Sugimori & Tajiri: The First Pokémon Masters
It’s 2016 and these so-called Pocket Monsters have taken over the world once more. It appears everyone has got into the mission of capturing them at any cost and become the ultimate Pokémon Master. It is said that training Masters have crashed cars, gotten hit by them, been robbed and …
It’s 2016 and these so-called Pocket Monsters have taken over the world once more. It appears everyone has got into the mission of capturing them at any cost and become the ultimate Pokémon Master. It is said that training Masters have crashed cars, gotten hit by them, been robbed and have even fallen off cliffs trying to catch ‘em all. Many legends have burst with this new invasion but I’m going to tell you a real story. The story of the first Pokémon Masters: Ken Sugomiri and Satoshi Tajiri.
The story began when a curious teenager entered an indie magazine store in Tokyo and discovered a handwritten gaming fanzine called Game Freak. Ken Sugomiri contacted the fanzine’s creator, Satoshi Tajiri, and started illustrating for Game Freak. Little did they know that years later they would create the monsters that would take up the world by surprise.
Years passed and Game Freak turned into a video game development company. With the arrival of Game Boy, Tajiri, pitched the idea of Pokémon to Nintendo; while Sugimori got into the task of designing the Pocket Monsters. He searched the world for references, visited all the zoos and aquariums. He analyzed animals, plants and things alike. Focusing on the way they relate to each other and the way we understand them as humans. As a result, the world got the first 150 unique monsters that integrate Pokémon’s first generation for Game Boy.
As the franchise grew, the design team grew. New Pokémons were created. The company expanded into new video games, TV shows, trading cards and apps. And last month it expanded into the worldwide phenomenon of Pokémon Go. Despite this exponential growth, Sugimori has had the final decision and responsibility for every Pokémon out there since the beginning. So the next time a wild Bulbasaur appears, you can be certain that it came out of the original Pokémon Masters’ pen.
You can see some of Sugimori’s original artwork below.
All images ©2016 Ken Sugomiri & Satoshi Tajiri