The Pokemon franchise wouldn’t be complete without the Manga series chronicling the events found in the franchise’s video games and movies. While the games and anime have become extremely popular, the franchise creator Satoshi Tajiri says the manga captures his vision of the Pokeverse the best.
The mangas are primarily based on the video games with the main character looking similar to those of the games and having a default name found in the game, for example, Red, Blue, and X are all characters you will find in the manga.
Additionally, the manga doesn’t focus solely on one character but will often shift to another character when the material changes. This gives the manga a more episodic feel similar to the anime which is great for fans who love the anime but aren’t keen on playing the games.
There is also manga chronically the Pokemon movies, bringing Ash, Pikachu, and friends to the page. If you are celebrating Pokemon25 this year, then reading some of the Pokemon mangas is a great way to honor the creation of this beloved franchise.
Where do I Start and How do I Read the Manga?
There are currently 54 volumes of Pokemon released in North America and 59 volumes for just the main manga series. The franchise also includes manga based on the movies, spin-off games, and anime. It can be overwhelming to figure where to begging reading these adventures. Luckily the mangas are made up of easy-to-follow stories and have a clear beginning middle and end.
Many of the manga volumes also contain multiple adventures and stories with some volumes having as many as ten different adventures. When starting the Pokemon manga, you can choose whichever series you would like to begin. Since there is no overarching plot between Red & Blue vs Ruby & Sapphire it won’t matter where you start.
Lastly, if you’ve never read manga before it’s helpful to know that comics are read right to left instead of left to write. It can take a little getting used to but once you read through a few volumes you’ll be a pro.
Pokemon Adventures is the main manga series of the Franchise. The series adapts the video games of the same name into graphic novels with characters named after the titles of the games. The first volume was written by Hidenori Kusaka, illustrated by Mato, and released on August 8th, 1997.
Hidenori Kusaka continues to write Pokemon Adventures while Mato illustrated the first nine volumes and Satoshi Yamamoto has illustrated the rest.
Red, Green & Blue
The first story follows Red a young boy from the Kanto region who receives a Pokedex from Professor Oak and starts his journey collecting Pokemon and Getting the eight gym badges by battling the gym leaders. With the eight gym badges, Red can compete to become the Pokemon Master of the Kanto region. Red will also meet his rival Blue and a con artist named Green.
Red will encounter Team Rocket when they kidnap Professor Oak. The plot largely follows the same plot found in the Red & Blue (Green) video games. There are three volumes of Pokemon Adventures: Red & Blue
Two years after the events of Red, Green & Blue, Red has disappeared following a mysterious letter sent by Bruno. The Elite Four plan to lure Red in to get information on Giovanni’s whereabouts and take his Earth Badge. Red’s Pikachu is able to escape as Red is encased in ice.
Yellow decides to look for Red and quickly stumbles upon a plan to destroy all humans in the Pokeverse. With the help of Red, Blue, Green, and friends Yellow is able to take down the threat and save the Pokeverse. Yellow has four volumes total.
Gold, Silver, and Crystal
Gold, Silver, and Crystal take readers to the Johto region just like the anime and manga. The plot focuses on Gold who has been raised by a family of Pokemon.
Gold stumbles upon Silver a thief in Professor Elm’s lab. He goes on a journey chasing Silver and learns from the secret plot of the Masked Man.
Professor Elm sends out Crystal to Pokemon Capture Professional to complete the Pokedex and she stumbles upon a plan to capture Suicune and then becomes involved in the Masked Man plot.
Which leads to shocking discoveries. This series has seven volumes total.
Ruby & Sapphire
Ruby and Sapphire take readers to Hoenn where Ruby and Sapphire’s rivalries are trying to win every Pokemon Contest and Gym in the region.
The story takes place over 80 days and features Team Magma and Team Aqua who steal a Submarine Explorer 1 and a heart component from Mr.Stone respectively. Which leads to disastrous results. This series has eight volumes in total.
FireRed & LeafGreen
FireRed and LeafGreen gather readers with their old friends Red and Blue as they explore Sevii Islands looking for Professor Oak has been kidnapped by Team Rocket again. Green, who has been searching for her parents has finally located them. Unfortunately, they are swallowed by a black hole after being attacked.
Together the trio searches for their missing ones and attempts to thwart Team Rocket. Silver and Yellow are searching for Silver’s parents as well and are shocked when they learn the truth, leaving everyone petrified. This series has three volumes in total.
The next series focuses on the character Emerald as they challenge the seven facilities of Battle Frontier and conquer them. Along the way, Ruby and Sapphire join them and they take on the Battle Frontier Challenge together.
Guile Hideout battles against Emerald and reveals his true identity and the Jirachi. He uses the Jirachi to summon water composed of a clone of Kyogre and floods the Battle Frontier. Emerald, Ruby, and Sapphire escape with the help of Gold and Crystal who are hoping to unpetrify Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Silver.
Emerald can catch the Jirachi when he is discarded by Guile Hideout and unpetrify the others. This series has four volumes in total.
Diamond & Pearl
Diamond and Pearl focuses on the character Lady Platinum Perlitz who is traveling to the top of Mt. Coronet to collect materials for a family emblem. After an identity mishap, the two people who believe are her bodyguards are actually two comedians Diamond and Pearl. Diamond and Pearl believe that Platinum is their Sinnoh tour guide.
Team Galatic Platinum targets for ransom to develop a bomb that would destroy the three lakes of Sinnoh. When Diamond and Pearl learn the truth they decided to keep faking it to protect her. When Platinum’s father and Professor Rowan are kidnapped they rush to rescue them and Platinum learns of her bodyguard’s identities.
At first, she is mad but then she realizes the two have become her friends and together they take down Team Galactic. There are eight volumes in this series.
This series follows Platnum separately from Diamond and Pearl, as she enters the Battle Frontier. Looker also makes an appearance and helps Diamond find information on the Distortion world were her bodyguards, while he looks for information on Team Galactic.
Team Galactic is planning on taking possession of Giratina who is expelled to the distortion world. This series has three total volumes.
HeartGold & SoulSilver
The HeartGold and SoulSilver manga pick up three years after Emerald with our friends Gold and Silver. The story follows Gold and the actions that led up to his battle with Arceus. When Gold arrives at the Pokeathlon Dome looking for someone with the information he needs. To kill time Gold competes in the Pokeathlon.
When Lance’s Dragonite appears injured and being destroying the Dome, Gold, Silver, and Crystal investigate the disappearance of Lance and sightings of the Neo Team Rocket. This serves as a prequel to Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. This series has three total volumes.
Black & White
Black & White focuses on a boy named Black who is on a quest to become a master trainer. When he destroys a film set during an encounter with Galvantula he finds himself under the employment of White. The owner of a Pokemon actor agency.
White needs the services of Black’s Tepig to help complete the Pokedex. An accident in Professor Juniper’s lab leaves Black with the only functioning Pokedox from that lab and makes him important for completing the Pokedex.
He’ll also have to dodge villainous Team Plasma. The series has nine total volumes in it.
Black 2 & White 2
This series follows Blake (Lack-Two) who is a member of the Internation Police and wants to arrest the seven sages, Whitley (Whi-Two), and members of Neo Team Plasma.
Neo Team Plasma seeks to take over Unova and awaken the legendary Pokemon named Kyurem. Yuki, Maya, Yuko, and Leo join Blake on this adventure.
This series has four total volumes and was originally released through Sunday Web Every, with every chapter being released weekly. Eventually, the series was completely released in April 2020.
X & Y
X and Y focus on a boy named X was won a major tournament as a child and a girl Y who wants to become a Sky Trainer. When two legendary Pokemon blow up X’s town he is forced to come out of hiding. He then meets Team Flare who attempts to steal the tool that enables mega evolution from X, Y, and their friend attempts to escape Team Flare but their plan doesn’t go as they plan. This series has five volumes total.
Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire
This series brings the characters Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald back along with the Hoenn region. When the tri acquires Mega Bracelets and Mega Stones from Steven, they help aid his quest to save the Earth from a meteorite. Along the way, Ruby encounters a mysterious girl and Sapphire struggles when she learns the truth about the meteor causing her to lose her voice and sense of smell.
Ruby takes the role of lore keeper in order to save the world. This series consists of three mini-volumes originally released on Shogakukan’s Web Sunday.
Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon
This series features a boy named Sun who is hoping to gather 100 million Yen and a pharmacist and archer named Moon. When a Tapu unexpectedly attacks the duo set off to win the island challenge of Alola while battling Team Skull and the Aether Foundation Ultra Beast. This series has two mini volumes total.
Sword & Shield
This series focuses on a boy named Marvin who just moved to the Galar region. He meets Soudo Tsurgi and Sheildmillia Tate. Soudo repairs Pokemon gear and Schilly is a computer engineer with a special interest in Dynamax.
They are traveling with Professor Magnolia who is learning more about the Dynamax phenomenon. Soudo and Schilly are planning to challenge the Galar Pokemon League in hopes of gaining information about Schilly’s lost Pokemon.
This series will also be broken up into mini volumes with the first volume being released in English on August 10th, 2021 with the Japanese version having been released on June 26th, 2020.
Other Notable Pokemon Manga Series
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl Adventure!
Pokemon Diamon and Pearl Adventure is an eight-volume series following the adventures of Hareta who lives in the woods with Pokemon to bond with them better. Professor Rowan Gives Hareta a Piplup as his first Pokemon. The story follows Hareta as he learns to become a Pokemon Trainer and battles against Team Galactic.
Pokemon Horizon: Sun & Moon
Pokemon Horizon is compromised by two total volumes and focuses on the main character Akira. Akira wants to achieve his dream of becoming a Pokemon Trainer and mastering the Z-Move. The first step in the process is to pass the test for a Trainer Passport, which suddenly becomes more difficult the villainous Tam Kings shows up.
The second volume picks up where the second one left off. Akira’s Rockruff has evolved into a Lycanroc but it’s now being difficult and refusing to follow orders or stay in the evolved form. Akira is also dealing with Team Kings and the Legendary Pokemon Lunala and Solgaleo.
Pokemon ReBURST follows the journey of Ryuga and their friends Yappy, Miruto, and later Karuta and Rug. Ryuga has a power known as burst which allows a human to fuse or transform into a Pokemon. Ryuga ends up fusing with the Legendary Pokemon Zekrom.
Using his power Ryuga and his friends fight against the Great Gavel organization while searching for a man known as Arcades. Arcades is the only man who could have information on where Ryuga’s father is. The series has eight volumes in total and is very different from the typical lighthearted structure and storylines of previous anime.
The series is full of adult themes and holds a much more serious tone. Probably not the best manga series for small for children to read but more suited towards fans who are teenagers and young adults, this is a welcome change considering the series is 25 years old.
Magical Pokemon Journey
This series focuses on a girl named Hazel who is hopelessly in love with a boy named Almond. Almond, however, does not feel the same way and keeps rejecting Hazel. Hazel Decides To Acquire A Love Potion From A Scientist Named Grandpa.
In exchange for the love potion, Hazel agrees to catch Pokemon for Grandpa. This series focuses heavily on relationships between both humans and pokemon. The series has seven volumes overall.
There are several manga novels that are adapted from the story of the Pokemon movies. These manga feature the beloved characters Ash and Pikachu, as well as other characters from the main Anime series. The adaptations are only one volume a piece ranging from 3 to 5 chapters.
- Mewtwo Strikes Back!
- The Power of One
- Spell of the Unown
- Celebi- Voice of the Forest
- Latios and Latias
- Jirachi Wish Maker
- Destiny Deoxys
- Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
- Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea
- The Rise of Darkrai
- Giratina and the Sky Warrior
- Arceus and the Jewel of Life
- Zoroark: Master of illusions
Question: Is Pokemon Manga Canon?
Answer: Currently, Pokemon manga is set up so that each manga series is its own separate canon unless that volume is a sequel.
This is true for every game, series, and movie within the Pokeverse. This is also why it’s so hard to create a structured timeline of the events from the various iterations of the franchise.
Question: Which Pokemon Manga is the Best?
Answer: The answer to this question is highly personal and will depend on a number of factors. I’d personally start with your favorite generation of characters from the games or favorite movie. I’d also consider how long of a manga you wanted to read.
If you were more interested in something smaller I’d probably pick a move adaption because it’s on average only one or two volumes.
This is especially true for lovers of anime. Starting with your favorite generation from the games is great for those who want longer reads with each series being about seven volumes.
Question: Is Pokemon Manga Still Being Released?
Answer: Yes, the main Pokemon series Pokemon Adventures is still releasing comics, and spin-off series are still going as well. Some form of Pokemon manga will probably be around just as long as Pokemon is.
This franchise is extremely popular and while the manga might not be at the forefront it is an integral piece of the franchise.
If you love manga and Pokemon then reading through the various Pokemon manga can be a wonderful way to spend time.
Whether you are an adult or a kid will be sure to find some fun and engaging adventures along the way. Manga is also wonderful for collecting if you are a fan and some series even come in a collectors edition just for that purpose.