Pokémon’s most iconic rivalry was even stronger in the manga

Ash and Gary in Pokemon They have one of the best-known rivalries in anime. Pokémon Adventures, the franchise’s manga, also does not appear, instead focusing on its video game counterparts: Red and Blue. While Ash and Gary are great rivals, the manga competition was very different and somewhat improved.

The first Pokemon Game released in Japan in 1996, a year before the manga and anime inspired by it. This game started the successful franchise and created these iconic rivalries. They’re both compelling, but Red and Blue’s rivalry in the manga was based entirely on skill and improvement over children’s competition. This is especially notable in Pokémon Adventures Vol. 1which features the creative team of Hidenori Kusaka and Mato.

Red and Blue have faster development than Ash and Gary

In the anime, Ash and Gary grew up in Pallet Town. They were always competitive with each other, although their relationship is only explained much later in the series. Their beginnings and their mutual respect took time to reveal themselves. Instead, the show relied on a simple approach to its dynamics. Gary is arrogant and makes fun of Ash, while Ash is continually talked about or compared to Gary and his achievements. The two fight each other regularly, without actually facing off multiple times, leaving fans wondering who is stronger based solely on the lack of defining power struggles between them. Some of their dynamics aren’t even revealed until Master Searchthe fifth season of the series.

On the contrary, Red and Blue did not grow up together. Blue is still Professor Oak’s grandson, but he was in boarding school for some time. Upon his return to the region in the first chapter, he and Red meet in the forest when they both hear about a ghost Pokémon, which is revealed to be Mew. Neither knows the other and Red instantly points out that Blue is a Pokémon trainer. His encounter with Mew is brief, but revealing since neither has the power to kill him. Blue is shown to be wiser in this situation, but things change in another encounter shortly after in Chapter 3. Watching his rival fight a Kangaskhan, Red notices that there is more to the fight than meets the eye, something that Blue doesn’t notice.

As they continue their journeys in the debut volume, both trainers seek similar goals. However, they do not make fun of each other or base their rivalry on childish impulses. Instead, they save each other and look out for each other while still holding on to their competition, particularly in Chapter 13, which takes place in Lavender Town. Red saves Blue, while Blue does not hesitate to let Red know the dangers of not paying attention. These two are certainly trying to one-up each other, but they don’t target each other like Ash and Gary usually do. They focus on their independent tasks and work with or around others when situations bring them together. Their clear story and their mutual growth since the beginning of the manga make it Pokemon Red and Blue have a stronger rivalry compared to Ash and Gary.

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