First off, let me state that this is the first nearly 100% based Pokemon-filled, kinda fangirly article I’ve done of the season (yaaaaayyy!) on Pokemon Adventures manga, or PAM (this one being on, obviously, the B2W2 Chapter). Before I get into the review I’d like to point out a few things:
Yes, I know Pokemon is very much fictional. As such, I also uphold the absolute truth that since Pokemon is fictional (and macro evolution is also very much fictional), although some situations and characters in that fictional world can certainly be very profound, philosophical, etc., I will not take it all that seriously, aside from typical fangirling and gaming. But I just wanted to let you know, as fangirl I’ve the right to get excited about awesome things in my fandom, but as a Christian I also have a duty to Christ to believe, truly believe, in only things that’re true, pure, and eternal— hence, the balance is set. So with that mindset in place, I will NOW begin the review.
The B2W2 series, as is normal with PAM, is based at least mostly off of the game and, like its game counterpart, picks up from where they left us at the BW chapter. Sadly, Mr. Kusaka, the author, has his hands tied down with writing the B2W2 chapter, ORAS chapter, and the remaining bit of the XY chapter (the latter of which may or may not wrap up soon, depending on whether or not he decides to pull a “GSC chapter” action on us; he may be waiting to see if Nintendo comes out with “Pokemon Z”–which I by this point have no real doubt that they will– before continuing.), and is likely not going to release the next issue of B2W2 until at least the middle of this month, if he even has the time. However, many previews have given us great hope that there will be lots of action, mystery, and even a couple new characters and cameos from old favorites (from BW). So here’s what’s been going on: (MAJOR SPOILER ZONE– IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILED, READ NO FURTHER!!)
Black, the newly crowned Champ of the Pokemon League, has mysteriously vanished (which is technically true, but if you really, really want to know what happened, go to goodmanga.net to read and find out details for yourself… because soooooo many juicy things happen in BW!!), a heartbroken White has returned, mostly, to showbiz, and is in charge of PokeStar Studios (honestly, why am I NOT surprised? LOL), and is, I would wager a guess, probably in charge of Join Avenue, too. N has vanished as well, but the B2W2 previews, or rather, one in particular, have given me great hope he will return, just like in the games. (preferably to fight alongside the Unova Dexholders altogether, but hey, one can’t be too picky) Looker, the International Police agent, continues his search and investigation for Team Plasma members and the Seven “Sages” (or Seven Stooges. Whichever term you prefer.), but more on the latters later. Bianca has become Prof. Juniper Jr’s assistant back at the lab, while Cheren, Black’s other buddy, is now the 16-year-old head teacher of the Aspertia City’s Trainer School, and soon-to-be Gym Leader. Little Leo, a former contestant at the Pokemon League with a Deino (and former battle opponent of Cheren), is now enrolled in Aspertia City’s Trainer School/soon-to-be Aspertia Gym, where he meets a cast of all-new protagonists:
Hugh: Hugh’s story is pretty much the same as it is in the games, thankfully, with the exception being that he too is a Trainer School pupil, and is Leo’s roomie. He is a very hot-headed young man, quick to anger or judge someone even for the littlest things, as demonstrated when he deliberately attacked a group of girls simply because they were talking amongst themselves, after their teacher told them to go home, as the school day was over. He has had a very bad experience with Team Plasma, the chapter’s main antagonists, when a couple of plasmids (what I refer to the T.P. grunts as, instead of “grunts”) kidnapped his little sister’s Purrloin from her, on her birthday, shortly after she received it from him as a gift; Hugh blames himself for not being able to/strong enough to stop them. He has nursed a deep grudge against T.P. ever since then, and vows every day to get stronger so he can defeat every last one of them and get back her Purrloin.
Lack-Two (Japanese: Rakutsu) (yes, I know it’s a weird name): another pupil at the Trainer’s School, this cool cat and friend of Leo’s is actually an undercover International Police agent, on a mission to root out a former female plasmid who has a secret microchip that can counteract one of T.P.’s evil devices that control Pokemon. When on the job, he acts, very annoyingly, like a total womanizer, flirting with all the girls in the class to get close with them and discover if the plasmid is among them. When not on the job (which is basically when he’s around Looker and not around fellow students), he suddenly shifts gears in personality and becomes extremely serious, intelligent and no-nonsense. Despite his young age (12!!), he is of high rank in his department, classified as a “superintendent,” at least a rank above his colleague, Looker.
Whi-Two (Japanese: Faitsu): A transfer student to the Trainer’s School. Not much is known about her or her character initially, which is why Lack-Two seems to make it his priority to “get to know her better,” and help her to “fit in with the rest of the class”. In truth, she IS the former plasmid that they have been looking for (#starwarspuns), along with her mother, although she has no idea she is actually carrying the secret microchip inside a T.P. locket Anthea and Concordia gave to her (which has N’s picture inside… sigh… what I wouldn’t give for a locket like that!). She is what you would call the “original N fangirl,” still holding onto her plasmid uniform, even wearing it privately to reminisce sometimes, talking aloud to herself or in her head as if N could hear her, and non verbally refusing to put her Foongus in a Pokeball; additionally, when she unintentionally wins an unofficial tournament at her new school to decide who’s the strongest in the class, she wins herself a Pokedex alongside Lack-Two, much to her horror and dismay (but Lack-Two coaxes her to take it anyway).
And let’s not forget the new antagonist, Colress, an “mad” scientist who’s the new leader of T.P., whose existence is only known to T.P., Lack-Two, and Looker. (and who reminds me of, in many ways, Jeanine Matthews of Divergent ) Colress’s goal is to, ideally, bring out the proper strength of a Pokemon, and to do so he joined forces with T.P., and continued illegal experimentation on innocent Pokemon to fulfill his goal. Due to his actions, he is labelled “The Dark Scientist,” although Lack-Two himself points out Colress MAY not be evil, but rather deluded, since the title has been gifted only because of this.
Now that we’ve the official cast of main characters downpat, let’s get to the nitty-gritty good and bad stuff of the B2W2 chapter:
Lack-Two’s womanizing habits. I mean, there’s more than one way to skin a raccoon, and there is most likely a more effective way to get poor, poor Whi-Two to open up to him, since she obviously isn’t responding all that well to his masculine charms– Lack-Two himself thinks quietly that she’s pretty guarded, and although he also thinks he will bust down her barrier eventually, regrettably refuses to think of a better, alternative way to get close to her so she’ll open up. Plus, him flirting and going out with girls SOLELY because he’s hunting for a former T.P. plasmid is in itself pretty irksome and even to some degree pathetic.
Hugh’s explosiveness. Yes, I agree that his lack of anger management skills sets the stage perfectly for some good tension, but in all honesty, I think in some areas Kusaka really, REALLY overplays it, to the point where Hugh’s not even really being provoked (like at all) to blow up at someone. This causes some futility in his worked-up rage, although I believe that he used it to emphasize Huge’s grudge against T.P.; I think he could have shown that in a more creative, and less over-exaggerated way. I think that even those with short fuses have to have at least a bit of a limit on that.
Whi-Two’s horoscope-reading hobby. It’s just as disturbing as consulting mediums and psychics. Just stop, please stop, OK, Kusaka? Even if you aren’t going to give God glory (which, since PAM is a secular–non-Christian– manga, is more so understandable), at least don’t disrespect Him. I usually have to skip large chunks of the manga because of crap like that, and it’s both annoying and morally/emotionally depressing. It would be FAR better if you just mentioned it, then then it drop, instead of playing into it; that makes it about as futile as Hugh’s excess anger.
The tension between Lack-Two and Whi-Two. This is a time where I heartily congratulate Kusaka for very well-played tension between two characters, despite the hassling of Lack-Two’s frequent, flirtatious habits: Guy meets girl. Guy is undercover cop trying to (constantly) find former bad person to bring still-bad people to justice. Girl is said anonymous former bad person who is trying to keep her ID hush-hush, so as not to draw negative attention to herself. They are joined in the fact that they both attend the same Trainer’s school, and are both now PokeDex Holders, which means they both need to go collect data for the machine (much to poor Whi-Two’s chagrin) and for school. Now THAT’S what you’d call jointed tension! (Although, I’m praying that eventually Lack-two will just drop the act, be himself around her, and the two eventually fall for one another. No stupid horoscopes necessary.)
MORE great tension! At the end of PAM issue 52, we see Hugh, a renowned T.P. hater, accidentally finding Whi-Two’s T.P. locket, and activating the secret chip inside to find out who the owner is, discovers a list of “liberated” Pokemon– his sister’s Purrloin being at the very top. This creates tension because, well, obviously, he realizes this means one of the girls in his class is a T.P. member, and angrily swears to hunt her down. (Dun dun dun duuuuuuuunnn…..) I’m assuming this will play a big role in the soon-hopefully-to-be-released issue 53, and I cannot wait to see how it all plays out (if it comes to conflict, just pray that Lack-Two will intervene for her in time…).
Cameos and reappearances from old characters… especially White, N, and even Drayden. As said before, nothing will get a rabid fan more worked up and foaming at the mouth than cameos of previous, favorite characters. Nothing. When we see White at the end of the PokeStar Studios chapter, we just KNOW that she’s gonna play at least a role in the B2W2 chapter. And if the B2W2 extra previews are any good indication, we’re almost certain to see more of her (and N!!!!) this time around.
Justice being dished out (eventually) onto T.P.’s… and especially Ghetsis’s… stupid….heads… After what happened at the very end of the BW chapter, I personally think ALL of us PAM fans pretty much want Ghetsis to rot, like the scumbag he is. LOL
Questions that need to be solved:
Did Cheren’s mind/memories get wiped by Colress’s Elygem? Cheren, at the end of the BW chapter, went through a DRAMATIC personality change; not only that, but he doesn’t seem to recall much after the incident at Cold Storage in Driftveil, where he met up with T.P.’s Seven Stooge, Zinzolin. My guess is, Elygem was probably hovering nearby, and BAM! caught him off guard, wiped him clean, filled his noggin with T.P. propaganda, and sent him out to do their dirty work against Black. Further proof of this is indicated when Cheren, in visiting PokeStar Studios, converses with Brycen, a former Gym Leader, states that he has no memory whatsoever and can’t recall challenging any gyms, other than Striaton’s. In fact, he can’t recall ANYTHING up past Driftveil, very heavily implying this is exactly what happened. But I guess we won’t get confirmation until Kusaka brings us home the real bacon.
Will Whi-Two be the one to inherit N’s Pokemon– including Zorua and even Gigi?? In the B2W2 games, you actually get to capture N’s Pokemon and battle with them, using a unique feature that unlocks old memories of N’s in BW. While you can get N’s Zorua buddy without this feature, it’s still pretty cool, and I’m betting that Whi-Two, as a former T.P. plasmid, will become the new owner of at least his Zorua buddy and perhaps Gigi as well, since White already owns Amanda as her “starter,” Black has Bo, and Lack-Two has Dewott. However, I also really would like to see her with a Whimsicott, since the poor Pokemon didn’t get much screen time in BW at all (the exception being at the very beginning of the chapter, with it being one of the first released Pokemon thanks to T.P.’s stupid speech about “Pokemon liberation”– what can I say; T.P.’s the Poke-version of both PETA and ALF ).
Where did the Light Stone go? After the BW, it mysteriously vanished with Black, shortly after N and Ghetsis’s separate departures. My guess is, since N took off on Zekrom, Reshiram/the Light Stone’s counterpart, it flew off to find them. This in a way would make sense, since in the game N goes off, comes back to Unova for a while, then leaves again to hunt for the person (who in this case would be Black) who beat him in BW, wanting to thank them for opening his eyes; this makes it highly probable that N has at least an idea of where they can find it… and Black.
Will the characters Lack-Two, Whi-Two, and Hugh EVER move their storyline outside of Aspertia City? Yes, I understand that they are students. Yes, I understand they have obligations of school to go to, classes to attend. But Lack-Two’s primary priority should be his job to help uncover and defeat T.P.; Whi-Two’s should be to stay relatively unnoticed and not to stir up trouble. And Hugh’s, bless his heart, is to get stronger. How can he do that if he doesn’t even challenge gyms, like in the games?! (although, a B2W2 preview pretty much guaranteed we’re gonna see Roxie at some point, so I think it’s safe to say there MIGHT be some hope there.) But seriously, if Kusaka doesn’t get the snowball rolling downhill already, how’re they gonna get to the point where they’re finally ready for the grand finale, the final showdown between all DexHolders and co., and T.P.???
Are both Reshiram AND Black going to be combined with Kyurem??? O.O This almost seems creepily inevitable, given the events at the end of BW…. But oh, the HORROR. THE HORROR.
Not a lot of events have happened so far to confirm any of this, save for the whole, “Black, White and N will be making appearances” thing. Oh, and Genesect and Keldeo, but they haven’t played too much of a huge role (seemingly), though it is subtly hinted at that we could possibly be getting more of Keldeo’s story in this chapter of PAM.
So far, we’ve a pretty even mix of good and bad panning out this chapter, but I can’t wait to see how it all turns out; hopefully, Kusaka won’t keep us waiting TOO much longer…
If you’ve any thoughts, questions, and theories on this, any of this, feel free to leave feedback in the comments section! ^.^