Sunday, December 31

Pokémon Adventures Vol.3 Review

Written by Hidenori Kusaka
Art by Mato
Published by VIZ Media, LLC, San Francisco, CA (2009)
ISBN: 978-1-4215-3056-7

Volume 3 of the Pokémon Adventures manga sees Red, Blue, and Green take on the villainous Team Rocket in a climatic final showdown. Vol.3 covers what would be the final part of the Red and Blue GameBoy games. Is this final chapter in the Red and Blue story as impressive as the games they’re based around or is it another disappointing step-down in quality?

We begin the story right where Volume 2 left us. With Red and Blue finding Pallet town empty and Professor Oak’s lab destroyed. Red has been told by Sabrina, the Psychic gym leader, to come to Safron City in order to face off against Team Rocket once and for all. The two make their way to the city and find Green also trying to gain entry. All three team up and make their way to the Silph co building. It’s here that they have to face off against the 3 corrupted gym leaders that have been causing so much trouble for the people of Kanto. This is a fantastic showdown and one that feels really well earned. Red, Blue, and Green are in Safron City for 6 chapters and each one is fantastic. I honestly wish that the original games had connected the gym leaders and Team Rocket together like this. It feels like such a natural way to connect the two plot points.

After this Red makes his way out of Safron City and into Cerulean City to help Blaine take on the escaped MewTwo. Similar to the games this clone Pokémon is hiding out in the Cerulean Caves but unlike the games he is not doing so peacefully. The northern section of the town has been destroyed by MewTwo’s Psychic powers. I love this as it gives Red and Blaine both a reason to go after MewTwo other than just wanting to collect a rare and powerful monster. I don’t want to spoil the plot, but I also like how this story ends. I love this version of Red, he’s far from the strong and silent character we know from the games. He is very confident and outspoken but also naturally empathetic and caring to both the people and Pokémon around him. 

We see this strong but gentle side of Red even more when he has to face the final gym leader, and the mysterious boss of Team Rocket, Giovanni. This is a difficult fight for Red but one that was amazing fun to see come to life via the amazing art of Mato. I’ve been gushing about how much I love this art style in each review and I’m not about to stop now. Volume 3 is easily the highlight of this style as it raises to meet the climatic finale of the Red and Blue story. Each battle here is epic with more at stake than at any other point in the story. Mato’s artwork becomes more dramatic and moodier, with really vivid battles that make wonderful use of sharp lines and dark shadows. I’ve read a lot of comics in my time and honestly, I didn’t think black and white art had the ability to get this intense.

After the Giovanni battle, we begin the Indigo League championships. A fun fact about the Pokémon Red and Blue games is that Professor Oak was supposed to fight the player after they had defeated both the Elite 4 and the champion. This idea was recycled in the manga as the championship comes down to Red, Blue, Green, and Professor Oak. It’s here that we get the resolution to Green’s story. She has to face off against Professor Oak in the semi-finals and it’s here that she has to atone for stealing Squirtle. I don’t want to go into this too much but it’s a fun addition to the story. I love how it brings back the scrapped idea of having to fight Professor Oak during the Indigo League. Then we have Red and Blue’s final showdown, the battle that will decide, once and for all, who’s the better Pokémon trainer. What I love about this confrontation is that it’s more than just a contest of strength. We get to see how both Red and Blue have grown throughout their journeys. We’re shown flashbacks to previous chapters that reveal where they learnt the skills and understanding that is on show during this fight. It’s a fantastic way to wrap up the Red and Blue era of the manga. While Red and Blue started as bitter rivals, we get to see in this final showdown how much they have grown to respect each other. The story ends with the two becoming more than rivals, they become friends.

Volume 3 is the end of the story from the Red and Blue games which means it’s the end of an era. The story does continue into Volume 4 that from what I understand tells the story of the Pokémon Yellow game. This will be interesting to read as this game was just a remake of Red and Blue. I’m interested in seeing where Hidenori Kusaka takes his new version of this amazing world. That being said, it’s time to summarise what I thought of this volume.

To be blunt, Volume 3 is the best of the first 3 volumes but only because it takes what came before it and ties it all together. This feels like the ending of an era, it’s epic, there is a lot at stake, and the characters all grow into the best versions of themselves. The problem of Red teleporting across Kanto is also resolved with his path across the region now making complete sense. Pokémon Adventures Volume 1-3 are easily the best interpretation of this story. If you’re a fan of Pokémon’s first generation then you really owe it to yourself to give these a read!


No comments:

Post a Comment