Ken Sugimori is a name imprinted in the hearts of long-time Pokémon fans. A game designer who is most known for his art, Sugimori designed the original 151 Pokémon and is now responsible for much of the art direction for games at developer Game Freak. If you are interested in actually watching the man draw, you’re in luck. The Game Freak YouTube channel has a new, half-hour-long video of him drawing one of his creations, Pulseman, from a 1994 Mega Drive game of the same name.
The video currently has no English subtitles, so we’re at a bit of a disadvantage there when it comes to commentary. However, according to Siliconera, the video describes how Pulseman was originally called “Spark,” and he shot flames.
Pulseman only ever came to North America in 2009 as a Wii Virtual Console title, so it doesn’t hold a lot of cultural resonance here. All the same, when it comes to the original Pokémon titles, Ken Sugimori gave the Pokémon a rough-around-the-edges look that fans remember well. They were drawn more like wild animals in some cases, and with the colors being applied all by hand rather than through a computer, the designs felt more special and intimate in a way. In this way, Sugimori had a dramatic effect on the meteoric success of the franchise in its earliest days.
Let us know in the comments what your favorite piece of Sugimori art is.
Proofs Editor for Enthusiast Gaming. I’m a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I have recently returned from living in South Korea.