16-Cover-1The youngest member of the wealthy Berlitz line is about to take on her family’s traditional challenge: a quest to Mt. Coronet to retrieve a material from its peak that she will use to craft the emblem showing her to be a full-fledged Berlitz. Meanwhile, young comedians Pearl and Diamond are performing their routines in amateur competitions with their Pokémon. What could bring these three together? Well, as it turns out, a simple mix-up of instructions.

The young Berlitz – she chooses not to reveal her first name to “commoners,” and is thus referred to as Lady – is supposed to meet up with a pair of bodyguards selected by her father to protect her on her quest if her Pokémon aren’t up to the task. Pearl and Diamond, meanwhile, have won a minor prize in a local competition: a tour of a nearby park. After a confusion of envelopes, however, the three set off together, Pearl and Diamond thinking that Lady is their tour guide and Lady thinking that the slapstick duo are her bodyguards. This leaves the actual bodyguards, confused, to decide that Pearl and Diamond have kidnapped their charge!

Traveling with Lady means a five-star hotel every night, while traveling with Pearl and Diamond means a lot of impromptu comic routines. Their bodyguarding is as strange as her tour guiding, but none of our heroes minds much. Lady is eager for adventure, and Pearl and Diamond are happy to back her up as she tries her hand at Pokémon battles, dance competitions, and solving mysteries. Mt. Coronet is a long way away, so our trio and their Pokémon have plenty of time for fun – if they’re not caught by Lady’s real bodyguards or the shadowy figures of Team Galactic.

The art is typical of Pokémon manga: bold, clear, and action-packed, with plenty of silliness where the story calls for it. The story includes lots of Pokémon battles, but also a surprising amount of strategic problem-solving, with Pokémon appearing largely as companions and useful, superpowered pets rather than as combatants.

Without a doubt, the weirdest things about these volumes are the comedy stylings of Diamond and Pearl. Pearl is hyperactive and impatient; Diamond is always snacking or napping, and usually on the getting-slapped end of their slapstick routines. Friends since childhood, the two have some pretty funny interactions based on their differing personalities, but most of their jokes are about Pokémon. Those unfamiliar with the franchise might find some of these to be basically gibberish.

On the other hand, while individual jokes might not make sense to readers who are not up on the Pokémon canon, the reactions of other characters should make clear what’s actually important to the plot: Pearl and Diamond are, so to speak, unpolished, and their routines are often at their funniest when Diamond bungles them. The pair sometimes uses their routines to secretly communicate, and at least one new character is determined to be a bit of a good-hearted weirdo because she actually finds them funny.

Pokémon Adventures: Diamond and Pearl Platinum, vol. 1-2
by Hidenori Kusaka
Art by Satoshi Yamamoto
Volume 1 ISBN: 9781421538167
Volume 2 ISBN: 9781421538174
VIZ Kids, 2011
Publisher Age Rating: All Ages

  • Nic

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Wake County Public Libraries

    Reviewer

    The child of two artists, Nic grew up loving art, reading, and those oh-so-special books that combine the two. Nic got her MLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her thesis was on the best shelving scheme for graphic novels in public libraries; the proposal won an Elfreda Chatman Research Award. She spends her free time reading, drawing, blogging, and writing fiction. She is a Youth Services Librarian at the Wake County Public Libraries in Raleigh, NC.

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