Constant companion Pikachu also gets a girlish makeover.

Earlier this week, a teaser for the upcoming, still untitled summer 2018 Pokémon anime movie was released. Since the Pokémon movies exist largely outside the continuity of the franchise’s ongoing TV series, the theatrical installments are an opportunity for creators to shake things up visually, and for the 2018 movie Shizue Kaneko will be handling Pokémon character designs for the first time.

Kaneko has spun the art style 180 degrees from the squashed cartoonishness of the current Pokémon Sun and Moon TV arc and instead given main character Ash a slick, archetypal anime protagonist look.

But the new Ash is so smooth and polished that some fans feel the artwork exudes a certain feminine quality, which fan artists have been only too happy to amp up with modifications of their own. Japanese Twitter user @MAJIbeef got the ball rolling by removing Ash’s peach fuzz-evocative cheek squiggles, adding extra blush to his cheeks, and growing out his hair.

Other artists took it from there, giving the character longer eyelashes and, with s single stroke above the chin, the appearance of fuller lips.

Next, the lighter skin tone that’s considered desirable by many Japanese women.

At this point, someone decided that Pikachu’s raging masculinity wasn’t meshing with Ash’s increasingly feminine looks, and so the Electric-type Pocket Monster got some luxuriously long locks of his own.

Then some extra makeup for Ash…

…followed by a color change for Pikachu…

…some lipstick for the franchise mascot too…

…and, finally, upsized pupils.

▼ Still less jarring than the live-action Alita: Battle Angel

▼ Alternatively, another Twitter user kept Ash’s tan and gave the character earrings.

While the pink Pikachu is pretty strange, Ash’s female forms really only look unusual because of the 20 years of pre-existing Pokémon anime in which he’s a boy. So if the franchise’s handlers ever decide to take a page from One Piece’s playbook and release a gender-swapped figure of their protagonist, odds are they’ll find a lot of buyers.

Source: Jin
Insert image: YouTube/ポケモン公式YouTubeチャンネル