It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for Crossroads Comics!
This week we’re diving back into the world of nuzlockes to look over Shiro’s Quest, and its prequel Shiro’s Trial, by Eldariel. This comic is a pretty interesting case since it’s not often in the Pokémon comic world that we see sequels like this, though admittedly they are a bit more common in the nuzlocke community with notable examples being Myths of Unova, the Gigi Nuzlocke Saga (which unfortunately seems to have been lost in the death of Smackjeeves), and the original Nuzlocke comic, which is on its third iteration now. And while there are many reasons why an author may choose not to make a sequel, including just loss of interest or difficult in coming up with a coherent way to connect the two stories, it’s really nice to see a comic that is a sequel and is still going strong. So let’s analyze it shall we? Today I’ll be taking a look at Shiro’s Quest (and its prequel, Shiro’s Trial) and talking about why I think they’re strong comics. I’ll specifically be focusing on the story, the characters, and the worldbuilding, since I think the author did a really strong job with these, and once again, I feel like the art more than speaks for itself on this one. So let’s get started!
In order to delve into why the story of Shiro’s Quest is so interesting, we must first take a look at Shiro’s Trial. Obviously, since it’s a prequel, it’s concluded and therefore has more for us to look at. However, in addition, when reading the prequel it becomes fairly obvious that at least from pretty early on, a sequel was always planned in some capacity. Throughout the original Kanto arc, we see glimpses of “purple eyes”, an unknown actor seemingly trying to test Shiro and prepare her for something, although what is unclear. Eventually, it is revealed that these mysterious eyes belong to Mewtwo and that he has been possessing people in order to kill various members of Shiro’s team as part of a quest. And to give you an idea of just how early this seems to have been planned, if my memory is correct, the first time we see the “Purple Eyes” is with the Magikarp salesman by Mt. Moon, which is pretty dang early. Now whether a sequel was always planned or if the author had something else in mind and opted for a sequel instead is not known, but it definitely shows how much thought was put into the story planning wise.
At the conclusion of Shiro’s Trial, it is revealed that the reason Mewtwo has been plaguing Shiro this entire time is because he’s been trying to prepare her to handle the crisis over in Hoenn with the potential rise of Groudon and Kyogre. However, Mewtwo makes some rather fatal mistakes in this decision. Slaughtering several of Shiro’s Pokemon hasn’t exactly made her keen on helping Mewtwo. He also accidentally causes Shiro to leave her original team behind in Kanto, forcing her to start anew in Hoenn. There’s a reason for this though. As readers come to learn throughout both arcs of Shiro’s journey, Mewtwo doesn’t understand basic human interaction, only knowing how to solve things through violence. And while I think Shiro might have been a bit too forgiving to Mewtwo in the onset of Shiro’s Quest, it’s been interesting to see Mewtwo try to learn and grow to better understand humans throughout the story so far. My hope for the future is that we continue to see this growth in Mewtwo and see him become one of Shiro’s strongest allies, not out of obligation but because he treasures her friendship.
Shiro’s Quest also acknowledges that it is a sequel so we have seen strips showing us how the original team is doing. That’s really rather nice since even though they’ve left the spotlight, that doesn’t mean we don’t care for them anymore. So far, because this comic is still rather young, we haven’t seen much of the old team yet, but what we had seen is very nice and I hope we see more of them in the future.
So now that we’ve discussed the story so far, let’s talk characters. Shiro and her team are all rather memorable characters who show active growth throughout the story. While some deaths definitely hit harder than others, overall Eldariel does well to make each death tug at the heart strings. Characters also sustain wounds and get scars that last as parts of their design throughout the rest of the story. And this isn’t your typical small scar through an eye or something, I’m talking like massive scars that cover large portions of characters’ bodies. It’s just really cool to see but it sorta hammers home just how dangerous this journey really is.
The thing that I found most interesting though was the use of previously established characters. Obviously, as a comic based on a video game playthrough, it’s not uncommon for nuzlockes to reuse previously existing characters. However, Shiro’s Trial takes this to the next level by taking one character in particular that most Kanto nuzlockes never touch, and turning him into a rather unique character.
I LOVED Shiro’s Trial interpretation of Giovanni. I’ve never seen anything quite like it and I really adored how Shiro’s Trial reshapes Giovanni from the classic evil bad guy we all know into a rather sympathetic man who is trying to make up for past mistakes. In Shiro’s Trial, it’s revealed that Giovanni is the owner of Silph Co. and previously lead Team Rocket. However, after the creation of Mewtwo three years prior, he disbanded the organization to focus on his legal efforts. As a result, the Team Rocket activity we see in Kanto isn’t from him, but rather then admins like Proton and Ariana from the Johto saga. This is SO cool because time and time again we’ve seen Giovanni as the big bad evil guy in many stories, and while there’s nothing wrong with that interpretation, it’s really nice to see the guy cast in a much brighter light. I’d love to be able to see him again in the future of Shiro’s Quest, though hopefully he remains on the path of good if we do see him again. Other characters such as Blaine and Sabrina also play semi-important roles towards the end of the story and are really rather interesting as well, but it’s really Giovanni who steals the spotlight here and it’s for a very good reason.
Finally, let’s talk worldbuilding. Both iterations of Shiro’s saga do well to make the world feel alive and interconnected. For example, the cruise you go on in the Kanto games no longer remains some sort of vague nameless cruise, rather it’s a scientific convention. We also see a festival in Celadon City and Rocket warehouses in locations they aren’t originally in the games. It makes the region feel a lot more lively and less two dimensional, which is really nice. There are event going on beyond what we see through Shiro’s eyes, as with any world, so having larger events going on around the main protagonists really helps to make the world feel much more realistic, even if it is a story focused on taming magical animals.
Speaking of the Pokemon themselves though, one of the other worldbuilding aspects that I really liked was that rather than staying in some sort of digital wonderland, Shiro’s box Pokemon stay at her Kanto home. Whenever she visits we get to see all the Pokemon she has caught (both on and off screen) wandering around and interacting. Once again, this really drives home the idea that the world is bigger than Shiro, and also bigger than what we see in the comic itself. There’s many Pokemon shown at her home that we don’t see Shiro obtain in-comic, but obviously as a trainer she did catch them along the way. It’s a reasonably train of thought to follow but in doing so it really just makes the whole area much livelier and more interesting for the readers to engage with.
If you’re interested in reading Shiso’s adventures for yourself, you can read Shiro’s Trial and Shiro’s Quest on Deviantart. You can also see some bonus content over on their Tumblr. Both comics are on the shorter side so it’s the perfect comic saga to binge if you’re looking for something new. I really enjoyed it and I hope you do too!
And without further ado let’s check out the rest of the comics in this week’s lineup!
PMD: Explorers of Life Seems this is not going well for Grey.
PMD: Wildfire Koda please.
Pokemon X Adventures Retreat!
Renegade’s Redemption Hey it’s our buddy from the previous chapter!
Shaymin Cafe Seems someone is a fan of musicians.
Shinka: The Last Eevee And with that, arc 1 is done.
Between Truth and Ideals Ooh so N can read emotions?
Chimeran Legends How sad…
Dear Sergio Well that was a weird dream and definitely not anything important.
In Blood We Rise God Theodore is so awkward but I feel that so much.
Myths of Unova Man it’s so nostalgic to see all of these characters again.
PMD: Midnight Star That’s a lot of legendaries.
The Caretaker A fair, yet rather morbid, question.
Undine Adventurer She makes a good point.
Explorers of Shadows Why do I feel like this won’t end well?
Mahiwaga Geez dude no need to be so sour.
Pokemon Across Dimensions And there it is!!
PMD: The Bonds Between Time Now who might this be?
PMD: Turncoats Man that’s a side of Cerberus we haven’t seen before.
Soul Brothers It seems the brothers are regretting their fight. Perhaps they’ll reunite soon?
Undertow All aboard! We’re setting sail for Akala!
When Little Emma Ran Away Poor Ryan…
Adventure Squad Harmony Poor Mallory…
Archivist of the End We have a name!! This is not a drill!
Ask the Isle The battle rages on!
Almost Empty Looks like Ebal is going no holds barred on this one.
Crewel Intentions Have you considered it is because we do not like you.
Daily Ashleigh Raichu Patience, young anon.
Dweller Unknown Gotta get the bunny.
Tall Grass Ghosts What a neat team.
Team Next-Gen Seems Kuno is quite the unruly prince.