Pokémon has remained a staple of pop culture since it was first introduced for the Game Boy back in 1996. Various iterations of the franchise, from the anime TV series to the short-lived Pokémon Live! musical, have boosted its popularity among mainstream audiences. Plus, Pokémon Go allowed fans to merge the iconic universe with real life, and introduced a whole new generation of fans to the franchise.
Perhaps the most iconic image of the Pokémon universe is Pikachu, Ash’s very first Pokémon. With the first ever live-action Pokémon movie coming up, Nintendo is once again thrusting Pikachu into the spotlight with Ryan Reynolds voicing the world’s cutest yellow pocket monster.
Of course, the franchise would not have remained popular for this long without legions of dedicated fans, some of whom have taken it upon themselves to reimagine the host of wholesome characters as something a little more sinister. Some have even created crossovers with other epic franchises like Disney cartoons and Star Wars.
The list includes some of the most imaginative fan art across that put an ominous spin on our most beloved childhood icons. Some of them are simply reimaginings, others are straight-up mashups with classic villains from various franchises. Not all of them are specific characters; some are generic Pokémon who’ve been transformed into a more evil version. The list also draws from all media and platforms. None of the antagonists from Pokémon are included, though, since they are the villains to begin with.
Here are 25 Classic Pokémon Characters Reimagined As Villains.
25 Evil Ash
Ash has canonically been possessed several times, including by the King of Pokélantis in Ruby and Sapphire and by Hoopa’s Shadow in Hoopa and the Clash of Ages. Those incidents cause him to act antagonistically, but his actions are controlled by the various entities that have taken over his body.
Now, imagine if Ash actually turns evil. He’d probably take on the menacing demeanor that Nadi-Chan depicts, inspired by the trailer for Hoopa.
Ash has established himself throughout the years as an altruistic kid, especially when it comes to Pokémon. Evil Ash would most likely view Pokémon as a means to an end.
24 Venom Gengar
Venom has possessed numerous Marvel characters over the years. This time, it seems like the notorious Symbiote has taken over poor little Gengar. Sure, Venom has occasionally fought for the good guys in order to protect innocent lives, but he’s definitely done some shady things too, like escaping from the Vault to wreak havoc unto Spider-Man.
It’s not hard to see why Matheus4Booltz has chosen to merge Venom with Gengar: Gengar is a Ghost/Poison type Pokémon who, let’s be real, looks kind of creepy with its wide grin and malicious-looking eyes. It plays practical jokes, scaring people for its own entertainment.
23 Realistic Mewtwo
Mewtwo is the clone of Mew, but thanks to a ton of genetic tinkering, it’s nothing like its original model. In its most notable appearance in the first Pokémon movie, Mewtwo is nothing short of ruthless, planning to render humans extinct due to the trauma of having been objectified by the scientists who made it.
It does eventually see the light thanks to Ash and his buddies, but in a way, Mewtwo is kind of already a villain in its own right, at least in the context of the movie.
Leashe takes the villainy to a whole new level by depicting Mewtwo as a realistic creature; skeletal and vicious.
22 Infernape Mojo Jojo
Infernape is usually orangey red in color with a white chest, but Shawarmachine has drawn a Shiny version with a reddish tone, mashing the Pokémon up with one of the Powerpuff Girls’ most persistent enemies, Mojo Jojo.
Mojo Jojo's brain is literally on fire due to Infernape having a flame atop its head.
Add to that an intimidating frown, and you’ve got quite a villain here.
As a Fighting type Pokémon, Infernape’s speed is known for its speed, agility and ability to use a kind of martial arts with all of its limbs. Can you imagine what would happen if that is combined with Mojo Jojo’s scientific prowess? Chaos would most definitely reign.
21 Team Ursula
Ursula is one of the most recognizable villains in pop culture. She's the sea witch who steals Ariel’s voice in The Little Mermaid as part of her master plan to rule the ocean.
VibaFleischer inserts several Pokémon into the world under the sea, providing a taste of what Ursula’s Pokémon team would look like. And it looks terrifying.
If Ursula had this gang of loyal Pokémon instead of her eel sidekicks, surely she would have put up an even better fight against Prince Eric.
She might even have won.
20 Misty on Mustafar
No villain-related list would ever be complete with mentioning Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader from Star Wars, one of pop cultures most beloved and revered antagonists.
Athanwar brings to life the duel on Mustafar between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin, except instead of having two conflicted blood brothers (or lovers, as some fans hope) battle it out, it’s Misty versus Evil Misty.
Given the frequency with which characters get possessed in the Pokémon universe and the existence of cloning, maybe this Misty v. Evil Misty concept could one day become canon - though not in a galaxy far, far away.
19 Evil Blastoise
Blastoise’s rounded features and small permanent smile can make it come off as a more genial Pokémon, despite the giant cannons on its back.
This time around, Blastoise takes a spin on the dark side in this redesign by Milkmindart.
This particular Blastoise is all sharp angles and hard lines, and its head makes it look even more like a dinosaur than a giant turtle.
Multiple scars are scattered all over its body. The eyes are the ultimate finishing touch, transforming the iconic Pokémon into a menacing creature with a threatening glare.
18 Venom Magikarp
Magikarp gets a bad rap: Jessie and Meowth from Team Rocket insist that it’s a useless Pokémon when James is tricked into buying it. It’s easy to underestimate it, especially with its vacant stare and slack-jawed gape in addition to the lacklustre way that it flops around.
This time around, Margikarp is out for vengeance on those who made fun of it for so long.
PokémonDraw reimagines Magikarp taken over by the Symbiote, so that it’s no longer a blank-eyed fish that you’re desperately waiting to evolve into Gyarados. Instead, it has nasty sharp teeth that’ll make even the most flippant and disapproving trainers think twice about mocking it.
17 Karrablast Plankton
Karrablast is a Bug-type Pokémon with horns on its head. Sheldon J. Plankton is the unsuccessful owner of the Chum Bucket, and has antennas on his head. Plus, they’re both pretty small.
In a stroke of ingenuity, Shawarmachine has merged the two characters.
With his giant Napoleon complex, this new Plankton might be relieved to hear that evolving into Escavalier makes it double in height, going from one and a half feet to a whopping three feet.
Maybe evolving would help Plankton finally steal the secret Krabby Patty formula from Mr. Krabs. Or maybe he’ll simply grow out of the endeavor with help from his new trainer.
16 Evil Beedrill
While bees might be some people’s biggest fears in real life, Beedrill doesn’t seem as menacing, with its bee-like body safely behind a TV screen. However, J.R. Coffron and Preston Stone bring Beedrill to life with frightening realism.
Beedrill’s red eyes now glow like hellish embers, and its rounded body is more angular and threatening.
The two stingers on its forelegs are no longer smooth— instead, they’re jagged and a dirty, dark brown color. One of these realistic Beedrills is terrifying enough. Imagine getting chased down by a whole colony of them.
The Internet loves its puns, so it’s no surprise that this Joker and Pikachu combo by Yayzus would be dubbed “Jokémon”.
Joker, Batman’s famed enemy, has helped to shape the franchise’s trajectory ever since he was first introduced in 1940. Like most comic book characters, the Joker has countless characterizations and backstories, but for the most part, he’s always retained the persona of a criminal mastermind with a seriously warped worldview.
It makes it super jarring to see sweet little Pikachu merged with this villain, so let’s hope Pikachu never falls into some chemical waste.
14 Sableye Smeagol
Sableye is a Pokémon with gems in its body, a result of a diet of gemstones. Plus, it lives in caves. Naturally, Cheeny combined Sableye with Gollum, the Hobbit once known as Smeagol who becomes corrupted due to the influence of the One Ring.
Although Sableye does look just a tad creepy in its original iteration— after all, it’s a Dark- and Ghost-type Pokémon— this new Sableye looks way more sinister.
This version is skinner and more skeletal, modifications that make it seem more grotesque as it prepares to fast on a freshly-caught Poliwag.
13 Pokémon Dark Mark
Artist Jakusberci has created a Pokémon version of the Dark Mark, most famously worn by Voldemort’s Death Eaters, using the body of Ekans and the Skull of what seems to be either Cubone or Marowak, or a mix of both.
The Dark Mark strikes fear into wizards and witches all throughout the wizarding world, and perhaps a good number of Muggles in our own universe as well.
Now that it’s rendered in purple, gold and white in this version, it does feel less menacing than the dark brand on the forearms of Voldemort’s followers.
12 Evil Emboar
Tepig and Pignite are both round little creatures, so it’s hardly a surprise that their final form Emboar would retain some of those cute chubby features. Not so much in this drawing by TheDarkHell, though.
This Emboar looks furious, and its face is even more explicitly boar-like.
Where the original Emboar has a big bulky belly, this revamped Emboar has some hardcore muscles which, combined with the large fists it now boasts, are seriously intimidating.
The lighting is even reminiscent of Durin’s Bane in the live-action Lord of the Rings, especially with the mane of fire surrounding the Emboar’s head.
11 Team Maleficent
Speaking of fire and evil, we have to bring up Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, who transforms herself into a dragon during the fight against Prince Phillip. Although she gets a nuanced backstory in the live-action movie Maleficent, the sorceress is still best known as the ruthless villain who places a curse on Aurora.
Since she can turn into a black dragon, of course a Shiny Charizard would make an appearance on her team in this picture by VibaFleischer.
Who knows, maybe in this crossover universe, Maleficent is actually capable of turning into a Pokémon, severely reducing Phillip’s chances of victory.
10 Evil Pikachu
This fan creation by Skeleion imagines a world in which Team Rocket has a clone of Pikachu named “Rocketchu”. Ruthless and cold, she’s nothing like Ash’s sweet Pikachu that we’ve come to love.
Rocketchu’s appearance reflects her dark personality very clearly as she holds up and threatens a Rattata.
Her eyes glow red and her fangs are especially sharp.
Since cloning is a feature of the Pokémon franchise and Ash’s Pikachu has a clone called Pikachutwo, maybe one day there will be yet another canonical Pikachu clone, this time under the employ of Team Rocket.
Loki, the God of Mischief from Marvel’s Avengers, is yet another major villain in modern pop culture. A powerful sorcerer seeking to take over Asgard, Loki is known as a capable shapeshifter, so perhaps this Caterpie isn’t a Caterpie in Loki’s outfit, but rather Loki himself in the guise of a Pokémon.
In any case, it’s a clever piece of art by Pink-Shimmer, with a one-foot-high Caterpie demanding that its subjects kneel for him. Plus, its red antenna works perfectly as part of Loki’s trademark horned helmet.
The stern, commanding gaze is the cherry on top of this piece.
8 Team Horned King
The Black Cauldron isn’t exactly what comes to mind when talking about Disney’s entertainment empire. As a result, the Horned King— the main antagonist in the movie— isn’t as well-known a villain as the likes of Ursula. That doesn’t stop VibaFleischer from conjuring this piece that imagines the Horned King with Pokémon.
The focal point of the drawing is Banette, suspended above the titular Black Cauldron, used to summon an army known as the Cauldron Born.
Since Banette is literally an abandoned doll brought to life by its hatred for the child that threw it away, it seems fitting that it represents the Horned King’s minions.
7 Evil Eevee
While not explicitly depicted as an evil iteration of Eevee, you have to admit, the realism of this piece by SoupAndButter sends a shiver down your spine.
Eevee is perhaps best known for its many possible evolution - including Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon - all of which are as graceful and adorable as Eevee.
While the artist’s skill is remarkable, “adorable” isn’t exactly the best word to describe this realistic Eevee.
Instead of bright, giant eyes, it now has round eyes with prominent pupils that stare right into the depths of your soul. It makes you wonder what realistic versions of its evolutions would look like.
6 Evil Togepi
Togepi is sweet, tiny and precious, with its round body still partially in its eggshell, standing at only one foot tall. MichaelJaecks’s Togepi is anything but.
Instead of having cute little stubs for limbs, this evil Togepi is full of sharp angles and bones. Its teeth are just as sharp as the thorns on its head. Even its eggshell has taken on a more grotesque character, with weird patterns etched onto the originally smooth surface.
If this Togepi had followed Misty, believing her to be its mother, needless to say, she would have bolted.
5 Emperor Palpitoad
Again, the Internet absolutely loves its puns, especially when crossovers are involved. In this comical crossover, Zeurel mashes together Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars franchise with Palpitoad, the amphibious Pokémon that evolves from the tadpole-esque Tympole.
You don’t have to be human to join the Sith Order. Even the revered Darth Plagueis the Wise isn’t human, but rather part of a humanoid species known as Muuns.
Clearly, being part Palpitoad wouldn’t have hindered Palpatine’s rise to the top of the Sith hierarchy.
That said, the new look does undermine Palpatine’s authority. Just a little bit.
4 Evil Greninja
As nimble and agile as it is, it’s not hard to see why KickTyan has chosen Greninja as the subject of yet another evil transformation. Greninja’s mouth is usually obscured by its tongue, but here its teeth are exposed and its eyes glinting with malice.
Perhaps this Greninja could be the result of an alternate timeline in which Team Rocket successfully uses the ring device against Ash’s Froakie, instead of the lab’s Garchomp getting caught. The Froakie would have then evolved under the control and influence of Team Rocket, turning it into the Evil Greninja in this breathtaking piece.
3 Evolved Bowser
In spite of all his evil schemes, Bowser can come off as a bit of a bumbling fool as he tries in vain to defeat Mario over and over again. Maybe now that he’s evolved like a Blastoise in this drawing by MasaBowser, the tides will turn in his favour.
Since Bowser is essentially a large tortoise, it’s easy to see the link between him and Blastoise.
Now that they’re kind of merged together, though, Bowser nhas three built-in cannons, making attacking Mario and his pesky sidekicks a more convenient endevor after his transformation. Maybe he’ll finally win for once.
2 Evil Bulbasaur
Bulbasaurs are one of the starter Pokémon bred for new trainers, and are known for being loyal and well-behaved. One of the best-known Bulbasaurse, Ash’s Bulbasaur, is consistently shown to be caring and loving. Clearly, something went very, very wrong during the upbringing of this particular Pokémon, drawn by Departedpro.
It’s baring all of its pointed teeth in a nasty snarl, poised to launch into an attack. Its red eyes are now pupil-less and aggressive, and the scarring on its skin suggests a history of violence, a stark contract to Ash’s Bulbasaur, who cradles other Pokémon with his vines.
1 Team Jafar
Jafar is another well-known villain from Disney’s Aladdin. He’s the Grand Vizier of Agrabah who instead of dedicating his service to the Sultan, tries to overthrow the Sultan’s rule and take over the world.
VibaFleischer, in yet another stunningly imaginative drawing, pictures Jafar’s nefarious team of Pokémon who aid in his attempt at world domination. With a giant Arbok at his side, maybe he wouldn’t have needed the Genie to help him.
Sure, he uses one of his three wishes to become a sorcerer, granting him unimaginable powers, but if he’s the only one with Pokémon in this universe, he’d be force to be reckoned with.
Do you have any favorite villainous Pokémon transformations? Share them with us in the comments!