Ken Sugimori, a founding member of GAME FREAK; Kōji Nishino, a GAME FREAK planner; and Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green character designer Atsuko Nishida shared secrets from the creation of Pikachu leading up to the 1996 release of the original games. The game developers noted that the original concept for Pikachu changed somewhat compared to the Electric-type mouse-inspired character fans around the world love today.
Nishida said that she had no particular instructions about Pikachu and Raichu other using the Electric type and having two evolutions. No one ordered her to make Pikachu particularly cute, but she was instructed to make the final form look strong. Gorochu, Raichu’s evolution at that time, had fangs and horns. The design was inspired by Raijin, the Shinto god of lightning and thunder. (Though Gorochu was ultimately rejected, Raijin appears to be inspiration for the Pokémon Thundurus, which debuted in the Pokémon Black and Pokémon White games in 2010. )
The full interview discusses the development of Pikachu in depth and reveals Pikachu in an alternate design on 1996 New Year’s cards.
Pikachu has come a long way to be the somewhat skinnier yellow creature we know today.
This was originally posted on Anime News Network and is being reposted with permission.