The Newgrounds days never ended, they just became a part of a collective consciousness that we occasionally revisit. What if the Goombas struck back against Mario? What if Zelda characters had sex? These were the questions that nobody asked, but independent animators in their droves used to answer regardless. But one of the most notable of these questions was “What if Pokémon was dark?”
Pokémon with gritty realism has been the subject of so many fan projects that it’s almost become familiar territory. One of the most popular of these projects was the live-action Pokémon Apokélypse trailer released in 2010 by Youtuber Megasteakman with over 12 million views. Film producer Adi Shankar has been involved in these sort of gritty realism projects through his “Bootleg Universe” series of short films on Youtube for a while, in between working on films and the recent Castlevania and upcoming Assassin’s Creed anime series for Netflix.
His latest short film is titled “The End of Pokémon” and is made in collaboration with Angry Metal Studios, a team of animators who regularly work with Shankar and other Youtube users. The End of Pokémon is a story about a violent Pokémon liberation movement led by an older Ash Ketchum that goes horribly wrong. The plot itself is pretty adolescent, but it’s interesting to see another visual take on Pokémon and some of the creature animation is genuinely impressive.
With Pokémon: Detective Pikachu and other art collaborations with the famous brand being launched all over the world, it becomes clear that there’s much more to the brand than just the games and anime. And whilst The End of Pokémon is more than a bit strange, it represents the lengths fans will go to validate and realize their fan theories. So what are your thoughts on this visual universe that Adi Shankar has put forward?