Recently Viz has announced a new round of releases. A lot of the titles in the announcement aren’t new. They are just release dates for titles previously announced, or running in Shonen Jump, such as Yu-Gi-Oh! 5DS, Psyren and Mameshiba. But there were some new titles announced too. One of them was Pokemon Black and White, which is based on the new Pokemon video game that was just released in the US. This really isn’t a big surprise. Viz has been releasing Pokemon in one form or another since the early 2000’s.
Back in the day, Viz released a couple of Pokemon titles as floppies in comic shops. The adventures of Ash and Pikachu got 16 issues and 4 volumes released. Pokemon Adventures, the manga that follows the video game releases was released as a magazine-sized floppy. It had a sister publication, Magical Pokemon Journey. It was the same size as Pokemon Adventures, but was completely unrelated to the video games. It was a shoujo version of the series, and featured a female lead, well before Crystal came out, the first Pokemon video game to have a female trainer. Both of these had compilation volumes released, but good luck finding them! Mostly, you can find the floppies, but at ridiculous prices.
In 2009, Viz announced at Wondercon that they would be re-releasing Pokemon Aventures as a 2nd edition, unflipped. I was excited to hear this. My kids were really into Pokemon at the time (still are actually), and I wanted to get them the series. My post had got some comments, including one from Deb Aoki that seemed to confirm that Magical Pokemon Journeys would be released too. My younger daughter really enjoyed that series, and at the time it seemed that it would be coming back as well as Pokemon Adventures. It’s two years later, and there’s no sign of it.
What happened? Why hasn’t Pokemon Magical Journey been brought back with Pokemon Adventures? It’s a good title for younger girls. Magical Pokemon Journey is about a girl named Hazel, who wants “Grandpa” to make her a love potion. She has a crush on a pokemon trainer, Almond. Grandpa says he will, if she will help him by going out and catching pokemon. So starts Hazel’s journey. The art is very typical of a shoujo series with cute designs for both the characters and the pokemon. And it’s only 10 volumes total. That’s small compared to a lot of Viz’s other titles.
So why hasn’t Magical Pokemon Journey been released? It would make a great title to draw girls in, and it’s not like Viz has brought out a lot of titles for tween girls. ChocoMimi is about the extent of it. Did ChocoMimi not sell well, making Viz gun-shy about another series for younger girls? But Pokemon is such a big franchise that I find it hard to believe it wouldn’t sell on the strength of that. And cute pokemon are going to be a draw for girls and younger boys. So what is it Viz? Why can’t we send our Pokemon on a Magical Journey?