Project imagines the classic Pokémon created these days.
Pokémon is a brand that has been growing with us since we were little. It starts with drawing and then moves on to games and when we realize it we’ve been completely captured by this fascinating universe of pocket monsters.
And so, led by the charisma of Pikachu, Pokémon conquered the world.
Today the little creatures print T-shirts, slippers, designer clothes and anything else you can imagine. This Saturday (27), Pokémon celebrates 25 years of history. To stay relevant, the franchise has had to reinvent itself countless times. And in this constant evolution, even the way Pokémon are made has changed.
It’s a new world of adventures …
The differences are subtle, but haven’t gone unnoticed by fans. It didn’t take long for audiences to split between those who love new monsters and those who don’t go beyond the original Pokémon – nicknamed genwunners. Soon memes popped up to encourage the rivalry and it was thanks to one of these posts that the Pokémon ReBoot project came to life.
Icaro (or @ ikki382), a 28-year-old artist, saw in the meme an opportunity to imagine what the most classic Pokemon would look like if it were created these days. But recreating Pokédex is no easy task. He knew he needed someone who “takes a deep dive into the most bizarre ideas that exist” to develop the most creative monsters, so he invited Mauricio (@maumesart), 24.
The duo’s history with the Pokémon franchise is like that of any other fan. Maumes fell in love with the adventures of Ash, Misty and Brock as a child and years later, only in 2005, he started playing Pokémon Crystal on his GameBoy Color. “I haven’t stopped playing since.” Ikki, on the other hand, was drawn to the fate of fate. “My first contact with the franchise was to find a Mewtwo sticker on the street […] I went to watch from there and loved it!
The project started without pretension. They posted a sketch of the first three Kanto Pokémon, made by Maumes and finished by Ikki, on an Instagram page. The result convinced both genwunners and new fans alike, and soon the Pokémon Reboot page exploded with thousands of hits.
Maumes said: “It was very funny to find out that there is a fan for EVERY POKEMON THAT EXISTS, without taking it off or putting it on!” In every post we’ve posted on Kanto, someone has commented on how happy they are to see their favorite Pokemon modernized. “
… And the danger is much greater.
The key to appealing to even these most passionate fans was to embrace the inspiration of each Pokémon, accentuating its qualities by combining personal flair with the trait of Ken Sugimori, the franchise’s lead illustrator, and James Turner – director. art of Pokémon Sword and Shield.
Of course, the biggest inspiration when it comes to creating modern versions is the Pokémon released in the last few generations – from Pokémon X and Y games (2013) and onwards. Pokémon these days bring a much more rounded trait to distance themselves from any comparison to animal feuds. And also to sell more stuffed animals, of course.
“If you consider, for example, the Kanto monsters. They are almost always anatomically similar to something realistic, aggressive. Ikki reveals. “Over the generations, they have become more friendly and distinguished.”
Today, the project is approaching the 60,000-follower mark and public expectations have never been so extreme, reveals Maumes. “People are treating our page like it’s (official) the franchise itself and it’s complicated. We are still only two artists who take care of all this.
The duo’s work brings such a professional presentation that audiences almost forget it’s the art of two fans in love with the franchise. There is an unrealistic demand that every design be impeccable. But Ikki seeks to have fun even in the most absurd situations. “… Recently some of our sketches were leaked on 4chan and for the first time I felt in my skin what the Pokémon company feels with each new generation hahaha.”
It’s a new journey, with new emotions …
In more recent games, starting with Pokémon Sun and Moon, the Pokémon company has given itself up to revisiting old models with regional shapes – variations that adapt classic Pokémon to the biomes of the new regions. The fan reaction could not be more positive, which only proves the power of revisiting our favorite Pokémon with a new look.
Maumes and Ikki are among the fans of the new mechanics. “It’s the kind of thing we didn’t know we needed until we had it.” Maumes is thrilled with the Galar variants, but he holds a special place in his heart for Farfetch’d, Meowth, and Zapdos – all Pokémon that have already been remade in their project.
One day, Ikki hopes to see new versions of the legendary beasts of Johto, one of the most anticipated trios for Pokémon ReBoot fans. Since the mysterious Mewtwo, legendary Pokémon have fascinated players in the franchise. “I love your mythology and its impact on design. Recently, I also loved Ultra Beasts, where the Pokémon company was able to escape “normal” designs and create some really weird creatures.
Like almost everything in Pokémon, the Ultra Beast has divided public opinion since its introduction. Many defend the maturity they brought to the franchise by exploring sci-fi concepts, but others are almost offended by its transgressive design.
For Ikki, the great advantage of the beasts was to give back creative freedom to the Pokémon company. After almost two years of working on Pokémon ReBoot, pressure from the public ends up limiting the sense of freedom felt when it all started.
… But we still have to get it!
When the desire to create something more authoritative kicks in, the duo relive their time of anonymity by creating their own Fakemon – totally original creatures made by fans with no direct relation to the franchise’s official Pokemon. Maume admits that “it is always much nicer to create my own Fakemon without worrying about knowing that a public size awaits them”.
Ikki has the same feeling, but reinforces the fact that Pokémon ReBoot has opened many doors in his career. “He gave me the opportunity to have a source of income by drawing Pokémon, which has always been a dream for me. And with the reach we’ve reached, it’s very gratifying to see so many people praising and looking forward to our next little monster.
Together, Maumes and Ikki have completely reinterpreted the Kanto Pokédex – which consists of the 151 little monsters found in Pokémon Red, Blue, and in the first seasons of the anime. The current phase of the project has already started exploring the second generation, reinventing Pokémon that originated in the Johto region.
Although highly regarded, this generation is not as recognizable as the first, which has generated unrest among the audience. “Johto has a wide range of ‘forgotten’ Pokémon that don’t get much attention.” For now, the plan is to hasten the end of this generation and then adapt the Pokémon from the nostalgic Hoenn region.
We do not define until which generation the project will extend, but the original idea was never to reach the most modern games. With the third generation, artists are exploring new ways to meet audience expectations without losing creative freedom. “We are evaluating maybe not to post everything in order, to have more freedom with that, it can be fun!”
Even with only two years in the works, Pokémon ReBoot is already part of franchise history. Today, with Pokémon Presents, we got a little glimpse into the future of the franchise, back in the Sinnoh region, but the possibilities are endless.
For Maumes, Pokémon needs bolder choices, “like initials with non-traditional types and regions without old Pokémon.” Ikki, meanwhile, feels that in order to move forward Pokémon must once again break its conventions when it comes to the story: “a more developed plot like it was in black and white” is needed.
In 25 years, Pokémon has achieved unprecedented success in the entertainment industry, revolutionizing our relationship with the brand. Over the next 25 years, I’m sure the franchise will continue to evolve, rekindling the dream of becoming a Pokémon Master with each new generation.
Get to know the project on Instagram Pokémon Reboot. Be sure to also follow Ikki and Maumes for more original Pokémon content and other amazing arts from nerdy culture.
See other Pokémon in the gallery: