The first thing that’s likely to pop in you head when hearing the word Pokémon are the handheld Nintendo games that made the series a success. That’s good and all, but there’s more to the franchise than what you can play on the Nintendo 3DS. And I’m not talking about the trading cards, nor the anime. The Pokémon Adventure manga written by Hidenori Kusaka have adapted the games into comic form since Pokémon Red, Green and Blue. For the latest Pokémon game adaptation, Pokémon XY, Kusaka is joined by illustrator Satoshi Yamamoto.
This review is based on volume two of Pokémon XY, following the adventures of five trainers with their own unique goals. However, the story focuses mostly on a Pokémon trainer named X and his female companion Y. Within the four chapters in this manga, the story revolves around the conflict of a mysterious ring X acquired that allows his Pokémon, Li’l Kanga, to “mega evolve” into a powerful creature, and the people who want to steal that power for their own evil devices. People like Team Flare, an organization obsessed with stealing X’s Mega Ring and anything related to Mega Evolution. The second volume opens up with X trying to defeat Team Flare, while trying to figure out why he can’t Mega Evolve Lil’l Kanga anymore.
It goes without saying that Pokémon fans will get a bigger kick out of this manga, than casual readers. It’s written in a way that’s not necessarily off-putting to newcomers, but catered to those who already played the games. With that said, the story is easy to follow, whether you’re a Pokémon Master or not. X struggling to understand why he can’t Mega Evolve Li’l Kanga and the drama they endured, because of his past accomplishment as a Pokémon Tournament winner, is understandable to anyone. The other characters present in the manga appear to have their own troubles, such as Pokémon groomer Shauna looking for her lost Furfrou, but it’s rarely touched upon.
With this being Pokémon, a decent story is nothing without a good action sequence to go with it. The Pokémon battles don’t heavily dominate the manga and, in a surprising move, a battle between a Pokémon Gym leader is glossed over. But what’s presented here are action scenes that do a good job illustrating the intense brawls. Some action scenes aren’t as clear to read visually, but you’ll be able to get the picture. Further commentating on Yamamoto’s art, the character designs and locations are true to the game’s visual style.
Volume two of Pokémon XY isn’t the most compelling read one could have. The story is adequately told, but follows a standard formula that lacks excitement. But the characters are interesting from what little has been revealed about them and the action is entertaining to view. This book is perhaps best suited for the younger crowd, but anyone willing to pick this up may experience a few joys.
Pokémon XY volume two is now available at retailers.