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Reviews Manga / Pokemon Adventures

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06/19/2019 22:15:12 •••

Nostalgia-driven, but averts expectation

Known in Japan as Pocket Monsters Special, Pokémon Adventures is a long-running manga in the Pokémon franchise. As a note of reference, this manga is founded more in the Pokémon video games than the anime. As for why this is important, it is because this allows this manga to exploit the best of the Pokémon universe while avoiding the worst aspects of the anime.

Following the games' structure, the manga is divided into "generations" based on the video games, with each region bringing an entirely new cast, protagonist(s) and all, with the occasional reappearance of previously established characters. This keeps each region and its characters fresh, since it deviates from the games in that the characters have more fleshed-out personalities and defining traits, and plots are more detailed. Further, each have completely different dispositions and objectives, with protagonists ranging from Trainers to Researchers to Con Artists to even Comedians!

The most important and remembered feature of this manga, however, is the world it is set in. This doesn't mean locations or landscapes, but the nature of the very world. Pokémon go from harmless "pets" to potentially life-threatening entities, and battles take a completely different shape. Just to set it to context: Pokémon get injured and even die in combat. Even further, less well-meaning Pokémon battles come to actively involve the trainers as well, since they are often caught up in it, either targeted by the opponent or needing to involve themselves for a chance at victory. This drastically inflates the realism, increases the stakes, and creates a greater sense of danger in battles.

The plot of individual arcs, however, stray completely from both anime and games. Utilising some details from the games, the manga creates more dynamic and driven plots, spicing them up with the aforementioned rush of realism. I can't comment as much about the art, which is quite good, but the character designs are especially noteworthy and memorable, so kudos.

Overall, I can't speak about this manga without bias, since it was my first ever manga. However, as someone who only ever properly read it 10 years after picking it up, I can safely say that this is a highly competent and enjoyable manga, and while the nostalgia is definitely a contributing factor to it, no one who grew up with Pokémon should have a problem with that.

My final score is 9/10


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