Five Disturbing Facts You Never Knew About Pikachu

Pikachu is known worldwide as the yellow mascot of Pokémon, a franchise that centers around various monsters that can be caught, trained, and made to battle each other. For example, Pikachu himself is an electric Pokémon capable of delivering devastating shocks to his opponents. Pokémon is definitely a kid-oriented franchise. Pikachu is a pretty innocent character, and displays admirable traits like loyalty and friendship that are great for our children to see. However, there are a few mildly disturbing things about the yellow electric mouse that you should know.

His Mascot Status is for Marketing Purposes

Despite his cuteness and power, Pikachu was not the original choice for the mascot of Pokémon. The creator never intended for him to play such a central role. However, the marketing agency involved chose Pikachu for a few somewhat-sinister reasons. According to Pikachu’s Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon, available here from Duke Press, Pikachu was a good fit in the eyes of the agency because he was yellow. Yellow is a primary color, and is easily-recognizable by young children — even from a distance. The fact that the color was chosen specifically to manipulate a child’s psychology is a bit disturbing. Plus, Winnie-the-Pooh was the only other yellow character at the time, leaving this market undersaturated. A wise business move, even if it is somewhat manipulative.

He Contributes to “Cute Capitalism”

Marketing to children is all well and good, especially for a child’s product. However, due to the widespread prevalence of cartoon characters as company mascots, we are entering an era of “cute” capitalists. This in and of itself is hardly disturbing — until you consider that global powerhouses like Nintendo (the owner of Pikachu) could use their mascots to deflect attention off of any corporate wrongdoings. Pikachu is a prime example of a “cute capitalist” mascot. Other characters, especially Hello Kitty, have spawned an entire subculture in Japan known as kawaii. The deep ingraining of these corporate characters into Japanese society could give businesses more power over the people than is necessary. Every year that passes increases the power of these symbols — and by extension, those who own them.

He Speaks English

At least, according to the new film, Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!. In a certain scene, Ash and Pikachu are about to part ways. And then, it happens: instead of the “pika, pikas” we are used to, he says a line in English. Someone posted a video on Twitter that showed the audience’s reaction. And it’s pretty much as we expected — a collective groan (with some unmentionable exclamations).

AskMen Listed Pikachu as the Most Annoying 90s Cartoon Character

On this list from AskMen, Pikachu was rated as the most annoying cartoon character of the 90s. The author of the article cites his overall “lameness” as the contributing factor to his dismal ranking. Plus, he name drops Hello Kitty, saying that Pikachu would lose in a fight with her.

It’s worthy to note that the author of this article is acting alone. Plus, the article has not gotten much traffic (or a single share), so his slander of the fan-favorite has flown mostly under the radar.

He Got Smashed

Well, at least a sculpture of him did. The piece of art randomly appeared one night near Coliseum Square in New Orleans. It was constructed of fiberglass, painted to appear bronze, and was a spitting image of the famous Pokémon. But, one day somebody came along and smashed it with a baseball bat. If the suspect wasn’t a woman, we would say that it might have been the author of that article from AskMen. (Though, it’s possible that she may have been influenced by it.) Either way, the statue eventually got repaired, and then sold for $2,000 at auction. The money from the sale was donated by the anonymous artist for use in restoring the fountains at the park where the statue was erected.

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