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Pokemon designers talk Pikachu – why it was a “rare character” in-game, canned evolution called Gorochu, more

Posted on May 3, 2018 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

Pikachu

Siliconera has translated more comments from the new interview with Pokemon illustrators / designers Ken Sugimori, Atsuko Nishida, and Koji Nishino on Yomiuri. The three spoke about Pikachu in-depth, including why it was more of a “rare character” to find, a canned evolution called Gorochu, and more.

Here are a few excerpts:

On how Pikachu is a kind of “rare character” who doesn’t appear much…

Nishino: This is embarrassing, but since I like Pikachu so much, I get this feeling of “not wanting to let other people have Pikachu.” At first, I even considered simply “hiding” Pikachu.

Sugimoto: Compared to other Pokémon, its appearance rate was extremely low. So Nishino’s mysterious possessive nature worked out.

Nishino: I felt that if the appearance rate were lower then it would work out because players wouldn’t catch it as much. As a result, the opposite happened when strategy guides and such had stuff written like “first, catch a Pikachu.” And before I knew it, everybody had Pikachu, and my plan completely backfired…

On how Pikachu’s cheek pouches didn’t exist during its time as a daifuku…

Nishida: It did not! The cheek pouches didn’t exist during the daifuku time! During the process of making it cuter, I added the cheek pouches because I wanted to give it a sense of “charging.” That said, I only thought of a squirrel for the cheek pouches part, and the rest came from putting together all these parts that I thought were cute.

On the dark ear tips…

Nishida: I believe that was a leftover from its time as a daifuku.

On how Pikachu’s body ended up being yellow…

Sugimori: Game Boys only had black and white as colors. When Pokémon Red & Green was first in development, none of the Pokémon had any colors. They were represented in black and white and were colored that way in pixel-art style.

Back when it was in development (in 1994) they released an adapter called the “Super Game Boy” that let you play Game Boy software on television through the Super Famicom. The Super Game Boy had a function that added pseudo-colors to a game, and that the first time we were able to give Pokémon colors. I was the one to decide on Pikachu’s color, and since they say yellow is the color attribute of electricity, I thought it would be nice to give it a color that made its type easier to understand, and I decided to go with yellow.

On the stripes on Pikachu’s back…

Nishida: I didn’t put much thought into that one, but when Pokémon go into battle you see their backs right? At the time I felt that its back was lonely without anything on it.

On a third planned evolution for Pikachu called “Gorochu”…

Nishida: Yes. It was “Pika(chu),” “Rai(chu),” and “Goro(chu).” The Pokémon known as Gorochu bared fangs and even had a pair of horns.

Sugimori: There wasn’t any problem with its appearances, but it was omitted due to matters surrounding game balance.

On Pikachu’s difference in cry in the game and anime…

Sugimori: Yes, after it became an anime we also took some influence from it. Both the game and anime shared influences, and Pikachu further evolved. At first its body type was more plump, but its neck was made more defined and its back was made longer. From there the design on the game production side also changed. And that’s how we got the Pikachu you know today. By the way, I never expected to hear it cry “Pikachu!” in the anime.

 

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