I have way too much time on my hands: A Black Adventures review
by, 31st December 2012 at 12:44 PM (459 Views)
Yay, because don't you all love my usual rushed and biased blogs that no one don't actually care about? :D
For those of you who don't know, Black Adventures is a webcomic that roughly follows the Black and White games, featuring Black and N travelling around Unova, fighting rogue Pokemon.
The comic originated on /vp/, a sort of 'choose your own adventure' sort of thing. As you can imagine, the first few pages of the comic are extremely confusing. But the author managed to weave the confusing elements of the Dream World, Hitler, Missingno., and other strange events into a coherent and engaging story.
At least until Nimbasa City.
The webcomic originally focused on Black's journey as a Trainer, with N tagging along and trying to force him to change his attitude about Pokemon. Gradually, it shifted towards a magical girl-esque story where Black and N fight Team Plasma and possessed Pokemon themselves. It's a weird but creative idea in a Pokemon story, though it means that Pokemon don't get a lot of focus. It's a Pokemon series that doesn't focus on Pokemon, so it may or may not be your thing.
The magical girl aspect has both Black and N transform and fight monsters - Black uses Missingno. as a sword, and N uses his Menger sponge as a gun. Their transformations would usually lead them to wearing skirts and other outfits fitting magical girls. At first it was pretty funny, but now they just crossdress for the sake of it. It's just phoned in at this point.
It's hard to write about the characters, since I can't connect with most of them emotionally. The series mainly focuses on Black and N as they travel around New York (what Unova is called) and fighting Team Plasma. You'd think that would leave a lot of room for them to develop, and they do. But for the most part, they two are walking one-note characters.
Black (based on Hilbert) is the straight man to N's insanity, and started out as the most sane character. He has a crush on White, the resident Mary Sue and Hilda's counterpart. He's on a Pokemon journey by the start of the story, but his goals refocus over time as he fights Team Plasma, opting to be a crossdressing fighter that collects Badges as momentos. He has one Pokemon, an Audino named Joy. Joy is pretty much unnecessary at this point in the story.
By this point in the story, his only character traits are "gay," "crossdressing," and "not being as insane as N."
N is Black's childlike sidekick, who gets in to awkward and romantic situations with Black due to his lack of social skills and naivette. He struggles choosing between his friendship with Black and his duties as Team Plasma's King. He is at first very narrow-minded and critical of Black's view, but
he develops as a character, starts seeing different views in life, and talks his problems out with Blackhe just cries like a bitch to get sympathy from the fangirls. I get that the author is trying to make him seem sympathetic, tortured and complex, but he spends so much of the story as a whiny, annoying idiot that I just thought he deserved all the grief he gets. He's like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, in that you either love and sympathize with him, or you hate him.
He's a whiny brat who only exists to make yaois with Black, get into cliche situations with other boys to tease the fangirls, and cry like a bitch.
Kcalb is basically a glitch, Black's evil counterpart who appears to have an obsessive love for Black. He's one of my favorite characters, because he enjoys battle, doesn't crossdress, has a cool look, and isn't N's little bitch toy. He's cartoonishly evil, yes, but that's part of his appeal. He's good for comic relief, but he can pull off drama just as well.
Cheren is by far the most developed character, and the one most true to his game self. He starts off as a little conceited, but he does give Black advice throughout the story. He even gets an episode to himself, wherein he becomes disillusioned with Alder and himself, and Black tells him how Cheren saved his butt because of his advice and help in the past.
As of the latest issue, he was crushed in a battle with White. His reaction is heartbreaking.
Bianca is a bit like her game self. But since we never see most her development in the comic proper, she's just the moe-type character with strong Pokemon and self-confidence issues.
Mary and Joseph are two Team Plasma Grunts Black and N run into. They're pretty cool.
I'm just gonna rush this since I don't want it to be as long as the Madoka review. So I'll just say that this series is basically just one big gay joke, drowning in crossdressing with tiny flakes of Pokemon. It can't balance the comedy and drama well, because they don't gel well. The comedy often falls flat because it's the same few jokes over and over again. The characters are too usually too comedic and dull to pull off the drama effectively anymore. And this is a real shame, because I know the author is incredibly talented I hope he makes a BW2 story someday, one where crossdressing gags aren't beaten over your head all the time.
Have you ever seen Master of Martial Hearts? This comic is probably the equivalent of that.
Is it a good series? I don't think so. Is it entertaining? Hell yes...when it steps away from the main characters. If you want deep characters, clever writing and interesting plot twists, I wouldn't recommend the series. it's hit-and-miss with writing, and it's mostly miss. If you like yaoi ships and crossdressing, you might like the series. It's the kind of series where you can just turn off your brain and indulge in the fanservice.
It's a series with cute art, dramatic shifts in creativity, and the occasional diamond mixed in with the manure. Nothing spectacular or mind-numbingly awful, and it's a great way to appease the inner fangirl in you, if you have one.
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