|Pokémon series character|
|First game||Pokémon Gold and Silver|
|Designed by||Ken Sugimori|
|Voiced by (English)||Yumi Toma (Pichu Big)
Satomi Kōrogi (Pichu Little, Anime/Pichu in Melee)
Kayzie Rogers (Spiky-eared Pichu)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Yumi Tōma (Pichu Big)
Satomi Kōrogi (Pichu Little)
Shoko Nakagawa (Spiky-eared Pichu)
Pichu (ピチュー Pichū?) is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. Created by Ken Sugimori, Pichu first appeared in the video games Pokémon Gold and Silver and subsequent sequels, later appearing in various merchandise, spinoff titles and animated and printed adaptations of the franchise. There have been multiple voice actors for Pichu. The two Pichu Brothers characters were voiced by Yumi Tōma and Satomi Kōrogi (who voiced Pichu in Super Smash Bros. Melee), while a spiky-eared Pichu from the film Arceus and the Jewel of Life was voiced by Shōko Nakagawa.
Known as the "Tiny Mouse" species of the Pokémon series, Pichu is the pre-evolved version of Pikachu. Pichu made its debut appearance in Pokémon Gold and Silver and has since made appearances in the series. Ever since its introduction to the series, Pichu was seen as a sidekick like character towards Pikachu, being often seen in the spinnoff games alongside it in games like Pokémon Pinball. The Pokémon has been featured in Super Smash Bros. Melee where it was a playable character.
Concept and characteristics
In an interview, Junichi Masuda noted that he and Ken Sugimori wanted to create a Pokémon to be the "next" Pikachu, but were initially having a difficult time creating a design that they felt would be as appealing. After long discussion, they decided to create a Pokémon that evolved into Pikachu, and Sugimori developed Pichu as a result. In the same interview, Masuda noted that Pichu was a Pokémon "close to his heart" due to the "well thought out" design process. In another interview, Masuda stated that Pichu is his favorite Pokémon.
Pichu, known as the "Tiny Mouse" species of Pokémon, are the pre-evolved version of Pikachu. Pichu is a small ground-dwelling rodent. Its fur is very short, and it has bright yellow coloration. The tips of its large ears are black, and it has additional black markings on its neck and short tail. They are not skilled at storing electricity, so when amused or startled, they often discharge jolts of electricity strong enough to affect adult humans. This lack of control becomes more stable as they grow older. The electricity that they do manage to keep stored is limited by their small electrical pouches in their cheeks. When the air is dry or on stormy days, they charge much more easily, leaving the sound of crackling static electricity emanating from them. They play with each other by touching tails to set off sparks, which also acts as a test of courage. They run the risk of shorting each other out, and scaring themselves into a crying fit with the flash of sparks that emanates from them.
In the video games
Pichu first appeared in Pokémon Gold and Silver, and is one of many pre-evolutions introduced into the series. It was one of the earliest Pokémon revealed for Gold and Silver, including Cleffa and Igglybuff. Pichu has since appeared in every subsequent main Pokémon title. Pichu also appears in other Pokémon titles, including Pokémon Channel, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, Pokémon Trozei!, the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon titles, the Pokémon Ranger titles, and PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure. At one point, a Nintendo GameCube game called Pichu Bros: Party Panic was in development but never released, featuring Pichu as the main character. Instead, the game was integrated into Pokémon Channel as an important part of the story-line. In Pokémon Stadium 2 Pichu stars in the mini-game "Pichu's Powerplant". Pichu makes a prominent appearance in Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs where it is nicknamed "Ukelele Pichu" as the sidekick to the player's character. Pichu is also an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. It has a "cloned" moveset to Pikachu's, but unlike Pikachu, Electric attacks that Pichu uses will cause it to take damage. In Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire, Pichu will assist Pikachu on Ball-Saver duty for 50 coins or as a prize in the slot machine.
In other media
Pichu's debut appearance in the anime was in The Apple Corp, where many were stealing apples from an apple orchard. The Pichu Brothers are a pair of Pichu who have appeared in several anime shorts, including Pikachu & Pichu, Camp Pikachu, several episodes of Pokémon Chronicles, and the Pokémon Channel special Pichu Bros. in Party Panic. One has a scruff of fur while the other does not. "Spiky-Eared Pichu", appeared in Arceus and the Jewel of Life. She helped Pikachu and Piplup find the keys for the jail cell that held Ash, Dawn, Brock, and Damos. "Ukulele Pichu" appeared in the Pokémon Ranger: Tracks of Light anime special. In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Gold owns a Pichu that came from an egg produced by Red and Yellow's Pikachu. It hatches when Gold believes that Professor Oak had given him an ability which causes it to hatch. It used a thunder attack and managed to crack the GS ball which helped Celebi. In the Emerald arc, it teamed up with its parents, to use Volt Tackle on the Kyogre created by Guile Hideout's wish.
Promotion and Reception
A Pikachu and Pichu-themed Game Boy Color was released by Nintendo. A Pikachu-colored Pichu was available for download using Mystery Gift that, when taken to the Ilex Forest in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, unlocks a Spiky-eared Pichu.
GameSpot editor Frank Provo called Pichu "cute". UGO Networks criticized Pichu as having lost its popularity before the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee, with its only redeeming quality being its resemblance to Pikachu. Destructoid's Jonathan Holmes wrote that he was "pumped to get these two cute little bastards" in reference to two promotional Pichus. A staff member for IGN wrote that Pichu was "sure to rival Marill and Pikachu as the new favorite". IGN's Pokémon Chick wrote that while some people say it's "cuter than Pikachu", she found it "more worthless than Pikachu". She also described it as "stomach-turningly adorable or overmarketed". IGN's Kristine Steiner wrote that the Ukelele Pichu found in Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs was "damned cute". Official Nintendo Magazine's Thomas East wrote that the "best thing about this [Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs] is that you'll be assisted by Ukelele Pichu". Gamer Tell's Jenni Lada wrote that the Ukelele Pichu was "incredibly adorable".
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- Pokédex: Game Freak (2000-10-15). Pokémon Gold. Game Boy. Nintendo.
- Pokédex: Despite its small size, it can zap even adult humans. However, if it does so, it also surprises itself. Game Freak (2000-10-15). Pokémon Silver. Game Boy. Nintendo.
- Pokédex: It is still inept at retaining electricity. When it is startled, it discharges power accidentally. It gets better at holding power as it grows older. Game Freak (2005-05-01). Pokémon Emerald. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo.
- Pokédex: The electric pouches on its cheeks are still small. They cannot store much electricity yet. Game Freak (2007-04-22). Pokémon Diamond. Nintendo DS. Nintendo.
- Pokédex: PICHU charges itself with electricity more easily on days with thunderclouds or when the air is very dry. You can hear the crackling of static electricity coming off this POKéMON. Game Freak (2003-03-17). Pokémon Ruby. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo.
- Pokédex: It plays with others by touching tails and setting off sparks. This appears to be a test of courage. Game Freak (2007-04-22). Pokémon Pearl. Nintendo DS. Nintendo.
- Pokédex: When PICHU plays with others, it may short out electricity with another PICHU, creating a shower of sparks. In that event, this POKéMON will begin crying, startled by the flash of sparks. Game Freak (2003-03-17). Pokémon Sapphire. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo.
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