Gotta catch all of the Manga Madness this week featuring Pokémon!
Check out another Manga Madness from Jamey Nunley! —
Pokémon video games have been a part of my obsessive life since grade school. Unfortunately, I never had pleasure owning or completing red, blue, or yellow (leaving me to start my adventures with silver.) However, I played the beginning of the games and followed the story with envy as I watched my cousin and friends play. While the show has become a stranger to me, considering that it’s still made for 10 year olds, I still find many college students talking about the newest Pokémon game coming out and how much everyone wants it. For the anniversary Pokémon released a new anime special has been released in Japan that targets the first generation of Pokémon gamers!
The anime uses the default names for both the main character and his rival from the Japanese versions of the game. We open with the famous Professor Oak introduction and move into Red choosing Charmander as his starter and Green (unknown as to if his name will be changed for the American translation coming out later this month) choosing Squirtle. It is important to take note that not every inch of the games story is covered in these four episodes. Each episode has a time jump in the game and begins with selecting a saved file and a recap of all the major events that happened since the last episode and the current. The story follows the game nearly perfect with the exception of a small twist to promote Pokémon X and Y.
Many aspects set this anime apart from the 10-year-old’s version with Ash. The first to note is that in Ash’s universe when a pokémon is hurt it simply falls over with squiggly eyes, or shows signs of fatigue. This is not the case in Red’s world. In the first episode between the fight with Red and Green, Squirtle pins Charmander down and bites him on the neck causing Charmander to scream bloody murder for what seems like forever. This scream actually causes you pain hearing it, making it the only truly terrifying moment I have ever experienced with Pokémon. The second thing that makes the anime stand out from Ash’s world is a level of reality. Up until now death abuse hasn’t really been ignored in Pokémon, but it’s only in mentioned in dialogue. This series really showed the reality behind Team Rockets brutal ways.
This mini-series gives us a few alternate explanations to small questions fans have had from the beginning and other perspectives to why things have happened. Why is it that the gym leaders are always so weak to begin with and stronger at the end of the game? Why would someone like Giovanni disband Team Rocket just because you defeated him in a battle?
Fans of the original games will love this trip down memory lane. After watching the English sub’s version I fully intend to get a physical copy of this anime for my personal collection.
If You’re A Fan Try:
This Pokémon manga does not follow Ash’s world. This manga follows Red (not the same Red from this manga) and his rivals through their adventures in this Pokémon world. This manga very loosely follows the games. I’ve read well into the Gold and Silver portions of this manga, and I have to admit that I enjoyed what I came across.