You may not remember a time when Pikachu wasn’t the slim and athletic figure that he is nowadays. The original Pokemon artwork created by Ken Sugimori showcases the chubby design that many fans seem to dearly miss. Thick Pikachu is on display at the British Museum’s manga exhibition, described as the largest exhibit ever taking place outside of Japan. The exhibition opened in May 23 and closes on August 26, 2019, which means that you only have a few days left in case you want to check it out.
Besides Pikachu, the original Pokemon artwork by Ken Sugimori also features two additional drawings from 1996: Bulbasaur and Mew. Bulbasaur is number 1, while Mew is number 151 of the original 151 Pokemon species. With several additions throughout the years, there are currently over 800 collectible Pokemon.
The other drawing that you can see is from 2018 and is plastered over the Pokemon Center 20th Anniversary Red and Pikachu merchandise.
Many users seem to want large Pikachu back, initiating an endless string of comments playing around with the concept – “Thiccachu” sounds like a great name for the original design. Other users mention how this was such an iconic part of their childhood, and that “it’s crazy to think about it as a single original piece of art.”
The series was born in 1996, the same year when Ken Sugimori and a few other artists designed the first Pokemon. It spawned a hugely successful franchise that covers video games, trading card games, books, music, the live-action film Detective Pikachu, and even a theme park. Later this year, the highly anticipated (and highly derided) Pokemon Sword and Shield games will launch exclusively for Nintendo Switch.