Over the course of the last 20 years, Pikachu has become a household name, a pop culture icon, and an idol of the Pokémon world. He had humble beginnings as a plump, round woodland creature, and now, as he approaches his 20th anniversary, he is even more recognizable than ever.
Pikachu has gone through many changes over the years, taking on ever more significant metamorphoses in appearance and attitude. For many of us, he was the poster-boy for 1999’s Pokémon Yellow. At first, he was a defiant, affectionate, fluffy mouse, but now he is a strong, friendly Pokémon. Some have argued that his alterations have been small, but his changes are all for good reason.
Evolving Without Evolving
To remain relevant across anime, gaming, and the world in general, Pikachu must evolve to keep up with every new generation.
It could be argued that Pikachu and the changes he has been through are not what makes him who he is, but I would disagree. The Pokémon Company recognizes that Pikachu must keep evolving without ever evolving. He must stay a symbol to those who spent years watching episodes of the Pokémon anime, and playing with the toys, games, and multiple generations of the card game.
What Makes Pikachu an Icon?
Pikachu is one of the most recognizable characters in pop culture. But how has he stayed so popular for the past 20 years? It could be because he is adorable, his design is simplistic, he is in one of the most famous game series of all times, and he is part of a wildly successful anime series with over 900 episodes under its belt. He is an undeniably brilliant concept and continues to capture the heart of our inner trainers.
Pikachu couldn’t do this without his ability to adapt, to become something new while keeping his charm and simplicity.
Pikachu by Any Other Name
Recent reports revealed that Pikachu’s name would change in the Mandarin translation of Pokémon Sun and Moon. But Cantonese-speaking fans in Hong Kong were disappointed in the change, sparking protests in the region. They feared their little Pokémon hero could be undergoing changes that very few want.
However, if Pikachu had not changed over the course of 20 years, would we still love him as we do? As such, would Nintendo’s tiny mouse be the hero he is today?
Many fans consider Pikachu to be the prime Pokémon of Ash Ketchum’s team. The anime has portrayed Pikachu in a variety of perspectives, allowing him to become a legend. He has become well-known for some historic losses and his ability to overpower legendary foes. From Ash’s death in the first movie to heartbreaking moments of friends come and gone, he has brought fans some of the most dramatic moments in animation history.
Overall, what we must remember is that Pikachu has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. He has been a rock star, scientist, and even a detective. These are all part of the natural evolution of the character. If he did not change, we would not see him as the icon that he is.
New is the New New
In this ever-changing world, we grow older, our tastes change, and in a way, we too evolve into new versions of ourselves. Similarly, our icons must also follow suit. They must adapt and transform and become new in innovative ways.
The thing that has made the adorable Pokémon character so great is his ability to change. In the upcoming Pokémon Sun and Moon, Raichu is getting an entirely new evolution, with new combat ability and even a new type distinction. These changes will most likely make Pikachu even more popular. His fan base will grow, and his legend will become even more historic.
A Special Place in Our Hearts
Pikachu is an ever-changing phenomenon that will have special meaning to many people around the world. That is part of his appeal. He is subject to change because Nintendo and the Pokémon Company understand the importance of change. Without it, the world would be dull, and Pikachu would be a long forgotten puffball. Pikachu needs to constantly change and be a product of change.
What makes Pikachu so great, loveable, and profound in many people’s lives is that he keeps growing and changing the way our world does. Fans trust that they have a strong tie to a character that grows with them, matures with them, and evolves with them. So when his name changes or his appearance shifts or he gets older or his abilities develop, we know it is because we are doing the same.
Keep evolving along with Pikachu and check out the trailer and details of the upcoming Pokémon Sun and Moon.