May 30, 2023
For as massive of a multimedia franchise as Pokemon is, it's interesting how romance is both something that's often touched on but rarely ever taken seriously. There's a massive shipping culture in both the anime and game's fandoms, one of the main characters in the anime's biggest running jokes is hitting on every woman he comes across, there's even a pseudo love interest in Black and White 2. Despite this, there is no cannon partner for Ash, any pokemon protagonist and even most adults that aren't a parent, Lenora or Kukui.
Enter Pocket Mosters: Pipipi Adventure (Named after Pikachu, Pippi (Clefairy) and Purin (Jigglypuff), or
Pokemon Magical Journey in the west, a shoujo manga that takes place in the Pokemon world, and one of three Pokemon manga that's targeted towards teenagers rather than children. Does it take its romance seriously? Well, Yes and no... somehow.
It centers around the daily life of a Hazel (Maron in Japan) and her constant vying for Almond's attention. Unfortunately for her, Almond is only interested in catching Pokemon (though he doesn't seem to be very good at it) and not much else. They run into and have misadventures with several Pokemon that can talk. Pokemon Magical Journey is more of a gag manga with Shoujo elements than a serious romance manga.
The art is very silly and cute and the whole thing has a very nonsensical vibe to it. It introduces more and more side characters as it goes on and often feels more interested in exploring the relationships between the side characters than it does the main ones. As cute as it is to see the blossoming love between a talking Arbok and a Wigglytuff, the chapters are really at their best when they're about Hazel but with so many side characters and chapters about said side characters she starts to feel a bit pushed out of the main focus.
The takes on the Pokemon as characters are quite fun though, there's an Articuno that runs a shaved ice shop, a ditto that's a ninja master and many more. As a light-hearted, cozy read, It's a pretty fun manga though it kinda falls into a trap a lot of shoujo anime/manga can run into of introducing a few too many side characters. If you like Pokemon and you're looking for something unique, fun and cute, give it a shot, it's worth a read for how off the wall it is.
Sadly on most manga websites I could find, I couldn't find a full translation and viz media only translated 8 of the 10 volumes. So I have no idea what the last two are like but I don't expect them to be too different.
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