Everyone hear has probably heard of a little thing called Pokemon, right? You all probably watched the cartoon show as it was airing, or played the video games on your Gameboys, or even collected and traded Pokemon cards, all without realizing it was from another country. Well, did you also know that there was a Pokemon manga series? Probably not likely.
Released in 1997 as Pocket Monsters: Special, the series is written by Hidenori Kusaka and illustrated by Mato and Satoshi Yamamoto. Unlike the anime, which onyl draws inspiration from the games but creates its own characters and rules, the manga focuses more on the games with characters named after the game titles (Red, Blue, Crystal, etc.) and adhering more to the game story lines.
Another thing is the violence and sexual innuendos that the series has. The story lines are much darker than the anime or even the games with people and Pokemon dying, there is greater emphasis on female’s bodies including a 14 year-old’s large bust and there can be mature subject matter that is addressed such as child abuse and overcoming trauma. The characters also have better development over the course of the series in contrast to the games (in which the human characters are flat and the main character is silent) and the anime (seriously, Ash. That is all). Still, most of the adult content was cut out from the English versions, but I think there may be an uncensored version around the Internet if you are inclined to find it.
At fifty-one volumes the manga is still ongoing. It was praised by Pokemon creator Satoshi Tajiri as being the medium in which it “resembles the world that [he] was trying to convey” and it has sold over 150 million copies world wide (yet most people don’t seem to know about it). You buy it at or local book store or on Amazon.