NOTE: This book contains issues #1-#4 of Magical Pokemon
Journey vol. 2.
This book contains a series of chapters (more like short stories)
that combine the Pokemon world with that of Tsukirino's characters
from her shojo (girls') manga: Hazel, who is in love with
the oblivious boy Almond. The conceit is that Hazel is collecting
Pokemon for "Grandpa," a mysterious oldster who has
promised to make her a love potion with which to capture Almond.
The stories have such premises as Squirtle wanting Almond to
teach him how to be "manly"; a snowcone eating contest
to win Hazel's soul back from Articuno; a rivalry for Almond's
heart between Hazel and Dr. Coconut, the inept potion-making
genius; dealing with a bunch of Pokemon who have gotten drunk
on apple cider; the quest to reach the Tree of Strength on the
top of Tree Mountain, undertaken by a handful of Pokemon along
with the sickly boy Peanut and his aggressive Charmander; and
a lovesick Arbok, desperately attracted to Wigglytuff but too
shy to even say hi to it. There are a couple of bonus stories
as well, plus an account of Tsukirino's attempts to become a
Pokemon master, and a brief encounter with the classic Pokemon
characters (Ash, Misty, and Brock) stuck in this crazy universe.
I doubt that anything I could say about this title would change
anyone's mind; this is one of those critic-proof books that will
appeal to the usual crowd regardless of quality. Also, I haven't
read any Pokemon books prior to this one--I admit it, I've been
resisting them, though I've seen my share of the cartoons--so
I don't know how it stacks up to the regular ones in the series.
(The promo material on the back claims that this is "one
of the most off-beat Pokemon adventures you will ever read!"
Well, OK; it doesn't fit my definition of off-beat, but
I guess within the relaxed standards for Pokemon books it does.)
And I don't have any background with Tsukirino's characters,
so I can't judge how well they fit here.
For what it's worth, I found the material in this book spottily
amusing but mostly bland, meandering, and self-referential in
a way that has become a cliche in Japanese humor comics. The
art I like; it's fairly minimalist and traditionally shojo,
with lots of flowers and so forth, and as always I love the use
of sound effects and text off to the side to suggest asides.
I'd prefer it had been used in the service of a more substantial
Of course, kids will go crazy for this book; it should have
particular appeal for girls, since the "cute" quotient
is extremely high. Thus, it is recommended for kids and for library
collections where Pokemon collectors congregate.