All these years, “Pokemon” fans thought Pikachu, the adorable yellow creature that’s always by Ash’s side, is a type of electric mouse — but it turns out that’s actually not true.
Ken Sugimori, head of Game Freak, the game development company behind the “Pokemon” game franchise, and Pikachu illustrator for “Pokemon Red and Green,” Atsuko Nishida, recently went back and reminisced about the monster’s origin.
When she was creating the adorable little monster, the company gave her specific guidelines about the character, indicating that it had to be cute, use electric-based powers, and had to be able to evolve twice, according to Live Door as translated by SoraNews24.
Nishida was pretty much free to do what she wanted in terms of the character’s design as long as she followed those strict guidelines, and the animal she chose as the inspiration for Pikachu was actually a squirrel.
The name “Pikachu” also has surprising origins — it’s a combination of a couple of Japanese onomatopoeia. The first part of it, “Pika”, refers to a flash of light (that pretty much explains the electric-ability part), while the second portion, “Chu”, refers to the squeaking noise that mice make.
It is certainly unclear how Pikachu, despite being based off of a squirrel, became associated with a mouse in the first place; however, SoraNews24 speculated that it could be one of two things:
Firstly, there is no onomatopoeia in Japanese referencing a squirrel’s cry, or if there’s one, it would be quite a rare chance to hear one, considering that you could go for several years in Japan without seeing even a single squirrel out in the city or even at parks.
Secondly, when Nishida showed her illustration of the character to her workmates, many probably thought that it looked like a mouse, which pretty much explains its name.
Featured image via YouTube / X X