One Pokémon fan’s database shines light on unsung designers of the series

Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-03-07 15:50 JST)

Over 800 Pokémon exist in the Pokémon series. And with the recent announcement of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet already showing off some new designs, that number could soon be closer to 1,000. While there is no official publicly available list of who designed which Pokémon, one fan is getting attention online for trying to track down and sort this information.

The larger discussion started with a thread on ResetEra. The initial post mentions how fans tend to only praise Ken Sugimori for the designs in Pokémon Red and Blue, and links to a page on the database website Bulbagarden. From there, it looks like a larger discussion about who designed which Pokémon ignited among fans.

However, there is still a lot of information that hasn’t been gathered on the page yet. Bulbagarden user Altruis appears to be independently checking interviews and gathering other sources to compile the list and attempting to stick to official information as much as possible. Also remember that the list itself isn’t an official source. But with that in mind, what’s been gathered here is very interesting.

For example, Atsuko Nishida, known for designing Pikachu in Pokémon Red and Blue, designed a wide variety of Pokémon from Charmander through Charizard to Bulbasaur and Vileplume. Designs of Pokémon like Mew and Dragonite are credited to Shigeki Morimoto, and Eevee is listed as being designed by Motofumi Fujiwara. When compared with stories that have already come out, the information here seems to be accurate. Ken Sugimori did create a lot of Pokémon, but we can see there have been many other designers involved as well.

From Altruis’s Bulbagarden user page

With each game, the artists involved with designing Pokémon increases. The list includes Wobbuffet and Celebi designer Hironobu Yoshida, Chimchar and Garchomp designer Takao Unno, and Mana Ibe who designed Stunfisk and Haxorus. It really demonstrates the breadth of the Pokémon series.

The topic of who designed which Pokémon has come up a number of times in recent years. One reason is likely the addition of James Turner as a Pokémon designer. James Turner is an artist from the UK that left Genius Sonority and joined Game Freak. He is the first Westerner to work on designing Pokémon and has been involved with the series since Pokémon Black and White. Turner’s unique designs like Vanilluxe, Golurk, Trevenant, and Buzzwole, along with being from the UK seems to have brought more attention to who the designers are behind Pokémon as a whole.

In the age of social media, we’re also seeing more designers come out themselves and announce which Pokémon they worked on. With Pokémon Sword and Shield for example, there’s a tweet from Yusuke Ohmura announcing their work on Zacian and Zamazenta. And Yusuke Kozaki announcing their work on Toxtricity and Falinks. And another from Hitoshi Ariga showing they designed Hisui Sneasel and Sneasler for Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

For this reason, it’s become easier in recent years to find which artist a Pokémon was designed by. On the other hand, tracking down that information for older titles seems difficult. But Game Freak and The Pokémon Company have taken the position to not hide this information from the public. While The Pokémon Company manages the rights, it’s a fact that the Pokémon designs we know and love were born from artists, and it’s fortunate that the company respects that. While not complete, we hope to see more information steadily added to Altruis’s list. We’re also excited to learn more about which artists are involved in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.