Earlier today, Kotaku reported on the new Pokémon manga, ReBurst, which revealed that it takes the story in a bit of a different direction from the established formula. Rather than following a trainer who captures Pokémon and sends them out to battle each other, ReBurst follows the adventures of Ryouga, a character who actually transforms himself into Pokémon.

Specifically, he transforms himself into Zekrom, the mascot of the current generation's Pokémon White, and having read through the first installment -- or at least looked at the pictures, since I can't read Japanese -- I can confirm that it's actually even crazier than it sounds.Admittedly, it's not quite at the extent that I originally assumed -- Ryouga doesn't pick fights with other trainers and then start stomping on their pets himself -- but that leads to something that's even stranger: there aren't actually any Pokémon battles at all.

In fact, for something with the word "Pokémon" on the title page, there are very few actual Pocket Monsters involved in the book, showing up in a grand total of about four panels in over 50 pages of comics. Instead, the story seems to focus on Ryouga training himself by lifting up heavy rocks so that he can have super-badass karate fights with guys who look like Fat Castro and shoot laser guns at children:

Unfortunately, Fat Castro and his crew eventually kidnaps all of Ryouga's village's Pokémon -- the one thing in this story that actually has some resemblance to the actual plot in Black and White -- and when Ryouga attempts to get them back, he ends up having to fight a guy with a giant spiked club that is also a flamethrower.

This of course leads him to open the black box with a picture of a Pokeball on it and pull out a gem that then turns him into Zekrom, one of the legendary dragons that created the region.

Except that he still has his own head, and his body shape doesn't really change at all, so he looks less like a guy who has transformed into Zekrom and more like a dude wearing a really good Zekrom cosplay. And then he punches a guy so hard that I'm 90% sure it kills him.

"!!" indeed, young lady. "!!" indeed.

I have to say though, I am pretty intrigued by all this, and not just because a guy who transforms himself into a Pokémon and then fights other people to the death is so astonishingly outside the established formula. I'm hoping that Zekrom is only the first Pokémon that Ryouga becomes over the course of the series, and we get to see how he fights the forces of evil by turning into, say, a sentient ice cream cone.

It would basically be Dial H For Hero plus Pokémon plus Karate, which sounds like the greatest thing ever.

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