Pokemon Adventures Volume 17 is a manga based on the Pokemon Ruby and Pokemon Sapphire videogames. The manga is written by Hidenori Kusaka and illustrated by Satoshi Yamamoto. This manga volume was originally released in Japan in 2004; however, it wasn’t released in North America until Viz Media’s VizKids imprint released in this volume in 2013.
This section of the Pokemon Adventures manga is set in the Hoenn region, and features the characters of Ruby and Sapphire. Ruby dreams of being a Pokemon Coordinator and winning all of the Pokemon Contests in the region. He’s the son of the Petalburg City gym leader, Norman; unfortunately, his father doesn’t agree with his son’s dream. Ruby runs away from home in order to pursue his dream and to try to make it come true.
Sapphire is the daughter of Professor Birch, and she wants to battle of the Gym Leaders in the Hoenn region. Ruby and Sapphire become rivals, and Sapphire issues a challenge to Ruby: prove which one of them can achieve their dream first within 80 days. Ruby agrees to the challenge.
The volume opens exactly where Volume 16 left off, with Ruby in the middle of a confrontation with Team Magma in a submarine. I really liked how Ruby was able to turn Blaise’s attack against him and is able to escape.
Meanwhile, Sapphire arrives in Mauville City and ends up having an unexpected encounter with Wattson, the Gym Leader. At first glance, the adventure Sapphire has here doesn’t seem to be relevant, but something Wattson says is referred to later in the volume.
Ruby ends up at Route 118 and encounters a young man trying to catch a Feebas. Ruby joins him and keeps catching and throwing Feebas back without realizing it. But for some reason, Feebas seems to become attached to Ruby.
At the same time, Norman is searching for Ruby and is able to find clues to his whereabouts through the events at the Slateport Shipyard. Norman catches up with Ruby, and the two have a duel; this portion of the manga also provides some backstory for Norman and Ruby.
The last bit of the manga sees Sapphire heading for the Lavaridge Gym. Flannery, the Gym Leader, is captured by Team Aqua and used as bait to try to capture Sapphire so she doesn’t interfere with Team Aqua’s plan.
To me, the best part of this volume is the Pokemon battle between Ruby and Norman and the backstory that is provided for both of these characters. This backstory finally gave me a reason to start being interested in these two particular characters and their dynamics. It turns out Norman’s not as bad as the reader had been led to believe prior to this point in the story.
I also have to give some credit to Gabby, the reporter for Hoenn TV. While she may be a bit of a busybody, she’s at least trying to help out and to do more than just sit back and report on what’s happening. She ends up playing an important role during Ruby and Norman’s Pokemon battle.
After reading Volume 17, I’m starting to become a little more interested in this story arc in the Pokemon Adventures series. If you’ve read the previous two volumes in this story arc, I think you will enjoy reading Volume 17.