Published since 1997, the Pokemon Adventures manga series is set in the world of Pokemon video games such as FireRed, LeafGreen, and my personal favorite Omega Ruby. While the series has always been written by Hidenori Kusaka, the first nine volumes of the series were drawn by Mato. Afterwards, every volume has been drawn by Satoshi Yamamoto. Due to the popularity of the manga franchise and the Pokemon franchise as a whole, the Pokemon Adventures manga series is being published in special editions that have two or three volumes worth of reading material collected.
Pokemon Adventures Vol. 8
Hidenori KUSAKA, Satoshi YAMAMOTO/SHOGAKUKAN
Pokemon Adventures Collector’s Edition Vol. 8 begins in the midst of a fierce battle between two legendary Pokemon: the red volcanic land Pokemon Groudon and the blue sea Pokemon Kyogre. Many Pokemon Trainers have come together in order to keep the destructive forces of Groudon and Kyogre in check, including Gym Leaders and Pokedex Holders Ruby and Sapphire, the protagonists of this arc. In the shadows are the evil organizations Team Magma and Team Aqua, who want to claim Groudon and Kyogre for their own goals.
For reasons of his own, Ruby has sided with Team Magma member Courtney and locked Sapphire in the car of Gym Leader Wallace. Somehow, everyone must come together to figure out how to stop Groudon and Kyogre from fighting and save the world. Once the Omega Ruby and Sapphire arc ends, a new story arc set in the world of FireRed and LeafGreen starts.
When this new arc begins, two other teenage protagonists known as Pokedex holders Red and Blue return to their hometown only to be attacked by a mysterious Pokemon tied to the nefarious organization Team Rocket. At the same time, a female Pokedex holder named Green is also attacked by the same mysterious Pokemon while attempting to reunite with her parents. With Green injured, Red and Blue must work together with Elite Four Pokemon Trainer Lorelei to uncover the truth behind the mystery Pokemon and protect their homes from a new threat.
Despite being set in the world of the Pokemon video games, anyone who is remotely familiar with both human and Pokemon characters can appreciate this book. This is due to the fact that Pokemon Adventures features familiar and different versions of characters you may have come across in the anime or video games. While Red and Ash Ketchum are two different characters, they look enough to attract readers who have only watched the Pokemon anime. It also helps that there is a summary of past events and character portraits at the beginning of each story.
If you have played any of the Pokemon games, then you’ll definitely find things big and small to appreciate. For example, the human protagonists of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are given depth that isn’t seen in the games where they are silent stand-ins for the player. You see them love, grieve, and become driven in a way that makes the world of these games much more exciting.
One notable difference between the Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire arc in the manga and in the game is a striking tone difference. While the games are kid-friendly, with villains that eventually learn the error of their ways, the manga is more mature, showing how vile and complicated some adults can truly be. This especially applies to the contrast between the unhinged Team Magma leader Maxie and the shrewd Team Magma admin Courtney.
Not only are the adults more three-dimensional, but so are the Pokemon Trainers known as Pokedex holders. These characters are the main protagonists of each arc who were given Pokedexes from their respective Pokemon professor from each region before starting on a journey. Out of all the characters, Red has the most notable character development. Unlike Ash Ketchum from the Pokemon anime, Red can’t rely solely on the power of friendship in order to cope with unexpected fear and battle losses. Although he initially tries to run from his problems, he eventually learns to face them by looking inward and having a private heart-to-heart with one of his Pokemon, Pikachu.
Completing the story and characters is Satoshi Yamato’s stunning art and impressive lettering done by Annaliese “Ace” Christman. Yamato has a knack for enhancing emotional moments with both single-page and double-page art as well as delicate line textures. At the same time, Christman’s lettering heightens the tension during battles and interpersonal scenes with large eye-catching words serving as sound effects like, “Zwoop!” and “Kafoom!” Tender emotional moments are also represented in the lettering with a flimsy dark font used in character’s speech bubbles.
In fact, the only issue with this manga is that it is easy to be lost and confused in terms of who all the characters are. Given that this book has two different story arcs, each with their own cast of major and secondary characters, it might be best to take breaks between arcs so you can approach the story with a fresh view. Of course, this might be easier said than done with how engrossing each arc is.
All in all, this collector’s edition of Pokemon Adventures is a must have for manga and Pokemon lovers alike. With over 500 pages worth of content, nice color insert art at the beginning, and exciting stories and characters, Pokemon Adventures Vol. 8 Collector’s Edition is a great way to re-experience Pokemon in a whole new light.
POCKET MONSTERS SPECIAL © 1997
©1995-2007 Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc. TM, ®, and character names are trademarks of Nintendo.