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HD Scans of Original Pokémon Art Reveal the Art We’ve Had for Decades Was All Wrong

original Ken Sugimori Pokémon Red and Blue HD high-resolution scan wrong color new archive Lewtwo different richer colors from Pokemon players guide 1998 to Japanese Gold Silver

If you’re of a certain age range, the original Ken Sugimori Pokémon Red and Blue creature art is probably seared into your brain — but new HD scans of that art reveal that the versions of the art we have been seeing for decades are actually a wrong and weak representation of that original art. Archivist and Twitter user Lewtwo has, with legitimate art scans provided by Christopher Wells from the Japanese Pokémon Gold and Silver guidebook, demonstrated to the world that the genuine original art has a much richer and way different color palette than the Pokémon Red and Blue art we are used to seeing.

According to Lewtwo, much of the original Pokémon art we have seen for years comes from an official North American 1998 Pokémon player’s guide, and the color schemes for all the Pokémon are heavily washed out there. For decades, players had assumed this was a conscious artistic choice, but by cross-referencing their own scans with other official materials (like Pokémon card art that uses the original art), Lewtwo determined that this is not true.

In fact, these new ultra-high-resolution scans demonstrate a great amount of extra detail in the hand-painted creatures, and you could spend a lot of time just poring over each one. The differences in color scheme alone are startling in some spots, with Ivysaur’s skin shifting from blue to green in the new scan, (Though Ivysaur’s colors have been somewhat variable over the years, as Lewtwo notes.) and Tauros has gone from washed-out orange to very apparent shades of brown. It makes you wonder just how rough a scanning and printing process that 1998 player’s guide was.

The plan from here for Lewtwo is to get all of this legitimate, higher-resolution original art isolated from its scanned backgrounds and placed on Bulbapedia, a major Pokémon wiki — but the old, wrong Pokémon Red and Blue art scans will still remain easily accessible on the internet too. There are no concerns of “history” being erased, even if that history was off the mark in the first place. Lewtwo also plans to put the raw scans for the Gold and Silver guidebook on eventually. In any case, let us know what you think of these colorful discoveries.

About the author

John Friscia
Managing Editor at The Escapist. I have been writing about video games since 2018 and editing writing on IT, project management, and video games for around a decade. I have an English degree, but Google was a more valuable learning resource. I taught English in South Korea for a year in 2018, and it was exponentially more fun than living in Pennsylvania. My major passions in life are SNES, Japanese RPGs, Berserk, and K-pop. I'm currently developing the game Boss Saga with my brother, which is guaranteed to change your life and you should buy it.