Manga Review: Pokemon Black and White Volume Four

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

Pokemon Black and White Volume Four 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 4
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 8, 2011

At the beginning of this volume, Black’s Munna suddenly runs off. Shortly after, a strange face appears in the sky and Black is attacked. Black and White are rescued by Professor Fennel and her assistant, Amanita. Professor Fennel studies Pokemon trainers and dreams. Professor Fennel helps Black find his Munna, and they have an unexpected run-in with Team Plasma.

I seem to remember that there was a similar story in the Pokemon Black and White anime dealing with Munna and a professor studying dreams. However, the execution of the story between the two medium was drastically different, in large part due to the different lead characters between them. Overall, I have to say that I believe that the anime version of this story was a little stronger.

The next story takes place in Nacrene City, and White is trying to attract new clients for the BW Agency; unfortunately, Black is hampering her efforts. After recruiting a new client, the client’s accordion is stolen while everyone is away from the set. Black is accused of stealing the accordion, and he must prove his innocence.

Unfortunately, just like with the previous story, the resolution is dependent on Munna’s ability to “eat” Black’s dreams and empty his head of all thoughts. Each time this happens, he is mysteriously able to see the truth behind what’s causing incidents to happen. To me, not only is this rather bizarre, but it’s overused and comes across as a “deus ex machina.”

In the final story of Volume Four, Black challenges Lenora, the leader of the Nacrene City Gym. This story has an anime counterpart, but some of the details have been changed between the two mediums. I haven’t played the video games, but I would suspect the manga telling of these events is a lot closer to the games than the anime telling is. In this case, I would have to say that I liked the manga’s depiction of this story better than the anime version. Unfortunately, the battle isn’t resolved in Volume Four, so you have to read Volume Five in order to find out how it turns out.

When it comes to the art in this volume, I really have to give Yamamoto credit for his depiction of Lenora. Whenever she appears in a panel, she really stands out to the reader in a good way. While Professor Fennel has the occasional panel that makes her stand out, Yamamoto was much more consistent with how Lenora was presented.

Since the Pokemon Black and White volumes are shorter than typical manga, they are a quick read. In this volume, the action is moving. This is an improvement over Volume Three, where the reader felt like they were basically stuck in one story that didn’t seem to progress very much.

If you’ve enjoyed reading the three previous volumes of the Pokemon Black and White manga, you should also enjoy reading Volume Four.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Pokemon Black and White Volume Four that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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