Pokémon manga has been perennially popular since long before the rise of Pokémon GO. But when you’ve read all of those volumes (or when they’re not on the shelf at the library), why not try…

Amazing Agent Luna, vol. 1

Written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir
Art by Shiei
ISBN: 9781933164007
Published by Seven Seas, 2005

Elevator pitch: Luna is a bouncy, good-natured girl who also happens to be a secret agent who has been genetically engineered and trained to be the perfect spy and weapon. But when she’s assigned to go undercover as a high school student, Luna isn’t expecting friends, rivals, and crushes to be her biggest challenges yet.

Why this next: This series is full of action, humor, and young heroes who often triumph over adults. Because of some mild violence and light romance, it might be best for older Pokémon fans.

(Contributed by Nic)

Amulet, vol. 1: The Stonekeeper

Written and drawn by Kazu Kibuishi
ISBN: 9780439846813
Published by Graphix, 2008

Elevator pitch: When Emily and Navin move with their mom into their great-great-grandfather’s old house, they discover a mysterious amulet, then a way into another world. This place is full of elves, robots, talking animals…and danger.

Why this next: When it comes to kid-centric fantasy adventure, it’s hard to beat the Amulet series. With beautifully vivid art, bizarre creatures, and sympathetic young protagonists, this series is a classic in the making.

(Contributed by Nic)

BakéGyamon: Backwards Game, vol. 1

Written by Mitsuhisa Tamura
Art by Kazuhiro Fujita
ISBN: 9781421517933
Published by Viz, 2009

Elevator pitch: Sanshiro’s small-town life gets a lot more exciting when he’s invited to play a game called BakéGyamon, in which players battle each other with monsters and the winner gets to have a wish granted. But how far will Sanshiro make it when the monsters he’s been given are pathetic?

Why this next: Featuring an energetic, adventurous young hero, this kid-friendly monster-battling story has a lot in common with Pokémon. (If you’re not already convinced, just compare spiky-haired, baseball-cap-wearing Sanshiro to Pokémon protagonist Ash Ketchum.)

(Contributed by Nic)

Cardcaptor Sakura, vol. 1

Written and drawn by CLAMP
ISBN: 9781595825223
Published by Dark Horse, 2010

Elevator pitch: Fourth-grader Sakura discovers a book full of magical Clow Cards—or it was full of cards, until they escaped! Now, along with her friends and the book’s adorable guardian creature, Sakura must recapture the cards before they wreak havoc.

Why this next: Known for the cuteness of its art, this magical girl story shares a collect-them-all theme with the Pokémon series. It also has fantasy creatures and an upbeat feel.

(Contributed by Nic)

Jellaby, vol. 1

Written and drawn by Kean Soo
ISBN: 9781434264206
Published by Stone Arch Books, 2014

Elevator pitch: Ten-year-old Portia and her mom have just moved to a new neighborhood. She’s having a hard time adjusting until she meets a friendly purple monster who leads her on an adventure.

Why this next: If you like Pokemon for how cute the “monsters” are, Jellaby is right up your alley!

(Contributed by Renata Sancken)

Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, vol. 1

Written and drawn by Shiro Amano
ISBN: 9780316254205
Published by Yen Press, 2013

Elevator pitch: A storm sweeps young Sora into a strange new land where he meets a cast of classic Disney characters, including Goofy, Donald, and more, and is drawn into a quest to return King Mickey to his throne. This series is an unusual mash-up of Japanese and Western cartoon art, as manga-style characters like Sora encounter characters drawn Disney-style.

Why this next: Besides being another video game tie-in like Pokémon, this series offers fun, whimsical adventure in a fantastical world. The manga-style characters, like Sora, even have some stylistic resemblances to the characters of the Pokémon manga. Readers who enjoy this manga might also like spin-off series such as Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.

(Contributed by Nic)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, vol. 1

Written and drawn by Akira Himekawa
ISBN: 9781421523279
Published by VIZ

Elevator pitch: This upbeat story—and the rest of the ten-volume series—follows Link, hero of the popular Legend of Zelda video games, on his fantastical adventures.

Why this next: Besides the fact that they both tie in with much-beloved video games, this series and Pokémon are both full of kid-friendly action, humor, and positivity.

(Contributed by Nic)

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, vol. 1

Written and drawn by CLAMP
ISBN: 9780345470577
Published by Del Rey, 2004

Elevator pitch: Young archaeologist Syaoran doesn’t know what to make of the mystical symbol he’s unearthed, until his childhood friend, Princess Sakura, visits the dig and sparks a magical reaction. Now the princess has lost her memories, and Syaoran—along with Sakura and some new friends—will have to travel through a series of fantastical worlds to get them back.

Why this next: Like Pokémon, this series revolves around a “catch ‘em all” quest: Syaoran’s mission to collect Sakura’s memories, which have taken the shape of magical feathers scattered through many parallel worlds. It also features fantastical battles and an emphasis on friendship. The series does get complicated and a little grim as it goes on, so it might be best for older Pokémon fans looking to try out shonen manga.

(Contributed by Nic)

Yo-Kai Watch, vol. 1

Written and drawn by Noriyuki Konishi
ISBN: 9781421582511
Published by Viz, 2015

Elevator pitch: Nate Adams is an ordinary boy until he runs into a Yo-Kai—a Japanese mythological spirit creature—named Whisper, who pledges himself to be Nate’s “butler.” Whisper gives Nate a Yo-Kai watch, and with the device’s help Nate’s world is opened up to the Yo-Kai all around him.

Why this next: If you like Pokémon for its multitude of strange creatures, then Yo-Kai Watch is right up your alley. It also contains elements of the “gotta catch ‘em all” craze started by Pokémon in that Nate befriends Yo-Kai and later calls on them to help him in battles and his adventures. Yo-Kai Watch is full of kid-friendly action and humor.

(Contributed by Danielle Boyd)

Yu-Gi-Oh!, vol. 1

Written and drawn by Kazuki Takahashi
ISBN: 9781569319031
Published by Viz, 2003

Elevator pitch: Yami Yugi is a 10th grade gaming genius. His life is ordinary until he solves an ancient Egyptian artifact known as the Millennium Puzzle. This unlocks the conscious of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh who drags Yugi into the world of Duel Monsters.

Why this next: Both properties have much darker and deeper manga interpretations than the related anime, as well as a multitude of awesome monsters. Yu-Gi-Oh! also shares a battling spirit with the world of Pokémon as characters continue to collect monsters (in this case in card form) in an effort to beat each other and become the ultimate Duel Master. Readers who like Yu-Gi-Oh! may also enjoy its spin-off series, like Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal.

(Contributed by Danielle Boyd)

  • Nic

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


    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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