There are moments in the most recent Detective Pikachu trailer that we’ve already seared into our brains. Buff Mewtwo is a sight that cannot go unseen. We remain a little afraid of Mr. Mime. The most immortal imagery, though, is that of Detective Pikachu himself — when he’s lost, and downtrodden, and really, really wrinkly.
From these split seconds where we see the great electric mouse detective crying, his face scrunched up in adorable pain, a muse was born. Japanese viewers almost immediately started making fan art of the broken-down Poké-sleuth, dubbing their creation Wrinkled Pikachu, after his wittle face (aww, I wanna just pinch his cheeks, yes I do, yes I do!).
Maybe that name sounds mean, but it’s more accurate than anything else. Take a look at one of the first pieces to go viral, below, and you’ll see why.
What a perfectly furrowed brow. Other Japanese illustrators have also made plain the cuteness, the beauty, in Detective Pikachu’s melancholy.
Then there are other artists who work in different media and interpret Wrinkled Pikachu in ways slightly less ... endearing. There’s this felt figure, for instance, that haunts my nightmares instead of visiting my dreams:
What works better is a slightly deflated attempt at latte art, created by a barista at the Japanese cafe George. Kazuki Yamamoto first shared a photo of their foamy masterpiece on Twitter, and then followed it with the following making of video that shows how this drinkable Wrinkle Pikachu came to be.
I very much want to eat one of these cookies, too, which are frosted to look like our boy.
Other anime and manga characters are getting the wrinkly treatment now too. Check out this drawing of One Piece’s Chopper, similarly forlorn:
Keep the devastated detective art coming as we ramp up to Detective Pikachu’s theatrical release on May 10.