Pokémon Reburst, Ch. 1
August 24th, 2015
Let the new serious great adventure battle action series begin!
(Linkara is dressed like Ash Ketchum, and his shelves and futon are full of Pokémon paraphernalia)
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. As you can see, today, we're talking about a particular thing that I'm a big fan of. Yes, that's right, Monster Rancher.
(Footage of a Pokémon game is shown)
Linkara (v/o): No, of course, I'm talking about Pokémon, the Pokey Mans, the tiny creatures stuffed into little balls so that we can make them fight for our amusement. While today is a Patreon-sponsored review, I will confess that originally, I had scheduled this spot out for Pokémon anyway.
Linkara: In case you haven't noticed, when I get into a franchise, I get a little obsessive and won't shut the hell up about it. So I figured it was time to do another issue of "Pokémon - The Electric Tale of Pikachu" to feed that obsession.
(Cut to a shot of the aforementioned Pokémon manga about Pikachu)
Linkara (v/o): However, the Patreon request came in, and so I pushed that episode back to next year in honor of Pokémon’s twentieth anniversary.
Linkara (v/o): It helps that since that episode, wherein I fought a glitch from those games that evolved into a cosmic horror that ate the world...
(Footage of another Pokémon game is shown)
Linkara (v/o): ...I've gotten into the franchise again in a big way, finally reading into a lot that I hadn't paid attention to before, replaying pretty much every main series game...
(Cut to a pile of Pokémon games in Linkara's possession)
Linkara (v/o): ...and even researching a way to get Pokémon from the original Game Boy games all the way up into the modern generation, even though it involves playing Frankenstein and cobbling together half a dozen different devices and programs to make the whole thing happen.
Linkara (v/o): I started a Let's Play of a fan-made, contributed to and continued to support Twitch Plays Pokémon...
Linkara: (holding up a copy of the T.P.P. game) Now in its second season, just FYI...
Linkara (v/o): ...purchased homebrew Pokémon games, have read the first fourteen volumes of the "Pokemon Adventures" manga, and have started a breeding program so that starter Pokémon from various generations will be available in Poké Balls that they otherwise cannot be normally obtained in just for people who prefer all their Pokémon to be in different Poké Balls.
Linkara: I did mention that I get a little bit obsessive, right?
Linkara (v/o): And yet, somehow, despite my nature to learn everything there is to know about a franchise when I fall in love with it, I had never heard of the manga we're looking at today.
(Cut to a shot of said manga...)
Linkara (v/o): "Pokémon Reburst". And it's actually kind of inaccurate to pronounce it like that, since it has the accent E in its name, so it should technically be "Pokémon Réburst" (pronounces it "RAY-burst") or something. It's a manga that came out in Weekly Shonen Sunday in 2011 and 2012, with 77 chapters spread across eight volumes. Now, I don't expect everyone else to be as insane as I am when it comes to knowing obscure crap like this, but there's a good reason why most people haven't heard of this one: there is no English release on this.
Linkara: Which is especially weird, considering manga's predisposition to have the most bizarre alternate universe crap get an English release. For crying out loud, (holds up a manga for an installment of "Neon Genesis Evangelion") I own the Shinji Ikari Detective Diary!
Linkara (v/o): I don't want to spoil what it is that makes this one so different, but needless to say, it's weird enough that it justifies breaking my "no manga" rule on this show.
Linkara: Not that those seem to matter anymore, what with all the other things on that list of "15 Things I Never Review" that I've broken. For now, let's just dig into the first chapter of "Pokémon Re–" (pronounces it "ree") or "RAY-burst".
(AT4W title theme plays, and the title card has "Type: Wild", a Pokémon tune, playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the manga's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Now, of course, because this doesn't have an official release and I do not speak Japanese, that means I had to resort to scanlations for this thing. As such, I cannot speak to the accuracy of the translation, and of course, my apologies for the quality of the scans. I work with what I've got, although I do find it quite amusing that this site slapped a watermark in the corner on some pages for something that is not exactly in the spirit of legality.
Linkara: Subsequently, I do apologize in advance if, due to the unofficial nature of these scans, that this episode ends up becoming the (makes "air quotes") "lost" video of the show that is spoken of only in hushed circles, with Creepypastas attached to it to boot. (leans in close; sotto voce) The backwards demonic message is telling you to drink your Ovaltine. (nods)
Linkara (v/o): Due to the nature of the scans here, they're not from an actual comic, but a magazine they were printed in, so there's really no point to looking at the cover, although if I did, good Lord! You know, I've complained about comic covers looking crowded before, but they got nothing on this! I think the only unused space is those brief centimeters of red on the left. Every other space is covered with text and pictures. Hell, they actually repeat that image of the "Pokémon Reburst" main character.
Linkara: It's like they're afraid if there was any blank space on the cover, it would (snaps fingers) snap the reader out of the hypnotic trance of it and realize that they don't actually need to read this.
Linkara (v/o): We open on a little color explanation of the Pokémon universe. Standard fare.
Narrator: Pocket Monsters, also known as Pokémon. They're mysterious creatures that possess different sizes, faces and abilities...
Linkara: (sarcastically) Different faces?! What science fiction madhouse did this escape from?!
Narrator: Humans and Pokemon have long been intimately connected with one another...
Linkara: (as narrator) And yet, people seem to have a problem when I want to marry a Magikarp.
Narrator: That's until...
Linkara (v/o): Until... what? Water colors? As you can see from the Pokémon displayed above, this was in the middle of Generation 5 and the games Pokémon: Black and White. These games were a bit unique in that they introduced the most amount of new Pokémon for a single generation, 155. And to get people to try out all the new ones, you couldn't get any of the old ones until you had beaten the game. This is also the generation that gave us the ice cream cone Pokémon (Vanillite), which totally proved that Pokémon was out of ideas.
Linkara: As opposed to the first generation of Pokémon, which was all completely innovative and original! Isn't that right, (shots of Voltorb appear in opposite corners) ball that evolves into slightly larger ball?
Narrator: Let the new serious great adventure battle action series begin!!
Linkara: (holds up hand) Slow down, "Reburst"! You haven't sold me on this yet. Does the new serious great adventure battle action series also contain (clenches fist) powerhouse excitement?
Linkara (v/o): There's also this poster or... cover or... Hell, I don't know what this is. I just know that this is highly serious. It's also start.
(The manga opens to the first page)
Linkara (v/o): We open on a village that surprisingly looks exactly like how an opening town in Pokémon starts: two houses and a big-ass laboratory that employs more people than there are places to live.
Narrator: Meet Ryouga, our protagonist!
Linkara: Well, this isn't like Pokémon at all. Not only does it not let us choose our name, but there's no highly decorated research scientist that can't tell if we're a boy or a girl.
Linkara (v/o): Ryouga does some stretches, happily proclaiming that today he shall pass his final test.
Ryouga: Just you wait, Arcades!!
Linkara: Yes, truly, there is no more exciting adventure in Pokémon... than watching somebody play Pac-Man in some arcades.
Linkara (v/o): Actually, reading ahead, I'm pretty sure the pronunciation is "Ar-KAY-dees" and refers to an actual person, but it's hard not to see it as some kid training for a hard day of Galaga and Street Fighter. In actuality, some nearby folks spot him running off and explain what the test is. Apparently, if you pass the tests, you'll be granted permission to travel with Pokémon.
Linkara: This must take place in the distant past, before all you needed for a trainer's license was to be ten years old and spend half a day in a classroom. (points to camera) This is why elections are so important, people.
Man: But this time, if he passes... he would be able to fulfill his promise with Arcades...
Linkara: (as this man) They're gonna start that punk rock band together that they always talked about. I think they're calling themselves (makes an "air quote") "The Diglett's Feet".
Linkara (v/o): We get a flashback... without any indication that it's a flashback, so really, Ryouga just shrunk, as he yells out to Arcades... which appears to be a hole in the sky.
Linkara: Is Arcades God?
Linkara (v/o): (?) Ryouga asks Arcades to take him, too, to where his dad is now.
Arcades: It's still... impossible for you, Ryouga!
Linkara: Dammit, Mufasa, just let the kid come, too!
Ryouga: It's not impossible, it's not impossible, it's not impossible!! Because I'll also fight!
Linkara: (as Ryouga) Do the impossible! See the impossible! (pumps fist) Row, row, fight the power!
Arcades: It's impossible!!
(Cut to a clip of Shia LaBeouf in front of a green screen)
LaBeuof: Nothing is impossible!
(Cut back to the manga)
Linkara (v/o): Ryouga still says it isn't impossible, which disappoints Arcades.
Arcades: Even when I told you it's impossible... you dared oppose me... Your father... did the same... Ryouga...
Linkara: (uncomfortable) This is gonna turn into a (makes "air quotes") "I learned it from watching you" thing, isn't it?
Linkara (v/o): Arcades tells Ryouga to become stronger. And eventually, if he does become stronger, he'll take him to wear his father is. Cutting back to the present, we have this lady [Miruto], who appears to have taken a wrong turn on her way to Ragnarok Online and has injured her leg.
Miruto: Just when I'm having my first solo mission, this incident happened... I didn't even get to see Jake's face.
Linkara: Ooh, I've heard of Jake. Be careful. I hear he has swag so that we'll feel enmity towards him.
Linkara (v/o): She hears a noise, thinking it's a wild Pokémon, but it just turns out to be Ryouga... carrying a huge-ass rock.
Ryouga: I haven't seen you around here.
Linkara: (as Ryouga, pretending to hold up rock) You'll have to excuse me, I'm doing a favor for this guy named Sisyphus.
Ryouga: What are you doing at this place?
Linkara: What are you doing at this odd translation?
Linkara (v/o): She explains she was just doing some mountain-climbing... in her mountain-climbing robes, I guess... but that she lost her footing and bruised her leg. He suggests that she climb onto the rock so he can take her to a nearby village, but she suggests that's impossible. As you can imagine from him yelling at God earlier, that's kind of a sore point for him. And as such, he grabs her, hurls her into the air, and she lands on the rock.
Ryouga: There's no "impossible" on my dictionary!!
Linkara: I would call this a ("air quotes") "Because Poor Literacy is Kewl" moment, buuut it's technically accurate, since "impossible" is not on his dictionary, but rather inside of it.
Linkara (v/o): In town, the locals are wondering if he'll actually pass the trial, and we learn the two old people from before are actually his grandparents.
Man: The ceremonial trial consists of 3 tests, and one must gather at least 240 points to pass... Currently, he got 57 from taking down Pokémon data, and 32 points from cultivating crops.
Linkara: Ah, yes, farming and agriculture, the two most important parts of a Pokémon journey.
Linkara (v/o): And don't tell me it's about farming berries. How hard is it to put a berry in the ground and just water it? In any event, it looks like he's going to fail since his score is so low, but then Ryouga arrives in town with his rock.
(Cut to a clip of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series)
Seito Kaiba: Oh, my God, a giant rock!
(Back to the manga again)
Linkara (v/o): And since doing a feat never before done, he earns more than enough points to pass the test. The girl, who identifies herself as Miruto, gets healed up at a nursing station. (nursing station from a Pokémon game is heard) Ryouga, meanwhile, gets ready to set out on his journey. Since there's no professor around to hand over his starter Pokémon, his grandfather instead gives him a box that he just randomly has stored in a large sack.
Grandfather: I promised to hand it over to you when you became of right age...
Linkara: (as grandfather) But instead, I waited for you to pass some test. I'm not good at keeping promises.
Linkara (v/o): Ryouga's mom doesn't want him to begin his journey and that he's too young, but this is the world of Pokémon, where parents have no control over their preteens. Miruto shows up, warning Ryouga not to travel to Mudrow City, that there are "a lot of bad guys out there". Naturally, the instant you tell this kid not to do something, he's already making plans to go in that direction, because determination is the same thing as being really stupid in this book. Anyway, after that, there's a touching little moment where Ryouga's mom worries about him, Ryouga screaming from the cliffside that he'll be home safe... with her apparently hearing that. Even with an echo, the kid must have the voice of a sonic boom for her to be able to pick up that. We then cut to the happiest place on Earth: Mudrow City, where people are beaten, families huddle under shacks, and guys shoot lasers from their wrists just to destroy stuff for funsies.
Linkara: (singing weakly and off-key) Pokémon... Gotta catch 'em all...? (shrugs in confusion)
Linkara (v/o): A little girl chases after a truck that has one of her Pokémon, named Tekkun, on it, and an asshole guard gets ready to hit the kid when she demands its return. Fortunately, we have hyperactive protagonists for these sorts of things. Actually, given how he was able to lift a boulder earlier, I'm surprised that kick didn't break that guy's neck.
Ryouga: Those who can't even forgive children are terrible people.
Linkara: (as Ryouga) I didn't kick you because you were going to hit her, but because you weren't going to (points at screen) forgive her! (wags finger) For shame...
Linkara (v/o): Another guy tries to shoot him, but he's too fast, so it only catches his serious hat. The little girl explains to Ryouga that Tekkun is a Lillipup.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of the Pokémon anime)
Ash Ketchum: I wonder what Pokémon it is...
(Cut back to the manga)
Linkara (v/o): He promises to get it back for her. Unfortunately, she says the magic word, and he's immediately trying to break in on the next page. And indeed, he gets pretty far. Every single person who tries to confront him, he just beats the crap out of. Hell, Miruto soon shows up and discovers not only a bunch of unconscious guards, but that the gate has been ripped open.
Linkara: So what I'm getting from this is that Ryouga is actually the Incredible Hulk, only instead of transforming when he gets mad, he transforms when someone says something is impossible.
Linkara (v/o): Ryouga finally meets his match in Commander Yaza, a big dude wielding a giant spiked club. He's so intimidating, he even gets this guy to greet him loudly.
Linkara: (as this goon) Hiii, sir! How are yooouuu doing today?
Linkara (v/o): Upon seeing Ryouga survived a direct hit with the club, Yaza isn't screwing around anymore, hooking the club up to a truck...? Huh. And somehow that makes the club electrified.
(Cut to the well-worn shot of the Hitler Clones from "Superman At Earth's End")
Hitler Clones: Of course. Don't you know anything about science?
(Back to the manga again)
Yaza: Some kind of hero of justice, huh? You're dreaming too much, kiddo...
Linkara: (as Ryouga) That's not true! Together, we can be justice!
Linkara (v/o): Actually, it turns out it's not electricity that's powering the club, but fire, a result of him draining from the fire-type Pokémon in the truck.
Linkara: Oh! I take it back then. It now makes perfect sense how a random cable hooked up to a truck full of fire Pokémon is generating fire on his massive club.
Yaza: This thing sucks out the life force of the Pokémon inside the cage... and converts it into a powerful energy!
Linkara: Look, stop trying to explain it! Each time you do, it makes even less sense!
Yaza: It looks like I'm borrowing their life, but... I also have considerable influence over them!!
Linkara: (as Yaza) I can make them vote any way I want!
Linkara (v/o): They fight some more, Ryouga clearly outmatched, but fortunately, Miruto tosses a smoke bomb as a distraction, bringing Ryouga into a warehouse. She berates him for coming here after her warning. She says investigating crap like this is her job and that he is not involved with this, so he should go back home.
Ryouga: I'm not unrelated... So that I can stop those who abuse my father's technology... is the reason I stuggled [sic] for this journey.
Linkara: Indeed, and this journey will be a drifficult one.
Linkara (v/o): Yaza has gotten his hands on the little girl from earlier, warning Ryouga to come out or he'll kill her. As such, Ryouga takes out the box he was given.
Miruto: What can one Pokémon do against those guys?
Linkara: Some Pokémon are giant monsters that can summon energy beams or tidal waves that annihilate entire cities. I think (holds up index finger) one Pokémon can probably do a lot.
Linkara (v/o): Once again saying something is impossible, Ryouga gives her a death stare and some crazy eyes.
Linkara: I bet Ryouga's friends play pranks on him all the time. (calling out as someone) "Hey, Ryouga! I heard it's impossible to punch yourself in the stomach while drinking something!"
Linkara (v/o): Ryouga runs outside and opens the box. However, instead of a Poké Ball, it's a gemstone.
(Cut to another clip of the Pokémon anime – the same one, actually)
Ash: I wonder what Pokémon it is...
(Cut back to the manga)
Linkara (v/o): Actually, I guess it's a Megastone, since he slaps the back of the gem onto his hand and starts yelling in Japanese. Oh, wait, according to this translation, it's...
Linkara: Thank you, scanlation. I would have been utterly confused if you had not included that.
Linkara (v/o): So yeah, it starts doing weird stuff to him, like pixelating his clothes, growing werewolf nails... I think he might be going Super Saiyan.
Ryouga: To win... I have to go wild to win!!
Linkara: And before you know it, type wild! (beat) I am a dork.
Ryouga: I'M DOING... WHAT YOU TOLD ME!!
Linkara: (as Ryouga, spreading his arms out) WOULD YOU QUIT BUGGING ME?! I'M DOING IT!
Linkara (v/o): Apparently, his village must not be too far away from Mudrow City, since they can see what's going on even from there, his mother declaring that he has fused...
Ryouga: With Zekrom!
(Cut yet again to the clip of Ash in the Pokémon anime, this time with the camera zooming in on him)
Ash: Wonder... Pokémon... is...
(Back to the manga again)
Linkara (v/o): And thus, the premise of "Pokémon Reburst", my friends: humans fusing with Pokemon.
Linkara: And people thought "Mega Evolution" was the franchise ripping off Digimon. Frankly, I'm surprised this hasn't happened sooner, after Bill's happy little experiment with a Clefairy in the first friggin' game.
Linkara (v/o): So, with his transformation complete, and with even crazier eyes, Yaza is naturally a bit taken aback.
Yaza: I...It can't be! Did that guy just do "burst"?
Linkara: Pokémon Fusion, sponsored by Starburst.
Linkara (v/o): He threatens to kill the kid again if Ryouga moves, but this time, he's even in a greeting mood, as he says "Hi" three times to Ryouga. Yaza then raises his weapon and smashes it down on Ryouga... only for the club to break into little pieces.
Ryouga: Hey, just like you've wished... I didn't move at all.
Linkara: (as Ryouga, struggling to move in his spot) In fact, I-I don't think I can move... (struggles) I think the fusion thing timed out. Give me a second to reboot.
Linkara (v/o): Yaza threatens the kid with his broken stick, but Ryouga's not having any of it, doing a full "I AM A MAN!" punch right into Yaza's stomach. The punch is so powerful, it sends him flying into a nearby building. I'm actually surprised it didn't go right through him. Yaza must really work out; abs of steel. Burnt and toasted steel, but steel. The other goons run off in terror, and the little girl runs over to Miruto, who is of course confused why the hell he looks like Zekrom.
Linkara: Oh, that's simple. After his parents died, a Zekrom flew into Ryouga's window, inspiring his new superhero identity. (beat) And destroying his house.
Linkara (v/o): And so, our manga ends with Ryouga screaming into the sky...
Ryouga: ARCADES!! I'VE BECOME STRONG!!!
Linkara: Ah! Well, yeah, of course you'll be strong if you fuse with a Legendary Pokémon. (points to camera) Let's see you keep that attitude with a Bidoof. Anyway, this comic is... okay, for the most part.
Linkara (v/o): Despite having, like, fifty pages, we don't actually learn that much about Ryouga. We know he's headstrong, we know his dad is missing, we know he's physically strong, and has a strong sense of morality, but that's just kind of standard for male protagonists in anime and manga. The idea, of course, is to make people interested enough to pick up the next chapter, but I've seen this sort of thing before, and I don't feel it's really bringing anything unique to the table, other than it being connected to Pokémon. For that matter, I'm confused what continuity it's following. I mean, obviously, it's following its own continuity, but what time period is this? There are, like, handheld laser guns, and also a massive operation by these guys to just steal people's Pokémon for use in... flamethrower clubs? We know even less about Miruto than we do about Ryouga. Is she a cop? A journalist? A sorceress? What?! But otherwise, despite that, there's nothing actually wrong with the story. It's enjoyable enough in its own right, but there's really nothing here that gives it its own flavor, at least not from the first chapter. Future chapters might expand things out and help with that. Based on just the first part, though... eh, it's not really anything I'm too curious about. I won't hold all the scanlation parts of it against it, though. I mean, it's not like professionals are doing this. Spelling and grammar errors are bound to crop up for something being done as a hobby.
Linkara: Next time, it's another Patreon-sponsored review, but actually of a comic book. And another "New 52" book – right when they've stopped using that header. (pumps fist) Neat. (gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
Just to get these questions out of the way: favorite Game is Pokémon Gold, yes I know about Pokken Tournament, favorite Pokémon is Bulbasaur, favorite team is Plasma, and Krabby is best Pokeyman.
Let's Play Pokémon Omicron will resume eventually. Just editing a movie and stuff and that kind of stuff takes priority.
(Stinger: The panel showing Ryouga in his Zekrom form and yelling up to Arcades about him becoming strong is shown again)
Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan): (audio from Dune) Father... the sleeper has awakened!