Illustration: Christopher Stoll (Screenshot: DeviantArt)

The life of a Pokémon is not easy, essentially a gauntlet of fear, indentured servitude, and violence that only ends with a creature’s death. But the indignities do not even stop there. A talented but twisted artist named Christopher Stoll has been imagining what it might be like to dissect the little buggers and take a gander at their internal workings. He’s been sharing these gory visions through a disturbing yet fascinating project at DeviantArt called PokéNatomy. Each picture in the series shows a popular Pokémon character with all the skin and fur removed from one side of its body, allowing the viewer to glimpse the muscles, bones, and organs that would normally (and rightly) be hidden. It’s simultaneously educational and deeply unsettling.

The characters in this multimedia franchise, encompassing video games, trading cards, and numerous TV shows and movies, are often designed to be cute and appealing in a cartoony way, so the anatomical verisimilitude of these drawings can be jarringly dissonant. Take what Stoll has done with the franchise’s most recognizable character and mascot, that adorable little butterball, Pikachu.

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Illustration: Christopher Stoll (Screenshot: DeviantArt)

Stoll’s disturbing drawing reveals a wealth of details. Those things on the top of Pikachu’s head? They’re not “ears,” he explains, but “thick antenna-like organs [that] are actually made up of tightly wound electrocytes.” So there’s a tidbit to drop into a conversation someday during a dull cocktail party. And what’s inside Squirtle? Plenty.

Illustration: Christopher Stoll (Screenshot: DeviantArt)

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Stoll gets positively clinical when talking about this turtle-like creature’s remarkable anatomy: “These overlapping muscles function like a diaphragm. Their motion expands and contracts Squirtle’s rigid shell along elastic, plate-like joints.” The point seems to be explaining in scientific terms how these incredible creatures do all the things they do, lending some academic credibility to the popular fantasy franchise. The art project does seem, on some level, to be of a scholarly nature. Then again, Stoll’s drawings should appeal to any devious little kid who has ever wanted to rip apart a Pokémon just for the hell of it.

Poor, poor Jigglypuff. Those big blue eyes are so trusting.

Illustration: Christopher Stoll (Screenshot: DeviantArt)

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[via Laughing Squid]