Manga Review: Pokemon Black and White Volume 16

Pokemon Black and White Volume 16 is a manga based on the Pokemon Black and Pokemon White video games. The series focuses on two Pokemon trainers: a boy named Black and a girl named White. Black dreams of winning the Pokemon League, and White’s dream is working with Pokemon in showbiz. But after her Tepig Gigi decides to stay with N, the leader of Team Plasma, White trains in order to participate in Pokemon Battles.

Pokemon Black and White Volume 16
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 3, 2014

In Volume 16, Black, White, and Professor Juniper’s father are battling with N. N starts espousing his talk about liberating Pokemon and how trainers can’t understand their Pokemon. This talk muddles Black’s brain. When Munna tries to eat his dream, it doesn’t want to eat it because the flavor has changed. Munna then leaves, and Black falls unconscious.

When Black awakens, Munna’s desertion causes him to start doubting himself and whether or not he’s ready to become a Pokemon champion. Black also feels that he’s gotten in way over his head between Team Plasma, the orb, and Legendary Pokemon. Black plans to give up on his dream since he only managed to get seven badges. I have to say that this was probably some of the best character development I’ve seen in Pokemon Black and White, and I genuinely felt bad for Black.

The Pokemon League Championships are about to begin, even though Alder has disappeared. Black sees the news coverage and wistfully talks about wishing he was there. And with some prodding from his Pokemon, Black decides to take on Drayden in order to earn his eighth badge and enter the championship…

Compared to some of the more recent volumes, Volume 16 is less action-packed and more character-driven. But I think this is a good thing, because this allows the reader to get to see that there’s more to Black than the cocky kid who’d appeared in the series up to this point. The one major drawback to how small these volumes are is the fact that it takes longer for character development to happen, and the action feels like it’s taking longer than it really is.

There’s obviously still a ways to go in the story, but getting to the Pokemon League Championships is a step in the right direction toward bringing this series to an end. Volume 16 ends with the eight finalists being selected, so I suspect that Volume 17 will focus very heavily on their eight finalists’ Pokemon battles, and will end up being another action heavy volume.

Fans of the series who have enjoyed reading it up to this point will probably also enjoy reading Pokemon Black and White Volume 16.

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