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Pokemon - Dating A Team Magma Grunt doujinshi

Through the years, Pokemon has captivated fans with its deceptively simple game formula. Personally, I've spent more than 120 hours playing the series' latest title, Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire. It's a remake of the 2003 Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald game with a tweaked story and an additional quest set after you've defeated the Elite 4. There are a number of updated and new features but it'll surely turn into a five-page long review if I don't stop myself here.

This premise also happens to be what the Korean web-comic is based on. What does the protagonist of the game have left to do after becoming Pokemon League champion, saving the world not once, but twice and defeating a terrorist organisation? He starts dating, of course! And none other than a member of said terrorist organisation. It's nice to see the author introduce romance for the main character, considering the Pokemon series only dabbles in the theme for the various NPCs (trainers, your parents, etc) you meet as you progress through the game.

If you expect detailed illustrations and lush backgrounds, look elsewhere. This isn't that kind of manga. Panels, characters and Pokemon are drawn functionally for the most part, but they serve their purpose and hilariously so, at times. Although the web-comic isn't aesthetically pleasing for the most part, the story shines and the author appears to be having fun too. 

Comedic moments are well timed and well-written, with some taking advantage of the fact that the protagonist is the most powerful trainer at this point and others making reference to in-game events. However, that is a double-edged sword for casual players or fans who haven't played the original Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald game or the 2014 remake. Some jokes or puns might be lost as a result, especially in the first 2-3 chapters.

A noteworthy one I remember would be the protagonist riding on Latios/Latias (Yes you can do that now, beats the Fly HM anyday) in the second chapter and exclaimed 'B button!' right as he sped up, effectively breaking the fourth wall.

However, that doesn't mean the romance is subpar. There are moments that will have you going 'Aww!' and they serve to flesh out the characters as well. Miscommunication issues, insecurity and jealousy are some of the problems that the main couple will tackle through the course of the 10-odd chapters that are available right now. There are also happier moments such as the protagonist sticking up for his girlfriend and going to extreme lengths to make her happy, much like what you would do for your significant other in real life.

Even though this is fan-fiction and isn't being produced on a regular basis, the characters aren't awkward and two-dimensional. The author successfully predicts how they would speak and react outside of the game's context and even shows Team Magma's leader Maxie getting a little flustered by his own subordinate's attempt to woo him.

Expect the usual situations a couple might be in, but with a unique Pokemon twist. Meeting the parents for the first time, getting into fights, attempting to be more intimate and trying to impress each other are just some examples that'll occur throughout the course of this series.

There was even an April Fool's Day chapter that had fans readying their pitchforks right before the punchline. You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief in the comments section. For a fan-fiction webtoon to generate such interest when posted on a manga aggregation site is no mean feat. It's a pity that a new chapter is only released only once every month or so, but then again, it is worth the wait. Excuse my while I dust off my 3DS and show the Elite 4 who's boss again.

Written by ET

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