This manga should've been renamed to 'Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Cut Content and Nothing Making Logical Sense"
In all honesty, I was quite surprised no one's reviewed this manga before. But upon reading the short, yet agonizing six chapters of this adaption from the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, I can see why now. Warning, if you're a fan of the Mystery Dungeon: Explorers games, AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS, and also be aware that I will be spoiling the entire first half of the Explorers titles. It's best to play these game with no knowledge about what happens.
Almost everyone knows what Pokemon is. My childhood
revolved around it; the TV series, collecting level X cards, figures, posters, plushies, you name it, I had it. The games, however, was the main factor that really isolated my love for Pokemon. The main games everyone's familiar with, and I enjoyed playing countless hours of filling my dex and challenging the Battle Frontier. But it was actually the HEAVILY underrated spin-off titles, the Mystery Dungeon series, that I played the most. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time, Darkness, and especially Sky have some of the greatest dialogue and replay-ability in any Nintendo DS game I've played. The main factor of these games is the story, and how much a simple concept of randomly generated dungeons could evolve into something truly magnificent in execution.
From you and your partner first forming their rescue team, learning the truth about your past, and how the time gears were connected, meeting and finding out Grovyle was your partner and his sacrifice against Dusknoir, to eventually defeating Dialga in Temporal Tower, restoring time but at the cost of the partner's disappearance, the games have left an emotions impact on me to this date, explaining very significant themes about friendship and triumph, anyone could've played, enjoyed, and cry to these games. So you can imagine my frustration when this gem of a game got turned into some of the worst, most insulting things I've ever read in my life. It took what I loved from the games and turned it into something where, if I haven't played the games, I would've never even consider looking at the Mystery Dungeon series ever.
The manga first starts with Totodile (your partner) walking to the Wigglytuff Guild, trying to overcome his fear of forming a rescue team due to his cowardness. But for some unknown reason, Chatot, Wiggletuff's right-hand man, laughs at Totodile because he's afraid to take another step. Chatot in the games did NOT do this. He acted as a great second-in-command for the Guild, enforcing the rules and encouraging you and your partner that work for the Guild was top priority for getting stronger. Why he discourages the partner like this? I have no fucking idea. Then Totodile finds Chimchar, or Flame (you) unconscious on the beach. In the games, you were a human that transformed into a Pokemon while you and Grovyle were travelling through time, but because of an 'accident', you seperated from Grovyle and transformed into a Pokemon. The manga never covers this very important fact that the games began with. You were also mainly a silent protagonist who would only think to himself. Chimchar here has an obnoxious personality that reminded me of young Naruto without the emotional stress of the Demon Fox inside him (just the obnoxious part) that I really didn't appreciate. The dialogue between characters at this point feels very awkward and strange from someone who's played the games. Oh yeah, and the creators who decided to give Chimchar's human name 'Flame'. Who in there right minds would name their kid Flame? The Kardashians? The Pokemon who then steal your partner's relic stone are eventually defeated by you and your partner like in the games. But suddenly, Dusknoir appears...? What the hell? He's suppose to be introduced until the halfway mark of the main story!
And that's where the manga falls flat on it's face: it skips SO MANY important aspects in the games and focuses straight away to the Time Gears, Grovyle, Primal Dialga, etc, and add in plot points that did not happen in the original source. While this could be a good thing to some, it removed the build-up to such these important events that it feels unsettling somehow in the manga. Like straightaway, Uxie and Mespirit are defeated by Grovyle after just ONE DAY of you joining the Guild, and 2 chapters in, you're already escaping The Future with Celebi. The narrative is a jumble of nonsense and changed directions that anyone who played the games would be infuriated by how much they've skipped. The 'heart-breaking' ending of the manga is in no league to the emotional impact of the games. You won't end up caring for the obnoxious Chimchar, or "Flame" disappearing because it's not earned, at all.
The manga was overall a huge disappointment for me. I'm ashamed as a huge fan of the Mystery Dungeon games that this exists, and knowing that some people out there probably read this manga and hated it before playing the games frustrates me. The artwork of the manga couldn't deliver enough to make me give this higher than a 1 unfortunately. It's a shame too, since this adaption could've been so much better if they just stuck with the original dialogue form the games. The side characters don't matter, majority of the cast in the games is cut, important dialogue and scenes were cut, an actual build-up of your explorer team is cut. CUT, CUT CUT, CUT!
Avoid this manga, please. Play the games, you won't be disappointed. It's a free ROM on the Internet. Bury this manga far below the popular and ranked ratings.