Story & Art by Machito Gomi
Original Concept by Satoshi Tajiri
Supervised by Tsunekazu Ishihara
Script by Takeshi Shudo
Original Cover Design by Plus One
Translated & Adaptation by Emi Louie-Nishikawa
Touch-Up & Lettering by Susan Daigle-Leach
Design by Julian Robinson
Edited by Annette Roman
Much like how movies have been a regular staple of the Pokémon anime, manga adaptations of these films have regularly accompanied them. The most recent Pokémon film Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution is no exception, receiving a manga adaptation by Machito Gomi. Despite its short length, this manga fully recaptures its source material.
Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution centers on Ash, Pikachu, and his friends, as they encounter the legendary Pokémon Mewtwo. When Mewtwo creates an army of Pokémon clones to retaliate against humanity, Ash must find a way to stop Mewtwo and save the world.
The manga’s plot is very faithful to the original film, but when adapting a lengthy story into less than 174 pages, sacrifices need to be made. Most of the expository scenes prior to reaching New Island are omitted, allowing the manga to quickly arrive at Ash’s confrontation with Mewtwo. While this doesn’t alter the narrative, the sea traveling scene from the film is incredibly memorable, so it’s a shame to see its absence here. That said, the manga does a great job of showcasing Mewtwo’s struggle, leaving his backstory scenes untouched and crafting him as a complex antagonist. Sometimes an adaptation can’t cover everything, but understanding what is vital to a story is crucial, and Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution delivers on that.
The Pokémon world has taken many forms in manga, but Machito Gomi has managed to capture the essence of the classic Pokémon anime in his artwork. The usual cast members like Ash, Brock, and Misty are immediately recognizable, and the Pokémon look how you’d expect. Gomi also pays close attention to Mewtwo’s emotions throughout the story. Mewtwo is in a constant state of anger, but his expressions noticeably change depending on the source of his rage. It provides further depth to Mewtwo’s character, while also effectively conveying his frustrations to the reader. If you grew up watching Pokémon, it will be easy to latch on to this manga.
Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution is a fun manga adaptation that provides fans with an extra way to experience the story. While it needs to make compromises to cover the entire film’s length, it manages to capture the appeal of Pokémon. You can’t go wrong with this Pokémon journey!