Pokémon Trading Card Game Artist Spotlight: Classic Mitsuhiro Arita

Throughout the years, the Pokémon Trading Card Game has featured a variety of incredible art styles. Now that the hobby has been around for more than a quarter of a century, we have seen the artwork of Pokémon TCG cards elevated by daring new artist choices as well as illustrators who have been veteran contributors since the very first releases. Let's take a journey through the eye-popping, mind-expanding history of Pokémon TCG artwork by exploring some of the hobby's most interesting and unique artists. Last week, we spotlighted the vintage cards of Mitsuhiro Arita. Arita's 25-year contribution to the Pokémon TCG is too substantial to fit into one piece, though. Today, we will examine Arita's classic contributions after the Base Set era.

Mitsuhiro Arita cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Mitsuhiro Arita cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG

As artwork and technology progressed, we saw the Pokémon TCG begin to use more 3D, computer-generated artwork. Arita experimented with this himself. Cards like his Floatzel Lv.X from Platinum – Rising Rivals and his Raichu from EX – Emerald are nostalgic images these days, but they date these cards in a way that his hand-drawn cards will never be dated.

Mitsuhiro Arita cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Mitsuhiro Arita cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG

Arita of course didn't shirk his classic style. Cards like his HeartGold SoulSilver – Undaunted Umbreon and Diamond & Pearl Black Star Promos featuring Cranidos and Glameow showed him developing his timeless, trademark Arita style that he still uses to this day.

Mitsuhiro Arita cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Mitsuhiro Arita cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG

This eras saw Arita contributing artwork to cards that played with the core elements of the Pokémon TCG, like this Charmander Delta Species card from EX Crystal Guardians that shows Charmander has become an Electric-type. (In the TCG, "Lightning" type.) We also see Arita recreate his classic Charizard image from Base Set with a completely new illustration in a different art style for Diamond & Pearl – Storm Front, which shows how these middle-age eras already began to pay homage to their roots.

Be sure to check Bleeding Cool every day to follow our in-depth Pokémon TCG coverage as we explore the hobby's past, present, and even future with upcoming set reveals.

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Theo DwyerAbout Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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