The Pokémon franchise has contributed a lot to the gaming world over the past 25 years. It revolutionised the world of RPGs and quickly became a worldwide phenomenon. It evolved with the times—and with technology—and is still an enduring series. It's spawned animes, manga, movies, card games... You name it, there's a Pokémon version of it! With each new generation of Pokémon games that hits the market, a new generation of fans is brought into the fold. With the franchise making the move to Nintendo Switch next year, we doubt its popularity will slow down anytime soon!
One of the things that makes Pokémon games so memorable is their engaging cast of characters. Even if the player characters are notoriously silent in our eyes, they still have a lot of personality! Then you have their friends, their rivals, the Gym Leaders they face, the bad teams whose plans they thwart... It's a pretty wide cast of unique characters! And that's just in the games. The Pokémon anime added iconic trainers like Ash, Misty, and Brock into the mix, who quickly became fan-favorites.
Throughout the Pokémon series, one thing has remained consistent: you always play as a hero, and you always try to fight villainy. Here's an intriguing question, though: what if everyone's favorite Pokémon protagonists made the switch to the dark side? Luckily, the world of fan art has provided answers! Here's what some Pokémon characters look like reimagined as villains. Prepare to have your childhood ruined!
In the Pokémon anime, Serena generally comes across as a sweet and innocent young girl who wouldn't hurt a fly. However, she's undergone something of a personality change in this artwork by an unknown artist!
Look at those glaring red eyes!
Serena is definitely up to something villainous. With a Poké Ball in hand, she's ready to go and inflict pain and misery on the inhabitants of Kalos. Who knows what her best friend and love interest Ash thinks about this? Maybe he's joined the dark side himself...
Dedicated Pokémon fans will know that everyone's favourite anime protagonist Ash Ketchum has a bit of a history when it comes to turning bad. He's been possessed before, and in the movie Hoopa and the Clash of Ages, he did transform into a Shadow Ash form. However, he's generally pretty good guy! Well, except in this artwork by DeviantArt's Digi-Fan111. Ash's glowing red eyes and aggressive expression definitely give him a sinister air! We wouldn't want to run into this Ash on a chilly Kanto night. Who knows what havoc he and his Pokémon could unleash!
As one of the original Pokémon Red and Blue starter Pokémon, Charmander has built up quite the fan base. Not only is this fire lizard kinda adorable, he also happens to evolve into Charizard, one of the most beastly Pokémon in the series. However, we might think twice about choosing the villainous Charmander depicted in this artwork by Fyrrea on DeviantArt. We wouldn't want to be on the wrong end of those sharp claws and mistrustful eyes! It would take a very powerful trainer to be able to control this Charmander—or at least an equally villainous one.
Time for another villainous interpretation of Ash Ketchum—and this time, the character has a pretty unhinged vibe! Look at that creepy smile! DeviantArt's Charlot_Sweetie has definitely managed to capture the essence of a trainer who's lost his mind and is taking it out on the world. We're not entirely sure what's happened to Ash here if we're honest.
He almost looks possessed!
Is the spirit of a Dark or Ghost-type Pokémon inhabiting Ash's body, or has the boy himself decided that becoming bad is the best way forward? Nobody knows.
In this artwork by MagicalHelmet on DeviantArt, everyone's favourite Water-type trainer Misty has taken a bit of a dark turn. Has she ditched her Starmie and Gyarados and started using Ghost-type Pokémon instead? It certainly looks that way! Whatever the case, the artist has definitely given Misty a sinister makeover. She's dyed her ginger hair purple, has bright red demon eyes and looks like she wants to inflict misery on the world. Considering Misty is pretty powerful, we'd predict that her fellow trainers don't really stand a chance. Unless they've got an Electric or Grass-type Pokémon, of course!
In this artwork by an unknown artist, the entire main cast of Pokémon Black and White has taken a turn for the worse. Bianca, Cheren, Hilbert, and Hilda all look pretty darn sinister! As if their bright red eyes weren't creepy enough, they've all decided to quite literally lurk in the shadows. Come on, guys.
Way to meet almost every villainous stereotype in the book!
To be honest, the most threatening thing about this image is the fact that the evolved forms of all three starters have joined their trainers, and they're clearly spoiling for a fight. This is one posse you don't want to mess with!
So this image of the legendary Pokémon Mew is definitely going to haunt my dreams for the foreseeable future. Talk about creepy! Normally, Mew is an incredibly cute flying pink kitten. In this artwork by Someone072 on DeviantArt, something has gone terribly wrong. Mew now resembles a monster from a B-list horror movie, and it's clutching some poor Pokémon's egg. The artist of the piece confirmed that Mew intends to eat whatever's inside the shell. NOPE. JUST NOPE. To be fair, this does raise an important question: what do Pokémon eat? Are they all vegetarians who survive on berries? It seems unlikely...
Ash's Pikachu is one of the most loved characters in the Pokémon anime. He's the protagonist's loyal partner, who's stuck by his trainer through thick and thin. He's incredibly powerful in battle—you don't want to be on the receiving end of one of those thundershocks! On top of that, Pikachu is generally just really adorable. However, DeviantArt user ShadowHatesOmochao has decided to portray the character in a very different light in this artwork! Pikachu doesn't look quite so friendly anymore. Check out the demon eyes and the sharp fangs! It's spooky stuff...
In Pokémon Platinum, the player has to visit a mysterious place called the Distortion World to battle the legendary Pokémon Giratina. Giratina is an utterly spooky beast. It's aggressive, territorial, and has the power to do very bad things to the Pokémon world. In this work by an unknown artist, it looks like Dawn—the female protagonist of Platinum—is under the influence of this sinister Pokémon. Is she just trying to protect Giratina from the villainous Team Galactic, or has she decided to join the legendary beast in causing havoc in our dimension? You decide!
Another pretty spooky legendary creature is Pokémon Y's Yveltal. In the lore of the game, it sounds incredibly dangerous at best, and villainous at worst! It has the power to absorb every single living thing's life energy.
That's right: it can kill everyone if it wants to.
Unfortunately, in this artwork by DeviantArt user Tri-Bby, it looks like Serena has fallen under Yveltal's spell. Rather than having her life energy drained, though, it looks like Serena is being manipulated by Yveltal. Her glassy eyes are the hallmark of someone who's possessed!
If you're a longstanding Pokémon player, you'll know that the trainer Red is something of an icon. He was the playable character in Pokémon Red and Blue, and you could battle him in Gold and Silver. The character of Ash Ketchum is loosely based on Red—hence the presence of a Pikachu in this artwork by DeviantArt's ShionXeriawind! However, neither Ash or Red are quite this villainous-looking in the anime or games respectively. He always was a moody guy, but now, he looks just plain sinister.
This villainous Pikachu artwork by N00bRevolution on DeviantArt truly is the stuff of bad dreams. It's difficult to know where to begin when you're trying to break it down! There are the slashes on its tail and stomach, and the blood dripping from its eyes. Then you have its sharp teeth and claws, and the long creepy tongue! We don't want to know what this Pikachu has been through, or what it could put another Pokémon through. It doesn't even need to use Thundershock: it could easily win a fight with Bite or Scratch.
This artwork by DeviantArt's Dragon-FangX features the heroines of three Pokémon games: Ruby and Sapphire's May, Diamond and Pearl's Dawn, and Black and White's Hilda. However, they've all taken a slightly different path in life to the one they take in the games! They've all joined the "villainous teams" present in their respective games: Team Magma, Team Galactic, and Team Plasma. It's an interesting twist on their stories! What could have driven these three to ditch their Pokémon adventures and join groups that try to bring doom to the world?
If you thought Psychic-type Gym Leader Sabrina was a bit creepy in Pokémon Red and Blue, you're in for a bit of a shock when you hear about her anime counterpart. In the show, Sabrina has a split personality: her human form is cold and ruthless, while a doll she keeps with her represents her repressed happier side.
Yeah... It's a pretty dark storyline.
This artwork by DeviantArt's Marinau shows the Gym Leader while she's still in her troubled state of mind. Honestly, the doll was always the creepiest part of this story. It's true bad dream fuel!
This Halloween-themed artwork by DeviantArt's Ry-Spirit portrays a lot of Pokémon anime characters in villainous disguises. We've got a vampire Ash, May looking like a sinister doll, Brock at the front wielding a blood-covered knife... It just gets creepier and creepier the longer you spend looking at it! Like, Team Rocket's skeleton outfits are something else! We like to think that this is what the cast of the anime would look like if they all decided to join the "dark side". Either that or they're going to have one rocking Halloween party!
Remember that version of Mew that scared the life out of us earlier on? Well, it's got a rival for the title of "the creepiest reworking of a Pokémon ever". The once-cute Grass-type starter Pokémon Bulbasaur has become pretty sinister in this artwork by DeviantArt's Fyrrea. It just looks so slimy! There's so much drool! It also looks like it's salivating over its next piece of prey. It's a strange concept considering Bulbasaur is literally a plant, but hey—maybe it's a carnivorous plant now!
Man, fan artists seem to love making the heroines of Pokémon join the villainous teams! In this piece by DeviantArt's MiasOtherFanart, Dawn, May, and Misty have all decided to join Team Rocket. Not only that, but they all seem totally thrilled to now be working for the enemy! It's interesting to note that Dawn and May must have left their respective regions of Sinnoh and Hoenn just to join Team Rocket. Are Kanto's answer to the Mafia really so impressive that people would do that? All of their plans seem to fail!
Well, this is something we never thought we'd see: Sun and Moon's Lillie as a member of Team Skull! Throughout the Generation Seven games, Lillie is one of the sweetest, most charming characters of all. She gets the most character development out of anyone in the game, finding the confidence to protect Nebby and stand up to the Aether Foundation. She hardly has a bad thing to say about anyone. Why would she join Team Skull, an organisation of petty thugs? We're not sure, but this fan art by DeviantArt's DJDrago9712 is still awesome!
In Pokémon Red and Blue, the player character's rival—known as Blue—is nothing short of completely obnoxious. He's rude, combative, and incredibly smug if he ever manages to beat you.
However, it would be a bit far to state he's all-out villainous.
This fan art by an unknown artist changes that, though. Blue looks like he's ready to cause some havoc, especially with that beastly Arcanine by his side! He's certainly a powerful enough trainer to cause real damage to Kanto if he wanted to.
DeviantArt's N00bRevolution hasn't just turned Pikachu into bad dream fuel. They've also given Togepi the "villainous version" treatment too! One of the cutest Pokémon in the entire franchise has turned into a monster. Look at those eyes and teeth! Those jagged spikes on its head could definitely do some damage, too! We doubt that Misty would have been so keen to carry Togepi around all the time in the anime if it'd looked like this. In fact, she'd almost certainly be running screaming for the hills. We wouldn't blame her.
Man, Pokémon Platinum's Dawn sure has a habit of making friends with really sinister Pokémon! First, it was Giratina; now it's Darkrai. For anyone who's not familiar with this mythical Pokémon, the clue is in Darkrai's name. According to Pokémon lore, if it gets into your head, it can cause you to have unending bad dreams.
Definitely dark stuff!
In this piece by an unknown artist, Dawn has paired up with Darkrai. Could she be harnessing its bad powers for her own ends? It'd be a pretty solid plan! Make your enemies have bad dreams until they submit...
It's time for one last villainous reimagining of Ash's Pikachu. This piece by an unknown artist has to be the more eerie of all. This Pikachu has been redesigned in the style of a zombie, and the result is incredibly weird. For one, this poor electric mouse seems to have had a few bites taken out of it! Perhaps they were sustained when it became a member of the army of the dead. It's now got the glassy-eyed look of a zombie, and it's preparing to feast on some human flesh—specifically an eyeball.
The legendary Pokémon Celebi has seen something of a surge in popularity following the release of Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal on the 3DS Virtual Console. Thanks to a new in-game event, players all over the world can finally own a Celebi!
Originally, only Japanese fans had this privilege.
While Celebi may have a lot of new fans, we're sure even they would be creeped out by DeviantArt user xDarkSpace's interpretation of it as a villainous Pokémon. It's now ready to use its extensive powers for dark means. It's not an inviting prospect!
When you start playing Pokémon Sun and Moon, it's unclear where exactly Gladion's allegiances lie. Yes, he's a member of the villainous Team Skull—and he's a very moody guy. However, he does have a softer side, and he ultimately wants to do what's best for his family. But what if Gladion actually did turn out to be a bad guy? This work by an unknown artist explores that possibility! Gladion has graduated from being a bit angsty to outwardly hostile. He's ready to wreak some havoc with his beloved Type:Null. Honestly, we wouldn't cross that partnership!
Just as Pokémon Red and Blue had a protagonist called Red, Gold and Silver had a hero called Gold. Gold's task was strikingly similar to Red's: he aimed to become the Pokémon League Champion while also defeating the bad Team Rocket. However, in this work by an unknown artist, Gold has clearly decided to join Team Rocket instead! Was he tempted by the task of selling Slowpoke Tails? Did he want in on the plan to control Pokémon using radio waves? Who knows. However, he seems pretty happy to be a Team Rocket Grunt!