Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel Review


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.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Gravity Rush 2: Juuryoku-teki Memai Tsuisoutan Review


It’s time to look at a really quick manga that adapts part of the Gravity Rush 2 manga. It seems to be about 2 volumes long based on the chapter count. I remember playing Gravity Rush a long time ago so it’s pretty nostalgic to see the characters back in action. Interestingly the series doesn’t cover all of game 2 when I thought it would have. Usually you don’t do that if you’re a one shot or one volume, but 2? I suppose either this series was cancelled or the author just wanted to go in depth on what could be adapted. Either way it’s a fun series although you won’t remember it much after a little while.

Sometime after the events of the first film Kat and Raven get attacked by some monsters. While the monsters don’t prove to be much of a problem they fall into a black hole along with Syd and the three of them get transported to a new world. Kat loses her gravity abilities and Raven goes missing. Kat must now find her friends and prove that her powers aren’t imaginary. In the meanwhile she will have to get along with the civilians of this world and the harsh working conditions that they all have to endure. It certainly won’t be easy but it’s something that she is ready and willing to do. Meanwhile we have some mysterious new villains on the rise who are aiming to sabotage Kat and possibly take over the world.

We don’t really learn what the villains’ plans are in this series. They don’t get time to have any concrete goals and just show up for a quick fight or two. I like their designs though as the main ones seem to be robotic in nature. It’s also good to have some actual enemies for Kat and Raven to fight beyond the little monsters that they always beat up anyway. I’m guessing most of the confrontations with them are probably in the second half of the game which is why we didn’t see them. The bulk of the villain group don’t even appear until the final chapter which is only around 10 pages or so. The cliffhanger ending does help build up a lot of hype for the sequel game though. You really think about checking it out someday.

When Raven shows up again in the series she quickly goes back to being the best character. She’s a fun rival to have around and is the Shadow to Kat’s Sonic. Her abilities may not seem to be quite on par with Kat’s but she does her best against the opponents. We get one nice team up fight with the duo. Admittedly they are fighting a robot who can barely fight back, but I’ll take that over nothing. At least it’s still an action scene to have some fun with. Kat is also a pretty solid character. She’s always optimistic and does her best to help out the town. Once she got her powers back I would have liked to see her stand up to the miners a little more. Surprisingly she doesn’t really do much to resist the villains and just uses her powers to mine more efficiently. I get the feeling that by the end of the game she probably does more about it because it would just strike me as a little odd that she is just going to wait around and watch the whole time.

Meanwhile Syd is a little annoying here. He acts really shady during the game but I don’t think he’s evil. He seems to have some kind of plan that he doesn’t want to share just yet and ends up being more of an obstacle than a help. In general I’ve never been the biggest Syd fan but at least in the first game he would actively help out. Perhaps he would end up doing more as the series progressed though. I suppose there is no rule that you have to help out right away.

The artwork is pretty enjoyable. It can get a little chaotic at times with a lot of things happening all at once, but the calmer pages allow the artist to show off a bit more. Kat and Raven’s designs are very intricate so I imagine that they aren’t the easiest to draw. When you take all of that into account then the series really did an admirable job here. The writing is good as well. The series ends up being pretty vague and distant, but that’s probably hard to avoid given that it is adapting part of a story. You aren’t really given time to care about any of the characters Kat meets in town so the title is at its best when we are getting fight scenes. I do think the writing being better could have let it take off anyway, but as it stands this is still a pretty enjoyable experience.

Overall, Gravity Rush 2 seems like it would be a good game and the manga works as a good intro for if you end up playing the game. I suppose you don’t really need it if you are going to play the game right away though because then you would just be doing some of the same events twice in a row which may get old. I’d like to have an ongoing Gravity Rush manga since that would really allow us to explore the universe more. There’s only so much you can do in a mini series like this one. Nothing really gets accomplished so you have to enjoy the ride. I don’t believe this would have a lot of replay value as a result. There’s nothing negative about the series so it keeps a solid score at the ready, but it’s unlikely you would ever need to read this with how many others there are to check out.

Manga

Star Wars Lost Stars


This manga is off to a great start. I hear that the original novel is also quite excellent so that’ll be fun to read at some point as well. The main character is already so much better than Luke, Rey, and Anakin from the films. I look forward to seeing where the manga goes from here and I’ll review it once the series finishes.

Overall 8/10