Manga: The Electric Tale of Pikachu
The Electric Tale of Pikachu
(Pocket Monsters Dengeki Pikachu
in Japan) is a manga
adaptation of the Pokémon
anime that stretches four volumes. The first three cover the Ash Ketchum's Indigo League journey, and his Orange Islands travels were covered by the end of the third volume and the fourth volume. Now, that's a lot of show for just four volumes, so of course there was a little plot adjustment
The series attempts to present a slightly more "grown-up" version of the anime's story, with a more explicit presentation of the violence of the Pokémon world itself. It also recasts Ash's journey as a proper Coming of Age Story
, with a remarkable amount of Character Development
for the star. It's well-known for its mature art style; more serious, linear tone; and for its unique plot structure.
It was released in the west under Viz localization team, released in individual chapters with individual Pokémon VHS tapes, and also in full paperback volumes. Chuang Yi Comics released their own translation of this manga in Singapore, adopting Viz's censorships in later volumes.
Of course, that's not why you heard of this series. (Really, who do we think we're fooling)? Chances are, one of the first things you heard about this series was the fact that it was a Hotter and Sexier
adaptation of the anime, and ended up subject to far-sweeping Bowdlerization by the localization team. The original, uncensored manga is especially notorious for its Stripperiffic
variety of Fanservice
, and especially for its application to the main heroine of the show, Misty, who ranks in at 12 Years Old
, but who appears to be all grown-up
. This notoriety can be laid squarely at the feet of the artist, Toshishiro Ono, who... well, usually writes something else entirely
Something else you may have heard about the series is that Jessie and James got married in the epilogue
This manga contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Misty.
- Adaptation Distillation: Scenes that are not cut short dramatically.
- One chapter actually drew together elements from a half-dozen episodes all at once: Ash's Pikachu, a rebellious Squirtle, and a Charmander loyal to its long-lost trainer all go on a journey with Khangaskhan and Tommy the Khangaskhan Kid to find a rumored Pokémon preserve watched over by a farmgirl and a rough Bulbasaur; along the way they are joined by Team Rocket, having adventures involving Koga and Aya, a collection of persecuted Dugtrio, and the relics of a nation that extolled Meowth. All that. One chapter.
- However, just to shake things up: the Squirtle, Charmander, and Bulbasaur all part ways with Pikachu; Charmander even returns to his trainer (who is not the same creep as his anime original). A later chapter shows that Ash has nonetheless managed to collect a different set of Charizard, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur. And an Oddish.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: While hard to tell with most characters and the monochrome art, this is apparent in color art. Most obviously Misty has brown hair instead of red, and Ritchie has a completely different design (with blonde hair, even).
- Adaptation Expansion: Some elements in the anime are actually expanded on in the manga. For example, the manga establishes a greater sense of male camaraderie between Ash and Brock, Richie, and Gary depending on the circumstances. There's a relationship between Ash and Misty, too, but of an entirely different sort.
- Adaptational Heroism: Sabrina when compared to her anime counterpart who, instead being of the cold psychic who was too focused on her powers with a Creepy Child Literal Split Personality, is a kind, warm-hearted miko that wants to avenge the deaths of her Pokémon at the hands of a Haunter.
- Charmander's trainer, who only left Charmander alone for so long because he was almost killed in an accident and was sent to the hospital, and even went looking for him before he fully recovered. They reunited in the mountains, which involved the man dragging his broken body through who knows what turmoil.
- All Men Are Perverts: Not all, but including the boys already enough. The artist is happy to fuel them, too.
- Art Evolution: Misty had a redesign at the end of volume 2 (when she joined up with the group), to be (slightly) less Stripperific and more like her anime design, and another, more effective one for the Orange Islands arc. Ash and Brock had slightly different clothing too.
- Ascended Extra: In the games for Red and Blue, the rival had an older sister (named Daisy in the remakes Fire Red and Leaf Green) who helped you out by gifting you with a Town Map. She had no representative in the actual anime, but in the manga, Gary had a sister named May, who Ash had a massive crush on.
- Name's the Same: This is not the same May as from the Advance seasons of the anime.
- Babies Ever After: The epilogue shows Jessie and James of Team Rocket as a couple, with Jessie pregnant.
- Battle Couple: James and Jessie, of Team Rocket!
- Zigzagged, technically. The sequence of events suggests they've given up being Team Rocket after becoming a couple.
- Big Damn Heroes: At one point Ash gets to enter by smashing his way through a window and taking a kick at James.
- Big Damn Villains: Arbok.
- Bishōnen: Every guy was turned into this too, even Brock. Oh, and Professor Oak. Can't forget the man in the Clefairy Suit.
- Bishoujo: All the girls, crossed over with Hotter and Sexier.
- Bloodier and Gorier: When compared to the anime.
- Bokukko: Misty again.
- Bowdlerize: A case of Tropes Are Not Bad, for the people who can't move past the fanservice. Viz only removed the fanservice from the American releasenote . Interestingly enough, the Viz translation maintained the appearance of blood and even had someone shout "Damn!" at one point.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Ash, when he's not being Bad Ass.
- Brick Joke: In volume 2, Duplica's Ditto pretends to be Ash and it's an obviously poor match, but Misty pretends she can't see a difference and uses the opportunity to clobber Ash (who was being a doofus). A gag comic at the beginning of the third volume has a Ditto pretending to be Ash and behaving lecherously around Misty, who freaks out and clobbers Ash a second time.
- Canon Foreigner: Quite a few characters, but noticeably Gary's sister, May. His game counterpart has a sister, but Gary does not appear to in the anime — he had that team of cheerleaders, instead.
- Chaste Hero: Unusual for this franchise, this trope is averted to hell and back with Ash.
- Coming of Age Story: While it is present in the anime, Ash realistically undergoes huge Character Development within this manga.
- Comic Book Time: Averted, Ash particularly rushed to become a Master because he remembers that vacation time from school isn't unlimited.
- Crippling the Competition: To increase his chances of winning an upcoming Pokémon race, Dario does this to his rival Lara Laramie. He does this by spooking her Ponyta, causing it to throw her off and break her arm, leaving Ash to win the race in her stead.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Pikachu vs Abra's trial match, Abra wins while SLEEPING. (Of course, Abra is a cheatsy little bugger, since the anime gets to play by the Pokedex flavor text's rules).
- Darker and Edgier: The manga is a lot more explicit about the violence going on in the Pokémon world. Take for example Charizard's disobedience in battle against Ritche. Instead of scaring off Ritchie's Charmander with Flamethrower and then disobediently slacking off soon after, Ash's Charizard go into a fierce battle-frenzy against Ritchie's Charizard; Ritchie's Charizard eventually proves the weaker and nearly dies.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ash and Misty both have their moments.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Ash can get rather preoccupied with cute female trainers. Of course, with Brock, it goes without saying.
- Driven to Suicide: In one instance, a Pokémon commits suicide. In so far as that kind of Pokémon could — the suicide was the "Black Fog", a giant Haunter that preyed on human souls. It was so proud it preferred death to being captured.
- Fanservice: TWO chapters and it's already confirmed.
- Goldfish Poop Gang: Team Rocket in this manga even moreso than in the show!
- Harmless Electrocution: Ash is zapped by Pikachu many times throughout the manga. And each time, he'll have no long-term damage or he'll just have tattered and singed clothes... only to be fine again in the next panel or two.
- Hot Springs Episode: A brief scene that was entirely cut in the Viz Comics translation (but is retained in Chuang Yi Comic's translation) in Chapter Six.
- Hotter and Sexier: More so than Pokémon Special. Even after Viz Comic's censoring, many of the cute girls and Pokémon Center nurses are far more shapely and dressed in more flattering manner than in most other Pokémon media.
- Hurricane of Puns: The nicknames Ash decides to give to his Pokemon.
- Instant Cosplay Surprise: Misty in volume 4.
- Kissing In A Tree: Brock starts to say this about Ash and Misty in one issue.
- Lap Pillow: Misty did this briefly when Ash finally succumbed to sleep, after weeks separated from Pikachu.
- Likes Older Women: Misty teases Ash about this when they're getting to know each other; he responds that he's not interested in tomboys, but later events imply that he'll be eating his words someday.
- Male Gaze: Ash can't help but stare at Misty in her swimwear during Chapter 2 (or her wetsuit, in the localization); in fact, she belts him in the face with a Shellder because he was staring too much. There are also several panels in various chapters that focus on the bust or hips of the extremely attractive Pokémon center nurses before the point of view changes to show that Ash had been fixated on them the whole time. In particular, Chapter Six demonstrates this when Ash barely pays attention to a lecture about evolution stones given by a nurse who was wearing an extremely flattering outfit in the uncensored version.
- Minion Shipping: Team Rocket anyone?
- Missing Episode: Several chapters and bonus pages appear to be completely absent from most online scans of the manga.
- Precocious Crush: Ash has a crush on Gary's sister. At one point Gary exploits this by offering Ash a picture of his sister for his Poké Ball, which contains a giant Slowpoke. Ash is dismayed to find it to be a goofy picture of May with her face stuffed with bean bun. One wonders (not really) what he was hoping to see.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Jessie's Arbok, front and center. Its Glare doesn't miss.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: One chapter in the third volume features Florinda and Potter from the anime Filler — with a much more badass Potter. This version of Potter can leap a hundred feet into the air out of a lake and can do battle with Gyarados. He just happens to have a paralyzing fear of snakes.
- Ship Tease: This comic has Pokéshipping. Lots and lots of Pokéshipping.
- Shock and Awe: Ash's Pikachu. Richie's Pikachu as well, during the Indigo League arc.
- Shout-Out: Once when Ash names his Pokémon in the Viz translation. "Jean Luc Pikachu", "Felix The Cat-erpie", and "Walter Pidgeotto" (there's a Canadian actor named "Walter Pidgeon").
- Sore Loser: Misty when she complains of Ash's victory against her. Turns into Hypocritical Humor when one of her moves was to distract Pikachu with a rice ball and Ash managed to win against her by throwing Ferrow food on his hat that she was currently wearing (the challenge was to get the hat back) luring it to grab the hat for him. One of Misty's sisters even tells her it was fair and she's just miffed he turned the tactic against her.
- Stations Of The Canon: Averted. It's an adaptation of the anime, sure, but there are notable deviations and reinterpretations.
- Ash is, for the most part, a solo traveler — his journey intersects with Misty's a few times, but she doesn't join up with him; he and Brock begin traveling together in Saffron city, and then Misty officially joins them in the Seafoam Islands; and they both depart in the lead up to the Indigo League (though they all catch up and swap stories at the league itself). Ash starts his Orange Islands journey likewise on his own, but Misty reappears and joins him halfway through; following the main islands saga, he and Gary also apparently do some traveling together as well, with either frequent visits and on-and-off companionship from Misty and Richie (and the latter apparently picks up a buxom love interest).
- Stripperiffic and Barely-There Swimwear: In the uncensored version of the manga, numerous Pokemon Center nurses wear very flattering suits that often show a lot of skin. Misty's early outfits and swimsuit (which last was basically a few strips of material) were also much more revealing. (Her sisters, in the Cerulean City episode, are also wearing swimsuits in the uncensored version, but they weren't focused on, and the girls were wearing jackets, anyway).
- Sympathy for the Devil: In the chapter "Haunting My Dreams," after the Black Fog self-destructs rather than let Ash capture it, Sabrina is reduced to tears and remarks that, even though she's hated it for years for killing her Pokémon, she can't help but feel sorry for it.
- Team Dad: Brock, even moreso here because now he's several years older than either Ash or Misty, possibly in his twenties.
- To Be a Master: Unlike the anime, the target was more realistic and described in detail.
- Tsundere: Hello, Misty.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Amped Up to Eleven between Misty and Ash. Slight overlap with Belligerent Sexual Tension as well. (In one side-comic, a Ditto impersonates Ash and proceeds to touch Misty's butt and spy on her in the nude; later, Pikachu tries to warn Ditto that a beaten-up Ash is hunting the little blob down).
- Vague Age: Everyone who is not Ash (10 years old) or Misty (12 years old). For example, Professor Oak is a middle-aged bishounen.
- Vapor Wear: In the uncensored original manga, many of the girls are drawn such that they could not possibly be wearing bras. In particular, pre-censorship outfits for Misty show a lot of underboobs.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Rudy decides to put on a dress when his sister gets upset that Misty won't be staying with them (she really wanted an older sister).
- World Building: One of the underrated merits of this manga is how much sheer depth is added to the system and the culture. Because Holy Crap!!
- We have instances of things like Ash trying to trick the League into boosting his Trainer Level by capturing rare Pokémon (which is the chief thrust of the Clefairy chapter), and historical side-notes such as Lavender town being the ruins of a civilization that used to worship Pokémon and the big Pokémon race in Fuchsia city (the subject of an episode of Anime filler) being part of an annual Independence festival for about a hundred nomad tribes in the area. Just... just whoa.
- Confirming a popular piece of Fridge Brilliance for the main games, the Gym Leaders do in fact modulate their challenges to fit the Trainer's level. When Ash arrives at Cerulean Gym, Daisy asks if he's planning to compete at the Cascade (2nd) level.
- What's more is that kids are excused to go Pokémon hunting once they gain their license. But are only allowed a year of travel before they have to go back.
- Younger than They Look: Misty is stated to be 12. (Which is still older than her anime counterpart, where she is only 10.)
- Your Soul Is Mine: In this continuity, the Dream Eater attack actually sucks out an opponent's soul, which the Black Fog has used on both humans and Pokémon alike for years.