My Poke-Pinions: (172,) 025 and 026 – The ‘Chu Line

Preface: I struggled a bit with how to do this. Since I’m giving my opinions on entire lines, but I’m also going in numerical order, it presents a bit of a problem when I confront Pokemon in early gens that got evos or pre-evos in later gens. Ultimately, I decided I would still go down a numerical line, but when circumstances like these pop up, I will be including any future gen pre-evos and evos just to get the entire line out of the way. If future gens add more evos or pre-evos to any line, I’ll try to update them.

Pichu

Name: Wiki: “Pichu is a combination of ピカピカ pikapika (onomatopoeia for sparkle) and チューチュー chūchū (the sound of squeaking).” …..Mmhmm….

“It may also be a play on プチ puchi (petit).” Sure….

“Pichu is ultimately a diminutive of Pikachu.” There it is.

I like Pichu fine as a name, it’s pretty snappy and cutesy, but I can’t get away from the vibe that this is just them further banking off of ‘Hey look, guys, a chibi Pikachu!’

Design: Pichu’s pretty cute. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite of the mini-Pikachu clone Pokemon, but it’s cute. It always kinda bothered me that it looks like its head is too big for its body, though. I’m always afraid it will tip over and break its neck. I like how they added more black to the design to help break up the yellow more.

Sprite-Wise, Gen II’s is pretty…..chubby. I think Pichu was designed when we were still in Pikachu’s chubby phase, so this makes sense, but it still looks a little off.

Gold looks worse than Silver, which also looks happier, and the animation on Crystal is adorable.

Gen III looks better, though the animation on Emerald is a bit too erratic for me.

Gen IV is very cute, and the animation for HG/SS is adorable.

All of the other Gens get really cute constant animations.

Spike-Eared Pichu:

It’s a Pichu with a spiky ear……Wheee.

I don’t dislike the spikes. I guess I kinda wish the base Pichu design had spiky ears to make it a little cooler, but it’s just fine.

Also, in the Portuguese version, it’s called SLICED-EAR Pichu! OW.

Ukulele Pichu:

It’s a Pichu with a ukulele…..Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Actually, considering how tiny Pichu is, how do we tell the difference between it having a ukulele and a regular guitar?

Shiny:

It’s just a darker color yellow. In fact, they’ve taken to calling Shiny Pichu “Pikachu-Colored Pichu,” which is a little irritating, all things considered. I guess it tracks with Shiny Pikachu, which is also just a darker colored yellow, but still. The ones that are just darker colored versions of their original palettes are usually really lame to me. Oddly, the first shiny is the best to me because it looks more orange, channeling Raichu more than Pikachu.

Cry/Voice: Pichu’s anime voice is almost too cute. It’s not too high-pitched and it’s really sweet….when you hear it once or twice. But it’s one of those voices that gets annoying REAL fast.

Its game cry is similarly cute. It’s basically a midi-version of the Pillsbury Doughboy’s giggle.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Unsurprisingly, its Dex entries focus heavily on how much it sucks from a practicality standpoint. Pichu can only hold a small amount of electricity and they are unable to control it. As a result, they constantly let off bursts of electricity when they laugh, get upset or become startled. It will also commonly shock humans without meaning to. They might short out when playing with other Pichu, causing them both to cry.

What’s even worse is that they can’t help but shock themselves when they accidentally or purposefully let off their electricity either.

In short, their shocks are very weak, but they shock their trainers all the time without warning because they can’t control their electricity, they can’t play with other Pichu without creating sparks and hurting each other, and they are useless in battle because purposefully using Electric attacks will just backfire on the Pichu while also barely causing any damage to the enemy. Yay.

The only other real note is that they’ll touch tails to purposely create sparks as a sign of courage. Is that like me punching myself in the face as a sign of courage?

In terms of design, Pichu’s supposed based on squirrels, but I don’t see that. I just see a chibi more circular Pikachu. I get that the cheek thing comes from squirrels, but that’s about it.

Pikachu

Name: First off, dear god the Wiki page for Pikachu is ridonkulously long. I should have opted to do Pikachu on its own page. Yikes.

That being said, I think I need to take a minute to remove myself from this topic since, with all the reviews and stuff I’ve done with Pokemon over the years, Pikachu kinda brings on a lot of knee-jerk reactions. I’m going to try to keep my opinion from being skewed based on the oversaturation of Pikachu’s usage and his utmost favoritism and Messiahchu-isms in the anime.

Pikachu’s name is very cute, snappy and sticks with you for a long time. Every syllable is cute, really. When he says ‘Pika’ it’s cute. When he says ‘Chu!’ it’s even cuter. And if you get him to say ‘CHAAA!’ some of your brain cells explode with cute. It’s a very cute name.

Like I mentioned in Pichu’s section, Pikachu is a combination of the Japanese sound for sparkle and the sound a mouse makes, which is very fitting. However, the Wiki also felt like adding that it could be an offshoot of ‘Peekaboo.’ I can only guess they got that from the short Pikachu’s Peekaboo, because other than sounding similar they have no connection whatsoever.

Design: Pikachu’s frickin’ adorable. It has a very simple design, but it’s also extremely memorable. Most people, even those who aren’t Pokemon fans, can easily discern Pikachu from its silhouette, and I don’t mean to reference Who’s That Pokemon? there. It has an adorable face, cute little chubby cheeks that add some more color to it to break up all the yellow, it has perfect ears and adorable paws – it’s just adorable.

Female Version

It’s just Pikachu with a heart shape on its tail. Quite frankly, I roll my eyes a lot at the fact that so many Pokemon have their gender discerned through little heart designs….

Base Cosplay Pikachu

It’s just Pikachu with a heart shape on its tail….shaded in black. I actually kinda wish this was the female version because it stands out more.

Pikachu Rock Star

It’s too much, in my opinion. I get that that’s the point, but it’s just too much.

Pikachu Belle

It’s alright….Nothing much else to say….It’s very alright.

Pikachu Pop Star

Well, if you’re going to have a rock star version, you might as well have a pop star costume too. This one is at least better than the rock star one, but I still think it’s a bit much.

Pikachu, Ph. D.

I adore this one. It’s hilarious.

Pikachu Libre

I think that costume is extremely well-designed. It’s very cool. Kinda makes me wish there was a Pikachu superhero.

Cap Pikachu

Pikachu wearing one of any version of Ash’s hat….It’s Pikachu wearing hats….It’s adorable. Also, to get this out of the way, I won’t really be addressing Pikachu’s Pokemon Go costumes, same as I didn’t with Pichu. Most of them are just hats anyway. I do love the straw hat one because it makes me think he’s cosplaying as Luffy.

Gigantamax Pikachu

I’m only barely warming up to Mega forms, so don’t expect me to be singing many praises here, especially since I find the Gigantamax idea to be really lazy. Take Pokemon and make them bigger….and change their designs a little, I guess. At least with the Mega forms they changed their designs quite a lot, to the point where they tend to look very busy, but they do the bare minimum with most of the Gigantamaxs I’ve seen. Gigantamax Pikachu, for example, seems to have gone back to his chubbier form, which I like, and they made his tail an actual lightning bolt, which is a little cool, but other than that….it’s just Pikachu.

In terms of sprites, R/B is simply classic.

Yellow is like it was ripped straight from the anime, which is pretty much the point. They, oddly, didn’t change its back design for this game, though. Weird.

Green doesn’t look like a real animal. It looks like an inanimate toy.

Gen II is really cute with one of the most adorable animations for Crystal.

Gen III is also cute, but they’re starting the annoying flashing animations for it in this Gen and, not lying, it makes me physically ill. I think I’m more prone to flicker vertigo than I first thought….

Gen IV has even more flashing, and a weird stretchy animation on HG/SS.

Gen V is really cute, especially with that little finger wag and tail twitch.

All of the rest are just okay.

Shiny:

Like I mentioned, Pikachu’s shiny is just a darker yellow color – like a yellow-orange. It’s a bit lame, and I wish they had just gone all out and made it Raichu orange or something, but it’s fine.

Cry/Voice: Pikachu’s anime voice is basically perfect. It’s really cute and fitting with some great emotion put into it without being overly high pitched and irritating. Thank god he maintains his Japanese voice actress (And has for over 20 years!)

Pikachu’s game cry is pretty good. The starting note is cute and it ends with a burst that sounds just slightly intimidating.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Pikachu stores its electricity in its cheeks, which is the send-up to squirrels, but I don’t really see the design based off of them here either. It uses its tail to check its surroundings, which sometimes causes it to act as a lightning rod. As a result, Pikachu nests tend to be dangerous spots because lightning hits the area a lot.

They tend to shock new things that they see, which I honestly didn’t know. What a weird and destructive trait for little Pikachu to have. It also notes that they’ll commonly roast hard berries with their electricity.

When weakened, a Pikachu can and commonly is brought back to health by a jolt of electricity by a fellow Pikachu. They will also touch tails a form of greeting, which I don’t get. How do you go from touching tails as a show of courage as Pichu to a greeting as Pikachu? When many Pikachu gather together, they can cause lightning storms, and Pokemon Sun notes that there are plans to make a power plant with Pikachu as the generators, which you’d think would be a thing by now.

The Wiki also mentions that Pikachu will get stressed if they don’t discharge their electricity regularly, which I think they got from the anime, but Pikachu got sick in that instance. They also need plenty of sleep or else their electricity doesn’t build up as well…..Oh haha. When you don’t sleep, you don’t have as much….energy….haha.

In terms of design, Pikachu was obviously based on a mouse, but its cheeks were inspired from squirrels storing food in their cheeks, as previously mentioned. Pikachu’s designer directly said that Pikachu was based on a design she made from a daifuku with ears, which…I guess I can see. Supposedly, only the black parts of the ear were kept from that original design.

Raichu

Name: Raichu’s name is perfect, because it is perfect. (Should I mention that Raichu’s my second favorite Pokemon? Nearly tied for first.) Anyway, Raichu breaks down into ‘Rai’ for ‘Thunder’ and ‘Chu/chuchu’ was already explained. In all honesty, I DO find this name to be perfect. It’s a great alteration from Pikachu, it sounds tougher and more intimidating without losing its adorable vibe or snappiness, and it is technically tougher with Rai’s meaning being more threatening (Thunder>sparkling)

Alolan Raichu is also known as Hodad, which I find really weird and not at all fitting of Raichu or any of the ‘Chu line for that matter. However, it does have a purpose to it. Alolan Raichu looks like a surfer, uses its tail like a surfboard, but cannot learn Surf (unless evolved from an event Pikachu). Hodad is actual surfer lingo for someone who dresses like a surfer, comes to the beach with a surfboard but never actually surfs. So, basically, a surf poser.

I don’t much care for that name as it’s basically an insult to an otherwise rather cute Raichu form, and there’s nothing really stopping Alolan Raichu from surfing. Surf basically just summons a tidal wave, it’s not the actual skill of surfing. But hey, any opportunity to jab at Raichu, right? *eye roll*

Design: Raichu is such an adorable cuddly-wuddly pumpkin pie–….Err…Uh…*cough* I really love Raichu’s design. It didn’t sacrifice any cuteness upon evolution – in fact, I think it really gained cuteness. Those ears are more mouse-like while also being unique. I love the little swirl at the bottom. I also like how its tail is now a more mouse-like long tail with a lightning bolt at the end.

It’s body shape is really cool. It’s sweet and pudgy while also having adorable stubby arms and strong legs that look like it could kick you pretty hard. It has the perfect shade of orange, and it’s got just the right amount of yellow, white and brown on it to break it up.

Alolan Raichu

I prefer regular Raichu, but I think they did a really good job with Alolan Raichu. They made its eyes blue, which is nice, and made its orange fur a more burnt-orange color to signify tanned skin, which is pretty cool. Not a big fan of the ears. The shape and design make me think of fairies, and they stand out too much. I love its feet, though. They made the feet shorter and thicker and it reminds me of a bunny.

I like its tail. It’s basically the same as before, but with more of a rounded shape to look like a surfboard. I also find it really adorable that it stands on it. I think a Flying type could easily be made of that with the tail being a cloud with lightning coming out of it.

Female Raichu

I almost thought this was a mistake because I honestly could not see the difference between male and female Raichu. I had to bring my face right up to the screen to realize female Raichu’s tail doesn’t have a pointing end. It’s blunt. Like someone cut it off. That is probably the laziest way to make a female version. Why not just make the lightning bolt a heart or make the cheek marks hearts or make the stripes on the back hearts? Heartheartsheartsgurrlllssluvhartz

In terms of sprites, Gen I needs some work. R/B looks too oval-shaped and has a derpy expression.

Green has a similar problem, just a different derpy expression.

Yellow is adorable, but way too yellow on the coloring, almost like they thought Raichu had Pikachu’s colors.

Gen II is good, but what the hell is up with Crystal’s animation? It either looks like it’s cat-calling or heckling the player.

Is that more effort to make Raichu look like a jerk?

I absolutely love the pose in Gen III, but I can’t help but think the animation in Emerald is Raichu doing the Spongebob laugh.

In Gen IV, D/P is cute, but Platinum’s expression is back to derpy and HG/SS is adopting the annoying flashing animation Pikachu had.

Gen V is adorable because it has a constant bouncing animation, and everything else is alright.

Shiny:

Following the trend of Pichu and Pikachu, Raichu’s shiny is also just a darker version of its base color, but I actually really like it. That deep shade of orange looks great with the darker hues of yellow.

Gen II’s version looks strange because it looks more like a sickly gold color, but it’s corrected in every Gen onward.

As for shiny Alolan Raichu….it’s…..uhm….it’s…Well, I guess it still fits the beach theme because it looks like a very, very dark tan. And it’s a rarity in being a brown shiny. But otherwise it kinda looks terrible. At best, it looks like someone made an Alolan Raichu out of chocolate.

Cry/Voice: Raichu’s anime voice is adorable. It’s lower pitched to give off a more serious and mature tone while also being high enough to be cute. I also love the specific way it pronounces ‘Rai’ usually. Like it’s halfway between ‘Rai’ and ‘Wai.’

It’s game cry is perfect with a ‘shocking’ kind of noise to it while also adding in a cute little high pitched sound.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Raichu’s tail serves as a ground to protect itself from its own electricity, which might be a window into another reason why Pichu always hurts itself when it uses its electricity – its tail is too short to act as ground. When Raichu does discharge electricity this way, it leaves scorch marks on the ground. It can also stick its tail into the ground to search for sources of electricity.

Unlike Pikachu who gets weakened and sick when it stores too much electric energy, Raichu actually gets very aggressive. Raichu is also proactive in avoiding this issue by using its tail to discharge its own electricity into the ground when this starts happening.

In the opposite extreme, if it is running low on electricity, it can recharge by gathering electricity from the atmosphere, which is awesome.

When it is fully charged, its ears will stand up, which is a cute detail.

Raichu has electric power of over 100,000 volts (Gen I and Stadium mistakenly lists this as 10,000. The Wiki states this is a translation error based on how the Japanese language writes numbers (In this case, 100,000 or juu-man would read literally like ‘ten ten-thousands’ since ‘man’ is 10,000 and ‘juu’ is 10. They must have just dropped the first 10 on accident.) which is powerful enough to down an elephant.

Raichu can glow in the dark by constantly emitting a weak electrical charge throughout its body…..I want a glow in the dark Raichu doll now.

Also, Ultra Moon can kiss my ass because it is the only game that omits all of this and instead notes: “Because so many Trainers like the way Pikachu looks, you don’t see this Pokémon very often.” Couldn’t resist kissing Pikachu’s ass, eh?

And, really, Pikachu’s just so adorable and wonderful that Raichu are actually considered rare because no one wants to sacrifice their Perfectchu for, ew, Raichu? That’s like saying “Eevee can evolve into a wide spectrum of other Pokemon, but you never see them usually because Eevee is just so gosh darn adorable that no one wants to evolve it.” I was having such a nice time writing this entry until I read that. Thanks, Ultra Moon.

As for Alolan Raichu, it uses psychic abilities to control electricity (it’s also noted that Alolan Raichu is the only Pokemon with a Psychic/Electric combo) as well as for levitating on its tail. It attacks with star-shaped thunderbolts, which is honestly a little random.

It emits a sweet aroma if you rub its cheek sacs, and it loves PANCAKES! That has got to be one of the most adorable notes I’ve ever seen in a Dex entry. Granted, it’s explaining this because it loves pancakes prepared with a special secret Alolan recipe that some believe might be the key to this Pokemon’s evolution…..Actually, upon second thought, that’s even cooler. Alolan Raichu might have evolved this way because of PANCAKES! How can you not love everything Raichu related?

As for the design origins, Raichu’s cheeks are still based on squirrels, but its long tail and thicker, longer hind legs (and possibly wider bunny-like ears) seem to come from Jerboas which are hopping desert rodents that are somehow adorable and somewhat frightening looking at the same time, and kangaroo rats.

Alolan Raichu was obviously inspired by surfing, and given the area they’re in it makes a lot of sense. However, it’s also very possible that it was based on the novelty Pokemon, Surfing Pikachu from Pokemon Yellow, Gold, Silver and Crystal (I didn’t talk about that one because it’s literally just Pikachu with a surfboard and it doesn’t even have much of a sprite) and even Puka, the surfing Pikachu from the anime who also had blue eyes.

Interestingly, Raichu in Pokemon Stadium can learn Surf, and the animation for performing this move had it using its tail as a surfboard, which might have been additional inspiration.

Absolutely none of those things clicked with me when I first saw this Pokemon, and I think it’s really cool that so many old cogs might have been put into play to make Alolan Raichu’s design.

Next up, the Sandshrew line!


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3 thoughts on “My Poke-Pinions: (172,) 025 and 026 – The ‘Chu Line

  1. I think the difference between a guitar and a ukelele is that a guitar has 6 strings while a ukelele only has 4. That’s how you can tell Pichu has a ukelele instead of a guitar.

    Also, did you know that Pikachu’s voice actress also voices Zatch Bell, as well as Candy from Smile Pretty Cure? Zatch Bell and Candy also have the same English voice actress.

  2. I didn’t even know there was so much to be learned about the Chus. As a ukulele player myself, I totally approve of that ukulele design. Hahaha! I certainly learned a few things from this post. Also, Pikachu’s voice actress is Chopper from One Piece, Yukina from Nadesico, and Konohamaru from Naruto.

    Of course, I officially have that “Pikachu” song by Young Thug stuck in my head now. URRRRRGH!

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