Manga Review: Pokemon Black and White Volume One

Article first published as Manga Review: Pokemon Black and White Volume One by Hidenori Kusaka on Blogcritics.

Pokemon Black and White Volume One is a manga based on the Pokemon Black and Pokemon White video games. The manga was written by Hidenori Kusaka, and the art was done by Satoshi Yamamoto. Viz Media released this manga in North America through its VizKids imprint in 2011. Pokemon Black and White is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Black and White Volume 1
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 5, 2011

The main character of Pokemon Black and White is a boy from the Unova region named Black, and he’s obsessed with going to the Pokemon League and winning. He, along with Bianca and Cheren, have been assigned by Professor Juniper to take Pokedexes around the region and to fill them with information about the various Pokemon in the Unova region.

Professor Juniper tries to send the three starter Pokemon to them, but Black gets to the delivery before Bianca and Cheren. Black takes a Pokedex, as well as the starter Pokemon called Tepig, and heads out on his journey. Unfortunately, the other two Pokedexes are damaged, so his two friends are left behind. As Black is on his way to Striaton City to challenge the gym there, he encounters another Pokemon trainer and has his first Pokemon trainer battle.

During this volume, we learn that Black’s head is so full of his dream of becoming a Pokemon champion, that he needs his Munna to eat his dream to empty his head and help him focus on what’s going on. His mind becomes white and completely blank, which enables him to take in what’s in front of him and his blank mind turns black. However, Black’s dream is so strong that it comes back again. Personally, I found this plot device to be one of the strangest I’ve ever seen in the various Pokemon manga series.

The first thing I noticed with this volume of Pokemon Black and White is how thin it is in comparison to the Pokemon Adventures and the Pokemon Adventures Diamond and Pearl Platinum series. It’s definitely a shorter volume when compared to these other series, and it’s a very quick read. Personally, I found this shorter length to be a little on the disappointing side. By the time I finished this volume, I felt that so much character development had taken place in this short volume, and that there wasn’t much room for any real story progression to take place.

However, I have to say that the Pokemon Black and White series contains some of the best artwork that Satoshi Yamamoto has done for the Pokemon manga franchise. Of all of the characters that I’ve met in the series up to this point, I would have to say that Professor Juniper has the best design, and that she looks the most “realistic” out of the characters.

If you’re a fan of the Pokemon games or the Pokemon manga, you might enjoy the fact that this is a continuation of the Pokemon franchise or you might be frustrated by the shorter length of the manga volumes and the storytelling being used for this manga series.

I wrote this review after my older daughter checked out a copy of Pokemon Black and White Volume One through the King County Library System.

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