Pokémon Art Appreciation, Day 19: Latias & Latios 170/181

This post is part of a series for WeblogPoMo 2024. Each day in May, I’m sharing my appreciation for my favorite Pokémon card art. View all of the posts in this series.

Today’s card is the Latias & Latios tag team card from the Sun & Moon era Team Up set. It’s card number 170/181, released in 2019, and illustrated by Sanosuke Sakuma. Behold this beauty:

The Latias & Latios 170/181 Pokémon card from Team Up

Sanosuke Sakuma has been illustrating Pokémon cards since 2013 and has contributed art for 148 cards so far. Her style could be described as anime-like, and she illustrates both Pokémon and trainers/supporters alike. Many of her trainer cards are fan favorites, and some are quite valuable to collectors.

I’ve used the word “beautiful” more than a few times in these art appreciation posts, but this is one card where the word is particularly warranted. We see Latios (left, in blue) and Latias (right, in red) in flight, their faces and wingtips nearly touching, forming a heart in the negative space. The duo are brightly lit from a magnificent sunset taking place behind them, with gorgeous warm light emanating in all directions from the center of the frame. We can see clouds above and below, lit with the dramatic colors of sunset—oranges and purples, mainly. There’s an intense lens flare running horizontally and vertically (from the point where the sun is), with symmetrical bokeh on the left and right sides of the image (and some at the bottom, too).

Sakuma has drawn the two legendary Pokémon in such a soft and graceful manner, defining the overall mood of the art here. There is visible respect and adoration in the duo’s facial expressions, and the legendary siblings clearly care for and love one another. The heart symbolism is obvious, but also absolutely perfect. This is just a lovely card in every regard, both stunning and gentle, and so full of sweet emotion.

Because it’s such a wonderful card and is so beloved within the Pokémon community, it remains virtually unattainable to many (myself included). Demand for this rare card has driven its price to many hundreds of dollars, where it remains today.


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