REVIEW: ‘Pokémon Adventures,’ Collector’s Edition Volume 4

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Pokémon Adventures Volume 4

Pokémon Adventures Collector’s Edition Volume 4 (hereafter Pokémon Adventures Volume 4) is a brand new edition of the original Pokémon Adventures manga. Viz Media is handling publishing for these omnibus editions. Originally,  Pokémon Adventures was published in single volumes. However, these recent collector’s editions collect three volumes into one thick tome. Pokémon Adventures Volume 4 includes three single volumes: volumes 10, 11, and 12.  

Pokémon Adventures Volume 4 was written by Kusaka Hidenori with art by Yamamoto Satoshi. Inoue Kaori handled translation for the series. Annaliese “Ace” Christman did the lettering. Sam Elzway handled the original series design, with Annette Roman serving as the origins editor. For this new collector’s edition,  Christy Medlin handled the production art, with Julian “JR” Robinson handling design. Finally, Joel Enos served as the editor for this edition.

Allow me to get you up to speed if you’re a newcomer to the series. Pokémon Adventures is a long-running manga series spanning almost every region in the franchise. Unlike the anime, the Pokémon Adventures series is heavily influenced by the games, with all of the main characters taking their names from the core games, i.e. Red, Gold, Ruby, and so on. While it’s an All Ages series, it’s also noticeably darker than the games, featuring occasional permadeath for some Pokémon.

The first three omnibuses focus on characters from the Kanto region and span Volumes 1 to 7 of the original single volume run. Characters from the Johto region are introduced in Volume 8, which can be found in Pokémon Adventures Volume 3. Now, in Pokémon Adventures Volume 4, readers are solidly into the Johto region, the second region featured in the  Pokémon franchise. Pokémon Adventures Volume 4 picks up from Volume 9, which is the second single volume in the Gold, Silver, and Crystal arc. Now that peace has returned to Kanto, it’s time for readers to enjoy a new adventure!

We open on the outskirts of Cherrygrove City, one of the first cities players encounter in the Johto region after leaving home, near Professor Oak’s research annex. Currently, the good professor is trying to catch a Pokémon. Emphasis on trying, because, in his older age, he’s not quite the trainer he used to be. Why is he trying to catch a new monster? Well, it’s for his Pokédex work, which is desperately in need of volunteers.

Enter Crystal, a young girl who volunteer’s at Violet City’s Pokémon Academy. She seems unassuming until a pack of Slugma attacks. It’s then that Crystal lets loose and jumps directly into the fray with her own Pokémon. Soon, Professor Oak realizes that perhaps, his task of filling the dex is about to get a lot easier!

Part of the fun of Pokémon Adventures Volume 4 is simply enjoying the games from a different angle. Rather than being the trainer yourself, you get to see characters in the world playing with exciting plot threads that don’t go as in-depth in the games. Readers will get to explore Crystal’s adventures around the region alongside some fairly low-stakes, quite enjoyable episodic chapters. All of it blends together into a deeper story that explores the mystery of Johto’s legendary beasts, as well as building this arc’s plot.

Additionally, all of these characters in this omnibus are so great. It’s nice seeing classic Pokémon characters in a different light. Crystal is my personal favorite: I liked her from her first appearance. She’s funny, she’s earnest, and she makes for a really, really sincere protagonist.

Thankfully, the bulk of Pokémon Adventures Volume 4 is spent following her as she tries to catch ‘em all for Professor Oak. That’s not to say that Crystal is the only character readers will encounter in this volume. In fact, nostalgic readers may find themselves yearning to replay Gold, Silver, and Crystal with this new perspective in mind for sure!

Pokémon Adventures Volume 4 itself is also such a delight, especially thanks to the design choices. Viz opted for a large-print volume, which only serves to further showcase Yamamoto’s art. As a bonus, these volumes have some lovely, glossy prints of the characters, including Gold, Silver, and Crystal. While I imagine most fans will leave them bound in a volume, you could hypothetically remove them for some truly beautiful wall art.

This volume is a great addition to the overarching stories penned within the wide, wide world of Pokémon. Additionally, this is a great All Ages manga for young trainers who are interested in comics but may not have found manga yet. I highly suggest picking up these beefy books for young tween readers. They’re really lovely editions and are great for any kind of fan. 

Be sure to start with Pokémon Adventures Volume 1 if you’re considering starting this series. Pokémon Adventures Volume 4 is midway through the second major arc. While you can definitely pick it up and read it, I do think it’s best to start from Kanto and build-up to this point. Otherwise, some of the characterizations might feel strange, and the plot might come off a bit confusing.  All in all, Pokémon Adventures Volume 4 is another great addition to the series. I can’t wait to read the next omnibus!

Pokémon Adventures Volume 4 is available now, wherever books are sold. 

Pokémon Adventures Volume 4
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TL;DR

All in all, Pokémon Adventures Volume 4 is another great addition to the series. I can’t wait to read the next omnibus!