Why Pikachu is overrated

Pikachu has been around forever and, frankly, he's not that good of a Pokémon.

Pikachu is the most iconic Pokémon and one of the two main faces of the franchise. He’s been with Ash since day one and is the only Pokémon to stay with Ash throughout the entirety of the series. Pikachu was the first Pokémon you got in the games. He was able to follow you around instead of just being trapped inside the Pokéball. Pikachu even has a balloon to parade him through the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade every year. Pikachu is your companion and you loved him for it. I hated him for it.

He's too cute.

One of my biggest problems with Pikachu is the fact that he is cute. He was chosen as Ash’s companion for that sole reason. He’s a yellow mouse with red cheeks. He has a face so cute you just want to grab it and make baby noises to him. He’s small and easy to pick up, perfect for having him lounge on a shoulder. His voice is even made to resemble squeaking, with the "chu" part of his name (a word meaning squeak). Kids are attracted to cute, so this design was used to lure them in and gather more views and players.

In reality, it didn’t matter which Pokémon was chosen. You could have started the game off with an Lickitung and developed the same amount of companionship and loyalty with it as the Pikachu.

In fact, the anime proved that Pokémon not typically considered cute can have a huge impact on the fans if there was a connection to them. In the 280th episode of the anime, A Poached Ego!, Jessie and James release their Arbok and Weezing into the wild. In the episode, you can see Arbok and Weezing fighting the urge to stay and help their trainers. Tears were shed. Now, I don’t consider Arbok or Weezing to be cute, but this scene was heart wrenching and proves that cute Pokémon are not the only Pokémon that can make good companions. The scene itself is included below.

He can't be used in battle.

In the game, Pikachu doesn’t have the best stats. If you’re going for strong Pokémon, Pikachu will definitely not be your choice. In the original Pokémon Yellow, Pikachu won’t evolve via a Thunder Stone if it feels close to you. This makes Raichu impossible to get and, ultimately, means a decrease in Pikachu’s stats. If you decide to evolve Pikachu straight away to get Raichu, Raichu loses out on all the moves he would have otherwise learned as Pikachu. This means you have a Raichu with a terrible set of moves or you have to spend a good amount of money buying TMs to give him. Even in the newer games where you can evolve Pikachu whenever you want, Raichu's stats, pictured left, are still lacking in comparison to the three original starter Pokémon. Raichu’s speed is extremely high and his attack is average, but everything else is below par. This includes the bonus Raichu and Pikachu recieved in the newer games. 

Raichu isn’t even the best electric Pokémon in the first generation. Besides attack, Electrode has stats that are about the same or higher than that of Raichu’s. The same thing with Jolteon. Besides attack, Jolteon knocks Raichu’s stats out of the water. Don’t even get me started on Zapdos. Not to mention, I’m comparing stats between Raichu and other electric Pokémon. Comparing stats between Pikachu and other electric Pokémon is just painful. Pikachu's stats, pictured above, are just pitiful.

Pikachu gets way too much attention.

Pikachu has been around forever. I don’t care if he’s the face of the franchise. I’m sick of him. A new Pokémon is needed at this point. As of right now, there are over 700 Pokémon. Out of those 700, out of 16 seasons worth of the anime and 25 main games, only one Pokémon has continuously represented the franchise so avidly and been so constant with appearances. Other Pokémon have made re-appearances here and there such as Ash’s Squirtle and Charizard, but the appearances aren’t very long and can’t compare to how long Pikachu has been in the show. Considering how old the show and games are and that there is a new generation of fans, a better Pokémon should be chosen to represent the series again.

Which brings me to the next point. Pikachu always takes the spotlight. It doesn’t matter what happens with the other Pokémon, Ash will always come running to Pikachu first. It’s just plain rude honestly. Towards the end of Pokémon 3: The Movie, Charizard hears of Ash’s distress and flies all the way over to come and help him out. Charizard is fighting Entei, risking his life, to save Ash, his trainer. Then, Charizard takes a hit and they fall to the ground. Since Pikachu was with them, the first thing Ash does upon recovering is run over to Pikachu and ask if he is okay. He doesn’t run over to Charizard, who has actually been fighting or the one that had a harder fall since he weighs more. Nope. He runs over to Pikachu and leaves Charizard in the dust. It’s a horrible case of favoritism.

Game Freak neglected Pikachu in the newest games.

In the games, Pikachu didn’t even receive a mega evolution. Raichu didn’t receive a mega evolution. As the face of the franchise, it would make sense for one of the two to get a mega evolution. Afterall, less popular Pokémon like Lopunny and Audino received mega evolutions. Countless fans have imagined a mega Raichu, like Phatmon from DeviantArt whose concept is posted on the left. Thus, the design couldn’t be why it wasn’t included in the game.Pikachu and Raichu are clearly popular enough to warrant a mega evolution. Game Freak just decided not to include one. It could just be me, but I view that as a sign that Game Freak is actually moving away from Pikachu as the main face of the franchise. If the game developers are giving up on Pikachu, then maybe it’s time that everyone else does as well.

You don’t necessarily have to hate Pikachu, but I think it’s about time that people stop placing such a high value on him. He isn’t a strong Pokémon and he’s been the main face of the universe for way past his due. I think it’s about time the franchise uses a new Pokémon to gain new fans and start again with a different plot, and maybe even a new main character (Ash has been around for a really long time too). You can still like Pikachu’s character and his design, but it’s about time everyone stops worshipping him.

Statisitcs were provided by www.pokemondb.net

Published Aug. 12th 2015
View Comments
  • Samantha Wright
  • Destini Islands
    Featured Contributor
    Well, you're preaching to the choir buddy. I think even Pikachu lovers can't argue with these points :)

    While I love Raichu's design and Pikachu has become a classic in his own right, I think Pokemon and its concepts are unique enough that a lot more people can recognize the franchise without needing Pikachu ("say, that electric dog thing there...is that a Pokemon?")...although I think we're all doomed at this point for the uninformed to refer to any Pokemon as Pikachu.
  • Samantha Wright
    I'm glad you enjoyed my article.

    I think the uniformed masses will always refer to every Pokemon as Pikachu. To be honest, I'm not really worried about them though. I'm worried about the fans of the series. The anime has been the same basic format since episode one. The games only recently started changing and adding in different elements. I can't blame Pikachu for all of the lack of change, but I think he does have something to do with it. If Pikachu were to go, Ash would most likely go too. That would require a different character with a different backstory that would appeal to new fans and the old fans. Some of the older fans may start complaining, but, overall, I think it would be better for the series. A new hero. New Pokemon. New villains. Once Pikachu is out the franchise it will have a much easier chance at getting the reboot it needs. Well, the reboot I think it needs.

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