What is “gijinka”?

First off let me extend a hearty welcome to all first-timers here.  If you’re curious as to the start/origin of this blog, feel free to visit the About section for more info.

So let’s jump right into it.  If you’re here at this blog you’re definitely familiar with Pokemon already.  I mean, who isn’t?  Pokemon has been a worldwide phenomenon for the last 15 years.  The first game was a huge hit that spawned a tv show, trading card game, 4 sequels (referred to as Generations, Gen I, Gen II, etc.) and even a movie!  Back in 2007, The Independent (UK) named the top 20 game franchises in the world, with Pokemon reaching the number 2 spot.

actually this is kind of an understatement

Surprisingly, the series has maintained its mega-popularity even to this day.  Perhaps, it has even grown.  Video game blog Kotaku reported last week that the most recent version, Pokemon Black and White has sold 5 million copies in Japan alone, making it the fastest DS title to ever do that.

Ok, so Pokemon’s crazy! But what about Gijinka?  Gijinka is literally translated from Japanese as “anthropomorphism” or “humanoid.”  It’s an art style or technique in which a fan re-designs an animal-like creature in a human form, bringing with it the unique features of that character.

Take the above picture as an example.  To the right is the pokemon Poliwrath.  To the left is the artist’s rendition of Poliwrath, if it was a costume worn by someone.  See how the artist captured the main features, the swirl, the gray gloves.  But the artist also capture the color scheme.  The blue boots and white ribbons in the hair easily match up with the pokemon’s design.

Gijinka is usually more often represented in art on popular art forums such as Deviantart but recently, the trend has leaked into another popular hobby, cosplay.  Cosplay is the popular costuming past-time that originated in Japan.  Unlike Halloween, cosplay can take place at any time of the year and usually involves characters from popular culture, cartoons, comics, anime, manga, and video games.  Lately, pokemon costuming in gijinka forms has become increasingly popular.

Zahnpasta doing some amazing work here

As you can see, put in the right creative hands, the result is cute, professional, and authentic to the source material.  Pokemon Gijinka Cosplay is only going to increase in popularity this year.  With a whole new lineup of 150+ pokemon, I’m certain cosplayers and artists alike will have their hands full coming up with new and creative ways to interpret the world of pokemon.


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