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Manga Review: Pokemon Black and White Volume Three by Hidenori Kusaka

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Pokemon Black and White Volume Three 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 VizKids imprint in 2011. Pokemon Black and White is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

At the beginning of this volume, Black has a battle with N from Team Plasma. As part of their battle, they have a debate about how Pokemon are treated and about trainers relying on a device like a Pokedex. Black’s Tepig reacts in a way that N doesn’t expect, which perplexes him. N leaves the battle, and Black and White move on to their next destination.

Meanwhile, Black’s friends, Cheren and Bianca, are looking for Black. They find Black and White in a dining facility in Striaton City. It turns out the dining facility also serves at the Pokemon Gym. The Gym leaders are triplets named Cilan, Chili, and Cress. Black, Cheren, and Bianca must battle against the three Gym leaders in order to get the Trio Badge.

My first impression of Cilan, Chili, and Cress is that their character designs give the impression that an attempt was made to have “bishonen” (beautiful boy) characters in the Pokemon universe. While I like the idea of having triplets being the Gym leaders, I don’t think that the “bishonen” angle to these characters works all that well.

In this particular volume, White only plays a minimal role in the events of the story. She’s cowering in a corner during the battle with N, and she essentially disappears during the Gym battle. While the manga title may be Pokemon Black and White, the character of White doesn’t seem to have an overly prominent role yet. So far, it seems like her main role took place in Volume Two. Hopefully that will change as the series progresses.

Since the Pokemon Black and White volumes are thinner than regular manga, the story tends to progress a little more slowly in them. For example, over half of Volume Three is spent in Striaton City. Had this volume been combined with the next one to come closer to the length of a traditional manga, the story might have felt like it was going somewhere a little more.

When it comes to Yamamoto’s art, there are some impressive panels of character close-ups that are more detailed than the other drawings. These detailed close-ups are very striking and nearly leap out of the page.

Overall, I would have to say that while the overall art style is better in the Pokemon Black and White manga, I think that the story in the original Pokemon Adventures manga series is stronger.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.