It’s time to take a look at one of the latest Pokemon movie manga. This one brings back memories as it had the real Ash and not the reboot version we’ve gotten for the last few films. It’s nice to have the veteran that I’m so used to. This isn’t the most exciting story out there, but it’s pretty solid and I dare say that the pacing is better than in the movie. It’s a solid title with some good action scenes and you’ll get to learn more about the new Pokemon.
So the story starts with Ash bumping into a Pokemon named Volcanion. This guy is pretty upset because his pal was kidnapped by a villain and his thugs. They plan to use the metal Pokemon Magearna in their plans. Magearna is a Pokemon that was created by humans much in the same way as Mewtwo and this makes her highly valued among the villains. Volcanion wants to save her, but he spends the majority of the manga getting beaten black and blue by the various Mega Pokemon. Fortunately Ash is here to help. Can Volcanion get over his distrust of humans long enough to join forced with Ash and save the day?
Volcanion can be a bit annoying with how much he doesn’t like humans but I’ll cut him some slack since most humans are pretty dicey. At least Ash is good, but he has no way of knowing that. My real problem is just how weak he is. Ash has to save his bacon many times in this adventure so when the guy still keeps on talking tough it’s impossible to take him seriously. He’s losing to the random villains of the movie and their Pokemon. That’s unacceptable, especially for a Pokemon who is supposed to be super powerful. Volcanion didn’t really leave a good impression on me.
He still looked better than Magearna though. My issue with her is that she has no character. She sort of just stands around as everything happens. I think part of the point is that she doesn’t have full emotions yet or has a hard time expressing them, but I needed her to show a little more agency in the meanwhile. Even just a quick scene where she fights back against the villains when they show up to capture her would have gone a long way. Mewtwo definitely doesn’t let himself get trapped like that.
Meanwhile Ash looked great though. While being stuck to Volcanion is a big inconvenience Ash takes it in stride and gets right into the action. Nobody’s going to stop him from saving the day and Pikachu also gets some good hits on the Mega Pokemon. If not for Volcanion being unable to keep up Ash probably would have taken them all down. This is really Ash at his peak and its one of his best portrayals in a long time. It’s always good to see him getting his props.
Meanwhile the art is pretty solid. At times Ash looks a little out of character and is a bit inconsistent with how he’s drawn, but that’s about it. The most egregious example of this is definitely the back cover of the manga. Where the artist really shines is when the action scenes come in though. The Mega Pokemon all look quite fierce and the attacks are also pretty impressive as well. The scenes are easy to read so they aren’t convoluted but still have a good amount of scale to them. You can tell that the Pokemon here really know how to fight.
I guess there isn’t a whole lot to this title beyond what I’ve said, but that’s part of its charm. It’s not a grand tale or one of the more ambitious Pokemon movies turned into a manga. Effectively it’s just a fun little Pokemon story with Ash showing more Pokemon why hunmans are decently good at times. I doubt we’ll ever see Volcanion or Magearna again, but if we do that would certainly be pretty cool. I also thought the villain was a step up over some of the other villains. Not saying he’s super memorable or anything, but at least he actually had a good army of Pokemon.
Overall, Volcanion and Magearna are probably the weakest points of this manga but as far as legendary Pokemon go I’ve certainly seen worse. Volcanion took a while to come around, but by the end he sees why everyone loves Ash. Ash always manages to get the job done and that’s really the key takeaway here. Pikachu is fun as always the artwork is good so it all flows together pretty well. Whether you’ve seen the movie or not I would recommend checking out the manga. It’s a good way to spend 20 minutes or so and it’s one of the last times you will get to see the main Ash in the manga so it has that going for it as well.