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We’ve talked before about some of the cool extras that’ve come bundled with girls’ manga anthologies in Japan, but they’re not the only publications that dangle the offer of freebies to help drum up sales. In Japan, fashion magazines for adults also occasionally come with promotional items, such as day planners, scrunchies, or other goodies they think their readers might be interested in.

Women’s fashion magazine CanCam recently ran a special feature on Pokémon-related apparel and accessories, so the publishers thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to package the issue with a Pikachu-shaped fuzzy cloth pouch. To make it seem extra special, they decided to pass on his usual vibrant canary yellow and instead produce a chic monochrome version of the series mascot.

But “unique” doesn’t always mean “good,” at least according to one reader who came up with a morbid interpretation of Pikachu’s lack of color.

CanCam’s target market is fashionable young ladies in their early 20s. As such, the appeal the Pokémon franchise has to their readers is more as a nostalgic symbol of their childhood than a hobby they’re currently active in. So it’s no surprise that publisher Shogakkukan decided to tone things down a little and offer the Pikachu pouch in tones that’re less eye-catching/-searing than the pocket monster’s normal hues.

Considering that there’s no premium over the magazine’s regular cover price for the issue that comes with the pouch, the freebie seems to actually be of pretty decent quality. There’s even a zipper on the back to keep everything closed up tight.

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The lines of the CanCam Pikachu’s face stay pretty close to those of the character’s original design, and even if his cheeks don’t seem quite chubby enough when the pouch is empty, you could still call it cute. Unless, that is, you see what Twitter user Besushi sees when she looks at it.

“I went ahead and bought the new issue of CanCam since it comes with that dead Pikachu or whatever.”

Yes, it seems that without his healthy yellow complexion and rosy cheeks, Pikachu doesn’t look retro or fashionable to Besushi. He just looks like a corpse.

Since Pikachu is far too young to have died from natural causes, some online commenters suspect foul play, singling out the supernatural cast of rival series Yo-Kai Watch as prime suspects. One fan of both franchises chimed in that he was now looking forward to the inevitable showdown between Pikachu and Yo-Kai Watch front monster Jibanyan in the spirit world.

Thankfully, other reports suggest that Pikachu is still alive, well, and now gainfully employed. Still, given that workplace fatigue is such a real and constant health issue in Japan that they actually had to come up with a word, karoushi, which means to literally work yourself to death, we urge Pikachu to make taking care of his health a priority as he starts his new job.

Source: Jin
Top image: Twitter
Insert images: Zasshi Furoku Check