Two decades and a year after the game first captured the hearts of Japanese school children, Pokémon fan art is a genre so prolific and varied in approach that it deserves its own anthropological study. Since we don't quite have the time for that, we're focusing on one artist in one sub-genre of the diverse, often dirty practice of Pokémon-inspired illustration: Hui Ying's hyperrealist pocket monsters. Ying's work sets itself from the pack with its elegance, attention to detail, and restraint.
As the franchise' 20th anniversary fervor and the hype around viral augmented reality app Pokémon GO have petered out, Ying has rekindled the passion through drawings of Gen I and II Pokémon posted to Instagram over the last three months. Like RJ Palmer, a concept artist who has released two books of grotesquely-reimagined Pokémon, the Japanese artist seems to delight in infusing anime animals with anatomical accuracy. Meticulously-shaded musculature, fur, scales, and skin bring to life the creatures kids imagined while playing the games on then-state-of-the-art GameBoy cartridges.
So far Ying has kept it to fan favorites like the Evee family, Lapras, the Red Gyarados, and the starter Pokémon, though she expresses a lot of enthusiasm about her new drawings of Arcanine. Enjoy her elegant tribute to the classic RPG below.