Happy Monday, everyone!
With Pokemon Sword and Shield came the ability to have Pokemon Dynamax in certain battles in the game. Playing Sword and Shield, though, made me feel as if I’ve seen a Dynamax Pokemon long before the Galar region existed…
We’ve been playing a lot of Pokemon Sword and Shield lately, which probably isn’t too surprising to those who know us. The newest gimmick, or form of battling, in those games involves Dynamaxing your Pokemon. Dynamax Pokemon are giant versions of themselves with increased HP and other stats for a few turns.
It took a little while, but eventually I remembered another, much earlier instance of a “Dynamaxed Pokemon.”
Pokemon, being the ginormous franchise it is, has a plethora of other mediums to reach the masses. Aside from video games and television shows, Pokemon also has a few different comic book and manga adaptations. I remember having a couple of sets of Pokemon comics and, after playing Sword for a while, recalled one such comic having a giant Haunter.
Doing some research, I found the comic adaptation. Called The Electric Tale of Pikachu, it was a four-volume Japanese manga translated for the west by VIZ Media (which, apparently, is the much cleaner version of the manga for international and younger audiences) that loosely followed the anime series up through the Orange Islands League. While I don’t believe we had the entire collection, we had enough of it for me to remember the giant Haunter.
Nicknamed the Black Fog, this giant Haunter killed many — humans and Pokemon alike — by sucking out their souls using Dream Eater. In the comic’s timeline, Sabrina is the latest victim, falling unconscious when she attempts to defeat the beast after it began terrorizing Saffron City. The comic then depicts Ash, Brock, and a handful of other volunteers heading to the Haunter’s lair in order to battle it and try to capture it with a specially-made, enlarged pokeball. The Haunter used Explosion to escape the large pokeball, during which brings its health to nearly zero, weakening it enough to use a regular pokeball. However, when Ash attempts to throw an Ultra Ball at the giant Pokemon, the Haunter uses Self-Destruct, opting to die rather than be caught.
While I remembered the basic story line from when I read it as a kid, I honestly didn’t realize the depth of the story at that time. Before doing more research on it, I thought that the Haunter was caught at the end.
I honestly don’t believe I would have remembered this manga adaptation if Pokemon Sword and Shield did not have Dynamax Pokemon. The similarities are remarkable — the sheer size and power of the Pokemon, Haunter having a lair while Dynamax Pokemon have dens, having a team to bring down the HP of the Pokemon, enlarged pokeballs to catch the creatures — and I’m curious if it’s a coincidence or if someone recalled Black Fog from a comic back in the 90s.