Pikachu

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Pikachu
Pokémon series character
Sugimoris025.png
National Pokédex
ArbokPikachu (#025)Raichu
First game Pokémon Red and Blue (1996)
Designed by Ken Sugimori
Voiced by (English) Ikue Ōtani
Rachael Lillis (some Indigo League episodes)
Chika Sakamoto (Puka; episode 67)
Satomi Kōrogi (Sparky; episode 78)
Craig Blair (PMD special)
Voiced by (Japanese) Ikue Ōtani
Chika Sakamoto
Satomi Kōrogi
Tomoe Hanba (PMD special)
Portrayed by Jennifer Risser (Pokémon Live!)

Pikachu (Japanese: ピカチュウ Hepburn: Pikachū?) /ˈpkəˌ/ is one of the species of Pokémon creatures from the Pokémon media franchise — a collection of video games, anime, manga, books, trading cards, and other media created by Satoshi Tajiri. Pikachu fight other Pokémon in battles central to the anime, manga, and games of the series.[1] Pikachu is widely considered the most popular Pokémon, largely because a Pikachu is a central character in the Pokémon anime series. Pikachu is regarded as a major character of the Pokémon franchise and has become an icon of Japanese culture in recent years.

Pikachu evolves from a Pichu when it levels up with high friendship, and evolves into a Raichu with a "Thunder Stone". Within the world of the Pokémon franchise, Pikachu are often found in houses, forests,[2] plains, and occasionally near mountains, islands, and electrical sources (such as power plants), on most continents throughout the fictional world. As an Electric-type Pokémon, Pikachu can store electricity in its cheeks and release it in lightning-based attacks.[3]

Concept and design

Developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo, the Pokémon series began in Japan in 1996, and features several species of creatures called "Pokémon" that players, called "trainers", are encouraged to capture, train, and use to battle other players' Pokémon or interact with the game's world.[4][5] Pikachu was one of several different Pokémon designs conceived by Game Freak's character development team and finalized by artist Ken Sugimori.[6][7] According to series producer Satoshi Tajiri, the name is derived from a combination of two Japanese sounds: pika, a sound an electric spark makes, and chu, a sound a mouse makes.[8] Developer Junichi Masuda noted Pikachu's name as one of the most difficult to create, due to an effort to make it appealing to both Japanese and American audiences.[9]

Standing 1 ft 4 in (0.4m) tall, Pikachu are mouse-like creatures, and were the first "Electric-type" Pokémon created, their design intended to revolve around the concept of electricity.[10] They appear as mouse-like creatures that have short, yellow fur with brown markings covering their backs and parts of their lightning bolt shaped tails. They have black-tipped, pointed ears and red circular pouches on their cheeks, which can spark with electricity.[2] In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, gender differences were introduced; a female Pikachu now has an indent at the end of its tail, giving it a heart-shaped appearance. They attack primarily by projecting electricity from their bodies at their targets. Within the context of the franchise, a Pikachu can transform, or "evolve" into a Raichu when exposed to a "Thunderstone". In later titles an evolutionary predecessor was introduced named "Pichu", which evolves into a Pikachu after establishing a close friendship with its trainer.

Initially both Pikachu and the Pokémon Clefairy were chosen to be lead characters for the franchise merchandising, with the latter as the primary mascot to make the early comic book series more "engaging". However with the production of the animated series, Pikachu was chosen as the primary mascot, in an attempt to appeal to female viewers and their mothers, and under the belief that the creature presented the image of a recognizable intimate pet for children. Its color was also a deciding factor, as yellow is a primary color and easier for children to recognize from a distance, and with consideration to the fact the only other competing yellow mascot at the time was Winnie-the-Pooh.[11] Though Tajiri acknowledged that the character was relatively popular with both boys and girls, the idea of Pikachu as the mascot was not his own, and stated he felt the human aspect of the series was overlooked by Japanese children who embraced Pikachu by itself more readily.[12]

Appearances

In the video games

In the video games, Pikachu is a low-level Pokémon, which has appeared in all of the games except Black and White naturally without having to trade.[13] The game Pokémon Yellow features a Pikachu as the only available Starter Pokémon. Based on the Pikachu from the Pokémon anime, it refuses to stay in its Poké Ball, and instead follows the main character around on screen. The trainer can speak to it and it displays different reactions depending on how it is treated.[14] An event from April 1 to May 5, 2010 allowed players of Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver to access a route on the Pokéwalker which solely contained Pikachu which knew attacks that they were not normally compatible with, Surf and Fly.[15] Both of these attacks can be used outside battles as travel aids.

Aside from the main series, Pikachu stars in Hey You, Pikachu! for the Nintendo 64.[16] The player interacts with Pikachu through a microphone, issuing commands to play various mini-games and act out situations. The game Pokémon Channel follows a similar premise of interacting with the Pikachu, though without the microphone.[17] Pikachu appear in almost all levels of Pokémon Snap, a game where the player takes pictures of Pokémon for a score. A Pikachu is one of the sixteen starters and ten partners in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games. PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure features a Pikachu as the main protagonist.[18] Pikachu has also appeared in all four Super Smash Bros. games as a playable character.[19]

In the anime

Pikachu as seen in the anime with his very own segment "Pikachu's Jukebox".

The Pokémon anime series and films feature the adventures of Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu, traveling through the various regions of the Pokémon universe. They are accompanied by a group of alternating friends, including Misty, Brock, May, Max, Tracey, Dawn, Iris and Cilan.

In the first episode, Ash receives his Pikachu from Professor Oak as his starting Pokémon. New trainers are given a starting Pokémon; in Ash's homeland of Kanto this is often Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur, but Ash slept in and got Pikachu instead. At first, Pikachu largely ignores Ash's requests, shocking him frequently and refusing to be confined to the conventional method of Pokémon transportation, a Poké Ball. However, Ash puts himself in danger to defend Pikachu from a flock of wild Spearow,[20] then rushes the electric mouse to a Pokémon Center. Through these demonstrations of respect and unconditional commitment to Pokémon, Pikachu warms up to Ash, and their friendship is formed. However, it still refuses to go into its Poké Ball. Soon after, Pikachu shows great power that sets it apart from Pokémon, and other Pikachu, which causes Team Rocket to constantly attempt to capture it in order to win favor from their boss, Giovanni.[21] Only once had Ash almost released Pikachu, and that was in the episode Pikachu's Goodbye, because Ash thought Pikachu would be happier living in a colony of wild Pikachu, but Pikachu chose him instead.[22] Pikachu also has his very own segment in the first two seasons called "Pikachu's Jukebox", which included songs from 2.B.A. Master.

Other wild and trained Pikachu appear throughout the series, often interacting with Ash and his Pikachu. The most notable among these is Ritchie's Pikachu, Sparky.[23] Like most other Pokémon, Pikachu communicates only by saying syllables of its own name. It is voiced by Ikue Ōtani in all versions of the anime. In Pokémon Live!, the musical stage show adapted from the anime, Pikachu was played by Jennifer Risser.

In other Pokémon media

Pikachu is one of the main Pokémon used in many of the Pokémon manga series. In Pokémon Adventures, main characters Red and Yellow both train Pikachu, which create an egg that Gold hatches into a Pichu. Other series, including Magical Pokémon Journey and Getto Da Ze also feature Pikachu while other manga series, such as Electric Tale of Pikachu,[24] and Ash & Pikachu, feature the most well known Pikachu belonging to Ketchum in the anime series.[24]

Collectible cards featuring Pikachu have appeared since the initial Pokémon Trading Card Game released in October 1996, including limited edition promotional cards. The character has also been used in promotional merchandising at fast-food chains such as McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King.[25][26][27][28]

Promotion and legacy

A Toyota Ist customized to resemble Pikachu.
The ANA Boeing 747-400 airplane painted with Pikachu and other Pokémon (visible: Clefairy, Togepi, Mewtwo, and Snorlax).

As a mascot for the franchise, Pikachu has made multiple appearances in various promotional events and merchandise. In 1998, then-Mayor of Topeka, Kansas Joan Wagnon renamed the town "Topikachu" for a day,[29] and a "got milk?" advertisement featured Pikachu on April 25, 2000.[30] A Pikachu balloon has been featured in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade since 2001.[31] The original balloon was flown for the last time publicly at the Pokémon Tenth Anniversary "Party of the Decade" on August 8, 2006 in Bryant Park in New York City,[32][33][34][35] and a new Pikachu Balloon that chases a Poké Ball and has light-up cheeks debuted at the 2006 Parade.[36]

During the first episode of the eleventh series of Top Gear, presenter Richard Hammond compared an image of the Tata Nano to one of Pikachu stating "they've saved money on the styling 'cause they've just based it on this."[37] In the episode "Dual" of the third season of Heroes, Hiro Nakamura is nicknamed "Pikachu" by Daphne Millbrook, much to his chagrin. He is called this again by Tracy Strauss, after which he excuses himself before punching her in the face.[38][39] A Pikachu spoof called Ling-Ling was a main character in the Comedy Central show Drawn Together. An image of Pikachu has also been featured on the ANA Boeing 747-400 (JA8962).[40]

Pikachu has appeared multiple times on The Simpsons. In the 2002 episode "Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade", Bart Simpson has a hallucination while taking a test in class and envisages his classmates as various television characters, one of which is a Pikachu.[41] Maggie Simpson appeared as a Pikachu in a couch gag during the opening animation of the 2003 episode "'Tis the Fifteenth Season".[42] The couch gag was utilized a second time for the 2004 episode "Fraudcast News".[43] In the 2010 episode "Postcards from the Wedge", Bart is distracted from his homework by an episode of Pokémon. After watching Ash Ketchum talk to his Pikachu, he muses how the show has managed to stay fresh over the years.[44]

Pikachu was ranked as the second best person of the year by Time in 1999, who called it "The most beloved animated character since Hello Kitty". The magazine noted Pikachu as the "public face of a phenomenon that has spread from Nintendo's fastest selling video game to a trading-card empire", citing the franchise's profits for the year as the reason for the ranking; behind singer Ricky Martin but ahead of author J.K. Rowling.[45] The character placed eighth in a 2000 Animax poll of favorite anime characters.[46] In 2002, Ash's Pikachu received fifteenth place in TV Guide's 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time.[47] GameSpot featured it in their article "All Time Greatest Game Hero".[48] In 2003 Forbes ranked Pikachu as the eighth top-earning fictional character of the year with an income of $825 million.[49] In 2004 the character dropped two spots to tenth on the list, taking in $825 million for a second straight year.[50] In a 2008 Oricon poll Pikachu was voted as the fourth most popular video game character in Japan, tying with Solid Snake.[51] The character has been regarded as the Japanese answer to Mickey Mouse[52] and as being part of a movement of "cute capitalism".[40] Pikachu was listed 8th in IGN's "Top 25 Anime Characters of All Time".[53] Nintendo Power listed Pikachu as their ninth favourite hero, stating that while it was one of the first Pokémon, it is still popular to this day.[54] Authors Tracey West and Katherine Noll called Pikachu the best Electric type Pokémon and the best Pokémon overall. They added that if a person were to go around and ask Pokémon players who their favourite Pokémon was, they would "almost always" choose Pikachu. They also called Pikachu "brave and loyal".[55] On a less positive note, Pikachu was ranked first in AskMen's top 10 of the most irritating '90s cartoon characters.[56] Similarly, in a poll conducted by IGN, it was voted as the 48th best Pokémon, with the staff commenting "despite being the most recognized Pokémon in the world... Pikachu ranks surprisingly low on our top 100".[57]

A newly discovered ligand believed to provide better visual acuity, discovered by Osaka Bioscience Institute Foundation (大阪バイオサイエンス研究所?), is named "Pikachurin", borrowed from the nimbleness of Pikachu.[58] The name was inspired due to Pikachu's "lightning-fast moves and shocking electric effects".[59]

Pikachu and ten other Pokémon were chosen as Japan's mascots in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[60]

Notes

  1. ^ "Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire Review (page 1)". IGN. Retrieved 2006-06-01. 
  2. ^ a b Pokédex: It lives in forests with others. It stores electricity in the pouches on its cheeks. Game Freak (2007-04-22). Pokémon Diamond. Nintendo DS. Nintendo. 
  3. ^ Sora Ltd. (2008-01-31). Pikachu Trophy Information. Wii. Nintendo. "When danger draws near, it uses tiny electric pouches within its cheeks to discharge electricity." 
  4. ^ Game Freak (1998-09-30). Pokémon Red and Blue, Instruction manual. Nintendo. pp. 6–7. 
  5. ^ Game Freak (1998-09-30). Pokémon Red and Blue, Instruction manual. Nintendo. p. 11. 
  6. ^ Staff. "2. 一新されたポケモンの世界". Nintendo.com (in Japanese). Nintendo. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  7. ^ Stuart Bishop (2003-05-30). "Game Freak on Pokémon!". CVG. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  8. ^ "The Ultimate Game Freak". Time Asia 154 (20): 2. November 22, 1999. Archived from the original on 2010-05-10. Retrieved September 25, 2009. 
  9. ^ Noble, McKinley (2009-03-23). "Pokemon Platinum: Developer Interview!". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  10. ^ "『ポケットモンスター』スタッフインタビュー" (in Japanese). Nintendo. Retrieved June 6, 2009. 
  11. ^ Tobin, Joseph Jay (2004). Pikachu's Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon. Duke University Press. pp. 65–66. ISBN 0-8223-3287-6. 
  12. ^ "The Ultimate Game Freak". Time Asia 154 (20): 1. November 22, 1999. Archived from the original on 2010-05-10. Retrieved September 25, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Pikachu Pokemon – Pokedex". IGN. 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  14. ^ Craig Harris (October 19, 1999). "Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition – Game Boy Review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  15. ^ Lucas M. Thomas (April 1, 2010). "Take a Pokewalk Through the Yellow Forest – Nintendo DS News at IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  16. ^ Hey You, Pikachu! Nintendo.com'.' Retrieved July 17, 2006.
  17. ^ Mary Jane Irwin (December 4, 2003). "Pokemon Channel – GameCube Review at IGN". IGN. Archived from the original on 2012-06-26. Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  18. ^ Nintendo officially announces PokePark Wii Joystiq.com'.' Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  19. ^ Nintendo Power Magazine
  20. ^ Takeshi Shudō (writer) (September 8, 1998). "Pokémon - I Choose You!". Pokémon. Season Indigo League. Episode 1. Various.
  21. ^ Shinzō Fujita (writer) (September 9, 1998). "Pokémon Emergency!". Pokémon. Season Indigo League. Episode 2. Various.
  22. ^ Junki Takegami (writer) (November 20, 1998). "Pikachu's Goodbye". Pokémon. Season Indigo League. Episode 37. Various.
  23. ^ Shōji Yonemura (writer) (November 20, 1999). "A Friend In Deed". Pokémon. Season Indigo League. Episode 78. Various.
  24. ^ a b "Animerica Interview Toshihiro Ono." VIZ Media. May 10, 2000. Retrieved on May 31, 2009.
  25. ^ "The Pojo – TCG Set Lists McDonald's Campaign Expansion Set". Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  26. ^ "Fastfoodtoys.Net Pokémon 2000 Toys". Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  27. ^ "Restaurant chain entertainment promotions monitor, June 2003". Entertainment Marketing Letter. June 1, 2003. Retrieved 2009-06-30. [dead link]
  28. ^ "Pokemon at Wendy's Promotion Begins!". May 20, 2003. Archived from the original on 2008-02-12. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  29. ^ Staff (November 1999). "What's the Deal with Pokémon?". Electronic Gaming Monthly (124): 172. 
  30. ^ "Pikachu Guzzles Milk to Become Most Powerful Pokemon". Business Wire. 2000-05-25. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  31. ^ Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Ncytourist.com'.' Retrieved July 17, 2006.
  32. ^ Zappia, Corina (August 8, 2006). "How Has Pokémon Not Died Yet?". NY Mirror (The Village Voice). Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  33. ^ Clark, Roger (August 8, 2006). "Pokemon Mania Takes Over Bryant Park". NY1 News. NY1 News. Archived from the original on 2009-09-18. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  34. ^ Sekula, Anna (August 17, 2006). "Gamers Crowd Bryant Park for Pokemon Tournament". BizBash (BizBash Media Inc.). Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  35. ^ "Pokémon Party of the Decade". Bryantpark.org. 2010-12-05. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 
  36. ^ Whitt, Tom (2006-05-23). "Pikachu Soars as Trial Balloon for a Safer Macy's Parade". Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  37. ^ "Series 11, episode 1". Top Gear. 22 June 2008. BBC 2.
  38. ^ Kubicek, John (December 15, 2008). "Heroes: Episode 3.13 "Dual," Volume 3 Finale Recap (Page 2/3)". Buddy TV. Retrieved 03-04-2012. 
  39. ^ "Dual". TV.com. Retrieved 03-04-2012. 
  40. ^ a b Allison, Anne (2002) The Cultural Politics of Pokémon Capitalism[dead link] Media in Transition 2: globalization and convergence
  41. ^ "Bart vs. Lisa vs. The Third Grade". The Simpsons. Season 14. Episode 3. 17 November 2002. Fox.
  42. ^ "'Tis the Fifteenth Season". The Simpsons. Season 15. Episode 7. 14 December 2003. Fox.
  43. ^ "Fraudcast News". The Simpsons. Season 15. Episode 22. 23 May 2004. Fox.
  44. ^ "Postcards from the Wedge". The Simpsons. Season 21. Episode 14. 14 March 2010. Fox.
  45. ^ "The Best (and Worst) of 1999: The Best People of 1999". Time 154 (24). 1999-12-20. Archived from the original on 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  46. ^ "Gundam Tops Anime Poll". Anime News Network. 2000-09-12. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  47. ^ "TV Guide's 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time[dead link]. Retrieved April 17, 2009.
  48. ^ "All Time Greatest Game Hero – The Standings". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-09-15. [dead link]
  49. ^ Gisquet, Vanessa; Lagorce, Aude (2003-09-25). "Top-Earning Fictional Characters". Forbes. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  50. ^ Gisquet, Vanessa; Rose, Lacey (2004-10-19). "Top Characters Gross $25B". Forbes. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  51. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (2009-10-04). "And Japan's Favorite Video Game Characters Are...?". Kotaku. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  52. ^ Tobin, Joseph (2004). Pikachu's Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon (PDF). Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3287-6. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  53. ^ Chris Mackenzie (October 20, 2009). "Top 25 Anime Characters of All Time – Movies Feature at IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  54. ^ Nintendo Power 250th issue!. South San Francisco, California: Future US. 2010. pp. 40, 41. 
  55. ^ West, Tracey; Noll, Katherine (2007). Pokémon Top 10 Handbook. pp. 20, 78. ISBN 9780545001618. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
  56. ^ Murphy, Ryan. "Top 10: Irritating '90s Cartoon Characters". AskMen. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  57. ^ "Pikachu – #48 Top Pokémon – IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2012-06-26. 
  58. ^ "Pikachurin, a dystroglycan ligand, is essential for photoreceptor ribbon synapse formation". Nature (journal). 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  59. ^ Levenstein, Steve (2008-07-24). "Lightning-Fast Vision Protein Named After Pikachu". Inventor Spot. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  60. ^ Salvador Borboa (March 12, 2014). "Pikachu Named Japan's Official Mascot In Brazil 2014 World Cup". The Beautiful Game LLC. Retrieved March 17, 2014. 

References

  • Loe, Casey, ed. Pokémon Special Pikachu Edition Official Perfect Guide. Sunnydale, California: Empire 21 Publishing, 1999. ISBN 1-930206-15-1.
  • Barbo, Maria. The Official Pokémon Handbook. Scholastic Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0-439-15404-9.
  • Mylonas, Eric. Pokémon Pokédex Collector's Edition: Prima's Official Pokémon Guide. Prima Games, September 21, 2004. ISBN 0-7615-4761-4
  • Nintendo Power. Official Nintendo Pokémon FireRed Version & Pokémon LeafGreen Version Player's Guide. Nintendo of America Inc., August 2004. ISBN 1-930206-50-X
  • Nintendo Power. Official Nintendo Pokémon Emerald Player's Guide. Nintendo of America Inc., April 2005. ISBN 1-930206-58-5

External links