A Fan Is Restoring Ken Sugimori’s Pokémon Art After Decades Of Inaccuracies

It isn’t the Mandela Effect at work here, rather it’s the result of subpar-quality scans that have left children of the 90s flabbergasted at what Ken Sugimori’s iconic Pokémon looks like. For decades, the work Sugimori did was often shown with “inaccurate” colours.

Now, recent high-quality scans have appeared via YouTuber and Pokémon Archivist LewTwo on Twitter. The scans were provided to LewTwo via Twitter user ExcaliburZero_Z. For those old enough to remember, the 251 Pokémon scans uncovered show the first two generations — Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow and Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal.

For over 20 years, the Red, Blue, Gold & Silver artwork of each Pokemon across the internet had inaccurate colours, were often misshapen, and generally VERY low quality,” says LewTwo. The original scans are said to have come from the official North American Pokémon Player’s Guide, which launched in 1998.

Since this is a fairly large undertaking, the process will be as follows:

We’re going to be removing all low-quality Red, Blue, Gold & Silver Pokemon artwork from the Asset Archive, effective immediately.

Each Pokemon will then be meticulously cut out for transparency in Pokedex order, and periodically uploaded in the coming months.

We’ll then be working with sites such as Bulbapedia (and anyone else that may be interested, feel free to reach out) to expand the reach even further until everything is complete,” says LewTwo.

The difference between the old and new scans is striking and you can really see a lot more detail now that the restoration process is underway. Many of the original 251 renditions are watercolour images and much of the detail was lost until this recent discovery. Posters have also questioned the authenticity of the scans discovered but according to LewTwo, a lot of work went into authenticating the scans via GameFreak’s assets. Thankfully, given this is a preservation project I wouldn’t worry too much about the existing images. Those will still be available on sites like Bulbapedia for consumption via the revisions section.

There are some pushing back against the project weirdly enough as if it affects them in any shape or form but thankfully the majority of the community has been positive to the discovery and restoration LewTwo is doing by himself.