Pokémon is a series with some absolutely amazing history. This game series has spawned countless spin-offs including anime, movies, toys, and more. However, like any other series with as much work behind it, Pokémon started with an idea and a whole lot of concept art, as did its many spin-offs.
A lot of this concept art may be largely unseen by many of the fans. With a look at this concept art, the series can be appreciated for its simple genius even more. That is why this list will be showing some of the pieces that any fan of the series needs to see.
10 THE ORIGINAL COVER
The original concept cover for the first Pokémon game wasn’t for a “Pokémon” game at all. As one can see, the game was first called “Capsule Monsters” which is fitting but doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as the new title, Pocket Monsters or Pokémon.
This concept cover by Ken Sugimori shows anyone curious everything they need to know about the series. It also features early designs for the well-known monsters Nidorino and Gengar who have changed a lot.
9 POLIWHIRL CONCEPT
One thing that is very cool about the Pokémon concept art is how creepy it can get. One of the pocket monsters that got touched on creepy concept-wise is the popular water type, Poliwhirl.
This old Poliwhirl concept art by Benimaru Itoh features a much more in-depth look at Poliwhirl’s inner workings for any that are curious about its actual anatomy. This was somewhat the beginning of some of the most well-loved Pokémon art concepts. Taking Pokémon and making them creepy and more real.
8 GENGAR CONCEPT
Speaking of spooky Pokémon, there is no way that anyone could skip over the concept art of the most popular scary Pokémon in the series. That monster is, of course, Gengar, and his concept art from Ken Sugimori makes it a point to tell everyone just how horrific he is.
This art features a Gengar sneaking up behind an unsuspecting Pokémon trainer. The trainer’s face says it all.
7 PIKACHU CONCEPT ART
The Pokémon poster boy’s concept art, again from Sugimori, has to be mentioned here as well. This piece is showing off Pikachu’s explosive electric power, but in a much different way than other images and scenes featuring him show off.
This picture of Pikachu shows off the electric type Pokémon strapped to a testing table with some kind of electric scaling machine attached. This is another concept image that shows just how creepy Pokémon can be, especially when done in a much more creepy style of art.
6 ADVENTURE CONCEPT ART
One of the main pieces of Pokémon series lore is the fact that these monsters aren’t simply meant to be used to battle one another. This picture by Sugimori was made to show that the Pokémon are meant to be friends with the trainers and features a trainer adventuring with one of his many companions.
Gamefreak designer Matsuda even stated, “At first, the protagonist and his Pokémon had a human-pet relationship. When we started making the game, however, we wondered whether it wouldn’t be better if they were more like friends.”
5 EVEN MORE ADVENTURE
Another piece of Pokémon art from Sugimori showcasing the relationship between trainer and monster features the two traveling by sea, with a familiar Pokémon acting as the vehicle traversing the ocean as seen many times in the game.
That Pokémon is Lapras and this image featuring it is one of the earliest designs of the now iconic water Pokémon.
4 EARLY BATTLES
One of the early Pokémon concept arts from Sugimori features an early look at the battle system that the series continues to use, even up to the present day entries.
The series has all of the same options that are still used. However, what this old concept art doesn’t show is the health bars that the series would adapt once the first game reached completion.
3 THE MOVIE VERSION OF TORTERRA
The giant Pokémon Torterra is a monster that was used in the concept art of the film, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu. This concept art was created by RJ Palmer and was one of the pieces that was actually used in the final film.
2 MOVIE CHARIZARD VS GYRADOS
Another amazing piece of art that came from Pokémon: Detective Pikachu from RJ Palmer features a battle brought to reality between Charizard and Gyrados. It’s really awesome to see a Pokémon battle as large as this between two of the most popular monsters in the series go head to head brought into reality through this awesome art.
Sadly this piece didn’t make it to the final film but that doesn’t change how awesome it is. Maybe it can happen in a sequel film.
1 THE ORIGINAL SNORLAX
This piece of concept art from Sugimori is actually one of the more weird ones. It is a very rough sketch of the original concept of Snorlax.
It is a lot smaller, more simple, and actually is a caricature of Pokémon designer Koji Nishino.
Gaming and anime fans have heard of the Pokémon franchise, but many may not have seen the concept art that initially started the series.