Manga Review: Pokemon Black and White Volume 17

Pokemon Black and White Volume 17 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 17
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 5, 2014

Volume 17 opens with the quarterfinals for the Pokemon League Championships. Black and his opponent, Lou Karr, are the first up. After a little bit of a battle, Black beats Lou to move on. Later, it’s revealed that Lou Karr is actually Looker in disguise, and he’s trying to locate the seven sages.

I found it kind of amusing to see Looker show up in the Unova region, since it wasn’t that long ago that I read Pokemon Adventures Diamond and Pearl Platinum Volume 11, and a reference was made to Looker being called to the Unova region to investigate the seven sages. In my review for that volume, I said, “It makes me wonder if at some point during the Pokemon Black and White manga series, Looker will make a re-appearance as he’s trying to track down the Seven Sages.” It looks like Volume 17 of Pokemon Black and White answered my question!

Cheren is in a battle and easily wins, and Black notices that his childhood friend’s behavior has changed drastically. Like Black, I wonder what’s brought about this change in Cheren. Hopefully a future volume of Pokemon Black and White will answer that question.

The other two challengers to progress in the quarterfinals are the mysterious Hood Man and Iris. After Iris’ win, the volume changes its focus from the tournament to three Pokemon: Terrakion, Virizion, and Cobalion. Three members of Team Plasma try to capture these Pokemon, but are unsuccessful. The reader is also introduced to Keldeo, a Pokemon who is training under the other three. We’d already seen Terrakion, Virizion, and Cobalion in an earlier volume of the series, and I suspect that they will somehow play an important role as the story progresses. I suspect Keldeo will as well, although at this point in the story, this Pokemon is depicted as being young and eager and not quite ready to truly fight with the others.

Right at the end of the volume, the same three members of Team Plasma we saw earlier are found by Cilan, Cress, and Chili, and a battle ensues.

As I predicted in my review for Volume 16, Volume 17 had a strong focus on the quarterfinals for the Pokemon League Championships. However, it wasn’t entirely as action-packed as I thought it would be. This is primarily due to the fact that only slightly over half of the volume focuses on this point in the story. After this, it’s primarily Terrakion, Virizion, and Cobalion talking, with only a couple of action sequences with the members of Team Plasma.

From the write-up at the end of this volume to preview Volume 18, it looks like the series will be returning its focus to the Pokemon League Championships. It also teases a potentially interesting battle between two of the characters. At this point, I’m most interested in seeing how the story around the Pokemon League Championships will evolve.

Fans of the series who have enjoyed reading it up to this point will probably also enjoy reading Pokemon Black and White Volume 17.

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