Manga Review: Pokemon Adventures Volume 26

Pokemon Adventures Volume 26 introduces a new character named Emerald, as well as the Battle Frontier.

Pokemon Adventures Volume 26
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: January 6, 2015

Volume 26 opens with a reporter who has come to cover the opening ceremony for the Battle Frontier angering a Sudowoodo and being rescued by an unconventional Pokemon trainer named Emerald. What makes this particular trainer unconventional is the fact that he doesn’t have any Pokemon of his own, even though he enjoys Pokemon battles.

I have to admit that when I first saw Emerald, I assumed he was actually a girl. So when Emerald was referred to as a “he,” I was genuinely surprised. At first glance, there are a couple of elements of Emerald’s design that make him look more feminine: the hairstyle makes his facial features look more feminine and his baggy clothing has a design that made me think feminine as well. When I first saw just how long the sleeves on Emerald’s shirt were, I found myself wondering why he couldn’t get better-fitting clothes. There’s a revelation that’s made later in Volume 26 that explains why his clothes have to be so baggy. After getting this explanation, this design choice made a lot more sense.

When Emerald goes to register for the Battle Frontier, he becomes lost and ends up in an area that’s not supposed to be accessible in the public. In the process, he encounters one of the Frontier Brains who’s running late for the ceremony. After getting past the Frontier Brain, Emerald accidentally crashes the opening ceremony and demands to challenge the Battle Frontier. Since Emerald made this declaration on live television, the Frontier Brains agree to the challenge, with the stipulation that Emerald must defeat all seven of them.

Once Emerald begins his challenges, the primary focus is on his first one. For this first challenge, Emerald must defeat Noland in the Battle Factory. While this battle sees the challenger using rental Pokemon, the pacing and the progression of this battle is what I’ve come to expect from the Pokemon Adventures manga series. The outcome of the battle is also what I’ve come to expect.

Right at the end of Volume 26, Emerald arrives at the Battle Pike to challenge Lucy. The battle is just about to start when the story stops, so I can’t comment on what this battle is like. I should be able to say more about Emerald and Lucy’s battle after I read the next volume in the series.

After reading Pokemon Adventures Volume 26, I have to say that at this point, Emerald isn’t doing much for me as a character. To me, he comes across as being an annoying loudmouth, and nothing is presented here that makes me want to care about Emerald or become interested in his character. Hopefully future volumes will do something to develop Emerald as a character. Otherwise, this portion of Pokemon Adventures will be more of a chore for me to read instead of something I’m appreciating or enjoying.

The only thing going in this volume’s favor is that it’s setting up and explaining the Battle Frontier. Thanks to the screwy publishing order that VIZ Media has had for the Pokemon Adventures series, I’ve already seen the Battle Frontier in Pokemon Adventures Diamond and Pearl Platinum, which is supposed to come later in the timeline than the Emerald portion of Pokemon Adventures. Since these sections of the story were released in a different order in North America, readers who read Pokemon Adventures Diamond and Pearl Platinum had the Battle Frontier presented to them with little to no explanation. Volume 26 finally fills in this missing gap, and I’m starting to better understand what I had seen in Pokemon Adventures Diamond and Pearl Platinum.

Readers who are fans of the Pokemon Adventures manga series or are fans of the Pokemon video games that the manga is based on will probably enjoy reading Pokemon Adventures Volume 26. But for more casual fans, like me, Volume 26 may not be as enjoyable of a read as you were expecting or hoping.

The reviewer wrote this review after reading a copy of this item that was checked out through the King County Library System.

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