Pokemon Black and White Vol. 1 (Manga)
Publisher: Viz Media
Release Date: July 2011
Price: $4.99
Creator(s): Hidenori Kusaka, Satoshi Yamamoto
Format: 96 pgs.; black & white; Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4215-4090-0
Age Rating: All Ages
ICv2 Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Young Black dreams of becoming the world's greatest Pokemon trainer and after being given his first Pokedex and starter Pokemon he's soon off to explore the Unova region.  Following close behind him are Cheren and Bianca, his childhood friends and fellow beginner Pokemon trainers.

Black has only one thing on his mind, Pokemon; he's so obsessed with them he starts screaming about them in appropriate places like the library.  It's gotten so bad that periodically his dream eater Pokemon Musha has to sit on his head and eat his dreams.  Afterwards his mind goes blank which allows him to assess his surroundings with perfect clarity.

While there are a number of the unexpected Pokemon battles a good chunk of volume 1 is spent on a flashback to when Black, Cheren and Bianca were kids as well as a sequence where Black has to pick the perfect nickname for his Pokemon Tepig.  These subplots not only seem unnecessary but they stop the story in it's tracks.

Except for the stuff about Pokemon eating your dreams (which frankly seems kind of creepy) Pokemon Black and White is perfectly predictable. But kids won't mind, they'll no doubt love it  because it follows  the familiar formula of kids and their cute creatures battling each other.  But it's also a lot of fun, in large part due to the attractive characters and lively cartooning provided by Satoshi Yamamoto.

--Steve Bennett: Writer and retail services consultant.