Do NOT look directly into the eyes of this Pikachu and Charizard!

While Nintendo serves as publisher for the Pokémon home console video games, the company is not, in fact, the developer. That work is instead handled by oft-forgotten software house Game Freak, and the Pokémon collectible trading card game is produced by yet another company called Creatures.

Between last December and March, Creatures held the 2nd Pokémon Card Game Illustration Grand Prix, asking fans to submit a piece of Pokémon artwork. Entries that impressed the judges would earn cash prizes, with the overall grand prize being 300,000 yen (US$2,800) and the honor of the artwork being used for an official Pokémon card.

The rules were simple: Pick one of the eight above Pokémon species, then draw it doing something cool in either a forest or urban environment. Japanese artist and Twitter user @gomi_kuzu_tarou decided to throw his hat into the ring, picking Charizard as his muse, and got to work.

The result was, well…see for yourself…if you dare.

It’s certainly unique, and definitely produces an emotional response, often cited as one of the defining characteristics that makes something art. However, in this case the evoked emotion for many will be terror, what with Charizard’s gaping, soulless eyes and disorientingly wrinkly texture.

▼ The subtle presence of Charmander doesn’t make things any less unnerving.

Unfortunate, even though Pokémon is an abbreviation for “Pocket Monster,” the judges have decided that @gomi_kuzu_tarou’s Charizard is a bit too deep into the monstrous end of that spectrum, and although the contest’s winners have yet to be announced, @gomi_kuzu_tarou already knows that his submission was not selected to be among the finalists.

▼ By the way, @gomi_kuzu_tarou also entered Creatures’ first Pokémon Card Game Illustration Grand Prix, held in 2018, for which he submitted this interpretation of Pikachu.

▼ For comparison, here’s what the winning entry for the first contest looked like.

Online reactions to @gomi_kuzu_tarou’s Charizard have included:

“That face is S-C-A-R-Y.”
“I think that Charizard eats people.”
“It looks like a dekopon citrus fruit.”
“Kids would definitely cry if they saw this on a Pokémon card.”
“Well, let’s try again next contest, OK?”

That said, not all the reactions to @gomi_kuzu_tarou’s newest creation were entirely negative. “If the Pokémon franchise had gone with an art style like this from the very beginning, you’d have had a shot,” remarked one commenter encouragingly. “I bet if the contest was for some other game, they’d have picked yours,” said another, and yet one more supportive individual whipped up some Charmander and Charizard card mock-ups with @gomi_kuzu_tarou’s art…

…and another compared it to the paintings of the character Ursula in the Studio Ghibli anime Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Perhaps the nicest thing anyone has had to say is “That Charizard would work great as part of a Pokémon tarot card set,” and considering how well that the The Scream/Pikachu crossover worked out, that sounds like a great idea.

Source: Twitter/@gomi_kuzu_tarou via Hachima Kiko, 2nd POKÉMON CARD GAMEILLUSTRATION GRANDPRIX, PR Times
Top, insert images: PR Times
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