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Pokemon the Movie 2000. Based on the concept by Tsunekazu Ishihara and Satoshi Tajiri. Translated by Kaori Kawakubo. San Francisco, CA: Viz Comics, 2001. 207p. $15.95. ISBN 1-56931-572-8.


Kids, teens, adults

There are two stories in this book. "The Power of One" is a lengthy epic story about how Ash and his companions must save the world. The evil Pokemon collector Lawrence III wants to capture three legendary Pokemon so that a fourth, the never-before-seen Lugia, will appear so he can capture it as well. Trouble is, it's been prophesized that if you screw around with these Pokemon the world will come to an end. Sure enough, chaos erupts. Meanwhile, Ash has been anointed "the Chosen One" for the Shamouti Island Legend Festival. His task is to retrieve three "treasures" (special Pokeballs) from the three islands where, not so coincidentally, the three legendary Pokemon reside. His ritualistic task takes on a new significance in light of Lawrence III's meddling. It turns out that the three legendary Pokemon are directly responsible for the creation of life. The situation is so serious that even Team Rocket lends a hand.

The other story is "Pikachu's Rescue Adventure." Togepi falls down a hole, and the main characters' other Pokemon go after it. They arrive at a huge tree in which lots of wild Pokemon dwell. They discover that Togepi has landed in a nest of Exeggcute, and that one of the Exeggcute is missing. Led by Pikachu, the Pokemon go on a hunt for the creature.

The book also includes brief information about all the human characters and some PokeDex data about the Pokemon introduced in the movie.

Like Magical Pokemon Journey, this is another critic-proof book; kids will love it. The main story is not much different from an episode of the cartoon, though it does delve into more substantial issues, such as the creation of life, and the threats to the characters come off as more, well, threatful. The secondary story boils down to "Pokemon doing cute pointless things" and probably comes off better on screen than as a short story.

What makes this book special for older readers is the vibrant art. I assume most of it was taken directly from the movie and touched up thereafter. The colors are so bright that this book practically glows. I don't know what the printing process was, but I wish other books would use it! A few of the panels have that "transferred from movies" washed-out look, but most of them are sharp and clear, and some of the backgrounds are amazingly detailed. Some were hand-drawn, while others were computer-generated. You kinda wish the cartoony character figures and word balloons hadn't been included so you could gaze upon the backgrounds and pick out all the details. One minor complaint: the red 3-D lettering in some of the panels can be hard to read.

Although this is a surefire hit for the kids, it has its pleasures for older readers as well, though, by dint of the book's subject, I think it would have to be shoved in their faces before they deigned to open it. Librarians collecting for older readers will have to weigh acquisition of this one with more obviously age-appropriate (and known-to-circulate) titles. Thus, it's highly recommended for kids and kids' library collections, and hopefully recommended for others, especially where manga is popular.

Copyright 2001, D. Aviva Rothschild


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