Pokemon Shorties (3)! Pikachu and Pichu

Rating: 7/10

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock have arrived at nonspecific oddly American looking big city. Pikachu and all of the other Pokemon are let out of their Pokeballs to have some fun on the roof of some building while Ash and the others plan a big surprise. However, when Pikachu gets made fun of by a Pichu in a building across the street, he ends up falling from the roof and landing on the other building with the Pichu Bros. Can Pikachu make it back in time before Ash returns?

Breakdown: And now for the short that accompanied Movie 03, Pikachu and Pichu, otherwise known as “That one with the Pichu Bros.” and…..I really don’t remember jack about this short. I remember it taking place in a city and the Pichu bros., of course, I remember there being a Smeargle….that’s about it.

Oh and I remember the ending being the cause of much discussion seeing as how many people take this as proof that at least one year has gone by since the start of the series, which I don’t really believe given how much has gone on between then and now. Also, it’s hard to take that as canon when the series keeps insisting that Ash is and always will be 10 years old.

As for Pichu….I don’t particularly care for it. Its existence makes me think they wanted a ‘chibi’ Pikachu that they could market even harder than Pikachu. Lest we forget the pointless novelty of spike-eared Pichu and even Ukelele Pichu (proudly following in the footsteps of surfing Pikachu….Where are the damn novelty Raichu? What a rip off. Raichu>>>>>>>>everything) Pichu’s existence never made full sense to me, either. That means Ash got an evolved Pokemon as his starter Pokemon, and Pikachu was a huge brat when we first met it which makes it hard for me to believe that Pikachu evolved from a full happiness Pichu.

I do remember the music being a snappy new change, so there’s that. Well, let’s start, shall we?

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Ash and the others are in some unspecified city. They let out all of their Pokemon on the top of some random building/hotel(?) because they have stuff to do. However, even this doesn’t make much sense to me. It makes sense that Ash wouldn’t want Pikachu around to keep from spoiling the surprise, but why let out all of the other Pokemon, which they hardly ever do? Just to keep Pikachu company? It is a nice thing to do, but it’s also rare. They say they’ll be back at six o’clock and leave.

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A smiling Vulpix with sparkles around it. Enjoy your free warmfuzzies.

The copy I’m using for screenshots is the Japanese video spliced in with the English audio track (Since my copy is VHS and I have no way to transfer that to my computer). The Japanese version has an entire theme song here, but they completely amputate it from the short in the dub. They skip the entire theme song animations just to splice in their own opening which is just the title card translated to English, Pikachu meeting with the Pichu bros. and having the city background appear for a second before a dual page transition goes back to the short.

The English theme is a jazzy track that was made for this short. The Japanese theme is okay, but pretty forgettable.

As the Pokemon are playing, Pikachu comes across two Pichu, one of which starts mocking Pikachu from a building across the street. Pikachu makes faces back and Pichu climbs out on a ledge. Pichu’s brother, let’s call him Tuffed-Hair Pichu, tries to keep him from going out on the ledge and getting hurt while Pikachu climbs out onto a flag pole to warn him as well, which just furthers the question of why the hell did they let out all of their Pokemon to play ON THE TOP OF A BUILDING!?

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I get it, it’s all fancified meaning that people can hang out on the roof without issue, but there are no guardrails and it can’t be all that safe if Pikachu can perch itself on a nearby flagpole on the side of the building with no problem. Imagine what would happen if dopey Psyduck got turned around up there.

Pikachu looks down to realize where he is and wow, cars! Lots of ’em! I keep feeling like they’re in some American city from the way they keep portraying it. The buildings, atmosphere, music etc. just give the feeling like they’re in America somewhere. It definitely doesn’t give the same vibe as other cities seen earlier in Pokemon. Even Celadon city felt a lot different than this.

Not only does Pikachu freak out because of this, but a few Murkrow also come out and peck at him since he’s on their perch. He falls, but grabs onto the always handy rope that is always below in these situations.

The Murkrow aren’t deterred, however, as they also peck at the rope to make Pikachu fall. So, in conclusion, Murkrow are murderers….which makes sense because a flock of crows is called a murder. Next time on Law and Order: Johto Unit.

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We pan down to Meowth who is washing windows sans Jessie and James, but this time they actually give a reason for this that makes a lot of sense. They tricked him into a window washing job so they could get extra money. Since it has been shown several times in the series that Jessie, James and Meowth do get jobs sometimes and many of those jobs tend to be separate from each other, this makes perfect sense.

Murkrow starts untying the rope when a breeze carries a bunch of Hoppip into the Murkrow’s face, making him drop the rope and Pikachu. The rope somehow swings up which allows Pikachu to fly up and bounce on all of the Hoppip. However, when he gets to the last of them, he falls onto Meowth’s washing platform, which causes a see-saw effect and sends Meowth flying into a nearby billboard.

Pikachu climbs up to meet the Pichu bros. but is upset when he finds out that none of the other Pokemon can hear him and help him get back to the other building. So that means that, unlike the other shorts where we got small groups of the Pokemon mostly made up of Ash’s with some of Misty’s, Tracey’s and Brock’s…..this short just releases them for a few seconds and puts the entire focus on Pikachu and Pichu until the very end where they all reunite. I get it, it’s the title of the short, but come on. The other Pokemon get such little screen time. It’s almost mocking to let them all out to hang out and play but give them absolutely nothing to do.

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The Pichu Bros. offer to take Pikachu back to the other building. They make their way out, but land on a bus, which only leads them further away. The Pichu Bros don’t seem to care (jerks) and the bus takes a sudden turn which causes the three to fly off of the bus and into a nearby river.

Everything seems okay for a bit until a ferry in the shape of a Lapras shows up and is about to run them over. Pikachu and Pichu try to get away, but they succumb to Prometheus syndrome with not realizing that there are directions beyond straight. Luckily, a Gyarados suddenly shows up and sends the three flying again….Pokemon shorts really do involve a lot of Pokemon being flung around like ragdolls. Also, this is a manmade river, why the hell is a Gyarados in there? Do you love scaring the crap out of the people on the ferry boat and putting them in danger for no reason?

The three fall into some alleyway onto a Houndour who starts chasing them around. He corners them, but the wonder twins use their electric powers to shock Houndour. However, “Too bad Pichu can’t use electric attacks without shocking themselves!” Pichu sucks.

The Pichu Bros end up knocking themselves out due to the electricity, and to make matters worse, Houndour’s not affected that badly and starts chasing them again, this time with Pikachu carrying the Pichu Bros. Pikachu bounces off of a random Snorlax’s belly yet again. For the love of God, he’s not a trampoline or an air bag! Stop making this a theme in the shorts!

Houndour tries to follow, but Snorlax moves when he tries to jump on him, causing Houndour to land on the ground instead and get squashed when Snorlax moves back. Well, he’s dead. A moment of silence for Houndour.

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They arrive at some fort made of tires and pipes and we discover that this is actually a little hideout for the Pichu Bros and their friends, a whole bunch of other Pokemon with many of them being new pre-evos. Oh and we get another Pokemon misidentification. This time a Voltorb says ‘Electrode’. I’m going to give 4Kids a slight pass here since, like Poliwhirl/Wrath, they look very similar, but 4Kids should really know better by now or at least know to double check this crap.

They screw around with all of the Pokemon to eat up two minutes of screentime. When they’re done, the other Pokemon leave and they realize that it’s getting awfully late. Pikachu has to be back before Ash returns so he asks the Pichu Bros to lead him there. They start to leave but AH ZOMBIE!!

Oh, I guess Houndour lived through that. Houndour arrives and starts chasing them around again, causing the big tire fort to fall over, burying Houndour in huge heavy tires. Well, I guess he’s dead again. A moment of silence for twice dead Houndour.

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Also, why is Pikachu not attacking Houndour? It’s shocked people and Pokemon for lesser reasons.

Anyway, Houndour’s not dead again, instead he’s mildly stuck I think maybe. Pikachu and the Pichu Bros help him out and they’re instant friends I guess. Another part of the fort starts falling over and Houndour and Pikachu try to save it, but they’re slipping fast. The Pichu Bros then call their friends back to help out…where were they going anyway? Do they have owners? Where else would they be living besides that fort?

The Pokemon band together to save the fort, even Cubone, the Pokemon who cares only about itself. Sorry – some leftover bitterness.

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Pictured: A selfish fuck.

And, really, guys, hire a licensed contractor next time. The design of that thing? No wonder it fell so easily.

So the fort is saved, hip hip hooray! That’s also a recurring theme in these shorts – a bunch of random Pokemon coming together to solve a problem and fix stuff.

Pikachu realizes what time it is and he and the Pichu Bros help him get back to the building by rolling in a tire. And on the way they run over Meowth….I would complain about his completely pointless part in this short, but this short is already basically Togepi-free, so there’s a bonus. However, the Pichu Bros kinda act like Togepi a few times.

Pikachu returns, the Pichu Bros leave and Ash and the others return to show their big surprise to the Pokemon (mostly Pikachu).

The owner of this place has no qualms with a giant snake made of rocks being in what looks like a very nice dining room? Okay.

Ash reveals his surprise is a big party in honor of it being the anniversary of the first day he became friends with Pikachu. Geez, look at that setup.

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So much food and decorations and reserving a beautiful room too? For god’s sake, I’ve never had a birthday anywhere near this nice. And this is a friendship anniversary for a mouse! Where the hell did Ash and the others get the money for this? They can usually just barely afford to feed themselves. Did they plan the fireworks too? Because I can’t see any other reason for that.

This I find to be even more blatant favoritism considering he never does the same thing for any of his other Pokemon. Then again, he’d actually have to have his Pokemon for over a year to do that…But Squirtle and Bulbasaur are still around at this point, which means it shouldn’t be far off from their one year anniversary, but nope, no party for them. They should’ve just said they wanted to make a sort of annual Pokemon appreciation party instead. But why do that and have Pikachu share the attention, which is, of course, blasphemous?

And thus our short ends….in the English version anyway. The Japanese version stays true to their ending credits sequences with fan art a and song behind it. While the fan art is nice…did the kids who sent in the pictures get like a template to color in? Because all of the pictures in the start have the exact same pose and drawing quality. Unless this is just crudely drawn official art.

Whoever made the picture with Pidgeotto despite the fact that it was long gone before this short, my hat’s off to you good sir or madam.

Art and Animation: The art is crisp and the animation was actually quite a bit better than normal. Some scenes were shaky, particularly the last shot you see of Pineco, but nothing that bad.

Music: I really enjoyed the jazzy soundtrack. It’s a welcome change from the average Pokemon music we’re used to.

Bottomline: I can’t bring myself to say I’m crazy about this short. By all intents and purposes, it’s completely harmless fun, but then again it is just a lot of hijinks with not a lot of story, and any message is one we’ve already heard before in previous shorts; teamwork basically.

Also, the stuff with Houndour was resolved so quickly and easily it’s almost like it was a non-plot point. That being said, it does have the best art and animation quality of any of the shorts so far. The city looks very nice, many shots look great, the Pichu Bros didn’t get annoying and there were never lulls in the fun like the second short. It’s a pretty good short, but it is disappointing that none of the other Pokemon get to do anything.

Recommended Audience: E for eggplants! And everyone. Eggplants are people too!