Manga Review: Pokemon Black and White Volume Two

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

Pokemon Black and White Volume Two 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 2
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 5, 2011

In this volume, we meet a young woman named White. She works for the BW Agency, which provides Pokemon performers for television series, films, commercials, theatrical plays, and print ads. While on the set for a commercial, White learns that a mistake was made by one of her assistants, so she only has a female Tepig instead of both a male and a female Tepig for their next gig. Black shows up on the set and creates a scene, and White hatches a plan in order to make Black her employee so she can use his Tepig. The two Tepigs work so well together that Black and White continue to work together.

During their travels, they have a run-in with a Timburr and a group with building permits to erect a structure where they have camped out. The next morning, they discover a stage has been erected on that spot, and a presentation is put on by Ghetsis from Team Plasma. This group believes that Pokemon have essentially become servants for their trainers, and that Pokemon should be set free. Black tries to track down the group, and has a run-in with their leader.

While this volume still has the thinner size that Volume One has, a lot more happens in this volume to progress the story. I also found the idea of Team Plasma fighting for the liberation of Pokemon to be an interesting concept to appear in the series, since this idea has not really been addressed much in the Pokemon franchise prior to this point. There could be a lot of possibilities with this concept, so it will be interesting to see how Kusaka ends up executing it.

The introduction of White really brings some direction to this series. I have to admit that by the time I finished Volume One, it felt like it was going to be a typical story about a hot-headed trainer getting a Pokedex and going out to gather information for the region’s professor. While this is Black’s main objective, his meeting White and getting involved with show business brought something new to the table and made this volume a more interesting read.

Yamamoto’s art continues the impressive look that I saw in Volume One. White is a very well-designed character, and is almost equal with Professor Juniper in the realism department. In many respects, I think White’s look overshadows Black’s; this is especially true when they appear in panels together.

Overall, I would have to say that Pokemon Black and White Volume Two is an improvement over Volume One. However, it’s not quite as strong as the original Pokemon Adventures manga series.

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

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