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Pokémon’s upcoming ‘The Scream’ cards capture 2018’s existential horror

Pokémon’s upcoming ‘The Scream’ cards capture 2018’s existential horror


Gotta dread ’em all

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The world is running out of clean water, climate change continues to ravage the planet, and politics everywhere are a total nightmare: nearly every day of 2018 has carried the emotional weight of an entire year. It’s fitting, then, that this is also the year The Pokémon Company is announcing a partnership with the Tokyo Art Museum to produce special trading cards based on The Scream, the iconic expressionist painting by Edvard Munch.

According to the official release, the promotional cards will be available starting October 27th to celebrate a special exhibition at the Tokyo Art Museum. Each card, which will retail for 450 yen, will feature a pocket monster with a scream attack that causes confusion (hence the crossover between the game and the painting). Cards will be available through official Pokémon centers in Japan when fans purchase booster packs, though there will also be other Munch / Pokémon-related merch up for sale, too.

Munch’s original work was inspired by a startling sunset in 1892 that painted the sky “blood red.” According to Munch’s journal at the time, the scene left him feeling as if an “infinite scream” had passed through nature. While associating existential dread with a children’s game might seem odd, Pokémon has a long history of making its lore dark and disturbing.