar evolved and Nyasu's crush disappeared. For those of you that say Musashi and Kojiro are cold and don't act like friends anymore, I'd like to direct you to BW002. While they act serious and formal during the call to Sakaki, once that ends they act cheerful and excited about their new mission. They basically seem to switch between normal mode and serious mode, but they really haven't had any downtime (or screen time) to be themselves.
However, this will soon change. The preview for BW043 shows Nyasu acting like his regular self. He's shown in the previews as silly and goofy, showing he's still very much the same character as always. It's unknown what exactly Musashi and Kojiro will be up to during their new mission, but there's no reason to think Nyasu is the only character who is still the same.
With Best Wishes only about a quarter of the way through, things are bound to change even more. Will upcoming episodes more blatantly show they still have their old personalities? Will upcoming missions change them even more so? We'll just have to sit back and watch what the writers come up for the trio next.