I decided to post two Nostalgia Saturdays posts today because I wanted to get a very serious topic out of the way this Wednesday. After this I reckon I have three to five reviews on manga I have to get done on my other website. Like The Lion of Oz, this work of “art” also went under the sensors of many who know of the franchise or this certain world.
And I’m talking about…
MAGICAL POKEMON JOURNEY!
POCKET MONSTERS PiPiPi ★ ADVENTURES!
It’s so 90s that it’s bursting with pink everywhere. You know, to alert you that this work is going to be very very very very very cute and aimed toward young girls.
Unfortunately, this volume one cover was practically universal in its following releases in other languages, but America had to be different so we ended up with this…
Oh, how many boys were fooled into reading it when they saw Pikachu I wonder? Because you know, back in my time, anything with Pokemon on it or in it was desirable to boys and girls everywhere.
The release in the US was also nontraditional meaning the pages were printed so Westerners would have an easier time reading it from left to right rather than vice-versa.
They probably expected action and adventure, but instead they got a “romantic” story of a maiden in her quest to capture the heart of a fellow Pokemon trainer.
It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Romance in Pokemon?! What even-!? But in all honesty, it’s not even that romantic. It’s more of a comedy. It seems boring because the plot was simple but it did get a few giggles out of me.
Now at first glance this looks like the work of a fan and their take on the Pokemon world. It could have been a possible fan-fiction or a doujinshi, but I can tell you with confidence that this is an OFFICIAL serialization that was released so many years ago (as in 1997 for Japan and 2000 globally), but who’s counting? And it ran for ten volumes too.
It would have been undiscovered by yours truly if I hadn’t run across a copy of volume two in a Goodwill….a very long time ago. I bought it but at the time I was like “What the hell is this?” and this was when I was twelve or something. I left it alone on the shelf until now when I finally decided to look it up a few nights ago and lo and behold, it wasn’t a translated doujinshi series but an actual series. About Pokemon. For a more girly audience.
So I reread it also a few nights ago and gave myself a good laugh. This manga is more shoujo than the normal shoujo, I swear.
But in a way, it was charming and goofy and in all honesty it was pretty good. It’s so different and not what one would expect of the Pokemon world at all. Romance is a Farfetch’d (pun-intended) concept when it comes to the world ruled by adolescents’ fantasies. Not that we don’t have them, but it’s not exactly all important if the trainer gets the romance interest. We only care if they caught the Pokemon. The series is comedic and it’s not meant to be taken seriously and well, it’s meant to be cuter than the normal Pokemon series and it works. It’s the opposite of the Pokemon world we know.
Hazel, the main heroine, doesn’t care much for capturing Pokemon or becoming a trainer, but Pokemon are naturally drawn to her good and honest nature so she ends up with a cute team anyway without even battling. Unlike Almond, her love interest, who wants to capture Pokemon and become an accomplished trainer but fails miserably in comparison to Hazel who seems to have a natural connection to Pokemon. And you also have an assortment of odds and end characters who always causes some sort of conflict that Hazel and the gang has to solve. It works well as a mini-series and goes well under the “slice of life” sort of genre if anything. It’s a nice sit-back-and-relax read.
And sometimes, the author is nice enough to remind us that yes, this is a romance.
I tried looking for more copies and sellers online but unfortunately it has become such a rare piece of work that it’ll cost a fortune just to get your hands on any other volumes and issues. It’s not exactly a series I have a “need” to finish but for the sake of nostalgia I do want to read till the end. There are also no other manga hosting websites that has the complete series which is a bummer, but in my quest to at least read volume one I found a kind person who has shared their English scans of it on tumblr.
So I suggest if you do want to read it to see what I’m talking about, you can do so here.
I’m hoping that one day in the far off future someone would be kind enough to translate the rest of the series or upload the English version online because I don’t think it’ll get a re-release. But until then, I’ll make do with what I’ve found.