Mato to Launch 4-Panel Manga Spin-off for DARLING in the FRANXX Anime

This year’s sixth issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine has revealed that Mato will draw a four-panel spin-off manga for Studio Trigger and A-1 Pictures’ original science-fiction television anime DARLING in the FRANXX. The manga will be titled DARLING in the FRANXX! (written in the phonetic hiragana alphabet).

The new manga will launch on January 14, 2018 on Shueisha’s Shonen Jump+ website and app and will update on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. It will feature chibi versions of the characters.

Source: ANN

Manga Review: Pokemon Adventures Volume Nine

Pokemon Adventures Volume 9 is written by Hidenori Kusaka and the art was done by Mato. Vizkids, an imprint of Viz Media, holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was done by Gerard Jones, with a translation done by Kaori Inoue. This volume of the manga was published in 2010. Pokemon Adventures is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Adventures Volume 9
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 5, 2010

This volume opens with Gold encountering a mysterious masked opponent, and the two of them have a battle. Gold also has a run-in a Pokémon that paints on his face while he’s asleep; this encounter ends with a chase that leads to DJ Mary, a competition with the Goldenrod Gym Leader, and an encounter with a Sudowoodo. An egg that Gold has been carrying around with him for Professor Elm also hatches in this volume. When Gold takes the hatched egg to a Pokémon day care, this leads to training, a mission to rescue a young girl after an earthquake, and a run-in with Silver. After encountering Silver, we start to learn a little more about what Silver is doing and get a hint into Silver’s past. We also see some appearances from Yellow, Red, and Blue in this volume as well. At the end of the volume, Red is on his way to Mt. Silver, and Yellow is on her way to the Johto region.

The art style is consistent with the previous eight volumes of Pokemon Adventures. For the Pokemon battles that appear in this volume, Mato starts combining the elements of “sound effects” and “busy” panels to illustrate the action that is taking place. There was one character who appeared in here that really didn’t have a good design; this character is a producer for DJ Mary’s radio show. I really didn’t care for how Mato drew the producer’s moustache; to me, it looks more like a scribble than an actual moustache. It almost looks like the Pokemon that Gold chased for drawing on him had drawn a fake moustache on the producer. However, I can say this issue isn’t due to Mato not being able to draw a moustache; later in the volume, one of the people at the Pokemon day care has an actual moustache.

By the end of this volume, there has been some character development done for Silver; this has helped to increase my interest in this particular character. However, I’m still not terribly interested in Gold, who is supposed to be the main protagonist in this arc. Bringing some of the characters back from the earlier arcs does help to make this particular volume a little more interesting. This arc isn’t necessarily bad, but at this point, I don’t think it’s quite as strong as the earlier arcs in the story. However, if you’ve read this far through Pokemon Adventures and have enjoyed it, I would recommend reading this volume as well.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that my son checked out through the King County Library System.

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Manga Review: Pokemon Adventures Volume Eight

Pokemon Adventures Volume 8 is written by Hidenori Kusaka and the art was done by Mato. Vizkids, an imprint of Viz Media, holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was done by Gerard Jones, with a translation done by Kaori Inoue. This edition of the manga was published in 2010. Pokemon Adventures is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Adventures Volume 8
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 3, 2010

This volume begins the Gold and Silver Arc of the Pokemon Adventures manga. In this volume, the only characters from the first seven volumes to make an appearance are Professor Oak and Bill. Instead, the focus is on two new characters: Gold and Silver. Gold is a boy who acts rashly and has a high opinion of his talents. Silver is a boy who appears to be a thief, and ends up becoming Gold’s rival. Gold ends up in the middle of a theft taking place at Professor Elm’s lab, and Gold takes one of Elm’s Pokemon to help track down a Pokemon that was stolen from the lab. Several new Pokemon are also introduced in this volume, including Cyndaquil, Aipom, Teddiursa, Ursaring, Totodile, Unown, and Sunkern. Team Rocket also makes another appearance in this story arc.

The art style is the same was what appeared in the previous seven volumes of Pokemon Adventures. The new hero, Gold, also looks an awful lot like Red from the previous manga volumes; my older daughter tells me that these similarities in design come from the videogames. I found these design similarities between these two characters to be disconcerting when I was reading this volume, because I had to keep reminding myself that I was seeing Gold on the page and not Red. When it comes to the Pokemon battles in the volume, there weren’t many “busy” panels; instead, Mato chose to utilize the Japanese “sound effects” characters to convey the action in the battles.

When it comes to the new elements in this volume, one thing that stood out rather quickly is that the names of all of Gold’s Pokemon end with “bo”: Aibo the Aipom, Exbo the Cyndaquil, Sunbo the Sunkern, and Polibo the Poliwag. Personally, I found this naming gimmick to be so cutesy as to be annoying; in fact, I found this to be a little more annoying than the cutesy gimmick of naming the main characters after colors. I found myself wishing that Gold has a little more originality when it came to naming his Pokemon. I hope the character development gets better in future volumes of this arc, because right now, I’m not quite as interested in this arc as I was in the earlier volumes of Pokemon Adventures. However, I would still recommend this volume of Pokemon Adventures if you have read and appreciated the previous seven volumes in the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that my son checked out through the King County Library System.

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Manga Review: Pokemon Adventures Volume Seven

Pokemon Adventures Volume 7 is written by Hidenori Kusaka and the art was done by Mato. Vizkids, an imprint of Viz Media, holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was done by Gerard Jones, with a translation done by Kaori Inoue. This edition of the manga was published in 2010. Pokemon Adventures is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Adventures Volume 7
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 1, 2010

This volume features the climax of this story arc, which tends to be referred to as the “Yellow” arc. Over the course of this volume, the battles with Lorelei, Bruno, and Agatha are resolved. After these battles are over, there’s still Lance, the final member of the Elite Four, who needs to be defeated. In this volume, we also learn how Green met Yellow, and how this whole arc began in the first place. During the final battle with Lance, Yellow ends up with help from an unexpected person. We also see a mysterious Pokemon that is revealed during the final battle. At the end of the volume, there is the setup for the next arc of the series. Through Green, we are introduced to a new character named Silver, who will end up being one of the main characters in the next arc of Pokemon Adventures.

My son pointed out that the error that was on one of the introductory pages of this volume was not corrected for the introductory pages of this manga volume. Since the next volume begins a new story arc, this error should not appear again. As for the story itself, I was rather satisfied with how this arc ended. While some issues were resolved, there are still some issues that are left open-ended, which provides potential material for the stories that appear in the next arc of the series.

The art style is what I’ve come to expect from reading the previous volumes of the Pokemon Adventures manga. However, since there’s the major battle with Lance near the end of the volume, there are more of the “busy” panels; this is mixed with the sound effect-laden panels that started appearing a little more regularly in the previous volume of the manga. Since the final battle has less dialogue than usual, this section of the book is actually a rather quick read.

I would recommend reading this volume of Pokemon Adventures if you have read and appreciated the previous six volumes in the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that my daughter checked out through the King County Library System.

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Manga Review: Pokemon Adventures Volume Six

Pokemon Adventures Volume 6 is written by Hidenori Kusaka and the art was done by Mato. Vizkids, an imprint of Viz Media, holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was done by Gerard Jones, with a translation done by Kaori Inoue. This edition of the manga was published in 2010. Pokemon Adventures is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Adventures Volume 6
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 6, 2010

This volume sees an unlikely alliance between our heroes (Blue, Yellow, Green, Bill, and Blaine) and Team Rocket commanders/gym leaders Sabrina, Koga, and Lt. Surge. They are broken up into four pairs to find the members of the Elite Four: Yellow and Blaine, Koga and Blue, Green and Sabrina, and Lt. Surge and Bill. Blue and Koga battle with Agatha, Green and Sabrina battle with Lorelei, and Lt. Surge and Bill battle with Bruno. In addition, we see a Bruno have a flashback about his battle with Red, and two important surprises are revealed near the end of the volume. As you read this volume of the manga, it becomes readily apparent that this storyline is wrapping up. I have a feeling that this story will wrap up in Volume 7 or in Volume 8.

My son pointed out a mistake on the introduction pages at the beginning of the manga volume that provides information on the characters and what has gone on previously in the series. He pointed out that the Pokemon named Ratty is labeled as being a Rattata, but this Pokemon evolved into a Raticate in an earlier volume of the series.

The art style in this volume is no different than the art style in the previous five volumes of the series. Even though there’s a lot of battles going on in this volume, the use of “busy” panels with lots of lines to indicate battles isn’t being utilized as much. Instead, the panels are utilizing more “sound effects.” I appreciate this change, because in the early volumes of Pokemon Adventures, the style of the “busy” panels nearly made me dizzy while reading, especially with the amount being used for pages on end. Using the “sound effects” instead is a lot easier on the eyes, and it also makes the manga itself a little easier to follow. Hopefully, Mato will continue using this style for the Pokemon battles in future volumes of Pokemon Adventures.

I would recommend reading this volume of Pokemon Adventures if you have read and appreciated the previous five volumes in the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that my daughter checked out through the King County Library System.

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Manga Review: Pokemon Adventures Volume Five

Pokemon Adventures Volume 5 is written by Hidenori Kusaka and the art was done by Mato. Vizkids, an imprint of Viz Media, holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was done by Gerard Jones, with a translation done by Kaori Inoue. This edition of the manga was published in 2010. Pokemon Adventures is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Adventures Volume 5
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 2, 2010

This volume starts out with Yellow doing some training with Blue; in the process, Yellow acquires a Caterpie, and his Rattata evolves into Raticate. After learning what he can, Yellow tries to go to Vermillion City; however, the boat he’s traveling on is sabotaged by Team Rocket. Yellow learns about the evolutionary stones at the bottom of Vermillion Harbor and tries to locate them. He also has a run-in with Lance, a member of the Elite Four. Green and Bill make an appearance in their own subplot, and some clues start coming to light that could explain what happened to Red. The volume ends with several characters making their way to an island for a final showdown with the Elite Four.

I was glad to see that the issues with mislabeled characters in the information at the front of Volume Four was corrected in this volume. At the end of this volume, there are also several information pages concerning the members of the Elite Four, as well as updated information for Yellow. I found these pages to be rather informative. I also appreciated that Bill’s annoying dialect in his dialogue was scaled back considerably in this volume.

Visually, the art style is in this manga volume continues in the exact same manner as the previous four volumes. While there are Pokemon battles in this volume, I noticed that the amount of “busy” looking panels actually decreased in this volume. The only new character introduced in this volume is Lance. In some respect, Lance’s hair has a little bit of a similarity to Yugi Moto from Yu-Gi-Oh! However, I do have to give credit for how Mato utilizes the characters’ facial expressions to help convey what’s going on in the story.

I would recommend reading this volume of Pokemon Adventures if you have read and appreciated the previous four volumes in the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that my daughter checked out through the King County Library System.

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Manga Review: Pokemon Adventures Volume Four

Pokemon Adventures Volume 4 is written by Hidenori Kusaka and the art was done by Mato. Vizkids, an imprint of Viz Media, holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was done by Gerard Jones, with a translation done by Kaori Inoue. This edition of the manga was published in 2009. Pokemon Adventures is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Adventures Volume 4
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 1, 2009

Two years have passed since the events at the end of Pokemon Adventures Volume 3. Red receives a challenge for a battle, which he accepts and leaves Pallet Town to do so. A month passes, and Red does not return home; also, no one has heard from during that time. However, Red’s Pikachu (named Pika) suddenly arrives at Professor Oak’s lab, and Pika looks rather battered. Shortly after Pika’s appearance, a mysterious boy in a big straw hat also appears; he’s been following Pikachu. It turns out the boy’s name is Yellow, and he’s trying to look for Red. This manga volume follows Yellow and Pika’s adventures as they go on their journey to locate Red.

My kids and I both noticed that in the information section included at the front of this volume, some of the characters are mislabeled. Brock is labeled as Lt. Surge, Misty is labeled as Koga, Erika is labeled as Sabrina, and Blaine is labeled as Giovanni. It would have been nice if the editor of this volume had caught this mistake before this manga volume went to press. Outside of that, however, everything else seems to be correct.

Visually, the art style is in this manga volume continues in the exact same manner as the previous three volumes. There are plenty of Pokemon battles that take place in the story, so there are more of the “busy” panels with a lot going on in them. I have to say that I really like the art style for Yellow, because it really fits with his kind and caring personality. However, I really don’t like the design for Bruno, because he looks too much like Brock. When I first saw him, I assumed he was Brock until another character referenced him by name. Since I haven’t read further in the series, I don’t know if there is any kind of significance to the physical similarities between Brock and Bruno. I guess I’ll have to read on and see.

I would recommend reading this volume of Pokemon Adventures if you have read and appreciated the previous three volumes in the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that my son checked out through the King County Library System.

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Manga Review: Pokemon Adventures Volume Three

Pokemon Adventures Volume 3 continues the story from where the second volume of Pokemon Adventures left off. This volume of the manga had the story written by Hidenori Kusaka and the art was done by Mato. Vizkids, an imprint of Viz Media, holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was done by Gerard Jones, with a translation done by Kaori Inoue. This edition of the manga was published in 2009. Pokemon Adventures is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Adventures Volume 3
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 6, 2009

This volume starts out with Red and Blue joining forces, albeit reluctantly, to rescue the kidnapped Professor Oak from Saffron City. Green manages to join in the proceedings without the boys realizing it at first. The three Pokemon trainers find themselves battling against three gym leaders who are members of Team Rocket; these gym leaders each have control one of the Legendary Pokemon. The next arc in the manga has Red encountering Blaine, who is trying to bring Mewtwo (a creature he created with help from a cell from Mew) under control; the two must work together to bring this Pokemon under control. Next, Red goes to Viridian City and learns the identity of the leader of Team Rocket. The final arc in this volume shows Red, Blue, and Green competing in the Pokemon League championships at the Indigo Plateau. This volume of the manga also presents an important piece of the backstory for the character of Green.

This volume of Pokemon Adventures basically culminates the elements we had seen in the previous volumes in order to tie everything together. After wrapping up the main storyline, the climax is reached with the final battle in the Pokemon League championship. According to a teaser at the end of this volume, the next volume is set two years in the future. I appreciate seeing that the manga version of Pokemon is willing to let the characters age; this is such a refreshing change from the anime series, where the characters never seem to age at all. Allowing the characters to age in the manga helps to add more of a sense of “realism” to the story, which is something that’s missing from the anime version.

Visually, the art style of this manga continues in the same manner as the previous volumes. And since this volume includes the final battle of the Pokemon League championships, the “busy” panels I’ve mentioned in my previous two reviews are more pronounced. I understand that this style is being done for the battle to build up the intensity, but when this “busy” style is prevalent for several pages in a row, it can be a little hard on the eyes to follow what exactly is going on.

I would recommend reading this volume of Pokemon Adventures if you have read and appreciated the previous two volumes in the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that my older daughter checked out through the King County Library System.

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Manga Review: Pokemon Adventures Volume Two

Pokemon Adventures Volume 2 picks up from where the first volume of Pokemon Adventures leaves off. This volume of the manga had the story written by Hidenori Kusaka and the art was done by Mato. Vizkids, an imprint of Viz Media, holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was done by Gerard Jones, with a translation done by Kaori Inoue. This edition of the manga was published in 2009. Pokémon Adventures is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Adventures Volume 2
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 4, 2009

This volume introduces a female character named Green, a character who appears in the video games, but does not have an anime series counterpart. Green is a con artist and a thief, and her first appearance is when she cons Red out of money for worthless Pokémon items. As the story in this volume of the manga progresses, Red ends up entangled in Green’s scheme to find the legendary Pokemon, Mew. We also see the leader of Team Rocket and are able to identify who he is; however, Red encounters him but has no clue as to his identity. A character who is first introduced in volume one, but who has a bigger role in volume two is Bill; he’s a Pokémon researcher who invented the Pokemon transport system. To be honest, I found the character of Bill and his dialect to be rather annoying. I really wish he won’t show up in future volumes, but I have a feeling that he will. Near the end of volume two, a female member of Team Rocket appears. To me, she comes across as a more competent version of Jessie from the anime series.

At this point in the manga, the storyline in the series has completely veered away from what was seen in the Pokemon anime series and films. However, the manga’s storyline is progressing in a way that makes sense for the Pokemon world that is established in this series. The art style continues in the same vein as what was seen in the first volume of the series. In a lot of ways, the “busy” panels I complained about in the review of the first volume of Pokemon Adventures seem to be more prevalent in the second volume of the series.

If you enjoyed the first volume of Pokemon Adventures, then I would recommend moving on to the second volume to see how the storyline progresses. While I may personally prefer the anime series, I believe that the manga does provide a different, yet interesting, take on Pokemon.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that my older daughter checked out through the King County Library System.

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Manga Review: Pokemon Adventures Volume One

Pokemon Adventures is a manga based on the Pokemon video games. For the first volume of the manga, the story was written by Hidenori Kusaka and the art was done by Mato. Vizkids, an imprint of Viz Media, holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was done by Gerard Jones, with a translation done by Kaori Inoue. This edition of the manga was published in 2008. Pokemon Adventures is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Adventures Volume 1
Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 2, 2009

My main familiarity with Pokemon comes from the anime series, so this manga has a very different feel for the Pokemon property for me. Instead of Ash, the main character is named Red; however, the way he is dressed, it’s obvious that he’s the equivalent of Ash Ketchum. His rival, Blue, is the manga and video game equivalent of Gary Oak. Professor Oak, Misty, and Brock also appear in this volume; they look rather similar to their anime counterparts, and also have the same names. The cities that Red visits match the cities in Kanto that Ash visits in the anime series.

If you are familiar with the Pokemon anime series, you will notice some similarities in the elements between the anime and the manga, but the story being told is rather different. There are also some differences between the elements that appear between these two different media. For example, the Poke Balls in the manga have a clear top, so a trainer can see exactly which Pokemon is in the ball. To me, this idea makes sense. I’d always wondered in the anime how a Pokemon trainer would know which Pokemon is in a ball that he or she throws out, since there’s no way to see which Pokemon is inside, and there’s no visible markings that label which Pokemon is in which Poke Ball.

Another difference is that Red doesn’t start out with Pikachu. At the beginning of the manga, he already has a Poliwhirl. He encounters Pikachu later, and it takes longer for Red and Pikachu to establish a relationship than it did for Ash and Pikachu to establish one in the anime. Team Rocket also makes a significant appearance in the manga; however, Jessie, James, and Meowth have not made any appearances when Team Rocket shows up. One other difference I noticed is the fact that the manga acknowledges that the Pokemon creatures do eventually die; this is something that the anime never even touches on. Near the end of the first volume of Pokemon Adventures, Red encounters a man who is mourning the death of his Pokemon creature at a grave.

The art style is definitely unique when compared to the anime series. Overall, the layout of the manga looks pretty decent, except for when there’s a scene with major action going on. This would be in regards to some of the Pokemon battles, especially when fighting with Team Rocket. In these more action heavy scenes, some of the pages look rather “busy,” which includes more text that is usually bigger than the other text that appears in the manga. These “busy” panels can be a little distracting and jarring when you’re reading the manga.

If you decide to read Pokemon Adventures and are already familiar with the anime series, you need to try to go into these manga volumes without expecting what you saw in the anime. If you already have familiarity with the Pokemon video games, then it’s likely that the changes between the manga and the anime probably won’t be nearly as jarring as they were for me. Even with that, I thought the manga has a very interesting take on the Pokemon universe.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that my older daughter checked out through the King County Library System.

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