What animal is Pikachu based on? Explained

Pokemon is a Japanese cartoon or anime based on the main part of the video game series of the same name. One of the most famous and oldest anime series, Pokemon has been relevant for generations.

This series is rooted in people’s childhood memories; With more than 20 seasons in the main series, as well as numerous films and spinoff series, the franchise has something for everyone.

Pokemon is one of those series that has become so popular that both anime fans and people who don’t watch anime are familiar with it. It’s safe to say that this anime was originally a kid’s favorite that adults also liked.

His mascot, Pikachu, deserves some of the credit. He is a small yellow creature with lightning control abilities who can command hearts simply by saying “Pika Pika”.

Pokemon The character designer’s inspiration for Pikachu was a squirrel

Who is Pikachu?

Pikachu as seen in the anime.  (Image via OLM Inc.)
Pikachu as seen in the anime. (Image via OLM Inc.)

Pikachu is an Electric-type pocket monster that first appeared in Generation I. It is considered to be the most iconic and well-known Pokemon, evolving over time into the Pokemon mascot of the franchise.

The main character of the anime, Ash Ketchum, has a Pikachu. Despite being an important part of the series, Pikachu sometimes seems even more popular than the iconic anime series itself.


The initial phase of this Pokémon is known as Pichu. When leveled up with a strong friendship bond, it transforms from Pichu into Pikachu, and when exposed to a Thunder Stone, it transforms into Raichu.

They are usually friendly creatures that enjoy being cuddled. They are small and can look like cute mouse-like Pokémon. They are also completely covered in yellow fur, making them look like furballs, and they also have long yellow ears tipped with black.

One of Pikachu’s most iconic features is that they have two circular red pouches on their cheeks for storing electricity. When it’s about to perform an electrical attack like Thunderbolt, it turns yellow and sparkles with electricity.

What animal is Pikachu based on?

Resembling a hybrid of a mouse and a rabbit, Pikachu has always been classified as a Mouse Pokémon in the Pokédex, the digital encyclopedia of Pokémon Pokemon. However, the creator of Pikachu has confirmed that it is not inspired by either a mouse/hamster or a rabbit.

Graphic and character designer Atsuko Nishida explained in an interview with Yomiuri that the original ideas for Pikachu in Pokemon Red and green were based on a squirrel rather than a mouse or rabbit. Squirrels were even a source of inspiration for Pikachu’s puffy cheeks and cute tails.

“I was really into squirrels at the time, so I wanted the character to have puffy cheeks. Squirrel tails are cute so I wanted them to have a tail. However, I wanted the character to have a lightning element, so I made it shape like lightning.”

The reunion of Pikachu with Misty aka his Pikachupi warms my heart ❤️ #anipoke (Poor Psyduck was left hugging 😂)

The character designer’s inspiration for Pikachu was a squirrel, but once upon a time the name Pikachu – a combination of the Japanese term “pika”, which is a term for the sound of an electrical spark, and “chu”, which is a mouse sound, was decided upon the creators to make the Pokemon a mouse-type in the series’ encyclopedia.

About the anime

Ash and Pikachu from the anime.  (Image via OLM Incorporated)
Ash and Pikachu from the anime. (Image via OLM Incorporated)

The story begins with Ash Ketchum, a boy from Pallet Town who is intrigued by the concept of being the best Pokémon trainer in the world. He plays the role of the main series’ protagonist. He visited Professor Oak when he turned 10 to get his first Pokemon, which turned out to be Pikachu.

The duo then embarks on a journey around the world with the goal of beating the gym leaders of each region they visit. Along the way, they’ll meet some interesting companions, face some challenges, and try to collect Pokémon to train with.

At the end of most Seasons, Ash competes in the Regional League, a tournament between Trainers who use their A-Game to defeat other Trainers and showcase their talents in training their respective Pokémon to win the title of champion .

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