As our quest to branch out our review palette continues onward towards great new things that are game related, we have been sent two beautiful copies of some very different Pokemon adventures via VIZ Media. If you don’t know much about VIZ, just know that they produce some darn good manga, anime and books. They’ve been around for a long, long time and still produce quality stuff.
Anyway, the two books we were sent are Let’s Find Pokemon!, a Where’s Waldo? type of book that features dozens of Pokemon slathered all over two-pages at a time and the reader must find particular Pokemon to move on to the next page. A good puzzle game for young readers.
The other book is titled The Art of Pokemon Adventures, which was a big hit in my household with my oldest daughter (15 years old), who went gah-gah over it because she absolutely adores art, as well as Pokemon. It features art from over the years, a comic, two posters and a glorious index of Pokemon to peruse.
That said, let’s dig right into them, shall we?
Find those Pokemon!
Let’s Find Pokemon! is an interesting hardcover book that brings about some fascinating memories of Where’s Waldo?, a mind-numbing experience when I was younger. The book is geared towards a younger audience that could be absolutely hooked on an adventure of finding particular Pokemon characters is a sea of other Pokemon. In addition, the sea of the garbled monsters are set in familiar backgrounds that have shown up in games over the years. This helps to connect the brand just beyond the characters and provide some familiarity to the younger fans of the series. Plus, it’s neat.
As for the visuals, while the art isn’t quite up to par with the second book in this review, The Art of Pokemon Adventures, I must hand it to the artists for finding a tremendous amount of room for all the characters from page-to-page, while still maintaining a fun set of pictures that isn’t too overwhelming to the eyes. It is quite impressive that such a book was carefully planned and structured where the garbled bunch of Pokemon are going to be, while providing some medium-level difficulty to the reader to find specific Pokemon. Again, it’s geared towards a younger audience, so this may not be a challenging adventure to older fans, but it’s a great way to get younger gamers either engaged with the series or to provide younger fans of the series with a solid challenge that is visually appealing. Again, it’s quite cool. AND! Anytime you can get a younger person away from their mobile or console gaming devices and into a book, well, that’s a good thing.
Like I stated above, the book is hardcover and it’s quite sturdy. It has been through heck and back with my kids, who have all passed it around to use it, while not maintaining a scratch or scuff from their irresponsible little hands. It kind of reminds me of the old Dr. Seuss books that were hardcover and it certainly goes along the same lines as those when it comes to fitting neatly on the shelf. It certainly screams ‘children’s book!’ in a visual way.
Having said that, my intern, Nick, dove into this the moment I took it out of my bag last week. This wonderful guy is 22 years of age and sat in my office for about 10-15 minutes running through it and solving the location of each Pokemon. I can see other Pokemon fans, even the older ones, enjoying this a little bit. Nick really enjoyed it.
Anyway, the asking price isn’t too unreasonable, as VIZ wants $16.99 for it. For something that is sturdy and hardcover, this is not a bad price. At least it can be passed on from generation to generation.
Back in my day, way back in the 80s (long time ago before Pokemon arrived on these shores), I watched a wonderful anime called Robotech. It was a three-series show (almost four) that had continuing storylines from series to series and featured some very tough content for younger kids to grasp. Why am I telling you this? Well, in the late 80s, Robotech Art 1, Robotech Art 2 and Robotech Art 3, from authors Kay Reynolds and Ardith Carlton, cropped up and featured a set of books full of shiny/beautiful/stunning art from the cartoon and featured episode synopsis for every episode in the series. They were wonderful books that reminded the Robotech fans out in the world that there was a lot more going on than they might remember, as well as how good the show was from season to season. It was a set of timeless books dedicated to a series that I adore.
Related, The Art of Pokemon Adventures features art from 2001-2014 Pokemon series and such. It also features art from the Black/White 2 games and some comic series. The book is absolutely stunning, the paper quality and art quality are top-notch and it comes with a nice index in the back of Pokemon featured in the art book. It’s an extensive index of Pokemon, which is insanely cool. Much like Robotech Art 1/2/3, the book carefully crafts together some great character art and great moments for that art.
Towards the end, there is a small sample of a manga featuring Pokemon’s ‘Legendary Web Manga’. It’s quite neat and an added bonus to finish off a well thought out and put together book for Pokemon fans. Again, it’s quite impressive to see this release, though I am told from my daughter that this isn’t the first art book released in this series.
The quality of the book is good. It’s not quite the hardcover of the previously discussed Pokemon book, but it’s got a high-quality, shiny jacket on it that makes it look a lot better than a normal paperback cover. It certainly looks like it would hide creases in the spine. On top of the quality, the book also features a couple of nice Pokemon posters, mid-range in size, that readers can pull out or take out of the book. I’m sure the older readers will keep it in there for some weird reason. I know I would.
As for the cost, it’s actually very reasonable considering the quality you get. The book costs $24.99 in the US and would probably make some Pokemon fan happy has heck.
Overall, both releases are darn good and serve very different purposes and audiences. They’re another example of how good VIZ Media releases can be.