Pop culture – Pokemon Noir

Ray Bruwelheide’s Pokemon comic, pokecentre, has earned attention on social media across the internet, and from leading video game, literature, and popular culture websites such as Kotaku and io9. Writers on both websites agree that combined elements of the Pokemon games and the Noir genre surprised everyone – it’s an entertaining mash-up. They work well together despite stemming from opposite ends of some kind of maturity spectrum: the cynical, adult genre meets the bright, children’s video game . Of course, placing opposite and opposing themes beside each other generates interest.

A series called Pokemon Adventure –  a manga based on the original video game published soon after Nintendo released the original games – deals with darker, mature themes at times, however. The original creator of Pokemon – Satoshi Tajiri – commented that “This is the comic that most resembles the world I was trying to convey”. Since Tajiri recognised the deeper and darker potential from the beginning, it was always a possibility that mature versions of the Pokemon world would emerge in popular culture.

What I found most impressive about Bruwelheide’s artwork and story were the character designs. The Pokemon have been redrawn into realistic, and predatory versions of themselves. This is where Bruwelheide’s artwork shines. The design choices are excellent. For example, Tentacruel, a poisonous jellyfish Pokemon, adapts into a Giant Pelagic Jellyfish. Below is a chain of ideas, which  may have led to the design choice.

Tentacruel_Pokecentre_070213

Pokecentre is available to read on Bruwelheide’s website, alongside several other excellent comics and original artworks.

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