A Holographic History Of The Pokémon TCG: Character Cards

Over the years, the Pokémon TCG has featured many different patterns used on their holographic cards. Some patterns lasted for years, while others had short stays, making them markers for their short time in the franchise. In this next installment of A Holographic History of the Pokémon TCG, let's take a look at a style of card that came out in the final set of the Sun & Moon era: the Character Card.

Mimikyu Character Card. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Mimikyu Character Card. Credit: Pokémon TCG

Initially released as a one-set card type exclusive to Sun & Moon – Cosmic Eclipse, Character Cards brought a new type of Secret Rare to the Pokémon TCG. These cards took elements of standard Pokémon cards and combined them with elements of Full Art/Alternate Art cards to deliver something unique. Character Cards retain the yellow border of standard Pokémon cards but deliver a full image on the card with no border for the text. Unlike standard Full Arts, these cards have no texture and no pattern. They are rendered over a flat, light foil that accentuates the color palette of the card with a light shine and rainbow glow, but no wavey lines as with the main holo style of the Sun & Moon era.

Magnemite Character Card. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Magnemite Character Card. Credit: Pokémon TCG

The defining feature of Character Cards is that they depict the bond between Pokémon and their trainers. Sometimes, these cards feature iconic pairings like Red and his Pikachu. Other times, they illustrate touching moments such as the Mimikyu card which shows Acerola stitching up Mimikyu's Pikachu costume or the Magnemite card, which shows an overjoyed Magnemite being polished by the normally gruff Lt. Surge who is depicted in a rare tender moment. Sun & Moon – Cosmic Eclipse included Character Cards featuring:

  • Torkoal
  • Weavile
  • Piplup
  • Wishiwashi
  • Pikachu
  • Magnemite
  • Koffing
  • Gallada
  • Mimikyu
  • Excadrill
  • Steelix
  • Stoutland

There was a Clefairy Character Card featuring the Trainer Lillie as a box-topper in Japan and some other countries that was never adapted into English. You can see the Indonesian version, which unlike English Character Cards does have the wavy holo pattern, below.

Clefairy Character Card. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Clefairy Character Card. Credit: Pokémon TCG

Character Cards will return to the Pokémon TCG in 2021 with Japan's VMAX Climax which will then be adopted into the English-language Sword & Shield – Brilliant Stars in February 2022. This format will also be given a new twist, with Character Card Super Rares which combine the Character Card format with the Pokémon-V and VMAX mechanics. Confirmed Character Cards and Character Super Rares coming soon include:

  • Octillery
  • Flaaffy
  • Zekrom
  • Gardevoir
  • Dusknoir
  • Alcremie
  • Ariados
  • Eevee
  • Oranguru
  • Blaziken V
  • Pikachu VMAX
  • Zamazenta V
  • Blissey V

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Theo DwyerAbout Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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