Pi pikachu! Pika pika, pikachu!
Pikachu - Electric Mouse Pokémon (#25)
Japanese name: Pikachu
Pokedex in Red/Blue/Yellow: When several of these Pokémon gather, their electricity could build and cause lightning storms.
Pokedex in Gold: This intelligent Pokemon roasts hard berries with electricity to make them tender enough to eat.
Pokedex in Silver: It raises its tail to check its surroundings. The tail is sometimes struck by lightning in this pose.
Pokedex in Crystal: When it is angered, it immediately discharges the energy stored in the pouches in its cheeks.
Height: 1 foot 4 inches
Weight: 13 lbs
Evolution: Pichu -(happiness)-> Pikachu -(Thunder Stone)-> Raichu
Pikachu, the electric rodent of much fame and much infamy, is Pokemon #25, and unquestionably the best-known. Ash's Pikachu, apparently named "Pikachu" (Ash isn't exactly a creative genius), is the mascot of the first wave of Pokemon Game Boy games, as well as the anime, manga, and several spinoff games.
Pikachu is a chubby yellow rat the size of a small dog, with a round face, thin pointy ears, and red circles on its cheeks. The tail is the trademark, as it's flat and lightning-bolt-shaped. Lighting bolts come from the cheeks rather than the tail, as you would expect.
To date, Pikachu has appeared in...
In actual play in the Game Boy games and Stadium, Pikachu, being a first-stage Pokemon, is obviously not exactly a heavy hitter, and is fairly useless at the Poke Cup level or at the Prime Cup level, eclipsed by much heavier hitters. However, Pikachu is a prime Pika and Poke cup competitor, with high special and speed for a small Pokemon, without defenses low to the point of uselessness. It can learn Thunderbolt on its own, and can learn Iron Tail and Mudslap from TMs (and possibly Surf, depending on the game), making it quite a versatile choice.
In the Pokemon anime, Pikachu is given to Ash by Professor Oak as a booby prize, after Ash is late to the ceremony to induct new Pokemon trainers. Initially, Pikachu dislikes Ash, taking great glee in electrocuting Ash at any opportunity. Eventually and very predictably, they become friends, and learn about each other and Pokemon training and friendship yadda yadda yadda. Pikachu seems to lose his personality, sadly, after the initial Indigo League saga, as the role of main character is taken over by Ash.
Pikachu is one of the few Pokemon with the name unchanged from the Japanese version. The name is a compound of two Japanese onomatopoeia, "pika" and "chu". Pika is the sound somehing flashing makes, whereas chu is the sound a mouse makes in Japanese. Hence, Pika-chu.
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Sources: GameFAQs, pokemon.com