|Pokémon series character|
|First game||Pokémon Red and Blue|
|Designed by||Ken Sugimori|
|Voiced by||Urara Takano|
Raichu (ライチュウ Raichū ) is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. Raichu is the evolution to Pikachu, the mascot of the series. It was originally conceived by Game Freak's character development team and finalized by Ken Sugimori. Its name comes from the Japanese kanji "rai," meaning thunder, followed by chū, which is the Japanese onomatopoeia for a mouse's squeak. It is the evolution of Pikachu, and is only able to evolve if Pikachu is given a "Thunder Stone", an item that evolves select Electric Pokémon.
Known as the Electric Mouse Pokémon, Raichu is capable of storing over 100,000 volts of electricity in its body. First appearing in Pokémon Red and Blue versions, Raichu later appears in subsequent sequels. They have later appeared in various merchandise, spinoff titles and animated and printed adaptations of the franchise. In the anime, Raichu is used by Lt. Surge, the Gym Leader of Vermilion City. Since it appeared in the Pokémon series, Raichu has received generally positive reception. It has appeared in several pieces of merchandise, including plush toys, figurines, and the Pokémon Trading Card Game.
Design and characteristics
Raichu was one of 151 different designs conceived by Game Freak's character development team and finalized by Ken Sugimori for the first generation of Pocket Monsters games Red and Green, which were localized outside of Japan as Pokémon Red and Blue. Its name comes from the Japanese kanji "rai," meaning thunder, followed by chū, which is the Japanese onomatopoeia for a mouse's squeak.
Raichu, known as the Electric Mouse Pokémon, and both Pikachu and Raichu most likely to be based on the Pika Mouse. Raichu is a taller form that Pikachu takes when a Thunder Stone is applied. Raichu is a rather small bipedal rodent. It is able to run faster on all fours. Like Pikachu, from which it evolves, Raichu has long ears and feet, and stubby arms; both species also have two horizontal brown stripes on its back. Its long, thin tail has a broad, lightning bolt-shaped end, which is smaller and blunted on females. Raichu is orange in color, with a white belly. Its paws are brown, as well as its toes, while the soles of its feet are tan colored. Its bifurcated ears are brown on the outsides and yellow on the insides, and end in a distinctive curl at their bottom-most point. Unlike Pikachu, with its distinctive red circles, the cheek sacs of Raichu are yellow.
Although quite small in comparison to many other Pokémon, Raichu is capable of storing over 100,000 volts of electricity in its body. Raichu, and its evolution family, Pichu and Pikachu, are the only known Pokémon that can learn Volt Tackle. Raichu is much more aggressive than Pikachu, especially if it has stored too much electricity in its body. It needs to discharge this electricity through its tail into the ground. However, Raichu can sometimes be timid Pokémon, using Dig to hide or zapping people from fear. It will constantly electrocute objects, people, and Pokémon until its electricity level is back to normal. Raichu are found in forests and vibrant woodlands.
In the video games
Raichu first appears in the first Pokémon video game, Pokémon Red and Blue. As an evolution of Pikachu, and is only able to evolve if Pikachu is given a "Thunder Stone," an item that evolves select Electric Pokémon. In the follow-up, Pokémon Yellow, Raichu cannot be obtained by conventional means, as the Pikachu that players get refuses to evolve. It later appeared in several sequels, including Pokémon Gold and Silver, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the Red and Blue remakes Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, and Pokémon Black and White. Outside of the main series, Raichu has appeared in the Pokémon Pinball games, the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, and the Pokémon Ranger games.
In other media
In the anime, Lt. Surge, the Gym Leader of Vermilion City, has a Raichu that defeated Ash's Pikachu with its sheer power. After discussing evolution with Pikachu to match Raichu's power (Pikachu refused to evolve), Ash used a strategy relying on Pikachu's speed to defeat Raichu the next day. Ever since that moment on, Raichu developed a newfound respect towards Pikachu. Raichu also appeared causing trouble for Pikachu and co. in Pikachu's Vacation, along with Marill, Snubbull, and Cubone.
Lt. Surge has a Raichu in Pokémon Adventures, which was first seen in Silph Co. but never participated in battles until fighting the Masked Man in his Mahogany Hideout, where it helped Surge break in and seemingly backed the mastermind into a corner, until his Houndour called upon dozens of wild Houndour to thwart Surge, instead.
Since it appeared in the Pokémon series, Raichu has received generally positive reception. It has appeared in several pieces of merchandise, including plush toys, figurines, and the Pokémon Trading Card Game. It was also included as part of a Burger King Big Kids' Meal promotion. The Chicago Sun-Times called Raichu an "old favorite." Loredana Lipperini, author of the book Generazione Pókemon: i bambini e l'invasione planetaria dei nuovi, commented that Raichu was not as hugely popular as Pikachu. Ryan Omega, author of the book Anime trivia quizbook: from easy to otaku obscure, episode 1, commented that Raichu "isn't that cute" and that this is why Ash did not want to evolve his Pikachu. Pierre Bruno, author of La culture de l'enfance à l'heure de la mondialisation, compared the battle between Lt. Surge's Raichu and Ash's Pikachu to the Biblical story David and Goliath. IGN commented that while Raichu was not as cute as Pikachu, it has other redeeming qualities. However, IGN editor "Pokémon of the Day Chick" noted that Raichu was "loved by many and despised by more," though she clarified that the hatred for Raichu was nowhere near the hatred for Pikachu. She went on to describe it as “stupid-looking.” GamesRadar editor Brett Elston commented that because of the high level of emphasis on Pikachu, it's “easy to forget Raichu even exists.”
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