After the release of Pokémon’s latest games, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, the official number of Pokémon has reached 802, spanning all the different generations. This number can even go up higher if you include all the mega evolutions and the new Alola forms, which are variations of existing Pokémon. But among all the generations of Pokémon, only one creature stands out, and that’s none other than the yellow, electric, and rosy-cheeked monster, Pikachu.
Pikachu is one of the first, and cutest, monsters introduced to us by Pokémon. with his buddy Ash Ketchum, he works hard to be the strongest monster out there. From finding new creatures, meeting legendary Pokémon, and facing the Elite 4, the two face everything together. And for that reason, Pikachu has become everyone's favorite!
In case you didn't know, Pikachu is a character in the Pokémon games published by Nintendo and developed by Game Freak. The game was first released in Japan in 1996 and Pikachu is one of the creatures that players can catch and train in the game. He is an electric type Pokemon that evolved from a little Pichu and transforms to a powerful Raichu using a thunder stone. Moreover, he also got an Alolan variation in the latest installment of the game.
But aside from that, there is so much more about Pikachu that not many know about. Actually, there are even facts about Pikachu that are not 100% accurate. And that is exactly what this article is all about, 15 things about Pikachu that you probably got wrong.
15 That Pikachu Is Basically A Rabbit
Many believe that the name Pikachu is taken from an animal called pika, which is a rabbit-like rodent found in Asia, Eastern Europe, and North America. However, despite their striking resemblance, including its small body and big ears, Pikachu is actually based on a mouse. In fact, Pikachu is being closely associated to Mickey Mouse, and is pretty much Japan's version of the popular mouse. People in Japan often use Pikachu mascots to entertain a crowd, for kids but also adults, in the streets, malls, or even at amusement parks.
The name “Pikachu” is derived from two Japanese words, namely “pika pika” which means electricity and “chu” which is the sound that a mouse makes. Combine the two together and you get the most popular yellow electric-type Pokémon.
14 That Pikachu Is Hard To Evolve
In the recent installments of Pokémon games, players need to maximize the happiness of their Pokemon if they want to make them more powerful or evolve. The only way to do that is to spend as much time with them as possible, and to constantly interact with them. But Pikachu somehow is a lot easier to please than the other Pokémon.
Unbeknownst to many, Pikachu is actually one of the easiest Pokémon to bond with. All you need to do is give him potion after potion and it will continuously increase his happiness. Once the bar has been maximized, all you need is a thunder stone to evolve him into a Raichu. If you’re playing Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, you can even get the Alolan Raichu.
13 That Pikachu Can’t Fly
With just one look at Pikachu, anyone can tell that this Pokémon doesn’t have the ability to fly. However, there are various forms of proof from different Pokémon game entries that show Pikachu floating up in the air and actually flying.
If you're using the Pokéwalker, a flying Pikachu can be seen in the Yellow Forest in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. The only way to unlock this is to participate in Nintendo special events; namely, the player has to obtain the route map for the area from a Nintendo WFC event. The flying Pikachu also appeared in the opening scene of Pokémon Yellow, in the Pokémon trading card game, and even with Pichu in the opening of Pokémon Puzzle Challenge.
But one flying Pikachu appearance that stands out from the rest is in PokéPark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure. In this game, the flying Pikachu doesn’t just make an appearance in the game but can be controlled by the players.
12 That Pikachu Only Loves To Eat Ketchup
Almost anyone who knows Pikachu can tell that his favorite food is ketchup. Not only has it been shown several times in the Pokémon anime, but also has been discussed at length in different Pokémon forums online. But there's a reason why Pikachu loves ketchup, and it’s not because Ash’s surname is Ketchum.
If you have the chance to watch all of Pikachu’s scenes in the anime, you will notice that aside from ketchup, the only food he is seen craving or eating are red apples and red berries. Now I don’t know if you noticed, but all these foods come in the same color. Yes, you got that right, it looks like Pikachu craves for basically any food that's red.
11 That Pikachu Can Only Regain His Strength Through A Pokémon Center
When you're a Pokémon trainer, you are not afraid to go out and explore the world of Pokémon, much like Ash Ketchum. Every journey consists of catching wild Pokémon, battling with other trainers, and challenging gym leaders to gain a badge. Now, after every battle, players need to find a Pokémon Center so that all their Pokémon can heal up and regain their strength.
But did you know that Ash is able to recharge his Pikachu without visiting the Pokémon Center? In almost every episode of the anime series, you will find Ash using Pikachu to help him ward off Team Rocket, catch newly discovered Pokémon, and, of course, win gym battles. After those fights, Pikachu needs to regain his strength and he seems to be able to do it on his own by just sleeping.
10 That All Pikachus Are Built The Same
Ash's Pikachu is very strong in the Pokémon anime, but that doesn't necessarily mean that all Pikachus are the same. In fact, it's something that would be difficult, if not almost impossible. Pikachus, in the games, are built with fairly low special defense and defense stats. While in the anime Pikachu appears to be able to beat just about any Pokémon, no matter what their stats are or how much stronger than Pikachu they should be, in the games it's a lot less easy. It would involve heavy IV training, optimization of stats and moves, and crazy amounts of levelling up to be able to do the kind of things that Ash's Pikachu seems to be able to do right off the bat.
Ash's Pikachu might be able to beat legendary Pokémon without any effort, but yours sure can't.
9 That Pikachu Can’t Be Used As A Starter
When you start playing Pokémon GO, you are given three Pokemon choices to use as your starter. This includes Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle, who represent fire, water, and grass, respectively. However, there is actually a way to make Pikachu appear as a fourth choice, and not many know about it.
Activating Pikachu as a starter can be a little bit tricky. First, you need to start the game and get to the part where you see the three starter Pokémon in the map. The trick is not to catch any of them and to walk as far as you can from the three. At first, it will look like they’re moving with you but just keep walking until you lose them. Eventually, a new starter Pokémon choice will appear, and it's none other than Pikachu! This isn't his first time as a starter, either; he was also the only starter you could use in Pokémon Yellow.
8 That Pikachu Is Voiced By A Boy
Although Pikachu’s voice sounds like it's made by a little boy who can make cute animal noises, he's absolutely not. Ikue Ōtani, born in 1965, is a woman and the person behind Pikachu’s baby-like voice. She is known for playing different voice-over roles for different genders. This includes popular animes like Tony Tony Chopper of One Piece and Konohamaru Sarutobi of Naruto. She also did dubbing in several live-action Hollywood movies for their release in Japan, such as The Mummy Returns, Stuart Little, Flipper and even The Addams Family.
She started giving voice to Pikachu way back in 1997, and she also lent her vocals to Misty's Goldeen and Starmie. She is still the only person who has been chosen to give life to Ash Ketchum's Pikachu.
7 That The Word Pikachu Only Talks About Ash’s Favorite Yellow Buddy
The day Pokémon became a worldwide hit to kids and gamers, it was certain that Pikachu would be the most popular pocket monster in the world. And for that reason, it's not surprising that people have started naming things after it. This includes a protein found in human beings, as well as a city in Kansas.
In Japan, scientists have discovered a protein that specifically interacts with electrical impulses and moves from the person’s eyes to the brain. Because of its association with electricity, the scientists decided to name the newly found protein as Pikachurin.
Topeka, Kansas, was used as the launch point for the first Pokémon game, back in 1998. To celebrate, the city renamed themselves ToPikachu, to celebrate Nintendo's efforts. They even had cars made to look like Pikachu that left from Topeka to tour the U.S.A.! To this day, Pokémon is still a celebrated thing in the city, with some restaurants offering discounts for Pokémon Go players, Pokémon catching events being organized by the city, and the implementation of the PokéTaxi, to take Go players around town.
6 That Pikachu And Meowth Can Be Friends
In the anime series, Pikachu and Meowth have always been against each other. Team Rocket and Meowth come up with different evil plans on how to steal Pikachu every episode. This includes disguising themselves, making traps, and even using expensive machines just to catch all the Pokémon they can find. Every single time, they fail and get thrown somewhere very far away. But that’s not the only reason why Pikachu and Meowth can't be friends.
As mentioned above, Pikachu is based on the characteristics of a mouse while Meowth is from a cat. Moreover, Pikachu’s Pokédex number is 25 while Meowth is its opposite, 52. It’s like they are really made against each other, and are really just a representation of a cat-and-mouse game.
5 That All Pikachus Are Identical
Based on the anime series, every Pokémon of the same breed looks exactly alike. And because of that, it was impossible to tell if every type of Pokémon has a gender. There was a time when there was an ongoing debate whether Pikachu is a girl or a boy. His gender was never really confirmed in the game until Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl came out. In this installment, the female Pikachu was introduced, and they have one distinctive feature that Ash’s Pikachu doesn’t have.
Female Pikachu looks just like any regular Pikachu, but with indents at the end of its tail. And since Ash’s Pokemon doesn’t have that, this confirms his Pikachu is a male. In addition, this also means not all Pikachu are all the same.
4 That Pikachu Has Always Been The Star Of The Series
When the Pokémon anime first debuted on the small screen, Pikachu is the first Pokémon Ash received in the series. Episode to episode we saw Ash working hard to train Pikachu and although he struggled at first, they bonded well in the end. This friendship is one of the main reasons why Pikachu is the most loved Pokémon in the world. So it's just right that this yellow electrifying creature is the face of the Pokémon series.
However, when the series was still in the planning stages, Pikachu wasn’t really supposed to be the star of the show. The showrunners preferred Clefairy as the lead Pokémon... imagine a pink creature beside Ash instead of a yellow one? According to them, they initially thought Clefairy would draw in more interest, but good thing they changed their minds!
3 That Starting A Pikachu Collection Will Drain Your Wallet
Collecting Pikachu products and merchandise isn’t a cheap hobby. This includes thousands of stuffed toys, plastic figurines, playing cards, keychains, and so much more... all of which can cost you a lot of money. Unless you live in Niue, an island country associated with New Zealand , where you can collect one dollar coins that feature Pikachu.
Now, these Pikachu one dollar coins aren't just a collectible. It is a legal currency that anyone can use to buy anything in Niue. This isn't the first time this country has done this, either. The independent nation actually releases new designs in different denominations every year, and it is all legal currency. Some of the characters they have already featured include Mickey Mouse, Luke Skywalker, The Avengers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pocahontas, and just recently Moana.
2 That Pikachu Has Always Been Called Pikachu
When Pokémon was first introduced worldwide, the showrunners decided to change the Pokémon names into something more familiar for each language. For instance, Charmander in Japan is known as Hitokage, Glumanda in German and Xiǎohuǒlóng in Chinese. Another example is Moltres in Japanese is called Faiyā, Lavados in German and Huǒyànniǎo in Chinese.
They did this to all Pokémon monsters except for just one character, Pikachu… or did they? When Ash’s Pikachu first appeared in the manga, he was actually introduced with a first name, Jean-Luc Pikachu. This is a nod to Jean-Luc Picard, famously played by Patrick Stewart in the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation. While this name was more of a joke by Ash than something canon, Pikachu sure seemed to enjoy it!
1 That Ash's Pikachu Has Always Looked Like This
The iconic Pikachu didn't always look the way he did back when he was first introduced. In 1997, Pikachu used to be short, rounder, and arguably cuter. He is short, covered with yellow fur, has brown marks on his body, and a lightning bolt-shaped tail. But then something changed in 2011: he was made to be more fit, but fortunately still the cute, yellow, and electric Pokémon we all came to love.
Although the showrunners never really explained why they changed how Pikachu looked, some said that these kind of changes in animated characters over time is normal. Just like Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and Tom and Jerry, who all had a revamp over the course of time, Pikachu might have changed a bit but has not lost any of the love of his fans.