Pokémon Black & White: Pocket Comics
Madman Entertainment (Australia)
Viz Kids (North America)
Pokemon Black / White (Nintendo DS)
Madman Entertainment for providing a review copy of this book.
The Pokémon series has continued to expand since it originally launched during the 90’s as a video game franchise – encompassing multiple formats including a TCG, anime, manga and a range of merchandise which is shadowed by few other series. The most interesting difference between the different formats is how Pokémon are portrayed – with the RPG series giving them little role other than being used to take part in battles, in comparison to the anime which gives Pokémon much more personality and a substantial role in the events that take place each episode.
Recently released by Madman Entertainment is Pokemon Black & White: Pocket Comics, a new manga written and drawn by Santa Harukaze which attempts to portray the entertaining and comical lives of the Pokémon first introduced in Black / White.
Coming in at over 300 full-colour pages, this book features double-page spread, 4+-square comics starring a particular Pokémon, in addition to the others they associate with. Oshawott in particular seems to be the author’s favourite, serving as the comic relief character in multiple comics. Despite being localized under the VIZ Kids brand and targeted towards a younger audience, most of the humour is genuinely funny, and often based off some element of the respective Pokémon’s personality, traits or skills.
While I question how many younger fans would pay much attention to the intrinsic details of a Pokémon and what is listed in the Pokédex, each of the comics also feature a multiple choice question to test the readers knowledge. These multiple choice questions range from “Which special characteristic does Herdier’s cape-like fur have?” or “These Pokémon are the same height as Mandibuzz. Which one weighs the least?”. It is possible to ignore the questions, but are there should you wish to try your hand at them.
With approximately 155 comics present in the book, most Pokémon first introduced in the Unova Pokedex are represented, with no others from other seasons present throughout the book (So don’t expect a surprise appearance of Pikachu). While you would expect the comic order to reflect the numbering of the Unova Pokedex, they are completely random. Unfortunately with no contents listing or index, this means it can be challenging to find the comic for your favourite Pokémon on the spot.
Complemented by some fantastic full-colour artwork and an adequate English localization, Pokemon Black & White: Pocket Comics is a very satisfying purchase at just $14.95 AUD. I was impressed enough that I would love to see more releases for other installments in the video game franchise.