It seems Japanese Twitter artist @bankokukun was killing time with a Pokémon coloring book last week, when he decided to spice things up by practicing a “serious” shading style he hadn’t used in a while. This resulted in a hulked-out Pikachu with hyper-defined musculature in sharp contrast to the soft, cuddly look the Nintendo mascot is known for. The contradictory portrayal of the electric mouse puts the “monster” back in “pocket monsters” and inspired 200,000 likes worth of shock and awe across Twitter in just a few days.
It turns out this isn’t the first time @bankokukun has taken such an approach to Pikachu. A few more of his monstrosities surfaced from 2016, further exploring the concept of swole Pokémon:
The last one includes an in-process snap which gives some insight into his working method. He starts by lightly sketching his added anatomical features within the outlines of the original coloring book art, before flashing it out with dramatic shading. It’s a pretty clever way to re-purpose the original line work in completely the opposite direction from what Nintendo intended.