Monday, June 27, 2011


When I was growing up, Pokemon and Digimon were my bread and butter. The most awesome, coolest shows around, my stalwart favorites. I had this bunny I dragged around and pretended to be a Patamon, I dreamed up a million ways how they could make a Pikachu real. I made up my own worlds based on them, imagined a bunch of fanfiction about Ken Ichijoji and Eevees... um, not at the same time. I never imagined a cross over or anything. But there was something wonderful about having cute little superpowered pets that were my loyal friends.  These were beautiful shining worlds away from adults, where you could romp around in forests and just... be. And then I got into Dragon Ball Z and I forgot all about those silly shows. There was manly things to watch, dangit!

Even though I had grown past watching the Pokemon show, I still indulged in its other media. Especially the card game... god I was a card game addict... But thats not what I'm talking about here! I read and enjoyed two Pokemon comics, Pokemon Adventures, which paralleled the games, and The Electric Tale of Pikachu, which paralleled the anime. Even though I was past thinking how wonderful it would be to have a Pikachu, these two manga captured that special feeling about the world. A world of adventure, and of friendship. Were fantastic creatures are everywhere, and will be your friend if you reach out. A world to wander in without worry, or maybe small trivial worries. The Electric Tale of Pikachu had a bit of "crap, where are we gonna get the money for this???" but most of the time, it was just a big, bright world.

And this brings me to what I actually want to talk about. Mokepon.

Mokepon is... well, it's okay, but it has the feeling of the amateur writer that I cant shake from page to page. The art is amazing, but the characters feel stiff, like they're only a step up from talking heads. The story is interesting, but the execution is... well... it goes up and down, it took a chapter or so to really get into it. And the main character, jeez, I feel like I've seen this guy a million times. Heck, nobody really feels like they have depth to them.

But I'm telling you, read the dang story, all none of you who read my blog. While I was reading it, I got that same feeling. I got the feelings I had when reading Pokemon Adventures. This is a bright, colorful world of adventure! A world of cuddly pals where kids can have fun without fear! And the main character knows he lives in this world, he just doesnt care for it.

I have read dozens of Pokemon fancomics at this point, and none of them can really seem to grasp this same wonder. Most respectful approaches seem more interested in cracking wise than really getting into the mood. Any comic with a cynical approach usually just strips out all charm to the world, which I feel is missing the point.

But Mokepon gets it right. Any feeling of artistic immaturity I get from it is stifled, because this author understands that childlike awe that makes up Pokemon. Just because you've grown up past the Pokemon world doesnt mean the Pokemon world has grown up with you. Just because you dont buy into friendship, battles, and all the other tiny little Pokemon details, it doesnt mean that they change. It feels like, as an adult, you pick up the Pokemon games again, and you are just so frustrated with how insipid it all is. Your feelings arent going to change anything, you're going to go through with the ridiculous exercise anyway.

In that sense, I can understand Atticus, the main character, perfectly. He is wonderfully suited to this comic because he has very little variation to him. And his Charmander, or Dragonthing, is there to try and bring him back to his younger mindset, to care about the world. Dragonthing doesnt succeed right away, of course he doesnt. But you can see the journey that's in front of the two of them, its the journey you see a million times, of friendship and teamwork. But its interesting, because that part's not glossed over in the first chapter, its the entire point of the comic, the developing bond between Pokemon and Trainer. I wouldnt be surprised if they become much stronger friends than any of the moony-eyed children, because they had to struggle to connect, to see eye to eye. Um, maybe, this is just me guessing.... but see? Even though I think the craftsmanship is a little shoddy, this comic gets Pokemon. I can get into the world just as well as I could with the two professional comics. And this one's free!

In a final word... Pokemon Adventure is for when you're ten, when the world is new, broad, and without problems. Electric Tale is for when you're fourteen, when you know there should be a few issues here and there that call for explanation, but you're still into the idea. Mokepon is for when you're eighteen, where you've grown up past the ridiculous aspects, but Pokemon will always have them anyway. If only to make it hard for you.

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