REVIEW: Pokemon Adventures Vol. 9: Dexoys and Emerald Shine

Emerald

In the previous Pokemon Adventures volume, we saw Team Rocket leader Giovanni set a course for Viridian City to locate his long-lost son Silver. At the same time, Pokedex holder Silver arrived in Viridian City after recalling a memory of the place while in search of his roots, but he doesn’t know that Giovanni is his father. In the midst of this, Pokedex holder Red and legendary Pokemon Mew Two chase after Giovanni and Dexoys.

Pokemon Adventures Vol. 9

Hidenori KUSAKA, Satoshi YAMAMOTO/SHOGAKUKAN
Viz Media
August 2021

 

Pokedex holders Silver and Yellow posing with their Pokemon

After a harrowing battle, Red and four other Pokedex holders meet an unexpected fate and a new story arc focusing on Pokedex holder Emerald begins. As Emerald makes his way through the Pokemon battle facility known as the Battle Frontier, an underlying mystery involving the legendary Pokemon Jirachi begins to surface. A suspicious figure is hunting Jirachi for his own purposes, but Emerald is also doing the same for someone else.

When it comes to the rest of the first arc (aka FireRed and LeafGreen), it was fascinating to see Dexoys’ true origins become gradually revealed, especially if you’ve only ever seen Dexoys in the Pokemon anime film Destiny Dexoys. Unlike its animated counterpart, Dexoys has a slightly harsher story since it started off as a tool for Giovanni and the rest of Team Rocket. However, seeing it go from dangerous mysterious foe to new friend is heartwarming, especially once Red learns the truth about his connection to it and Mew Two finds a parallel between itself and Dexoys.

Mew, Mew-Two's genetic origin, flies through the sky
Mew flies through the sky with a purpose

Besides Dexoys, Silver and fellow Pokedex holder Yellow were the other characters I appreciated from this arc. Silver’s resolve to find his family is tested once he learns the truth about Giovanni, and his internal struggle to come to terms with how his father defines who he is was relatable. Speaking of his father, Giovanni had an unexpectedly tender moment with Silver that demonstrates how complicated a parent can be as a person, adding a layer to his character not seen in the anime.

As for Yellow, she is tougher than she looks due to a few special abilities, including mild telekinesis; the ability to read the minds, emotions, and memories of Pokemon; and the ability to synchronize with her Pokemon to massively boost their levels. The first two abilities are showcased in resourceful ways and the mild telekinesis is rather cute since it involves manipulating a Pokeball on a string (which can be used to fool opponents). All of these abilities make Yellow the most likable female Pokedex holder due to the fact that she is highly empathetic towards other Pokemon. It also helps that she is given more time to shine, unlike Green who has some cool moments but is featured in fewer pages due to being injured for a time.

Last but not least, there is Emerald in the second story arc. He’s a bit of a wild card because he looks silly and happy-go-lucky, and but likes Pokemon battles more than Pokemon themselves. To explain further, Emerald enjoys the strategy and knowledge that you gain from Pokemon battles and this allows him to excel in the Battle Frontier facility. In fact, I personally appreciated Emerald more for his brains than his personality because some of the things that he does reminds me of what I’ve done to get past certain battles in Pokemon games. In one chapter, he teaches “Thunderbolt” to the water Pokemon Starmie, which ordinarily wouldn’t be expected because water is weak to Thunder type Pokemon and moves.

 

Jirachi looks on at Anabel, Emerald, and the Pokemon Raikou
Anabel forms a plan with Emerald to catch Jirachi

In addition to the characters, the setting is much more notable this time around, especially during the “Emerald” story. The Battle Frontier is an impressive facility because it features Pokemon battles and challenges that don’t rely on the standard rules of a Pokemon battle.
Some areas like the Knowledge Frontier are a standard Pokemon battle field, but others areas like the Battle Pyramid are more intricate. This allows for the artwork to shine a bit more. In fact, the Battle Pyramid was especially impressive since it resembles a pyramid on the outside but is a maze on the inside.

There are seven different facilities designed to test the trainer through different means such as knowledge and luck. Of the facilities seen in this volume, the Battle Pike that tests your luck was the most engrossing because it reminded me of a similar challenge at a Gym in the video game Pokemon Omega Ruby.

While the previous volume had art and lettering that allowed the human Pokemon characters to shine, this is extended even more to the Pokemon this time around. The huge cast of human characters are a little easier to keep track of since they each have their own distinctive look in addition to their character bios at the beginning of each arc.

On top of having notable giant sound effects like “Fwap!” and “Kerack!” there is also a special italic looking font for Pokemon using telepathy to communicate with humans. Their battles are also enhanced by some stunning double page spread art; the battle between Mew Two and Dexoys comes to mind.

Everything is well polished in this book, but Dexoys and Emerald are the brightest aspects. Although the adventure has yet to end, there is plenty of action and interpersonal moments to tide readers over until the next volume is released.

POCKET MONSTERS SPECIAL © 1997
©2021 Pokémon.
©1995-2007 Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc. TM, ®, and character names are trademarks of Nintendo.

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