Manga Review: “Pokemon Black and White” Volume 20

Pokemon Black and White Volume 20 presents the conclusion of the story arc that takes place in the Unova region.

Pokemon Black and White Volume 20

Written by: Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 3, 2015

Volume 20 opens with the battle going on between Zekrom (alongside N) and Reshiram (alongside Black). In order to be able to battle with Reshiram, Black must first figure out what’s in Reshiram’s heart. He’s fortunate to get some help in the form of having data installed on his Pokedex from research that has been gathered on the two Legendary Pokemon.

When I saw Looker and a couple of other characters getting into a hot air balloon, I was really wondering what the point of it was, since there was no way for them to truly help out, even with the Pokemon they had brought up with them. But when I saw that one of the passengers asked Black to hand him his Pokedex in order to add information, I understood that the hot air balloon was actually an important plot point. Once Black gets that information, he’s able to take it and turn the battle around.

But Black learns the battle isn’t over when he’s confronted by Ghetsis, the leader of Team Plasma. Over the course of this final battle, some truths about N and Team Plasma are revealed.

While most of Pokemon Black and White Volume 20 focuses on Black, White also has an important scene as well. In her scene, we learn what N had done before heading off to his final battle, as well as receive backstory on N’s childhood and how he ended up becoming part of Team Plasma. White also has a reunion with Gigi, her former Pokemon who went off with N in an earlier volume of Pokemon Black and White.

I appreciated getting the backstory on N, but I kind of wish we could have somehow gotten it a little earlier than we did. If this backstory had been revealed earlier, I would have more than likely found myself caring more about N in the long run. The way the story was written for the manga, N’s redemption almost felt like it was “too little, too late.”

And I have to say that I’m not entirely happy with how the Pokemon Black and White series concluded. It ends with a character having a change of heart, and Black and the others just watch this character ride off into the sunset. While this was an OK ending, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. When the other arcs in the Pokemon manga ended, we were usually provided a kind of “epilogue” to show where the characters are at a little later after the final, climactic battle. Here, we didn’t get that. Instead, the reader is left to come up with their own ideas as to what happened. To me, it’s a little easier to guess what happens to White than what happens to Black. While Black may have ultimately defeated the baddies, I’m not sure that really counts as fulfilling his dream to win the Pokemon League. And since we don’t get to see anything beyond the final battle, the reader never learns whether or not Black truly achieved his goal.

As a reader, I admit to feeling a little cheated by this rather abrupt ending. I found myself wondering, “I spent all this time following these characters, and this is all that it led up to?” Oh well.

Readers who have enjoyed the Pokemon Black and White series and already have familiarity with the video games it’s based on may have an easier time accepting Pokemon Black and White Volume 20 and the ending of the series than I did.

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

New Manga Releases: February 3, 2015

Here are the new manga releases for February 3, 2015. If you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Assassination Classroom GN 2
Black Rose Alice GN 3
Bleach GN 63
Blood Blockade Battlefront GN 7
A Centaur’s Life GN 5
Food Wars! GN 4
Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends GN 10
Happy Marriage?! GN 10 (18+)
High School Debut Omnibus GN 5
Honey Blood: Tale Zero GN
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan GN 25
One Piece Omnibus GN 11
Pokémon Black and White GN 20
Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Coccon of Destruction GN
Spell of Desire GN 3 (18+)
Toriko GN 26
Voice Over! Seiyu Academy GN 9
The Wallflower GN 34
World Trigger GN 4
Yu-Gi-Oh! Omnibus GN 1
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal GN 6

Manga Review: “Pokemon Black and White” Volume 19

Pokemon Black and White Volume 19 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 Perfect Square imprint in 2014. Pokemon Black and White is rated “A,” which means that it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Black and White 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.

Volume 19 opens with the battle between Chili, Cress, and Cilan and the Shadow Triad. At first, it looks the Shadow Triad have the upper hand, but Chili, Cress, and Cilan receive some unexpected help from Keldeo and Cobalion. Even though the action here is good and it’s an important battle, my favorite part of this scene is seeing the flashback sequence when Lenora makes Chili, Cress, and Cilan gym leaders. I thought this made for some nice character development for these characters, and it explains why all three of them are gym leaders.

The remainder of the volume takes place at the Pokemon League Championships. Black has won the championships, but the crowds had to be evacuated due to Team Plasma crashing the event. The light stone has also evolved into Reshiram. Meanwhile, Brycen is captured by Team Plasma and is imprisoned with the other Gym Leaders.

N makes an appearance at the stadium with Zekrom, and Hood Man returns and shows that he has the Legendary Pokemon. The volume ends with N and Zekrom getting ready to face off with Black and Reshiram.

Even though there was a more serious tone to this volume and it was more focused on building up the story to get closer to its conclusion, there was a line of dialogue in this scene that made me chuckle when I saw it. The line itself was amusing, but the fact that a Legendary Pokemon delivered it made it even more funny than it would have been if the line had been delivered by one of the human characters.

As the volume progressed, I was getting the sense that the end had to be getting closer; the arrival of N and Resihram only reinforced that idea to me. So when I saw that the teaser text for Volume 20 included the words, “final volume,” I wasn’t surprised. But from the description for the next volume, it feels like that either a lot may have to be squeezed into that final volume or that the ending will have to be rushed in order to fit everything in.

I missed seeing White since she didn’t make any kind of appearance in Volume 19. The teaser text for Volume 20 says that she will be involved in the story, so I hope she has a major role to play. Over the course of the series, White seemed to go from being Black’s co-star to being a less important character for the overall story, and I have found that to be rather disappointing.

At this point, I’m just hoping that Pokemon Black and White can receive a satisfactory conclusion to make the journey through these volumes worth it.

VIZ Media Makes Holiday Shopping for Your Favorite Anime and Manga Fan Easy With New Comprehensive Gift Guide

VIZ Media presents a specially curated selection of anime releases and manga titles to suit a wide array of tastes this holiday season. Fans can review the entire list of suggested titles at: www.viz.com/holiday.

In addition, members of the VIZ Media team created a video spotlighting a few of their top holiday picks at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFXHPWcySwo.

Fans can highlight wish lists with a variety of anime releases, including Limited Edition Box Sets available on DVD and Blu-ray, such as:

SAILOR MOON Season 1 Part 1 Limited Edition DVD & Blu-ray Combo Pack Box Set

(PRE-ORDER) SAILOR MOON Season 1 Part 2 DVD & Blu-ray Combo Pack Box Set – Releases in February 2015

RANMA 1/2 Sets 1-4 – Limited Edition Blu-ray and/or DVD and/or Blu-ray Limited Edition Box Sets

BLOOD LAD: THE COMPLETE SERIES – DVD and/or Blu-ray Box Sets

GARGANTIA ON THE VERDUROUS PLANET COMPLETE SERIES – DVD and/or Blu-ray Box Sets

NARUTO THE MOVIE: ROAD TO NINJA – DVD and/or Blu-ray Set

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN THE MOVIE: BLOOD PRISON – DVD and/or Blu-ray Set

NARUTO TRIPLE FEATURE DVD Release – Features NINJA CLASH IN THE LAND OF SNOW, LEGEND OF THE STONE OF GELEL, and GUARDIANS OF THE CRESCENT MOON KINGDOM

BLEACH DOUBLE FEATURE DVD Release – Features BLEACH THE MOVIE: MEMORIES OF NOBODY and BLEACH THE MOVIE 2: THE DIAMONDDUST REBELLION

Manga fans have a wide variety of titles and series box sets that add plenty of excitement to the holiday reading season, including:

Pokémon Adventures Ruby & Sapphire MANGA Box Set

Pokémon Adventures Diamond & Pearl/Platinum MANGA Box Set

Pokémon Black & White MANGA Box Set 2

THE LEGEND OF Zelda Box Set

Voltron From Days of Long Ago: A 30th Anniversary Celebration

Hello Kitty, Hello 40

The Art of Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke: The First Story

Bakuman。 MANGA Box Set

Black Bird MANGA Box Set

Death Note MANGA Box Set

Ouran High School Host Club MANGA Box Set

Vampire Knight MANGA Box Set 2

One Piece MANGA Box Set 2

Fullmetal Alchemist MANGA Box Set

Readers that prefer to enjoy their manga digitally are invited to take advantage of special bundles and holiday pricing on entire story arcs of several popular series. VIZ Media’s digital story arc promotion is available on VIZManga.com, until January 1, 2015.

ONE PIECE, East Blue Saga Vols. 1-11
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $44.00 for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

NARUTO, The Test of a Ninja Vols. 1-16
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $64.00 for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

BLEACH, Reaper’s Road Vols. 1-21
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $84.00 for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

SHAMAN KING, Spirit Voyage Vols. 1-15
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $60.00 for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

ZOMBIE POWDER, Vols. 1-4
Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens
Cost: $8.00 for the entire bundle at $1.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

THE EARL AND THE FAIRY, The Journey to the Fairy Kingdom Vols. 1-4
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $8.00 for the entire bundle at $1.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

DEATH NOTE © 2003 by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA Inc.

New Manga Releases: December 2, 2014

Here are the new manga releases for December 2, 2014. If you see any errors or omissions, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Alice in the Country of Joker: Nightmare Trilogy GN 2
Assassination Classroom GN 1
Dragon Ball Omnibus GN 7
Food Wars! GN 3
Happy Marriage?! GN 9 (18+)
Honey Blood GN 2
Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You) GN 20
Knights of Sidonia GN 12
Manga Dogs GN 2
Millennium Snow GN 4
Naruto GN 68
New Lone Wolf & Cub GN 3 [this title is being released on December 3, 2014]
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan GN 24
Pokémon Black and White GN 19
Pokémon XY GN 1
Sankarea: Undying Love GN 10
Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign GN 3
Toriko GN 25
Vampire Knight: Fleeting Dreams GN
World Trigger GN 3
Voice Over! Seiyu Academy GN 8
Yukarism GN 1

Manga Review: “Pokemon Black and White” Volume 18

Pokemon Black and White Volume 18 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 Perfect Square imprint in 2014. Pokemon Black and White is rated “A,” which means that it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Black and White 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.

Volume 18 focuses on the Pokemon League Championships. First, there’s a match between Black and Iris; not only do we get to see the match between these two, we also see a flashback of Iris’ that provides some background and character development for her. After seeing this backstory, it made me realize that I like the Iris that appears in the videogame and manga much more than the Iris that’s portrayed in the Pokemon anime. I feel her character is much stronger and better developed here when compared to her anime counterpart.

White is also important in this volume as she tries to investigate Hood Man. While White is doing this, we see Inspector Looker watching her investigation. Looker’s appearance in the Unova region had been hinted at during the end of the Pokemon Adventures Diamond and Pearl Platinum manga series, so it’s nice to see that VIZ’s Pokemon Black and White releases that have come out since the final volume of Pokemon Adventures Diamond and Pearl Platinum have included Looker in them. I don’t know if this was simply a coincidence, or if VIZ Media had tried to time the releases to work out that way. Either way, I have to say that this was well played.

Up to now, it had also been hinted that something was different about Black’s friend, Cheren. After Cheren wins his match and becomes Black’s competitor for the finals, the truth about Cheren and his recent behavior are revealed. I hadn’t predicted the reason for Cheren’s change, but I should have known that it would somehow tie in with Team Plasma. Near the end of the volume, something surprising happens during Black and Cheren’s battle; it’s also hinted that something major is about to happen.

Unfortunately, since this volume focused exclusively on the Pokemon League Championships, we didn’t get to see anything in regards to what happened to Cilan, Cress, and Chili with their battle against three members of Team Plasma. However, since I did mention in my review for Volume 17 that I was most interested in seeing how the story around the Pokemon League Championships would evolve, I wasn’t disappointed in how this volume focused on that aspect.

Fans of the series who have enjoyed reading it up to this point will probably also enjoy reading Pokemon Black and White Volume 18.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Pokemon Black and White Volume 18 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

New Manga Releases: October 7, 2014

Here are the new manga releases for October 7, 2014. If you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Apple and Honey GN (18+)
Food Wars! GN 2
Happy Marriage?! GN 8 (18+)
Honey Blood GN 1
Kamisama Kiss GN 16
Knights of Sidonia GN 11
Manga Dogs GN 1
Missions of Love GN 9
My Love Story!! GN 2
Naruto GN 67
Natsume’s Book of Friends GN 17
A New Season of Young Leaves GN (18+)
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan GN 23
One Piece Omnibus GN 10
Oresama Teacher GN 17
Pokémon Adventures: Platinum GN Box Set
Pokémon Black and White GN 18
Strike Witches: 1937 Fuso Sea Incident GN 2
Toriko GN 24
Twittering Birds Never Fly GN (18+)
Vampire Knight GN 19
Vampire Knight GN 19 Limited Edition
Vinland Saga GN 5
Voice Over! Seiyu Academy GN 7
World Trigger GN 1
World Trigger GN 2
ZE GN 9