One of the world's finest creators of comic book horror has teamed up with The Pokemon Company for a special "scary" collaboration.
Pokemon, on the surface, seem fun and colourful and a bit of light fun. Once you start reading the Pokedex in any great detail, though, things can get a little sinister. Take, for instance, Cubone -- an adorable-looking ground-type Pokemon with a skull helmet and a bone club. Except the skull is the skull of its dead mother, and it keeps to itself and cries every night in mourning -- a sound that resonates from its skull helmet. In effect, every single Cubone is an orphan and we have no idea how their mothers die.
And Cubone isn't the only Pokemon with an eerie past. Yamask's Pokedex entry reads, "These Pokemon arose from the spirits of people interred in graves. Each retains memories of its former life," and "Each of them carries a mask that used to be its face when it was human. Sometimes they look at it and cry." Duskull and Drifloon kidnap children. Phantump is possessed by the spirits of dead children.
In short, the world of Pokemon is pretty ripe for some spooky stories -- and who better to tell them than Junji Ito, author of some of the finest horror comics ever produced? Uzumaki, the tale of a town haunted by spirals; Gyo, where humans are being attacked by undead cyborg sea creatures; and, of course, the internet-famous The Enigma of Amigara Fault.
The collaboration, part of a special Pokemon event called "Kowapoke" ("Scarypoke"), was announced on the Pokemon Japan website, accompanied by an illustration drawn by Ito -- of a young girl in an alley being stalked by a Banette.
"A doll that became a Pokemon over its grudge from being junked. It seeks the child that disowned it," Banette's most recent Pokedex entries read. "Strong feelings of hatred turned a puppet into a Pokemon. If it opens its mouth, its cursed energy escapes."
More content is on the way, although whether it will be officially translated into English is unknown. In the meantime, you can download Ito's illustration as a phone and tablet wallpaper, and Japanese customers can purchase it as a T-shirt. The site also features anime and manga strips in Japanese, and some fan art pieces, of some other very spooky Pokemon.
The site even has some free online games -- if you can figure out how to play them.