Pokémon Adventures 20th Anniversary Illustration Book: The Art of Pokémon Adventures cover image
Pokémon is a media franchise that debuted in Japan. Satoshi Tajiri created the franchise in 1995 and centered its story on fictional creatures called “Pokémon,” and “Pokémon Trainers,” humans who catch and train Pokémon to battle each other for sport. The franchise began as a pair of video games created for Nintendo's original Game Boy and was released in 1996.
1997 saw the first publication of Pokémon Adventures, a Pokémon-related manga based on the video games. This manga series was and still is written by Hidenori Kusaka. Manga artist Mato drew the first nine volumes Pokémon Adventures. When Mato became ill and was unable to continue illustrating the series, Satoshi Yamamoto took over as series artist with Vol. 10 and still continues to draw Pokémon Adventures.
Pokémon Adventures 20th Anniversary Illustration Book: The Art of Pokémon Adventures is an over-sized paperback art book the showcases the Pokémon Adventures art of of Satoshi Yamamoto. This book includes illustrations of fan favorite Pokémon and Pokémon Trainers; exclusive sketches and character designs; manga rough drafts and storyboards; and four full-color, pull-out posters.
It also presents a brand-new manga side story published in English for the first time. This black and white manga was the first chapter of the Pokémon Adventures spin-off manga, Pokémon Rangers: The Comic. [Drawn by Yamamoto and written by Hidenori Kusaka, it originally appeared on the Pokémon Daisuki Club website in March of 2006.]
THE LOWDOWN: One cannot reasonable say that if you have seen one manga or anime art book, you have seen them all. I have seen a few in English-language editions released by Digital Manga Publishing (DMP), and VIZ Media sends me one or two a year of their manga art books over the last several years.
VIZ recently sent me a copy of Pokémon Adventures 20th Anniversary Illustration Book: The Art of Pokémon Adventures, so I decided to review it. I am familiar with Pokemon, but I am not a fan – nothing against it – just never got into it, but I must admit that this is an impressive art book. Sadly, it is the kind of art showcase that American comic book franchises rarely get, but here, the manga/comics artwork of one of pop culture’s most popular multimedia franchises is beautifully showcased.
The vivid color artwork included in The Art of Pokémon Adventures makes me want to go and find Pokémon Adventures manga, especially any of it that has been published in color. For me, a big selling point of The Art of Pokémon Adventures is that it includes several examples Pokémon Adventures manga art reproduced or scanned for original art board. As a collector of original art, that just drives me wild. This is a fantastic manga art book.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of Pokémon, of Pokémon manga, and of manga art books will want Pokémon Adventures 20th Anniversary Illustration Book: The Art of Pokémon Adventures.