Jessica Nigri is probably one of the most famous cosplayers in the world. She’s one of the people who turned the art of cosplay into something mainstream. Over the course of her eight-year cosplaying career, she’s also become a spokesperson for big name video games like Lollipop Chainsaw and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. She’s also a promotional model, YouTuber, and the voice behind the character Cinder on the anime RWBY. While a lot of her cosplay is easily identifiable as hers, her forays into Pokemon cosplay are probably the most iconic, not because of her signature style or because that’s what she’s best known as, but because you can see the evolution of her cosplay with her Pokemon cosplays.
Jessica Nigri is kind of a controversial figure in the cosplay world, mostly because of her specific style of cosplay. However, when you look at the way her cosplay style has grown over the years, you can’t help but be blown away by the craftsmanship, even if you don’t quite agree with the style. We’ve picked out fifteen of her best Pokemon cosplays going over the length of her career, to show how far she’s come since her early days as a cosplayer. Whether you’re a fan of her or not, you have to admit that when it comes to cosplay, she’s come a long way. As a cosplayer myself, I can’t help but admire her work, since she makes everything herself. Here are fifteen of Jessica Nigri’s best Pokemon cosplays throughout her career in the public eye.
15. Sylveon – #700
I actually remember the first time I saw this cosplay. I saw it in person during Katsucon in 2015, and it looks every bit as awesome in person as it does in the picture. The thing I remember about this cosplay was that she was really nice to everyone that was coming up to her and complimenting it. Believe it or not, it’s actually quite rare to find a famous cosplayer being universally nice to everyone they come across. I don’t know her personally, and I don’t know if this is everyone’s experience, but I do know that the few times that I have come across her, she’s been a total sweetheart. Her Sylveon cosplay seems almost like a manifestation of that part of her personality. Everything about it just screams sweetness and happiness, which is why this cosplay is among her best. While Sylveon seems kind of cutesy (part of its flavor text is that it uses its ribbons to hold its trainer’s hand), it’s a terrifying force to behold on the battlefield. It’s particularly good at taking hits and protecting more fragile Pokemon, and considering Dragon type moves can’t touch Sylveon thanks to its typing, this adorable Eevee evolution could very well rinse right through your team and come out without a scratch.
14. Mew – #151
This clearly looks like one of Jessica Nigri’s earlier efforts, which is why it’s not quite in the style we’re used to seeing her in. She has a few Pokemon cosplays like this that are done in a more simple manner, like her Dragonite and Zangoose. However, I chose this one to represent her earlier cosplays because it’s possible to tell immediately that this is Mew and not Jigglypuff or some other pink Pokemon. Mew is a Legendary Pokemon from the first generation, and its number is 151. It’s not a very big Pokemon, and it’s probably the first in what could be considered a long line of adorable, tiny Legendaries. Mew is also, as a Legendary, capable of understanding complex concepts and is extremely adaptable. Mew is also a Pokemon that can make itself invisible at will.
13. Pikachu – #25
This kind of reminds me of something that could potentially be found in an actual costume catalog. I’ve seen a lot of Pikachu cosplay in my day, and a lot of it worn by women tends to look something like this. This isn’t a bad thing, though. There are some cosplays where it’s just not necessary to reinvent the wheel, and Jessica Nigri’s Pikachu is just one good example of that. Pikachu is basically Pokemon’s mascot at this point: in some circles Pikachu might very well be more recognizable than Mickey Mouse. It started off being the first iteration of a two-part evolution line that ended in Raichu, but as of generation II, Pikachu is now the middle iteration of a three part line that begins with Pichu. Pikachu also has traits that differentiate its gender: female Pikachus have heart shaped tails for some reason. This has led to some confusing gender questions for the Pokemon anime, where Pikachu was widely believed to be a girl before those traits came into play, until a generation V episode that made him a boy.
You might be wondering what a Pokemon trainer is doing up here when she’s done a ton of cosplay of actual Pokemon. However, her Ash cosplay is among my favorites when it comes to her work, because it takes a more accurate approach while still conforming to her style. It goes to show that even when she’s going for accuracy, she’s making the cosplay her own. Ash Ketchum isn’t a Pokemon, but he’s been through a lot of changes in his journey to be the very best. The costume she’s wearing here is his first costume, and while 90s nostalgia dictates that we love this outfit of his, he’s had some pretty good ones over the years. His outfit during the Kalos arc was pretty great, even if it channeled the protagonist in the games just a little more than we’re used to. He’s also been through some major animation changes. He hasn’t aged, but he’s gotten taller and more solid looking over the years. His eyes are also a light brown now, which was a major trip for us older fans of the anime who continue to watch it now, like me. However, after the shock wore off, we’ve gotta admit he looks a lot better now!
11. Flareon – #136
This cosplay is part of a series of them that involve all of the Eevee evolutions. A lot of those cosplays made the list for different reasons. Her Flareon made the list because it’s in a different style than a lot of her other cosplays, and I personally just really like the colors of it. It’s not my personal favorite of her cosplays, but I can admire this one for its style and intricacy. Flareon is one of the most popular Eevee evolutions, not just because it’s adorable, but because it’s an adorable thing that also breathes fire. Like all other Eevee evolutions, Flareons can’t be found in the wild. They can only be made when you give Eevee a fire stone. While the other Eevee evolutions only evolve under certain circumstances, Flareon is one of the original three that evolve if they’re given a stone of the right type at any point.
10. Houndoom – #229
This cosplay is one of the weirder ones for me, but I can definitely appreciate that she makes all of her cosplays herself and makes them specifically to fit her body. I also really like the fact that if you take all the props off of this one, it can actually serve as a real outfit. I don’t know what you’d wear an outfit like this to, but it’s definitely something that’s wearable. Houndoom is a Dark/Fire type that will sometimes show up in the color blue if it’s a Shiny. It’s also one of the Pokemon that has gender differentiating characteristics. They’re subtle at first, but obvious if you know what to look for: the females have smaller horns and look a bit less aggressive in the eyes, but still tough. However, those subtle differences aren’t the kind of thing that can be translated into cosplay, so one can hardly blame Jessica Nigri for doing a more generalized Houndoom cosplay.
9. Eevee – #133
Jessica Nigri’s Eevee cosplay is kind of special and awesome. I personally really love this one because it’s got a unique style to it that’s different from all of her other cosplays. The shoes are also really great. It’s not something that I could see myself wearing myself, but it looks good on her. Eevee is a Pokemon with a lot of potential: it has the opportunity to evolve into eight different Pokemon of different types. This often leads many trainers to train Eevee evolutions almost exclusively. When I first got back into the Pokemon games and got really obsessed, I made it my mission to evolve all eight Eevee evolutions by myself, and I was so proud of myself when I finally managed to get them all (Espeon, believe it or not, was the hardest for me to get). Eevee is almost a microcosm for the human condition if you’re really looking to get philosophical: we can all become anything we want under the right circumstances, but we have the potential to be and do anything.
8. Leafeon – #470
Out of all of Jessica Nigri’s Eeveelution cosplays, this one is my favorite. There’s something about it that really speaks to me. I think it’s the cape, to be honest, Capes make everything that much more awesome. Leafeon is also one of my favorite Pokemon in the series, and not just because of its aesthetic, which she captured perfectly with her cosplay. Leafeon has an interesting move set, at least to me, and I actually love coming up with weird and unexpected move sets for my Leafeon. It’s a much better physical attacker than it gets credit for, and it’s a lot of fun to use with another Eevee evolution, like its generation IV counterpart Glaceon. It’s very rarely used competitively, but if you’re able to make up for its lackluster defenses enough to use its amazing offensive ability, you might find that training a Leafeon is one of the better things you can do.
7. Cubone – #104
While this Cubone cosplay seems like seven levels of unnecessary, it’s honestly one of those cosplays that gets nicer the more you look at it. I hated this one when I first saw it, but now I think that for what the cosplay is supposed to be, Jessica Nigri nailed it. Judging from the background, she wore this at a convention, which makes me wonder if they eventually kicked her out for this cosplay.
You might not be able to tell from this cosplay, but Cubone’s origins are really sad. This is the flavor text you get upon catching a Cubone in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: “Cubone pines for the mother it will never see again. Seeing a likeness of its mother in the full moon, it cries. The stains on the skull the Pokemon wears are made by the tears it sheds.” This is made that much worse when you find out that the skull it wears is its mother’s skull, and since it always wears the skull, no one knows what a Cubone’s face really looks like. It’s honestly one of the sadder creatures in the series, but you wouldn’t know it looking at this cosplay.
6. Blastoise – #9
This cosplay is one of my favorites out of Jessica Nigri’s entire cosplay repertoire, not just for Pokemon. When I look at this cosplay, I see her looking like the character, and considering this is Blastoise, that’s no small accomplishment. Again, no matter how you feel about Jessica Nigri as a person, you have to admit that she’s a very good cosplayer with a talent for building them herself. Sure, not everyone can pull off her cosplays like she does, but she’s not making them for anyone else but herself. Blastoise isn’t quite as popular as Charizard, which is so beloved that it has two Mega forms, but Blastoise is a solid choice of a final evolution of a starter. Actually, many people have experimented with Pokemon Red and Blue and found that Squirtle, Blastoise’s first form, is the all around best starter of the first generation. Blastoise also has a Mega evolution that turns its double cannons into one big cannon that I would never want to be on the business end of.
5. Charizard – #6
I think Jessica Nigri’s Charizard cosplay is one of her most famous, if only because of the way she wears it. This one is a lot like the Blastoise one in the sense that it’s very recognizable as the character, but this cosplay is more in line with the cosplay style that she’s more associated with. Charizard is so well loved that it has two Mega evolutions. While Mega Charizard X is by far the most famous and undoubtedly looks the coolest, Megaa Charizard Y is also a great addition to your team. It all depends on what you’re going for. If you’re looking for a physical attacker, Charizard X is the way to go, but if you’re a person who relies more on special attacks, Charizard Y is what you want. Charizard’s Shiny form is black and red, and honestly way cooler looking than the original Charizard. If Jessica Nigri is looking to make a new cosplay, I strongly suggest she try Shiny original Charizard.
4. Lugia – #249
I didn’t know Jessica Nigri had even done a Lugia cosplay until I went looking for some of her cosplays. I personally like this one because it looks like two cosplays in one. She could take the hood off this cosplay and put a different hoodie on for Dragonair if she ever updated that one, or she can simply leave the hood off and go for a swimsuit Elsa from Frozen. Lugia is the Legendary mascot for the secret fourth option for a team in Pokemon Go. Back when the Internet was raging between teams Valor, Mystic and Instinct (of which the last of these is clearly superior), some fans of Pokemon Go were just sick of all the fighting. That’s when they created Team Harmony. The whole idea is based in existing Pokemon lore. The three bird legendaries Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres often fight, and when they fight, sometimes the peace of the world is disturbed. When that happens. Lugia comes out to calm the warring birds. Team Harmony even used the same quote used in the Pokemon 2000 movie: “Disturb not the harmony of Fire, Ice, or Lightning, lest these three titans wreck destruction upon the world in which they clash. Though the water’s Great Guardian will arise to quell the fighting alone its song will fail. Thus the Earth shall turn to ash. O, Chosen One, into thine hands bring together all three.”
3. Umbreon – #197
Jessica Nigri’s Umbreon cosplay is rightly one of her more famous ones, and I honestly think that it’s one of her more accurate ones. She has an Espeon cosplay as well that’s supposed to go with this one, but her Umbreon made the list because it’s a better representation of the theme she was going for. Umbreon is a pretty good addition to any team if you’re looking for a wall, but it’s often outperformed by Fairy types like Sylveon. It’s particularly great at standing up to huge threats one on one, even Mega evolved Pokemon like Gyarados and Metagross. The problem is that while Umbreon is pretty great in 1v1 battles and can cover a lot of ground thanks to its Dark typing, it needs a lot of help against Fighting types and Pokemon that are designed to break walls. Umbreon evolves when it levels up at night and it has a strong bond with the trainer. Honestly, if Umbreon were a human, I could see it looking like this, which just goes to show how good Jessica Nigri’s Eevee evolution cosplays are.
2. Jolteon – #135
Jessica Nigri’s Jolteon is a thing of beauty. Not only does this show off Jessica’s insane talent when it comes to building cosplay, it shows her off too, so she’s wearing the cosplay rather than the cosplay wearing her. While this cosplay isn’t my favorite of hers, this is definitely the cosplay that made me want to defend her against any haters who just see a pretty face and not someone who clearly knows how to build a cosplay. I personally love this one because she was clearly going for a Valkryie type look, and because of that, made Jolteon’s features a bit more subtle than with her other Eevee evolution cosplays. If you didn’t know what to look for, you might not even realize that this is a Jolteon cosplay to begin with. Jolteon’s Shiny form is more green than yellow, which would make for an interesting take on this if she was going to do a shiny version. According to the flavor text that comes with Jolteon when you evolve him in Pokemon Y, it generates negative ions, which have been scientifically proven to have huge health benefits. If Jolteon were real, you might feel yourself feeling healthier around it!
1. Slowking – #199
I didn’t think it was possible to make a Slowking cosplay sexy, but here we are. The thing that gets me about this one is that for all of its decidedly PG-13 rating, it’s actually pretty accurate to the cosplay itself. We can say an awful lot about Jessica Nigri’s style of cosplay, but no one can really say that she doesn’t make cosplays well. Slowking is a generation 2 Pokemon that comes from Johto, and it’s the third evolution for the Slowpoke family. Before Slowking was a thing, the line was just Slowpoke and Slowbro. If Jessica had decided to do a Shiny Slowking cosplay, her collar would have been white and blue, and the cosplay itself would have been decidedly more pink. Slowking also has an ability that makes it immune to Attract, which is ironic considering this cosplay, because then Slowking would literally be immune to Jessica Nigri.