AI creates images depicting Pikachu in 1920s Tokyo

AI creates images depicting Pikachu in 1920s Tokyo
Rebecca Moon
September 8, 2022
Pikachu, the adorable face of the Pokémon franchise, traveled back in time to 1920s Japan with the help of an image-generating AI program.
Using the image-generating AI apps Stable Diffusion and Dream Studios, Twitter user @_ai_drawing managed to produce realistic black and white photos which imagined Pikachu in Tokyo during the Taishō period. 
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In reality, the Pokémon franchise was created 70 years later in 1996 by Satoshi Tajiri. 
While Pikachu looks slightly different from the electric mouse we know and love today, the photos provide a realistic depiction of what the character might have looked like if it existed during the 1920s. In one photo, what appears to be a person in a Pikachu mascot costume stands next to a person with a distorted face. Another photo shows a Japanese woman carrying Pikachu in her arms.
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One photo shows a Pokémon-like figure standing next to a Japanese citizen while holding a sign with unintelligible text. 
Some Twitter users were left feeling uneasy by the photos.
“These are aliens…” one user wrote. 
“I’m too scared of non-humans,” another user commented.
Some users speculated over the photo’s locations.
“I imagined the area around Kisaragi Station,” one user commented. 
The Twitter post has garnered over 11,000 retweets and 33,500 likes since being uploaded on Aug. 23. 
Feature image via @_ai_drawing
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