Author: Hidenori Kusaka
Manga-ka: Satoshi Yamamoto
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: All Ages
Release Date: November 2011
Synopsis: “Pokemon trainer Black is exploring the mysterious Unova Regision with his brand-new Pokedex. Pokemon Trainer White runs a thriving talent agency for performing Pokemon. Traveling together, their paths cross with Team Plasma, a group that advocates releasing your Pokemon into the wild! Black’s Munna disappears! Was it Pokemon-napped? Then. Black is attacked by… a Pokemon?!”
Black’s insanely goal-oriented nature is a fun quirk, one that’s all the more interesting since he’s fully aware of it. He’s so focused on winning the Pokemon League that he doesn’t have the brain capacity to think of anything else. To work around it, his Munna leaps upon his head and literally gobbles up his dream, just long enough for him to focus on other things. It’s effective but also sort of creepy. It screams permanent brain damage, at the very least.
When his Munna runs off in this volume, Black is left struggling to even think straight. Upside of this scene is it really shows how beneficial his co-dependance with Munna is – apparently that’s an extra delicious dream! His years of preparing for the trip also shines through when he always seems to know exactly what Pokemon they’re up against. We’ll call what looks like X-ray vision sometimes a quirk as well…
While dealing with the occasional run-in with Team Plasma, Black continues on his journey to challenge and defeat the Gym Leaders of the Unova region. With the new Pokemon Black & White game still fresh in our minds, it’s fun watching him go through the same puzzles and adversaries we did. This time he’s up against the leader of the Museum Library. His personality thrown into the mix makes enough difference that we don’t feel like we’re just revisiting the same thing again.
White continues to bring a refreshing side of the story as well. As a Pokemon Talent Agent, she gets jobs in each town they go to by having her trained Pokemon perform in advertisements and movies. The Pokemon seem to adore the attention and readers get to see a pair of traveling trainers who actually have a viable way of affording the trip. In this volume White’s offered the chance to put in a proposal to increase a town’s tourism. Much as I didn’t like what she suggested when it appears in the original game, I’m actually curious to see how it’s going to be integrated into the manga’s plot.
The weirdest part of this fourth book was the introduction of the ‘baggy skin’ Pokemon. I’d seen them in the game but always thought those were pants they were wearing, not their actual skin. The more you know! And don’t say Pokemon with pants is weird because we’ve got Pokemon with fighting Gis and born with a need to carry a perfectly carved 2×4 around. These two Pokemon enter the story to give our heroes a little trouble and add themselves to the growing roster of new Pokemon met in the Unova region.
While I always like having more manga to read, I’ve come to appreciate the length of these volumes. They’re a fraction of the size of the previous Pokemon Adventures books but, since we’re getting them while the series is currently running in Japan, it makes a fine and necessary compromise. Plus it’s probably a lot more appealing to younger readers too and more manga in more people’s hands is a win-win. Pokemon: Black & White is a fun, energetic story that I love getting a dose of every other month. The only downside is how much it makes me want to get out the game and play it all over again – I need that time for manga!
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Book bought from Strange Adventures