The countdown is on: Pokémon trainers Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald have just days before a massive meteor destroys the planet. Their friends at the Devon Corporation want the three powerful trainers to help them ready a high-tech device to shift the meteor’s path. But the Draconids, an ancient and mystical order, claim that the device will actually make things worse. They believe their legends tell of the only way to stop the meteor. Meanwhile, the dastardly Team Aqua and Team Magma are taking advantage of the chaos to summon two Pokémon so powerful that they might just destroy the world all by themselves.

These two slim volumes are packed with action, flashbacks, and a surprisingly large cast. Alongside the high-stakes meteor plot, we have subplots such as “does Ruby return Sapphire’s feelings?” and “why is a strange Pokémon following Emerald around?” The brief summary at the beginning of each volume may help readers catch up, but if they haven’t read the first book of the series, they’ll probably still be confused.

Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald have had lots of previous adventures in the Pokémon universe. Team Aqua and Team Magma will also be familiar to many fans, as will members of the supporting cast. Past events are referenced frequently in this series. It’s not necessary to have read previous series, but if readers do want to get a better understanding of the protagonists, they can pick up the Ruby and Sapphire arc and Emerald arc of the Pokémon Adventures manga.

The artwork is crisp, clear, and character-focused. That’s helpful, given that there are many people and Pokémon to keep straight. By emphasizing the characters, the art also lends power to those characters’ emotional experiences. We see Sapphire’s insecurity and frustration at being left in the dark about the looming danger, and Ruby breaks down in tears more than once when faced with the fact that this meteor might destroy the world and everything he loves. These responses give depth and seriousness to what could otherwise be a pure action story.

Of course, there’s still a lot of action. In classic Pokémon style, this series features frequent nonlethal battles between Pokémon. The art keeps these scenes clear and easy to understand, even when the number of people and creatures involved is upwards of a dozen.

Protagonists Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald are brave, good-hearted, and easy to root for. Each is a powerful trainer, and they have other skills and interests as well. Sapphire is doing a large-scale study of Pokémon and where they live; Ruby is involved with Pokémon contests, which showcase the non-combat abilities of Pokémon; and Emerald is a master of gadgets and tricks. For fans of the Pokémon universe, these hobbies provide interesting insight into how that universe works. They do, however, cram even more information into already crowded and rather chaotic volumes.

As I said in my review of volume one of this series, it is not one of the easier entry points to the world of Pokémon manga. Readers already familiar with the Ruby and Sapphire arc of Pokémon Adventures, however, will enjoy following those characters into this fast-paced, high-stakes new series.

Pokémon Omega Ruby Alpha Sapphire, vols. 2-3
by Hidenori Kusaka
Art by Satoshi Yamamato
vol 2 ISBN: 9781421590165
vol 3 ISBN: 9781421591568
VIZ Media, 2016
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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